Lesson Plans

Junior Lesson Plan #6

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Understanding Our Treatment of Others:
A Writing Exercise

Grades 1 to 6

Language Arts, Journalism, Social Studies, Health

In this lesson, students explore what it means to be "in the minority”. Students then experience what it feels to suddenly be treated differently by peers through an activity in which they are "labelled" with statements that determine how others in their groups will relate to them.


  • SNN Writing Guide (for reference)
  • Video or audio recorder
  • Three or four sets of 9 plain white mailing labels. Write down the following phrases on the 9 labels of each series (one phrase per label):

    • Ignore my ideas
    • Praise me
    • Agree with me
    • Argue with me
    • Everything I say is stupid
    • I annoy you
    • I confuse you
    • Interrupt me
    • Tease me



1. WARM UP/DO NOW: In their journals, students respond to the following questions, written on the board prior to class.

  • What does it mean to be "left out"?
  • Describe a situation in which you felt left out.
  • What did it feel like?
  • How might the situation have been different if you had not been left out?
Students then share their responses.

. Divide students into small groups of 5-6 students, and explain to students that they will be conducting small group discussions. Then explain that you are going to place a label on each student's forehead that will determine how other members of the group will react to him or her during the discussion. Have members of each group sit in a tight circle.

3. Place a label on the head of each student in each group so that no members of the same group have the same label and so that no student sees the phrase on his or her sticker. Students should be absolutely silent during this activity and should not reveal what the labels on other students read. Give students a moment to look at the labels on the students in their groups so that they are prepared to react to each member appropriately.

4. Then, have students respond to the question "Are athletes role models?" or “Are your older siblings role models?” To ensure that each student in a group participates, have students first go around their circle, each offering his or her views. Students should react to each other as explained on the stickers. After this, students can share more of their ideas, continuing to react to the labels of the members of their group. If you wish, set up a tape recorder or video recorder for each group to document the discussion for later review by the class. While groups are discussing the topic, write all of the phrases written on the stickers on the board.

5. After five to ten minutes, ask students to break away from their groups, look at the list on the board, and write some words/sentence/paragraph (depending on the age group of the students) in their journals saying which phrase best describes how he or she was treated by the other group members during the discussion. Then have students remove their stickers, place them underneath their journal entry, and write another few words/sentence/ paragraph discussing whether or not their guesses were correct and why.

6. Handout sample sentences/paragraph. Have students review them. Then have students copy the following phrases from the blackboard.

  • Describe a time when you felt that someone treated you this way.
  • How did it make you feel?
  • What phrases do people use to make others feel this way?
  • Are there certain people who are often treated this way?
  • Why, and by whom?
students cna share their answers in a future class.

7. WRAP UP/HOMEWORK: Using the phrases listed above, students will write an opinion article or a sentence about being treated differently from personal experience. Articles can also be sent to their own school newspaper or an online youth magazine for publication.


Students will be evaluated based on initial journal response, participation in class and group discussions, written reflections on group discussion exercise, and thoughtfully-written homework assignment.






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