The student will be able to share their Cultural Diorama assignments and gain an understanding of how many of their ELLs feel when they are ignored or do not have an opportunity to share all that they have to offer.


Students should bring the artifacts they planned to share for their Cultural Diorama.


Students have brought their artifacts to share for their Cultural Diorama. For this activity, the students who are displaying their projects must sit or stand by their project the entire time. They must not say anything. Those who walk around may not ask questions; they must only look and read, much like observing museum exhibits. Students should have all materials prepared to share their exhibit. Students must have already checked out media equipment required to share their projects.

Divide the class in half. Invite the first half of the students in the class to set up their artifacts and their write-ups for display. Stop the students after 3-4 minutes, blaming it on how much you have to cover in the class. Invite the first group to put their artifacts away and the second group to display their artifacts. Stop the students after 2-3 minutes. Apologize to the students for not being able to share more and invite all the students to sit down.


The debrief for this activity is where the learning will (hopefully) take place. Some key questions to discuss are: How did this activity make you feel when you were walking around? How did you feel when you were displaying your diorama?

Most of the time the students express some frustration about putting forth a great deal of work and not really being able to share it. It frustrates them to not be able to communicate about their artifacts and why they were chosen and their meaning. They usually feel uncomfortable when they are on display because they feel that others will misunderstand them and judge them wrongly.

After the students air their concerns and frustrations, explain that this is often how their ELLs feel when coming into the classroom. They have background and they have had many life experiences, but maybe it is difficult for them to be able to communicate those experiences.

Maybe they dress differently than other students in the class and they cannot necessarily explain their culture or background, no matter how rich it is. Many are judged because of their appearance and their difficulty communicating in the L2, so they are ignored or made fun of.

These underscore the need to create a nurturing caring environment where everyone is included and students and the teacher seek to understand one another and to really find out who each one is individually. After the debrief is completed, if you do have some time, invite the students to spend more time with each person's artifacts.

Looks Like: Students walking around looking at a museum, while other students are sitting by their projects to display them.

Sounds Like: a quiet museum with no sounds except people walking quietly around.

Feels Like: It should feel comfortable; we are all friends sharing who we are. It may feel a little uncomfortable when others are looking at our artifacts, but we are not looking for the purpose of judging others.


This activity allows all students to participate and to share something personal about them.


Brainstorm how this activity could be used in the students' teaching contexts. Students often share the idea of having their students create their own personal dioramas and share them with the rest of the class to get to know each other. Some variations could include having the students complete a Reading Cultural Diorama or a Math Cultural Diorama, etc. For a Reading Cultural Diorama, students could share favorite reading materials, most difficult reading materials, favorite childhood story, skills that are easy for them, skills that are difficult. A Math Cultural Diorama could include concepts that they have mastered, concepts that challenge them, favorite type of story problems, etc.