Teacher Resources: Four Free Lesson Plans for Exploring Acceptance, Respect, and Inclusion

Classroom and Distance Learning Activities for Middle School and High School Students
A team of Unified Champion Schools Basketball players from Special Olympics Missouri

For teachers and parents looking to engage students in conversations on inclusion, these lesson plans can provide a starting point. In each of the four lessons, which require a minimum of 20-30 minutes to complete, students examine the rights of those with disabilities and the responsibilities of all citizens to help protect those rights. In the process, students will be inspired to explore issues related to tolerance and inclusion within their school and community.

These activities connect well to other instructional opportunities that explore civic responsibility, societal influence, human experience, and peer pressure.

Teaching Students Respect and Acceptance Through Personal Experience

For those who wish to use the full set of activities, this series of lesson plans begins with an immersive experience where students are randomly given different rights within the classroom, prompting reflection on the personal and societal impact of treating people differently based on something not in their control. As a result, students discuss their personal experiences with intolerance, as a victim or a perpetrator, and consider the consequences of standing silently by as others are targeted.

By facilitating these lesson plans, you are helping students fight negative stereotypes, transform perceptions, and end harmful stigmas that hold back people with intellectual disabilities—who intersect across ethnicities, religion, age, gender identities, and other diverse backgrounds.

Overview of Lesson Plans and Goals

Mini-lesson 1: How Do Rights Lead to Responsibility?
Focus: Students are given different rights within the classroom, prompting them to reflect on the personal and societal impact of treating people differently based on something that is not within their control.

Mini-lesson 2: Standing By or Standing Up
Focus: In this lesson, students will examine their personal experiences with intolerance, as a victim or perpetrator, and consider the consequences of standing by as others are targeted or bullied.

Mini-lesson 3: Language Matters
Focus: Examine examples of when intolerance and prejudice have had a negative effect on someone. Students will identify the roots of intolerance, and brainstorm strategies and solutions for overcoming it.

Mini-lesson 4: Be the Solution
Focus: Students will brainstorm how intolerance and prejudice can be reversed and create a product to influence their peers to show tolerance towards and acceptance of others who are different than themselves.

Download the full Acceptance and Respect Mini-Lessons PDF here.

Related Resources on Acceptance, Respect, and Inclusion

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