I originally created OLLIs when schools in my province of British Columbia shut down last spring due to Covid19. While many are now back in class, I know there are many districts still juggling virtual and in-class support. (Shout out to my teacher friends in Alberta and Ontario who are working online at the moment!) These OLLIs can be used both in class and virtually person. Either way, I hope you find some ideas that you can use with your students to lighten your load just a little this year!
Here is a list of the previous OLLI lessons and anchor books in case you missed any of them:
OLLI#1 (The Hike)
OLLI#2. (If I Could Build A School)
OLLIE#3 (Mother’s Day)
OLLI#4 (Everybody Needs a Rock)
OLLI #5 – (WANTED: Criminals of the Animal Kingdom)
OLLI #6 – (Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt)
OLLI #7 (All About Feelings – “Keep it! – Calm it! – Courage it!)
OLLI #8 (I’m Talking DAD! – lesson for Father’s Day)
OLLI #9 (Be Happy Right Now!)
OLLI #10 – (Dusk Explorers)
OLLI#11 (If You Come to Earth)
OLLI #12 (Map of Good Memories)
OLLI #13 (Harvey Slumfenburger)
OLLI #14 (New Year’s Resolutions)
OLLI #15 ( 100 Things That Make Me Happy)
OLLIE #16 (Leaving Our Heartprints)
OLLIE #20 – Thank you, Earth!
OLLI #21 – Mother’s Day Poem
You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. – Jane Goodall
An essential goal for teachers in the 21st century is to try to help students understand that they are in important part of the global community. No matter our age, our actions can affect and contribute to the world. Most children living in North America don’t really understand that, for the most part, they are among the most privileged in the world and because of that privilege, they have a responsibility as a global citizen to be mindful and helpful of others. And while we may not able to take our students to Africa to help build a school, as this year winds down, we can help bring awareness that our actions, no matter how small, can make a big difference.
One Two Many – Linda Grace Smith
One Too Many introduces young readers to social justice issues (poverty, education, safety) in a child-friendly and easily accessible way. Simple, rhyming text with repeating phrases will leave the reader feeling more aware of those in need and inspired to take action. An important book to explore basic needs and access to them and simple ways we can all make a difference.
Added bonus – Author Linda Grace Smith will be sharing her book during a Virtual Author Visit next week! (more information below! Don’t miss out! )
- Write the words “NEED” and “WANT” on the board. Invite students to think about what the difference is in the two words. Give an example: I need food and water to live; I want a new video game. Invite students to share some of their own ideas. Create a list on the board.
- Look at the “NEED” list – introduce the term “Basic Needs” and explain that there are only a few “basic needs” people need to survive – food, water, clothing, shelter, and love. Without those things, it becomes difficult to live your life. Explain that everything on the “WANT” side of the chart are not necessary for survival. We might WANT a new video game but we don’t actually NEED it to survive.
- Explain that if someone does not have their basic needs, life can be very difficult. Most of us don’t need think about what we are going to eat, where we are going to sleep, or if we have clothes to wear.
- Ask students if they think everyone in the world has basic needs. Discuss the fact that there are many people living in different places in the world who don’t have food, water, shelter, clothing, or love. Ask if they think that it’s fair that we do and they don’t?
But there are 7 billion other people in the world, so I probably don’t need to do anything. I can live in my house and play my video games and go to soccer practice, eat pizza, play with my friends, and live a good life. I can’t really do anything about it – I’m just a kid! Agreed?
- Write or show this quote: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending a night in a closed room with a mosquito.” – African Proverb
- Invite students to talk to their partner and infer what they think it means. (if one tiny mosquito can make that big an impact – then I guess I can, too) It only takes one small action to make a big difference!
- Read the book One Too Many. Explain that the author wrote it because she wanted us to start thinking about others and about ways we might be able to help. Invite the students to be listening for ways they might be able to help.
- Close the book and say “Sometimes, when I finish reading a story, the book ends but my thinking doesn’t. This book is really lingering (triple scoop word!) in my mind.
- Ask the students what is “lingering” for them. You might model:
It really made me think about others and also how one small act can make a big difference. One person can make a huge difference – just like one tiny mosquito can have a huge impact on a gigantic human. You are the mosquito; the person is the world. I may not be able to help people in other countries get clean water or food, but I can make a difference by my everyday small actions. Don’t ever think that one small action is not going to make a difference. YOU CAN make a difference!
- Create an “I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE” chart. Brainstorm different ways students can help make a difference. (see examples below)
|If I see someone…||I can…|
|playing by themselves||invite them to play|
|eating alone||sit with them|
|crying||ask them if they are okay|
|carrying something heavy||ask if they need help|
|with no snack||share my snack with them|
- Pass out “I Can Make a Difference” chart. Tell the students they can “borrow” one or two ideas from your chart, but to try to come up with the rest on their own.
- After students have completed their page, invite them to share their ideas. Discuss setting a goal and challenge each student to pay attention to those around them in school, at home, or in their neighbourhood. Encourage them to notice a need and do their best to take action and “make a difference”.
Download the “I Can Make a Difference” page HERE
Download the “I Can Make a Difference” page for Early Primary page HERE
Join author Linda Grace Smith next Tuesday, May 25th at 9:30 am PST for a Virtual Author Visit!
This lesson would be a great introduction to the concept of “Change Agents”. Depending on your grade, you could continue sharing books about real people whose actions changed the world. For more lessons on Change Agents and other global issues, see my book Powerful Understanding – Chapter 4 – Understanding the World
Additional Anchor Books:
The following books are recommended for introducing social injustices, local and global poverty, and acts of kindness that make a difference. Don’t forget to search for Read Alouds on YouTube, if you are teaching online. Whenever possible, choose the video of the actual author reading their own book.
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed – Emily Pearson
Lend a Hand – John Frank
Four Feet, Two Sandals – Karen Lynn Williams
Maddi’s Fridge – Lois Brandt
Each Kindness – Jacqueline Woodson
Those Shoes – Maribeth Boelts
I Like, I Don’t Like – Anna Baccelliere
Some Tips for a Better World and Happier Life – Rebecca Doughty
Weezer Changes the World – David McPhail
What Does it Mean to Be Global – Dana DiOrio
Recommended books from the Simbi Library. (Not familiar with Simbi-Read for Good? – Check it out HERE)
Impact Series: Anne Frank by Stephanie vanKampen
There’s a Norseman in the Classroom by Grayson Smith
Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have some new ideas and new book titles to inspire small acts that make a big difference!
Somewhere inside all of us, is the power to change the world – Roald Dahl