October is Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month, providing a unique opportunity to recognize and celebrate the wonderful aspects of bilingualism and multiculturalism. We are offering fun activities, handouts and more to celebrate this special month!
Benefits of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism
By introducing and celebrating bilingualism and multiculturalism at an early age, children learn to see one another as equals with differences (and similarities!) and broaden their appreciation and enjoyment of one another, leading to acceptance and inclusiveness. They also benefit from different worldviews and vibrant classroom discussions, allowing them to become more well-rounded global citizens.
Bilingualism in the U.S.
In 2018, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, a record 67.3 million U.S. residents (native-born, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants) spoke a language other than English at home. The number has more than doubled since 1990 and almost tripled since 1980. With so many bilingual students in the classroom, October is also a chance to celebrate and explore shared parts of our lives to foster attitudes of inclusion, interconnectedness, and respect.
Here are some fun and interactive activities designed to promote acceptance, cultural respect, and a sense of belonging by acknowledging our differences and celebrating our similarities. (These exercises use Language Lizard’s We Can All Be Friends and its accompanying lesson plan, but a book about friendship can also be used. To access all of Language Lizard’s lesson plans, signup here).
- Allow the students to think of things they enjoy doing or do daily (for example, sleep, eat, play, learn). Then, engage in group discussion and share these ideas. Write or draw them on a list. Encourage the students to make connections with one another if they repeat the same thing.
- Conduct a ‘survey’ by asking students whether they do the listed things. Focus on the things the students have in common.
- Show students the cover of the book We Can All Be Friends. Then, ask their predictions about the book using guided questions:
What do you think this book will be about?
Why do you say that?
Who do they mean when they say we can ALL be friends?
How can we ALL be friends?
- Using the prompt, We Can All_______ have the students fill in the blank with a word or phrase of something that they all do. The students can then create pictures to accompany these sentences. Finally, compile these pictures to create a new book celebrating friendship in the classroom!
More Resources and A Giveaway
See this Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month handout for more ideas to celebrate the month in the classroom and at home, or refer to our previous blog posts! Also available is this “I’m Bilingual, What’s Your Superpower?” worksheet. Have your students fill out the answers and share them with the class. Finally, enter Language Lizard’s bilingual book giveaway to celebrate bilingual children.
Comment and tell us how you will be celebrating the awesome bilingual children in your life!