Authors as Published

Elena Serrano, Associate Professor, Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise. (


AgeX  Children 7-10X Children 11-14X  Mixed AgesVirginia Standards of Learning
English 3.1, 3.2, 3.8, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2, 7.1
Health 3.1, 3.2, 4.2, 4.7, 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 6.1, 6.3, 6.4, 7.1, 7.5  
SettingX   Classroom    CampX     Either
LocationX   Outside Indoors     Either

Project Skill: Discussing individual’s strengths and what is inside

Success Indicators: As a result of this activity, children will be able to:

  • describe positive traits of other children in their class
  • understand that beauty is only skin deep; it’s what’s inside that is important

Life Skills: Accepting differences, Character, Self esteem

Preparation Time: Write up positive characteristics on different Post-it Notes.™


  • Poster paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Post-it Notes™

Optional Handouts:

  • Who am I? (VCE publication 348-246)
  • Looking at Looks (VCE publication 348-245)


  1. Organize students in groups of two.
  2. Have each group help you cut out sheets of paper, larger than the children.
  3. Request that students trace each other with markers, as they lay on a large sheet of paper.
  4. Ask that each person cut out the traced images of students.
  5. Help the students tape them on the wall.
  6. Provide a list of possible positive attributes, such as the six pillars of character, or ask for the class to generate a list.
  7. Emphasize that weight should not be considered an attribute in this exercise.
  8. Allow students to place Post-it Notes™ with the different positive characteristics on the different images. You may also do this activity as a class with everyone working together to determine positive characteristics for all of the children in class.
  9. Ask the students to tell their parents about this activity.
Fruits and Vegetables–the original fast food


  • Let boys draw boys and girls draw girls.
  • Honor the choices of each student participant to participate and/or not participate in the tracing of their bodies.
  • Allow students to use only positive characteristics rather than negative.
  • Discourage individuals from commenting on any child’s size.

Other Ideas:

Hand out Who Am I? or Looking at Looks to the class and have the students consider what people see and don’t see on the surface.

Six Pillars of Character from Character CountsSM:

  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Respect
  3. Responsibility
  4. Fairness
  5. Caring
  6. Citizenship

Examples of other personal attributes: Kind, funny, respectful, runs fast, responsible, caring, playful, energetic, good at math.
List others here:









Advertisements are designed to persuade you to buy items. Not all advertised foods and drinks are healthy


  • What did you discover?
  • What did you like best about this activity?


  • What was “easy” and “difficulty” about this activity?
  • How did you feel about the positive attributes that were assigned to you?


  • What other positive attributes would you want people to see in you?
  • What can you do to let other people in your life know about their positive traits?
  • How can you focus on your assets?
  • What can you do if someone teases you about something they “see” as “negative”
  • How can you make sure you are both happy and healthy inside?


  • Explain how you would tell your family about what you learned here.

This publication was partially funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low incomes. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your local county or city Department of Social Services (phone listed under city/county government).  For help finding a local number, call toll-free: 1-800-552-3431 (M-F 8:15-5:00, except holidays).  By calling your local DSS office, you can get other useful information about services.  
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, age, disability, or political beliefs.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call, toll free, (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
This publication was partially funded by the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program, USDA, CSREES.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

December 14, 2011