This activity will help students understand the concept of strengths, struggles, and what it means to help. It also develops a sense of community, while creating visual representations of the concepts they discuss.
What are “strengths” and “struggles?”
What does it mean to help another person?
How can you use your strengths to help those around you?
- Strength: Something you are really good at
- Struggle: Something you sometimes have a hard time with
- Help: To use your strengths to support someone who is struggling with something
- Community: A group of people who share something, like an interest, a goal, or a living or working space; a group of people who cooperate and learn to work together
Materials: Sometimes I HELP; Sometimes I NEED help handout, Construction Paper, Crayons
- What is a strength? As a class, make a list on chart paper of STRENGTHS you think you might have. These are things you are really good at. Once you have a list, turn and talk to your neighbor about how you each might use your strengths during the school day.
- What is a struggle? As a class, make a list on a separate piece of chart paper of STRUGGLES you might have. These are things you might have a hard time with. Once you have a list, turn and talk to a different neighbor about times during the school day you might struggle, and how a classmate could help you.
- Now that you have two charts, go to your table and fill out the handout,Sometimes I HELP, Sometimes I NEED Help. Talk with your table mates about what you are writing. Draw a picture in each box using colored pencils; your pictures should show a situation where you are using a strength to help someone else and a situation where you are struggling and need help from a classmate.
- Come together as a class and share your work. Go around your circle and explain how you are able to help your classmates.
- On construction paper, “publish” the “Sometimes I HELP” part of your handout. Write your sentence neatly, and illustrate it using crayons or oil pastels. When everyone has finished publishing, your teacher will put these pages together to make an “Everyone’s a Helper” quilt. This quilt can hang in your classroom all year. When you need help with something, remember to consult your quilt and see if there’s another classmate who can help you.
- Learning about strengths, struggles and how we can help each other is important in every community, not just at school. When you go home, talk to your family or other children in your neighborhood about the activity you did at school. Have a conversation about your strengths and struggles and how you help each other. The next morning in school, write or draw something in your journal to show what you talked about and learned. Share these thoughts at your morning meeting.
- Who can you imagine yourself going to next time you need help with something that is a struggle for you? Why? Who do you think you might be able to help? How and why?
- What do the words—strength, struggle, help and community—mean to you? Has your understanding of these words changed after these lessons? Explain why or why not.
Do you agree that knowing one another’s strengths and struggles helps make a community safer, stronger and more productive? Explain why or why not, and challenge yourself to use specific examples.
This Lesson has been brought to you by Teaching Tolerance
Alignment with the Developmental Assets:
- Exposes the child’s #37 Personal Power
- Provides a #5 Caring School Climate