One, by Kathryn Otoshi


Students will read One by Kathryn Otoshi. In this lesson students will listen to a read aloud of One, which tells the story of Blue and how Red made them feel inadequate. None of the other colors liked Red and the way they treated Blue, but they were afraid to stand up for them. Until One came and stood up to Red and and other colors realized that they had the power to be upstanders and defend their friend Blue. However, Red is not villainized and realizes that they “can be hot and Blue can be cool too” and is encouraged to join the other colors (now numbers). The purpose of this read aloud is to show children that sometimes bullying can occur because someone can feel as isolated as the bullying themselves makes them feel, and we can in fact come together and find common ground as long as we stand up for each other, and stand together.   

Common Core Learning Standards


Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.


With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.


Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.


With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

Anti-Bias Standards:

  1. Students will express empathy when people are excluded or mistreated because of their identities and concern when they themselves experience bias.
  2. Students will recognize their own responsibility to stand up to exclusion, prejudice and injustice. 18. Students will speak up with courage and respect when they or someone else has been hurt or wronged by bias.
  3. Students will make principled decisions about when and how to take a stand against bias and injustice in their everyday lives and will do so despite negative peer or group pressure.
  4. Students will plan and carry out collective action against bias and injustice in the world 


One By Kathryn Otoshi


Bullying, upstander, bias, injustice, respect

Learning Target:

I can…make a poster that shows how I will respect others and stand up for them


Do you remember a time when you were bullied? How did that make you feel? Did you have a friend who stood up for you, if not, did you think it would have made it better if you had someone?

Direct Teach:

Today class we are going to read One by Kathryn Otoshi. We are going to look at how Blue feels when they are confronted by Red, and how their bullying makes them feel. When we are reading the story, think about how Blue feels that no one will help them stand up to Red until One comes along.

You might think about…
*What would you have done if you have been one of the other colors?
*What would you have said to Red?

After we have read the story…
*Would you have invited Red to become your friend after everything had happened?
*Why did the colors decide to become upstanders?

Guided Practice:

After the read aloud, students will be invited to turn and talk to their partners and role play the parts of of the other colors in the story (not Blue or Red) and see how they would feel if they have witnessed the bullying that occurred in the story.

*Ask your partner: what would you have done if you had seen the bullying that occurred? Would you have done the same? Different?

The partners will share what they discussed on the rug and teacher will make a chart of responses from the students. Students will then be invited to share how we can use this information to help us when we encounter bullying in our schools or communities.

Independent Practice:

Students will be invited to go and make posters showing how we can help others when they are confronted with bullying and they don’t know what to do to help.

Anticipated misconceptions or questions (If kids say…):

“I don’t know/can’t write!” You can use you pictures to help you get across your messages.
“I don’t know how to help someone.” You can work with a friend or think back to a time when you were bullied and what would have helped you. Did your family member/friend do something special for you? Were you able to confide in someone? You can do more than you know!
“But I don’t want to be a tattletale!” It’s not tattle tailing if you are trying to help someone. You are letting people know that you and THEY have a voice and that they do not deserve to be treated that way. You are helping not only that person, but the bully realize that what they are doing is more than likely hurting them too.

Ideas for Modifications/Differentiation:

Provide a list of vocabulary with accompanying pictures to suggest themes and ideas.
*Perhaps add slogans in Spanish?


Have the class come to the rug and share their posters with the class. Have them share why they chose this idea and what it means to them.

**Discuss where they should hang it to have the most impact? Who is the intended audience for this slogan?**

Activist Extension:

Invite other grades/classes/staff etc.. to come and help hang out signs and discuss where they think they would best serve their purpose.

**Classes can come in and share times when they were bullied and how these signs can help them relate their own experiences.
**Photos can be shared on social media platforms/specifically with other schools.
**Other grades can be invited to participate in making other signs for their rooms/communities etc..