To begin each new school year I explain what I now call "the Band-Aid theory" to my first graders. I ask them to imagine that we are out at recess and one student falls down. This student has scraped his or her knee and requires a Band-Aid. I ask the students if this is fair to which they all agree "yes". Then I ask them if the whole class should also go see the nurse to get Band-Aids. They usually look at me a bit crazy and say "no". I then ask them if this is fair that one person gets a Band-Aid and the rest of us don't. They all tell me that they don't need the Band-Aid, etc. etc. I then explain to them that their education will be like this. That fair doesn't mean we always get the same thing, but that fair means we each get what we need. This is a great way to address students working on different activities/levels. I even keep a large car Band-Aid magnet on our board all year to remind students that we will not always be working on the same thing, but that is okay. This activity is done after our talk. This way the families are introduced to the concept at home as well.