SEL: Privilege Circle

Grade Level: 
PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Keywords: 
Privilege
Relationship Skills
Self-Awareness
Self-Management
Social-Emotional Learning
This activity introduces youth to the concept of privilege. Participants will become aware of their privilege and how their privilege enhances or hinders their access to opportunities.

SEL Connection: 

  • Self-Awareness: identify their own personal, cultural, and linguistic assets
  • Self-Management: identify diverse social norms, including unjust ones
  • Relationship Skills: communicate effectively with their groups

Warm-Up

  1. Discuss the definition of privilege: a right or advantage available only to a person or particular group of people
  2. Ask and discuss, "How do our word choices have power?"
  3. Reflect in writing: Write or draw about a time you used words to make a situation better.

Activity Instructions

  1. Give each person a sheet of paper (may be used). They ball it up and make a "snowball."
  2. Arrange participants in three circles around a single basket. The inner circle is about half a meter from the basket. The middle circle is about a meter behind the inner circle. The outer circle is about a meter behind the middle circle. 
  3. Give this direction: "We are each going to throw our paper snowballs into the basket - one circle at a time. You should remain in your circle until I tell you it’s time to switch circles. Ask them what they think will happen.
  4. First the inner circle tosses their snowballs. They count how many made it into the basket as they retrieve their snowballs.
  5. Then the middle circle tosses their snowballs. They count how many made it into the basket as they retrieve their snowballs.
  6. The the outer circle tosses their snowballs. They count how many made it into the basket as they retrieve their snowballs.
  7. Discuss what they noticed. 
  8. Switch the circles around, so the inner circle youth are in the outer circle. Repeat steps 4-7.

Whole Group Discussion Questions

  1. What did you notice about your ability to get your snowball in the basket?
  2. Say, "When you were closer to the basket, you were more likely to get your snowball in. That’s how privilege works. Can anyone tell me what I mean by privilege?"
  3. How did this activity make you feel? What does it remind you of?
  4. What are some privileges that make some things in life easier? (skin color, gender, who you love, wealth, faith, where you were born, age, physical and mental traits)
  5. What did you learn about privilege from this activity?

Self Reflection Writing Prompts

  • What privilege do you currently have? What privilege do you wish you had? 
  • How can we use our privilege to advocate for others?

Extension