Everyone Is A Helper

This lesson is brought to you by Teaching Tolerance
This lesson is brought to you by Teaching Tolerance

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.

Essential Questions  

What are “strengths” and “struggles?”

What does it mean to help another person?

How can you use your strengths to help those around you?

Glossary: helping hands

  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Come together as a class and share your work. Go around your circle and explain how you are able to help your classmates.
  5. 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.

Extension Activity

  • 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.

Journal Questions

  • 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


1.4 A Key to Being A Good Friend

This lesson starts with reading a friendship book. Need a book to read? Below is a list of friendship books. Check out your school library to see if any are available.

  • Angelo by David McCauley
  • Best Friends by Steven Kelloggfox
  • Being Friends by Karen Beaumont
  • Blabber Mouse by True Kelly
  • Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes
  • Don’t Need Friends by Carolyn Crimi
  • Duck & Goose by Tad Hill
  • Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
  • Fox Makes Friends by Adam Rolf
  • Friends by Helme Heine
  • Nacho and Lolita by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Nuggest and Darling by Barbara Joose
  • Something Else by Kathryn Cave
  • That’s What Friends Are For by Florence Parry Heide and Sylvia Van Clief

keyAfter reading, hand out templates in the shape of keys. On the keys have everyone list qualities that are helpful in being a good friend.

Click photo for a good resource.

Alignment with the 40 Developmental Assets:

  • Encourages Reading for Pleasure(#25)
  • Improves Interpersonal Competence(33)
  • Identifies Positive Values(26-30)

Let’s Get Started

The Asset Challenge
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The first post on our brand new blog…

I’ll take this moment to challenge all coordinators to participate in this Asset Building Challenge, which consist of a list of simple things we can do in our everyday work. For example, to celebrate the characteristics that each child brings to the group and to find ways each child can shine.

The goal of this challenge is to make us aware of our actions. Try to challenge yourself and your coworkers to complete a tip a day until all of the tips are completed.

Let’s start building assets!