Disabilities within Everyday Life

Student(s): Sam Evans, Lauren Flynn, Catherine Foster, Kenna Holsinger, Lauren Lillich, and Mark Wright
Date: April 9, 2013           Grade Level: Middle School
Instructor: Carla Stone           Email: stoneshores@comcast.net
Teaching Assistant: Bella Tirtowalujo           Email: tirtowal@msu.edu

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Name of Project: “Disabilities within Everyday Life”


Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

With this project, we want students to be more accepting of people with differences especially people with disabilities. Disabilities are something that people encounter throughout everyday life. By having our students be aware of disabilities and understand not only the differences but also the similarities between students with disabilities and students without disabilities, it will help to negate stereotypes. Having a full understanding of what people with disabilities have to endure will also give students a greater appreciation. Ultimately we strive for students to see how people who look or act different have similar qualities and are often more similar than different.

In doing so, we are having the students explore disabilities through a variety of subjects. We first want the students to have a full understanding of what disabilities are and the wide variety of disabilities. We will do this by having students read different books about people with disabilities. We will also have students learn about the different types of genes that genetically compose these people with disabilities. We can also look into the different laws and history that people with disabilities have had to endure. After we introduce the students to disabilities, we will have the students take control and start thinking of ways that they and others can get involved and help others become more knowledgeable on this issue. We will continue to guide the students throughout the project but ultimately, the students will be the ones who organize and learn from this experience.

Ultimately, we hope that the Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center will allow the students to expand their knowledge of not only the issue of disabilities but also help the students create an interest in helping others, allow the students to explore new ideas and opinions and invigorate creativity.


Effective Practice: MEANINGFUL SERVICE

Service learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

What community need will you address and how did you determine the need?

In our community we need more people to be aware of people with disabilities. We need people to understand that there are many people with different disabilities and to have a greater appreciation for all types of people. We determined this need by experiences throughout everyday life. We have found that people often do not like to associate with others that are different from them and often make fun of those differences. We feel that people have a lack of knowledge and respect for disabilities and by making students knowledgeable about this issue in middle school. It will hopefully help to prevent more stereotypes in the future and will allow students to see people with disabilities in a new light.

What service will you provide to address the need?

The service that our students will provide to the community is awareness and knowledge of disabilities. We plan on creating different brochures at the end of the service project to educate the community of the different disabilities that people face in everyday life. We will also ask the Beekman Center to join us when we have this occur so others can learn about the needs that our community has with disabilities and how we can all help make a change.


Effective Practice: LINK TO CURRICULUM

Service learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

How is this project related to your curriculum?

This project is directly related to the curriculum because it allows students to build off of knowledge that they have learned over the years about disabilities. Students also will be able to gain knowledge about diversity and social structure through the research, reading, and discussions in Language Arts and Social Studies; as well as learning about different probabilities and statics in Math and Science. This can then be a discussion on different laws and what can be done to help those with disabilities throughout the tasks that they face in everyday life. By integrating disabilities throughout the main subject to meet many state standards and benchmarks through the project.

What are the educational goals?

• Students will be able to find out how issues are interconnected throughout many subjects
• Students will be able to identify issues that are within their community
• Gain knowledge and understanding of those with different abilities
• Gain personal skills from the acceptance of others
• Have students find a link with skills between the project and how it can help them in everyday life
• Find information to distribute to the community to raise their awareness

Curriculum Connections

Strand: CCSS.ELA- Literacy 7.1 (Speaking and Listening)
TLW: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Strand: CCSS.ELA- Literacy.W.7.7 (Writing)
TLW: Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.

Strand: CCSS.MATH.CONCTEN.7.SP.C.8c (Math; Probability and Statics)
TLW: Design and use a simulation to generate frequencies for compound events. For example, use random digits as a simulation tool to approximate the answer to the question: If 40% of donors have type A blood, what is the probability that it will take at least 4 donors to find one with type A blood?

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

S.IA.07.11: Analyze information from data tables and graphs to answer scientific questions

Social Studies:
K1.1 (General Knowledge): Understand the diversity of human beings and human culture
7- P3.1 (Public Discourse): Identifying and Analyzing issues, decision making, persuasive communications about public issues and citizen involvement
8- P4.2.3: Participate in projects to help or inform others
8- P2.5: Use deductive and inductive problem- solving skills as appropriate to the problem being studied

Language Arts:
R.CM.06.01: connect personal knowledge, experiences and understand of the world to themes and perspectives in text through oral and written responses
W.6.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


Effective Practice: REFLECTION

Service learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.

What form(s) of reflection will you use with the students to help them identify what they have learned and accomplished?

