As always, World Folktales and Fables Week arrives the third week of March. What a great opportunity to work on literacy skills with these classic stories! Folktales and fables have near-universal appeal, thanks to their simple story lines, talking animals, and magical scenarios. Here, we offer some ideas for students to improve their reading and writing skills with the use of folktales and fables.Continue reading Using Folktales & Fables to Build Literacy Skills (Free Lesson Plan)
Our newest educational resource, Building Bridges With Bilingual Books And Multicultural Resources is now available in a complete teacher’s set. These sets are available in Spanish and Arabic, as well as a set with assorted languages. Read on to learn more about these sets.Continue reading Culturally Responsive Teaching Set with Lesson Plans & Bilingual Books
Today, teachers need to provide welcoming and inclusive educational environments for their diverse student populations. By building culturally responsive classrooms, all students develop a greater understanding of, and respect for, diverse cultures, enhancing community in the classroom. A new book helps educators embrace multiculturalism in their classrooms with lesson plans, games, and fun diversity activities.Continue reading Celebrate Diversity in the Classroom with Lessons & Activities in New Teacher’s Manual
We have partnered up with our friends at West Chester University to bring you 4 new multicultural lesson plans that focus on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills. Access these free lesson plans, and many more, to help bring more multicultural learning to your classroom. (Special thanks to Seán Gleasure for his assistance on the lesson plans.)Continue reading 4 New (Free!) Lesson Plans – Social & Emotional Learning
Chinese New Year begins on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. It’s a special time to honor ancestors and renew family bonds with traditional rituals and feasts. Also known as Spring Festival, for those who celebrate it, it’s one of the most important social and economic holidays of the year.Continue reading Chinese New Year – A Multicultural Holiday
We’ve teamed up with our friends at West Chester University to bring you two new lesson plans that bring multicultural education to your classroom! Download the free lesson plans and adapt them to the unique needs of your classroom. Homeschooling parents, use the activities to build literacy skills and explore new languages and cultures with your kids! Continue reading 2 New (Free!) Multicultural Lesson Plans
We’re excited to share new, free multicultural lesson plans you can use to celebrate two fun upcoming holidays:
Holi “Festival of Colors” (March 13, 2017)
Holi [pronounced houli], also known as the Festival of Colors, is a popular springtime festival celebrated in many parts of South Asia and around the world. This festival celebrates the coming of spring and the end of winter. It is also a day to give thanks for a good harvest. It’s a time to forgive and forget, be with your friends and your family, and have a whole lot of fun.
The Holi Festival lasts two days. The first night, there’s a big bonfire that everyone gathers around. The next day is when all the fun begins! Ranwali Holi—as day 2 is called—is the day of colors. People, old and young, friends and strangers, carry spritzers and balloons filled with colored water, and they spray each other until everyone is multi‐colored and beautiful.
World Folktales and Fables Week (March 19-25, 2017)
World Folktales and Fables Week is dedicated to encouraging children and adults to explore the lessons and cultural background of folktales, fables, myths and legends from around the world.
Reading world folktales and fables is not only a wonderful way to entertain and bond with children, it is also an effective way to educate them. The stories in classic folklore offer both social lessons as well as an opportunity to teach about cultures and languages. Be sure to enjoy a good folktale in your classroom or home!
Celebrate with Free Lesson Plans & Discount
It’s easy to download these lessons, along with other multicultural lesson plans that you can use throughout the year!
As a special bonus for World Folktales & Fables Week 2017, Language Lizard is offering a 10% discount on the following bilingual folktales and fables available in English with multiple other languages: Buri and the Marrow, The Crow King, The Dragon’s Tears, Goose Fables, Lion Fables and Yeh Hsien: A Chinese Cinderella.
Simply enter coupon code FABLES2017 to receive the discount (valid through March 31, 2017).
To celebrate World Folktales and Fables Week, check out these blog posts for great ideas you can use in the classroom and at home:
“Holi Celebrations” by wonker via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/4CL6qE
It’s the start of a new school year, and your classroom fills with a brand new kaleidoscope of personalities. You may find yourself wondering how to help an eclectic group of kids connect with each other. How do you bring your class together as a community, and jump start the conversation and collaboration? You want to create a safe, secure and nurturing learning environment for all children – an especially challenging task when they come from diverse backgrounds.
Although it may sound a bit counter-intuitive, one of the best ways to create a sense of community is by celebrating individuality. Kids love to see themselves reflected in the classroom. As discussed in our recent post about understanding and appreciating cultural differences in the classroom, when kids contrast and compare family holidays and traditions without judgment, respect and acceptance begins. Reading world folk tales and fables is a great way to explore new traditions from various cultures.
The Concept of Community
You may want to begin by exploring the concept of a community with your class. Yes, it’s a group of people who share something in common, but there are so many less obvious aspects, particularly in a classroom setting. Language Lizard offers a free standards-based lesson plan that teaches students all about the concept of community: What is it, why is it important to have one, and what makes a community stronger?
Sarah Brown Wessling, 2010 National Teacher of the Year and the Teacher Laureate for Teaching Channel, talks about the importance of creating “classroom chemistry” in a blog article, which she describes as the moment when a “certain group of students auspiciously find each other in a classroom.” She discusses 14 ways to create it with your students, and the important role that good chemistry plays in keeping students engaged in the classroom. For another in-depth look at the importance of building a classroom community, check out The Center for the Collaborative Classroom’s Child Development Project, which offers more activity ideas and supporting research.
