Group Alignment

6, 7, 8

Students discover that aligning with groups can promote conflict and judging others. They discuss and write about ways to include and show respect for people not in their groups.

PrintOne 20-minute class period

The learner will:

  • identify and define vocabulary related to inclusion and exclusion.
  • use inclusionary words to communicate acceptance and respect to someone outside of a group.
  • paper and pencil for each student to create a list (or use character education journals)


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Remind the learners that in the previous lesson, they self-sorted into different groups according to their interests and preferences. Either put the list of groups on the board or brainstorm some of the categories from the previous day.

  2. Have the learners write a list on a piece of paper (or in their character education journals)of the groups they personally chose in this activity. Then tell them to add to their written list other groups to which they belong (Scouts, baseball team, gymnastics, dance group, faith based group, etc.). Tell the students that these affiliations more closely reflect each learner’s personal life style and habits than the groups and preferences listed from the previous lesson. Being included or excluded from these groups has more potential for positive reinforcement or for disrespect and hurt because the groups mean more to us.

  3. Students may have noticed that aligning with groups (even though they were trivial preferences such as Coke vs. Pepsi) can promote conflict and judging others. Our behavior and words can easily show disrespect for people who are not in our groups. Talk about what showing respect for others looks like. Brainstorm respectful words. Talk about the good that comes from aligning with groups with similar interests.

  4. At the bottom of their lists, have the students write two or three statements they can use to include others in these groups or to show respect for people not in these groups.

  5. If there is time, have students share their statements.

Cross Curriculum 

This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills. For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Give political and historic reasons why civil society groups have formed in the nation and world.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify different types of communities with which an individual might identify.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.