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1 class periods of 45 minutes each
Social & Civic Responsibility
'Our little room looked very bare at first with nothing on the walls; but thanks
to Daddy who had brought my film-star collection and picture postcards on beforehand,
and with the aid of paste pot and brush, I transformed the walls into one gigantic
--Anne Frank (July 11, 1942)
See the preface material in the first step.
Students will identify personal biases and formulate a plan to 'make a difference.' Students will increase their sensitivity to diversity.
See preface material from 'Anne Frank in the World, 1929 - 1945 Teacher Workbook.'
Tell students they are going to see the pictures of ten unfamiliar people. They should imagine that they are meeting them for the first time; they should jot down their immediate impressions of each: what might this person be like? Would I like to get to know her/him better? Then show students the pictures, one by one.
Have students transfer the notes taken while viewing the pictures to the first column and then write the reasons they made those comments in the center column.
Have small groups discuss the reactions and reasons given and analyze the logic of those decisions. After the discussion, individual students should enter a comment for each picture in the Analysis column.
Convene the class in a large group to talk over the activity. Ask students to discuss:
After the discussion, ask students to write a 'plan' for how they will judge people they meet in person, the see on the street or in the media, or hear about from others. Have students keep this plan in a prominent place (notebook, desk, journal, etc.). Make copies of the plan for students to take home, discuss with family members, and keep where they can review it periodically.
Closure: Have students compile a list of criteria people can use to judge other people more fairly. Post this list in the classroom; consider it a 'contract' that all students will honor.
Discuss the quote from Anne Frank. What criteria did Anne use for selecting
the pictures she wanted in her room? Are these similar to criteria that students
Students who know the 'Diary' well may be able to recall whether Anne ever wrote about 'first impressions' that she had of people. Did she ever change her mind about people's traits?
As an alternative to the initial large-group activity, have students 'meet' the new people by 'visiting' each of the pictures, which are posted around the room. The visit could be made over several days during time the students have between assignments, while taking breaks from reading or group work, or before or after class.
Have students role play the people in the pictures, portraying the characteristics they assigned them as 'first impressions.' Classmates can quiz them about their portrayals, especially when it differs from their own first impressions.