We’re All Different
Learning about other cultures and accepting others is an important part of developing strong character at Graland. As part of the second-grade curriculum, Lower School Counselor Kathy Riley met with students to explore Todd Parr’s book, It’s OK to be Different. Each class published its own version of the book before celebrating their publications in the library. To support this exciting project, librarians pulled together a book display with a focus on celebrating differences and inclusivity.
Later in the year, second graders joined other Lower School students in examining similarities and differences among themselves and children around the world with help from another book, This is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe. Inspired by a trip to Uganda, the author follows seven children from around the globe through their typical school day. Lamothe says, “I believe the more you learn about different people, the more you see yourself in them, and the more accepting you become.”
To deepen the learning, some teachers played music from each culture and had conversations about what it would be like to be a student in the different countries. Buddies in Kindergarten and Grade 4 played a game called “Hanky Thief,” enjoyed by children in India, after reading about it in This is How We Do It. Second graders and others made Venn diagrams to show how they are similar to and different from the children in the book, looking at topics like what they wear to school, how they get to school, what they eat and so on.
The Venn idea was later expanded as a regular feature of Lower School assemblies when Kathy interviewed pairs of friends to discover similarities and differences. Oscar Gonzalez, director of equity and inclusivity, also participated in the activities.
“The highlight is when we ask the students’ favorite dance move, and then we play a song and they dance in front of everyone,” Kathy shares. “It’s so fun and the kids really get into it. They’re learning that it’s fun to explore our differences and to find things we have in common with our friends.”
One theme in This is How We Do It describes the children's school lunches, and thanks to Sodexo and our incredible dining staff, students sampled delicious foods from these cuisines, “visiting” a new country’s kitchen each week for seven weeks. By combining literacy with character education and a dash of tasty dishes, Graland’s teachers again showed that it’s fun to learn about ourselves and our world!