handshake icon

Everybody Belongs Teaching Plans


  • This work is intended to be used to create classroom cultures where everyone is valued and everyone belongs
  • It draws on themes inherent throughout the Curriculum
  • It is based in Levels 3 and 4 achievement objectives within the New Zealand Curriculum,
  • Resources are developed for a wide range of children’s strengths and experiences across curricular levels
  • The work is designed to be adapted to suit a range of classes and goals
  • Curriculum objectives in the learning area of Health and Physical Education lend themselves to classroom teaching and learning activities that support the development of inclusive classroom and school cultures

 moot point

New Zealand Curriculum:

Curriculum Links: Health and Physical Education

Level 3:

Personal Health and physical development

Strand A: 1 Personal growth and development


Students will identify factors that affect personal, physical, social and emotional growth and develop skills to manage changes.

Strand A: 4 Personal identity


Students will describe how their own feelings, beliefs, and actions, and those of other people, contribute to their personal sense of self-worth.

Level 3:

Relationships with Other People:

Strand C: 1   Relationships


Students will identify and compare ways of establishing relationships and managing changing relationships.

Strand C: 2   Identity, sensitivity, and respect


Students will identify ways in which people discriminate and ways to act responsibly to support themselves and other people.

Level 3:

Healthy Communities and Environments

Strand D: 3 Rights, responsibilities, and laws


Students will research and describe current health and safety guidelines and practices in their school and take action to enhance their effectiveness.

Strand D: 4 People and the environment

Students will plan and implement a programme to enhance an identified social or physical aspect of their classroom or school environment.


Curriculum Links: Health and Physical Education

Level 4:

Personal Health and physical development

Strand A: 1 Personal growth and development


Students will identify factors that affect personal, physical, social and emotional

growth and develop skills to manage changes


Strand A:  4 Personal identity


Students will describe how their own feelings, beliefs, and actions, and those of other people, contribute to their personal sense of self-worth.

Level 4:

Relationships with Other People

Strand C: 1   Relationships


Students will identify the effects of changing situations, roles and responsibilities on relationships and describe appropriate responses.

Strand C: 2   Identity, sensitivity, and respect


Students will recognize instances of discrimination and will act responsibly to support

their own rights and feelings and those of other people.

Level 4:

Healthy Communities and Environments

Strand D: 3 Rights, responsibilities, and laws

Students will specify individual responsibilities and take collective action for the care and safety of other people in their school and in the wider community.

Strand D: 4 People and the environment


Relationship to the New Zealand Curriculum and visible in this plan: 


  • Connected 
  • Actively Involved 
  • Confident 


  • Inclusion 
  • Cultural Diversity 
  • Treaty of Waitangi 
  • High expectations 
  • Community engagement 


  • Diversity 
  • Equity 
  • Integrity 
  • Respect 
  • Excellence 
  • Community and Participation 

Key Competencies: 

  • Participating and Contributing 
  • Relating to others 
  • Thinking

Topics to Explore: 

  1. Who I am? 

  2. What does it mean to belong at school? 

  3. Rights and Responsibilities

  4. Looking out for each other 

  • These topics may be explored over the course of a term 

  • The activities suggested in this unit support ongoing conversations and activities designed to support children's growing awareness of diversity as a strength. 

1. Who I am? 

Learning goals:

  • I am learning to recognise diversity as a strength within the communities I live in.
  • I am learning to value diversity.


Thematic Links:

  • Student identity
  • Relationships
  • Teaching



Lesson Ideas 

Reflective Questions

(For Teachers)                                                           

Thinking about Diversity (Lesson A)

 Introduce the term diversity.

 Brainstorm in pairs, group, class – complete a mind map what we think this means in our class, school or community.

Activity 1 provided if applicable (working in pairs, groups or class)                                                                                              

  • How does my language reflect that I value all students equally?
  • How do I show equity in my practice so all students are valued and my planning is respectful of culture, religion, disability, background  - all the different ways of being?

Knowing the learner (Lesson B)

 1. View Ben’s video.

Ben talks about the importance of adults in the school knowing you before they teach you.

Group discussion - starter questions

  • Why is it important that the teacher knows you?
  • Can you think of something about you that would be helpful if the teacher knew? (For example- maybe it is easier for you to work if the blinds in the classroom are down and there is no glare on your work
  • Tell a friend/group member something about you that makes learning easier
  • Plan a process (poster, picture, role play)through which you can share helpful information about yourself?

