A Message from Gerry Ghanooni: BORN A HERO Creative Director
When I was studying to become an Art teacher, my professor had all his students fill out a card about the lessons we planned. He asked us to tell him about the values we were reflecting in our lessons. I think of this often as my team and I are creating our presentations.
We believe that people learn to be kind, to appreciate diversity, to like and believe in themselves when they are very young. We believe that if kids are exposed to differences than they won’t see a difference. But that starts with self love and believing in one’s own value which is instrumental in valuing others. It ends with making the choice to respect and love others for their differences and treating them with kindness. Learning self-empowerment and how to be kind are key in facing those who do not “Choose Kind.” BORN A HERO initially decided we needed to take lessons to pre-school children and started our program with four Head Start Classes. Now we have extended out program to pre-school and K-1. We carry these themes in our presentations by reading books, singing songs, doing art activities, and having discussions that reinforce these important values. In these lessons, the children see beautiful illustrations and/or photos in the books we read. They hear, read, discuss, and sing words that reinforce the important messages of Appreciating diversity, Believing in oneself and Choosing kind/treating others with kindness. We end the presentations with an art activity that relates to the story we read and the song we sing/listen
We understand the importance of the school curriculum but believe that these lesson plans can be incorporated or compliment the early literacy curriculum as well as instill in children important values and social skills. We know that it takes more than books, songs, discussions and art activities at school for children to Appreciate Diversity, to Believe in themselves, and to Choose kind. But, early social skills are as important as early literacy and should not be an either/or in the curriculum.
The book titles chosen for our presentations may have a multitude of themes, but all reflect one or more of the ABC values.
Art Activities: Simple art/craft activities were chosen or created to reinforce the ABC values. The lesson plans were intentionally designed to be able to help the pre-schoolers develop their fine motor skills and for it to be a fun and memorable experience for the pre-school and K-1 graders. We also took into consideration the activities length of time.
Reflect the themes in the chosen book titles. Many songs were downloaded from ITunes. https://www.apple.com/itunes/ As children listen to and sing the words, the values are being reinforced. Sometimes the children sing only the chorus and listen to the rest of the words.
Though instruction of early literacy is not one of our main goals, it is naturally integrated when books are read to children and when children are learning the words to the songs. We have incorporated some extra literacy activities through the printed songs. Teachers of these lessons can decide if they would like to incorporate these activities into the presentations.
The Print contains the message: We printed the words to songs on Poster Board, but teachers can use their computers and SMART boards
One to one matching. Teacher points to the word with pointer as words are read. We usually model this two times. Then we invite a child to come and point to the words as we read it again or/ and while we sing it.
Letter Identification and Sound: Sometimes song lyrics will repeat many of the same uppercase and lowercase letters. We talk about the difference between the uppercase and lowercase letters. Children are invited to come and point to the letter instructed. We discuss the sound that the letter makes and if you find it appropriate you can discuss how to make the letter
Sight Words: Common sight words are also often repeated in the lyrics of children’s songs. Children are invited to either come up to the poster to point to the word or highlight the word with highlighter tape.
We find it really valuable to have discussions, to make sure that the message being taught is clearly understood. We encourage you to ask the children purposeful and planned out questions throughout the lesson that will enrich their understanding. Be aware of your audience when you ask questions so that we can make sure to remain mindful of peoples’ feelings (we don’t want to point out someone in the class out).
You can have rhetorical question as broad as; Is it okay to speak a different language? Yes Or as specific as; Is it okay to have big eyes? or to need a wheel chair to help you get from place to place? Yes. And add at a message after; What we look like, what our medical issue may be, where we come from does not change who we are inside. It is okay to be different, we are all different. Differences make us unique and it makes our world more beautiful. We need to respect and love our differences. You can also ask them questions about how they feel about things like; What would you do or say if you were in a place where a kid was making fun of another kid right in front of you? Keeping an open conversation is important. Issues regarding anti-bullying, self-empowerment, loving/celebrating cultural, racial and medical differences are important to address.
What makes the ABC Kind Program Unique:
- Our lesson plans approach many social issues that come together to make it a powerful program.
-Different Medical Issues
-Choosing to be Kind
- Our lesson plans can easily be incorporated into your school’s curriculum
- Our lesson plans are filled literacy enrichment exercises
- We are happy to provide support and guidance as needed in any way we can. E-mail Gerry Ghanooni firstname.lastname@example.org to bring the ABC Kind Program to your class
The lessons were created for Pre-school, K-1. Part of the lessons could work well in a Second Grade Class, but adaptions would need to be made with songs and art activities. Songs and art activities could be eliminated. Different literacy activities could also be incorporated into the lessons—maybe writing activities. There are also many titles and activities that are more age appropriate for upper grades.