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A child atop a horse in Niger.

Students will examine themselves relative to their characteristics, abilities, and feelings. By making connections to children in another part of the world, they will discover that people are more alike than different.


Students will:

  • describe personal characteristics and abilities from a physical, emotional, intellectual, and/or social perspective.
  • explore how they are the similar to and different from children in another part of the world.
  • locate the country of Niger, comparing and contrasting its physical and cultural features to those of the United States.


  • abilities : talents, skills, and aptitudes
  • emotions: a range of feelings, such as joy, sadness, and excitement
  • preferences: one's likes and dislikes
  • self-esteem: observations, beliefs, and feelings of self-worth
  • unique: characteristics which set one apart from others  



  1. Read aloud the letter from Ahmadou, a boy who lives in the southern region of Niger. Explain that he is a child who lives in another country in a part of the world that is far away.
  2. Locate Niger on a map, globe, or digital resource. Ask children to make observations about the geographic characteristics of the region.
  3. Ask the students to reflect on how Niger might be different from where they live? How might it be similar?
  4. Explain: In order to help Ahmadou get to know us and so that we may think about our own individual similarities and differences, we will describe ourselves in words or pictures so that he can see that we are all special and unique but also have characteristics in common. Discuss with the children the following questions:
    • What words describe you?
    • What can you do well?
    • What do you like to do for fun?
    • What emotions do you feel?
    • What do you need to be healthy?
      Note to teacher: Reinforce that these may be similar to others and that people, in general, are more similar than different as they share the same basic human needs and emotions.

5. After brainstorming and discussion, have the children draw a picture of themselves in the frame on the "How am I special?" worksheet and complete the drawing/writing activity appropriate to their ability or literacy level. 

Frameworks and standards

Enduring understandings

  • Children have feelings, traits, perspectives, and abilities that make them unique.
  • Children around the world are more similar than different; they have the same basic needs such as love, shelter, health and nutrition, education, and safety.

Essential questions

  • What characteristics or abilities make me special or unique?
  • What are common characteristics and needs that all children share?


  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
    • 2.B.02 Areas of Development: Social-Emotional Development- feelings
    • 2.L.01 Cognitive Development: Social Studies- positive identity of self and others
  • National Social Studies Standards
    • Thematic Strand I: Culture
  • National Geography Standards
    • Essential Element 1: The World in Spatial Terms
    • Essential Element 2: Places and Regions
  • Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy
    • Reading: Informational Text
      • Key Ideas and Details: describe connections; group reading
    • Writing
      • Text Types and Purposes: compose informative texts; narratives; descriptions of feelings
      • Research to Build and Present Knowledge: recall information from experiences
    • Speaking and Listening
      • Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: express thoughts and feelings clearly
    • Language
      • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: use words and phrases acquired through reading and being read to 


  • Find a book or video at your school library or on-line to share with your class on self, self-esteem, amazing children, children in other countries, etc. 
  • Explore the unit from the Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools program website on Water in Africa and select a lesson that is applicable to your grade level or students' ability level. 
  • Enroll your class in the Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools Global Connections program.