My husband is a reader, but not the kind of reader that reads novels. He’s the type that you can’t bring to a museum because he will read every word on every sign. If my honeymoon to Hawaii taught me anything it’s how little I know about Pacific Islander heritage and history, because everything I know is what he shared with me that week after he read every sign, everywhere we went. Nowhere in my formal education did I learn about Pacific Islander history, or Asian American history for that matter. May is the month that we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage and history, and I’m excited to dive in and learn more about the complex heritage of many Americans, and I hope you find time to bring your students on this learning journey, as well.
Learning Through Literature
Looking for new text for your classroom to ensure that you have diverse representation in your classroom? Check out these texts!
One of our classroom favorites?
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Last year, MaiStory on YouTube, uploaded an interactive read aloud featuring AAPI characters. This year you can find a new read aloud uploaded each friday in May! You can find their channel here. Below you can find the line up of books that will be read aloud!
Pear Deck is committed to help educators navigate current events with their students, build inclusive school culture, and take direct action to support AAPI communities. Using this link, you can find templates to help students feel more comfortable discussing emotional events.
Pear Deck: Wonder Pack: AAPI Heritage Wonder Pack
This Deck celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islanders and is designed to prompt wonder and curiosity for elementary, middle, and high school learners. These Wonders celebrate the history, contributions, art, and culture of AAPIs. Get your copy of this Wonder Pack, here.
Celebrate the diversity of the AAPI experience through the exploration of history, identity, and allyship while building toward the future.
Growing as an Educator
The Smithsonian: Learning together during challenging times
The Smithsonian has collaborated with Asian American women to share their perspectives and insights. Full of resources, lessons, activities, and stories, this resource is a one-stop-shop illuminating the humanity of Asian and Asian American women. Access these resources here.
Smithsonian curated articles to learn more addressing about Anti-Asian racism:
Video series to learn more about Asian American and Pacific American lives:
AsianPacificHeritage.gov: Resources for Teachers
Chalked full of resources from The Library of Congress, The National Archives, The National Endowment for the Humanities, and SO much more, this website is not one that you want to miss. Access this resource here.
This is especially helpful for teachers that are looking for primary sources to use in the classroom.
Facing History and Ourselves: Educator Resources on Japanese American Incarceration
Facing History has a wide range of resources on Japanese and Japanese American incarceration (often referred to as “Japanese internment”) during World War II. American history isn’t always pretty, and seldom straightforward. Complex and emotional topics can be challenging in the classroom, but shouldn’t be overlooked.
We believe that racism and discrimination have no place in our classrooms. With the rise of discrimination against AAPI individuals since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, more attention must be given to ensure harmful stereotypes of our AAPI community do not continue.
To our Asian students, colleagues, educators, and friends — we see you, we value you, and we stand with you.
We would love to hear how you are celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in your classroom! Let us know in the comments below!