The celebration of diversity and differences among classmates in my future classroom is fundamental part of my educational philosophy and I have made a goal to collect resources by which to do this. Today, in my ECS 110 class, the professor said something along the lines of: ‘Differences in our society should be celebrated, but they are not,’ and this instantly sparked some lesson ideas that I am scrambling to write down before they are lost inside my head.
1. At the beginning of the school year, get students to pair up or go in groups and brainstorm things that neither/none of them have in common. Children often get to know each other through their similarities in interests, and lots of get-to-know-you activities are geared towards what is the same. By getting them to brainstorm differences, they can see how diverse they are from each other. You could even have them tally their ‘points’ and reward the group that came up with the most differences.
2. In traditional show-and-tell fashion, each child will get a turn to present something about them that no one in the class shares – something about them that is completely unique. This enforces the idea that all students possess characteristics that make them special. This should enforce that differences are things to be proud of, not hide. It will be a great way for children to tell others about something that is completely their own, something that no one else has!
*Prompt children to dig deeper than differing favourite colours. They can find lots of differences that are more creative than that!
Afterwards, you should always enforce that differences are good and that students need to not only accept and be proud of their differences, but be respectful and accepting of others’ differences as well. We do not single people out or disclude them because of their differences.
Differences are a chance to learn, and that is what a good classroom is all about!