July 15, 2019
By Meena Srinivasan

Lesson plan

Gratitude for Differences

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Students will be able to articulate and practise gratitude for each other's differences and similarities.

(10 minutes)
  • Prepare photos to project on the board: a world where flowers are the same colour, same food, all people look the same, etc.
  • Join students together into a circle, either seated in chairs or on the floor.
  • Project one image onto the board and ask, "What do you notice? What do you wonder?"
  • Project 3–4 more images and ask the same questions.
  • Explain to the class that in these photos, everything is the same: same food, same colors, same people.
  • Ask the class, "What do you think the world would be like if everyone looked the same? If all food was the same? (If all food was broccoli?) If there was only one kind of flower?"
  • After the students share some ideas, say, "It would be pretty boring if everything in the world was the same, right?"
(5 minutes)
  • Write the following words on the board: "Same" and "Different."
  • Ask the class, "How are we all the same?" (Potential responses: We all have eyes, hands, and hearts; We need to eat food and drink water.) Write the students' answers on the board.
  • Then, ask the class, "How are we different?" (Potential responses: Different hair, eyes, families, smiles.) Write their answers on the board.
  • Ask them what it would be like if we all looked the same. Explain that it would be pretty boring, and there wouldn't be much to learn from each other.
  • Ask the class, "How can we appreciate each other's differences?" Offer some suggestions: We can help each other, give compliments and express gratitude. Write their answers on the board.
  • Explain to the class that they will now participate in a "fish bowl" discussion.
  • Explain that four students will sit in the centre of the circle and they will be given two questions to answers, while everyone outside the circle listens.
  • Ask for a student volunteer to demonstrate the fish bowl discussion with you.
  • Go inside the class circle with the student volunteer, and answer the question "Why are differences important?" to model the fish bowl.
(15 minutes)
  • Ask for four student volunteers to model the fish bowl activity.
  • Bring them into the centre of the room.
  • Remind the students that each of them will be asked to speak and share their ideas, and that there is no right or wrong answer to any of the questions.
  • Remind the students who are not in the fish bowl that their job is to remain silent and listen to their classmates.
  • Ask two of the following questions:
    • How can we show our appreciation for someone who is different from us?
    • Are people all the same?
    • How can I learn more about other people?
    • How are you the same as other people?
    • How are you different from other people?
  • Rotate different students in and out of the fish bowl until everyone in the class has had a chance to participate.
(25 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that they will be independently completing a worksheet where they will think about what makes them different.
  • Show the class the Celebrating Our Garden of Differences worksheet.
  • Read through the instructions of the worksheet, and explain that they will colour in what makes them different from others.
  • Tell the students that after they finish their worksheets, we will put them all up on a bulletin to "celebrate our garden of differences."
  • Ask them to share what this garden may show others. Build upon their answers and emphasize, "The bulletin will show others that we appreciate our differences, and we are aware that our differences can help us build community."
  • Show the class your sample of the Celebrating Our Garden of Differences worksheet.
  • Dismiss students back to their seats, and have them complete their worksheets.

Enrichment:Ask students to come up with ideas for how they can show appreciation for classroom differences, such as designing a poster to remind others to appreciate differences.

Support:Work one-on-one with students who have difficulty sharing during the fish bowl activity. Give some students a copy of your completed Celebrating Our Garden of Differences worksheet to use as a visual. Work with a small group of students on the worksheet for extra support.

(5 minutes)
  • Observe all students (both those speaking and listening) during the fish bowl activity. Hear their thoughts about similarities and differences, and make sure they are being attentive listeners.
  • Observe students at their seats during the independent working time.
  • Collect and review students' worksheets to assess their comprehension of the importance of celebrating our differences.
(5 minutes)
  • After all students have completed their worksheets, ask the students (one table at a time) to bring their flowers up to the front to create the classroom garden.
  • As they come up, have students share one thing they drew with the class.
  • Ask the class, "What do you notice about our garden?" Emphasize that all the flowers are different.
  • Ask, "What will this remind us of?" Explain that the different flowers will remind us of the beauty in our differences.
  • Tell the class that their work will be displayed in the classroom as a symbol of how beautiful our differences make us.

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