School Celebration Ideas: Promoting Awareness

In many places, schools are considered the heart of the community. They are a wonderful place to celebrate diversity and bring about awareness and acceptance of differences among community members. Activities in this section create awareness of the benefits of inclusive education. Awareness is the first step in promoting positive change. Once people are able to recognize the promise of inclusive education, they can begin to seek the knowledge and skills necessary to realize their goals.

  • Ask students to contribute to a list of “100 Things that Make our School Inclusive.” Place a large bin in a common area of the school and have students write their ideas on paper and drop into the bin. When the count reaches 100 choose some of the contributions to share with the students during an assembly. Give prizes (e.g., pencils and posters) to the students whose ideas were chosen.
  • Create a student-run planning team for Inclusive Schools Week. Have a faculty advisor guide the group to develop goals and strategies for celebrating Inclusive Schools Week 2012
  • Have a poster contest and/or essay contest using the theme “Great things happen in inclusive schools.” Display the art and literature work throughout the school and community.
  • Create an inclusive school portrait to display in the school lobby. Have each student bring in a small photo of him- or herself for display in a large collage during the Week.
  • Ask families, school personnel, and students to contribute their ideas to the slogan “Great things happen in inclusive schools.” Have a book or a box at the entrance of the school prompting people to answer the question “What are some great things that happen in our inclusive school?” Share the contributions with members of the school community during the Week through a newsletter or during a planned celebration.
  • Highlight an “Inclusive Practice of the Week” in the faculty room.
  • Make an inclusion quilt. Have each classroom design a square of material with words or a design that celebrates the Week. Ask one volunteer from each class to help put the quilt together. Display in the school lobby during the Week and throughout the year.
  • During a staff meeting or professional development day, ask teachers to evaluate their rooms for accessibility. Have wheelchairs, blindfolds, white canes, earplugs, and other simulators available for them to use during this assessment. Provide a form for teachers to record their findings and allow them to share their plans to improve their classrooms with the group.
  • Develop an Inclusive Practices Manual for the school. Ask teachers to contribute ideas, strategies, and tools that they have found successful in promoting inclusive practices in their classroom and throughout the school.
  • Honor school faculty and staff committed to inclusive education at a luncheon.
  • Make a daily PA announcement on a particular topic or theme that relates to the Week.
  • Make a book that honors the diversity of all students in the school. Have the book on display at the front office.
  • Write a school song that highlights the inclusive nature of the school.
  • Create school displays that promote the principles of the Week.
  • Have all students and staff read a common book with an inclusive theme. Have school-wide or grade-level discussions about the book.
  • Make a video for families highlighting your school’s celebration of diversity. The video can be shown during parent-teacher conference night.
  • Promote the Week via a parent newsletter, the local newspaper, school marquis, and/or the local community cable channel.
  • Write a letter to school staff encouraging them to address inclusion at staff meetings, parent meetings, holiday concerts, student assemblies, and any other appropriate situations.
  • Display student artwork and projects around the school. Projects might include life-sized paper dolls, the “what makes me special” essays, name histories, or family trees.
  • Hold school-wide celebrations that might include presentations on inclusive practices by staff and other experts, poster and banner displays, awards for inclusive practices at the school or in the community, student displays, and celebrations with food from many countries.
  • Invite faculty and families of neighboring districts to your celebration activities.
  • Ask each grade level to choose a different topic relating to inclusive education to focus on during the Week. Share resources, photos, books, and activity ideas in the school lobby and faculty lounge.

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