“Who am I and how can I make a difference?” by the K. Smith Second Graders

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For the past nine weeks, second graders have been working on the driving question, “Who am I and how can I make a difference?” As an entry event, students experienced a simulation where they were separated based on if they were wearing jeans or not. Students were treated unfairly and given privileges just based on wheat they were wearing. Many students were upset and angry, but few students spoke up and stood up for themselves or others. Throughout the project, we have studied people who make a difference and how they were able to make a difference.

As an “exit event”, students were faced with a familiar simulation. Students were told that we did not get enough buses for our upcoming field trip. We told them that we decided to solve the problem by only taking the girls on the field trip…since girls are smarter and “better.” This time, there was a much different reaction. Students stood up for themselves, each other, and did not let us treat them unfairly! Students used vocabulary such as “equal rights, unjust, equality, fairness” and quoted Martin Luther King Jr to prove why what was happening to them was unfair. Below, we have included some student reflections and reactions.


  • “We should all be treated the same because we are all the same, we are people. People deserve equal rights”- Emily
  • “We are all the same” -Adrian
  • “I feel bad for the boys” – Samantha
  • “I should be treated differently because we are all the same and we should love each other” – Joseph
  • “I feel so sad because Martin Luther King said to love not hate” – Elias”
  • “I feel bad for the boys, Martin Luther King said everyone was equal” –Jenny
  • “We all have to be equal” – Dulce
  • “I am feeling sad, I shouldn’t be treated this way” – Noah
  • “I am sad and mad at my teacher because we all have a right to go on the field trip” – Andy
  • I felt frustrated because our teacher made us have not equal rights. –Seut
  • I felt sad because the boys should have gone with us too. – K’Onai
  • I felt that we could stand up and let the boys go on the field trip because we felt that it was not equal rights for each other. –Lealah
  • I felt like our teacher was breaking the No Excuses school. –Angelina
  • I was mad because the boys couldn’t go because this is a class and we are supposed to go altogether. –Jade
  • We started a chant for our class to fight back. – Jose, BJ, Geovany
  • We told Miss Schorr that she was not doing the right thing. We were so mad at our teacher and we fought back to go to the field trip. –Seut
  • We stood up for the boys. –Victoria
  • We didn’t give up on letting all of us go to the field trip because we are all smart and want to go. –Lealah
  • We stood up because if the boys didn’t go, we didn’t want to go. –Angelina
  • We wanted our money back! – Jassmin
  • We had to stand up for the boys. We raised our hands and said if they weren’t going we weren’t going either. –Martiza
  • We said that we would stand up for each other with no violence. – Lealah
  • I learned that everybody should be treated fairly and nobody should be left behind. –Angelina
  • I learned that so many people made a difference. –Geovany
  • I learned that we need to stand up for ourselves. –Jose
  • I learned that we are a class and we stick together. –Jesus
  • It’s not fair if half of the students get to go to a field trip. — Minh
  • I learned that we don’t let anyone behind and to stand up for other people.  –Aaliyha
  • I learned that it isn’t fair when students get left out. –Jayden
  • It’s doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside.  It matters how you are on the inside.  –Tina
  • I learned that you need to stand up when something is unfair.  Don’t let them get away with it.  — Abigail
  • I learned not to judge anyone by skin color or how they look like.  — Andrik
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