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Different & the Same: Long Distance

As parents and educators continue to navigate school closures due to COVID-19, we are excited to offer portions of our popular school-based program, Different and the Same on our website! We will release a video and activities on a regular basis. This is the second lesson in the Different and the Same series. Different and the Same is produced by Family Communications, Inc. 

Theme: Speaking a Different Language 

Key Concepts: Stereotyping - forming an opinion or belief which is an oversimplified generalization about an individual or groups, usually with derogatory implications. The term does not appear in the dialogue, but it relates to Francine's assumption that Bernardo is not smart because he doesn't speak English. 

Introductory Activity: Language Labels (optional) 

Suggested materials: Paper scraps, pens, tape 

Attach labels to objects around your home/classroom with the names of the objects written in English, Spanish, and other languages appropriate to your class/family. If you have students/family members who speak another language, use their language, and involve them in the activity. As a follow-up, you might remove all the labels and have the students replace them on the appropriate objects. 

Suggested Introductory Questions

Were you ever a new student in a school?

  • Can you remember how you felt on your first day of school?

Have you ever helped a new student in your class?

  • What can teachers and students do to help a newcomer feel more comfortable?

What to look for in the video

  • Bernardo is a new student in the class. What kind of problems do you think he might have? 
  • As you watch the video, see whether his problems are what you expected. 
  • Were the other students able to help solve Bernardo's problems?

Suggested Follow-Up Questions

Bernardo said he wasn't lonely any more. Why do you think his feelings changed?

How are Bernardo and Mr. Ortiz alike? How are they different?

  • Did you - or anyone you know - learn English when they were older, after they had learned another language? 

Have you ever changed your mind about something or someone when you learned more about the subject or person? 

Was Bernardo the only one helped by the Spanish-English Club?

  • How did the club help others?
  • How might learning another language be helpful to you?