These lessons (arranged from lowest to highest grade levels) provide tools for developing empathy and understanding others, as students learn to value how diversity creates a strong and colourful classroom and community.
Helping Neighbours Grades: K through 2 Subjects: Art, Language Arts, Philanthropy and Social Studies Duration: One 30-minute session Materials: 4” x 4” colourful construction paper, or cardstock paper squares, hole-punch or needle and thread, yarn or strong glue, poster board or cardboard backing
Children work cooperatively to make a paper quilt displaying the strengths of the group as they make the neighbourhood a better place. They brainstorm their personal strengths and needs of the community and make a plan to take action for the common good.
Happy Faces Grades: K through 2 Subjects: Health, Social Studies Duration: One intro and one follow-up session and ongoing throughout the week Materials: Alexander and the Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst 3 happy faces per student
This activity helps students be sensitive to others, giving them a way to cross boundaries and bring cheer.
Everyone’s a Helper Grades: K through 5 Subjects: Language Arts, Social Studies, Art Duration: One session Materials: Handout: Sometimes I HELP, Sometimes I NEED Help at lesson plan links below, chart paper, construction paper, coloured pencils, oil pastels or crayons.
Students develop an understanding of the concepts of strengths, struggles, and what it means to help and be part of a community.
It’s Okay to Feel Different Grades: K through 5 Subjects:Art, Social Studies Duration: One session Materials:It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr or books with a similar theme of diversity, like Hair/Pelitos, by Sandra Cisneros and Why Am I Different, by Norma Simon, construction paper, oil pastels or crayons. For Grades 3-5 add: downloadable jigsaw puzzle template at lesson plan link below & poster board cut into jigsaw pieces, one per student.
Students explore the concepts of difference and diversity as they develop an understanding of community.
Place as Mirror of Self and Community Grades: 3 through 5 Subjects: Social Studies, Language Arts, ESL Duration: One session Materials: One Special Places handout for each student (at lesson plan link below), a world map for the extension activity
Students understand difference and community by exploring a special place in their lives.
One World: Connecting Communities, Cultures, and Classrooms Grades: 4-6 Subjects: Social Studies, Civics, Life Skills and Language Arts Duration: A ten lesson unit with extensions, although lessons can be taught individually Materials: See lesson plans
These ten lessons (and extensions) help teach students fundamentals in diversity, respect for others, and building communities. Although the lessons can be taught independently, each builds on the next, developing skills to promote empathy, dialogue, and respect for diverse opinions.
Put Your Hands in Mine Grades: 6 through 8 Subjects: Social Studies, Language Arts, Library/Technology and Philanthropy Duration: One 50-minute session plus extension activities Materials:A copy of Mighty Times: The Children’s March video (available free here), copies of attachment & handout at lesson plan link below
NOTE: Prior to this lesson, use the Blue Sky Activity in which students envision a better world. If you already have a Blue Sky display, revisit it before beginning this lesson.
The result of this lesson is that students connect the concepts/practices of fairness, justice, tolerance, togetherness and equality necessary to the advancement of human and civil rights. Students share ideas about how philanthropic acts can promote the common good and lead to positive social changes.
Sticking Together: Sharing Our Stories, Our Differences, and Our Similarities Grades: 6 through 12 Subjects: Language Arts, Social Studies Duration: One 45-minute session Materials: Teacher instructions & printable Handout #1: Storytelling Instructions for Students at lesson plan link below
This lesson uses storytelling as a way for students to learn about one another’s similarities and differences to create a sense of community in the classroom.
Valuing Community Grades: 9 through 12 Subjects: Social Studies, Language Arts, Library/Technology and Philanthropy Duration: One 50-minute session Materials: A display board, markers, copied attachment and handouts at lesson plan link below
Learners will define community, identify how community is/has impacted their personal lives, and share ideas and develop a plan whereby they might also make an impact on their community.