Teachers have a big impact on America’s future. They guide our youth and can spark a love for learning in others. As a result, we need to continue supporting programs like Teach for America, and we need to think about what kids really need to learn for a great future.
One of the things we need to do more than ever is find ways to build unity in the classroom. Although this might not seem directly tied to school, being able to relate and work with others is a skill everyone should have. In order to build unity in the classroom, students need to learn how to work with others and embrace different cultures.
It’s easy to teach when students are younger. Here are 4 smart ideas for building unity in an elementary classroom.
Teach Empathy and Compassion
Help students learn how to develop empathy for others and respect different viewpoints. One way you can do this is through books and movies. If you have first or second graders, these 12 books model empathy and will be a great starting point.
For students that are ready for chapter books, check out one of these books. Go a step further by having students engage with the books. You could have group discussions, give students time to write a reflection piece, or make them try to write about the scene in the book from a different point of view.
Encourage Working with Others
Group work can be a powerful thing. You still need to let students do some work on their own, but it is great to have them do activities that require working in a group.
Another way you can help students is by going over communication and learning styles. This way they will have a better perspective on why others may do things differently.
Let Students Embrace Their Uniqueness
Build unity in an elementary classroom by celebrating everyone’s uniqueness. You can have each of them pick what makes them special. Sometimes, a student may not feel like they have a unique trait. In that case, you can have them list what they like about themselves.
Similarly, you can have students write down what they like about others in the classroom. This builds unity because students learn to appreciate their classrooms and that everyone brings something great to the table.
Have a Multicultural Day
We live in a world with so much culture, but we don’t know this when we are younger. Oftentimes, we believe our peers have lives similar to us when we are younger. A Multicultural Day is a great way to expose students to new cultures.
Students can bring items that represent their culture or talk about their day-to-day life. You can also encourage kids in your elementary classroom to describe traditions they enjoy. This can expand past just one day.
Get the community involved. You can ask members of the community to talk about their culture. Moreover, you can also share stories of how unity between different cultures has made the world a better place.