The Teacher Tip
Create an Artifact Museum
March 8, 2018
Adapted from No More Culturally Irrelevant Teaching by Mariana Souto-Manning, Carmen Lugo Llerena, Jessica Martell, Abigail Salas Maguire and Alicia Arce-Boardman.
In addition to pronouncing students’ names correctly to honor their cultural background, we can go one step further as teachers by creating a space for students to display their rich and diverse cultures. One way to accomplish this goal is through an artifact museum, curated by your students.
- Consider sharing some of your own artifacts and their stories with your students and model the thinking behind why you selected them. Alicia brought in a doll from her childhood and shared stories of her mother and grandmother.
- Encourage students to talk to their families about which artifacts they will contribute to the museum. They might ask, “What objects help tell the story of who we are?”
- Make a space to display the artifacts, and let your students help you decide how to organize the display. Each child might have his or her own display, or you might group the artifacts by type, function, time period, country of origin, or any other grouping that makes sense based on what you have.
- Invite people to visit the museum and let students be tour guides, explaining the significance of different objects.
- Consider having students write a short explanation of each artifact that becomes part of the display. Or, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you might have students write a script and record an audio guide like the ones found in other museums.
- Make curricular connections wherever you see them. Artifacts might prompt further research and writing. Or students might serve as curators of the collection, recording, organizing and graphing the contents of the museum.
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