One form of reflection that would be used is journal writing. This way, the students can share their personal experiences and opinions in a confidential way, and not be scared to share how they really feel. The journal entries would include questions after each service learning session. Some of the questions would be:
– How did you feel?
– What questions did you have?
– What was special about this activity today?
– What did the experience remind you of?
– What did you learn that you didn’t know before?
– How did you make a difference today?

Consider the books we read before, introducing the service learning. How can you relate what you learned through service learning to the books?
– Which scientific terms make better sense now than when we started?

Asking these questions allow for the students to identify what they have learned and accomplished within the service learning project as a whole. After the journals are complete, the teacher can give feedback on the journals to the students.


Effective Practice: DIVERSITY

Service learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.

What types of diverse perspectives and experiences will be explored as part of your project?

(i.e.: cultural, generational, abilities/disabilities, learning styles, etc.)

Service learning at Beekman will explore diversity among people in a variety of ways. Students will explore the differences between ability and disability, learning styles, and possibly generational differences. While the students work at Beekman they will get to work with multiple students with a variety of disabilities. The students may learn tasks in a different way than they are used to. Also, depending on the age of each set of students they may experience diversity in a generational sense and as a result also experience a cultural difference.


Effective Practice: YOUTH VOICE

Service learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service learning experiences with guidance from adults.

How will students gain ownership of the project?

Students will be able to gain ownership of this project through the choices that they make. Students will be given options of what type of service they wish to do at the Beekman Center; (from working within the school, guiding horses, or cleaning up and taking pictures). Students will also be collecting information that they feel is important that the community knows and understand and placing in brochures to be distributed throughout the schools and community. This way they are able to be heard and are able to create a document that can make a difference that is in their own words.



Service learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.

Who will you partner with for this project?

Our partner for this project will be the Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center. This center focuses on the uses of “techniques of natural horsemanship to strengthen the body and the human spirit in a safe environment.”

How will students benefit from this partnership?

The students will have multiple benefits from working with the Beekman Center. First of all, the students will be helping the community and gain a better understanding of people with disabilities. It will allow the students to see the many similarities that they have with students with disabilities and understand how they live their daily lives. The students will also benefit by building bonds and potential friendships with these students that they are helping. It will help both sides understand that they are quite similar to one another.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

The Beekman Center will benefit from this collaboration because it will allow them to have the volunteers that they need but also to have their students have interactions with children of their own age and to be able to create connections and bonds with one another. It can also help the Beekman students gain more confidence within themselves that they can interact with students their own age who are “different” from them. It will also help because the Beekman students will be able to see some of the students knowing less about horses than the Beekman students that can also help bring their “human spirit” and self-confidence up.



Service learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.

How will you assess the student learning goals?

We will assess the students learning goals by assessing their journal entries to make sure the curricular goals are being met.

We will also have the students write a list of goals that they would like to accomplish through this project in their journals. As time goes on we will ask them to evaluate if any of them have been met. If they have, we will ask them to create new goals, and if they haven’t we will ask them to strive to focus in on the goals that they have not yet met. This is a constant learning process that requires a lot of reflection and self-evaluation.

How will you assess your service goals?

Service goals will be assessed in a similar way. We will set goals for this project in the beginning, and constantly evaluate if they have been met or not. I think that many times our goals either change, or develop further and there is room to develop and change these goals if necessary! Also, if this project is successful and is able to continue on for more years I would like to set goals at the end of the first year to meet in the second year. It is important to reflect when everything is fresh in your mind and I think to set new goals for the continuation of the program would be a great way to ensure that the program continues to develop and maintain successful.



Service learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

How will you prepare students for this experience?

Students will be prepared for this experience through many projects and discussions. One of the first assignments in preparation will be a research paper where students can chose a disability to present to the class sharing the difficult people with this disability face, what occurs to them, and how one could help them. Guest speakers could also come into the classroom and talk about their personal experience with a disability and how they try to live in this world every day; which would allow students to be able to connect personally and ask questions.

What are some sample possible activities students might do as part of this project?

Students could:
– Create brochures
– Listen to guest speakers (open panel for questions and answers)
– Have students experience what it may be like to have a disability
– Research on different disabilities



The three arms of sustainability are environmental stewardship, economic growth, and social progress. Think planet, profit, and people.

Describe how your project addresses the issue of sustainability?

This service-learning project at the Beekman will provide information that will help in the aspects of sustainability with a main focus in social progress. The social progress that will be gained through this project is the ability for students and people to identify and work with others who have diverse abilities in a “real world” setting. The service- learning project will allow for students to connect with others before passing judgments on one just based on appearance. The skills gained will let students bring what was learned and apply it to their everyday life because in the future they will interact with people of all types of abilities no matter what job field they decide to work in. This aspect of sustainability is extremely important because it is something that students and a community can learn about to improve their knowledge on disabilities in everyday life.