Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Us vs. Them
Unit of 4 lessons

Unit Overview:

Focus Questions: In what ways can being part of a group become unhealthy? How do labels isolate and misrepresent us? 

Unit Purpose:

Sometimes people feel excluded by actual and implied barriers from others. Students discuss why fears and prejudices develop between groups and learn ways to overcome the barriers between groups by promoting discussion, raising awareness of others' POV, and taking action for the common good.

Unit Objectives:

The learner will:

  • identify and describe inclusive and exclusive membership requirements of various groups.
  • define and correctly use vocabulary related to inclusion and exclusion.
  • describe a historical example of exclusion.
  • demonstrate similarities and differences among groups through the use of a Venn diagram.
  • write a letter demonstrating another personís point of view regarding membership in a group.
  • use inclusionary techniques to communicate acceptance to someone outside the group.
  • reflect on a theme of exclusion in literature and describe how it applies to the readerís personal life.
  • apply conflict resolution techniques revealed in literature to real life situations.
  • recognize the importance of all voices being heard in the community.
  • describe how the contributions of others in history were an act of philanthropy and contributed to the common good.
  • analyze how citizens may become refugees in the absence of human rights.
  • identify protections granted through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Service Experience:

Although lessons in this unit contain service project examples, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.

The UN General Assembly has designated June 20 as "World Refugee Day." Learners will organize and execute a plan to raise awareness and funds for refugees.

Unit Assessment:

  • Learning will be assessed on participation in group activities, activity lists, discussion circles, completion of forms, a letter, written and oral reports, journal entries, the mapping project on refugees, short oral presentations of group work and posters.

  • The final activity will be a reflection paper which has a scoring guide for assessing learning.

School/Home Connection:

"Copy-and-Paste" Class/School Newsletter Information Insert:

When we ask why "they" are fighting wars over there, we sometimes donít ask, "Why are we not friendly with Ďthose peopleí right here in our own school?" The "Us vs. Them" unit will assist learners to use friendly actions with the "them" in their lives. Learners will use case studies of refugees to understand what happens to persons who must emigrate from their homes because of conditions of intolerance and disaster.

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:

  • Learners will write and carry out a resolution to perform an act of kindness, caring, benevolence or inclusion for a member of the community.

  • Students will interview their family members, asking them if there was ever a time in their lives when they felt separate or isolated from others. They will also ask their how they resolved their issue of separation. Students will report back to the class either orally or in written form.

Notes for Teaching:

Teachers wishing to add a pen pal component to Lesson Four: Refugees and Children in Our World, need to visit the Web site for RESPECT International (www.respectrefugees.org) about two weeks before teaching the lesson to sign up for refugee letters for their students. There is also a handbook available for teachers to order that gives lots of information and a list of useful resources, many of which are free. See Bibliographical References for information.

State Curriculum and Philanthropy Theme Frameworks:

See individual lessons for benchmark detail.

Lessons Developed By:

Carolyn Clark
Forest Hills Public Schools
Central Middle School
5810 Ada Dr., SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Judy Huynh
Palo Community Schools
Palo Elementary/Middle School
PO Box 338
Palo, MI 48870

Richard Kraemer
Manistee ISD
Casman Alternative Academy
1710 Merkey Rd.
Manistee, MI 49660

Uanita Ray
Jackson Public Schools
Middle School at Parkside
2400 Fourth St.
Jackson, MI 49203

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