by Mary Hoffman and Illustrated by Caroline Binch
Working with Understanding and Inclusion
Objective: By doing a series of activities around the book Amazing Grace, students will have a better understanding of diversity in their classroom and ways of including all students.
Rationale: Through reading Mary Hoffman’s Amazing Grace, and participating in these activities and discussion, students will have a greater understanding and appreciation for the diversity within the group, while realizing that they have things in common with some people that they’ve felt more removed from. They’ll learn that even members of the same “groups” have different backgrounds, often members of different “groups” have more similar backgrounds, and that cultural diversity transcends black/white.
- The Wind Blows- This is a good game for mixing up cliques and a variation of fruit bowl which you already know. Put chairs in a circle. Turn one chair to face out. Choose someone to stand in the middle. They (or you) can call: “The wind blows for anyone who...” and then they state something that has something to do with the person who’s speaking, (i.e. “The wind blows for anyone who has a cat.”) If the statement applies to a student, they have to stand up and switch chairs. The person left standing has to say the next statement.
2. Read book - Amazing Grace
3. Main Activities
- Inclusion/Exclusion: The group will break off into smaller groups and each will be prompted to create a short skit in which one group member is being excluded. They will then present their skits to the rest of the group, and we will ask the group for suggestions for how to include the excluded group member. We will pick the best suggestion, and then the group will act it out.
4. Cool Down & Recap-
- Knowing the Community, A Sharing Activity: The group breaks off into smaller groups, and each member of the group is asked to answer a short list of questions (favorite family tradition, the name of one family member, ethnic background, where they are from and where their guardians were born, what generation they represent in America for their family...). Then each group member presents out one fact about one other group member to the larger group.
Assessment: Engaging with a discussion about inclusion, prejudice, and the importance of diversity. In addition, it would be helpful to ask students how they can make sure that bullying, teasing, and hurting the feelings of other students doesn't happen based the person’s gender or ethnicity. Ask students what the moral of Amazing Grace is?
Johansen, Mila. 101 Theatre Games for Drama Teachers, Classroom Teachers, & Directors. Wayne: Avery, 1978.