Saturday, May 14, 2011


The school year is quickly coming to an end!!

After doing a lesson on the transition to middle school, I was in search of an idea for a final classroom guidance lesson for my fifth grade students. I had wanted to read a picture book to these classes and as I was searching through my counseling office library, I re-connected with a fantastic book - One by author Kathryn Otoshi. I quickly began planning for this lesson because I just had to use this book! A book about being the "1" to make a difference in someones life (especially in bullying situations), I focused on the simplicity of the message in this book.

First, I had a discussion with the students. For me, springtime in 5th grade is particularly sentimental. As the 5th graders leave us, I often wonder what has become of these bright youngsters as they become teenagers and young adults. It's unfortunate for us at the elementary level because we don't often reconnect with these students. I encouraged them to return to visit us or send us notes.

Second, I introduced the book. I told them that I chose this book because it is a book of few words and illustrations but has an extremely powerful message. 

Third, I read the book. Along the way, I paused for discussion points. The students were very invested in the conversation and discussion. In every classroom, there was much active participation! The kids were so insightful and gosh, the connections they made were unreal!

Fourth, I asked the students if they could think of anyone in history, in the country, in the world, in their neighborhood, in their life - that made a difference (single handedly). I wrote their responses down; Martin Luther King Jr. was the top response. Other examples from the lists were: President Obama, Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, Babe Ruth, and Amelia Earhart. The biggest shocker came when a student in every class said, "You, Dr. Fuller." I have to say, I cried every time! We added the word "educators" to our list of "1's."

Next, I handed every student a small paper number "1." I asked each student to think of how he/she will be the "1" to make a difference in someones life. Each student was to write his/her name on the "1" and their personal idea. After this task, they re-gathered with me and we shared their amazing ideas.

Finally, in a prominent place in the main school hallway, I put up an outline of a large number "1" with blue painter's tape. Inside the "1" I will be adding all the student's personal paper "1's" so that everyone can view how this class of fifth graders will make a difference in this world.

It was a sentimental, powerful, and timely lesson. I encourage you to give it a try.

"It just takes one."

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