A Good Case of Stripes: Celebrating Uniqueness and Making Connections

Allen Creek Elementary School

This lesson is designed to be used at the start of the school year. It is most effective if teachers have incorporated moral and performance character traits as part of their class operations. (At our school we create class compacts the first day of school outlining what we agree to do, to do our best work and be our best selves. We also have posters in all of the classrooms with the moral and performance character traits.) This lesson helps students think about the thoughts and feelings they may experience on the first day of school, and their desire to be accepted by peers. Through this lesson students will complete an “other-study” of the main character in the story and also use social thinking skills to predict thoughts and feelings of the characters. They will complete a “self-study,” and using a blank template, illustrate their interests, talents and character strengths. A public performance of their illustrations will allow students to learn about one another and connect with each other.

Students will use social thinking skills to predict thoughts and feelings of characters in the story
Students will understand vocabulary contained within the story
Students will complete a self-study related to their own interests, talents and character
Students will participate in a public performance as they share their self-study
Students will understand each other's interests, talents and character strengths and connect with one another
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon (Perfection Learning, 2004)
Child Outline
Ask students what feelings they had about the first day of school, recognizing that there are a variety of feelings and no one feeling is the “right one” to have.
Read the book A Bad Case of Stripes, stopping to predict and discuss the thoughts and feelings of the characters (looking at the faces and body language of secondary characters as well)
Discuss new vocabulary contained within the story
Have students reflect upon the message of the story: We are all unique and being true to who we are is important
Discuss things that make each one of us unique, aside from our physical appearance: interests, talents and inner character traits, and how each unique person will contribute to the whole of the class
Show students the blank template of the person and talk about how they will transform this blank person into a representation of themselves. Encourage creativity: brainstorm ways to represent interests, talents, and inner traits (usually inside the person). I usually show the students the template that I completed for myself as a model, and ask them what they can figure out about me by looking at my picture
Students will share their unique selves with the rest of the class. They can describe their pictures, or the class can try to guess things about the student based on the picture. Students can also ask questions and make connections
-The unique pictures can be hung up in the classroom or made into a class book. We titled ours
A Good Case of Stripes.
Students will complete a template which reflects interests, talents and character traits
Students will be able to predict thoughts and feelings of characters
Students will share their own thoughts and feelings about the first day of school
Students will learn about and connect with one another
This is a good opportunity to teach students how to give helpful feedback to one another. This is also a practice in our school, and students are taught that feedback needs to be specific, helpful and respectful. The public performance aspect of this activity lends itself to establishing this practice in the classroom.
Teachers have also saved the student pictures and used them later in the year for writing prompts (Who am I?) that are hung in the hall for others to guess.
Institute for Excellence and Ethics (IEE)- www.instituteforexcellenceandethics.org
Compacts for Excellence- Power2Achieve Tools-IEE
The 4 Keys for Developing Character –Smart and Good Schools Report
Moral and Performance Character -- Smart and Good Schools Report

National Standards
Dignity for all Students Act- Social Emotional Learning Standards:
-Recognizing and managing emotions
-Developing caring and concern for others
-Establishing positive relationships
-Establishing a safe and supportive school environment

APPR Components of Professional Practice Domain 2-Classroom Environment-Creating an environment of respect and rapport
-Establishing a culture for learning
Susan Gager, School Counselor