Faces of a Family

Lesson 2: How are families alike and different?

Unit Essential Questions: What does family mean?  How are families alike and different?

Lesson Essential Questions: How are families alike and different?  What does it feel like to be left out because you are different?

Time Needed: 2 class periods, about 40 minutes each

NCSS Standards:
  • I. Culture: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of cultural diversity so that the learner can
               a. explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures
                  address similar human needs and concerns.

MMSD Standards
  • Grade 1: Behavioral Sciences
              o Demonstrate empathy for feelings of others
              o Examine similarities and differences between family, community, and national traditions, customs,
                and celebrations

UW Teaching Standards
  • Standard 4: Demonstrates pedagogical knowledge in specific domains
  • Standard 7: Understands and adapts to multiple forms of communication
  • Standard 8: Employs varied assessment processes
  • Standard 11: Uses technologies

  • “That’s a Family” Video
  • Windows and Mirrors worksheet, 1 for each student
  • List of ideas about what it means to be a family from first lesson
  • “Left Out” situation prompts
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Assessment Chart

  • Students will compare their families with families from the “That’s a Family” video through writing and drawing.
  • Students will identify similarities (mirrors) and differences (mirrors) between their families and other families.
  • Students will understand that being left out means other people do not let a person participate in an activity.
  • Students will discuss what it feels like to be left out.
  • Students will generate ideas and discuss ways to help friends who may feel left out

Lesson Context
This is the second lesson in a unit on families.  The students have already discussed what it means to be a family, that people have different perspectives, and that people may have different perspectives on what it means to be a family.  This lesson will focus on the students comparing their families to families in the “That’s a Family” Video.

Lesson Opening
  • We have started talking about what it means to be a family.  What are some of the ideas that we have already talked about?  Refer to list of ideas from first lesson
               o .  Add new ideas in a different color marker from the 
                  first day.  
               o Also remember that we learned about different perspectives.  This means that some people might have a different
                 idea of what it means to be a family from our own.  Today we are going to watch a couple of videos of people
                 talking about their families. 

  • “That’s a Family” Windows and Mirrors 
               o While we are watching these videos I want you to think about how these families are different from your family.
                  What does it mean to be different?  Discuss.  I also want you to think about how these families are the same as
                  your family.
               o Watch “Single Parent” clip
                         § After watching, ask students some things that they noticed about the family and record
                           answers on chart paper.  Label with the name of the child whose family it was so that
                           children can return to it during the Windows and Mirrors portion.
               o Watch “Gay and Lesbian” clip
                         § After watching, ask students some things that they noticed about the family and record
                           answers on chart paper.  Label with the name of the child whose family it was so that
                           children can return to it during the Windows and Mirrors portion.
               o Watch “Adoption” clip
                         § Discuss the term adoption.  Make sure students understand that someone besides the mom
                           and dad that gave birth to them raises them.
                         § After watching, ask students some things that they noticed about the family and record
                           answers on chart paper.  Label with the name of the child whose family it was so that
                           children can return to it during the Windows and Mirrors portion.
               o Windows and Mirrors
                         § Before we watched these videos I asked you to think about how your family is the same or different from
                           these families that we watched.  We wrote down a lot of ideas about what these families were like and
                           what they liked to do.  What I want you to do now is think about how your family is the same or
                           different from what we wrote on the board.
                         § When you look in a mirror, what do you see?  You see yourself, your reflection, you see the same
                           thing.  When you look through a window what do you see?  You see outside, something different,
                           do not see yourself.
                         § The first thing that you are going to do today is choose a family that you want to write about and write
                           that family at the top.
                         § We are going to write about these families in two ways.  First we are going to think about windows, or
                           the things that are different from our family.  You can draw a picture of this, but make sure you also
                           write how your family is different from one of these families. 
                         § Then I want to think about the mirrors between your family and the family from the video.  How is your
                            family the same as this family?
                         § Model with your own family on chart paper or on the board.  Label windows “different”
                           and mirrors “same.”
               o Send students to write and draw.  Monitor students and informally assess their understanding
                  with “Checking for Understanding” chart.  If some students are confused by the “windows” and
                 “mirrors” language, label the sheet for them with “different” and “same.” 
               o Closure for first part of lesson
                         § Come back together into large group.  Have students share in a circle what they have
                            written and drawn.  Be sure to point out language of “same” and “different.”  If students
                            are understanding the windows and mirrors language, be sure to reinforce this.

*This concludes the main part of this lesson.  The next portion of the lesson is done on a separate day and is used as a transition activity from this lesson, into the next lesson on who is in a family.

