Prompts & Activities that Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month — Did you know? May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Whether or not you are a member of the AAPI community, it’s time to celebrate!
AAPI Writing Prompts and Activity Ideas
We’ve compiled some wonderful journal prompts and 5 fun activities you can use to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month with any family members, student organizations, classes, etc. you like for several days of May!
The journal prompts listed below are specifically geared towards AAPI students, but can be tweaked to be conversation topics where the AAPI students in your class share about their culture. (Or, you can let your other students adjust the prompts to fit their own heritage.)
An interesting fact is that Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrates people with ancestors from:
- The Philippines
- Southeast Asia
- And more!
Ok, without further ado, here are those writing prompts!
10 Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Writing Prompts
- Where are your ancestors from? What do you know about that country?
- Do you have relatives who currently live in an Asian country or in the American Pacific Islands? Have you met them or do you plan to go visit them someday? How do you feel about them living so far away?
- How does your cultural heritage impact your daily life? How is your family impacted by your cultural background and how has it shaped you?
- What do you know about Asian Americans’ contributions in the history of the United States?
- How have you seen racism play out in your life or the lives of others and what do you think needs to happen for things to change?
- How can you celebrate AAPI voices in June and beyond?
- Do you feel different from your peers because of your cultural heritage or do you feel distant from your family history? Do you feel any tension between your Asian and American cultural values?
- Do your parents have any cultural values that you don’t resonate with anymore (whether it comes to food, religion, family roles, or anything else)? How do you wrestle through that?
- Do you have anything else you need to get off your chest about being AAPI?
- What makes you the most proud to be AAPI?
Ask a Grandparent Activity
Our extended family members often know a lot about the rich heritage in our family. This activity doesn’t explicitly have to have a grandparent involved; it could be a parent, aunt, uncle, or other family member. You can also use this as a class activity, where one person’s friend or family member can come in and answer questions from the class.
Here are some sample questions you can start with. You can also use the journal prompts as discussion starters.
- When did your family come to the United States? What was the immigration process like for them?
- What do you love most about your culture?
- Does our family have a long history in any particular country? Do we have any interesting information we know about our ancestors?
- How have racism and xenophobia affected your life? Do you have tips for confronting racial bias?
- What does being AAPI mean to you? How does it influence your daily life?
Visit an Asian art museum!
What better celebration is there than honoring the beautiful diversity of Asian and Pacific American art in North America?
Here is a list of art museums that celebrate Asian artists. If you can’t make a field trip work, you can also find lots of information online about AAPI artists so you can feature their art.
Read Books by AAPI authors
Another way to observe Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is to read books by Asian American and Pacific Islander authors! AAPI voices are extremely important and they bring important perspectives.
Check out this list of books to dive into their world!
- Troublemaker by John Cho
- How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino
- Tiger Honor (a Thousand Worlds Novel) by Yoon Lee
- New from Here by Kelly Yang
- Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone by Tae Keller
- A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I Lin
- Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach
- She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
- Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner
Watch Turning Red!
In case you didn’t know, Disney has come out with a new movie called Turning Red about a young Asian Canadian girl experiencing the mess and glory of tween years and trying to navigate her personal relationship with intergenerational traditions and trauma as she discovers she has begun turning into a red panda in moments of emotional overload.
Representation is so important – this movie is the first Disney film that has such distinct Asian Canadian representation. This movie can lead to good conversations about what it’s like to grow into your own relationship with your family’s culture, as well as talking about what your students’ or kids’ “red panda” is.
Just be aware that it does contain some references to topics such as menstruation, crushes, and other teenage topics, so parental permission slips would be wise for younger students.
Cook some important cultural recipes!
Whether your family members are Native Hawaiians, Filipinos, or from the Indian Subcontinent, there are all sorts of special dishes that you can create as a group. If you have family recipes, you can cook them together and talk about the history of the dish. If you don’t, conduct a Google search to find recipes from your culture and cook them as a family or class!
Asian food is known for combining spices in ways that are deliciously different from American cuisine. Enjoy the results together!
Of course, these activities aren’t limited to Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. It’s important for us to continually learn about the culture of our friends and family and celebrate who they are. You and your family or class can use these activities to celebrate AAPI culture all year long!
Related Links & Resources
- Black History Month Writing Prompts
- 31 Journal Prompts on Cultural Appreciation
- 18 Student Activities for AAPI Heritage Month
Until next time, write on…
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Hooray for celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage