Anti-Racism, history, K-12, Social Studies

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2022

Among the many observances during the month of May, it is also Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States. To learn more about the history of this commemoration, you can read this article from NPR. It describes the evolution from a week of observance to a month, and why it falls in May each year.

I gave a few resources for AAPI Month last year, but I want to add these specific lesson plans from NEA to the collection. You can also find some great links on the National Park Service website and a “Care Package” of poems, meditations, and films from the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center here. The Smithsonian APA also has a page of resources for teachers here.

The theme for this year’s AAPI Heritage Month is, “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration.” In these days where there seems to be so much dissension and polarization, I find this theme to be a hopeful one that is a reminder of the benefits of working together.

I’ll be adding this post to my Anti-Racism Wakelet, where you can find other articles I’ve collected for the purpose of educating ourselves and combatting hate.

Arab Boy and Girl
Anti-Racism, Geography, history, K-12, Language Arts, Social Studies

April is Arab American Heritage Month

I know that it can be overwhelming to see all of the “special months, days, and weeks” that get paraded on social media. And I also know that it is not the best reflection of our country that we feel that we must assign months in the calendar to remind people that our nation is comprised of many cultures and ethnicities. However, one bright spot that I do find in bringing attention to some of these is that more resources become readily available. So I do want to highlight some of the ones that I’ve found for Arab American Heritage month.

As a reminder, many Muslims are observing Ramadan this month. However, you may be surprised to learn that, according to this source, only about 24% of Arab Americans are Muslims, and the majority of them are Christians. This is one of the many misconceptions we often have regarding Arab Americans, and you can read more here.

The American Arab Institute is one place to start when looking for resources, as it has a picture of the letter President Biden has written to acknowledge the month and also highlights the contributions of some incredible Arab Americans. There is also an interactive map where you can learn more about the demographics and trends in your area.

The Arab America Foundation has a curriculum kit for educators that you can find here. They also offer an abundance of links on this page. If you would like to combine your study of Arabian history and culture with an appreciation for poetry (since April is also National Poetry Month), you may want to do a study of the some of the works of Khalil Gibran or Naomi Shihab Nye (a fellow San Antonio resident!). I particularly enjoy this poem on Teaching from Gibran that I just discovered while researching this post.

I will be adding this post to both my Anti-Racism Collection and my April Holidays one. If you can take a moment to learn one new wonderful fact about Arab Americans and share it with your students, we will be taking another small step toward eradicating racism in our country.

Social Studies, spatial reasoning, Teaching Tools

Ukrainian Easter Eggs and Other Cultural Wonders

With all of the heartbreak that accompanies current events also comes the opportunity to understand and honor the brave people of Ukraine. One company, Grabarchuk Puzzles, is doing so by creating visual brainteasers that each give a glimpse of Ukraine’s colorful and magnificent culture. The Grabarchuk family is originally from Ukraine, and hope to garner support for their native country through their unique challenges. You can read more, and see 6 of the challenges selected from their website archive here.

One of the puzzles I found on the main site for Grabarchuk is a Pysanka Puzzle. Pysanky (plural form) are Ukrainian Easter Eggs, and they are quite beautiful. You can see a lesson that integrates a book by Patricia Polacco here. For more detailed information and an art lesson with downloadable templates, you can go here. The site also includes links to galleries of Pysanky and other sources for learning about Ukrainian culture.

Image by Alisa Mizikar from Pixabay
women sitting on the couch
3-12, Art, history, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Women in Culture

International Women’s Day will be celebrated on March 8, 2022 this year. I have some links to activities and lessons on my March Holidays Wakelet, but I ran across the “Women in Culture” page on Google Arts and Culture the other day and wanted to make it more widely known. I could spend days exploring this site! I know you don’t have days, hours, or even more than a couple of minutes, so I’ll point out some highlights that will make it worth your while.

