El Paso Teacher Highlights Students Diversity With Online Project
The son of a friend of mine attends Coldwell Elementary School and she told me about an amazing teacher who is doing an amazing thing with her students. The teacher is Christina Mier and she asks students to do presentations on aspects of themselves that are different or unusual in order to build diversity and acceptance among their fellow students.
Christina says she has had her students do presentations on being Jewish and another student did a Black History Month presentation to her class as well. My friend's son, JiHua, did a presentation on the Chinese New Year. His parents adopted him as a young child from China and his presentation focused on the similarities between the Chinese and Mexican cultures.
The kids are asked if they are interested in doing a presentation and then she allows the kiddos to run with it. Christina says she began asking students to do the presentations because she teaches gifted kids in something similar to a magnet program. Her students are on a loop from 4th to 5th grade so she gets to know her students really well and uses that to open her students up to the diversity among them.
Christina has done the projects in the past in the classroom, but because of the COVID situation, this is the first year that students have used Zoom. She says using that platform gives the student doing the project the undivided attention of the other students and they can even take advantage of the chat feature during the presentation. During JiHua's presentation Christina said his fellow students were blowing up the chat with all the comments on his program. JiHua was even able to get a fellow student to Google the answer to some of the questions that he got and didn't know the answer to.
Christina says the projects help kids take off with their voice and the information they are sharing. She said that she is big on acceptance of each other's differences and showing her kids the different perspectives of their classmates. JiHua was especially helpful in driving home the point of diversity and acceptance because of the anti-China violence that has been perpetrated on people here in the US due to the pandemic.
She said she wanted her small community of students to know more about the culture and more about Jihua as a person. She said she wanted the message about a virus that originated in China to be separated from their classmate who came from China then she knows she has contributed something special to her students.