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Words count! Discover the power of words in poetry such as Maya Angelou’s Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. Then create a changeable wheel of communication.
Words go a long way to resolve conflict peacefully. Conduct a class discussion about conflict resolution. Ask students if they have ever found themselves in an argument when they thought "What did I say?"? Word choices can either soothe or enflame communication. How do they feel when someone says "You …"? Attacked and wanting to attack back, right? What if they had said "I feel … when …"? Wouldn’t it help to understand what was going on and not feel defensive?
Students identify word pairs. Read poetry or other literature that highlights the power of words, such as Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. Brainstorm words that divide people, such as them or but. Come up with another word that communicates what needs to be said without escalating upset feelings, such as us or and. Students list as many word pairs as they can with Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils. It’s easy to make spelling corrections! Then create a spinning word wheel using your geometry skills. Here’s how we made ours.
Draw speech bubbles. On a recycled file folder, sketch two people speaking to one another. Draw a speech bubble that comes out of both of their mouths and merges into one near the top of the page. Mark an area where each person’s mouth is, near the center of the page. Use Crayola Scissors to cut out the mouths and the area where the bubbles intersect.
Create word circles. From a file folder, cut out at least one circle with a circumference large enough to fill the holes made for the mouths and speech bubble. Poke a brass paper fastener through your drawing and into the center of the circle behind it.
Write a word that tends to divide people on the part of the circle that shows in the speech bubble. Sketch frowns in the mouth areas to look like the people are upset.
Turn the circle to an empty spot. Write a word with a similar meaning that could unite people. Draw smiles on their faces. Continue until the circles are filled.
Use Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils and Multicultural Markers to permanently color the word wheel and people.
Students share their words. Twist the circle to show people’s reactions when different words are said to each other. Have students team up with a classmate. Show each other the "divider" words and think of several similar "uniter" words.
This powerful diorama pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebrate his historic civil rights speech on the step
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