All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Lesson Plan


Target Learners: Intermediate – Advanced

Skills: Culture – life lessons, learning, philosophies of life,

Speaking, and Reading


1) Pre-reading: Agree/ disagree


  Agree Disagree
You should put things back where you found them when you are done.    
Washing your hands is good.


People should sing and dance and play and work every day.    
Naps are good.




Ask the stds. why they agree or disagree?


2) Discussion

Children learn rules as they grow. What rules do remember being taught when you were a young?


3) Reading

Tell the students they are going to read a poem, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. The poem is about life lessons and emphasizes the simple rules of living decently that all children are taught but so many adults seem to forget somewhere along the way.

Read the poem “All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulgham



4) What is the writer’s main purpose?

to persuade people that rules learned as children are still valuable as adults

to inform children the rules of being in kindergarten

to criticize people for behaving like children


4b) For more advanced stds., have them fill in the purpose.

to persuade people that rules learned as children are still valuable to adults

to inform the reader of some of the rules learned as children that are still valuable to adults

to criticize people for not follow the same rules we expect of children


5) Have students read the poem again or project it in the classroom. Ask stds. to write the main idea and two supporting details for their answer. Stds. should share their answer with a partner, and then with another pair. This grouping can continue until a whole class discussion is achieved.

Main idea: ___________________________________________________

Support 1: ___________________________________________________

Support 2: ___________________________________________________


6) The Golden Rule, common sense ethics, philosophy

Introduce The Golden Rule aka the law of maximum reciprocity. This ‘rule’ dates back more than 4000 yrs. Philosophers and theologians have interpreted it as:


Know: “How would my action affect others?”

Imagine: “What would it be like to have this done to me in the same situation?”

Test for consistency: “If I were in the same situation, am I will for this to be done to me?”

Act toward others only as you’re willing to be treated in the same situation.

KITA by Harry J Gensler


Show the algebra illustration and point out how this philosophy also influences math. (see Word version below)


8) Is there a philosophy like the Golden Rule from your culture? Discuss it with neighbors.


9) Now that stds have organized their thoughts, have them write each culture’s version of The Golden Rule on a wedge shaped piece of paper. The Golden Rule should only be one sentence long.

The wedge shapes can be fitted together to make an interconnected circle. Extra spaces in the circle can be filled with drawings that symbolize the rules.


10) Display the poster and point out the cultural similarities.


11) Follow-up

Look at the poem again.

What rules did you forget as you grew-up and you had to deal with life issues?

What do other people do that annoys or upsets you?


Click here to download Word version of lesson plan.

Pdf of Robert Fulgham’s poem