Activity 2 – ‘Knowing Me’ may be used/modified

 Questions include

 Survey questions:

 1. Where I am from

 2. What language/s we speak or use at home?

 3. How long I have been in New Zealand

 4. What celebrations/ festivals are important to me and my family?

 5. What are three things that are important to know about me?

 6. One way that I like to learn is by…..

 7.Three things that make it easier for me to learn are ……

 8. Other information that will help you to know me better ….


  Discuss as a class – how this information is shared – respect student decision making. (just with teacher? With a friend)

  It is useful for the teacher to complete the survey and share their



  Complete activity Me – right now!  from the Curriculum in Action series Resource. 

  • How do I develop relationships with my students?
  • What family links do I use to support this learning?
  • If we recognize knowing students means we care about them, what does this mean in terms of day-to-day classroom practice?
  • How as a teacher do I remind/show my students that I am a learner with them?

Knowing the learner (Lesson C)

Recap/extension of lesson b.

Discuss – why is it important that adults in the school know you before they teach you? How can we do this?

View Hamish’s video. 

Discuss getting to know each other – the need for everyone to be accepted for who they are. What do we need to know about each other to support and respect each other?

How could we respond when we witness situations or are part of discussions where we hear people ridiculed, teased or abused because their way of being is not accepted?

Brainstorm/chart ideas for positive /affirming action

  • How do I support my students to respect each other?
  • How do I support my students to see diversity as a strength within the classroom and within our communities?
  • How do I value individual student’s strengths in my planning and teaching?
  • What are my beliefs about student capability?
  • Does my assessment recognise all my students as capable learners?
  • Do I have support to access professional development so I can meaningfully assess all my students?

Knowing the learner (Lesson D) 

View Katherine’s video.

Class/group discussion

Discuss why someone would get rid of the things (hearing aids) they need most to help them learn?

What could have helped Katherine to make a different decision?

Students complete survey – supported as needed (adapted from Defining Diversity – a facilitation manual to use with the New to New Zealand publication, Ministry of Education, 2008). It is important for students to show their name on this survey. 


Complete activity Me – right now!  from the Curriculum in Action series Resource:



I am learning to share who I am and who my family are.

Introduce Junior Journal 53 (Ministry of Education, 2016).

Read Pepeha (Pataka and Monique Moore). This is about a way of introducing yourself through te reo. The section ‘What’s in a Pepeha?’ provides a visual model to support understanding across cultures and abilities. The next article ‘Toku Pepeha’ provides a model for students to use.

You can download the audio for the stories within this journal here.

Use the model for Pepeha or Mihi as appropriate for your school and the student’s level of understanding.

Alternate resource:

Unit 1: Ko au (I, me, myself) provides extensive information and resources on saying who you are and your family. There are animated videos to support learning throughout this resource and there are multiple resources for self, peer and teacher assessments. 

To support students with learning and/or remembering their mihi:

  • Have the student or another student record the mihi and this can be played back as often as needed
  • Use symbols and / or photos (mountain, river, photos of family members etc) that prompt the order and the content of the mihi
  • Create a class poster that can be displayed showing those symbols will the key word under the symbol (eg a symbol for a river and the word te awa)
  • Make a slideshow, focusing on students knowing part of the mihi and building on as they become more confident with this learning

Extend further through:

Oral language – learning and sharing mihi (at school and home) through video

Students may access assistive software to support writing of mihi (Story Maker)

Visual Language – create a visual mihi showing photos of you, your whanau and things that are important to you (apps such as Book Creator, Screencastify, Videos) The Arts  -  create a visual artwork to show who you are and where you come from.

  • How does our school celebrate cultural diversity?
  • How do I understand culture?
  • How do we acknowledge all ways of being as equal and equally valued?
  • Do we recognise or seek family/whanau voice within classroom learning?

2. What does it mean to belong at school?

Learning Goals: 

  • I am learning to recognise what belonging looks like. 
  • I am learning to recognise ways to include others at school. 

Thematic Links: 

  • Barriers 
  • Relationships 
  • Teaching and Learning 
Lesson Ideas Reflective Questions for Teachers 

What is belonging?

View Jessica’s video and / or Kayla’s video

Can be done in groups, with a partner or as a class discussion

  • What are the issues Jessica / Kayla  faced?
  • Why did she/ they  have to deal with these issues?

Discuss the meaning of belonging. Complete vocabulary spider with Activity 3. 

