Its Okay To Be Different Essay


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It is important to teach students about diversity to help them develop empathy for others. This lesson, for first and second graders, uses Todd Parr's picture book It's Okay to Be Different to help students understand what diversity means and how it applies to them. After a shared reading of the text, students work in small groups to discuss and write down what makes them diverse. They then visit Todd Parr's website and create pages for their own books about diversity. Students share their completed books with another class.

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Flip Book: Publishing a book is a breeze with this handy tool that provides step-by-step instructions on how to create a flipbook.

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Miller, H.M. (2000). Teaching and learning about cultural diversity: A dose of empathy. The Reading Teacher, 54(4), 380–381.

  • An important goal of teaching students the literature of diversity is showing them how to become empathetic human beings.

  • Balance is a part of teaching empathy. Students should not become overwhelmed by negative feelings, but they should recognize-and take seriously-stories about oppression.

  • Picture books are beneficial in helping students to become knowledgeable about cultural and diversity issues and in allowing them to make the personal connections that lead to empathetic behavior.


Miller, H.M. (2000). Teaching and learning about cultural diversity: All of us together have a story to tell. The Reading Teacher, 53, 666-667.

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If you were ever teased or criticized for being ‘weird,' ‘odd,' ‘strange,' or ‘different, then good. Whoever made fun of you was either jealous or just had a fetish for making people feel bad about their biggest virtues.

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

-Dr. Seuss

Why would it even matter if anyone else thought negatively towards you? If you're happy with the way you are, that's all that should matter. Surround yourself with people that make you feel great about yourself, not people who make you want to change. No one else can be who you are -- does that not make you feel amazing? You have qualities that people specifically identify you by, and other people know that it's you they are talking about. You're thinking about that one particular quality right now, aren't you? It could be the way you snort when you laugh, do a little dance when you eat really good food, wear insane outrageous clothing, or a combination of all of the above.

Here are 10 reasons why being 'different' is OK.

1. First off; congratulations! You are your own person. A lot of people don’t have the guts to show their true colors, but you are one of the special few.

2. Take it as a compliment. You are unique -- who wants to be just like everyone else?

3. Picture a bunch of yellow Legos stacked together to make a big yellow square, but in the middle, there’s a blue Lego. That blue Lego is you. You stand out.

4. It’s intriguing and draws attention and curiosity. Don’t be ashamed of what makes you a brownie in a sea of cookies.

5. Speaking your mind to the point of everyone else feeling uncomfortable about how blunt and honest you are is not a bad thing. Sometimes people need to hear the harsh truth.

6. There’s probably been a point in your life when your friends have asked you why people like you, and you honestly have no idea because you’re just being yourself -- which you know is not everyone’s cup of tea.

7. Even though some people may be confused or uncomfortable with the way you are, the people who aren’t will love you unconditionally for having the balls to do things that no one else is willing to do.

8. You don’t feel restricted or held back by anything. For you, there’s nothing to fear because you are your own. Honesty is your best policy.

9. Could you imagine eating one food for the rest of your life? Boring. Variety is welcome with open arms – be the variety you wish to see.

10. Yoda was the wisest and most powerful Jedi to have lived: He was a little green alien with large ears who talked funny. Different be. OK it is.

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