How Are You Like A Tootsie Roll Pop? A Mix It Up Day Activity


Did you do anything for Mix It Up Day on October 29th?  I know hundreds of schools were involved in getting students to move out of their comfort zone and sit with someone new during lunch.  The program, sponsored by Teaching Tolerance, encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries.  Since I started last year, this was our 4th Mix It Up Day, and I have 2 more planned for later this year. 


As kids entered the cafeteria they were asked to grab a friend

and were given a business card assigning them to a  table.  Last year, I randomly had kids assigned to table and they were not able to have a friend with them, but in planning this year, kids asked to have one friend with them when they broke out into groups.  I actually think this helped with communication, because they were very talkative at their tables, and not just with their partner. 

(Click On Photo To Download PDF of Lunch Sorter)

These were cut apart and used as Table Tents to identify the different table groupings.

(Click on Photo to Download Word Docx)

This year I asked students, “What do you have in common with a Tootsie Roll Pop?”
We started with a group discussion of me asking them to describe a Tootsie Roll pop–  after they described what they physically looked liked, I asked them to then talk to one another and describe how they were like people.  I then had them pass around the question cards (below) and had every person “own” one of the questions.  The owner’s job was to ask each person at their table the question and get the answer.  One person at each table was the note taker.   The teachers and staff members who volunteered to help out each sat with the kids at  table and helped with the discussion.  As they talked we passed out a Tootsie Roll pop to everyone at lunch.  It was pretty comical at some points as they describe the Tootsie Roll pop to a person, but I think everyone would agree, you “can’t judge a pop by its wrapper.” 

I used these sheets, which were cut up and laminated (so that they would last 4 lunch periods) for the discussion questions.
(Click On Photo To Download PDF of Table Questions)

The best comment of the day was when a 6th grade boy came up to me and said, “Mrs. Miller, I came up with a new commercial.  —  You know how happy you’ll be by saving money on car insurance with Geico?  As happy as Mrs. Miller on Mix It Up Day!”

Other great comments from the discussion include:

  • Different people act differently just like tootsie pops taste differently. 
  • I have a “soft spot” for my family.
  • It’s what’s on the inside that matters.
  • There is a mystery about what someone is like on the inside.  You never really know until you get through the hard exterior.
  • You can be different on the inside than you are on the outside.
  • People who are “tough” are really soft on the inside.
  • Don’t judge your friends by their appearance–it’s not right!
  • Your insides are your personality.
  • Tootsie Pops and people both have hard exteriors because we want to block out the negative things and protect ourselves from damage.

Did you participate in Mix It Up Day?  Or do you have one planned?  Leave a comment below or join the discussion in one of the ways that follow:


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