My first and second-grade students are an awesome group of students who are energetic, curious, and love learning. My students are a diverse group that includes English language learners, students with special needs, and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. At our Title I school which is close to downtown Los Angeles, 84 percent of the students qualify for reduced or free lunch, 29% are English Learners and 28% are students with disabilities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my students had been learning from home since March 2020 and after more than a year, in April 2021, some students finally returned to in-person learning. My students are so happy to be back in our classroom and whether in-person or online, they have a positive mindset, are working hard, and are making progress. They continue to amaze me with their resilience, positivity, and ability to care for one another.
With the recent increase in violence against Asian Americans, many politicians and educators are demanding that a more complete version of Asian American history be taught in our public schools. For my young learners, they can begin to learn about the diverse cultures of Asian Americans through literature and discussions.
Access to books written about the Asian American experience and its heroes will help my students understand that our differences should be respected and celebrated.
Throughout the school year, we have celebrated other groups and this month, during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we can recognize the important role that Asian Americans have played in American history. Whether reading about Hawaiian traditions in Ohana Means Family or reading about the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother in Grandmother's Visit, my students will not only be exposed to cultures they may not be familiar with, but also discover that there are many things we all have in common.
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