Middle School Mexico

The "Beat Bullying" Campaign

Objectives for Middle School Students

  • Raise awareness about multiculturalism and expose students to cultural expressions from a different country.
  • Learn the importance of a balanced diet to prevent cleft lip/palate problems.
  • Explore feelings of rejection and isolation related to physical appearance.
  • Develop a moving narrative to communicate cleft lip/palate issues and promote community support.

Materials: card or poster board, markers, rubber bands, online access

Build Background

(Duration: 30 min. - 1 hr.)

As a whole class, come up with a list of disabilities or medical problems that can cause shame and rejection. Explore the feelings of children suffering from these, and how we can all help make them feel better. Read Arat's story, and explain the concept of cleft lip/palate.

Make Connections

(Duration: 1 - 2 hr.)

Research photos and videos of "El Día de los Muertos" in Mexico. Explain how people wear masks or paint their faces for the day. Explore different reasons why people might want to wear a mask, from celebrations to shame. Discuss how living with an unrepaired cleft lip/palate causes children to feel rejected, unless we all show empathy and solidarity. Ask students to design a special Día de los Muertos mask to show support for children with cleft lip/palate.

Class Project

(Duration: 2 hrs.)

Ask students to finish their designs and transfer them to a piece of card or poster board. Cut out the mask and attach rubber bands. Students can then wear the masks in different settings throughout the week, ideally during Halloween/Día de los Muertos season. Ask students to bring in a $1 donation to Smile Train for each day they wear their masks. Offer to take the mask (and a smile!) along with their donation at the end of the week. Teachers can create an online fundraising page to track the donations.