The Classroom

I Choose Dignity in the Classroom

Grades 1-3

Over the five week worksop (one hour/sessions), four staff from Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region conduct the “I Choose Dignity” workshop in primary age classrooms. The program consists of five individual sessions covering topics related to inclusion, gifts/abilities and celebration. Each session is built upon lessons learned from previous weeks, and offered engaging activities to teach students about dignity.
Week 1: Dignity:
Discover and demonstrate different ways of showing kindness to others.
Students are taught that dignity means being treated or treating others kindly and with respect for who you are and what you believe in.
The book ‘Bucket Filling from A-Z’ by Carol McCloud and Caryn Butzke is read to the class and we discuss how ‘filling others buckets’ is a way to show dignity and kindness to others. We also talk about ideas of how we can fill someone else’s bucket.
The class then completes a craft which includes making a personalized bucket and then making ‘dignity drops’ for their classmates. On the drops the students are to write kind things about their classmates, things that they are good at or draw pictures for them. The buckets will remain in the classroom for 5 weeks with extra drops for students to continue to use. 

Week 2: Gifts:
Identify and appreciate their own gifts, as well as the gifts of others as everyone has a gift.
The class shares what their gifts are and we ask 5 different children to stand up and their classmates tell the student what they think their talents and gifts are. 
We complete a craft where the students are able to draw or write what their gift is and we turn it into a button that they can wear and let their class, school, friends and family know what their gift is.
Everyone is given a bow and a gift bag at the end to let them know that they are all a gift in their own way.

Week 3: Don’t Dis my Ability!:
Value other peoples differences and abilities and understand that everyone has something to offer and contribute to the world.
The class is shown pictures of people with visible and invisible disabilities and they are asked what they think their gifts are e.g. Stephen Hawking, ‘Lazy Legs’ Pueteilli, and Jacob Barnett
Read to the class Extend-A-Family’s original book ‘You are My Friend Because’ by Sally Sarachman and illustrations by Jordan Comely to learn more about disabilities and normalizing interacting with people who have disabilities.
Interactive centres where the students rotate in groups to complete activities like trying to zip up their coats with oven mitts on, putting a puzzle together with a blindfold on, printing your name using your opposite hand or mouth. This will inspire discussion around how they are still able to do regular tasks but they have to find a different way to do them or it takes a little longer which could be the same case as a person with a disability. 
Week 4: Celebrating Differences & Being an Ally: 
Understand that it is okay to be curious about people who are different from them and ask questions in a respectful way
The story ‘I’m Like You, You’re Like Me’ by Cindy Gainer will be read to the students.
We discuss how to be a friend/ally to someone who might be different from you, remind the kids about their bucket and how they can use their lid to cover their own bucket or use their lid to cover other people’s buckets. We would then play the bucket lid game with the students so that they can practice being a friend/ally.
The craft this week is the Lamp Craft where the students will use cutouts to put together a lamp and we will talk about how every lamp is different but one thing each lamp has in common is its light. The light of the lamp is like a person’s spirit or heart and each light (person) deserves to be respected and loved no matter what their lamp (body) looks like.  

Week 5: We All Matter!: 
Review the previous weeks and what the students have learned and enjoyed most
We will review what we have learned together over the 5 weeks together and have the students name a couple of things they liked.
We have a giant puzzle for the students to put together but we will have one piece missing. When the class realizes the puzzle isn’t complete we will explain that the picture isn’t complete without everyone being a part of it just like their class, school, community etc.
We will have a video slideshow of the students over the past 5 weeks and captions of their gifts. The pictures will not be used outside of the classroom unless you signed the consent form sent home by the student’s teacher. 

For more information about this wonderful and interactive workshop please contact Kim Sproul at 519-741-0190 x247 or

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