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Teaching Individuality with The Big Orange Splot

the big orange splot

by Daniel Pinkwater

Grades: K-3

CASEL Standard: Self-Awareness: The abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts.

Character Education Lesson Objective: To understand what individuality is and how to express their own


Part 1: 

  • Have you ever done something that was different from what other people were doing?  Maybe you decided to swing when everyone else was playing tag or you decided to paint a tree pink when everyone else was making theirs green.
  • Doing something that is different from what other people are doing is called individuality. 
  • Can you think of a time when you did something different than other people were doing?  What did you do?
  • There are so many different ways that we can show that we are different and our own person.  You might wear different clothes, have a favorite color that no one else has or even speak a different language.
  • Being different and expressing your individuality is something that everyone should feel comfortable doing.
  • I am going to give you a worksheet.  On the worksheet are two animals.  Think about how you could color the animals that would be different from the way that other people will be coloring them.  Color the animals in a way that shows your individuality.
  • When you are done, you will all hold up your pictures so that we can see the different ways that you colored the animals.

Part 2: 

  • We are going to be reading a book called, The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater.
  • Read the book.
  • Did you like the way the street looked better at the beginning when all of the houses looked the same or at the end?  Why?
  • Why do you think Mr. Plumbean decided to make his house look different?
  • Do you think you would have reacted like the neighbors did when they saw what Mr. Plumbean did to his house?
  • What do you think Mr. Plumbean said to the neighbors who came over to talk to him?
  • What do you think Mr. Plumbean’s best characteristics are?
  • Do you know anyone like Mr. Plumbean?  Do you think you would like to be more like Mr. Plumbean at the beginning of the book or at the end of the book?  Why?

Part 3: 

  • When strangers comment on how the street in the book is not neat anymore, all of the neighbors say, “Our street is us and we are it.  Our street is where we like to be, and it looks like all our dreams.” 
  • They decorated their houses to reflect who they are and what their dreams are. 
  • Show the picture in the book of all of the different houses and how they are decorated.  Point out what each house is decorated like and ask the students to guess why they would be decorated that way.
  • You are now going to be decorating a house to do the same.  Think about who you are and what you have dreams of doing.  Do you want to fly an airplane or live near water?  Do you have a favorite color?
  • Decorate your house in whatever way is meaningful to you.
  • When you are done, you will share what your house looks like and explain why you decorated it the way that you did.
  • Allow all of the students to share how they decorated their house and why they decorated them the way that they did.

Related lessons:

View more: Character Education Lesson Plans

Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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