Young Athletes Program through Special Olympics

Student(s): Hannah Robertson, Sarah Melnik, Rachel Northey, Jillian Buckleitner, Nicole Kleinschmidt, Madeline Wahl
Date: Feb 22, 2013           Grade Level(s): Upper Elementary 4-6
Instructor: Carla Stone            Email:
Teaching Assistant: Bella Tirtowalujo          Email:

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Name of Project: “Young Athlete Program through Special Olympics”


Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

We are planning a project that will better equip general education students to be more comfortable around students with special needs. We are finding as teachers, that our students become very uncomfortable whenever a student with special needs is present and they don’t know how to act accordingly. Our goal of this project is to get all students on a more level basis. We will be attending a gymnastics event and our general education students will be helping run the event. They will time different stations and also measure the height of things. They will be learning in an open environment where students with special needs will be present. We are hoping they will learn how to be more comfortable around students who may be a little different than them!


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?

Disability Awareness. Not enough students are comfortable working with Special Needs students. Working with the Special Olympics will build a closer school community despite cognitive and physical abilities.

What service will you provide to address the need?

Gen Ed students (grade 4-6) will be mentoring and working with Special Needs students.

We will be taking our 4th graders to a gymnastics meet for special needs students and they will be helping out at the different stations where they are needed.


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?

• Phys Ed: getting the kids active
• Life Skills: planning, organizing, etc.
• Learning how to measure the height of things
 For example, the height of the bars, beam, vault, according to how tall the participant is.
 As students with special needs of different heights come our students will adjust the height of things accordingly.

 What are the educational goals?

• Our educational goal is mainly that students in general education classrooms will be able to better associate themselves with students with special needs.
• We feel this is important because more students with special needs are being mainstreamed into general education classes and those students need to learn how to treat them as their peers rather than being afraid of them.
• We also want math to be incorporated

Curriculum Connections

Strand: M.UN.04.01
TLW: Measure using common tools and select appropriate units of measure.

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks
List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

Students are meeting the State Standards for different aspects of measurement. They will be measuring placements of how high the vault according to how tall the students are. They will be doing the same thing with the height of the bars the balance beam. The State Standards as a 4th grader according to the MDE Grade Level Content Expectations are that they are supposed to be able to find units and systems of measurement and problem solving involving measurement.


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?

Students can keep a journal started before the project, during the project, and a final reflection entry that shows how their thoughts have changed. The ideal result of this is that students prior to the project, students will say they feel nervous around students with disabilities and after they will feel comfortable.


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)
• Exposure to disabilities
• Taking knowledge and applying it to a real life situation
• Different learning environment (not in the classroom!)


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 work with Volunteers of the Special Olympics and then continue to develop their own activities for the Special Needs Students in their own school. Students will teach the Special Needs students how the activity works and help them through it.



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

Who will you partner with for this project?

Contact: Meredith DiMaria
Assistant Area Director
Special Olympics Michigan

Ingham and Eaton Counties

How will students benefit from this partnership?

• Getting more experience with Special Needs students.
• Exposure to disabilities
• Develop relationships and emphasize with these students

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

• Meeting and interacting with new students.
• Possible partnerships in the future between students and Special Olympics



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?

Reading and writing (journal entries) – Language Arts

How will you assess your service goals?

• How inclusive their activity is
• How seriously the activity was taken
• How well the activity was planned and executed



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

How will you prepare students for this experience?

• Research the disabilities of the students in your school
• Introduce them to some of the students with special needs prior to the gymnastics event

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

• Team building activities with the special education students before to get them comfortable and start a relationship
• Education activity: do practice problems with measuring and converting



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?

By integrating general education students with special education students we are affecting the social culture. We are showing general education students how they can interact with students with special needs and we are hoping they will learn from each other and be more well rounded individuals. This could in the future effect economic growth because special needs students will be becoming more involved at a young age with general education students. They will be learning skills that could eventually equip them to have a job later in their lives.