Posted in Classroom Guidance Lessons

The Coat of Many Colors – Stereotyping & Judging

I LOVED the lesson that is found in the Zootopia movie, and since Dolly Parton might be a little outdated for some of our young students (as much as I hate to say that), I thought tying characters that our students may know a little better would take this lesson even further. I hope the templates in this lesson plan make preparing for lessons easier for you so that you have more time for all of the other duties that you have as a school counselor!

Lesson Title: Stereotypes and Judging – The Coat of Many Colors

Grade(s): K-5

ASCA Standards:

  • PS:A1.1 Develop positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person
  • PS:A2.3 Recognize, accept, respect and appreciate individual differences
  • PS:B1.4 Develop effective coping skills for dealing with problems

Learning Objectives:

  • Students can define the word stereotype and provide an example of this behavior.
  • Students will be able to explain why judging someone based off the way they look is wrong, hurtful, and often inaccurate.
  • Students will be able to list three things that make them unique and special.


  • Printed Zootopia stereotype printouts
  • Materials to write and color
  • Printed Coat of Many Colors template for each student


Show a picture of different characters from the movie Zootopia found on the Zootopia stereotypes printouts.


  • Ask students to tell you what thoughts come to mind when they see pictures of these animals. Which one of them looks the nicest? Which one looks sneaky? How about Gentle? Mean? Smart? Who looks like the good guy/hero? Who looks like the bad guy/villain?

Define the word stereotype – a thought or opinion about someone based off how they look without actually getting to know them. Explain that in the movie Zootopia, the sheep is actually the evil mastermind. People stereotype the fox for being sneaky, when he actually helps save the day. The buffalo looks mean and grumpy, but he is actually a good guy! However, the sheep’s body language makes her look friendly, even though she is very dangerous. Lastly, the rabbit is very smart, motivated, and hard working, even though a lot of people told her at the beginning of the movie that she didn’t have what it takes to be a police officer! The stereotypes we placed on these animals in the filmed tricked us into thinking we know who the bad and good guys really were. However, we now know that we can never tell just by looking at someone!

  • Ask students if they judged these animals prematurely – before getting to know them.
  • Ask students how it feels to have someone judge you or think things about you before they get to know you.

Explain that you are going to read the lyrics from a song called The Coat of Many Colors:

Back through the years
I go wonderin’ once again
Back to the seasons of my youth
I recall a box of rags that someone gave us
And how my momma put the rags to use
There were rags of many colors
Every piece was small
And I didn’t have a coat
And it was way down in the fall
Momma sewed the rags together
Sewin’ every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors
That I was so proud of My coat of many colors
That my momma made for me
Made only from rags
But I wore it so proudly
Although we had no money
I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me
So with patches on my britches
And holes in both my shoes
In my coat of many colors
I hurried off to school
Just to find the others laughing
And making fun of me
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me And oh, I couldn’t understand it
For I felt I was rich
And I told ’em of the love
My momma sewed in every stitch
And I told ’em all the story
Momma told me while she sewed
And how my coat of many colors
Was worth more than all their clothes But they didn’t understand it
And I tried to make them see
That one is only poor
Only if they choose to be
Now I know we had no money
But I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me

In this story, many people assume that this girl is poor because of the jacket she wears.


  • How did you feel when people judged Dolly from the way she looked?
  • Have you ever had someone judge you based on something you wore or the way you looked? How did that feel?
  • What would have happened if Dolly Parton stopped wearing her coat and let the teasing bring her down?
  • Dolly Parton ended up writing a song about her coat of many colors that helped her become even more famous! How did you deal with being teased or judged? How can we keep that kind of stuff from getting to us (and hurting our feelings or making us change who we are)?
  • What do you think Dolly meant when she wrote “one is only poor if they choose to be?”

Print a coat template for each student. Explain that students are now going to make their own “coat of many colors”. Explain that when you look at someone you may not know anything about them, and this coat of many colors is going to show these things that we normally don’t know unless we get to know you. Provide coloring materials so that students can draw different aspects about themselves that are unique, such as sports they like, subjects they enjoy, their family, their style, hobbies, dreams, etc. Allow students to share their ideas with their class for the last few minutes.


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