  • What do we think ‘to belong’ means, what the dictionary tells us (in that context),
  • word family (belong, belongs, belonging),
  • what does this look like (students draw
  • their own picture of what this means), school/learning –
  • what does this mean at school (Learning, social),

Sentence or a few sentences about what this means in real life, synonyms for belonging, antonyms for belonging.

  • How is my belonging as a staff member supported at school?
  • How do I support my students to belong in the classroom, in the New Zealand Curriculum, as a friend, as a learner, as a community member?

Belonging is …

View James’s film.

What did belonging mean for James? 

Work in pairs to complete a cline showing from ‘not belonging’ through to ‘belonging’. Activity 4

Brainstorm the words that can have similar meanings. Place the words along the cline to show where they might fit.

Alternately you can decide to start at words like on the fringe at the left hand side of

the cline through to belonging at the right hand side and fit words in between these two meanings.

Make a class chart of some suggested vocabulary to start with:

excluded, included, member, right to be there, part of, on the fringe, part of a group,

outsider, connected, avoid, disconnected, loyalty, acceptance, association, relationship, insecurity) 

OR What it feels like worksheet:  two columns showing belonging and ‘not belonging’ putting the words under the categories they best fit  Activity 5. 


Belonging as Community

Discuss – who has the right to belong at school?  (Build on sense of community and every child having the right to be part of their school community)

Y Chart -  Activity 6  Belonging looks like, feels like, sounds like. 

(Cameron, 2004)

Some students may choose to keep these charts private, or choose who they are shared with

  • Sometimes students choose not to share their work or to answer questions. What might silence mean?

3. Rights and Responsibilities 

Learning Goals: 

  • I am learning to develop practices that ensure the safety of each person within my class and school. 
  • I am learning to understand the rights and responsibilities that support belonging in a community. 

Thematic Links: 

  • Relationships 
  • Student Identity 
Lesson Ideas Reflective Questions for Teachers

Contracts support belonging.

 How do we understand the word ‘rights’?

How do we understand the word ‘responsibilities’?

Brainstorm ideas and help students to create links between rights and responsibilities.

View Kayla’s video.

  • What is Kayla saying about rights?
  • What could we do to support Kayla’s rights?
  •  How can we help support the rights of others within the class?

Read ‘The Tree Hut Treaty’ (Grace, 2006)

Unpack the word ‘treaty’

Discuss the advantages/disadvantages of a class contract

What are important class treaty rules that support everyone being included and belonging within our class?

As a class brainstorm , then categorise, refine ideas, and create a class contract

Ensure the contract is accessible and meaningful for all students. (will some students benefit from an aural copy, or a copy that includes pictures or photos to be read able to be read?)

Once completed all students and adults working within the class sign the contract (in their own way). Make this contract visible for all (including adults who may work within the classroom). Use social story books, posters and/or video and photos to reinforce this.

  • How do class discussions value/ include all voices? 

Rights and responsibilities

View films of Ben and James

Both Ben and James recognized and value their responsibilities. How does having responsibilities make them feel?

How does responsibility support risk taking?

What are the outcomes of students having  responsibilities?

Pair and group work looking at the rights of students within our class and the corresponding responsibilities.

Discuss:  How can we ensure everyone’s rights are looked after? What responsibilities do we need to consider?  What rules do we need in our classroom and our school?


Community in the classroom

Brainstorm the word community. Record key words, pictures  or phrases

Discuss with students ways we can create a school and class community.

Create a class responsibilities chart.

Students to think about contributions they could make that would support class as community. Create a chart. Include all names including adults. Record beside each name the responsibility or role that person chooses to support community.

Students may like to brainstorm this in pairs.

Students might each like to nominate a buddy to help them in their tasks

All students are supported to select their task.
  • How do I meaningfully support all students to be active, contributing members of the school community?

4. Looking out for each other 

Learning Goals: 

  • I am learning to develop respect for the rights of other people. 
  • I am learning to identify ways of working with others.
  • I am learning to treat others with respect and accept out uniqueness. 

Thematic Links: 

  • Relationships 
  • Student Identity 
  • Barriers 
  • Teaching and Learning
Lesson Ideas  Reflective Questions for Teachers

Being Accepted

Watch Jessica’s film.

Jessica left her primary school and moved to a different setting. How could Jessica had been better supported?

Brainstorm activities that are part of school excluding the learning areas (eg: having friends in the playground; talking about the weekend; school camp; Kapa Haka; sports teams; cultural opportunities; school formals; opportunities to represent the school; school trips)

How as a class and a school to we support each other to participate in the wider context of school life?

