Lesson Plan #6
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Understanding Our Treatment of
Others: A Writing Exercise
Grades 7 to 12
Language Arts, Journalism, Social Studies
OVERVIEW OF LESSON PLAN
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 by participating in
an activity in which they are "labelled" with statements
that determine how others in their groups will relate to them.
SchoolNet News Network (SNN) gives the teacher and student online
resource material, interaction with teachers/students across
Canada, professional assistance and an online publishing outlet
for student writing in a safe, structured environment.
MATERIALS AND PREPARATION
- SNN Writing Guide (for
Opinion Article from SNN Reporter
- Tape recorders or video cameras (optional)
- plain white mailing labels, each with one of the following
phrases written neatly on it (create three or four stickers with
- Ignore my ideas
- Praise me
- Agree with me
- Argue with me
- Everything I say is stupid
- I annoy you
- I confuse you
- Interrupt me
1. WARM-UP/DO-NOW: In their journals, students
respond to the following questions (written on the board prior
- What does it mean to be "in the minority"?
- Describe a situation in which you were in the minority.
- What did it feel like?
- How might the situation have been different if you had not
been in the minority?
Students then share their responses.
2. 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 their discussion.
Have members of each group sit in a tight circle. As an option,
have 2-3 students act as reporters for the activity and do a
written overview of the class project.
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?" To ensure that each student in a
group participates, have students first go around their circle,
each offering an explanation of 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 a
paragraph 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 paragraphs in their journals, and write
another paragraph discussing whether or not their guesses were
correct and why.
6. Handout SNN reporter article as a sample. Have students
review article. Then have student copy the following phrases
from the blackboard.
- Describe a time when you felt that someone treated you this
- 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?
Students should share their responses in a future class.
7. WRAP-UP/ HOMEWORK: If group discussions
were recorded, those recordings should be played and discussed
in a future class. Then, using the phrases listed above students
will write an opinion article about being treated differently
from personal experience.
Their article should answer the 5 W's: Who, What, When, Where,
Why (and sometimes How). Use the inverted pyramid which means
that articles should be written with the most important information
first and the least important last. Use the SNN Writing Guide to show students how to write
Students can publish their article in their own school newspaper or submit
it to an online youth ezine.
Back to lesson plans
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