GRADE JK - 3
In this activity, students will collaborate with their teacher on creating a short poem using inclusive, encouraging, people-first language, and will present it to a school audience.
1- Understand how the words we use can impact others (both positively and negatively).
2- Strengthen students' writing, reading, and speaking skills.
3- Encourage creativity to create something that supports people with disabilities.
Create a few lines for the poem before presenting it to the class to encourage their start. The poem can rhyme or be free-flowing.
Once the poem is created, have students practice memorizing it.
Perform the poem at a school talent show or at a similar assembly that would comprise a majority of the student body.
Discuss the difficult and easy parts of the assignment with students (e.g. writing the poem, memorizing it, performing it for the school).
POSITIVE & NEGATIVE WORD ACTIVITY
In this activity, students with the help of their teacher, will write down the positive or negative word in the blank space (the positive and negative word will alternate being blank on the worksheet). The impact and feeling of positive and negative words will be discussed.
1- Learn how to use positive words when describing not only people with disabilities but their peers.
2- Learn the impact that negative words have.
3- Learn that one has a choice to use their words to spread love and support.
Hand out the worksheet. Before starting to collaborate, brainstorm the opposite word, and explain the impact of both positive and negative words.
After their worksheets are filled out in a format similar to the one below, discuss how the positive and negative words make students feel.
MAKING AN ACCESSIBLE PLAY AREA
In this activity, students will study a section of their playground (depending on the size, if it’s a small playground you may use the whole thing) and brainstorm how it can be more accessible and inclusive to students with disabilities.
1- Learn to analyze and question if something is accessible.
2- Learn how to include disabled children in play/recess time.
Take students to the playground a few times and bring a list of questions for them to ponder. Questions could be (if there are woodchips) do you think someone in a wheelchair could move on this? Is the area quiet? Is their braille? What if it’s rainy and the ground is muddy?
Have students create a list of ways to make their playground more accessible. Explain that it doesn’t need to be perfect, but the fact we are looking at ways to make it accessible so other kids can be included is great).
Discuss the parts of the activity they liked, disliked, thought was easy, or difficult.
Explain that even though such changes to the play area would be helpful, that not every disabled person can use the playground as is, and to find ways to help them feel included in playtime.
PHYSICAL DISABILITY SIMULATION
In this activity, in pairs or in small groups, students will test out everyday actions using only one hand. The actions include: tying or strapping their shoes, opening and closing their backpacks, brushing their hair, and filling up a reusable water bottle (with a twist cap).
1- Learn that some disabled people may need extra time.
2- Understand how to ask if someone needs help.
3- Learn patience and support for their peers and themselves.
Students will have a hairbrush, their shoes, backpacks and a water bottle with a twistable cap.
Students will take turns using these items like they would everyday but with only one hand. Emphasize that doing it quickly isn’t the purpose, but to have patience and ask if someone needs assistance.
Students will keep track of the time it takes to complete these activities.
When finished, discuss with students how a disabled person may need more time to complete tasks and why that is okay. Encourage them to be supportive and patient.
Disability Inclusive Poem Creation: Adapted from 25 disability awareness activities for kids of all ages. A Day in our Shoes. (2023, February 21). Retrieved March 3, 2023, from https://adayinourshoes.com/resources-to-teach-kids-about-disabilities-awareness-and-inclusion/
Positive & Negative Word Activity: Adapted from Cook, S., Duggal, G., & Gibo , M. (2008). DISABILITY 101: Increasing Disability Awareness and Sensitivity. Honolulu; University of Hawaii.
Making An Accessible Play Area Activity: Adapted From Disability Equality in Education. (n.d.). Play Map: Designing Inclusive Spaces. Lesson Plans for Grades K - 2. Retrieved March 3, 2023, from https://www.disabilityequalityeducation.org/k-2.
Physical Disability Simulation Activity (One-Hand Activities): Adapted from Adcock , B., & Remus, M. L. (2006). Disability Awareness Activity Packet . Possibilities INC.