May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States (see the Asian-Pacific Heritage site for more details). Our country is the product of generations of hard work and determination from the millions of immigrants in our rich history. Here are 5 simple ways your children can learn about Asian-Americans influences on and experiences in the United States.
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5 Ways to Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
1. Visit an Asian cultural center or community center.
You would be amazed at how many cultural centers are around once you begin searching. A cultural center is an organization (private, governmental, or non-profit) or gathering area that promotes the culture and arts, often of a particular region. Try googling “Indian Cultural Center +”your city.” It’s common to find cultural centers in Chinatown for example, and often there is a calendar of events, traveling exhibits, festivals, and learning opportunities. Museums are another option; they often celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with special events for the public.
2. Read about children’s experiences in Japanese internment camps.
Smithsonian Education has excellent lesson plans categorized by grade (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12), for students to learn about the experiences of Japanese-American children and teens in World War II internment camps. Also check out these great books, that allow us to see this bit of history frequently forgotten, when Americans locked up Americans in a flurry of fear.
So Far from the Sea by Eve Bunting
The Bracelet by Yoshiko Uchida
Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
3. Explore influential and important Asian-Americans.
Here is a list of 10 mini-biographies from Scholastic, of Asian-Americans who have made a difference. Also check out this video from Asia Society, who asks what being an Asian-American means to you.
4. Learn about the immigrant experiences in the US of diverse Asian-American cultures.
The following on-line curriculums from Smithsonian Education walk us through the history and culture of these Asian-American groups.
Filipino-American: This is set up with pictures, stories that tell how the immigrants left their homes, made the incredible journeys, and then began to settle in their new country.
Korean-American: These lessons are for Middle Schoolers, and are comprised of different reading passages about the history and experiences of Korean-Americans. I like how Unit 3 touches on Korean adoptees.
Chinese-American: This lesson focuses specifically on early immigrants who came to California in search of gold.
5. Check out these amazing resources from Multicultural Bloggers
In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Multicultural Kid Blogs is sponsoring a blog hop, and you are invited! We are celebrating the cultures and peoples of this diverse region by sharing our posts and asking other bloggers to do the same! Our hope is to create a wonderful resource for celebrating Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month with children. Be sure to visit the co-hosts of the blog hop (listed below) and share your own posts at the linky at the bottom!