This activity is designed to allow students to communicate and express their opinions on various topics in a respectful and non-threatening way and to respectfully listen to and connect with other students in a socially productive way. Standard advisories are mixed up so students and teachers are outside their social boundaries this day. For instance, 2 advisories, with 2 different teachers who normally occupy one classroom, would split in half for this lesson. An advisory, perhaps across the hall would also split, so two different advisories would be together for this lesson.
- To allow students to interact in a socially productive environment
- To promote diversity, both social and intellectual
- To encourage students to interact with each other outside social groups (cliques)
This lesson plan, four corners signs (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree), tape to post the signs in four locations
- Before the advisories ”Mix It Up,” or switch rooms, the advisors should clear 4 areas in the classroom so that students can move to those spots as they respond to the topics. You can designate tables with the signs posted if that’s easier and students can move to these tables and sit down.
- When you are ready to begin and students are listening, explain:
“ I am going to read a series of statements in the next fifteen minutes, one at a time. You are to listen to each statement. You will have about 30 seconds to think quietly about each statement. Do you agree with it? Do you strongly agree with it? Do you disagree with it? Do you strongly disagree with it? These are your choices. Look about the room. If you agree with the statement, when I say ‘GO’ move to ….(Wherever you have placed the AGREE sign). If you strongly agree, move to …. (Wherever you have placed the Strongly Agree sign.) Continue this same direction for DISAGREE and STRONGLY DISAGREE. Say: “You must move quietly without talking, and once you move to your spot, you cannot change. After everyone has chosen their position, I will give another direction. Are there any questions?” Keep to a minimum.
- Then say: “Cats make better pets than dogs.” Think quietly for 30 seconds. (After 30 seconds say:GO!) Students should move quietly and safely.
- After students are settled, say, “Now I want you to turn to the person beside you and take turns explaining why you chose this position. Each partner must listen without interrupting and when your partner is finished, you can respond to him and then explain your position. You will have 2 minutes.”
- After 2 minutes say “STOP.” Stay where you are. Listen to this next statement I read and think about it for 30 seconds. When I say GO move to the sign you most agree with quietly.
- Continue this procedure for several topics, as time allows.
- Here are some topics, listed from 6th through 8th grade. Feel free to create your own as appropriate.
Broccoli is the worst vegetable.
Chocolate ice cream is better than vanilla.
The school should allow us to chew gum in school.
Homework should be eliminated.
People on sports teams shouldn’t have to take PE.
A fruit bar should be offered in the cafeteria.
Health care is the most important national issue.
Extraterrestrial beings exist.
Summer reading should be eliminated.
School uniforms would benefit student learning.
Extensions and Adaptations
Related Links and Resources
This lesson was adapted by Karen Barry from Teaching Tolerance.