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Octber 25, 2019Know Your Classmates DayAn Initiative of Beyond Differences

About Know Your Classmates

The idea to create a curriculum entitled Know Your Classmates grew from the national ING​-​led​ ​Know Your Neighbor​: ​Multi​faith Encounters​ ​project, which was launched at the White House a few years ago​.​ Know Your Classmates is an exciting back-to-school initiative brought to you by Beyond Differences -- and free of charge -- for any school across the country to use.

There is too much hateful language, anxiety, and fear of differences among students. All children in your school community are affected: those with learning differences, undocumented, English-language learners, LGBTQ, and special needs to name just a few.

Know Your Classmates is designed to support you and your students, primarily middle schoolers, as they explore issues of self-identity, stereotypes and embracing differences among one another.

With conviction and passion, Beyond Differences believes fears are being recklessly stirred up in the United States among children, in particular, children of multi-faith and multi-ethnic backgrounds.

Our students deserve to acquire the tools they need to combat this fear. They deserve to live in a country that respects their identity, and students should not have to be terrified that they are different or feel as though they somehow do not belong to the United States.

We know you are the teacher who gets it: lesson plans, one national awareness day, and a million ways for children to joyfully open up and get to know one another.

Bring Know Your Classmates to your school this year. We're so thrilled that over 1200 schools participated in Know Your Classmates Day in 2018! We encourage you to plan and host your own Know Your Classmates activity day. Sign-up for Know Your Classmates Day 2019 happening on October 25, 2019!

Know Your Classmates Lesson Plans:

  • LESSON 1: Exploring Self Identity
  • LESSON 2: Do I Belong? Healthy Communication
  • LESSON 3: Recognizing Stereotypes and Embracing Differences
  • LESSON 4: Living in the United States
  • LESSON 5: Human Connection - Empathy and Compassion
  • LESSON 6: Diverse Expression of Gender
  • LESSON 7: Diverse Expression of Culture
  • LESSON 8: Diverse Expression of Love

Know Your Classmates Student Leadership Unit:

  • STUDENT LEADERSHIP LESSON 9: Plan and Prepare Know Your Classmates Day
  • STUDENT LEADERSHIP LESSON 10: Lead Know Your Classmates Day
  • STUDENT LEADERSHIP LESSON 11: Continue the Conversation

About Beyond Differences

Beyond Differences was founded by the parents of Lili Smith who was born with a cranial facial syndrome and was socially isolated during her middle school years. After Lili died at the age of 15 due to medical complications from her syndrome, a group of teens from the local community banded together to bring change to their local schools. They had not realized that they had been leaving Lili out from all the fun social get-togethers. But upon hearing about Lili's feelings of being left out, they were determined to never let anyone feel that way again!

Beyond Difference’s core principle is to inspire and empower students to end social isolation in middle school through online and campus programs. We work directly with students – with the support of their teachers and administrators – because they are the real activists who can ensure acceptance and inclusion of one another. We are passionately focused on supporting youth in this process of making their middle schools more socially inclusive and less socially isolating.

National Partners

California School Employees Association (CSEA) Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) Challenge Success Changing Perspectives Dolores Huerta Foundation Equality California Jewish Community Relations Council NYC Department of Education Sandy Hook Promise Scary Mommy Sit With Us The Representation Project Canal Alliance Canal Alliance ACLU of Southern California InspirED Let it RippleHindu American FoundationNo Bully

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