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Diversity and Bullying Lesson: Positively Respectful



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts
    --Visual Arts
  • Health
    --Mental Health
  • Social Studies


  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Create a positive environment by teaching students to show respect and share compliments.


Students will

  • learn about one another.
  • practice sharing compliments.
  • think of a compliment to write about each of their classmates.


respect, compliments, manners, citizenship

Materials Needed

  • white drawing paper and drawing supplies

Lesson Plan

In this activity students learn about their classmates' interests and goals and then share compliments of respect for the things they learn.

Start the activity by providing each student with a piece of white drawing paper measuring 5 inches long and 4 inches wide. Provide students with 5 to 10 minutes to draw a self-portrait on the paper.

When the drawings are completed, have students mount their pictures in the middle of an 8-1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper and write their names in the upper-left corner of their papers.

Gather the students for a class discussion. Start the discussion by sharing the following topics with students:

  • What I Like About Me
  • What I Like to Eat
  • What I Like About My Family
  • What I Like About School
  • What I Like to Do
  • What I Like to Think About

Talk about each topic and invite two or three students to share their responses to each, so other students get an idea about of what they might share in their own responses. Then have each student write the above topics on a piece of paper (or on a work sheet you've created). Have students write on their papers a few ideas about each topic.

Encourage younger students to use their ideas about the above topics to complete the activities below. Students in grades 3 or above might use their topic ideas to compose a short essay describing what they like most, drawing on their ideas about those topics.

Have students attach their lists or essays to their self-portraits.

Choose one willing student to share his or her list of responses to the topics or to read the brief essay she or he wrote. After that student shares, ask other students what they learned about the classmate who shared. Help students present their comments to the student as compliments. (If you teach young students, you might want to model this.) For example, a student might say

  • It's clear that you really love your dog.
  • I agree that your blue eyes are your best feature.
  • It's nice that you take time to help out your grandmother.
  • Jumping rope is one of my favorite activities too. I'd love to jump rope with you sometime.
  • Lasagna also is my favorite food.
  • I wish I had hair like yours!
  • I'm happy to know someone else who likes to collect stamps.
  • The Blue Jays are my favorite sports team too.
  • It's obvious that you like to read. I know a book you will really like.
  • I enjoy having a younger sister too.

When students are comfortable giving compliments, continue the activity by having each student share his or her list or essay. Encourage students to listen carefully to one another and think about a compliment they might give in response. Instead of having classmates share aloud their compliments, however, have them just think their compliments for a little while.

When all students have had a chance to share their lists or essays, have them return to their desks and pass their self-portraits to the person sitting behind them. (The person at the back of a row will pass his or her self-portrait to the person at the head of the next row.) Provide students with a couple of minutes to write a compliment on the white paper that surrounds the student's self-portrait. Then have students pass the papers to the next person in the row, and so on. Keep the pace moving. Give students only a minute or two to write each compliment. Remind students not to take time to read the compliments others have written; explain that they should be sharing compliments from their own minds and hearts.

Students who have a difficult time remembering what each person read, can refresh his or her memory by referring to the student's list or essay attached to the self-portrait.

At the end of the activity, each person's self-portrait should be surrounded by compliments. Display the self-portraits and their accompanying compliments for all to see.

Extend the Lesson
Don't forget this lesson! You might want to set aside a couple of minutes at the end of each school day to give students an opportunity to share compliments and end the day on a positive note.


Students phrase their responses to their classmates in positive, complimentary ways.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

Find more activities for teaching about respect on Education World's Martin Luther King Day holiday page.

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Last updated 05/07/2017