Beacon Lesson Plan Library

To Be a Star or Not to Be a Star

Christine Kells
Orange County Schools


Through completing an interactive classroom experiment, students identify an author's purpose, formulate personal opinions and respect the viewpoints of others. Cooperative learning strategies are also utilized.


The student reads and organizes information from multiple sources for a variety of purposes (for example, supporting opinions, predictions, and conclusions; writing a research report; conducting interviews; taking a test; performing tasks).


-Book: Seuss, Dr. [The Sneetches]. New York: Random House, 1961.
-Star cut-outs (enough for half of the students in your class)
-Copies of Group Discussion activity sheets (See Associated File)
-Chart tablet


1. Make enough star cut-outs for half of the class.
2. Place stars on students' desks before students arrive at school.
3. Make copies of Group Discussion activity sheets, one packet per group. (Groups of four work best, but this is flexible.)
4. Obtain a copy of [The Sneetches] by Dr. Seuss.


This lesson has the student reading and organizing information from one source.

1. As students enter the room, they will be curious as to what purpose the stars on the desks serve. Politely ask them to begin their morning routine as normal without answering their questions concerning the stars. Once the school day formally begins, treat the students differently. The students with stars on their desks should receive extra special treatment and be given special attention (i.e, complimenting them on their outfits, making extra conversation with them). The students without stars on their desks should be given no special treatment or attention. Allow this part of the experiment to last for about 15 minutes as you conduct your regular school day routines.

2. Observe student reactions as the experiment is ongoing.

3. After the allotted amount of time, read [The Sneetches] aloud to the class.

4. As you are reading the story, observe student reactions as they realize that they were being treated differently depending upon their star status.

5. Divide the students into cooperative learning groups assigning each student with some type of job (recorder, time keeper, encourager, etc.) Be sure that each group is made up of an equal number of students who had stars and those who didn't. This will promote effective group dialog as students discuss their differences of opinions and feelings.

6. Circulate around the room as students analyze what happened during the classroom experiment while completing the Group Discussion activity sheets (See Associated File) within their small group. While circulating around the room, listen to studentsí comments and conversations and make sure the students are remaining on task.

7. Bring the students back together and discuss what Dr. Seussí purpose was for writing [The Sneetches].

8. On chart paper, record student opinions of how they felt about their star status and about how they believe their classmates may have felt about their star status.

9. Discuss with the class how they showed that they respected the viewpoints of their classmates while working in their small groups completing the activity sheets. These answers may be recorded on chart paper as well.


Students complete the Group Discussion activity sheets (See Associated File) and partake in a whole-group discussion sharing ideas and opinions as a means of formative assessment.

Teachers should observe studentsí small-group discussions and collect their written work on the Group Discussion activity sheets to ensure that students understand the questions asked and that their answers are appropriate and make sense. Key concepts to check for within students' responses (both written and verbal) include the understanding of the authorís purpose in writing the story, creating, supporting and sharing personal opinions, and acknowledging and validating the viewpoints of others.


1. The experiment can be prolonged by allowing the students to retain their star status for half of the school day or even the entire day. Students can then compare the reactions of other teachers and their classmates as they encounter different teachers and situations throughout the day.
2. Working in their small groups, have students create a plan to make sure that everyone is treated equally in class at all times.
3. Modification: ESOL/ESL and ESE students can elect a buddy for help if they are the recorder for their group.

Attached Files

This file contains the Group Discussion activity sheets.     File Extension: pdf

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