  • “Left Out”
               o Introduction
                         § I want you to think back to all the work we have been doing about families.  We have learned a lot about
                           how different families can be and that there are many different ideas of what a family is.  Today I am
                           going to split you into groups and you are going to think about what it might feel like if you got left
                          out because someone did not understand that there are different ideas of what it means to be a family and
                          that it is a great thing to be different.
               o Split students into groups, about 5 in each group.  Have an adult/parent volunteer with each
                  group to help facilitate discussion.  Give each group a “Left Out Situation Prompt”
                         § Discuss what it means to be left out.  Tell students that being left out is when someone
                           doesn’t let another person do something with them.  Give example of not letting someone
                           play a game with them at recess.
                         § A student, or the adult depending on ability, reads the situation out loud to the group. 
                           Students go around the circle and say how they think this person felt.  Student to their right
                           records that person’s answer and then the next person shares a word for how they think the
                           person must have felt.  This continues until each person has shared a word.
                         § Students then agree on 2 or 3 words that are the best description of what the person feels
                         § Discuss why the students think this person was left out.
                         § Take a moment of silence to think about what they could do to help this person.  Go around
                            the circle so each student has a chance to share.
               o Closure for second portion of lesson
                         § Bring students back together in a large group.  Each group should give teacher their prompt.
                         § Make chart on paper, one column titled “feelings” and one titled “What would you do?”
                         § Introduce a situation and ask the members of that group to come up and write the 2 or 3
                            words that describe what that person might feel like on the chart paper.  Students should
                            explain why the chose these words.
                         § Next ask students one thing that they could do and record.
                         § After all groups have had a chance to share:
                                   · Ask students what they notice about the feeling words on the board?  Are they
                                     similar, or the same?  Are they different?  Have you ever been left out?   How did you feel? 
                                     Point out that people can feel the different things at once.  Also refer back to lesson on
                                     different perspectives and reiterate that we do not always know what other people are
                                  · What are some things that are similar about how people would help their friend?  Have you ever
                                    helped a friend that felt left out?
Lesson Closure
We are going to keep talking about families.  We are going to start talking about who is in a family and what our own families look like.  It is important to remember that everyone has a different family and that we need to be respectful of other peoples’ perspectives and ideas.
I will informally assess students in two ways.  First, during the lesson I will take notes on the assessment chart (see attached).  I will also collect students’ “Windows and Mirrors” worksheets and will assess whether or not the students were able to compare their family to the families from the video by thinking about similarities and differences.

Special Considerations
Prepare adults before the lesson so that they are aware of what they will be discussing and how the lesson should be handled.  A lot of the lesson depends on the facilitation by these volunteers or other adults, so care should be taken when preparing them for the lesson.

Groundspark.  (2005.)  That’s a family.  Women’s Educational Media.  <http://groundspark.org/our-films-and-campaigns/thatfamily>
This is the website for the video “That’s a Family.”  The video profiles children talking about their families and includes many different types of families, including gay and lesbian parents, children who are adopted, and biracial families.  This website offers a place from which you can order the video.  It also includes lesson plan ideas and ways to discuss different types of families.  Specifically to this lesson, I adapted an activity for this website, called “Windows and Mirrors” to discuss similarities and differences between families.
Schniedewind, N. & Davidson, E.  (2006).  Open minds to equality: A sourcebook of learning activities to affirm diversity and promote equity.
          Wisconsin: Rethinking Schools, Ltd.
This book is a great resource for anyone thinking about teaching equality and social justice in their classroom.  It includes resources and activity ideas for topics such as creative cooperation, looking at new perspectives, discrimination, and the important fact that we can all make change happen.  I will be using this book to guide some of the activities throughout my unit.  Specifically to this lesson, I adapted an activity from the book called, “Left Out” to discuss with the students what it feels like to be left out and what we can do if our friend is feeling left out.


"Left Out" Situation Prompts

Luis's Situation:
  • Luis learned that his friend, Barbara, was planning a birthday party for Saturday.  He waited to get an invitation, but never did.  Luis heard that since part of the birthday party was roller-skating, Barbara didn't invite Luis because he couldn't go skating in his wheel chair.

Laura's Situation:

  • Laura invited six girls from her Girl Scout troop who are working together on an activity to her house on Saturday to finish the project.  Only two are coming.  Laura overheard some of the other girls say that their parents wouldn't let them go because Laura's mother lives with another woman.

Rosa's Situation:
  • The art teacher came into your class and spoke with your teacher in a place where you and Ming could hear them.  The art teacher asked your teacher to send her five students who like to paint and who could work together well to make a special mural for the front of the school. During the conversation your teacher said, "Rosa likes art, but I won't send her because her English is so bad."