For me, picture books are the easiest way to introduce a “tough” topic to kids. It takes the pressure off of teachers and students to have to produce a personal story. Everyone can use the fictional characters experiences as a teachable moment!
To teach about representation and race, I chose Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin.
In the story a little girl wants to audition to be Snow White, but she hears other kids whispering that she is too tall, chubby, and brown to be the princess. I saw this as an opportunity to talk to kids about how when people don’t see many races represented in different roles, it can lead them to believe certain roles are reserved for certain skin colors.
With white children being represented the most in children’s books, it’s no wonder some kids draw the conclusion that only princesses can be white. I’ve had personal experiences being told this by classmates when I was younger.
I like to take a week to discuss these big topics and give students repeated opportunities to grasp these huge concepts or make a shift in their thinking.
In a lesson I created, I came up with discussion questions, ideas to think about, and daily writing/drawing prompts to serve as check for understandings each day. By the end of the week students will have a better understanding of the importance of the representation of different races.
Each day’s lesson will take about 15-25 minutes.
Most of the learning will take place through high level discussions. If possible, have students turn and talk or share their thinking aloud.
Monday will just set the stage for the conversation. The book will be read on Tuesday-Thursday.
Each time students hear the book, they will understand more about representation due to the discussions and daily work they will partake in.
Model aloud what you are thinking and make as many connections back to representation and race as you can.
On Friday, one of two activities can be chosen: a debate or a drawing activity that will assess students’ understanding of the importance of representation.
Does this look like a lesson your students could use? Click here to purchase it.
These lessons are too important not to have! You’ve got this!