Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Activity 4: Finding the Poor

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • A variety of current newspapers, news magazines and lifestyle magazines
  • Pads of sticky notes, one for each small group
  • Optional: Audio/visual media and appropriate equipment
  • Newsprint, markers and tape

Preparation for Activity

  • Collect newspapers and magazines for participants to explore. You may wish to identify with sticky notes the publications participants may cut up for a collage in Activity 5, Window/Mirror Panel.
  • If you plan to include audio/visual media, obtain and text needed equipment.

Description of Activity

Form groups of three to five children at work tables. Assign each adult facilitator several groups to assist. Give each group a pad of sticky notes and an assortment of newspapers and magazines.


Today, we can get more information about the world than anyone in Charles Dickens's time could. And our world certainly has extreme poverty. But do we get information about the people living in poverty? Maybe we need another Charles Dickens today.

In your groups, look in the newspapers and magazines (and/or, listen to television, radio, and/or Internet news). Mark with sticky notes (or write notes about) the information you find about people who do not have enough money to live safe and healthy lives.

Observe the details you read, see or hear about people's lives in extreme poverty.

Give groups five minutes. Then re-gather and let each group present one or two of their findings and/or respond to these questions:

  • Was it easy or difficult to find images/stories of very poor people?
  • What details told you when you found something about people in poverty?
  • How true do you think the images/stories are? Why?

You may like to post blank newsprint and use it to record the details they mention on newsprint.

When all the small groups have presented, lead a discussion with the whole group:

  • How do you feel when you take time to examine fully these pictures of economic want?
  • What do you feel you could do?
  • What do you feel you ought to do?
  • What do you feel resistant to? What do you NOT want to do?

Affirm all responses. One goal is to help participants articulate the discomfort that can result from seeing others in real distress. Use the discomfort that emerges to help children understand we are all connected to all human experience. Conclude by saying something like:

When you have an opportunity to be of service or to share what you have, remember that there is real human need and you can make a difference.

Including All Participants

Include non-sighted participants by adding audio/visual media. Obtain the equipment to provide news programming from television, radio or streaming internet for this activity. Assign a mixed group of sighted and non-sighted participants to monitor audio/visual news for reports of extreme poverty.