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Teaching Tolerance

Martin Luther King Jr., dreamed of a world more tolerant than the one he lived in. The lessons below -- perfect for use at the start of the school year or for celebrating King's life in January -- are designed to teach kids about tolerance. Included: Lessons on stereotyping, appreciating differences, recognizing how words can hurt (or heal), and more.

The highest result of education is tolerance. -- Helen Keller

Helen Keller's words serve as a reminder of the key role educators play -- both as role models and as teachers of tolerance.

Martin Luther King

Find more lessons about tolerance on our special Martin Luther King Jr., Day holiday page.  

The start of the school year and the days leading up to the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday are excellent times to introduce classroom activities that teach tolerance. Exposure to such lessons has the power to make a difference in students lives -- and in the world those students will create.

Five lessons for teaching tolerance

This week, Education World provides five lessons focused on messages of tolerance. Click each of the five lesson headlines below for a complete teaching resource. (Appropriate grade levels for each lesson appear in parentheses.)

Bursting stereotypes
Balloons serve as the conduit for this lesson in which students "burst stereotypes. (Grades 2-12)

How tolerant are kids in your school?
Students graph results of a survey of attitudes and tolerance in their school. (Grades 6-12)

Those Tear-Me-Apart, Put-Me-Back-Together, Never-Be-the-Same-Again Blues
This powerful activity illustrates how unkind words can hurt. (Grades PreK-8)

Teaching tolerance through music
Invite students to analyze the lyrics of Peter, Paul and Mary songs that express themes of tolerance. (Grades 3-12)

Everybody is unique: A lesson in respect for others differences
Teach about respect for others unique qualities in this lesson that combines art and language arts. (Grades K-8)

Additional resources: Teaching and Tolerance

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