Social Justice Lesson Plan

By Jane Whelan

Social Justice Lesson Plan Template

Contextual information: Comparing people Respectfully.

Grade level: 1st Grade

Subject: ELA/ social Emotional

Lesson time length: 45 mins

Characteristics of the class: (multi-age or grade level, developmental level, etc.) Catholic School with one class per grade. Most families are well off financially.

Social Justice Standards (Teaching Tolerance): (Check all that apply)

Identity ___1. Students will develop positive social identities based on their membership in multiple groups in society. ___2. Students will develop language and historical and cultural knowledge that affirm and accurately describe their membership in multiple identity groups. ___3. Students will recognize that people’s multiple identities interact and create unique and complex individuals. _x_4. Students will express pride, confidence and healthy self-esteem without denying the value and dignity of other people. ___5. Students will recognize traits of the dominant culture, their home culture and other cultures and understand how they negotiate their own identity in multiple spaces. Diversity x_6. Students will express comfort with people who are both similar to and different from them and engage respectfully with all people. x_7. Students will develop language and knowledge to accurately and respectfully describe how people (including themselves) are both similar to and different from each other and others in their identity groups. ___ 8. Students will respectfully express curiosity about the history and lived experiences of others and will exchange ideas and beliefs in an open-minded way. ___9. Students will respond to diversity by building empathy, respect, understanding and connection. ___10. Students will examine diversity in social, cultural, political and historical contexts rather than in ways that are superficial or oversimplified.
Justice _x_11. Students will recognize stereotypes and relate to people as individuals rather than representatives of groups. ___12. Students will recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination). ___13. Students will analyze the harmful impact of bias and injustice on the world, historically and today. ___14. Students will recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics. ___15. Students will identify figures, groups, events and a variety of strategies and philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world.   Action ___16. Students will express empathy when people are excluded or mistreated because of their identities and concern when they themselves experience bias. ___17. Students will recognize their own responsibility to stand up to exclusion, prejudice and injustice. ___18. Students will speak up with courage and respect when they or someone else has been hurt or wronged by bias. ___19. Students will make principled decisions about when and how to take a stand against bias and injustice in their everyday lives and will do so despite negative peer or group pressure. ___20. Students will plan and carry out collective action against bias and injustice in the world and will evaluate what strategies are most effective.
x Empowered learner- Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.   Computational thinker-  Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.
  Digital citizen-  Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical. x Creative communicator-  Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.
  Knowledge constructor- Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.     Global collaborator- Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.
  Innovative designer- Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.    

 ISTE Standards for Students (click all that apply)

Purpose/Rationale: To teach the students how to be comfortable with people who are different or similar to them and develop language for appropriately comparing people.

Materials and Technology Tools: pencils, paper, smartboard, Same Difference Children’s book video by Calida Rawles, SMARTboard notebook.

Objectives: Students will be able to be comfortable with people who are different from them.

Students will be able to describe their differences and similarities from people respectfully.

Students will realize that our differences and similarities make us special.

Instructional Procedures: (please remember to integrate technology tools)

Introductory Activity: Show the class two eggs one brown one white. Have the children guess what the insides will be like. Crack the two eggs and show it to the class that while the eggs looked didn’t the same on the outside on the inside they are very similar and are both eggs. The same goes for humans, we may look different or act different, but on the inside we are all humans with feelings.Show the video for Same Difference by Calida Rawles a story about two friends that do many things the same and start to realize they have differences with how they look and how they overcome that. Pausing at certain points to discuss the video. After the video as a class make a Venn diagram about the two characters and how they are alike and how they are different. Using respectful terms and having conversations about how everyone is alike and different. Whether it is about looks, or personalities, or likes. Being different doesn’t make us bad or better than one another, it makes us unique.

Developing Activity: Group students into twos using a group generator. Give each group a Venn diagram and have the groups discuss how they are the different and how they are the same using the respectful terms discussed in the beginning of the lesson. Each group needs to come up with at least 3 similarities and 3 differences that they have. The groups will be given 20 mins to do this.

Concluding Activity: When the VennDiagrams are finished, they children may draw a self-portrait to go with the Venn Diagram. The groups will present their Venn diagrams to the class and discuss what the found. Each group must hand in their Venn Diagram for review.


Venn Diagram will be reviewed by the teacher, looking for respectful language and at least three differences and similarities.

Feedback from peers:

Overall I got a positive response for this lesson. They really enjoyed my opening activity with the eggs. It’s a great way to show children that even though we are different we have a lot of similarities. If I was going to change anything I may have the students complete the venn diagram online.


Address the following:

  1. What did you do to insure that you had met your objectives in this lesson?

I tried to insure that the students knew that while we are all human we can have differences and similarities. I made sure the activities that were being done allowed the students to meet the objectives in the lesson.

Made sure to show how to compare people using respectful and being curious about other people.

  • What were some of the strengths in the lesson? Teaching about diversity in a positive manner that allows students to be curious without being rude.
  • What are some things that could be improved in this lesson?

I think the ending needs work, but I couldn’t think of a stronger conclusion.

Social Justice Lesson Plan Rubric

  Ineffective Developing Effective
Contextual information Included minimal of no contextual information for the lesson Included most of the required contextual information for the lesson Included all the required contextual information for the lesson
Standards Lesson had minimal or no alignment to the Social Justice Standards Lesson had evidence of alignment to the Social Justice Standards Lesson was well-aligned with the Social Justice Standards
Instructional strategies Instructional strategies had minimal alignment with the objectives of this lesson. Used no technology Instructional strategies were mostly aligned with the objectives of the lesson. Used some technology Instructional strategies were well- aligned with the objectives of the lesson. Made good use of technology
Assessments The assessments had minimal alignment to the objectives of the lesson The assessments were mostly aligned with the objectives of the lesson The assessments were well-aligned with the objectives of the lesson
Reflection The reflection minimally addressed the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson The reflection mostly addressed the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson The reflection richly addressed the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson

Stereotype Threats

By Jane Whelan

Stereotype threat is when students or people are scared that they are going to confirm a negative stereotype about themselves, this then causes that individual to perform poorly on assessments and tests. Stereotype threat can affect anyone, but students can be especially affected by it. Teachers should always be looking for ways to reduce or eliminate stereotype threats in the classroom. Stereotype threat can have a negative impact on the classroom. It can cause students score to go down even if they understand the material. All because they get stressed and scared that they are going to fall to the stereotype

There are many different ways to reduce the stereotype threat in the classroom. A few of the methods are to promote growth mindset, that mistakes are okay and that we can learn from them. That mistakes aren’t final. When you make a mistake use that as an example of how you are going to learn from your mistakes and move on. Thank students for correcting the mistakes when they see them. Let the students know that you have high standards for them and that they can all achieve these expectations. Try to reduce any physical reminders of stereotypes in the classroom. That way students aren’t reminded daily about the negative stereotype. Lastly, try to create an classroom environment that promotes diversity.  infographic