Strategies for Empowering Students


  • To enhance students' higher-order thinking skills
  • To promote cooperative learning
  • To help develop students' perspective that beauty and good qualities can be found in things and people
  • To encourage students to use their knowledge and metacognitive skills

  • Enhancement of students' awareness of cultural and ethnic differences
  • Promotion of the idea of looking for and finding good qualities in people
  • Integration of thinking and writing skills
Integration of Content/Subject Areas

  • Language Arts
  • Character Building
  • Social Studies

Arrange students in teams of three to five students. Have a preselected group of objects or articles that have been placed in a bag or box (a suggested list is provided). A member from each group will, without looking in the bag or box, select one object. The selected object will be examined by each team member; then the team will follow the directions written below, which are to be written on the board:

1. Think of a way in which your object or article is like a person.

2. List two things that make your object or article beautiful.

3. Name three ways your object or article can be useful to you, your friends, or your family.

4. Name four reasons why you love your object or article.

5. Tell three things you can do that would help your object or article feel good about itself.

Give the teams enough time to discuss each of the instructions and write their responses. Each team will share their information orally with the class. A reporter from each team will explain what its object was and will then share its attributes.

The follow-up discussion should center on how the students were able to think of all the nice and positive things to say about their objects, as though these were real people. The discussion should guide the students to understand how easy it is to find good and useful qualities in everything, especially people, if one takes the time to look.

Sample List of Possible Objects or Articles
(Teacher and/or students are encouraged to add to this list)

    stick of gum
    piece of candy
    paper napkin
    roll of tape
    pine cone
    rock or pebble
    small sea shell
    paper clip

  • How did students use their knowledge?

  • Were students able to demonstrate an understanding of how good qualities can be found in simple, ordinary objects or articles? How?

  • How did students demonstrate their use of higher-order skills?

  • Were team-building skills exhibited? How?


Excerpted from Beyond Rhetoric and Rainbows: A Journey to the Place Where Learning Lives ©1996 University of Illinois Extension.