Crazy Hair Day Teaches Friendship, Peace and Act with Love and Kindness
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Crazy Hair Day Teaches Friendship, Peace and Act with Love and Kindness

Book Title: Crazy Hair Day

Author: Barney Saltzberg

Illustrator: Barney Saltzberg

Jewish Value: Friendship

Additional value:

     Act with Loving Kindness,Peace

Book Summary:

Stanley is excited to go to school and ready for “Crazy Hair Day,” until he learns that it is really “School Picture Day.” After being teased about his hair, Stanley hides in the bathroom. His best friend, Larry, is sent by their teacher, Mr. Winger, to coax Stanley back to class. Eventually, Stanley reluctantly agrees to return. His classmates surprise him by wearing their hair in crazy ways. The class photo is taken, and Stanley says, “This … is going to be a day … I will never forget!”   

Enduring Understandings:

  • A good friend is loyal, encouraging, and supportive. 
  • Friends support one another in good times and in bad times by showing love and kindness. 
  • If we’ve hurt someone’s feelings, we need to make things better by apologizing and taking action to fix the situation.

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

And G-d said, “It is not good for Adam to be alone...” (Genesis 2:18). From the beginning of recorded history, human beings have sought relationships with one another. As the book of Genesis teaches, this is part of how G-d conceived of human existence. We are commanded to not be alone—and the friendships we have are part of the equation. We value our friendships, as facing the challenges of life together helps us to understand, or make peace, with its complexities.

Chaverut goes deeper than simply just having friends, but implies the importance of how we treat our friends, how we honor and respect them, love and appreciate them, and truly value what is a special relationship. We show our friends how important they are to us by our actions. In particular, while g’milut chasadim—acts of loving kindness often refers to what we do to improve the world, it can also connect with how we treat others. When we act with loving kindness, we demonstrate that we value the relationships we are in and those that we form.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachyah said, “Find for yourself a teacher, acquire a friend, and judge all people with the scale of merit” (Pirke Avot 1:6). What we learn from our friends is significant—they help us become righteous people. The relationship we have with our friends is a learning experience that teaches us how to nurture our best selves. A true friend is our partner in our own journey.

Questions for Reflection

1. Why would G-d say that it is not good for us to be alone?
2. What should we expect from our friends, and what should our friends expect from us?
3. What are some things that you have learned from your friendships?
4. Who do you consider a true friend and why?
5. How can you incorporate the value of chaverut within the classroom?

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

Integrate Helpfulness
Encourage students to help one another by redirecting those who ask for the teacher’s help. If a student needs help zipping a jacket or carrying something because his hands are full, for example, ask that student to ask a friend or another student. (Sometimes suggesting that they ask a particular child can be helpful in building that child’s self-esteem or social engagement.)

“Read” Feelings on Faces
Remind students that words can hurt others. Teach them to “read” the emotions on another child’s face, when someone is teased. Emphasize that kind words help friendships and lead to feelings of peace. Guide them toward making things “right” when someone has been “wronged

Materials and resourcesmore


  • Copy of Crazy Hair Day 
  • After the Story: materials for the activity “Crazy Hair Day,” including fun items to wear in or on the hair (for example, silly hats, wigs, huge bows, hair curlers, beads, feathers, pipe cleaners, etc.)


Sharing The Storymore

Introducing The story

Wear a silly hat to your class’s storytime. Look at all the children and say something such as, “Wait a minute. Where are your hats? Today is ‘Crazy Hat Day!’” Then, pretending to be embarrassed, you might say, “Oh, no! I was wrong! Today isn’t ‘Crazy Hat Day,’ is it? I am so embarrassed!”

Introduce the book to students by showing them the cover and explaining that you have a story for them about a boy who thought it was “Crazy Hair Day” at his school—but it wasn’t! Ask students, “What do you think the children said when they saw him with such silly hair? Do you think that they acted with loving and kindness? Do you think they acted like good friends?”

Reading The Story

Read the story aloud, stopping when appropriate to explore illustrations, address comments, clarify, predict, and guide students’ understanding of the story and the values of friendship—chaverut and peace—shalom, as well as act with loving kindess—g’milut chasadim.

