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We Are the Children

Children the world over enjoy cutting out paper dolls. Use this simple traditional toy and the creative style of collage making to explore the experiences of children from other countries.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Introduce the topic of childhood. What are the parts of the students’ childhoods that they cherish? Do the students believe that all children around the world have the same experiences growing up as they have? Giving assignments from the book Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World by Anabel Kindersley, Barnabas Kindersley and UNICEF, ask the students to read about their assigned child and country.
    2. Remind students how paper doll garlands are constructed. Show them how to fold a piece of heavy white paper into four parts accordion-style. On the top page, instruct them to draw a simple human shape (head, arms, torso, legs and feet) that fills the page with Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils.
    3. Giving assistance where needed, ask the students to cut out their figures using Crayola Pointed Tip Scissors. Make sure the hands and feet remain attached with intact folds (that is cut out towards the edge rather than through the folds). It is at these fold points that the forms stay connected in a paper chain.
    4. Next unfold the cut figures and from a wide assortment of fabrics and other collage material such as raffia, and feathers, encourage the children to use photos from the book or other sources as examples of how to depict their child. With Crayola No Drip School Glue and Glue Sticks, decorate the blank figures, leaving the faces uncovered. If appropriate, add some Crayola Glitter Glue highlights. Let air dry.
    5. With Crayola Multicultural Colored Pencils and Colored Pencils, add features and expressions to the faces of their paper children. Have their experiences reflect in their faces. Display the results.
  • Standards

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Give examples of how experiences may be interpreted differently by people from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference.

    SS: Identify roles as learned behavior patterns in group situations such as student, family member, peer play group member, or club member.

    SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of culture.

    SS: Investigate concerns, issues, standards, and conflicts related to universal human rights, such as the treatment of children, religious groups, and effects of war.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

    VA: Students will demonstrate an understanding that creative thinking and artmaking skills transfer to many aspects of life.

    VA: Students will use a variety of methods for preparing their artwork and the work of others for presentation.

    VA: Students will demonstrate that art communicates meaning through sharing their work and the work of others.

  • Adaptations

    Query the class to see if they think that children throughout the US share the same experiences growing up. Compare notes among the students in the classroom.

    The phrase “We Are the Children” comes from a song created to raise awareness and funds for two different causes at two different times in recent history. Listen to the songs. Learn about the reasons the songs were recorded.

    Watch part of the movie “Babies”. This independent film follows four babies from four different countries (USA, Japan, Mongolia and Namibia) during the first year of their lives. Challenge the students to find the similarities since the differences are what will strike them first.

    Research how far back the making of paper dolls goes in time. Is it since the creation of paper?

    With older children, read the UN’s Declaration of the Rights of a Child ( What are the implications of such a document? Discuss why such rights might need to spelled out.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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