Give Me Some Skin
A Case Study About Skin Tone
Case Study at a Glance
In "Give Me Some Skin," students look closely at skin tone as a stepping stone to understanding themselves and one another, through the use of quality picture books, discussion, and art projects.
The key concept of this unit is to create an atmosphere of openness and comfort when discussing skin tone, color, and race. Students actively practice being comfortable when discussing challenging and/or confusing topics, and helping others become comfortable too. The anchors for these discussions are picture books and art projects.
Over the course of this unit, students use close observation skills to describe their own and others’ skin tones. Students recognize that skin colors come in infinite unique shades. Students consider the harmful potential of racial stereotypes, and come to understand that no skin color is superior to any other.
|Allison Deutsch Andersen|
|Fall Creek Elementary|
- Who am I? How do I tell you about myself?
- What color is my skin?
- Does looking closely at our skin help us to understand ourselves and one another?
- Can I be unique, and also be the same as other people?
- What are some ways we can make ourselves - and people around us - more comfortable with challenging and confusing topics?
Social Justice Standards
- I know that all my group identities are part of me—but that I am always ALL me.
- I can feel good about myself without being mean or making other people feel bad.
- I like being around people who are like me and different from me, and I can be friendly to everyone.
- I can describe some ways that I am similar to and different from people who share my identities and those who have other identities.
- I know my friends have many identities, but they are always still just themselves.
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Students mix their different skin tone paints to create a banner that represents their community.
Students recite a poem that is selected to reflect their understandings about skin tone. The selected poem also promotes the philosophy of equality; utilizes rich and varied vocabulary for describing skin color; and heightens listeners' awareness of the beauty of their own and others' skin colors.
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz (1999)
A young girl walks through her neighborhood with her mother, and they notice all the skin colors around them, comparing the shades to foods such as cinnamon and creamy peanut butter. The girl uses this walk to make sense of her own skin color, which is its own special shade of brown.
All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger (1994)
Beautiful photographs of children demonstrate the many colors of our skin. Offers up the science behind skin and skin color, explained simply and clearly. Discusses the impact of environment, heredity, and melatonin. Ideas for activities are interspersed. Text in English and Spanish.
Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester (2005)
Explores race as a part of our personal story, but not all of that story; and how race is often misused as a reason for thinking we are “better than” somebody else. Told in a very personal way; the author opens up about himself as a method for connecting with the reader.