Differences Make Us Special
- Grades: 1–2
- Unit Plan:
- Discuss the importance of appreciating individual differences
- Form an opinion about the character of Ms. Rosa Parks.
- I use some titles from this collection: Celebrating
Diversity grades K3 (10 books). You may substitute
your own titles that introduce diverse cultures and ways of life.
- I use this book on Day 3: Scholastic
First Biographies: Let's Read About ..Rosa Parks.
You may substitute your own title about the story of Rosa Parks.
- Chart paper
- White 8x10 card stock paper
- Overhead projector
- Poster board
- Colored Sentence Strips
- We're the Same, Yet Different Reproducible
- 3 x 5 Index cards
Set Up and Prepare
- Using one medium size poster board, prepare a T Chart. On one side,
write the word "Similarities," on the other side write the
- Copy the We're the Same, Yet Different reproducible for each student.
- Make a transparency of the printable.
- Prepare 2 white 8x10 card stock sheets per student.
- For Day 3, write the following questions on the board or chart
paper for discussion:
Who was Rosa Parks?
Why was Rosa Parks told to give up her seat on the bus?
How would you have felt if you were Rosa Parks?
Do you think you could be as brave as Rosa Parks if you were
in the same situation?
In what ways has Rosa Park's strength and courage affected our
- Prepare 6 Index Cards for each student.
Using colored sentence strips prepare Grouping Labels for Day
4 Activity. Example: Brown eyes in corner one, Blue eyes in corner
Step 1: In a whole group setting, display the Similarities and Differences T Chart. Explain to students that the class will use a Thesaurus to discover words that have the same meaning as these two. Assign two students to find the words in the Thesaurus. As each student reads the respective words aloud to the class, record them on the T Chart.
Step 2: Review both terms and the synonyms listed on the T Chart. Tell students that although they share many similarities, their differences are what make each one of them special and unique. Over the next few days they will explore, discuss and continue to develop an appreciation for these differences.
Step 3: Share one of the titles from Celebrating Diversity Grades K3 or one of your own. Discuss with students some things that they may have in common with the characters in the story as well as some of their differences.
Step 1: Recall the T Chart and the characters from the previous day. Tell them that today they will talk further about "similarities and differences" while making snowflakes. Our world is a very diverse, full of similarities AND differences. Diversity helps each of us learn new and exciting things. Using the white cardstock, model for students how to fold paper and cut into a snowflake. Distribute one sheet of card stock paper and scissors. Afterwards, have students write Snowflake #1 on the back of their design. Allow students the opportunity to examine their snowflakes. Next, distribute another piece of card stock paper and model how to cut another snowflake. After this snowflake is complete, have students write Snowflake #2 on the back. Allow students to share their two snowflakes. Ask students to describe to the class the differences in design. Encourage students to refer to their snowflakes using the terms "similar and different." Explain to students that just as no two snowflakes are the same, no two people are the same. Their snowflakes may be different, but this is what makes them unique. Later, display the snowflakes around the room.
Step 2: Share another title from Celebrating Diversity Grades K3 or one of your own.
Step 1: Recall the previous discussion about uniqueness and the reading selection.
Step 2: Explain to students that there was a time during our nation's history when differences caused many people to treat others unkindly.
Step 3: Share the story Scholastic First Biographies: Let's Read About..Rosa Parks. Afterwards, divide the students into five groups. Assign a question to each group, allowing them 15 minutes to discuss an answer. Each group must select a speaker that will share their answer with the class.
- Who was Rosa Parks and why is she so famous?
- Why was Rosa Parks told to give up her seat on the bus?
- How would you have felt if you were Rosa Parks?
- Do you think you could be as brave as Rosa Parks if you were in the same situation?
- In what ways has Rosa Park's strength and courage affected our lives?
Step 4: Allow each group to share their answers. Invite individual answers when complete.
Step 1: Display the We're the Same, Yet Different transparency. Tell students that today they will play a game which will help them learn more about one another by exploring their similarities and differences. They will be given 5 minutes to complete Column One, information about themselves. Next, students will circulate the classroom to complete the next two columns. They will write the name of someone who has the same answer in the Same column and the name of someone who has a different answer in the Different column. Allow students time to complete the activity.
Step 2: Explain that you have designated special "seating corners" around the classroom. Each corner is labeled with different groups to which students may belong. Example: Brown eyes in corner one, Blue eyes in corner two, etc. As each category is called, students will sit in their appropriate area. Allow a moment for students to see who is in each corner before selecting another category. Continue until all categories have been completed. Students will see that they share many differences and similarities with their classmates! Close the lesson by asking each student to complete the following sentence: I can show my appreciation for other people's differences by __________. Model your own answer first.
Supporting All Learners
The activities outlined in Lesson One are great for students who may have difficulty with extensive writing tasks.
Have students write several unique facts about themselves prior to Day 4.
- Snowflake Art
- Group discussion
- Complete We're the Same, Yet Different reproducible
- Did students comprehend how differences were used to create inequality?
- Were students able to write descriptive traits about their characters?
Observe the students' comprehension of the terms Similarities and
Differences as well as their ability to work cooperatively in their