As you reflect on the classroom activities from the video, think about how you might adapt and extend these ideas to your own teaching.
- Darlene Jones-Inge's fourth-grade class studies problems in the community, nation, and world. Ms. Jones-Inge fosters a democratic model to teach students how to work together for the common good. Students work in groups to plan a community service project for people in Chile to develop an understanding of the civic importance of their service, beyond their own personal satisfaction.
- Gwen Larsen's sixth-grade students examine historical and family artifacts. Students thus encounter the past in a hands-on, personal way before they begin studying world history. By examining artifacts, students understand both the differences and similarities between people.
- Libby Sinclair asks her fifth-grade students to define and identify examples of stereotyping. She extends their thinking by asking why it is important to examine stereotypes at all. Students draw examples of stereotypes from their own experience as well as literature to see how people sometimes impose the concept of "unity" on a group by ignoring individual diversity.
Consider your own classroom as you answer the following questions.
- What strategies do you employ in each situation to teach students about different cultures or to debunk common stereotypes?
- What topics in your curriculum lend themselves to teaching students about issues of unity and diversity?
- How do you cultivate a classroom climate that allows students to speak candidly but respectfully about the range of differences among them? Among different cultures?
- How do you handle popular misconceptions or stereotypes about different races, classes, genders, religions, and student abilities?
- How do you foster ideas of unity in teaching about different cultures or historical periods?
Links to the Lessons
"Unity and Diversity" features the following teachers and lessons from the Social Studies in Action library:
Darlene Jones-Inge: Making a Difference Through Giving
Eileen Mesmer: Celebrations of Light
Tim Rockey: Gender-Based Distinctions
Gwen Larsen: Explorations in Archeology and History
Libby Sinclair: Understanding Stereotypes
Gary Fisher: The Amistad Case
David Kitts: Historical Change
Diane Kerr: State Government and the Role of the Citizen
Wendell Brooks: Competing Ideologies
and the Teaching Reading: K-2 library:
Cindy Wilson: Building Oral Language