National Institute for Urban School Improvement
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Learning Activities

  • "Festivals of Light": A Multicultural Celebration in Brooklyn
    Describes a celebration developed by children, staff, and parents at Morris L. Eisenstein Learning Center (Brooklyn, New York) to share the customs of Diwali, Hannukah, Loi Krathong, Kwanzaa, Nacimiento, and Christmas with the diverse student population.
  • Beautiful Me! Celebrating Diversity through Literature and Art
    Describes the "Beautiful Me!" kindergarten unit, which uses children's literature to help children develop a rich vocabulary to describe themselves, their friends, and family, and to avoid words placing people into categories and stereotypes. Activities include providing various skin-tone crayons for drawing and using craft materials to depict hair with different textures, colors, and thickness.
  • Celebrating Cultural Diversity: We Are the Children of the World
    Describes a series of activities presented at the 1996 Annual Cultural Diversity Celebration. The activities are designed to provide teachers with ideas that focus on family values, traditions, and homes.
  • Children of Mixed Race--No Longer Invisible
    Schools often ignore the existence and special concerns of multiracial and multiethnic students, whose numbers are increasing faster than those of monoracial children. Serving these students requires changing teacher education, recording heritage sensitively, assessing formal and informal curricula, revising ethnic and racial celebrations, addressing harassment, and promoting anti-bias activities.
  • Creative Experiences for Young Children. Third Edition
    Noting that a creative approach to early childhood education allows teachers to reinforce the foundation of achievement by encouraging and expanding upon children's play activities, this book provides teacher-developed ideas and strategies for creating learning communities in the early childhood classroom.
  • Educating for Social Competence: A Conceptual Approach to Social Studies Teaching
    Maintains that the broad arenas of the social sciences bind multiple areas of study together, giving added breadth and depth to each. Identifies the basic tenets of multicultural, global, and civic education.
  • Enrich Your Kindergarten Program with a Cross-Cultural Connection
    Describes a pen pal connection between a New Jersey kindergarten class and an Alaskan Eskimo first-grade class. Details how they used monthly e-mail and regular mail, and exchanged class projects to heighten respect and understanding about others' cultures.
  • Feeling, Experiencing and Consciousing: Diversity in the College Classroom
    Recent reports identify minority college students' tendency to segregate themselves and opt out of mainstream campus activities. This article describes a redesigned cultural diversity teaching model that sensitizes instructors to their own ethnic/racial preconceptions and helps students acknowledge their own racial biases, identify stereotypical reactions, engage in honest discussion about differences, and appreciate other groups' societal contributions.
  • Giving Thanks: Observing Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, and Day of the Dead
    Describes a primary-grade curriculum unit organized around the theme of "giving thanks" and encompassing the holidays of Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, and Day of the Dead. Provides historical background and cultural context for each holiday, engagement activities, investigation activities, sharing activities, and a short list of related children's literature.
  • Hispanic Literature: A Fiesta for Literacy Instruction
    Discusses how literature can facilitate students' appreciation of the multifaceted Hispanic culture. Offers advice on merging Hispanic literature and literacy instruction, organizing children's books by category to help structure classroom activities, exploring themes and cultural concepts, and integrating literacy/thinking strategies with Hispanic literature.
  • Language Arts Activities for Children. Fourth Edition
    This activities book illustrates how teachers can use teaching methods and strategies to build children's language arts skills as well as create a stimulating, enriched environment. The activities in the book include many opportunities for the integration of the language arts across the curriculum.
  • Multicultural Activities throughout the Year
    Describes how early childhood teachers and caregivers can provide experiences that implement meaningful multicultural understandings into their curriculum, focusing on: where to begin; diversity within the classroom; celebrating birthdays in different countries; classroom displays that positively represent different cultures; evaluating learning centers; and providing dramatic play, art, language arts/library, science/discovery, music, math/manipulative, and block centers. (SM).
  • Multiple Views: Valuing Diversity
    Maintains that in an increasingly multicultural and globally interdependent world, learning to value diversity will become a curriculum imperative. Outlines two activities designed to facilitate this goal.
  • Teaching with Folk Stories of the Hmong: An Activity Book. Learning through Folklore Series
    This book is designed as a guide for teaching students about Hmong culture while building appreciation of worldwide cultural diversity. After providing an overview of the distinct history and customs of the Hmong, co-author Dia Cha shares her experiences growing up in Laotian villages, escaping from communist soldiers, living in refugee camps in Thailand, and coming to the United States.
  • Technology Connections for Grades 3-5. Research Projects and Activities
    This book provides guidance and instruction for nine in-depth projects that integrate information literacy skills and technology skills with the elementary curriculum while promoting small-group learning and interpersonal skills. These projects use the talents of both the teacher and the librarian and emphasize small group learning.
  • The Model United Nations: 50+ and Growing Strong
    The Model U.N. is a popular experiential learning program that engages students through cooperative-learning techniques and multicultural education.
  • Why Cooking in the Curriculum?
    Discusses how food preparation activities in the early childhood classroom can facilitate parent participation. Explains how cooking activities can involve reading, math, science, reading, writing, multicultural components, and creativity.