Respecting Differences for K-2

Students observe that even friends may disagree in their opinions. The lesson includes an "opinion continuum" exercise that encourages students to respectfully express and listen to different opinions.

Learning Outcome: Students will observe that people, even friends, may disagree in their opinions.

Materials needed: Agenda written on chalkboard or chart paper; masking tape; three large posters, one that reads "Agree," one "Disagree," and one ''Not Sure."

Gathering: Go-round. Ask each student to say one thing s/he likes to do that ends
in -ing. (For example, running, eating.)

Check Agenda: Briefly introduce the lesson: In today's lesson, we're going to find out whether we have different ideas about things and we'll try to respect each other's opinions even when we disagree. Go over the day's plan and ask if it seems okay.


Lots of times people have different ideas about things. When people have a strong belief that their idea is true, we call that an "opinion." For example, it is Marco's opinion that you should always color the sky blue in your picture. Keisha's opinion is that it is all right to color the sky pink or gold if you want to. Even though people have different opinions, they can still be friends.

Example of a difference of opinion

1. Ask students who think cats make good pets to raise their hands. Say that all of those people who raised their hands "agree" on something - that they think cats are good pets. Show them the sign reading "Agree." Say that this will be our sign that we agree on something.

2. Ask which students don't think cats make good pets and would not have a cat. These people disagree with the idea that cats make good pets. Show those students the sign reading "Disagree." The people who don't think cats make good pets disagree with the people who do.

3. Show the sign that says "Not Sure." Ask if there are people in the room who don't know whether they think cats make good pets. Maybe these people will have an opinion about whether cats make good pets at some time in the future, but right now they are not sure what they think about this.

4. Tape the three posters to the wall in three different corners of the room.

Note: Next you will be asking students to move to the corner of the room where a particular sign is posted (those who agree with the statement can move to the "Agree" corner, etc.) If having students move around the room is inappropriate for your class, tape the signs along a continuum on the chalkboard. Then, instead of having students show their opinion by moving to a corner, you can have them raise their hands. Write the count above the "Disagree," "Not Sure" and "Agree" signs.

Letting others know your opinion

1. Tell the students that you are going to make a statement. Those people who agree with the statement should stand by the "Agree" sign. Those who disagree should stand by the "Disagree" sign. Those who aren't sure should stand by the "Not Sure" sign.

2. Read one of the following statements:

  • Vanilla ice cream is delicious.
  • Red is a color I like to wear.
  • Children my age should be allowed to decide what time to go to bed.

3. When they have sorted themselves out according to whether they agree, disagree, or are not sure, ask a few volunteers from each group to talk about the opinion they chose. You might also ask if they see one of their friends standing in a different place from themselves. Who? Emphasize that sometimes people who are friends have different opinions about something.

4. Repeat with the other statements.


Discussion and summary

Some questions to ask:

  • How did you decide where to stand in the room?
  • How did you feel about the people who stood in a different place than you did?
  • How do you feel about the people who stood in the same place you did?

Summary: Sometimes people think the same things we do and sometimes they don't. We can be friends even if we don't agree on everything.

Evaluation Ask a few volunteers, What did you like most about today? Why? What was your least favorite activity?



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