Lessons to Foster Respect for All

A selection of activities, in honor of Respect for All Week, to help you and your class appreciate each other, promote respect, and stop oppressive behavior.

Below are a few ideas for honoring Respect for All Week, which NYC public schools are celebrating from Monday, February 14 to Friday, February 18, 2022.

It's a chance not just for discrete workshops, but for highlighting and bolstering efforts to promote respect for diversity and prevent bullying and bias-based harassment throughout the year.


Appreciating Each Other 

‘We See You’: A Sawubona Circle of Appreciation. This circle activity invites students to appreciate each other, using as inspiration the Zulu greeting Sawubona, which means “We see you.”

SEL Tip: Sharing Appreciations. Build classroom community by making a practice of sharing appreciations.

Pair-Share Gift Drawings. Students pair up, interview each other, and then create a drawing or collage based on what they heard that they can share with each other and the class. 

Storytelling Through Music. Students create and share with peers a playlist that tells a story in seven songs as a way to provide support, solace, and inspiration during hard times.


Promoting Respect  

Respect: Aretha’s Anthem & What Respect Means in the Classroom. Students discuss Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul," listen to her recording of the song "Respect," and consider how to ensure that everyone is respected in the classroom. 

Our Identities & Transgender Identities. Students consider their own identities and hear the voices of transgender people discussing their different identities, as well as challenges they face.

Black History Month & the Danger of a Single Story. Students explore why it is important for people to be able to tell their own stories and relate that to Black History Month.

Welcoming Newcomers & Resettling Afghan Refugees. Students consider what it might feel like to be a refugee and how we can welcome newcomers. Older students discuss the Afghan refugees arriving in the U.S. and how we could support them.   


Stopping Oppressive Behavior

Guidelines for Stopping Oppressive Behavior
Eleven suggestions to help adults address oppressive behavior by students.

Practicing Skills to Avoid Hurtful Assumptions. Students consider how the assumptions that we make about other people can be hurtful, and practice curiosity to help them understand another person’s experience.

SEL Tip: A Safer Way to Be an Ally. Young people can be active allies to someone who is being targeted without directly engaging with the aggressor. Help students learn a safer, non-confrontational way to be an ally: the "Join Us Intervention."