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Okay, I’m a bit biased here.


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!

Lower Division:
  • 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
Middle Division:
  • 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! 
Upper Division:
  • 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, 

Dr. Talusan