Responsible Decision-Making

Family Resources on
Building Unity

Project and Purpose

By explicitly teaching social-emotional learning skills while honoring diverse identities, creating a sense of belonging, and promoting student agency toward personal growth and social impact, the teacher better creates a classroom environment that fosters well-being for self and others.

If the lesson is used in the classroom: In this lesson students will define “unity”, participate in reflective discussion about unity and write a six-word story about unity.

In class, students discussed the definition of unity, reflected on a poem, and wrote a story.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

Working together not only does more than help people complete tasks, being able to interact well socially is essential for lifetime health. This lesson shows students why it is important to interact positively in groups.

Conversation Starters and Practice at Home Activities

Ask your child to share the six-word story that they wrote in class (in some cases, students may have written their stories in groups of two or more).

If you do not have access to the story your child wrote, have them describe the six-word story.

Discuss the following questions:

  • What are some groups that members or our family are involved in (this could include work, community activities, or formal/informal groups in the community). Are these groups we are discussing good examples of unity? Why or why not?
  • As a family, should we be involved with groups that support unity of purpose? How would we go about doing this if we need to?

School to Home Resources on Building Unity

In this lesson, students will explore the concept of unity. They will discuss what it means to come together for a common purpose, decide on an issue that matters to them, and synthesis the learning through a six-word story.


This 25–35 minute lesson is designed for flexibility. It can be taught in one day or over the course of a week.

  • Warm Welcome
  • Feelings Check-in
  • SEL Skill Spotlight
  • Active Engagement
  • Closing Connection

Lesson Plan



1. Begin a discussion about decisions and choices. Use any/all of the following questions:

  • What are some decisions or choices you have recently made? Did you have to make a decision or choice today? Last week? In the past month?
  • Who helps you make those decisions?
  • When you have to decide something, what are some of the questions you ask yourself?

2. Continue the discussion by explaining that asking yourself questions is a good way to make healthy choices and good decisions. Make a list of questions students might think about when making decisions/choices. Be sure to include:

  • Is this harmful or good for me?
  • Will I get in trouble if I do this? Why?
  • Am I comfortable doing this or am I doing this because someone is “making me”?
  • What might happen if I make this choice or decision?

Direct Instruction (I do):

1. Discuss how afterschool activities are usually a very healthy choice and help us to keep busy and stay away from possible bad situations.

2. Share one or two activities you participated in when in school and which ones you continue to do now. Talk about these as healthy choices and how you decided they would be good for you. Talk about how these activities are healthy choices that have helped you stay away from bad situations.

Guided Exploration (We do):

1. Ask students what they do to keep busy after school. Discuss how these hobbies and activities are important and positive pieces of their lives.

2. Ask them how these activities help them stay away from possible bad situations and making bad decisions like trying drugs and alcohol. Create a visible list for students to reference in the next section of the lesson.

Independent Practice (You do):

1. Distribute writing paper and explain that they are going to create a class book about the healthy choices they make instead of choosing drugs or alcohol. Use the list generated by the class discussion for ideas.

2. Students may write a paragraph, a poem, or just a few lines. Books have illustrations, so make sure students know there is an opportunity to illustrate their writing.

3. Decide on a page limit for your age group: should each student write and draw on the same page?
Should there be an opportunity for writing on one page and illustrations on another? Do what works for your class.

4. Have students work within the framework of your school’s writing program to complete their work.

5. When everyone has finished the pages, have students share their work with the class.

6. Decide on a title and a cover for the book and determine who will create the cover.


Bind the materials in book fashion (there are many websites that offer advice on how to do this well). Consider sharing with other classes, the administration, and/or the Parent Association

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