It’s easy to label people; He’s a nerd, she’s smart, he’s dumb, he’s nice, she’s a bully, etc. Labeling helps us simplify an often complex world and creates a sense of safety and belonging for those who can’t find it anywhere else. Unfortunately, far from solving the problem, such behavior often makes it much worse. When we label others and try to put them into boxes, we lose so much of what makes them, them. We miss out. And we send the message that they will never be anything else, for better or worse.
Begin the activity by reading through This is A. Blob. Talk about what can be learned about the main character through the story. Were there any surprises? How would it change the story if other children in the book knew about A. Blob’s secret? Can they think of a few people in their own life about whom they have made assumptions? Have others made assumptions about them? What did this mean for their relationships and the way they treated others and themselves?
Following discussion, give each student a piece of lined paper with a space to draw a picture (download templates here). Instruct them to write about something that most other students don’t know about them and include a picture (it can be hand-drawn or pasted in). For example, are they a great big brother? Do they take dance classes? Do they love cooking special dishes with their grandmother? Be sure to note that this should be something they are comfortable sharing and shouldn’t be anything too personal.
Next, give each student a cartoon person to color and design to resemble themselves (download template here). Finally, cut the picture in half and glue the edges to the written stories to make two flaps.
If you have the time, allow students to present their projects to the class. Following presentations, have students either write or discuss what they learned and how or if it changed the way they viewed their peers. Will this change the way they approach other relationships?
It’s easy to label people. Getting to know people takes time and vulnerability. It takes patience and the willingness to admit you were wrong sometimes. However, it is the first big step in resolving a multitude of issues such as prejudice and bullying. Once we learn all the things about each other that are different than we thought, the more we can begin to discover all the things that are the same.
I hope you enjoy this activity and it helps bring your classroom closer together. What are some fun things about yourself that not many people know? Share in the comments!
This is A. Blob is a masterfully illustrated picture book suitable for children ages 4-8. Written by Lori Kefalos, author of several animated shorts, including “Who’s that Knocking,” “Chug,” and “Croc, Pots and Wildebeests,” which was nominated for Best Independent Short Short, Ages 5-8, at the 2009 Kid’s First Film Festival and for best short at The Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival, This is A. Blob is the first of a series following this bully.
This first installment follows the antics of A. Blob, a slimy, purple, blob-like creature who wreaks havoc on the elementary school playground with its bullying ways. As the story progresses, however, readers learn that A. Blob may have more than meets the eye.
Along with its powerful illustrations and rhymed verse for early readers, this story invites children to put themselves in the shoes of another and encourages readers to consider why bullies behave the way they do – and start to consider what can be done to help.
About Laughing Leopard Press
Hello! We are Laughing Leopard Press, an independent book publisher from Akron, Ohio. At Laughing Leopard Press, we’re interested in publishing works that contribute to our understanding of this wonderful world. Through this blog, we hope to add to that understanding with commentary on life, literature, and a few things in between. We hope you enjoy the blog and take some time to talk with us in the comments or on our social media sites. Happy reading!
This is A. Blob by L. A Kefalos. $14.95
$1.00 is donated to charity for each book sold on this site--half to St. Jude's and the other half to PetFix Northeast Ohio.