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Unit 1: I Matter


Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, like all students, need guidance developing self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect. We begin with activities that explore self-worth and strengthen student self-esteem in a concrete way, and finish by teaching students to draw on their newly found self-confidence to deal with bullying.

Unit Objective:

Students will learn that they are important and that their thoughts and feelings matter.

Students will increase their self-esteem and self-confidence by identifying and expressing their likes and dislikes, acknowledging their strengths and skills and receiving validation for who they are.

Students will understand that bullies try to make them doubt their value and will be able to draw on their strengths to stand up for themselves.

Standards Met:

  • MEH1.2.4 Describe the difference between bullying and teasing.
  • MEH1.2.6 Explain why it is wrong to tease or bully others.
  • MEH4.2.4 Demonstrate how to effectively tell a trusted adult when feeling threatened or harmed.
  • MEH1.5.10 Describe the importance of being aware of one’s own feelings and of being sensitive to the feelings of others.
  • MEH1.5.13 Identify characteristics of someone who has self-respect.
  • MEH4.5.1 Demonstrate effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
  • MEH4.5.3 Demonstrate effective peer resistance skills to avoid or reduce mental and emotional health risk.
  • MEH4.5.6 Demonstrate how to effectively communicate support for others.
  • MEH4.8.1 Demonstrate the effective use of verbal and nonverbal communication skills to enhance mental and emotional health.
  • MEH4.8.3 Demonstrate effective peer resistance skills to avoid or reduce mental and emotional health risks.
  • V1.2.1 Describe the difference between bullying and teasing.
  • V1.2.2 Explain why it is wrong to tease or bully others.
  • V1.2.3 Explain what to do if someone is being bullied.
  • V1.5.5 Describe the difference between bullying and teasing.
  • V1.5.10 Describe what to do if oneself or someone else is being bullied.
  • S4.2.4 Demonstrate how to effectively tell a trusted adult when feeling threatened or harmed.

Objective Outcomes:

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Accurately define self-esteem.
  • Accurately define self-respect.
  • Describe at least three attributes of a person with self-respect.
  • Identify one thing that they are good at and one thing that they can do well.
  • Identify that it is important to know things about themselves in order to develop their confidence and self-esteem.
  • List at least three things or activities that they like and at least three things or activities that they don’t like.
  • Effectively and confidently communicate information about themselves.
  • Demonstrate positive support for their peers.
  • Accurately define bullying.
  • Accurately define teasing.
  • Identify that bullying is wrong because bullies try to break self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Accurately identify at least one example of bullying, teasing, or harassment.
  • Develop a safety plan for dealing with a bully.
  • Identify ways to help others if they are being bullied, teased, or harassed.
NOTE: Prior to teaching the first lesson, send home the “Letter Home/Unit Vocabulary and Definitions” with each student.

Pocket folders will be used to keep certain articles of work throughout the I Matter unit, which will be used in Lesson 6 of I Matter. In subsequent lessons, the folders will be referred to as I Matter folders.

Unit Outline:

Unit Pre-Assessment
20 Minutes
Lesson One – Self- Esteem
30 – 60 Minutes
Explores and affirms the importance of each student.
Lesson Two – Self-Confidence
30 – 60 Minutes
Explores student strengths and skills. Teaches students how to act confidently.
Lesson Three – What I Think and Feel Matter
30 – 60 Minutes
Students identify their likes and dislikes, and practice communicating preferences to a peer.
Lesson Four – Building a Confident Character, Building a Confident Me
30 – 60 Minutes
Explores and identifies personal strengths and skills.
Lesson Five – Bullying, Teasing, and Harassment
30 – 60 Minutes
Defines bullying. Identifies what bullying looks like. Explores ways to deal with being bullied.
Lesson Six- Confronting a Bully
Students will participate in role-plays to practice standing up to a bully.
Lesson Seven – Bullying Bystander Skills
30 – 60 Minutes
Provides platform for students to demonstrate their self-confidence and self-worth.
Unit Post Assessment
20 Minutes



Unit Vocabulary and Definitions:

Bullying: when someone uses words or actions to make you feel bad about yourself
Harassment: when someone is bullied because they belong to a certain group
Important: having value
Self-Confidence: knowing you can do things
Self-Respect: knowing you have worth; knowing you matter
Self-Esteem: feeling good about yourself
Skill: something I am good at
Teasing: when someone says or does something that makes you feel bad about yourself

Things to Consider:

All too often, by the time people with intellectual or developmental disabilities reach adolescence they have a diminished sense of self and believe their thoughts and feelings aren’t important. There are many factors that can contribute to this overall lack of confidence. One of which is not being included in decisions about their own lives. Due to the level of personal care needed and/or the innate desire to protect children with intellectual or developmental disabilities, parents and caregivers can unintentionally undermine their child’s ability to make decisions by doing what they feel is in their child’s best interest. However, overlooking a child’s ability to decide when to wipe a runny nose or to choose which clothes to wear can affect the development of their child’s sense of self. In order for students to reach their full potential, they must begin making decisions based on their own thoughts and feelings.

I Matter is especially important as it provides an opportunity for students to begin the journey toward self-discovery. Use these lessons as a way to empower your students to find their individual voices. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings, and in turn provide as much validation as possible. If a student makes a decision that you know will end poorly, discuss it with him or her instead of saying “No, you can’t do that.” We still need to look out for our students and help them navigate through the difficulties of adolescence, but having them join the conversation is the first step in empowering them to become healthy and safe adults.

Unit Materials

    • Pre/Post Assessment
      Assessment Worksheet
      Teacher Rating Scale
      Accommodation for Teacher Rating Scale
    • Lesson Materials
    • Lesson 1: Self-Esteem
      • Student Friendly Objectives
      • Self-Esteem Definition Card
      • ME Worksheet
      • Exit Ticket
        Supplemental Materials
        • I Am Important Poster
        • Self-Esteem Sentence Starters
        • Self-Esteem Affirmations
        • Self-Esteem Worksheet
        • Adjective Word List
    • Lesson 2: Self-Confidence
      • Student Friendly Objectives
      • Self-Confidence Definition Card
      • Looks Like/Sounds Like Worksheet
      • Looks Like/Sounds Like Cards
      • Exit Ticket
        Supplemental Materials
        • Self-Confidence Quiz PowerPoint
        • Self-Confidence Quiz Presenter Notes
        • Self-Confidence Role Play Cards
        • My Self-Confidence Statement
    • Lesson 3: What I Think and Feel Matter
      • Student Friendly Objectives
      • Do You Like? Question Cards
      • Exit Ticket
    • Lesson 4: Building a Confident Character, Building a Confident Me
      • Student Friendly Objectives
      • Exit Ticket
    • Lesson 5: Bullying, Teasing, and Harassment
      • Student Friendly Objectives
      • Bullying Answer Cards
      • Bullying Example Cards
      • Either/Or Feeling Words
      • Exit Ticket
        Supplemental Materials
        • Bullying PowerPoint
        • Bullying PowerPoint Presenter Notes
        • My Book About Bullying
        • Why Bully PowerPoint
        • Why Bully PowerPoint Presenter Notes
        • Bullying and Teasing Definition Cards
        • Harassment PowerPoint
        • Harassment PowerPoint Presenter Notes
    • Lesson 6: Confronting a Bully
      • Student Friendly Objectives
      • Bullying Signs
      • Exit Ticket
    • Lesson 7: Bullying Bystanders Skills
      • Student Friendly Objectives
      • Exit Ticket

Letter Home/Unit Vocabulary and Definitions