Read the book "My Friend Isabelle" to the children. It is a wonderful book that teaches about differences and acceptance. Isabelle has Down Syndrome but this doesn't matter to her friend Charlie. This book is geared for Preschool-Grade 1 aged children to effectively teach this concept.
Discuss the book
Each day of focus on similarities and differences within the class by using a graph. Have green and red circles (enough for each child in the class). Graph yes and no answers. Green is for "yes" answers and red is for "no" answers. Key focus is on how they are all a "family of friends" having similarities and differences.
Graph the following:
1. Family Differences - Who has brothers and sisters? Discuss graphing results
2. Language Differences - Who can speak one language and who can speak more than one?
3. Food Preference Differences - Who likes pizza? (could be another food).
4. Ability Differences - Who can ride a bike? (could be another activity).
5. Appearance Differences - A graph showing different hair coloring within the class could be used yellow circles representing blonde hair, etc.
The emergent reader "Family of Friends" would be introduced as a shared reading experience. This reader is meant to expand the concept and also introduce the reading process. The teacher would model the reading process by pointing to the words as it is read. The reader would be transferred to a pocket chart or made into a big book for the teacher to read as a whole class activity. The little books would be completed by the children at center time and taken home to read to their parents.
Corresponding emergent reader can be found at http://www.kinderplans.com/themes
Each day add different names while using the reader as a shared reading experience (name plates used). Have fun playing with the names. Look at the different letters and sounds they begin with. Count the letters in each name. Change the initial letter sound in each name. What is the new name? (children love this activity).
Sing to the tune of "Three Blind Mice"
We are friends
We are friends
Yes we are
Every day we play so nice sharing all the things we like
We are friends
Each day sing the song passing around a bean bag as the song is sung. When the song finishes, the child holding the bag is the focus. Children think of positive comments to say about him/her. This can continue a few times each day.
Read the emergent reader together as a shared reading experience again, continuing with the activities introduced in the previous days.
Introduce letter "Ff" heard in the song and emergent reader "Family of Friends". Act out the sound "jumping fast" and "falling" focusing on the sound. Make duplicate copies of the alphabet pictures found on the website. Pass these out to each children saying the word as you pass them out. Sort them according to if they begin with the letter "Ff" sound or not. These can be placed in the literacy center after.
Read the emergent reader again as a shared reading experience. Continue the activities introduced on the previous days.
Day 5 - Cooking and Sharing Day
Share activities they completed in the centers.
Children can make a simple friendship mix much like trail mix. Using one-to-one number correspondence the children can count 10 cheerios, 10 shreddies and 10 pretzels or any other ingredients you can think of.