SOS: Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom

October is National Bullying Prevention Month – a campaign held throughout the entire month of October dedicated to raising awareness around bullying and developing solutions to prevent anti-social and harmful behaviors. As we exit this month, we want to spotlight the strategies that build essential social and emotional learning (SEL) skills for younger students and teach the importance of modeling and carrying out the lessons of diversity, inclusion, and empathy.

The Strategies

One of our favorite strategies for building SEL skills for young students is the pro-social and proactive animated series and online educational program, LaGolda, available on Discovery Education Experience. This series features the eponymous 8 year-old who has been shuffled from one orphanage to the next in her native Colombia. LaGolda manages, despite her surroundings, to see life as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Recently, Discovery Education and UnitedHealthcare partnered to include LaGolda content on Discovery Education Experience, and have developed specific activities on empathy, inclusion, and diversity. This is a great resource to incorporate into your own elementary classroom to teach your students the importance of accepting others, building self-awareness, and understanding that everyone has their own unique experiences and perspectives.

The Classroom Activity

A related resource to use this October is the LaGolda ‘Our Challenges’ Activity. In this activity, students explore the concept that everyone has their own set of challenges. After reflecting on a segment from the video, La Golda: Autism, students are given a short profile about a fictional student. Student pairs will then write a journal entry from this student’s perspective, which will allow the class to read, explore, and understand how a variety of different perspectives view the same situation.

Ultimately, the goal of this activity is to teach students how to evaluate one another’s emotional perspective and how to articulate and empathize with this person’s experience. Every one of us has our own set of challenges and strengths, and it’s important that all students recognize that respecting others is a critical aspect of a fully functional community.

Teaching students how to put themselves in another person’s shoes is an excellent way to build empathy and understanding, especially during National Bullying Prevention Month.  The theme of this month is a great reminder for teaching students the importance of kindness and fostering a classroom that will work towards understanding and protecting one another throughout their academic careers and beyond.

Interested in accessing LaGolda content in your classroom? Visit Discovery Education Experience to learn more!