Ask the following questions:

  • After reading the page that says, “Stanley ran to the bathroom,” ask, “Why did Stanley run away? How did he feel? Who made fun of Stanley?” 
  • When reading the page when Stanley is still in the bathroom, stop and say, “Why did Stanley say that it’s a day he will never forget?” (He is so upset.) “Do you think Stanley should go back to class? Do you think he should forgive his friend Larry?” 
  • At the end of the book ask, “Why did Stanley say again that it is a day he will never forget? Did he mean the same thing when he said it before?” (Now he was so happy about what his classmates and teacher did.) 
  • Revisit the questions you asked before reading the story. Ask, “Do you think that they acted with loving and kindness? Do you think they acted like good friends?”

After The Story

Play the video of author and illustrator Barney Saltzberg as he reads his book Crazy Hair Day: Revisit key themes from the story in terms of the Jewish values of friendship, as well as love and kindness, by asking the following questions:

  • Why was Stanley upset with his friend Larry? (Larry had teased Stanley.) 
  • What did Mr. Winger tell Larry to be? (Be a “peacemaker” instead of a “troublemaker.”) How did Larry make peace? How did Larry show or not show loving kindness to Stanley? Do you think Stanley and Larry will still be friends? 
  • What would you say to Stanley’s classmates about their idea to wear their hair in crazy ways? Why do you think they did this? Do you think that this made Stanley feel better and showed him friendship? Ask students to share a story about a time they made a mistake. Guide them in the understanding that everyone makes mistakes and when we do, it is important that our friends are supportive and kind. 

Celebrate Friendship with a “Crazy Hair Day”!
This can be done school-wide or classroom wide. Your “Crazy Hair Day” can include students creating their own “Crazy Hair Day” slogans and song verses (like the one Stanley sang). Involve music, art, and PE teachers in activities for this special day! Take pictures and display them throughout the school. Alternatively, as a class brainstorm and select a different type of “Crazy Day” to celebrate, such as “Crazy T-Shirt Day,” or “Crazy Hat Day,” etc. Involve students in creating slogans and song verses and involve the school’s music, art, and PE teachers.


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore


Health, Conflict Resolution
Create a quiet place in the classroom where students can go to think about a situation when they are upset (just like how Stanley went into the bathroom). Invite the student who may have caused the problem to think about ways to become a “peacemaker.” (Note: Children should not be forced to say sorry. A better phrase might be, “What can you do to make ____ feel better?” Time is sometimes needed to let the situation defuse. Saying sorry could be suggested, and in many situations, modeled by the adult.)

Bulletin Board, Art, Technology
Draw Stanley’s face on the bulletin board. Whenever you observe a situation in which friendship-chaverut is demonstrated, add a strand of “crazy hair” to create the style selected. As a class, brainstorm and vote on a hairstyle students would like to give Stanley for the “Crazy Hair” bulletin board! For additional ideas, visit the following interactive game in which they can click on various hairstyles which Stanley then models:

Literacy, Poetry
Share Shel Silverstein’s poem “Hug O’ War,” from his book Where the Sidewalk Ends:
  • After viewing the video and listening as the poem is read, involve students in making their own class video of the poem. 
  • Display the poem on a bulletin board, surrounded by pictures of the students hugging, with the caption “Friendship—Chaverut.” 
  • Help the students “read” the poem by leaving words out for them to fill in. (See the Oral Cloze Technique in Appendix.) 

Dramatic Play 
  • Using puppets or stuffed animals, role-play scenarios (use real-life situations when possible) in which one character did something unkind to another and how another character did something nice demonstrating a peaceful resolution. 
  • Ask the students if they remember a time that they had an argument with a friend and role play how they worked it out. 
Technology, Audiovisual 
Watch the clip of this “You’ve Got A Friend In Remix” from the film Toy Story: Ask students, “Who are the friends in the movie? How do they show their friendship?”

Math, Art 
Visit author’s website to access drawing, matching and connect the dot activities with Stanley and his friends:

Friendship BINGO

Make a class set of Bingo cards using the photos of all the students in your classroom community. The following website will help upload each photo you would like to use to create the Bingo cards: Make a set of “calling cards” which consists of the same pictures used to make the Bingo cards. Students take turns being the “caller” whose job it is to select a picture and then call out the name of the person pictured on the card (with the assistance of the teacher as necessary). The other students listen to the “caller” and use their bingo chips to mark the photo of each individual as the name is called (use any small, flat objects as bingo chips such as unifix cubes or coins). This game can be particularly useful in the beginning of the year to help students learn the names of their classmates. Students “win” when they can mark an entire row of their friends’ photos.

Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs

Gonna Make Peace

by Miss Emily Aronoff Teck

Inspiration Text

“May The One who makes peace in high places make peace upon us”-found in the Sim Shalom blessing of the Amidah


Ask students the following questions:

  • What does the word peace mean?
  • What parts of your life or our world need more peace?
  • What can you do about increasing peace when you grow up?
  • What can you do about increasing peace today?
Show students this project made by elementary-age kids at Temple Emanu-El in Palm Beach Island: Introduce the video by directing attention to the action words of the song. For example, “We are going to watch a short movie created by Jewish children who share a lot of things in common with you. They made this movie using this song to share their ideas about the good work they could help do in their world. I wonder if you could do some of the same things that they want to try …”

After viewing, ask students to recollect the ideas shared by the children and then add more ideas. When students perform these actions, commend them on their work. For example, “Wow! I admire the way you’re using kind words to talk to each other. You’re helping make the world a more peaceful place.” Or “Thanks for making the world a more peaceful place by comforting a friend.”

Have students brainstorm ideas regarding how they can fix the world today. Collect the ideas, displaying them in a visible location (for example, on a whiteboard, smart board, or poster) and write them in short phrases that include a verb and noun. Ask students to choose a goal to illustrate. Give each child a page and then bind his or her art into a book, display it as a bulletin board, or make it into a slideshow. Let the illustrations guide the class as they sing their own version of the song. Sing the song, inserting their goals into the melody in place of “make peace.” Sing as many turns of the song, in this way, as there are ideas. Consider making your own presentation like the above video.


We’re gonna make peace in this world, peace in this world, peace in this world.
We’re gonna share love in this world, love in this world, love in this world.
We’re gonna pray for this world, pray for this world, pray for this world.
Please G-d, make peace in this world, peace in this world, peace in this world.

Oseh Shalom, Bimromav hu yaaseh shalom aleinu. (x2)

Evidence of Learningmore

Through various activities and questions, observe and record ways in which students demonstrate and articulate an understanding of the qualities of a good friend. (This information could be an important inclusion in each student’s portfolio, in terms of growth in social / emotional skills.)

Students are observed befriending one another.

Children are willing to “make things better” if they have been unkind (for example, saying sorry, giving a hug, fixing a block building that was knocked down, or drawing an apology picture).


Encourage parents to talk to their child about the qualities of a good friend and the importance of friendship—chaverut.

  • They may ask their child about the child’s friends and what makes each special. 
  • Ask the child to notice, while at the playground or when taking a break from play, if other children act like a good friend, to notice and describe acts of friendship that they see. 
Suggest parents arrange playdates for their children with old friends and new friends.

As parents read various books with their children, as appropriate, talk together about the main characters. Would they want to be friends with them? Why or why not?

literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends? Jane YolenMark TeagueUsing dinosaurs as the main character in this rhyming text, children learn acceptable and unacceptable behaviors concerning friendship.
Chester’s Way Kevin HenkesKevin HenkesChester and Wilson are best friends who do everything together and in the same way. They are inseparable. Then Lily moves into the neighborhood. She does things differently. Children learn about choosing friends and the benefit of having friends with different personalities.
Pirates and Princesses Jill KargmanChristine DavenierThis book for preschoolers shows that it is okay for boys to have girls as friends and girls to have boys as friends.
Little Blue and Little Yellow Leo LionniLeo LionniThe book not only introduces the concept of blending colors, but also introduces subtle, but powerful lessons on friendships. Friends come in different colors and friends affect each other’s lives.
Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah* Leslie KimmelmanPaul MeiselLittle Red Hen must make matzah for Passover. She asks her friends for help planting grains. “Sorry, bub,” neighs Horse. “Think again,” barks Dog. Of course, the Little Red Hen does it all herself. A classic tale gets a Jewish twist in this hilarious story.
* PJ library Books
Lesson Contributors

Barbara Bernstein Temple Beth Am Day School, Early Childhood Program, Miami, Florida