A Teacher's Story

Every year, I begin my American Sign Language 1 class with Diversity Beans.  I want my students to understand that in our class we will be learning about a culture of people as much as we are learning about the components of a language.  It is important to me that students understand the Deaf Community is a marginalized group in our society where stereotypes and assumptions impact their daily lives.  Diversity Beans are a perfect way to explore this with students! We know, as teachers, that leading students to a discovery will stay with them much longer than simply telling them information. 

Diversity Beans allow you to do this because the flavors don't always match the colors.  You can't assume that a red jelly bean will always taste like cherry and you can't tell what a jelly bean will be like on the inside by only looking at it from the outside.  You can eat 10 different red jelly beans and discover 10 different flavors.  That's exactly what we do as students look at their beans, hypothesize the flavors, record their data and draw conclusions. All of that leads to great discussions, laughter and connections right from the very first day.  I've been using beans for close to 10 years and without fail, my students love this activity every year!  

Amy T. Andersen, 2018 NJ Teacher of the Year and National Finalist