The theme can be expanded way beyond that, and open the students up to a variety of other subjects. For example, communication; there are different ways that people communicate, some people use sign language, some speak another language and some speak English. You can introduce this concept by first discussing the different ways people communicate, and why each form of communication is needed.
You can later introduce the students to basic sign language such as; love, hello and good bye. You can do the same for English and another language so that students can see how they are different. Even though most of us speak English, the way we pronounce our words can be quite different, so be sure to cover that in your discussion as well.
Opening students up to the differences in each other will help students understand that we are all different and that is what makes this world so wonderful, and just because someone is different, doesn’t make it okay to tease or bully them.
Another concept to cover is eye color and eyes glasses; discuss the eye color of each student in your class and then explain why some students wear glasses and others do not. If you wear glasses to read, bring them in and show them to your class, so that they can see that there is nothing wrong with wearing glasses.
Another concept that can be covered is mobility, how we get from one place to another. Some students walk and run from one place to another, but we have friends that need wheelchairs or walkers. Explain to your students that they need these things because their legs work differently than ours, so they need help getting around. Then show your students pictures of the items.
As this theme is a fun and exciting way to get students to understand who they are and develop a sense of self, it is also a great way to reduce the fear of being different.
Also, as parents and teachers, try to stay away from saying the word retarded as way to explain something that you didn’t do or couldn’t remember to do. It gives students/children the wrong meaning of the word.
I have provided some additional concepts below that you can implement into the theme and picture books that will make a great resource in helping students understand differences, being special and acceptance.
1. Talk about the students that are tall in the class and the ones that are shorter.
2. Discuss hair color and texture, and why they are different?
3. Talk about where each student lives. (An Apartment or House)
4. Discuss each students family size and structure
5. Talk about hand and feet size.
6. Fingerprints: have each students put their thumb print on an index card that has been cut in half. Lay all of the cards on the table in the Science Center with magnifying glasses, let students look through the magnifying glass to see how the prints are different.