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Linna Cohen, Park Ridge Elementary District #64

For use with Middle school children: Grades 6-8


Peers can strongly influence a student’s self-esteem and self-confidence. In physical education class we want to develop a student’s self-esteem and self-confidence so they will be motivated to keep physically active throughout their lives. This lesson was designed to help students understand the power they have in the development of their classmates’ self-esteem. THE ISSUES RAISED ALSO DEAL WITH THE MORALITY OF EXCLUSION AND INCLUSION.  THESE ISSUES ALSO TOUCH ON THE PERSONAL CHOICE COMPONENT OF ASSOCIATIONS WITH OTHERS, AND THE SELF INTEREST IN HAVING ONE’S OWN TEAM DO WELL.


Students will be placed in groups of five, depending on the class size. Each group will choose a recorder who will get a copy of the poems and questions for their group. Each group member will be given a copy of Poem #1 and Poem #2- and each group will be given one copy of the questions to be answered. 

The teacher will read Poem #1 out loud while the students follow along.

Poem #1

Sport is for everyone, or at least that’s what is said, 
But when I make a mistake, I wish I were dead.

I’d rather be anywhere but here in the gym, 
But being in school those chances are slim.

Kids make fun of me no matter how hard I try. 
It makes me feel lousy, and that is no lie.

If only they were different, just a little bit kind, 
I would love to play. 
So what? Why bother? 
I won’t try anymore. 
Who cares?

Each group will discuss the poem and answer the following questions:

Questions for Poem #1:

1. Does the person in the first poem like physical activity? Why or why not?

2. Have you ever felt like this person before? or have you known someone else who has felt like this before?

3. Have you ever done your best only to be told it wasn’t good enough? How did you feel?

4. How do you feel when you try to do something and find it is very difficult? Do you quit and tell yourself that the activity is not important? How does the person in the poem fell?

5. What can we do as a class to make sure that everyone feels welcome and accepted?

When students are done with Poem #1, teacher will read Poem #2 while the class follows along.

Poem # 2:

I have always been good at sports. Isn’t that grand? 
I’m one of the better athletes in this art of the land!

I’m so wonderful, and I don’t care 
about those klutzy students over there.

I’m so talented and physically fit, 
I can’t be bothered with them one little bit.

They make your team lose whenever they play. 
Thank God that kid is unprepared today!

At least I won’t get stuck with him playing with us. 
When he makes a mistake, I yell and I cuss.

You jerk! I scream and shout. 
That’s one kid I can live without.

He doesn’t play better when Laugh at him, 
But I feel better letting that clod know what I think.

He is such a jerk- isn’t he? 

Students will discuss Poem #2 and answer the following questions:

Questions for Poem #2:

1. Does the student in the second poem like physical activity?

2. Have you ever been on a team where someone acted like this? Why do you think they act like this?

3. If you were this student, who is a super athlete without even trying, how would you feel toward people who are not as naturally skilled?

4. Would you accept another person into your group if their lack of skill could make our team lose?  Don’t you have the right to pick who you want to for a team?

5. Is it fair to have to have a person on your team who doesn’t play well?  Is it fair to exclude kids who don’t play as well?

6. What do you think of the way the kid in the poem acted? 

When class is done with Poem #2, start discussion with Poem #1 and ask the class to share answers with the rest of the class-then move on to Poem #2.

The following questions are guides for the teacher for further discussion:

1. What can we do as a class to make sure this doesn’t happen in our class?

2. Isn’t it true that some people are better at sports- shouldn’t they be allowed to shine?

3. How can you avoid hurting another person’s feelings when forming teams?  3a. What is the best, fairest way to resolve this sort of situation?

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