Friendship and Differences

CATEGORY: Heart, Grades K-3  (could be adapted for other grades)

Bryan City Schools, OH / Ike

Jackie Boyd, School Counselor

Friendship & Differences / Tolerance, Diversity

Two kindergarteners hugging Ike on the playground.


Students will understand likenesses and differences in others.

Students will accept others regardless of differences.

Students will show empathy for others who face challenges due to their differences.


Picture of school therapy dogs Brewster, Jewels, Ike, and Kennedy (showing Jewels without her right front leg) or similar picture of an individual with a disability in a group of typical individuals.

A book about our differences (ex. Annie Loses her Leg but Finds Her Way by Sandra J. Philipson)


Show students the picture of the 4 therapy dogs. Ask, “What makes these dogs alike?” Answers will vary, but basically, all the dogs have light colored fur, all have dark eyes, etc. Ask, “What makes these dogs different?” Answers will vary, but basically, Jewels has one leg missing, each dog has a different shade of light fur, each belongs to a different school, etc. Ask, “Is it more important that the dogs are alike or different in appearance?” Answers will vary.

Discuss how we should treat others who might be different from us. Ask them how it might feel to be the “different” one ... in the classroom, on the playground, on the bus, etc. (He might feel left out, ignored, not as important, etc.) Ask, “How could we help the “different” one in these situations?” Answers will vary. Discuss who might be to blame for the handicap and ask if it matters. Answers will vary, but the main idea should be that it really doesn’t matter how the differences happened.

Comment on any negative answers and come up with ways that would make the “different” one feel better and included with everyone else.

If available, read a book on the topic, such as Annie Loses her Leg but Finds Her Way. Discuss what we should learn from the story and how it will affect us in the future if we see someone who is different.


Observe behaviors and comments and subtle signs of students and their comfort levels during the discussion. Note differences in students’ attitudes as they relate to others who have apparent differences. Communicate with classroom teachers to get information on future instances where tolerance is not being shown for others. Develop a Likert scale, if you wish, to determine how well students show acceptance level  of people who are different.

For a Printable PDF of this Lesson Plan, download this file: AP-LessonPlan-FriendshipandDifferences

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