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WEB WATCH: Integrating Multiculturalism into the Classroom.

EDUCATORS need to help their students understand and appreciate the differences and the similarities among the various ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural groups that live in our demographically diverse nation. To foster this understanding and improve students' ability to interact with others from different groups, teachers need to supplement or even transform curricula. Multicultural education makes students more aware of their peers' backgrounds and of how they can celebrate one another. The following Internet resources may prove valuable to educators who are attempting to integrate multiculturalism into their classrooms.

The Education Reference Desk website, part of the ERIC database, offers multicultural education lesson plans for various grade levels. To find multicultural education, click on the link to lesson plans and then on the link to social studies. The aim of the lessons is to develop students' understanding of those whom they may encounter in their classrooms and their communities.

The Multicultural Pavilion website provides resources for teachers and students to explore cross-cultural education. The site features a teacher's corner, an education resource room, a multicultural song index, film reviews, awareness activities, and links to numerous related websites.

The Multicultural Supersite features intercultural activities, a discussion forum, promising practices, a multicultural library, and super links to lesson plans and online journals and magazines.

This website, one of Writer's Digest's top 10 writer sites on the Internet, contains a bibliography of multicultural readings from Cynthia Leitich Smith Children's Literature Resources.

This website features a qualitative list of multicultural literature for K-12 educators and provides book reviews that describe the cultural and ethnic content and purpose of each book, suggest the suitable age level for readers, and assign an overall grade for the book.

The Africans in America website, based on the PBS television series of the same name, chronicles the history of slavery in the U.S. For each of the four segments of the series, the site provides narratives, documents, stories, biographies, commentaries, and teachers' guides for using the site in the classroom.

The Peace Corps' World Wise Schools program website provides educators with free lesson plans and materials for teaching about cross-cultural understanding. Educators can use this site to connect their students with Peace Corps volunteers.

Focusing on Latin America, the Caribbean, and the U.S. Southwest, the RETANET website provides lesson plans, sorted by content specialty, for secondary educators.

A Web project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, this tool for teachers allows users to search for free lesson plans or activities by topic, grade level, and content specialty. Topics include gender, ability, race and ethnicity, religious diversity, and several more issues related to tolerance.


On this website, educators can find WebQuests, lesson plans, and resources sorted by content specialty or ethnicity. The site features groups, such as Arab Americans, whose members live in the U.S.

Educators can connect their students with other students from almost 200 countries via e-mail to generate authentic cross-cultural communication.

CHRISTINA GAERTNER and DEBORAH LESTER were students in John Thompson's class "The Microcomputer in the Instructional Program" during the spring of 2003 at Buffalo State College, Buffalo, N.Y. They and their classmates were assigned to compile Web Watch columns, a selection of which have appeared throughout this volume.
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Author:Gaertner, Christina; Lester, Deborah
Publication:Phi Delta Kappan
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2004
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