My first grade class consists of twenty-two students who love to learn. Each morning, I am greeted with big, bright (and, at times, toothless) grins. The students are not only highly motivated to learn and grow, but are very caring and respectful of each other's feelings. As a class, time is spent fostering a sense of community within the classroom. Developing a strong classroom community is important to us, as it helps us grow into productive citizens. Learning compassion, patience, and respect are certainly valuable lessons that go hand in hand with academic excellence.
As classrooms are becoming increasingly diverse, teachers must promote this diversity through the literature. When culturally diverse literature is infused into the curriculum it can serve as a mirror or window.
When a student reads or listens to a story, they may see their own characteristics and feelings in a character.
If students imagine themselves in a story, it gives them a sense of belonging and acceptance into society. It is imperative to introduce children to new people, places and concepts that they have not have yet encountered.
As a teacher it is important to take advantage of teachable moments and respond to children's race-related questions and interactions with books and activities to enhance classroom discussions. A library of multicultural/diverse books would be the perfect addition to provide these types of lessons to my students. The books in our project are all high-quality and engaging literature that our class would enjoy reading.
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