Let’s start by passing all of the great images and scrolling to close to the bottom of the page, where you will see this section:

If you have no other time to bathe yourself in the beauty of this site, definitely download some of the free lesson plans, which will give you guided tours through some of the amazing images and information available to you about inspiring women in all types of careers.

Still have a little time? Maybe you can browse through this exhibit of “11 Women Who Changed the World,” and try to learn more about the incredibly gifted females (Still have a little time? Maybe you can browse through this exhibit of “11 Women Who Changed the World,” and try to learn more about the incredibly gifted females who have made universally positive contributions (many of whom rarely appear in school textbooks) who have made universally positive contributions in field ranging from art to science.

Speaking of science, women in STEM are all over this page. For a small taste of what you can find, take 2 minutes to watch this superhero video about one of those women, who is using biomimicry to discover new materials to monitor our health. A few more videos from the series can be found by scrolling about 1/4 way down the page to the section, “The science of tomorrow.”

If you’ve got upper elementary or secondary students beginning Genius Hour/Passion Projects, this would be a great page for them to browse for topic inspiration. Help them find unique subjects like the “Sea Women of South Korea” or the evolution of “Women in Sports.”

Discover the women who made a difference while increasing your motivation to help more young people learn of these achievements so they, too, can see what is possible.

people woman street sign
Anti-Racism, history, Social Studies

iCivics Civil Rights Resources

I’ll admit that part of the reason I write these blog posts is that I am very forgetful and having a digital record of great educational resources has been a lifesaver for me many times. So when I saw the iCivics Civil Rights Resources I had to do a quick search of my blog to make sure I hadn’t written about this specific portion of iCivics before now. I was surprised to see that I have written posts about iCivics since 2011, practically when I started this blog. If you’ve never used it before, definitely take some time to look at it. It’s free, includes games and lesson plans for all grade levels, and has a teacher dashboard you can use for assignments.

The iCivics Civil Rights Resources are primarily for middle and high school levels. They include animated videos from the “Changemakers of the Civil Rights Era” as well as some practice using primary sources and some curriculum units. With President Biden poised to nominate the first Black female Supreme Court judge, you may be particularly interested in the video and lessons for Constance Baker Motley. She was the first African American woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court, be elected to the New York state senate, and be appointed a federal judge.

I’ll be adding this to my Anti-Racism collection, which you can find here. To access all of my Wakelets and/or to follow me as I update them daily, visit this page.

Constance Baker Motley, image from Flickr
people in green and blue traditional dress standing near brown horse
Anti-Racism, history, Social Studies

Lunar New Year

As I was searching for links to add to my February Wakelet, I knew that I needed to include some for Chinese New Year, which will be celebrated on Feb. 1 this year (2022). I am always struggling to be more inclusive with my vocabulary, and was surprised to learn that there are other countries (notably Korea and Vietnam) that celebrate the New Year based on the cycles of the moon. This means that it is probably more fitting for us to call this holiday the “Lunar New Year” so that we are acknowledging all of those who observe this holiday, rather than just one large one. It might be interesting for your students to do some research to find out how the Lunar New Year traditions differ in each of the three main countries who celebrate it.

Though it may seem like just semantics to call it Lunar New Year instead of Chinese New Year, I am painfully conscious that centering the holiday around one country made me unaware that others also celebrated until I was 53 years old. It’s not a small thing to ignore something that is important to millions of people. So, now that I know, I will definitely try to use “Lunar New Year” unless I am referring to a country-specific celebration. Here are some student perspectives on why they believe the phrasing is important.

I’ll be adding this to my Anti-Racism Wakelet, and you can find links to educational sites about the Lunar New Year on my February Wakelet. Please let me know if you have more ideas to include!

By the way, Google “Chinese” or “Vietnamese” or “Korean” New Year, and wait a moment on the page for a special surprise!

decorative shiny chinese lanterns in new year holiday
Photo by Khoa Võ on Pexels.com