Subject Area: Language Arts, Social Studies
This beautifully photographed book depicts the beauty and diversity of African-American children.
Children will use similes to develop language skills and social awareness about each person's unique and important qualities.
Ask all of the children to stand close together in a circle. Ask them to pull up their sleeves and place their arms out into the circle. Encourage the group to notice their different skin tones. Tell them that they will read a story that celebrates the beautiful skin colors that all children have.
- Engage the children in a discussion about the book. Ask the class to share what they learned. How are all of the children alike? How are they different?
- Reread the story and invite the children to find colors depicted in the photographs that resemble their own skin tones and eye colors.
- Ask the children to describe how they are similar to the children depicted in the book.
Fun With Similes
- Chart paper and marker
- Explain to the children that a simile is a comparison between two things that are different often using like or as. Use the book to point out several examples of similes like "midnight blue like a licorice stick," and "gingery brown like a cookie."
- Ask them to think of other similes that describe their skin tones, eye color, and hair texture or style. Record their comments on chart paper.
- Invite the class to think of more similes to describe themselves like tall as a tree, funny as a monkey, or wiggly as a worm.
I Am Unique
- Photograph of each child
- Oak-tag paper
- Lined paper
- Markers, crayons, and pencils
- Reread the book Shades of Black. Discuss the meaning of the word unique with the class. Ask them to think of the special qualities that they each have that make them unique. Have students brainstorm a list of reasons why they are unique. (E.g.: I can do a cartwheel; I can speak three languages; My eyes change colors depending on what I'm wearing; My hair gets curly in the rain, etc.)
- Provide the children with their photographs, writing paper, and pencils. Tell them that they will refer to the photograph, and now write (at least one paragraph) about how they are unique. Offer assistance if needed.
- Next, have each child glue his or her photograph onto a sheet of oak-tag paper. Give them art materials and ask them to create a frame around their picture that depicts things they like. Ask them to draw pictures of their favorite things, or just create designs, shapes, or colors that are special to them.
- Attach their writings to the bottom of their picture frames. Invite the children to share their work during group time. Find an area in the classroom to display their work.
Other Books About DiversityBlack Is Brown Is Tan
by Arnold Adoff
This lovely story poem celebrates the love that surrounds a bi-racial family.
The World Turns Round and Round
by Nicki Weiss
Classmates share their special gifts from relatives around the world.
This Is The Way We Eat Our Lunch
by Edith Baer
An animated story that depicts how children around the world eat lunch.
Other Books By Sandra L. Pinkney
A Rainbow All Around Me
Teaching plan written by Risa Young