Who doesn’t love the Grinch? I can honestly say that it is in my top 3 favourite Christmas movies, after Elf and Miracle on 34th Street (the black and white version).
Not only is the Grinch a relatable character -because aren’t we all Grinches sometimes?-, but the storyline is perfect for teaching mindfulness and positive relationships to our students. This movie, despite being categorized as a Christmas genre, has many lessons that our students can learn from.
The Grinch left Whoville because he was bullied by his classmates at school for his Christmas gift to Martha May and for shaving his beard. The Grinch, in turn ran away. However, throughout the film, we see the Grinch stand up to his bullies and take his life back. The Grinch’s bullies begin to understand their actions and apologize to him.
While this is not always the end result of bullying, it could be. Everyone, at some point in their life, has experienced bullying. It is important that we teach our children that bullying is wrong, that is hurts and affects people in ways we cannot understand, and that it has a very real impact on every aspect of their lives.
The Grinch was bullied because of this appearance- his hairy beard and his color, among other things. After reaching his breaking point of being bullied, he lashes out, ruins the classroom’s Christmas, and runs away. These actions lead the residents of Whoville to believe that the Grinch is mean, scary, and even dangerous.
But they were wrong. Throughout this movie, the residents of Whoville slowly begin to realize that they were wrong about the Grinch and they learn to accept him the way he is.
Today, being labelled as “different” is cause for bullying. It, unfortunately, is something we have all experienced in some form or another. It is important that we teach out students that bullying is not okay, that there are people who are “different” and that that is okay. We all want to be loved and accepted, to belong and be a part of the amazing-ness that is this world.
Living on the mountain by himself, with the exception of his dog Max, the Grinch was lonely. Loneliness is something we have all experienced. It sucks, is not an easy feeling to come out of, and sometimes, no matter how much we want to be loved, it is hard to put ourselves out there and take the risk of being hurt again.
But the Grinch found a way to overcome these feelings and find love and acceptance with the residents of Whoville. And, in the end of the film, the residents of Whoville stand hand-in-hand with the Grinch and accept him as one of their own.
Near the end of the Grinch movie, the residents of Whoville realize that they have misjudged the Grinch, believing him to be a bad, mean person who was incapable of love belonging. And, in the end, the residents of Whoville realize that the Grinch is the same as they are- just a person who wants to be loved and feel as though they have a place in the world.
The True Meaning of Christmas
Although stealing is not the answer, the Grinch taking the presents away from the residents of Whoville made them realize that Christmas isn’t about gifts and lights and Christmas cards- it is about spending time with those you love, spreading and sharing joy, and helping and loving those around you.
Another thing I like about this movie is that there are no religious undertones here. This is perfect for educators who have students of multiple cultures and religions in their classrooms.
My Grinch activity is one of my favorite activities that I have ever done with my students. Everyone loved it.
You will need:
- a number of red heart paper cut-outs (one for each student/person participating)
- a large paper cut-out of the Grinch
- glue or tape to stick the heart to the Grinch.
How to play:
I showed my students the picture of the Grinch and asked them who it was. Of course, they all knew who the Grinch was. I then asked the students to tell me about the Grinch- What was he like? Where did he live? Who were his friends?
They knew all about him. They knew that he lived on the mountain because he was bullied by kids at school. They knew that his only friend was Max but that wanted nothing more than to be loved.
After our discussion about the Grinch, I gave each student a paper heart. I asked them to say one nice thing to someone in the room and glue their heart onto the Grinch cut-out.
This started out with small compliments such as “I like your shirt today” and ended with “Thank you for helping me with my math” and “I really love you as a teacher because you understand me”. There were literally tears flowing by the end of this activity. And the Grinch was covered with hearts and love.
During this activity, the educators present were surprised at the answers the students were giving. I had many of them tell me how they didn’t realize how much the kids knew.
But kids know. They know whether you tell them or not.
My students knew that the Grinch was bullied, they knew bullying was wrong, they knew he was lonely, and they knew that in the end everyone loved him.
That is why is it so important that we talk to our children about these things. About bullying, love, and acceptance. If they don’t hear it from you, they will hear about it from someone else or even make assumptions. I think we can all agree that it is better that children are properly educated on the important topics of the world.
This Grinch activity fosters feelings of love, helps students and educators to share feelings they may not have otherwise shared, and creates a warm and welcoming environment for both the students and educators. Click To Tweet
Try it and comment below on how it goes!