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Anti-Discrimination Activities

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Using anti-discrimination activities to foster an inclusive environment with your students can be beneficial to the learning environment. Help your students understand, analyze, and fight back against discrimination.

Anti-Discrimination Activities

Explicitly teaching students about discrimination and encouraging them to fight it within and outside of themselves is important. These activities, each designed to best fit a specific grade level, can help you guide students as they explore discrimination and work to identify solutions. Although suggested levels are specified, each activity can be modified for use in other grade levels. A list of materials, detailed activity descriptions, and ideas for extensions are included.

Acceptance Posters

  • Suggested Level: Elementary
  • Materials: paper, colored pencils, list of similarity/difference topics (optional, for added support)

In this activity, students will create posters that demonstrate acceptance of their differences as an effective anti-discrimination technique. Begin by placing students into teams and providing each of them with paper and colored pencils. On the paper, ask students to write (or draw) some similarities and differences between each of the students in the group. For similarities, students should use one basic color, such as black, gray or brown. For differences, students should use a variety of other pencil colors. For added support, provide a list of topics, such as favorite foods, activities, and family structure.

When students have completed a list of similarities and differences, provide them with an additional piece of poster paper. Ask students to create a statement (or picture) that shows some of their differences and emphasizes the importance of acceptance. For example, an upper elementary team could create a statement, such as ''we accept that we have different belief systems, and we appreciate one another's faith'' or ''we each have a different type of family, but all of our families show love and kindness.'' Primary students might draw a picture of three different families, all smiling and each person with a big heart to represent love. Allow teams to share their work with classmates and post them around the room as a reminder that acceptance is the opposite of discrimination.

''Don't Hate'' Journals

  • Suggested Level: Middle
  • Materials: poster paper, markers, notebook paper, writing utensils

In this activity, students will identify common reasons that kids their age may ''hate.'' Middle school students are most likely familiar with the term ''haters'' and this activity plays off that slang term. Begin by placing students into teams and providing them with a piece of poster paper and a set of markers. Ask students to write ''I will not hate based on…'' Then, students should identify and write down as many discriminatory categories as they can think of. For example, a team's poster may include clothing, money, and music. Encourage students to think outside the box and consider all possible types of discrimination, not simply the most obvious options.

Next, ask students to select one of the categories their team defined and write a journal reflecting on that type of discrimination. Students may want to write about how it feels to be discriminated against based on one of the options or how they can change a discriminatory behavior or thought pattern of their own. Additionally, encourage students to think beyond the problem to potential solutions. For example, they may write down that asking thoughtful and polite questions about another person's religion or culture is one way to combat faith-based discrimination.

Diversity Profiles

Think about race, gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, and political ideologies, as well as other issues that be the basis for discrimination.

  • Suggested Level: High School
  • Materials: access to technology, profile guidelines

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