Find Someone Who... A Game on Likeness and Differentness
One of the quickest and easiest ways for teaching children tolerance is to play the Find Someone Who...game. This can be done several ways.
For very young students, a graph on the board or on a flip chart can list various aspects of physical appearance and personal preferences, such as the color of hair, eye, clothes, height, and favorite game, hobby, sport or book. The classroom teacher asks for students who have one specific aspect to raise their hands, for instance, all children with brown eyes. Then, those children are told to form a group on the rug or at a table.
Other eye colors are called out with the same instructions. At the end, all students will be in a group. The teacher can then explain that eye color makes the children in each group the same, but they are different because there are other things that they do not share. The eye color groups are sent back to their chairs or circle. The teacher forms new groups for a different aspect, such as everyone who likes jump rope in one group, everyone who likes playing ball in another group. The children are asked if everyone from their first group is in the new group. The answer should be no, thus demonstrating for the students how they can be both the same and different. In the event that the answer is yes, (it does happen from time to time) the teacher can find something that would show how the students are different, for instance some are short and some are tall or some have long sleeve shirts and some have short, thereby demonstrating the differences.
Older students can be given a sheet to Find Someone Who. The sheet has various aspects listed. The student asks their peers which apply to them. (In large classrooms, this can be done in small groups.) If a peer identifies with an aspect, they sign their name next to it. Once they fill in their entire sheet, they sit down. (Find a handout on this game here in the Media Gallery).
Teachers can then have the students study the sheets. Did their peers all identify with every aspect? Did a peer identify with something that was a surprise to the student? Discussions on how we are the same, yet different can be introduced. This is an especially good Someone Like You activity when there are students in the class with disabilities or when the class is multicultural.