Teacher’s resource – COMING SOON!
While ‘The Magnificent Toby Plum’ can be enjoyed in isolation, we recommend that the story is accompanied by the lesson plans in our MagnificentlyU Teacher’s Manual so that active learning can reinforce key messages.
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Links to Social Personal and Health Education strand units and objectives (for 1st class and upwards) are highlighted throughout this teacher manual. In addition, the activities can be adapted for older or younger children and incorporated into other subject areas. Each of the lesson plans involves a class discussion, a class activity and a follow-up activity that can be completed either in class or at home.
For all lessons, the focus should be on positive coping strategies, recognizing our unique strengths and talents and appreciating that a person’s worth has little to do with their appearance.
The following section highlights how Toby’s story can help teacher’s address aspects of the SPHE curriculum. Extracts from the SPHE curriculum (1999) are italicized.
“SPHE promotes intrapersonal development by helping children to recognise, understand and accept themselves as unique individuals who feel valued and loved. It provides particular opportunities to nurture self-worth and self confidence, helping the child to set and assess his/her own goals and to be able to manage his/her own behaviour”
- In the story Toby comes to realize some of his own special features. Teachers can use the story and the accompanying lesson plans to help children appreciate and accept their own unique qualities. Lessons 1 and 3 focus on this.
Appreciation of Diversity
“Diversity and difference characterise the society in which children live. However, prejudice and discrimination are all too often a feature of human relationships. A respect for and an appreciation of human and cultural diversity can and should be promoted at every level of the primary school. Through SPHE children can become aware of some of the prejudices and attitudes that fail to respect the dignity of others”
- The story highlights the diversity in all aspects of nature. Differ teaches Toby to respect and appreciate the differences around him. While the focus of the story relates to diversity in size, shape and appearance the message can be expanded to apply to all other ways in which individuals differ (e.g. gender, culture, religion). Lesson 2 helps to reinforce this message.
“Children live in an age in which they are bombarded daily with information from a variety of sources. They are also under increasing commercial pressure where marketing techniques are employed widely to appeal to even the very youngest child. SPHE encourages children to become more discerning in their use of the media and to learn about and become aware of the techniques and strategies used in advertising and in the media in general”
- In the story, Toby compares himself to other children and wishes to be just like them. This mirrors how advertisements portray images of perfect people so that we feel insecure and buy their products! Toby discovers that real people come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Teachers can highlight that is different from the idealized and often digitally-altered images we see in the media. Lesson 4 focuses on media literacy.