The following is a reflection on Lessons 5,6, and 7 of the RD Program that I have started in collaboration with a classroom teacher in a kindergarten classroom at my school. Read more about the program here, as well as reflections on each lesson:
Through discussion with the classroom teacher, and because of the age of the students in Group A (5-6 years old) we decided to select the main ideas from lessons 5 through 7 and combine these into one lesson. These lessons focus on interdependence, valuing diversity and goal setting.
The lesson plan was as follows:
- Share the book Accept and Value Each Person, by Cheri J Meiners, and discuss connections from the book to what we have learned already throughout the program.
- Brainstorm what the world would look like if we all had the same “special smart” or if we didn’t have diverse “smarts.”
- Relate the brainstorming ideas to the importance of diversity.
- Discuss goal setting in areas of strength, as well as in areas of challenge.
The students listened attentively as I read the book Accept and Value Each Person . For many of them, it was almost as though I could see their wheels spinning as they connected the information in the book to what we had already learned together in the prior lessons of the program. After reading the book we asked them what connections they had made. They shared that like we had discussed and learned, the book talked about everyone being different, and that we can do better by all working together. The connections they were able to make really reaffirmed that they are understanding the main messages of each lesson!
Following this, we had a discussion about what the world would be like if we didn’t have diverse “smarts.” We went through some of the smarts and talked specifically about what the world would look like if we didn’t have people with these smarts. I reminded them of our discussion on careers and the smarts and this helped them to imagine the world in these different ways. We talked about not having homes and buildings if we didn’t have people who were body smart. They remembered that doctors need logic and people smarts and recognized that we need doctors and therefor logic and people smart people. As much as I could I tried to connect the need for these different smarts to someone in the class with those smarts. “Well if we need doctors, than we need logic smart people like Jonny and people smart people like Jane, don’t we?!” This generated a lot of smiles like the ones we saw at the end of Lesson 2 when we shared with them what their “special smart” was! This really made them feel proud of their “special smart!”
This discussion naturally led to one on the importance of diversity, and really just linked back to the idea in the book about being stronger together. We really drove home the idea that we really need everybody in the class and that they all have something special to share with the class community.
We finished up the lesson with a very brief discussion on setting goals. This was a hard concept for them to understand and started off with them thinking we were talking about getting a ball or a puck between two posts. Finally, one student suggested it was like making a plan! I was so impressed! We didn’t get into the goal setting specifically, but I think they gained an understanding of what setting a goal means, so I call that success!
Read more about this program here.
Katz, J. (2012). Teaching to Diversity: The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning. Winnipeg: Portage & Main Press.