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Midterm Project

brisakane's picture

Hi everyone! This is midterm project on teaching disability justice in elementary school. Let me know if the link doesn't end up working :).




Alyssa Saito's picture

Hi Brisa,

I love the direction you took with your project. I was particularly excited to look at it because the first time I was formally introduced to disability justice, or the topic of disability studies in general, was when I came to Haverford. I was shocked that such an important subject was being neglected in the classroom.

I think the lesson plan you created for second graders introduces the subject extremely well. I like how the lesson is interactive and how you included a lot of different examples for the students to relate to. I think if I were a part of this lesson plan when I was in second grade, it would have provided me a great perspective and foundation for subsequent learning in middle and high school.

I'm curious if this lesson plan could be adapted for an even younger audience, or if the subject would be a bit too complex and the connection/meaning would be lost. Regardless, I think this is a great lesson plan for second graders and I hope to see it implemented in many classrooms!

ccywes's picture

Hi Brisa,

I am so glad you took this topic on! I think addressing disability when children are young will help people later in their lives be more compassionate and willing to alter their own behavior/attitudes towards people with disabilities in order to make more accessible communities. With you second grade lesson plan, I really appreciated the different characters that were portrayed on the how are you feeling today slide. While this might not directly address disability, it is a subconscious introduction to the idea that people look different from one another, but that does not mean these characters cannot feel their emotions. I also appreciate the active participation built in to the lesson. Particularly with new ideas that children might not understand right away, it is easy to design a plan in which the teacher is just lecturing to students. However, this does not challenge the students current ideas of what disability and disability justice are; it does not even require them to think. By including active participation, students are forced to use their own idea to come to a conclusion about disability justice.

Another element to the project that I really appreciated was the space for doodling/drawing at the end of the KWL chart. Many children find putting their thoughts into words difficult. While there are no guidelines for what the students should draw in that box, if their minds are on the topic of disability and disability justice, it is likely that they will draw something related, even if interpretation is required. Space for drawing allows students with different learning styles to participate in a way that is most accessible to them. It also allows some space for relaxation in an otherwise challenging task for the second grade level, as they are required to think more critically to answer the above questions. Finally, the sheet indirectly addresses the student's differences, as they are each going to have different strengths and weaknesses and require assistance from classmates in different ways.

Overall, I really appreciate how this lesson plan pushes students to consider a variety of differences that they might see, from visual differences to cognitive differences, to physical differences. It also taught students how to stand up for their peers with differences and address ableist thoughts and activities, such as the game of tag. I would love to see a followup lesson plan for later in the year where students can discuss the changes they have made to their attitudes and behaviors around people with disabilities.

kyhong's picture

Hi Brisa!

First off, I want to say that you're an amazing graphic designer, and I love the colors and little shapes in your presentation! Also, as someone who was never taught anything about disability in elementary school, I want to emphasize that your work is so important as we need to talk about disability when we're young in order to not repeat harmful stereotypes and attitudes towards it. As such, I think your approach of discussing a disabled character in mainstream media and examples children may see in the real world (buttons for crossing) are helpful in framing disability justice. Finally, as a side note, I really liked the doodling box on the worksheet. For me, doodling often helps me get my thoughts across that words otherwise can't, and it's also a helpful tool for keeping me concentrated on a task/discussion/etc.

Overall, amazing work!