Two Forty-Five Minute Periods
The learner will:
- analyze a personal perspective of individuals who are in different economic conditions.
- identify the task, skills and procedures for successful interaction with those who are impoverished.
Suggested service projects (see bibliography) relating to this lesson topic may include:
- Assisting in a local soup kitchen or food pantry
- Making "basic bags" of toiletries
- Creating "fresh start" kits for families who move from a shelter
- Host a "wish list" party
- Make re-usable placemats for meals at shelters, kitchens, or hospitals
Provide students with four or five pictures of individuals as well as corresponding autobiographical descriptions. (Pictures should reflect a variety of people of different ethnicities, gender, degree of cleanliness, physical stature, jobs, etc.) Individually, ask students to match the pictures to the descriptors. Then direct students to small groups to compare their choices and discuss the reasons why. Valuable assessment information can be gleaned by teacher observation of student responses in this activity. If Lesson One has been used, students should be able to make decisions that reflect greater awareness and insight.
- Ask students, "Why do you think I chose this beginning activity?" Impress upon the students that outward appearance and material wealth are not legitimate indicators of qualities related to inward character. With consideration to the personal experiences of students, invite students to dialogue about pre-judging the character of individuals based on stereotypes of appearance and material wealth. This is an opportunity for students to cognitively and affectively reflect upon stereotypes of different economic classes of individuals.
- Using the Web site http://tolerance.org, click on the "For Teachers" section, and in the search box type "Eat, My Fine Coat." Have students read the fable, page by page (audio is available for struggling readers). If technology is not available, the teacher can read the Turkish fable to students. Allow time for students to share their thoughts and feelings in response to the reading. The corresponding lesson plans included in the Web site may be used as a guide.
- Invite a guest speaker to educate students about myths and realities of individuals who are impoverished. Use Am I Ready to Serve? (Attachment One) as a guideline for information to gather. This can be given to the guest speaker ahead of time and previewed by students prior to the presentation. Information should be shared within a 10-15 minute period of time.
- Read the book, The Rag Coat, by Lauren Mills. Stop reading at the encounter between Minna and Clyde when she bumps into him outside the schoolyard. In small groups of three students, using one to two pages maximum, have them write an ending to the story (it may be positive or it may be negative, including prejudice and discrimination). Direct students to identify prejudiced attitudes and/or acts of discrimination included in the created endings. If the outcome is positive, have students explain (using the five step "how to" model from Lesson One: Behind the Scenes—Closing the Curtain on Stereotypes if applicable) why the outcome was favorable.
- Now read the ending to The Rag Coat. Ask students to identify the attitudes of prejudice and acts of discrimination in both "Eat, My Fine Coat," and The Rag Coat. Ask students to compare and contrast the two stories.
- Ask students to consider a time in which they were treated unfairly/insensitively (discriminated against) based on prejudgment of appearance (clothing, hairstyle, braces, physical stature). Ask students ways in which they could identify with the experiences of the characters in the stories. Encourage students to share the emotional impact and any lasting consequences of their experiences.
Working in small groups, students will write a short verse to a song. First, the class will write the chorus to be repeated between each verse. The chorus will include the importance of acting without discrimination based on prejudice and stereotypes. It is suggested that the rhythm of any familiar lyrics be used as a framework (such as "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"). The guidelines for writing the verse must include: the task (general description), skills necessary to successfully carry out the task, and key guidelines for sensitively interacting with people facing poverty. Students should use information gathered and recorded on Attachment One: Am I Ready to Serve? as a resource guide. The verses and chorus created should be saved for use later in Lesson Five: The Final Act—Reflections and Revisions.
Lesson Developed By:Lisa Ludwig
Guest Speaker: ________________________________________
What is involved in this service experience. In other words, what will I do?
What attitudes and behaviors are important to use in order to show sensitivity in my interaction?
What should I keep in mind as helpful guidelines to creating a positive relationship?
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