Next time you are at the grocery store or your local park, look around. How has this very familiar landscape changed in the past 10 years? According to Census Bureau statisticsˆ, races other than Caucasian made up approximately 31.6% of the U.S. in the year 2000. By 2030 that number will grow to 44.3%, approaching close to half of the population.
Depending on where you live, these numbers will of course vary. But no matter where you live, they will increase. Now, look around your classroom. If you are a veteran teacher, how has your classroom changed since you first started teaching? If you are a newer teacher, how different do you think it will look in 10 years?
As you all know, teaching is an ever-evolving profession. We all experience “teachable moments” that cause us to deviate from our lesson plans. Well now you have the opportunity to incorporate this important issue that affects every single one of your students into your lesson plans.
Some ideas on how to do this creatively appear below…
Language Arts –
Have your students interview a grandparent or older relative to find out more about their ancestry and have them share their findings with the class. (Note – I have taught a few students that were adopted, so this was often a sensitive subject. For these students, have them find out information about how the demographics in your state are changing and focus on a topic that these changes will affect – i.e. language, customs, or religion.)
Social Studies –
Host a Cultural Potluck! Have students, or their parents, make dishes from a country of their origin or ancestry and bring them into class.
Have students track recent changes to the nation’s population. This can include changes in race, income level, housing, level of education, etc. They can formulate differences, percentages, or more complex equations from this data.
This week’s Thematic Focus is on Biodiversity. Find one of the many resources available on unitedstreaming to teach students about the different types of diversity in water and on land.
The Census Bureau also has additional lessons using Census Data at the website below:
“We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” -Jimmy Carter
Celebrate these differences with your students. You and they will be richer for it.
Enjoy getting to know each other!
ˆ According to the U.S. Census Bureau website – http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/usinterimproj/natprojtab01a.pdf