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Character Education Lesson Plan

Teaching Not Judging with Big Al

by Andrew Clements

Grades: K-2

CASEL Standard: Relationship Skills- The abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups.

Character Education Lesson Objective: To understand that you cannot tell what type of person someone is just by looking at them


Part 1: 

  • Have you ever decided not to talk to someone or interact with someone just because of the way that they looked?
  • Maybe you saw someone wearing clothes that you did not like or maybe you saw someone who had a mean look on their face and decided that you did not want to talk to that person.
  • You really can’t tell what a person is like just by looking at them.  The person who was wearing the clothes that you did not like may be really friendly and kind.  The person who had a mean look on their face might have been having a hard day, but is a really nice person.
  • It is important to get to know someone before you decide how you feel about them.  How can you get to know someone who might look scary or different?
  • You can say hi and ask them a question about themselves, you can tell them something about yourself or you can ask them to do whatever you are doing.
  • You are now going to be doing a worksheet.  You are going to read the different situations.  You are then going to think about what can be done to get to know the person who seems scary.
  • When you are done, we will go over the answers together.
  • As you are going over the answers, point out how there are different ways to approach the situation and as long as you try to figure out what the person is like inside, you have done a good job.

Part 2: 

  • We are going to be reading a book called, Big Al by Andrew Clements.
  • Read the book.
  • Why does Big Al have no friends?
  • If you saw Big Al, what do you think you would think about him?
  • Big Al tried a lot of different things to get the other fish to like him.  What was your favorite thing that he did?
  • Why do you think Big Al decided to help the fish trapped in the net when none of them wanted to be friends with him?
  • How did the little fish feel when Big Al got stuck in the net?
  • Why did Big Al have more friends than anyone else at the end of the book?  How do you think he felt?

Part 3: 

  • Big Al looked scary to the other fish, so they did not ever talk to him or try to play with him.  The other fish did not know how fun or caring Big Al was.
  • You are now going to be creating your own scary looking creature.  After you draw your creature, you are going to write about them.  You can think of different words that describe them such as friendly, funny, caring, kind or silly.
  • When you are done, you are going to get to introduce your scary looking creature to the rest of the class.  We will all get to know what your creature is really like inside even though they might look scary outside.
  • As the students are introducing their creatures, emphasize that what you see on the outside is not what is on the inside.

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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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