May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Heritage Month. It’s a great time to highlight the diverse cultures and peoples of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. We know teachers like to plan ahead, so we’re highlighting resources for AAPI heritage month that you can add to your lesson plans today!
If you’re a teacher and you have a resource that has been helpful to you, please email us at [email protected] and we may add your resource to our list.
Please note: AdoptAClassroom.org is sharing these resource(s) with the intent to spread awareness and promote conversation among educators. Sharing a resource is not an endorsement of the resource for classroom use. Educators are the experts on their students’ needs and their school’s policies. Please always be mindful if a resource is a good fit for your classroom.
The stock and availability of the following items may fluctuate. AdoptAClassroom.org cannot guarantee the availability of any of the items below.
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Free Resources for AAPI Heritage Month
General Resources for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
- AsianPacificHeritage.gov offers a range of free curriculum and resources for teachers.
- The NEA offers tips and tools for teaching Asian and Pacific Islander heritage.
- The Zinned Project highlights some influential Asian-Americans that your classroom can dive into this May.
- “Centering AAPI Students in the Classroom: An Expert Interview” from Facing History & Ourselves is a helpful resource when doing anti-racism and inclusion work in the classroom.
- A great resource for history class, The Asian American Education Project, offers thorough lessons and activities about Asian-Americans from the 1890s through today. Whether you’re teaching the 1890s and teaching about early Asian Americans in America or helping students understand racism against Sikhs and Muslims post-9/11, there is a resource helpful for your classroom.
- For media-savvy students, PBS offers a video with accompanying lesson plan and activity on Asian representation in TV and movies.
Addressing Anti-Asian Racism
- Anti-Asian Racism has seen an increase since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we recover from the pandemic, it’s essential to address Anti-Asian racism with your students. The Smithsonian interviews Liz Kleinrock, an upper elementary teacher whose TedTalk “How to Teach Kids To Talk About Taboo Topics” is an important watch ahead of AAPI heritage month.
- This “Lesson of the Day” from the New York Times is a thorough lesson on early COVID-19 Anti-Asian racism and is a good fit for older middle school and high school students to build critical thinking skills.
- Edutopia offers context and easy-to-use slide decks to tackle Anti-Asian racism with middle school and high school students. These resources were created after the March 2021 shooting of eight Asian-American nail technicians in Atlanta, but are still relevant in tackling this important topic.
Specific Cultural and National Diaspora
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are not a cultural monolith. During AAPI heritage month, it’s important to highlight the cultural differences that make each of these groups – and their histories – distinct.
The Japanese American National Museum offers a variety of free education resources, including lesson plans on Japanese internment during the Second World War, videos on how to fold origami, and activities to encourage critical reflection on students’ own neighborhoods and communities.
The Chinese Historical Society of America offers a curriculum on Chinese American exclusion and inclusion over the last three centuries in America.
Hawai’i and Hawai’ins
Smithsonian Education offers several lesson plans for grade levels K-12 centering around their “Creating Hawai’i” exhibit. These lesson plans come with worksheets and teacher guides.
Patsy Mink, a Japanese American senator from Hawai’i, was the first woman of color elected to congress in 1965. PBS features her story with an activity and background reading appropriate for middle and high school students.
Teachers: We’re looking for more free resources to highlight in this blog! Please contact [email protected] if you have a resource you’d like to add. Make sure you put “Resource for AAPI heritage month blog” in your subject line.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Resources from our Vendors
AKJ Education’s mission is to reduce the barriers—namely time and money—between you and the best quality supplemental materials for your classroom.
Featured: “Asian Stories”
AKJ has several book collections that support social studies learning about Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures and history. We’re featuring the ten-book “Asian Stories” collection for a variety of stories on the vast Asian experience.
From furniture to elementary curriculum materials, Kaplan Early Learning is your resource for early childhood education materials and school supplies.
Featured: Asian and Japanese Food Set
Play food is a staple of early learning classrooms, but often focuses on “American” food like hot dogs and pizza. Add some diversity to your play meals with these Japanese and Asian food sets.
Lakeshore Learning creates award-winning educational products for schools and families to provide a high-quality education for every child.
Featured: Feels Real Asian Newborn Doll
Baby dolls are a staple in early childhood education, but often skew white. It’s important for young students to see themselves and their families reflected through classroom toys, like this Asian Newborn Doll.
Lee & Low
Lee & Low Books is the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the U.S., as well as one of the few minority-owned publishing companies in the country.
Featured: “Butterflies for Kiri”
Lee & Low offers a wide array of diverse books for PreK-12 students. While there are many options featuring Asian American and Pacific Islander characters, we wanted to highlight “Butterflies for Kiri,” for AAPI heritage month. “Butterflies for Kiri” is a story of a young Japanese American girl who is persistent in trying to craft delicate origami. The book has instructions in the back to teach your students how to do origami themselves! Other Lee & Low titles with Asian American and Pacific Islander main characters include “Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story,” “Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-Ji,” and “A Song for Cambodia.” Many of their stories also come in Spanish.
Lerner Publishing Group creates fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Founded in 1959, Lerner Publishing Group is one of the nation’s largest independent and family owned children’s book publishers with fourteen imprints and divisions.
Featured: A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang
“A Map of the World” is an acclaimed children’s book by Hmong American writer Kao Kalia Yang. In it, a young Hmong girl explores her new home, experiencing birth, death, and the change of seasons around her. Lerner is also home to “A Bowl Full of Peace” about the 1945 bombing of Nagasaki, Japan and “A Scarf for Keiko” about American Japanese Concentration Camps.
Really Good Stuff
Really Good Stuff is the home of fun and creative classroom teacher supplies.
Featured: Excellerations Pretend Play Figures – Extended Asian Family
All young learners deserve to see themselves and their families represented in the toys that they play with. Really Good Stuff offers an array of family dolls, including this Asian American family. The family contains grandparents, parents, two kids, and a feline friend. Teachers can also purchase a bigger set that includes a Hispanic, Caucasian, and Black family in addition to the Asian one pictured here.
Interested in these school supplies for AAPI heritage month and beyond? Register your classroom on AdoptAClassroom.org to gain access to our online fundraising platform and the upcoming catalog of Teacher Leader resources. Plus, registered educators are eligible for donation matches and giveaways throughout the year!