Teacher of lesson: Megan Matthys
Grade Level: Kindergarten



Students will work on a class mural by painting without the use of their hands. They can hold the paintbrush with their mouths, with their toes, or they can use masking tape to hold the paint brush to some other part of their body. When introducing this activity, explain to the students that some disabled people are unable to move certain parts of their bodies or may even be missing some body parts. However, these people are still capable of doing many things that you might think would be impossible for them. They learn to use other parts of their body to compensate for what they are missing. Ask the students if they can think of any other ways to hold a paintbrush besides using their hands.

For this center you will need a large piece of butcher paper laid out on lots of newspaper, plenty of paint and paint brushes, and masking tape. This center will work best if it is teacher directed. The teacher can help students determine how they would like to hold their paint brush and may discuss with them how different people with different disabilities might have to do it.


In this center the students will experience what it would be like to be without the use of one of their arms. Explain to the students that they will have to help each other put one of their arms in a sling. Demonstrate how by asking for a volunteer. Once everyone in their group has gotten their sling on they can all have free time. During this time they need to see if the games they like to play are harder to do with only one arm. When center time is over, explain that you would like them all to share with the class what they discovered.


The students will use the handicap dolls to create a skit in which they will have to work on solving a certain problem involving a child with a disability. For example, you will tell the group that Clara, a girl in a wheelchair, is feeling left out during lunch recess. Explain that they need to make up a skit which shows how they might include Clara in one of the games they like to play at recess. Then during sharing time after center work, they will get to show their skit to the rest of the class.

It might be a good idea to give each group a new problem to make their skit about. Some other examples could be to have the students make up a skit which shows how they might make the new blind student, Vera, feel comfortable in their classroom; or a skit about how to stick up for their hearing impaired friend, Hal, who is being made fun of by some bullies because of the way he talks. A fourth idea could be to have the students stick up for their friend Mario who is being made fun of because of his artificial leg, and to include him in a game they like to play.


This center will help the students realize what it might be like to do certain tasks with limited hand movements. Demonstrate to the students how they should put masking tape around their hands so that they tape their fingers together and tape their thumb in so that they are unable to use it. Then provide a list of activities that the students must try to accomplish, such as 1) putting on a large button up shirt and buttoning it, 2)opening a jar, 3) hammering a nail, 4)drinking from a glass, etc. This list of activities should be created in a picture format which is easy for all of the students to understand. After the students have finished trying all of the activities tell them that they need to circle the activity that they thought was the most difficult with a red marker while they still have the tape on their hands. When the students rejoin after center activities, the students will be able to share with the rest of the students which activity they thought was the most difficult and why.


When introducing the centers for the week, also take this time to tell the students about the wheelchair they are going to have in their classroom all week. Explain that each and every student will have the opportunity to sit in the wheelchair for part of one day. Show the students a sign up sheet which shows when each student will get their turn. Plan for about four students to have their turn each day.

When introducing the students to the wheelchair be sure to demonstrate how to operate the locks, which they must use each time a child gets in or out of the chair. Also explain to the students that in order to be safe, it is very important that they never go faster than a walking speed.

Tell the students that they will take turns using the wheelchair throughout the week during various indoor and outdoor activities. Explain to the class that they will have to adapt their games and activities in order to include their friend who is taking his or her turn in the wheelchair. Also tell the students that during calendar time each morning you will allow the students time to share about their experiences in the wheelchair. They can tell their classmates about the difficulties they encountered such as steps, highly textured surfaces, obstacles in a pathway, or maneuvering in small places.

(It will probably be necessary to inform the arts teachers and librarian about how the class will be experiencing the wheelchair so that they will not be surprised to see a student in it when they come to their class.)

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