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Cultivating Cultural Intelligence in Primary Students

By Naomi O'Brien


Have you ever taken the time to stop and think about how some people grow up a little close minded about people from various cultures? Why some people are able to relate and work well with people from backgrounds different from their own and why others can’t seem to accept anyone or anything that doesn’t fall in line with their own cultural norms?

Whenever LaNesha and I see real world issues going on, we always stop and think about how we can bring that back into our classroom and make it a lesson to engage in with our students. We are producing citizens of the world! We need to prepare them, right?

We put together a lesson to help our students build their cultural intelligence and explore their own cultures.

Below are just a few pages from an eBook we created in order to get the information to our kindergarten and first grade students in a way they would understand.

Can you imagine the conversations and growth that could come out of lessons like this? These students would learn the importance of embracing and valuing differences at such an early age! It’s not always enough to just say, “Be nice to everyone even if they are different.” We must directly talk about what the differences may be.

We created a few ways for our students to learn more about their own cultures and reflect about the cultures’ of others.

We created two digital resources (in addition to the eBook) for students to create a culture journal. We made a printable one as well. They can be seen below. The digital files can be assigned in Google Classroom. Students can type directly on the pages and add in any images they’d like!

The digital version below might be an easier format for younger students. If possible, you can send the files home for a family project.

I started working with my son on his digital journal and he loved it! You can pick whichever format you and your students are most comfortable with. Check out my son, Noah’s journal!

You can find this amazing resource here!

Don’t get scared away by all of this digital stuff! A printable version is included in our resource, too. Imagine how much you could document and learn about your students. Imagine how much they would learn about themselves and each other. Building cultural intelligence is a great way to help students appreciate the beauty in our differences.

Grab this amazing resource here!



Hi, I'm Naomi

I have been teaching elementary students for over 10 years. Effective reading instruction and accurate social studies at the primary level are huge passions of mine! 

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