Lesson Plan Industry Sector
Education, Child Development, and Family Services

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: rachelle barkus

Children Learn What They Live

Part of Unit: Growth and Development of Children and Adolescents

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

"Children Learn What They Live" is poem written by Dorothy Law Nolte that looks at the concept of behavorism in correlation to the concept that children will become products of their environment. This is a great introductory activity to Careers in Education, as it explores what kind of environment a teacher needs to create in his/her classroom to create a well adjusted child.  It identifies what children need to live with in order to feel good about themselves, which should be a goal of all teachers.

Lesson Time


California's 2008 CTE Standards

California Academic Content Standards (Reinforced)

Objectives and Goals

  • Students will identify how the evironment in which a child grows up will effect the development of his/her personality.
  • Students will recognize the effects of parenting techniques on a childs overall development.
  • Students will identify the environment teachers need to develop to effectively guide students
  • Students will identfy strategies they could use to foster positive self esteem in students and children in general.

Activities in this Lesson

  • The Poem Hooks / Set

    Place the Poem "Children Learn What they Live" on the overhead or Smart Board.  Read the poem to the class.

    Have the students answer the following prompt:

    "After reading Dorothy Law Nolte's poem, choose two positive stanzas and two negative stanzas, giving specific life examples for each line."

    Randomly call on students to share out what they wrote.  Elaborate when the situation allows.

    Resources and Materials

    • Children Learn What They Live - Poem [ Download ]
    • Children Learn What They Live - Poem (PDF) [ Download ]
  • Collage Creation Independent Practice

    Students will create a poster using the four stanzas from the poem they used for the quick write. 

    • They need to find at least six pictures for each stanza, using either pictures cut from magazines, images from the computer or Internet, or hand-drawn pictures that accurately illustrates the intent of the poem. 
    • Divide the paper into four sections (one for each stanza). The stanzas need to be printed out and placed within the section of approprate pictures.
    • Cut and glue the pictures to a piece of construction to create a collage. 
    • Title the poster, "Chldren Learn What They Live".
  • Reflection Assessment

    Students need to identify, through writing, why they chose the pictures they did.  This is a key of sorts. Students need to share their rationale for each visual depiction.,  This should be done on a seperate piece of binder paper and attached to the poster when it is turned into you.


Assessment Types:
Projects, Journals, Observations,

Students will analyze the poem, "Children Learn What They Live," by creating a poster illustrating two postive and two negative stanzas from the poem.  They will then share their posters with the class and write a reflection explaining their choices.