As a No Place for Hate School, Roland A. Chatterton School strives each and every day to demonstrate messages of unity and inclusivity for all. In earning the Anti-Defamation League’s designation, administrators, faculty and staff are constantly instituting new programs and activities to raise awareness of important topics such as respect, bullying and acceptance. To that end, on March 7, students recently participated in Chatterton’s second No Place for Hate activity of the 2020-2021 school year: “Your Masked Identity.”
Since school buildings reopened in September, students within the Merrick School District have adjusted well to wearing face coverings, recognizing the need to keep themselves and others safe. But, masks were worn long before the global pandemic and will be worn long after. As a Chatterton community, students recently explored the significance of mask wearing throughout the world, particularly as it relates to traditions and cultures.
Students participated in activities in which they identified personal traits, emotions and characteristics that may be invisible or unknown to others. Students also decorated masks of their own to wear throughout the day.
Additionally, students were invited to participate in a virtual field trip to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, during which they explored the museum’s extensive mask collection.
The “Your Masked Identity” activity culminated with a read aloud of “The Day You Begin” by Jacquelin Woodson — a story about finding the courage to connect, even when different. As Jacquelin Woodson writes, “There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin to tell your stories.”
Inspired by her words, students began to recognize the need for the opinions and experiences of others.
In a letter home to families, Chatterton’s No Place for Hate Committee wrote, “In stopping for a moment, to listen, to consider the stories of those around us, we may find an entry point into a world more united and more harmonious.”
Students were encouraged to continue conversations of diversity, equity, acceptance and inclusion at home, as well as sign ADL’s No Place for Hate pledge.
Student and Teacher Testimonials:
Kindergarten teacher – “Our kids really enjoyed talking about their interests outside of school and what makes them special. It was a very cute activity!”
1st Grade teacher – “The students really enjoyed learning inside and outside traits about themselves. The PowerPoint and video were engaging, and the students enjoyed sharing more about themselves with their peers. The kids loved learning new things about each other. They were amazed at some of the new things we learned about each other. As a teacher, I absolutely enjoyed the activity and enjoyed learning more. It was nice helping the students understand those inside and outside traits that could be masked.”
2nd Grade teacher – “In speaking to the class, the children felt having the conversation of there being two sides of a person was important! They felt it makes people aware of how the inside part really counts!”
2nd Grade teacher – “The children really enjoyed making the masks and sharing them. The pictures and information given to us made doing the lesson easy and they loved learning about all the different types of masks.
Teacher – “It was wonderful to teach diversity and culture to the children which I feel is very important.”
3rd Grade student - "It helped to express ourselves." "It showed our inside traits that people don't get to see." "It shows who you are." "It shows people that we are all different, yet the same."
2nd Grade students - "I liked dressing up. I liked how everyone had different things that were special about them."
" Yes, I loved it! We got to decorate our own masks. People don't know who you are until to talk to them about yourself."
"When you hold it up you can see what is on the inside. Then when you turned it or get to know them, they you can see what the person has on the inside."