HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools has a variety of lesson plans ready for educators to use in the classroom.  These plans are aligned with academic standards and designed to help students to embrace family diversity, create gender- and LGBT-inclusive classrooms, and prevent bias-based bullying and name-calling. 

As students around the country start a new school year, here are some lesson plans from Welcoming Schools that everyone will love. 

The Great Big Book of Families Discussion Guide (K - 2)

This discussion guide for Mary Hoffman’s book will allow your students to explore family diversity and talk about inclusion in the classroom. This activity is perfect for the beginning of the school year as it allows students the opportunity to better understand their classmates’ families and give each student a chance to discuss their own.

An optional extension of this lesson asks students to draw their families for a bulletin board display, which is a great activity for a back to school event or family night.

What is a Family? Using Children’s Books to Explore the Meaning of Family (K - 3)

This lesson plan is a fantastic extension or alternative to the discussion guide for The Great Big Book of Families. For this activity, educators first discuss the topic of families with students, asking questions like, What do family members give or share with each other?” or “Who is in a family?” 

Next, the educator reads one of several suggested books and asks students to think about the text in relation to family structures, with questions like, “Who’s in this family?” or “What are some other kinds of families?” 

By the end of the lesson, students will understand that the common bond that holds families together is a sense of love and caring for one another.

Be Who You Are: “I Am Me” Poems (1 - 5)

This lesson uses Like Me, a book written in verse by Walter Dean Myers. Like Me follows the main character, Jeremy, as he considers his identity in relation to others in his life. Not only is he Jeremy, he is his father’s son, his sister’s brother and a writer. 

This lesson allows students to step outside of themselves, like Jeremy, and explore their own identities both in and outside of school, offering a fuller representation of themselves than what is seen in school. At the end of the lesson, students create their own poems, which can be displayed in the classroom or read aloud to the class.

Name-Calling and Feeling Safe in School (1 - 4)

Featured in Welcoming Schools’ second film, What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying, and Bystanders, this lesson plan allows students to discuss places where they feel safe and unsafe in their school environment. Students can discuss steps to make school a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for everyone. 

Making Decisions: Ally or Bystander (4-6)

This lesson is similar to “Name-Calling and Feeling Safe in School,” but is geared toward older students. Beyond identifying places where students feel safe, this lesson allows students to explore the ways in which they can respond to bullying, harassment and name-calling. 

The educator offers examples of different kinds of conflicts that could happen in a school, and students decide and discuss how they would respond. Examples include;

  • Ignore the situation or walk away
  • Intervene myself
  • Talk to the person in private
  • Seek help from an adult or someone older

If you’re looking for more lesson plans, be sure to check out all that Welcoming Schools has to offer and don’t forget to tell us how it went.


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