More than "One" Lesson Learned


Remember me?

I've got so many things to share but these little things called "time" and "teaching" and not really fitting together really well right now. So I have a super weak goal of blogging once a week. I hope that changes soon, because I really do find a lot of joy in it.



I'm sure you've heard of the book One by Kathryn Otoshi. If not- go buy it now (click the pic below, buy it... and then come back). It is a priceless book all about the importance of standing up for yourself and others. The beautiful message that it only takes "one" to stand up and make a difference is woven so perfectly in this story. Kathryn Otoshi also released the book Zero which is also fabulous (and great for when teaching place value) and her new book titled Two was just released. My kids can't get enough of these so I'm sure I'll be tracking that one down also. But this post is all about "one" book that helped me teach a couple things.

So we read this book during one of our Olweus lessons. The kids picked up on the message right away. And because of our past work in Olweus, this group knew that many of these characters were bystanders and they needed to do something to help Blue out. We ended our discussion and went to specialists and then I got this idea for our first Classroom Community Display. I grabbed my lid that I almost threw out (from a pretzel tub) and a permanent marker and I made a little "1"decal thingy template and ran it down to our lovely copy lady. When the kids came back, I told them, "Today, we'll get to explore water colors while we go from bystanders to upstanders."

Oh boy were they excited. And maybe I was a little too. And I was a little crazy. I decided to do a guided discovery of water colors, while we also explored the concept of being an upstander.

First, we brainstormed different things you could do or say to help someone who is being bullied. Students then picked 3 and wrote them in the gaps of their "1" decal thingy I made. We just used black ball point pens. Then, we returned to the carpet so I could model how to use our paints, paintbrushes, water, and paper towels. It was then their turn to explore... and they were so ready. I braced myself.

Students practiced first on a blank square of construction paper (I didn't have water color paper in this impromptu plan and it worked just fine). They tried out the colors... tried to make them light and dark. And I was SO impressed with how well they did with the management. Mind you, this was within the first 2 weeks of school. This group is definitely a keeper.
Then it was time to add watercolor to their "1" decal thingy. We went with watercolors to match Kathryn Otoshi's style in her book.

They were so quite and focused during this! I was expecting a bit of chaos but there was none to be seen.

Once they were done, we let them dry over lunch, cut them out and assembled them into this mural:

Here are a few of their colored "1" decal thingys up close. They wrote their names inside the number 1 also, but I tried to blur those out for privacy.

I got to do a little watercolor also while they worked by creating this little sign that went in the middle of our display that is right outside our door.

Not only did they learn about how to use watercolors (and we will definitely do it again now) but we also learned the power of 1 person standing up and making a change.

I made the template with a sharpie marker, but I tried to recreate it on my computer to share. It's not perfect, but there it is for your use if you want to try it also. I put 2 on a page (that's the size mine were) but I also have 1 large one if you want them to be bigger. Click on the image to download both options.



  1. I love this book, and I really love the activity that you completed with it! If there is any way that could possibly share the template with me, I would greatly appreciate it!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this! I have been having troubles with lots of teasing in my room, and I have been trying to come up with creative ways to review how to be a friend, etc. I am going to do this activity next week! Yeah!!


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