Newton Public Schools ISW 2011 Events and Activities

Group of children huddling in the park

Submitted by: Jo-Louise Allen, Co-Chari, Newton Sped PAC

Franklin Elementary

Staff Appreciation Breakfast on Wednesday, December 7th.

Book display highlighting differences of all kinds

Principal’s note focusing on inclusion in the next issue of the Franklin newsletter

All classrooms to participate in a grade-appropriate “I feel included when” activity

Burr Elementary

School-wide Activities 

  • Teacher communication—providing teachers with outline/tools for the week 
  • Introduction to ISW at December All School Meeting (concept, lunch mixers, etc) 
  • NEW! 5th graders to introduce concept of mixers—youth modeling action of inclusion  
  • NEW! (Increase from 2 to 3)  Lunchtime mixers—three times during the week, led by parents  
  • Follow up at January All School Meeting—discussion/sharing of “I feel included/I am a good friend when…” slips

Classroom Activities 

  • NEW! (Added element of action for Grades 2-5) Discuss and fill out the annual “I feel included when…” strips.  In an effort to elicit more in-depth answers from students and to promote action (beyond awareness), grades 2-5 will also complete the statement “I am a good friend when…”
  • Optional activities/stories led by teachers—an inventory of resources will be provided to teachers 
  • NEW! (Optional…but hopefully we can pull it off) Classroom accessibility inventories to be completed by 5th grade classes 
  • Home/School Connection 
  • Homework assignment taken home for students to complete with parents 
  • Parents writing “Inclusion Corner” pieces for the Bulletin

Williams Elementary School

  • Wed, Dec 7th  7pm-8:30 pm    Show the movie “Including Samuel” followed by a discussion with our panel of Educators from Williams. (open to the parent community)
  • Monday Dec 5 school morning announcements will include recognition of Inclusive Schools week.
  • Using google docs, students will complete Inclusion is sentences in class. This information will then be processed and put into an Inclusion is “word blast” which will be made into a poster to display in the school.
  • School meeting: share some of the “inclusion is” sentences, unveil the poster described in # 3 above, fifth grade will read aloud an inclusion themed story book.
  • Library will have inclusion themed books on display for the week


Art Classes and in Grade Level Classrooms

In art class every child, grades K-5, is writing sentences about what including everyone means and illustrating their ideas through drawing and painting. Some examples of the sentences are “Including everyone means to make everyone feel comfortable” (grade 2) or “Inclusion means listening to other people’s ideas, even if they are different from yours.” (grade 4).  We will take a photograph of each illustration and make a book to put into the library.  We are also hoping to put some of the illustrations on the Memorial-Spaulding website.

Appreciation Lunch

On Tuesday, 12/6/11 we will be having an Inclusion Assistant/Behavior Therapist/ELL Aides/Interns appreciation luncheon.  We will be inviting all of these staff members to the lunch and thanking them for their hard work and dedication.  In addition to the lunch, the parents have typically put together a favor for each aide as a thank you. 

Music Classes

All students in grades K-5 are learning the song “Namaste” by Joanne Hammil, a song about acceptance and respecting differences between cultures.  In the song, the children say “Hi” in 15 different languages. The entire school will sing the song at the December All-School meeting.  It will be a great way for all of the students to join together in music – a universal language!

PE Classes

We have the rope unit. In addition to vertical climbing, we also have horizontal climbing. The goal is to improve upper body strength and there are a variety of ways to do that. No one has to climb up. It is challenge by choice. 

Countryside Elementary School

We are delighted to participate in the 11th annual international Inclusive Schools Week celebrated December 5 – 9.  It’s an opportunity for our school to join schools across Newton and the globe in highlighting our commitment to providing and supporting a school culture which embraces diversity in all of its forms — from learning differences to linguistic, ethnic, cultural, gender, and geographical differences. 

This year each grade level will respond to a sentence starter (K – 2) or a writing prompt (3 – 5) relating to what it means to be inclusive.  Students will be asked to draw a picture to accompany their words.  A book with a cover designed by a student will be created at each grade level.  We will bind these and make them available in the library for children to read and share. 

Our library teacher, Jessica Lodge, has assembled an array of books, which teachers will be reading to their students during the week to stimulate discussion and ideas for each child’s contribution to their grade level book.  


At the Newton Early Childhood integrated preschool program, where inclusion is celebrated every day, we use Inclusive Schools Week to highlight the unique traditions celebrated by the families of both students with special needs and typical peers.  Some classrooms use Todd Parr’s book “It’s OK to be Different” to establish the context and framework necessary for our young learners to engage in conversations about differences, and other classrooms ask families to work with children at home to create representational drawings of special family traditions that will be shared and implemented as part of a homemade classroom book. And in all of our classrooms families are invited and encouraged to spend time as special guests visitors to share specific information about these traditions.

Do you have an Inclusion in Action Story to share? We’d love to read about it and share it with others.

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