Monday, February 9, 2009

Diversity is the Spice of Life

Our new diversity poster is a wonderful reminder that everyone's unique qualities contribute to the richness of our lives. As Principal Ed John pointed out on TNT last Friday, diversity is indeed the Spice of Life. He asked us to have a discussion in our classes and even gave us some prompts to get started. The fourth one especially struck me.

Why is it important to our school and our culture to treat each other (no matter what color) with respect, honor, and love? Mahatma Gandhi summed it up with, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." (Good title for an essay, don't you think!)

Here is an idea from The Washington Post as printed in the May 6, 2008 issue of the Oregonian, entitled Rules to Live by in Today's Uncivil World. Choose one to try out over the next six weeks and challenge your students to do the same. (Write the goal in your planners next to the academic word of the week which appropriately is CONTRAST!) Note the positive difference in your classrooms, in the halls, in your homes, in your community, in your nation and in your world. Then share your anecdotes.

1. Pay attention.
2. Acknowledge others.
3. Think the best.
4. Listen.
5. Be inclusive.
6. Speak kindly.
7. Don't speak ill.
8. Accept and give praise.
9. Respect even a subtle "no."
10. Respect others' opinions.
11. Mind your body.
12. Be agreeable.
13. Keep it down (and rediscover silence).
14. Respect other people's time.
15. Respect other people's space.
16. Apologize earnestly.
17. Assert yourself.
18. Avoid personal questions.
19. Care for your guests.
20. Be a considerate guest.
21. Think twice before asking for favors.
22. Refrain from idle complaints.
23. Accept and give constructive criticism.
24. Respect the environment and be gentle to animals.
25. Don't shift responsibility and blame.
26. Add your own ideas.

I am going to (2) acknowledge others - here at West. Make sure you introduce yourself to those you haven't met before. Check out the right "lane" of this blog where I will add new photos each day. I will also be featuring ways you can encourage new friendships in your classrooms by providing for more "spice" in your small group activities. New Links for linking students to groups coming soon under Links for Educators.

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