Words Can Hurt (4th Grade)
This lesson investigates and analyzes stereotyping in society and asks the learners to brainstorm ways that they can help diminish stereotyping in schools and communities.
- Define the term stereotype.
- Analyze the effects of stereotyping on society.
- Reflect on the meaning of a selected quotation.
- Write a paragraph explaining how to deminish stereotypes.
- Display board or chart paper
Be sensitive to the students ethnic backgrounds as you share the stereotypes.
Optional: Give the learners Handout One: Speak Up and have them complete it with a family member. Ask them to return it the next class period allowing time for volunteers to share their paragraphs.
Anticipatory Set: As the learners enter the room have the phrase Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me. Ask a student to read the phrase to the class. Tell them to think about what they think it means and that they will be asked to share their thoughts at the end of the lesson.
Create a T-chart on the board with the headings:Things Boys Can Do Better and Things Girls Can Do Better. Ask the learners to share their ideas and list them under each category. After a list of ten or twelve things have been created for each category, go over each list and ask: Can this only be done best by boys? If the learners determine that a particular item is unique to boys, circle it. Do the same with the list made about girls. The goal is to have no items circled as being specific to boys or girls.
If there are items that are circled, ask the learners to share why they think that activity can only be done by only boys or girls. Guide them to the idea that the activity probably could be done by either.
Tell them that when people think that all members of a group of people do a certain thing it considered Stereotyping. Write the word Stereotyping on the board and share the definition: Stereotype: A very simple, often mistaken generalization about a group of people. Stereotypes may be positive or negative but all are unfair and misleading.
Share the following phrases with the learners. After each phrase is read, ask the learners to raise their hand if they think the phrase sounds like a stereotype and why. (all of the phrases are stereotypes)
- People from southern United States like fried chicken.
- He throws like a girl.
- All people from Asia are smartand good in math and science.
- People who come to the U.S. from foreign countries and don't learn English are lazy.
- People who have dark hair, dark beards and dark eyebrows are criminals.
- All baby boys wear blue.
- Boys that cry are "sissies"
Engage the learners in a discussion about how these phrases are misleading and/or unfair.
Ask the learners to share some things that they know about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Remind them that Dr. King believed that all people should be "judged by the content oftheir character." He believed that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve their potential.
Ask the students to share what effects stereotyping can have on the school, the community and the global community.
Have the learners suggest ways that we can avoid or eliminate stereotypes. (Set a good example by not stereotyping people., If someone tells a racist joke don't laugh, say, "Please don't tell those kinds of jokes. They make me feel uncomfortable." Think before you make comments about groups of people. Teacher Note: Other suggestions may be found at https://www.yesmagazine.org/for-teachers/curriculum/speak-up
Read the quote Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me again and ask the learners if they believe it to be true or false. Ask them to share their reason for their answers.
Conclude this lesson by asking the students to think about ways that they can further Dr. King's message of fairness, justice, kindness and caring for others.
Optional Homework: Give the learners Handout One: Speak Up and ask them to complete it with a family member. Allow time on another day to have students share their responses to the scenario.
Learner participation and completion of the homework will serve as the assessment for this lesson.
Students make a plan to promote kind and fair treatment of others in the classroom and school community.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
Benchmark E.1 Define the word <em>trust</em> and its role in all communities.
Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.