Almost every six weeks, we have a School Wide Read Aloud assembly. The purpose of these assemblies is to provide students and staff with regular opportunities to gather as a community, to help children feel welcome, to provide them with opportunities to practice listening, speaking, empathy, and cooperation. Students are asked to report interesting things that are happening in their classrooms. Leading the meeting builds confidence and leadership skills and allows children to share their learning, interests, and achievements with the whole school.
Here's a sample of what we do:
From the author: Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let's draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a play date with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can't be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He's blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone.
Red will inspire reflection about the subtle ways children become mislabeled, judging children based on their successes rather than failures, and the unmitigated joy of finding one’s place in the world.
Many thanks to Melanie for finding this book, perfect for the ACCESS week.
Please spend a few moments with your students to discuss accepting people for the way they are, that it’s ok to be unique and different. Remind them to be true to themselves and not let anyone else define them.
You can ask:
- Have you ever felt that you needed to try to be something you aren’t? Why? What did you do and how did it make you feel?
- Have you ever needed to pretend to feel a certain way? Why? What did you do and how did it make you feel?
- What is the problem with giving someone a label?
- Can we practice being something we aren’t? What are some things we can practice? (sports, math) What are some things we can’t practice? (being taller, having green eyes)
- Why do you think everyone was thinking of helping Red to be red? What was their motivation?
- How do you think children from other countries feel when they have to change or adapt feel that they belong or fit in to a new place?
- How might Red feel if he heard that he was ‘lazy’ or wasn’t ‘applying’ himself? Why isn’t it nice to talk about someone behind their back?
- How would you feel if you overheard something like that about yourself? What about when you have said something mean? How did it make you feel afterwards?