How can you tell if others are getting along? How can you figure out what might be causing conflict? In this lesson plan, students pay attention to body language, actions, words and behaviours to help determine if the characters in a story are getting along. Playing the role of “relationship detectives,” builds social and emotional awareness.
Designed for children in preschool or primary grades, students will be able to discuss what "getting along with others" looks, feels and sounds like and recognize and describe situations when characters get along well with others, and contrast situations when they don't.
You're Mean Lily-Jean by Frieda Wishinski
white board/ chart paper (discussion brainstorm)
Teaching and Learning Activities:
1. ACTIVATE THINKING: write "Getting Along with Others" on the board and ask students to discuss what this looks like in the class or on the playground. Ask students for examples and create a web of student ideas on the board that can be referenced during the lesson.
2. Introduce the book to the students (showing the cover and reading the title). Ask students to pay attention to how the characters get along or don't get along in the story.
3. Before you begin reading, hand out one post-it note to each student. Have them divide their post-it into 3 columns and label them beginning, middle & end. Explain that as you read the story, students will be asked to make a judgment about whether or not the characters are getting along with one another in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end. They can write YES/NO in each column.
4. Read the book. Draw attention to the facial expressions and actions shown in each picture.
5. If they haven’t already done so, ask the students to "evaluate" whether or not the characters were getting along in the beginning, middle and end of the story. They can write YES/NO in each column.
6. Discuss their findings. Ask for evidence or specific examples from the book of people getting along or not getting along with each other. What happened to make them feel that things changed or stayed the same?
7. Relate the story to their own experiences. Consider co-creating ground rules or group agreements with the class if you have not already done. If they have already been established, remind students about creating a safe space to share experiences.
Ask students to share examples of situations when they found it hard to get along with someone. To contrast, ask for examples and stories of memories they have of getting along well with friends or siblings etc.
Read the story aloud using a document camera
Substitute another story
Students can draw a checkmark or X (or thumbs up & thumbs down) for each column instead of writing
Have students partner pair-share instead of or prior to the whole class discussion to compare results
Create a journal writing activity about what it means to get along with others (sharing personal experiences).
Students can work in small groups to create skits demonstrating children getting along with others and ones when they are not getting along. Discuss and compare the differences and, as a class, brainstorm strategies to help improve each situation.
Robert Selman, in his book The Promotion of Social Awareness (2003), writes about his research that is "interested in how children growing up come to comprehend, manage, and make personal meaning of certain fundamental social issues and problems we all face in life in one form or another: problems with peers and friends as well as problems with those who may not be our friends, sometimes for reasons that have little or nothing to do with us."