For this activity, you will need People by Peter Spier. You will also need to have a copy of the similarities and differences worksheet, a pencil, five rectangular cards, string, markers, scissors and a square dowel (approximately 12 inches long) for each student.
Write this quote on the board; “‘Know thyself’ is a good saying, but not in all situations. In many it is better to say ‘know others.’” Brainstorm the quote’s meaning as a class. Allow 10 minutes maximum for discussion.
After reading the entire book together, revisit the quote. Ask students why they think the author included it and what it means in the context of the story.
Next, follow these instructions:
Pair up the students carefully, trying to keep friends separate.
Distribute the similarities and differences worksheet and a pencil to each student.
Ask students to write observed physical traits on the worksheet without speaking.
Then ask partners to share non-observable qualities such as likes, hobbies and special abilities. Both students should be filling in the worksheet during the questioning/discussion period.
Next, students should narrow each category to one characteristic.
Distribute the rest of the materials, and ask students to write and illustrate each characteristic on an individual card.
Students should write their partners’ names on their dowels.
Ask students to create mobiles by attaching the cards to their sticks with string.
Exhibit mobiles in the classroom, so students can discover details about each other throughout the year.
This activity helps to show students that all our differences are precisely what make us similar. During the process—and once the mobiles are exhibited—students seem to discover that they have many things in common with others whom they had not considered as possible friends.
Raquel C. Cuperman
Colegio Los Nogales
>> For activities that help students understand their multicultural selves and the cultural norms that shape the way we see and interact with the world, click here.
>> Looking for a tool to evaluate picture books for racism and stereotypes. This tool, applied to Spiers' text or other children's books, is helpful in facilitating conversations and encouraging dialogue among students.