Monday, July 23, 2012

Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover

As a pit bull owner, I battle discrimination and judgement every day. I am constantly on a quest to educate the community on this delightful, kind breed. There is nothing more heartbreaking to see someone judge anyone or anything based on his/her/it's outward appearance.

Our students face this day in and day out. Judged based on clothing, judged based on interested, judged based on looks. Last year I did the following lesson in order to teach my students that it's vital they take the extra step to learn about a person, before they "judge a book by it's cover."

Like all good things in education- I "borrowed" this lesson. My brilliant co-worker, Mrs. Payne, was teaching her students about inferences and I "begged"  her to "steal" her lesson. She agreed and so I took it to my third grade classrooms. Now it's your turn to beg, borrow, and steal from me.

"Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover": A lesson about judgements and inferences.

First, I asked co-workers, family members, and friends to borrow a single shoe. I had a variety- a tennis shoe covered in mud from dog walks, stinky old house shoe flattened from snowy dog walks, a fancy purple strapy super high heel I have squished my foot into once, a casual flip flop worn from walks on the beach, a casual pair of 'school appropriate' flats, etc.

One of my students guess that my Louboutin's were owned by a Japanese teenager.

Next, I discuss what the word 'inference' means with my class. We talk about drawing conclusions and using evidence to make conclusions.
I stole this to do with 3rd grade next month from a very wise and incredible teacher I used this activity on making inferences with my 4th graders.  It was inspired by Tanny McGregor's book Comprehension Connections, where she used her husband's ratty house shoe to have her students make inferences.  I used three shoe that were very different and had the students make inferences with their partners.  They had to use evidence to back up their inferences.  I really love this book and highly recommend it!
Mrs. Payne's original lesson chart. Mine was the last shoe- apparently I am little girl =)


Then, I present each shoe  (I use three shoes per class and switch them out if possible so the classes don't share secrets with each other) one by one. I tell the students that they need to focus on what 'type of person' would wear each shoe, not the person. For example, the flip flop might be a small size six so it may belong to a young person vs. the flip flop belongs to Ms. Filtness.

Each student shares what they have noticed about the shoe. Once I had a student notice that it a one of my fancy shoes looked brand new so it was probably worn by someone who didn't dress up often. Dead on, but I kept a straight face.

We then discuss what their observations mean and develop a "profile" of the person who may or may not own the shoe.

At the end, I share the real owners of the shoe. Probably my favorite was the time I took in a man's worn out house slipper and they students were sure that an overweight, lazy, jobless woman wore it. When I told them an active, young male, who was a personal trainer wore them, well the look of shock was priceless.

We then continue with a discussion of making judgements and getting to know each other. It's a fabulous lesson that always leads to a good discussion about making judgements at face value.

If you haven't seen this lesson/video on Pinterest, I encourage you to visit www.the-teachers-lounge.com now. My plan is to follow up my lesson using the following video and discussion. I think it will make a great connection with our lesson. I love "stealing" a follow up to my "borrowed" lesson.
Lesson about making snap judgments about people.

Our incredible librarian does a similar lesson, but uses trash. I'll write a second blog about her lesson "Don't Judge A Person By Their Trash." =)

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