LESSON

Taking Action for Accessibility

Drawing on what they have learned about challenging stereotypes and the interaction between art and activism, students will brainstorm, plan and take steps toward carrying out plans they can make in their daily lives to work toward social justice for people with physical disabilities.
Grade Level

Objectives

Students will:

  • Synthesize what they have learned about accessibility and ableism;
  • Generate new ideas for activism and involvement in their community; and
  • Plan thoughtfully, critically and realistically for carrying out projects on a variety of scales
Essential Questions
  • What is activism?
  • What issues pertaining to ableism and accessibility are relevant to our school and community?
  • What can we do to help promote awareness of accessibility issues in our school and community? 
Materials
  • chart paper from first lesson in series with student questions about disabilities
  • chart paper
  • other materials as needed for student project ideas 

This lesson is part of the series, Picturing Accessibility: Art, Activism and Physical Disabilities.

Vocabulary

accessibility [ ek sess uh BIL uh tee ] (noun) the quality of being possible to get into, use, make use

activism [ AK-tuh-viz-uhm ] (noun) actively getting involved in meeting the goal of a particular cause

ableism [ EY-buh-liz-uhm ] (noun) discrimination against people with disabilities 

 

Procedure

  1. Show students the chart paper from the original lesson in the series and go over the questions they asked. Have students go around the circle and say something they have learned over the course of the series, as well as listing any new questions they might have.
  2. Explain to students that the final lesson in the series will give them the opportunity to think about activism in their school and communities. Remind them about what they learned from the sticker project, and give them a chance to brainstorm a list of ideas for activism in their own school or community. Chart all of their ideas, making sure to encourage them to think about their own strengths as artists, dancers, actors and/or athletes as they think what might be possible. (Note: Some groups of students might struggle to come up with ideas. You can help them get started by taking them on a tour of your school to look for places that might benefit from awareness posters, by thinking of ways they might artistically or creatively educate peers in their school or neighborhood about what they have learned, or by talking about what stereotypes about people with disabilities they might have noticed and what sorts of projects might help fight these stereotypes. As in Lesson 3 of this series, encourage students to think about specific places in their school. It might help to have them think through their typical day: How is the morning routine at school accessible or not accessible to students or families with different needs? What about snack and other meal times? How is using the bathroom, copying down homework, or getting ready for dismissal accessible or not? Have students think about universal design as they brainstorm: Ask them how the world around them might become more accessible to a wider range of people.)
  3. Break students into groups based on what they are interested in and circulate to help them think about planning a project. Some projects, like posters or short educational skits, can be completed in one class period. Students with more elaborate ideas should plan times when they can return to their projects to see them through. Remind these students that part of being an activist is thinking about realistic goals, but encourage them to plan their time.
  4. Bring the class together to share plans and projects. If you have time, give students the chance to return to these projects until they have really seen them through. Make sure to give students plenty of opportunities to talk about what they are learning and accomplishing!

 

Additional Resources

Inspiring stories of children’s activism can be found here, and ideas for children’s activism are available here, among other places.


Activities address the following Common Core Anchor Standards for Language Arts and Social Studies: CCSS: SL.31, SL.3.3, SL.3.4, SL.3.6