Updated: Aug 29, 2018
Teacher Gems originally stood for all the "gems" of on-line teaching resources that I had discovered over the years. Well, it has quickly turned into much more than that as I have been meeting real life "teacher gems" in the blogging world and beyond! One such "gem" is our guest blogger today as you will learn as you read her post;)
When I first started thinking about this new series I wanted to come up with a disability awareness resource. In my research I came across the work of Traci Bender. She had an exceptional product that was exactly what I was looking for so instead of re-inventing the wheel, I decided to email her to see if she would like to be a guest writer for my blog. I was even so bold as to ask if she would be willing to offer her $7.00 product in a giveaway for one person to win. Well, Traci went above and beyond what I asked! Read about her experience developing and conducting a disability awareness day at her school as well as her extremely generous offer to ALL of my readers!
Hello! I'm Traci from "The Bender Bunch" and I'm so excited and honored to be a guest writer today on Kelsea's new series "Fear of the Unknown." To give you a little background knowledge on me, I have been working with special needs children in the public school system for 10 years and with my son who has a learning disability for 16 years. I currently teach a diverse group of students with mild to severe disabilities in grades 1 - 5. In my classroom you'll find students with Autism, Downs syndrome, Emotional/behavioral disorders, and other various Learning Disabilities. I am very passionate about gaining acceptance for my students, not only with their typical peers, but also with educating general education teachers and getting them to willingly accept my students into their classrooms. Which is why I'm so happy to be here today to share some resources with you that will help you increase disability awareness at your school or even in your classrooms!
Chances are, in today's classroom you most likely have students with disabilities. Do your students treat them differently? Do they accept them? Do they look at them as different or weird? Do they poke or make fun of them? As educators, we need to instill an awareness of disabilities in our students and promote sensitivity to disability issues. By educating our students to understand that people with disabilities are like everyone else, we can shift negative perceptions of disability towards acceptance and respect, decrease bullying at our schools, and make our world a better place. In an effort to increase Disability Awareness at my school, I began hosting a Disability Awareness Day Event last year! The results were absolutely AMAZING! You can see it in action here.
The students were talking about it for DAYS! During the event, I could see the immediate transformation and empathy coming from so many of these kids. Again, just AMAZING! I will never forget so many of the feedback comments from students afterwards....and many brought tears to my eyes; like "I feel so bad now for laughing at _______. I didn't know he had Autism." "Now I know what it feels like for _______ and why he has so much trouble reading in class." "I'm really lucky! Talking with pictures is hard." Not only was it the talk of the school for a few weeks, students began approaching me asking if they could volunteer in my classroom! I have put my disability awareness day activities together into a "Complete Disability Awareness Day Kit" to make it super easy for anyone to host this event at their school! Everything you need to get started is included and the teacher instruction page will walk you through every step!
And because I am so passionate about the importance of increasing disability awareness in schools, I am giving this kit away for FREE to all of Kelsea's readers in hopes that you will use it to increase disability awareness in your school! This is a $7.00 value at my TpT store! All I ask it that you spread awareness by promoting this kit and/or "The Fear of the Unknown" series through social media! It can be shared through Pinterest, Facebook, a blog, or Twitter." Just leave a comment below with the link to your share, and your email address so I can email the kit to you upon verification. The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY, 2013) has also compiled the list of materials and resources for helping schools increase awareness.
It's been a pleasure! I hope these resources will not only inform you, but help you spread disability awareness and encourage others to embrace these special people as a part of their community!
Thank you Traci!
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