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All people have worth and value.
Good self-concepts can be developed through positive experiences.
Everyone needs support from other people.
All actions cause a reaction or response.
People want others to understand.


Students will become sensitive to the effect of their behavior has on others. Students will gain practice in evaluating their own and others' behaviors as positive or negative.


Sheet of paper with IALAC printed on it.


20 - 30 minutes.


The IALAC Story is told to illustrate how one's self-concept can be destroyed by others. If done with feeling and imagination, it can be a very powerful and moving experience.

One class we know of spent a whole week wearing IALAC signs and actually ripping them apart anytime someone said or did something damaging to their self-concept. Whenever a sign was ripped, the class had to stop and discuss what had just happened. The learning that took place was incredible. Several teachers have enthusiastically reported trying this with their families. Have fun with it. It is a powerful technique.


Take a sheet of paper and write the letters IALAC (pronounced I-ah-lack) on it in large bold print. Holding this to your chest so that the students can see it, tell them, "Everyone caries an invisible IALAC sign around with them at all times and wherever they go IALAC stands for 'I am lovable and capable.' This is our self-concept, or how we feel about ourselves. The size of our sign--or how good we feel about ourselves--is often affected by how others interact with us. If somebody is nasty to us, teases us, puts us down, rejects us, hits us, etc., then a piece of our IALAC sign is destroyed. (Illustrate this by tearing a corner piece of the sign.) I am going to tell you a story to illustrate how this happens to everyday life." Then proceed to tell the students about a boy or girl who is the same age they are. Pick a name that no one in th class has. As you tell the story, try to be as emotional and dramatic as you can without burlesquing it too much. An outline is provided below. You will have to fill it in with your own imagination. Some teachers we know have the children help create the story as they go along. As you describe each event that negatively affects the students' IALAC sign, tear another piece of the sign off until at the end you are left with almost nothing.

A possible outline for the IALAC story is as follows: Feel free to adapt, add to, change, and embellish it in any way you want:

A seventh-grade boy named Michael is still lying in bed three minutes after his alarm goes off. All of a sudden his mother calls to him, "Michael, you lazy-head, the your body out of bed and get down here before I send your father up there!" (rip!) Michael gets out of bed, goes to get dressed, and can't find a clean pair of socks. His mother tells him he'll have to wear yesterday's pair. (rip!) He goes to brush his teeth and his older sister, who's already locked herself in the bathroom, tells him to drop dead! (rip!) He goes to breakfast to find soggy cereal waiting for him. (rip) As he leaves for school, he forgets his lunch and his mother calls to him, "Michael you've forgotten your lunch; you'd forget your head if it weren't attached!" (rip!) As he gets to the corner he sees the school bus pull away and so he has to walk to school. (rip!) He's late to school and has to get a pass from the principal who gives him a lecture. (rip!)

Continue the story through the school day with appropriate examples. Some possibilities are:

Forgetting his homework
Getting a 68 on a spelling test
Being called on for the only homework question he can't answer
Making a mistake in reading so that all the kids laugh
Being picked last to play ball at recess
Dropping his tray in the lunchroom, with everybody applauding
Being picked on by bullies on the way home from school
Being referred to as "He you!" in gym class

You can think of other examples or get the students to help you.

When Michael gets home from school some typical negative events might include not being able to watch the baseball game because his mother is watching her favorite soap opera or because he has not yet finished his homework, or being told to wash the dishes for the third night in a row because his older brother has band practice, etc.

End the story by showing Michael going to bed with an IALAC sign about as big as a quarter! When you finish, ask the kids to discuss the following questions:

How does your IALAC sign get torn up? What things affect you the most? What do you do that destroys the IALAC sign of others--in school, family, etc.?

How do you feel when you IALAC sign is ripped? When you rip someone else's?

What can we do to help people enlarge their signs rather than make them smaller?

Consider using stick-on stars for students to put on their IALAC signs when they get positive feedback from someone in the class. Include other school people such as crerical, custodial, and administrative staff.


See counselor for filmstrip which could be used in conjunction with this activity.