Predictable, Nurturing Classroom Environment
A classroom that is not just functional, but also comfortable and comforting, encourages learning. Things like lighting, temperature, desk spacing, and a comfy reading corner are physically comforting. A predictable daily routine is emotionally comforting, as are clearly defined rules for classroom behavior. This article from Edutopia discusses how the use of daily trust-building activities can create a support system in your classroom.
What are some ways you create an outstanding community in your classroom? Comment below and share your experiences!
“Teamwork and team spirit” by 드림포유 via Flickr is licensed under CC BY ND 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/o4ZHuD
“Individuality” by Joey Gannon via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/HGRhB
“Team.” by Dawn (Willis) Manser via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/6oaunE
Every classroom is a different potpourri of personalities and abilities that will mix, mesh or sometimes clash. Teachers want to effectively engage every one of their students, and parents want to ensure their kids will be both accepting and accepted.
Preparing for Your Multicultural & Bilingual Classroom
How can we make our multicultural classrooms welcoming to all students, and instill an appreciation for diversity in our kids? In a previous post, we looked at different multicultural resources that can be woven right into existing lesson plans, and the many benefits they bring to all students. In other posts, we offered a checklist of essential items and tips to help teachers prepare their classrooms for bilingual students.
Culturally Responsive Instruction
In his blog post, author and educator Matthew Lynch discusses culturally responsive instruction in depth. Its aim is “to teach students that differences in viewpoint and culture are to be cherished and appreciated rather than judged and feared.” The primary goal is to demonstrate that all people, regardless how different they may appear on the surface, have so much in common and that every person and culture deserves respect. Lynch discusses the many ways teachers can promote an environment of respect for cultural diversity, in particular the importance of studying multicultural role models in the classroom.
Free Lesson Plan: Understanding & Appreciating Cultural Differences
Teachers are always looking for new ways to bring more multicultural education to the classroom, while meeting Common Core Standards. As part of a project with student teachers in the Elementary Education Teacher Preparation program at West Chester University, the Language Lizard site offers free, creative units of instruction for use in grades K-5. The lesson plan entitled “Understanding and Appreciating Cultural Differences” helps students appreciate how people are different and similar, not just within the classroom, but around the world. They will learn about diverse languages, cultures and traditions in the US and in other countries. This unit of instruction is easily aligned with state and national standards in Social Studies and Language Arts. The main books used in these lessons include: That’s My Mum, Floppy, and Floppy’s Friends written in: Gujarati, Portuguese, Turkish and English. Each of these titles is available in many other languages that can be substituted for, or used in addition to, the dual languages presented here.
Parents and teachers alike are encouraged to download our free multicultural lesson plans to utilize at home and in the classroom. Each unit indicates which books are included, the target grade level(s), the primary languages, and the key topics covered. The units can be implemented as designed or adapted to meet the needs of a particular student body or grade level. Languages introduced in the lessons can be changed to better reflect their own diverse households and communities.
By preparing ahead of time, you will ensure this year will progress more smoothly and comfortably for you and your unique and diverse classroom.
What challenges have you faced in your multicultural classroom, and what solutions have worked for you? Comment below and share your experiences!
“The Sign Says” by Ryan via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/99jT3G
“2012-226 My New Teacher Desk” by Denise Krebs via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/cRiZjJ
The Muslim holiday of Ramadan is the 9th and most sacred month in the Islamic calendar. Traditionally, it’s a time of fasting from sun up to sun down each day. Children aren’t required to fast until they’re teenagers, but may fast for part of the day to help them appreciate the significance of the holiday. Fasting is meant to help Muslims practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy. Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, growth, and religious devotion.
Learning about Ramadan: Lesson Plan & Storybook
Language Lizard offers a free, standards-based lesson plan that introduces students to Muslim customs and cultures, new languages and texts, and promotes acceptance of diversity. The lesson plan pairs with the bilingual storybook Samira’s Eid. Samira and her family get a surprise visitor during Ramadan who brings a special gift for them. The story teaches kids about the holiday’s traditions, and the meaning behind them, through Samira’s eyes.
Receive a 10% discount on the book Samira’s Eid now through July 17, 2015! Simply enter Coupon Code Eid2015 during checkout. Samira’s Eid is currently available with English and your choice of the following languages: Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Farsi, French, Kurdish, Panjabi and Somali.
Experience the Food of Ramadan
Each night at sunset, families gather for the fast-breaking meal known as iftar. Get in the spirit by trying some traditional dishes served at iftar with your classroom or family. One quick and easy dessert that the kids can help make, and will love to eat, is this traditional mango, pistachio and cream dessert.
Ramadan Arts & Crafts Projects
Ramadan can also be a time of beautiful decorations. Lanterns, in particular, have become symbolic of the holiday. Kids can make simple paper crafts, including lanterns, or try out more complex projects like this drum.
Online Ramadan Resources for Kids
Find kid-friendly Ramadan photos online to look through together, and discuss how Ramadan is experienced by the littlest Muslims. The PBS Kids website offers a free, interactive book about Ramadan and its traditions. Or check out this multilingual Ramadan poster that includes illustrations of the call to prayer, fasting, sharing an evening meal, and family time.
Will you be learning about Ramadan with your classroom or family? Share your ideas by commenting below!