Resources on School Culture

  • These following lesson plans and resources were compiled by the Office of Equity as a representative sampling of approaches that teachers may utilize to help students talk about topics related to social justice and equity. The below resources are presented as a sampling of approaches to this topic and are not endorsed by the Boston Public Schools or the BPS Office of Equity.

    Prior to utilizing any of these lessons or resources in the classroom, please refer to the Office of Equity's Guidelines for the Use of Offensive Terms in the Classroom document. If you would like assistance with these resources, please contact our office at 617-635-9650 or bpsequity@bostonpublicschools.org.

    Elementary

    Lesson Name Description Suggested Grades
    Focus On: Building School Community, Culture, and Climate

    How do students, staff, and strangers feel when they walk into your school building? Many principals work hard to create an atmosphere that is welcoming, warm, and productive. The articles included share stories and practical tips that will help you create a climate that is positive and ensures success.

    K - 5th
    Happy Faces Everyone has a bad day once in a while. This activity helps students be sensitive to schoolmates who might be having a bad day and gives them a way to cross boundaries and bring cheer to others. (Teaching Tolerance) K - 2nd

    Everyone's a Helper

    This lesson helps students understand the concepts of strengths, struggles and what it means to help. (Teaching Tolerance)

    K - 2nd; 3rd - 5th

    It's Okay to Feel Different

    This lesson helps students develop an understanding of the importance of diversity in a community. (Teaching Tolerance)

    K - 2nd; 3rd - 5th

    Cultural Relevancy in the Cafeteria

    This lesson seeks to open students’ eyes to the variety of experiences that they and their classmates have at lunchtime. Students learn about the dietary guidelines of various ethnic and religious groups and then analyze their cafeteria's food offerings. (Teaching Tolerance)

    3rd - 5th

    Secondary 

    Lesson Name Description Suggested Grades
    School Culture

    In many places across the United States, "school culture" is a hot topic. How do we create schools that are safe and respectful and that inspire academic success? This lesson provides a way to involve students in that discussion.

    Students will be introduced to the definition of "school culture" and use it to examine the school culture at I.S. 318, the middle school featured in the film Brooklyn Castle. 

    7th - 10th
    Cultural Relevancy in the Cafeteria This lesson seeks to open students’ eyes to the variety of experiences that they and their classmates have at lunchtime. Students learn about the dietary guidelines of various ethnic and religious groups and then analyze their cafeteria's food offerings. (Teaching Tolerance) 6th - 12th
    Creating An Anti-Slur Policy Students work collaboratively to develop an anti-slur policy for their classroom. They consider the categories of name-calling and types of behavior that should be addressed by the policy. Students next think about measures for preventing and responding appropriately to name-calling in school and draw up a draft policy. Students are encouraged to share their class policy with school officials, to learn about the school anti-slur policy (if one exists) and to help educate others in the school about their efforts to reduce name-calling. (GLSEN) 6th - 12th
    Name-Calling in Our Schools Students are provided with the opportunity to objectively observe the way in which name-calling and other types of disrespectful language are used in school over a three-day period. Students are asked to reflect on their observations, to look for patterns of behavior, and to begin to consider ways in which the problem of name-calling might be addressed in their school. (GLSEN) 6th - 12th