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Edwards Elementary in Ames is encouraging students and staff to share their “unique self” through the creation of a set of school wings this week. Each teacher is provided with enough wings for themselves and their students.

The document states that “Pride Month” is celebrated every June as a tribute to those who were involved in the Stonewall Riots.

“The Riots were a pivotal event in LGBTQ+ history,” the document states. “Although we are not in school during the month of June, it is still important to recognize the identities of our Edwards Community.”

Lesson plans and activities are included for each class.

For first grade, the lesson plan is “Red: A Crayon’s Story — There’s More to Me Than You Can See.” You can read about the kindergarten plan here.

One of the objectives of the lesson?

“Students will explore their internal identity by creating a personal crayon with the writing prompt ‘There’s More To Me Than You Can See.'”

Another objective?

“Students will begin to understand that we cannot know someone based on their appearance, we are all complex people with many identities.”

Considering they’re using the book Red: A Crayons Story for this lesson, well…

Red is a crayon with a bright red label, but it is in fact blue.

“Red’s teacher, mother and classmates all try to help him be red. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand new friend offers a new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue!”

That’s the notes on the book.

The lesson gives an opportunity for students — first-grade students, mind you — to share and learn about each other’s differences and “authentic selves.”

“This lesson can be utilized to discuss the complexity of gender identity with your students,” the lesson plan states. “We offer a recommendation to read ‘I Am Jazz’ along with ‘Red’ to create text-to-text connections around Jazz’s gender identity. We also give helpful talking points around non-binary gender identities. Non-binary students may feel that neither the word ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ fits for them, they may feel like they are both or neither. Some non-binary people use pronouns such as they, them and theirs.”

And finally, the lesson stresses the importance that we cannot assume someone’s gender identity based on their “gender expression.”


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