For Teachers

We've prepared four lesson plans you can use to accompany the Kindhearted Cards and give kids a deeper understanding of differences and tolerance. 


Lesson Plan 1 - Uniqueness

Write the word "unique" on chart paper and discuss what it means with your students. Have them brainstorm what makes them unique and then share with a partner. Then model how you draw your self portrait with your hair being your “uniqueness”. In this example, the teacher drew her hair as the Golden Gate Bridge because that is where she is from, which has shaped her and her personality. Students think about what they would make their hair as (sports, music, places, pets, etc). Each student creates a self-portrait with unique hair. Then students take turns sharing their portraits and explaining what makes them unique.

After completing this lesson, introduce the Kindhearted Cards, which you can print out in advance and place on a table. Explain to the students to pick out the cards they want to give to their classmates. Each student should bring the cards they pick out back to their desks to fill out. They can use the back of each card to address it to a classmate, and write down a unique factor they like about that classmate. (i.e. you’re a great listener, you make make me laugh, you have an awesome sense of style).


Lesson Plan 2 - Giraffes Can't Dance (by Giles Andrede)

Read the book Giraffes Can’t Dance out loud to your students. Example here. Pause periodically throughout the book and ask your students the following questions:

  • Why do the animals make fun of Gerald?

  • How does this make Gerald feel?

  • What is the cricket trying to teach Gerald?

  • What do the rest of the animals learn by the end of the book?

After the read aloud discuss with your students the importance of appreciating each other’s differences and understanding that we don’t all “dance to the same tune”.

Then introduce the Kindhearted Cards, which you can print out in advance and place on a table. Explain to the students to pick out the cards they want to give to their classmates. Each student should bring the cards they pick out back to their desks to fill out. They can use the back of each card to address it to a classmate, and write down a unique factor they like about that classmate. (i.e. you’re a great listener, you make make me laugh, you have an awesome sense of style).


Lesson Plan 3 - Wings (by Christopher Myers)

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Read the book Wings out loud to your students. Pause periodically throughout the book and ask your students the following questions:

  • Why do the students and the teacher reject Ikarus Jackson?

  • How does the Ikarus Jackson feel? Why?

  • What does the narrator think she should have done?

  • How did the narrator’s words (“your flying is beautiful”) change the way Ikarus Jackson felt? How do you know?

After the read aloud, discuss the importance of appreciating each other’s differences and understanding that we are not all the same. Also mention the importance of not being a bystander but standing up for those who are different.

Then introduce the Kindhearted Cards, which you can print out in advance and place on a table. Explain to the students to pick out the cards they want to give to their classmates. Each student should bring the cards they pick out back to their desks to fill out. They can use the back of each card to address it to a classmate, and write down a unique factor they like about that classmate. (i.e. you’re a great listener, you make make me laugh, you have an awesome sense of style).


Lesson Plan 4 - It's What's on the Inside that Matters

Whole Group:

Write the word unique on the chalkboard or on a chart. Ask students what the word means to them. Ask: What is it that makes you unique among your classmates?

UNIQUE: having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable.

Next, draw a simple outline of a person on the board or chart. Draw two horizontal lines across the person's body. One line should divide the person's head (including the neck) and torso (shoulders to waist); the other should divide the torso and leg area (from the waist-down). Talk about one section of the body at a time.

  • Discuss some of the features that might make up a person's head/neck. Lead students to understand that people can have blue eyes or brown eyes, small ears or big ears, curly hair or straight hair, dark skin, light skin, or a shade in between, freckles, glasses, or a hat, and so on. Write students ideas about a person's head on the board or chart next to the head area of the person you drew.

  • Discuss some of the ways in which people's bodies might be different. Lead students to understand that people can be skinny or heavy, muscular or frail, square- or round-shouldered, and so on. Talk about the kinds of clothing people might wear -- a T-shirt, a sweater, a feathered boa. Write down some of the possibilities that students have named.

  • Finally, focus on the lower body (from the waist down). Point out that people can have skinny or stubby legs and their feet point in, out, or straight ahead. People wear pants, dresses, high-top sneakers, high-heeled shoes, construction boots, ballerina slippers, and so on. Write down students' ideas.

Independent:

Provide each student with a piece of white paper. Have students write their names on one side of the paper and draw on the other side of the paper the head of a person. Tell students that this should not be somebody they know; this unique person should come from their imaginations. Remind them to think first about the features the person’s head will have; they can refer to the list they and their classmates created in the first part of the lesson. They should include as much detail as possible in their drawings. When students finish drawing a unique head, provide them with a another sheet of paper. After students write their names on one side of the paper, they should turn the paper over and draw the torso (shoulders to waist) of the person. Before they draw, remind students to imagine the features of the person’s torso. How is the body shaped? What clothing is the person wearing?

When students finish drawing a torso, hand them a third sheet of paper; this time a 3-inch square. Lastly, give the last piece of paper and have students write their names on one side of the paper, and draw the bottom part of their person (waist down to the feet). As students finish their final square, have them check to be sure their names are on all three parts; then collect them. You might have students put the heads in one box or folder, the torsos in another, and the legs in a third.

Independent and Whole Group Share:

This part of the lesson might be done the same day or the next day.

Distribute to each student a head, a torso, and a set of legs. Students should not get a body part that they drew. Have students tape together the three body parts to create a totally unique "friend."

Discuss the fact that everybody is different, or unique. What a person looks like on the outside has nothing to do with what is inside! Every person has special talents, special qualities...

After students have had a good laugh about how the three body parts came together to create an unusual-looking person, ask each student to think up a name for his or her new "friend" and to give some thought to some of the characteristics the new friend might have. Ask: What special qualities does this unique person have? What special talents does the person possess? What do you have in common with your new friend? How are you different?

After students have decided what qualities their new friends have, tell them you would like them to write about their new friends. You might ask each student to begin a story with the words: I would like you to meet my new friend, [name goes here].... Then give students the freedom to choose what they will write as they go on to describe exactly what it is they like so much about their new buddies.

When students have finished their stories, invite them to share them with their classmates. You might use this read-aloud session as an opportunity to reinforce the lesson: What a person looks like on the outside has nothing to do with what that person is like on the inside!

Then introduce the Kindhearted Cards, which you can print out in advance and place on a table. Explain to the students to pick out the cards they want to give to their classmates. Each student should bring the cards they pick out back to their desks to fill out. They can use the back of each card to address it to a classmate, and write down a unique factor they like about that classmate. (i.e. you’re a great listener, you make make me laugh, you have an awesome sense of style).


Adapted from: Education World