Teaching Respect With Clifford the Big Red Dog
The focus of this Clifford lesson plan is to teach social and emotional skills and encourage respect for diversity.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
Woof! Woof! The focus of this lesson is to develop social and emotional skills and encourage respect for diversity, as well as help to instill positive attitudes and prevent prejudices from forming.
Clifford’s Big Idea: Have Respect
Children learn respect and acceptance of others by observation and experience. Opportunities to understand that diversity makes people special and unique can help children appreciate individual differences early in life.
The following activities nurture essential:
- social and emotional skills
- language and literacy skills
- charting and graphing skills
- tolerance and diversity awareness
- multicultural awareness
- Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
- Large basket
- Assorted loaves of fresh breads from around the world
- Printed images of national flags, art, and maps that depict the countries where the breads are made
- 3-columned log sheet for each kind of bread, one row per student
- Chart paper and markers to record the results on the log sheet
Day 1: Now That's Respect!
Step 1: Introduce the word "respect" to children. Say it, spell it, write it, define it, and use it in oral language.
Step 2: Share common ways to show an elder, teacher, parent, or caregiver respect. Brainstorm ways to show friends respect like including everyone in playtime games and sharing materials at school.
Step 3: Help children express how they would feel if they were ignored at playtime or not invited to a birthday party because of their skin color, size, language, or religion. Discuss why it is important to give others respect at home and school.
Teaching Tip: Encourage your students to come to you when they have thoughts or questions about how others look or act differently. This will help to instill positive attitudes and prevent prejudices from forming. Find fun and creative ways to celebrate multiculturalism by presenting experiences that immerse children into unfamiliar cultures around the world!
Step 4: Read Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell aloud to the class.
Step 5: Encourage children to recall story details. Be sure to point out how Emily Elizabeth unconditionally loved and accepted Clifford, no matter how big he got, or how many times he found himself in a mess! Now that's respect!
Day 2: Basket Full of Bread!
Step 1: Create a simple, three-columned log sheet for each kind of bread. Each log sheet should have the students' names in the first column, a smiley face at the top of the second column, and a sad face at the top of the third column. The log sheet will be used to record students' opinions of the breads.
Step 2: Before class, purchase fresh breads from around the world, which can be found at local grocery stories. Decorate classroom tables with national flags, art, and maps showing where each bread originally came from.
Step 3: Display a basket full of the breads from around the world. Explain that people from many cultures bake bread, but not everyone's bread looks or tastes the same.
Step 4: Encourage children to identify shapes, sizes, and colors of the breads.
Step 5: Describe the special ingredients, baking methods, and cultural origins of each type of bread.
Step 6: Divide children into small groups. Have the groups move from table to table, tasting breads. At each table, have children sign their name on a log sheet and check a smiley face or a sad face icon to indicate their opinion of the bread.
Step 7: After each group has tried all of the breads, count and record the number of smiley and sad faces. Chart the results, review, and share opinions.
Optional: To end the activity, take a nature walk and spread left-over breadcrumbs for the birds to enjoy!
The more we learn about each other, the better we can all work and play together!
- Find local celebrations for children to attend that promote diversity.
- Ask someone from a cultural celebration or organization to come share with class.
- Schedule a day each month called "Diversity University" to explore an unfamiliar culture.
These books support Clifford’s Big Ideas and reinforce valuable early literacy skills:
- Clifford's Birthday Party by Norman Bridwell
- All the Colors of the Earth by Shelia Hamanaka
- Why Am I Different? by Norma Simon
Also check out the Clifford the Big Red Dog Book List.