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Inspire and Promote Respect and Acceptance

Students will brainstorm ideas for a positive message about race, respect and acceptance. They convey that message through a poster, poem, song or other format and present their work to the class.

PROCESS:

  1. Display the website for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. As a class, scroll down and review two or three of the museum's "Collection Stories." Discuss how adding context to an ordinary object can turn it into an artifact that relays a powerful message.
  2. Remind students that this museum was built to tell the American story through the lens of African-American history and culture. Brainstorm ideas about how the museum could promote respect and acceptance throughout the country. Discuss why this is particularly important in today's world.
  3. Divide the class into pairs or small groups. Challenge students to come up with a positive message about race, respect and acceptance. Instruct students to create a poster, write a poem, write a song or select some other format that will help them convey their message to others. 

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their work with others. As a class, brainstorm ideas about how the class could share its ideas with a broader audience. 

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:     

Grades 3-4:
Divide the class into small groups. Give groups time to brainstorm ideas. Then provide poster board and art supplies so each group can create a poster that conveys a positive message about race, respect and acceptance. Have groups present their posters to the class. Encourage classmates to identify the positive message in each poster. 

Grades 5-6:
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to write a poem that conveys a positive message about race, respect and acceptance. Allow partners to select the type of poem they think will best suit their needs. Have students recite their poems for the class. Encourage classmates to identify the positive message in each poem. 

Grades 7-8:
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to identify a target age group and write a song that conveys a positive message about race, respect and acceptance for those listeners. Inform students that they can choose any type of music, but their lyrics must be suitable for the school environment. Have students perform their songs for the class. Encourage classmates to identify the positive message in each song. Challenge students to identify the intended listeners for each song.

Grades 9-10:
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to brainstorm ideas for a positive message about race, respect and acceptance. Encourage students to select the format they think will best convey their message. This may be a poster, poem, song or any other type of medium they choose. The only requirements are that the message must be positive, on topic and suitable for the school environment. Give pairs time to complete their projects. Have them present their work to the class. Encourage classmates to identify the positive message in each project.