Can your students name any famous Arab Americans? What comes to mind? Maybe the Disney movie Aladdin? The U.S. State Department just designated April of 2021 as Arab American Heritage Month. Learning about different cultures and cultural and ethnic groups expands students' knowledge, opens their mind, and heightens their respect for differences.
As someone of Lebanese descent, Arab American Heritage Month is especially meaningful as we uplift and celebrate the contributions of Arab Americans. As well, this is an opportunity to address stereotypes and misconceptions--like the many found in the movie Aladdin.
I want to share with you an activity that I put together that covers contributions, culture, religion, language, history of immigration, and addresses some of the misconceptions in an age appropriate and culturally sensitive way. When we can tie our lessons to current events, our students can more easily recognize the value of what they're learning.
Arab Americans are those that have ancestry in one of the world's 22 Arab nations. It is important to recognize that people of these nations are not only politically diverse, but ethnically and religiously as well. But there is a common cultural and linguistic heritage.