Okay, I’m a bit biased here.
“IT’S ASIAN PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH!”
While we, as educators, strive to provide information about diverse groups all year, these designated months (e.g., Latino Heritage Month in September; LGBTQ Month in October; Native Heritage Month in November; Black History Month in February; Womens Month in March … ), I am so thankful when I see a bump in information during May!
As an Asian American — born in the United States to immigrants — my cultural heritage was never a part of my school curriculum. I mean, I learned (a little bit) about Japanese Internment; Chinese Railroad; and kind of the Korean War. But, that’s it. And, really, when you read those three things again — do you really think that those lessons were supportive of Asian Americans? (Hint: They weren’t). I grew up feeling like my people – or people who sort of looked like me – were enemies of the state. I grew up feeling like who I was, somehow, was anti-U.S. I never, ever remembered a lesson that included Asian Americans that made me feel valued.
Hence, my 400+ page dissertation on how Asian American and Pacific Islander students experience education.
But, in May, I get to focus on my Asian American heritage. I get to open up Facebook and see lots of posts about Asian American and Pacific Islander culture, issues, policies, action, and communities.
And, I dread when June 1st rolls around; because, I know, it’ll take another 11 months before my newsfeed shows me anything positive about my people.
At Park, we’ve really encouraged learning about different communities throughout the year. And, we like giving a little bump of visibility to communities during heritage months.
Here is a note I sent out to our faculty if you’d like to do any of these at home or with your classes!
- Play excerpts from music around the world. Here is a good calm and peaceful one to play as children are coming in and getting settled. This is piano and erhu (a 2-string Chinese instrument).
- Read aloud a great book highlighting Asian American or Pacific Islander main characters — some which might make race central or peripheral to the story.
- Beautiful playlist of Hawaiian ukelele music for breaks or snack time
- GREAT video of Asian American children of Immigrants (great for Grade V especially!) But, please watch it first — it might make you cry on the first watch.
- Just a fun silly break to teach people how to say the state fish of Hawai’i (humuhumunukunukuapua’a). It comes in handy — I was once asked how to spell this at a trivia contest!
- As a “brain break”, here’s a great link to an online quiz testing knowledge of Asian geography!
- Haikus follow a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Drawing from whatever your lesson plan is for the day, ask students to come up with a haiku that introduces (or sums up!) your lesson. Works great for all subjects!
And, for your additional listening pleasure, check out this beautiful video (h/t to my friend Kehaulani) of Hawai’ian Aloha, a collaborative musical piece!
Peace and Park,