What could we do better?

Identify changes – (write a letter; create a list of enablers (class, groups, partner, things we do in our class to support each other)
  • As a school, do we expect all students to participate in or learning opportunities?
  • What is our school culture around expectations? Do the expectations apply to all students?
  • How do I enact equity?
  • Who is responsible for student advocacy? What is my role? What is the school’s role?


Watch Cecilia’s film.

  • What are things your family value or enjoy doing together?
  • Do other families share the same or different values, experiences, activities? 

With a partner/group complete Venn diagram in relation to family/whanau. Activity 7 

  • As a teacher and as a school is partnership with family valued?
  • How might we overcome any challenges in communication to support student learning and well-being?


Watch Katherine’s film. 

Group / class discussions

  • What is similar /different between Katherine and yourself?
  • What could have been done differently so Katherine could feel that she belongs?
  • How can we make our class/school environment a better place so everyone is respected for who they are?

Discuss these issues and consider simple adaptations or solutions to make the classroom a place where people accept difference and see it as a strength.



What do we understand by ako?

Watch Peter’s film

  • What do you learn from Peter?
  • Can you identify the different  roles Peter demonstrates in this film?
  • Discuss ako – what are ways in which we learn from each other? What have other students taught you through their differences?

Create posters to reinforce the positive ways in which we can work together.

  • How do I understand my role and the complexities within it?
  • Am I able to lead and collaborate?
  • Do my students see me as a teacher and a learner?
  • How do I understand power and the use of it in a classroom?
  • How do I support respectful classroom and peer relationships?

Resources - Viewing, Reading & Listening 

eyes2  books2   ears2

The resources listed in this website have been selected because they support further discussions and action around addressing issues of equity and inclusion for disabled people in everyday education and community settings. They have been chosen because they:

  •  Have been designed or initiated by disabled people themselves.
  •  Privilege the voices of disabled people as pivotal in any discussions and actions to address inequities and the realisation of human rights in everyday life.
  •  Challenge historical ways of understanding disability.
  •  Offer support for people wishing to make sense of issues in inclusive education.
  •  Can support conversations both within and beyond classrooms about belonging, valuing diversity and citizenship.

These lists are not extensive. They offer a glimpse of the many views, stories, experiences, desires, goals, successes and dilemmas we face as people living and working together. Many of these resources include links to other resources focused on these issues.

 Resources for Viewing: eyes

  • Blogs, videos, television programmes and stories documenting the experiences of a range of disabled people in everyday living. Information about key terms, resources and more. Find these at AttitudeLive or TVNZ
  • Live streaming videos focused on people with disabilities and their day to day lives.
  • Inclusive Education: Guides for schools. Practical information for educators, including examples of teaching strategies to support the learning of all children. 
  • TED talks: Stella Young: “I’m not your inspiration thank you very much.” 
  • Amanda Baggs: In my language.
  • Video NZ reasons for inclusion.
  • Video NZ Making the classroom inclusive.
  • TED TALK: Why separating kids with disabilities from their peers hurts instead of helps (Torrie Dunlap) 
  • Our stories – A disability awareness and education community project. A series of stories about disabled New Zealanders living in their communities.
  • People First NZ: A self advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning (intellectual) disabilities. 
  • Use the search feature to view video's about, curriculum stories, media, key competencies and personal wellbeing. 
  • Use the search feature to view video's about, curriculum stories, media, student voice and special education. 
  • Video about Universal Design for Learning (Chrissie Butler). 

Resources for Reading: books

Teenage Readers:

  • Stoner & Spaz by Ron Koertge
  • Small Steps by Louis Sachar
  • The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin
  • Girls like us by Gail Giles
  • The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
  • Leap by Jane Breskin Zalben
  • Owning It: Stories about teens with disabilities by Donald R Gallo
  • Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings
  • Bluefish by Pat Schmatz
  • Caged in chaos: A dyspraxic guide to breaking free by Victoria Biggs
  • Are you seeing me? By Darren Groth
  • Peeling the onion by Wendy Orr
  • Not if I see you first by Eric Lindstrom

Primary School Readers (Senior):

  • Hank Zipzer series by Henry Winkler
  • Trout and Me by Susan Shreve
  • Auggie & Me: Three wonder stories by R J Palacio
  • Can I tell you about anxiety? By Lucy Willetts, Polly Waite & Kaiyee Tay

Primary School Readers (Junior):

