Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

It's Okay to Be Different: Teaching Diversity With Todd Parr

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


It's Okay to Be Different: Teaching Diversity With Todd Parr

Grades 1 – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50- to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Karla Price

Boone, North Carolina


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Activate prior knowledge about diversity by exploring the words different and similar

  • Gain knowledge by learning what the term diversity means

  • Apply and further that knowledge in whole-class and small-group discussions about diversity

  • Demonstrate comprehension and practice writing skills by writing about diversity

  • Practice collaboration by working in small groups to generate ideas and create books

  • Use oral and listening skills during shared readings of the books they create

back to top


Session 1

1. Introduce the topic of diversity by drawing students' attentions to their differences and similarities. You can present four or five criteria statements for the class to consider and ask students to stand up in groups. Some examples of criteria statements are:

  • All the 6-year-olds stand up

  • Everyone wearing tennis shoes stand up

  • If you like baseball stand up

  • Stand up if you have any freckles on your skin
Ask students if they can think of other differences that the criteria statements did not address. Why is it important to share these differences? What can they help us understand about each other?

2. Write the word diversity on the board and ask students if they know what it means. Jot down their responses working toward the following definition: Being different from each other.

3. Show the class the cover of It's Okay to Be Different. Ask students to predict what the book will be about.

4. Read It's Okay to Be Different to the class. Stop once or twice during the reading to discuss the text and pictures. Questions for discussion may include:

  • Do you know anyone who is like the characters in this book?

  • What do you think of the illustrations? Why do you think the author uses the colors he does?

  • Which, if any, of these characters is like you?
5. After reading the book, ask students to share their thoughts and ideas about what makes us all different and what makes us the same. Jot down students' responses on a piece of chart paper.

back to top


Session 2

1. Draw students' attentions to the chart paper list you created during Session 1 (step 5); talk a little bit about the differences and similarities on it and ask them if they can think of additional kinds of differences they have experienced.

2. Have students get into their groups and pass out the Group Exploration Sheet. Explain that they will talk about how they and their friends are different than each other and other people in the world. Each group should use the Exploration Sheet to make lists of differences that are not included on the list from Session 1. Students should take turns writing ideas on the list; every student in the group should write down at least one idea. Tell students that they all need to make sure that their group members are sharing positive ideas that will not hurt anyone's feelings.

3. While students are working in groups, walk around to make sure that groups are on task. Observe participation and conversations. Since these discussions have the potential to become controversial or offensive, you should be available to refocus students if they are discussing a matter that is inappropriate.

4. Bring students back together for a class discussion. Ask them what kinds of differences they discovered in their groups. What was the most surprising difference to them? What did they learn from their group discussion? Do they have more in common with the students in their groups than with people in the rest of the world?

5. Ask students to pick one difference that their group talked about; it should be one that has affected them personally. Let students know that they will be writing about this topic and also creating a page on this topic for a book they create with their group.

6. Have students write about the difference that they are focusing on in their journals. Questions for them to consider include:

  • Has anyone ever made you feel especially good or bad about this difference? Who and why?

  • What do you like the most about this difference? What do you like the least?

  • Do you have to do things differently because of this difference?

  • Do you know anyone else who has the same difference?

back to top


Session 3

Note: If you do not have classroom computers, this session should take place in the computer lab. You will need to bring along art supplies.

1. Have students visit About Todd Parr. Have students read about him and explore the "Fun" section of the site, making sure they all see the Allen Brook School's THE OKAY BOOK webpage. Tell them they will work in their groups to create similar books. Each student will create one page to contribute to their group's book. Their pages will have text and pictures to illustrate their ideas.

2. Have students get into their groups from Session 2. Model an appropriate sentence for the book page on the board; for example, It's okay to have freckles on your skin.

3. Have students take out their journals and review what they wrote during Session 2. They should use what they wrote to plan a sentence that will be on their page of the book, write the sentence in their journals, and then have other members of the group review it and offer feedback. Circulate while students are working to offer assistance as needed.

4. Students should work together to decide what the title of their book will be. They might choose a name for their group that they feel reflects differences they share (e.g., The Left-Handed Book). The title might also highlight each person's individual difference (e.g., The Curly Hair, Likes Spinach, Purple Bike, Pierced Ear Book).

5. Each group should share one computer in order to create their book together. Direct students to the Flip Book and demonstrate how to use it. Have them enter their first names as the labels for their individual pages. The first page will be the title page, so the label should be Title.

6. After entering the labels, each student should type a sentence on the page that is labeled with his or her first name. Students can choose the templates that they want to use for their pages. Tell students that they will illustrate their pages after they print them out.

7. When students have printed off their pages, they should illustrate them. Once the pages are all complete, students can trim and assemble their books.

back to top


Session 4

Note: Before this session, you should decide with your students how best to share their books with another class. An easy way to share is to have each group line up in the order that their pages are in the book. Each student reads his or her page in front of the class and then passes the book on to the next person. After students have read the entire book, they can pass it around the class for a closer look at the illustrations. You might give students time to practice reading their books aloud.

1. Have students share their books with another class, as you have arranged.

2. After each group has had a chance to share, encourage discussion with the new class. Questions to consider include:

  • Did any of the students who were listening hear an author share a difference that they also have?

  • Do you know anyone who is similar to any of the authors?

  • Does anyone have a special difference that has not been mentioned?

  • Why do you think it is important to understand our differences?

back to top



  • Use the list you made during Session 1 (step 5) to have students work on a book that focuses on similarities as opposed to differences.

back to top



  • Assessment for this lesson will be mostly informal. You should observe your students' reactions during class and small-group discussions. By paying attention to their conversations and individual responses, you can assess their comprehension of diversity and their ability to apply this comprehension by exploring their own differences.

  • Informally observe students as they work in their groups. Are they respectful? Do they listen to each other? Do they collaborate on ideas and on a title for the group book?

  • Read and reflect on students' journal entries. Respond to each student's entry, correcting misconceptions and applauding accepting comments.

  • Assess students' book pages. You should look at the following aspects of each page:

    • The text. Is it thoughtful and does it demonstrate that the student understands the importance of accepting differences?

    • The illustration. Is it creative? Does it reflect the main idea of the text?

    • Group work. Did the student work with other members of his or her group to edit the page? Did the group assign an appropriate title for the book?

    • Sharing. Did the student read his or her page clearly? Was he or she able to discuss the page and answer questions about it?

back to top