Of course, that being said, it can always grow and be better, so please feel free to share your own ideas.
Kids On The Block Puppet Show came for the 2nd graders.
The programs/skits we chose were the ones called New Friends and Pig Slop. New Friends has a child in a wheelchair and a new friend who asks him questions about his cool wheels and how he gets around and lives with his disability and his cool ride. Pig Slop deals with hidden disability and how there are kids who have a difficult time interacting and reading social cues, but that they also love to have friends.
The 2nd graders asked all sorts of interesting questions, ranging from “how does he get in bed” to “how does he play mini golf.” One little boy wanted to know if he could ride roller coasters. The puppeteers (all volunteers and mom’s of kids with disabilities) answered the questions in character of their puppet, and did a spectacular job. They simply stand behind the table in all black outfits and work their puppets. The kids can clearly see them (the moms) but they don’t seem to notice. They get so into the script and the message, it’s amazing.
Monday was also the day for the Fifth Grade Rotations on Hidden Disabilities:
Each fifth grade class did their own rotations, which meant about 6 to 7 kids in each small group. The first rotation was the mirror simulation. We have box mirrors set up so each child uses their own. They have to look into the mirror, while they try and trace a dot to dot in the reflection. Then they had to try and write their names in cursive, using only the mirror image. It was much more difficult than they expected. It was used to show what it is like for their fellow students who may have processing issues, and who may see and have to use information in a challenging way.
The second rotation was at the table, where they were asked to read aloud sentences from a passage in front of them.
The passage was about lava and volcanoes, but the spaces between letters and words were mixed up. It was a struggle to read and they were laughing at themselves, and their classmates. Then we gave them the correct one, and they could see the difference. The lights went on when we discussed what it would be like if you were to see passages like this, when all the kids around you were able to process the words correctly. How hard it would be to learn and how embarrassing it would be to have to expose that to your peers. Then we discussed famous people with learning disabilities, and how hard they had to work to achieve what they had. Tom Cruise and Bella Thorn from Disney channel. Seeing people they admired, and understanding how hard it was to struggle with dyslexia or processing disorders opened their eyes to being compassionate and respectful to others.