I have to give credit where credit’s due. I got this lesson from Marissa over at elemetaryschoolcounseling.org. But, since I always put my own little twist into things, I figured I’d write up how it went over here at our all boys’ school!
Topics Covered: Self-Confidence Development, Motivation to Achieve, Respect, Trustworthiness
I did this activity with both the 1st and 2nd graders. All that changed with the 2nd graders, is that we went more in depth with the idea of character traits. You’ll see what I mean when I get to that point.
Partly Cloudy is a short Pixar film about the world of clouds. The clouds’ jobs are to create happy things, like babies, puppies, kittens, and other really cute things. Each cloud gets it’s very own stork to help deliver the cute creatures down to Earth. However, there is one little cloud that is a bit different than the rest. Instead of making cute, happy creatures, he makes unique creatures, such as crocodiles, sharks, and porcupines. Even though his creatures are different, he still loves them. But, the poor cloud’s stork is very tired and beat up from carrying these creatures to Earth. One day, this stork decides to visit another cloud. When the different cloud sees this, he becomes very angry and then sad. He thinks he has lost his friend because he’s different.
When introducing the clip, I usually stop there and tell the boys to watch what happens in the end . . . it always surprises them.
Next, I show the clip and have the boys discuss their surprises afterward. We talk about what being unique means, why being different makes you special, and how the stork recognized the cloud’s specialness.
I explain to the boys that being unique means being special, or being the only one. The cloud was unique because he was the only one who knew how to make sharks and crocodiles. The stork was unique because he appreciated the cloud’s differences and wanted to be his friend no matter what!
Here’s where my lesson goes in two slightly different directions depending on the age. I just simplify my character trait words for first grade. So here’s the second grade version of this part:
We talk about the characteristics of our friend’s that we like. Then, we talk about the characteristics that we wish our friends had. We discuss how these are qualities which we look for in a friend.
The list ends up something like this:
brave, hard-working, dependable, forgiving, generous, kind, helpful, honest, smart, athletic (instead of good at sports), playful (instead of fun), polite/has manners, trusting, understanding, etc.
Some of these need probing, but this list gets them started.
Then, I show the boys the activity page (there is a different one for first grade). I tell them that we are going to fill out the page as if we were the cloud.
We talk about what makes the cloud unique (hint we already talked about this), the qualities he most likely looked for in a friend (his stork), and where the cloud was able to find his friend.
After that, I leave the activity sheet up to the boys.
For the first grade activity page, we still fill the sheet out together first as if we were the cloud and then they complete the page themselves. This time around, I gave them the choice to write or draw their answers.
My objective for this lesson was two-fold, encourage the development of healthy friendships and appreciating/accepting each others differences.