3 ways to use Nearpod to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May 7, 2021Katie Choi

Every year, the month of May is officially designated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month. May was chosen to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in the United States on May 7, 1843, as well as the completion of the transcontinental railroad by a largely Chinese workforce on May 10, 1869.

As racist anti-Asian attacks continue to rise across the US, it is more important than ever to recognize the diverse history of Asians in America and amplify Asian American identities, culture, and achievements. Nearpod has curated free resources to help teachers celebrate AAPI Heritage Month in the classroom.

1. Enter students in the Celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Contest

Learning about and elevating Asian voices and stories is an important step in the fight for racial justice—and research suggests that when students guide their own learning, they become more engaged, create more connections between their schoolwork and the real world, and develop critical-thinking skills that help them succeed in school and beyond. Nearpod’s Celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Contest offers an opportunity to empower students to create their own mini curriculum.

Students can research any American of Asian or Pacific Island descent who has made an important contribution to history or culture, then write a 150- to 250-word informational script about that person’s life and achievements. One winning script will be turned into a Nearpod Original Video! Find more information, including an announcement video and contest packet with official rules, here.

2. Introduce diverse viewpoints with Perspective Analysis lessons

In the age of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, it is crucial for students to deepen their critical-thinking skills. Nearpod’s 50+ Perspective Analysis lessons provide opportunities for students to examine their own perspectives, as well as analyze perspectives presented in text, videos, and other media.

In one lesson, students read Ha Jin’s poem “All You Have is a Country,” in which the speaker describes his one-sided longing for China, the country he left behind. After reading, students consider whether the poem is a “mirror,” reflecting some of their own life experience back at them, or a “window,” introducing them to a new experience or perspective.

In another lesson, students watch a video about why the word “Asian” is now preferred to “Oriental.” They map out which ideas and perspectives are centered in the video, which are given only a quick mention, and which are left out entirely. Then they think about why those perspectives were included or ignored. 

Other Perspective Analysis lessons talk about the Chinese Exclusion Act and civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama. You can also create your own version of this lesson structure, selecting the texts, videos, or other media that best fit your classroom needs.

3. Browse Nearpod’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month folder

We’ve curated a collection of 20+ ready-to-run lessons to help you honor AAPI Heritage Month in your classroom. Teach students about important events in Asian American history like Japanese internment during World War II and the annexation of Hawaii as the 50th state. Celebrate the lives and achievements of Mabel Lee, Bruce Lee, and other historical figures. Or take a mini field trip to Guam or Hawaii with Nearpod’s VR lessons. If your school or district has access to HPL, we have additional resources from this premium content collection.

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