  • The Red Beast by Kay Al-Ghani & Haitham Al-Ghani
  • The Disappointment Dragon by Kay Al-Ghani & Haitham Al-Ghani
  • All my stripes by Shaina Rudolph, Danielle Royer & Jennifer Zivoin
  • Best Me I Can Be series by Julia Cook
  • When I’m feeling sad, jealous, lonely, kind, scared, loved, angry, happy : Books by Trace Moroney
  • Dan my new neighbour by Grace Moulton
  • David by Grace Moulton
  • My friend Lucy by Grace Moulton
  • My sister Sarah by Grace Moulton
  • Patrick gets hearing aids By Maureen Cassidy Riski and Nikolas Krakow

Reading books found in New Zealand primary schools:

  • Level 17 PM Early Chapter resource The New Neighbours Level 21 PM+ The Surprise Invitation
  • Junior Journal 31 Shopping with Adam
  • Junior Journal 51 No big deal (fiction), Living in a colourful world
  • School Journal Part 1 No 3 2008 Articles: At the Hearing Clinic, How do hearing aids work?
  • School Journal Part 2 No 2 2011 Get ready to roll!
  • School Journal Level 2 October 2011 – Asthma

Resources for Listening: ears

Teacher Professional Development 

Resources that support teachers to inquire into their practice and support their thinking and their pedagogy relevant to this work: 





Ministry of Education. (2008). Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.  Wellington: Learning Media.

Guidance planning & pedagogy


Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand Curriculum.  Wellington: Learning Media.

Guidance planning & pedagogy


Ministry of Education. (2011a). Collaboration for Success - Individual Education Plans  Retrieved 6th March, 2017, from here

Planning for students who need additional support to access/succeed with learning

Strengths based

Ministry of Education. (2009). Ka Hikitia - Managing for Success 2008-2012 Wellington:  Retrieved from retrieved on 10th December, 2013 from http://www.education.govt.nz/



Strengths based teaching/cultural awareness


Ministry of Social Development. (2016). The New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016-2026 Wellington:  Retrieved from https://www.odi.govt.nz/nz-disability-strategy/about-the-strategy/new-zealand-disability-strategy-2016-2026/read-the-new-disability-strategy/.


NZ strategy supporting equity for disabled people


United Nations. (1989). United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child  Retrieved 11 February, 2016, from www.unicef.org/crc/


International convention to which NZ a signatory


United Nations. (2007). United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  Retrieved 20 March, 2012, from http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convoptprot-e.pdf


International convention to which NZ a signatory


United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation. (1994). The Salamanca statement and framework for action on special needs education. Paper presented at the World Conference on special Needs Education: Access and Quality, Salamanca Spain.


International statement  that supports inclusive practice


Ministry of Education. (2010a). Through Different Eyes - Narrative assessment: a guide for teachers, from www.throughdifferenteyes.org.nz/a_guide_for_teachers


Recognising the learning successes of all students


Ministry of Education. (2016). Assessment on Line The New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars  Retrieved 6th March, 2017, from http://assessment.tki.org.nz/Assessment-tools-resources/The-NZ-Curriculum-Exemplars


Exemplars that support assessment practices

Teacher’s aides


Professional development supporting teacher aides and teachers working together

Literacy support

Geddes, T., & Geddes, H. (2016). Geddes Software: Educational software for those with learning challenges  Retrieved 17 June, 2016, from www.geddessoftware.com/


Useful for students who require support to access literacy

Literacy support

Cameron, S. (2004). The reading activity handbook : purposeful reading responses to enrich your literacy programme. Auckland: Heinemann Education.


Ideas for literacy


Grace, W. (2006). The Tree Hut Treaty. New Zealand: Treaty of Waitangi Information Unit.


Support for class contract work

Inclusive Practice

Ministry of Education. (2016). Inclusive Practice and the School Curriculum, from http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Inclusive-practices 

A resource for teachers and leaders in New Zealand English-medium school settings, developed to build professional knowledge and create a shared understanding of inclusive practice within the NZC 

Inclusive practice/goals

Ministry of Education. (2014). Success for all Special Education.  Wellington: Ministry of Education Retrieved from https://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Ministry/Publications/Briefings-to-Incoming-Ministers/SuccessForAllSpecialEducation.pdf.


Supporting statements about inclusive practice in schools

Health and PE

Ministry of Education. (nda). Health and PE on line,  Retrieved 12th April, 2017, from http://health.tki.org.nz/Key-collections/Curriculum-in-action


Curriculum support