Activities will help students:
- Read and respond to themes in a picture book
- Understand the concepts of difference and diversity
- Write about ways they might feel different develop an understanding of community
- What are some ways we might feel “different?”
- What is a community?
- How does diversity help make our community stronger?
difference | dif-er-uhns, dif-ruhns|
(noun) something that is not the same about two or more people or things
diversity | dih-vur-si-tee |
(noun) having a lot of variety, being made up of many different kinds of people
community | kuh-myoo-ni-tee |
(noun) a group of people who share something, like an interest, goal, or living or working space; a group of people who cooperate and learn to work together
- A copy of Todd Parr’s It’s Okay to Be Different. Find it in your library or order it at http://www.toddparr.com/books/. Books with a similar theme of diversity, like Hair/Pelitos, by Sandra Cisneros and Why Am I Different, by Norma Simon, work well with this lesson, too.
- Construction paper
- Oil pastels or crayons
- What do you think of when you hear the word different? On chart paper, make a word web of ways people or things might feel or seem different from each other. (It might be helpful to start students off with some examples.)
- Listen while the book, It’s Okay to Be Different, by Todd Parr, is read out loud. (Read aloud It’s Okay to Be Different. After every few pages, stop and talk about what the book is teaching.) Is the book silly, serious or a little of each? What thoughts or feelings does this book bring up?
- As a class, talk about ways you sometimes feel different and what can happen because of these feelings. Discuss why it is important to have lots of different kinds of people in a class community. (Introduce the word community if it is unfamiliar to the students.) What would it feel like if everyone in the class was the same? Why do you think difference is so important?
- On construction paper, create your own page for a class book similar to It’s Okay to be Different. (You may want to have a sample page ready or create one together as a whole class.) Follow the same format Todd Parr uses in his book. Challenge yourself to write a page about a way you really do sometimes feel different. If you have trouble getting started, use the web you created at the beginning of class for ideas.
- Illustrate your page using oil pastels or crayons.
- Bind the pages together and listen while your teacher reads it aloud. Now you have a book to celebrate the many differences in your classroom community. Keep the book in your classroom library.
Extension Activities (optional)
1. Team up with a classmate to find 10 new vocabulary words in your “class difference” book. With your partner, make another “difference” book, with one of the 10 words on each page. Draw a picture to help you remember what the word means. Share your book with another set of partners and add it to your classroom library.
2. Differences are important in every community, not just in classrooms. At home, talk with your family about what you learned from Todd Parr’s book. Discuss ways members of your family might sometimes feel different from each other and how this diversity can help make your family stronger. When you come to school the next day, share what you learned with your classmates.
APPLYING WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED
Think about what you’ve learned about difference and diversity. Discuss these questions with a classmate or answer them in a journal.
- Do you think difference and diversity are important in a community? Explain why or why not.
- What will you think about or do next time you feel different? What advice would you give to another student who was feeling this way?
- What do the words difference, diversity and community mean to you? How has your understanding of these words changed after these lessons?