Toolkit for "Sound Effects"

(Teacher Note: Bring in several magazine photographs of unknown people who represent a variety of races, ages, religious backgrounds, jobs, etc. Number the photographs, then hang them where students can view them.)

1. Have students choose three of the pictures and answer the following questions about the person in each picture.

  • What do you think the person’s name might be?
  • How would you describe this person in five words?
  • With whom and where do you think this person lives?
  • How much education do you believe this person has?
  • What do you think this person’s job might be?
  • Write a sentence that describes exactly how you think this person would introduce himself or herself to you.
  • Which of the three people you chose is most educated? Why do you think so?
  • Which of the three people you chose makes the most money? Why do you think so?
  • Which of the three people you chose would you most want to spend time with? Why?

2. Ask students to share their impressions of each photograph they reviewed.

3. Once all photographs have been described, have students draw conclusions about each other’s impressions. Then break them into small groups to discuss the following questions:

  • How does this exercise relate to the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”?
  • Is it fair to answer questions about people solely based on appearance?
  • Which answers would you consider stereotypical?
  • What are the dangers of judging people’s education, affluence, or speech patterns solely on appearance?

4. Have students watch the Fair Housing public-service announcement (PSA) at, then, still in their small groups, discuss the following questions:

  • What does this video illustrate?
  • How does the video relate to the exercise you completed above?
  • In addition to being unfair, how does this video show unlawful behavior?
  • Do you believe you have ever stereotyped someone by his or her accent or speech pattern? If so, how?
  • Is judging someone based on his or her accent or speech pattern different from judging that person based on his or her appearance?
  • Are students at your school stereotyped by their accents or speech patterns?

5. Have each group of students write a script for a short video that would persuade others at the school not to judge others or form stereotypes based on their accent or speech patterns. If time and technology allow, have students film their scripts, then host a film festival showing all films to students throughout the school. 

Add to an Existing Learning Plan
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