Students use the activity of building a necklace to learn more about each other and explore diversity.
Incorporate activities of self-expression, acceptance, and creativity in order to explore how individuals with differences contribute to building a stronger unit—relating to our school-wide theme of unity
Demonstrate that individual differences can work together to form a positive whole.
Celebrate the diversity among class members.
Time: 45 minutes
Bowl of different styles of beads to string on a necklace
Piece of string/twine for stringing the beads
Small envelope for each student with a small piece of paper in it
Part 1: Making the Unity Necklace
Individual choice. Everyone will choose a bead that he or she likes from the set of beads provided. Ask students to think about the reason they chose their bead and write about it on one side of the slip of paper in the envelope once they get it.. Students will hold on to their bead.
Envelopes. Pass out the envelopes and have each student write his name on the inside Students will write their reason for choosing their bead on one side of the slip of paper and put the paper back inside. Do not seal the envelope, just tuck the flap.
Redistribute. Collect the envelopes and then give each student someone else’s. To keep the interest level high for the following discussion, ask students not to look inside yet.
Part 2: Discussion Points
Individual differences: Each of us picked a different bead. Have students share aloud their reasons for picking the beads they did. Just like the different reasons we selected the beads, we have different thoughts about other things in life as well. Things we agree on with others and things we don’t agree on. Things we have in common and things we don’t. We each have different thoughts about what our favorite color might be, what might taste good, or to what music we like to listen. What do you think about that?
So as we look around at each other, we can see difference among us in hair color, eye color, body size. In what other ways are we different?
Do you think it would be better if we were all the same? Would that make a better group? Think about a family. Let‘s say that everyone in the family is very good at playing with the younger kids. But no one is good at cooking. How about if everyone is very good at eating dinner, but no one is good at going to the store to buy food?
List: Let’s list on the board some differences about people. For example, some of us are quite helpful, or friendly, or cheerful, or brave.
Challenge: Now here is a challenge for you. Each of you got an envelope with someone's name on it. Don’t let anyone see whose envelope you have. Take out the piece of paper, and on the clean side of the strip, write one strength or positive thing you have noticed about that person. Give some examples: A person can be polite, helpful, good at music, or a strong athlete. And yes, sometimes it’s a little difficult to find that positive thing about someone — but take the challenge and try! Monitor your students’ comments as they will be shared in a circle time to follow.
Collect the envelopes. Have your students sit in a circle. The teacher will open each envelope and read the name and the comment.
Necklace: As you read each one, the student will put his bead on the necklace. Ask a student who needs to be involved (maybe someone with attention issues) to hold the necklace for the class.
Reaction/Follow-Up Discussion: Why do you think we made this necklace? What might it represent? How did you feel about the comments written about you? How does it related to our school’s theme this year—“We YOUnite”?
You‘ve created this teaching opportunity – don’t lose it to a lecture on diversity. Listen to the student ideas. Guide as needed, but let them find the points.
Hang the necklace in a central spot in your room or on your door.