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Using Literature to Appreciate Diversity in the Classroom During the First Days of School

July 25, 2016

Providing a safe and welcoming classroom is vital to building relationships and community in the classroom. Getting to know students, celebrating who they are and where they come from, and providing needed social and academic supports are essential to student growth and achievement. Our students come from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds. It is up to educators to get to know and understand students and give our students opportunities to get to know and appreciate each other.

During the first days of school, master teachers focus on building a classroom community. An effective way to do this is to use literature. Two of my favorite books  focus on diversity, inclusion, and building relationships of respect. These books can easily begin conversations around getting to know and appreciating classmates, building classroom community, stopping bullying and getting to know each other as unique individuals.

I have used this book, The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane DeRolf, with my pre-service teachers for several years. (Click here for a review.) I still love it. crayon box


An excellent companion text was recommended by a colleague, The Color of Us by Karen Katz. (Click here for a review.)

color of us

Consider using these as you plan for the first days of school.


If you are interested there are lesson plans created by Surviving to Thriving LjL available at Teachers Pay Teachers.



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