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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Fair Share for Our Schools: A Multidisciplinary Curriculum:
What Does it Mean to be Fair?
View the Short Video: Campaign for Fiscal Equality: Students Speak Out


This lesson builds off of Trudy Kane’s lesson (M&M Game) and an adapted version of Lisa North’s lesson (Letter Writing Campaign). This particular lesson is grounded in the New York City Kindergarten Curriculum.


  1. Students will discuss: What does it mean to be “fair?” What can we do to work toward fairness? (How can we advocate for ourselves?)
  2. Students will use the Writing Workshop method of letter writing to express their “message” about fairness (we write letters because we want to tell someone something. Letters have a message).

Materials: Letter writing paper

Connection: “Students we have been discussing what it means to be ‘fair.’ During Math we looked at ‘more’ and ‘less’ with M&M’s and how we might ‘add’ or give more M&M’s to the students who had less. Many of you thought it was not fair that some children got more, and you thought of what would be “fair” to do. We also looked at people like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks, who saw unfairness in the world, and worked to help change it. Yesterday, we made a list of things we felt were unfair in our homes, classroom, and/or school. Today we will look at one way we can work toward change, or making a situation more ‘fair.’

We have been learning how to write letters. We learned that we write letters because we want to tell someone something. Today I am going to teach you we can write letters to tell people about an unfair situation in our lives, and how we might make the situation more ‘fair.’ ”

Model: “Yesterday, we wrote on our list that it is unfair when only some classes get to go outside to play at lunchtime. Some classes get to go outside more often than others. So today, I’m going to write a letter to our principal to ask if all classes can have playtime equally.”

Model thinking out loud about how to write the letter by drawing on half the paper a picture of our class with “sad” faces looking at the other kids playing, and the other half of the picture of our class with “smiles” playing outside with another class. Model thinking out loud about what to write, then writing the words.

Active Engagement: “Now, using the list we made yesterday turn and tell your partner who you are going to write, and what your “message” is.” (What is unfair, and what we could do to make a situation fairer.)

Practice: Students draw their pictures and write their words in their letters. Circulate and conference with students discussing topic choice and their message, how to make the pictures show the message, and how to write the words.
Share: Read a letter of a student who demonstrated the aims of the lesson and discuss how their letter met those aims.


  1. Over the next few days, students continue to write letters to advocate for fairness, working on making their messages clear and constructive.
  2. Continue discussing what is fair and not fair in the context of the children’s lives, using examples as they naturally occur in the school setting. Also, discuss other ways of advocating for fairness.
  3. Have children research fairness using a “Fairness Web Quest.”


Subject Areas:
Language Arts

Grade Levels:  K-2

About the teacher:

Nicole Nadeau is a native of the Adirondack Region in Upstate New York, she first became interested in the field of English as a Second Language while teaching for a semester at the Leo Tolstoy Pedagogical University in Tula, Russia. This life changing experience and her love for her students steered her away from my intended path of pursuing a PhD in Russian History, and into teaching English as Second Language. I moved to New York City in the fall of 1998 to attend Teachers College, Columbia University where I completed my Masters in TESOL in the spring of 2000. She is currently starting her fifth year teaching in NYC at P.S. 361 in Brooklyn.





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