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Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Making a class korowai | Mirror, mirror, on the wall | Similarities and differences

Suggested learning outcomes

Students will:

  • identify characteristics that contribute to their identity (2A4);
  • express their ideas and feelings confidently when describing themselves and others (2C3).

Underlying concepts

Hauora (particularly taha hinengaro and taha wairua): Acknowledging and expressing their thoughts and feelings.

Attitudes and values: Valuing themselves and their individuality.

Possible learning activities

Who am I?

This is a useful starter activity. Place a named sticker (see Teachers' Notes) on each student's back. Do not let any student see what their sticker says. The students circulate around the class asking questions to find out whose name is on their back. The other students can respond to their questions only with a yes or a no answer. If the student gets a yes answer, the student may ask another question of the same person. If the student asks another a question and receives a no answer, that student must move on to another person. The teacher can offer clues to assist those students having difficulty deciding what questions to ask. A more challenging version of this activity is to encourage the students to ask questions about the person's appearance rather than about what they do. When all the students have worked out whose name they are wearing, remove the stickers. When summing up, ask the students what questions gave them the most useful clues as to whose name they had – questions about appearance or questions about what their character did (which is likely to be character specific). They could then draw or paint their person, highlighting the specific characteristics of their appearance, personality, and achievements.

In the eye of the beholder

In pairs, the students can draw an outline of their partner's body on a sheet of paper or card. Using art and visual materials, such as magazines, newspapers, and posters, they can fill in the body outline to illustrate how they perceive their partner's individual characteristics (including all the aspects of hauora). Emphasise the need to use positive words and images. Display these posters in the classroom. The students can guess which body outline belongs to which classmate and give three positive reasons for their decision.

Guess who?

Choose one of the following two activities through which each student can reflect on their own unique features.

  • Using a slide projector or a similar directional light source, each student can draw one other student's facial profile in silhouette on black paper. Display these on a wall. Referring to the class guidelines, remind the students to use language that reflects sensitivity to others' feelings when discussing these profiles.
  • Each student can write a short paragraph, using positive language, to describe their own physical appearance. The teacher collects all the unnamed paragraphs (which could include one about the teacher) and redistributes the papers around the class. Each student reads out the description they have and the class guesses who it is about (2A4).

After either of these activities, help the students to acknowledge that we are all unique in the way we look (even identical twins usually develop small differences as they grow up) and that, to maintain a sense of personal well-being, we need to value our physical uniqueness. It's an important part of our identity.

Assessment opportunity

Students identify their individual characteristics in a positive way (2A4).

Teachers' notes

What we see is very important to our learning and the sense that we make of the world. The way we see other people, the way they see us, and the way we see ourselves (both in appearance and behaviour) have implications for our well-being. For people to feel positive about themselves, it is very important that they accept their physical appearance. Care needs to be taken, however, not to reinforce the message "You are what you look like."

Resources required include:

  • one sticker for each student in the class with the name of a story-book or cartoon character, a television or film actor, a musician, a politician, or a historical figure who is known to the students;
  • an open space in the room or an outdoor area.

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