When my kindergarteners became involved in a cycle of put-downs and tattling, I designed a lesson to assist them in identifying ways to promote acceptance and friendship among their peers. My lesson revolved around building a "friendship pizza."
Before the students arrived, I cut different ingredients out of construction paper. I had green peppers, white onions, red pepperoni, brown sausage, tan mushrooms and yellow cheese. Large round pieces of cardboard served as the pizza crust. I got a cardboard pizza box from a local pizzeria. I had my students' attention from the moment I entered the class with that large pizza box!
I began the lesson by asking, "Who likes pizza?" I told the children that we were going to build a paper "friendship pizza" full of tasty, kind ingredients and that it was sure to fill everyone’s tummy with good, warm feelings. We discussed how building friendships is much like building a pizza because, if you don't add the right ingredients, it will make you feel bad. Next, the students and I talked about what would make a "friendship pizza" taste the best to them. I started by noting that, for me, the foundation was speaking kind words to each other. I wrote that in big letters on my round cardboard crust. The students and I continued to brainstorm the paper "layers" and "ingredients."
Our crust was covered with accepting and friendly thoughts, written in black pen as the children offered up these ideas in our discussion. The sauce was made of accepting and friendly actions. A pepperoni was titled "Play with me at recess." A green pepper was titled "Eat with me at lunch." A mushroom was titled "Let's walk home from school together." The toppings were made of accepting and friendly words, a sausage of "Say 'Good Morning,'" a green pepper of "Tell someone they look nice" and an onion of "You're smart!" We layered on the shredded cheese, aptly labeled "hugs and smiles." I left blank toppings so that the class could add other ingredients as they thought of them. This way, the class was able to continue making the pizza as they thought of new ideas to add even after the lesson was over.
We followed up with the snack for the day: pizza-flavored goldfish crackers!
Clear Lake Elementary School
For more fun activities inspired by food, order Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World, by Elizabeth Harbison. The book takes students around the world to learn about other cultures. ISBN 978-1-5565-2311-3 ($14.95).