What is The Golden Rule?

Overview:

The book, The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper, is shared and discussed with  students. The meaning of this principle will be explored. A T-chart is created in which students will contribute ways they like and do not like to be treated, and the ways in which they should and should not treat others. In addition, students will select one of the ideas reflecting how we should treat each other to illustrate and practice.

Enduring Understandings/ Essential Questions:

  1. The Golden Rule, “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You,” helps us to reflect on our interactions with each other.
  2. Equality, freedom, liberty, and respect for others are principles that we to strive for.
  3. Many cultures around the world have popular sayings and stories about the value of treating others as we would like to be treated.
    • What is the meaning of The Golden Rule?
    • Why do students think the Golden Rule popular across many cultures and lands?
    • How is The Golden Rule worded and present across cultures?
    • What are ways  we can  practice The Golden Rule  in our everyday lives?
Grade
K-2
Theme
Golden Rule
Length
This lesson will take approximately two 30 minute periods.
Discipline
Social Studies; Language Arts: Reading; Language Arts: Speaking and Listening; Language Arts: Writing
Vocabulary
Ethnic; Cultures; Treated

Objectives:

  • Students will listen for information given explicitly in the text.
  • Students will make inferences supported by explicit information from the text
  • Students will apply understanding of the principle, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” creating a list of ways that people should treat each other, and practice these virtues and principles in their communities.

Background:

Norman Rockwell is a storyteller. He painted pictures that were seen on the cover of a magazine called The Saturday Evening Post for 47 years. His paintings, also referred to as illustrations, reflected life in America. They also served to draw attention to ideas that Rockwell felt were important, and that  he wanted people to think about.

In preparing to paint this 1961 Saturday Evening Post cover, Rockwell noted that many countries, cultures, and religions incorporate some version of The Golden Rule into their belief system. “Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You” was a simple but universal phrase that reflected the artist’s personal philosophy. A gathering of people from different cultures, religions, and ethnicity was a precursor of the socially conscious subjects that he would illustrate in the 1960s and 1970s.

“One day I suddenly got the idea that the Golden Rule, “Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You,” was the subject I was looking for,” Rockwell said. “I began to make all sorts of sketches. Then I remembered that down in the cellar of my studio was the charcoal drawing of my United Nations picture, which I had never finished.” “In it I had tried to depict all the peoples of the world gathered together. That is just what I wanted to express about the Golden Rule.” Rockwell’s Golden Rule painting later served as the inspiration for the stunning glass mosaic that was presented to the United Nations in 1985 as a Fortieth Anniversary gift on behalf of the United States by then First Lady Nancy Reagan, made possible by the Thanks-Giving Square Foundation. 

In 2015, the United Nations celebrated its seventieth anniversary. A special installation brought together Rockwell’s original drawing, his Golden Rule painting, and other works that reflect his appreciation for humanity as a citizen of the world.

As an artist, Rockwell frequently traveled to other countries, where he took photos and collected costumes and props for his work. During his travels, no matter where he was, he felt that he was welcomed and treated with kindness. His experiences abroad were the inspiration for his illustration. The citizens of the world in Golden Rule represent many different religions. They are all tied together by the principle, “Do unto others as you would  do unto you”.

Background on Norman Rockwell’s United Nations

In 1952, at the height of the Cold War and two years into the Korean War, Rockwell conceived an image of the United Nations as the world’s hope for the future. His appreciation for the organization and its mission inspired a complex work portraying members of the Security Council and many people representing the nations of the world—a study for an artwork that he originally intended to complete in painted form. Researched and developed to the final drawing stage, the artist’s United Nations never actually made it to canvas. Rockwell’s desire to reach out to a global community and emphasize the commonality of mankind found its forum on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in Golden Rule, nine years later, in 1961.

Of his work on the United Nations drawing, Rockwell said, “Like everyone else, I’m concerned with the world situation, and like everyone else, I’d like to contribute something to help. The only way I can contribute is through my pictures.”

Norman Rockwell
United Nations   1953
Study for an unfinished illustration
Pencil and charcoal on paper
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection
NRACT.1973.113 (M57)

Materials:

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Classroom Supplies:

  • The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
  • Chart paper divided into two sections: How I like to be treated/How I do not like to be treated
  • Marker
  • Paper plates or drawing paper
  • Crayons and/ or markers
  • Labels

Activities:

  1. Read The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowsk.
  2. After reading the story, reflect on the elements of the story: character, plot, setting.
  3. Turn and Talk: This book offers a good opportunity to talk about the author’s purpose and the author’s message. Invite students turn and talk about why the author wrote this book. What message did Gabi Swiatkkowsk want readers to take away?
  4. In the story, the boy and his grandfather think about the meaning of the Golden Rule and what it means to follow this rule. Review the boy and his grandfather's ideas about how they like to be treated and how they do not like to be treated. Record these ideas on the chart in the appropriate column. Have students brainstorm other ideas to add to the columns.
  5. Follow-up: Invite students to illustrate the ways in which they would like to be treated. Give each student a piece of blank paper. Direct them to draw a picture showing one way they like people to treat them. Ask students to color their image and write about what they have drawn.
  6. You may wish to create a bulletin board to display the illustrations. Use The Golden Rule as the title, with a subtitle of “I like it when people…”

Assessment:

  • Did everyone participate?
  • Are students able to identify the story elements?
  • Did students support inferences with details from text?
  • Do the students’ ideas reflect an understanding of what it looks and feels like to be treated well?
  • Were students able to make an illustration showing a way in which they would like to be treated?

Standards

This curriculum meets the standards listed below. Look for more details on these standards please visit: ELA and Math StandardsSocial Studies Standards, Visual Arts Standards.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.1
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.7
Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.1
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.7
Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.1
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.7
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.1
Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.3
Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1.6
Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation. (See grade 1 Language standards 1 and 3 [link to="CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1"]here[/link] for specific expectations.)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.1
Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.3
Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.6
Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 2 Language standards 1 and 3 [link to="CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2"]here[/link] for specific expectations.)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.1
Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.3
Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.6
Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.2
Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.2
Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.2
Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.
D1.1.K-2.
Explain why the compelling question is important to the student.
D1.2.K-2.
Identify disciplinary ideas associated with a compelling question.
D1.3.K-2.
Identify facts and concepts associated with a supporting question.
D1.4.K-2.
Make connections between supporting questions and compelling questions.
D1.5.K-2.
Determine the kinds of sources that will be helpful in answering compelling and supporting questions.
D2.Civ.10.K-2.
Compare their own point of view with others' perspectives.
D2.Civ.7.K-2.
Apply civic virtues when participation in school settings.
D2.Civ.8.K-2.
Describe democratic principles such as equality, fairness, and respect for legitimate authority and rules.
D2.Civ.9.K-2.
Follow agreed upon rules for discussions when responding attentively to others when addressing ideas and making decisions as a group.
D3.2.K-2.
Evaluate a source by distinguishing between fact and opinion.
D4.2.K-2.
Construct explanations using correct sequence and relevant information.
D4.5.K-2.
Ask and answer questions about explanations.