I Wish I Were a Butterfly

Language Arts Lesson Plan: Grades 1-2
Subject: Reading and Language Arts, Reading
Duration: 60 minutes

I believe that introducing the book I Wish I Were a Butterfly during the first week of school is a wonderful way to teach students acceptance and to appreciate each other’s uniqueness. It also encourages the development of a safe and inviting classroom environment.

Students will develop a better understanding of the differences among peers in the classroom, identify ways each student is unique, and design/decorate a classroom banner that exhibits the uniqueness of each individual student.

  • I Wish I Were a Butterfly by James Howe
  • One large banner (bulletin board paper is a good choice.)
  • Sentence strips for each student
  • Copies of the circle pattern reproducible

Before reading the book, have an informal class discussion concerning the story. Explain that they will be reading a story about a little cricket, and ask them to pay attention to how the cricket feels in the story.

  1. Circle Pattern (PDF)
File Size: 11 kb
File Type: pdf
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After reading the book, have a discussion about how the cricket feels throughout the story. The students may relate to the cricket feeling different and wanting to be something he is not. Then ask the students if they have ever felt like the cricket. Some students might be shy to share their stories, so it may be helpful to share with them a story about a time when you were young and felt like you wanted to be someone else. This may help spark conversation.

Next, discuss with students the word “uniqueness” and ask the students to tell you how each animal in the story was unique. For example:

cricket- plays music
spider- spins webs
glow worm- changes into a lightning bug
ladybug- flies and is the color of laughter
dragonfly- covered in jewels

After that, ask each student to think of ways that they are unique. What can they do that other students may not be able to do? (Some students will feel like the cricket and say there is nothing unique about them. Talk to that student about things they like to do, usually you can find a way they are unique.)

Students are then given a sentence strip to write down the way they are unique. Have them draw a picture of their face (on the circle pattern) to hang up next to their uniqueness.

While the students are working on their sentence strips and pictures write, "Mr/s. So-and-So’s class is Unique" in the middle of the banner. After sharing their uniqueness with each other, have the students glue their picture and sentence strips to the banner. Then, hang the banner up on the wall for the rest of the year as a reminder that we are all unique in our own special way.

I think this is a great lesson that really focuses on the belief that we all have something to learn from one another. I also think it is a wonderful way to begin the school year.

You may find that there will always be students in your class that will think they are like the cricket and feel they are not unique. It is important that these children are treated delicately. By simply talking to them about the things they like to do will usually help to spark an idea.

Students can also create an acrostic poem of their names and describe themselves in the poem. This is a great way for students to get to know one another in the beginning of the year.

An interesting way to incorporate the use of technology in this lesson would be to have the students bring in photographs that illustrate who they are. You can then take the time to upload these photos onto the computer. Reserve time in the computer lab and have the class create digital stories using the photographs they brought in and they can incorporate music and text as well. The students can then present their videos to their peers.

Lesson Accessed from the Scholastic Website.