Monday, January 13, 2014

It's Okay to Be Different: Diversity Lesson with Todd Parr

Storytime @ The Booksmith with Todd Parr & Tiki
Storytime @ The Booksmith with Todd Parr & Tiki (Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network)
I've written before about Todd Parr's book, It's Okay to be Different.  Here is the link to that post:  Great Book for Kids 

This is such a great book that I use it every year in either kindergarten or first grade for a lesson on diversity.  We spend some time talking about how everyone is different, including different in abilities and interests not just in how we look.  Then we talk about how important it is to respect differences since we are all different and special.  In particular, we talk about how hurtful it is to be teased or made fun of because of being different in some way.  After I read the book, I finish by having the children create a page for a class book on It's Okay to Be Different.

Here are some of my favorites from this year's kindergarten classes.  I've added some translation, in case you don't read kindergartenese:

It's okay to be different
It's okay to be bald

It's okay to be funny!

It's okay to wear glasses

It's okay to be little

It's okay to be small and big

My all-time favorite:  It's okay to be Superman!!

This book lends itself to a discussion of many things in addition to diversity.  It is also a great way to focus on children's strengths. Here are some other conversation starters:  What are their gifts and talents? How can they use them at home, at school and in the community?  How can they include people who are different in their circle of friends?  For older students, we can watch this excellent video on how it feels to be different and how just one person can make a difference in some one's life:

Powerful isn't it?  As we say in this lesson, we're all different.  Accepting and nurturing others in their differences and strengths is so important!

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