Beyond Disabilities Week: Library Entrance Closing


Pictures from the Library Entrance Closing at Gordon College. Used to promote Beyond Disabilities week at Gordon College and to raise awareness of accessibility and disabilities on campus.

Beyond Disabilities Week: Library Closing

Dear students of Gordon College,

On Monday, February 10 the front door of the library was closed in order to raise awareness of how some students on campus must enter the library due to their physical disability. While this closing was a surprise to many students, the main purpose of the door closing was for others to experience what it is like to not use the front entrance of a building and how stairs can be seen as a barrier.

The intention was not to frustrate students, but to realistically show how some of our peers must enter and exit the library. As was said on our sign in front of the library, “reconciliation is walking alongside our brothers and sisters.” Since one of the goals of Beyond Disabilities Week is to make Gordon a place more hospitable for people with disabilities, we wanted the campus to join our peers in using the accessible entrance.

The Beyond Disabilities Week planning committee hopes that you found this exercise to be a unique opportunity to reflect on the challenges some of our peers face on campus. We look forward to exploring this topic with you more next week, February 17-21.

Thank you,

Beyond Disabilities Planning Committee

Please enjoy the photos of the event below. Click “Beyond Disabilities Week: Gordon College Library Closing” for more picture.

Library closing disability awareness Leah Serao
Library closing disability awareness Leah Serao

disability awareness library closing Leah Serao

2 Type of Graphic Organizers

In the Triton school district, a decision was made 2 years ago to have the whole district use two types of graphic organizers: 2 column notes and a top-down web. Every teacher must only use these two types from 1st grade to 12th. The reasoning behind the decision is that too much time is spent teaching how to organize the graphic organizer that teachers lose time year-to-year and throughout the year explaining how to set-up the organizer.  By only using two types, the students know what is expected of them and can focus on the actual content. Also, the graphic organizer is not a surprise and students spend less time worrying about what type of organizer to use. The consistency is meant to help the students focus on the actual content, instead of the graphic organizer itself.

At first, I thought this was strange but I have grown to appreciate this system. I have found that I am less stressed trying to figure out what type of organizer to use in my lessons and that the students have grown accustomed to the two types. When I teach, I do spend less time on the graphic organizer and focus strictly on the content. Since my students are in fourth grade, I do need to occasionally remind them to leave enough room since some students forget to leave enough space for all the content. In addition, I do always model when I use the graphic organizer, but I am confident that they know how to use the organizer to their advantage. This system is beneficial and think it is a clear policy that allows graphic organizers to be used correctly in the classroom.

26 Random Acts of Kindness

Today at morning meeting, my teacher challenged the students with a “26 random acts of kindness” sheet that gave concrete examples of how students can be kind to other people. Since there are 26 days before February break, the students have the opportunity to do at least one activity a day to complete all 26. Activities as such should definitely be included in the classroom since one purpose of school is to create better citizens.

Encouraging students to think about others at an early age can lead to a healthy habit of doing kindness. Some activities on the sheet included: 1. “Invite a friend to play with you at recess,” 2. “Write a nice note to your teacher,” 3. “Hold the door for a parent or a teacher,” and 4. “Read a book to a friend for fun.” This colorful worksheet, created by someone online, is a great way to promote community and kindness in the classroom. It is straightforward and simple enough for the students to complete. Students can work on the activities at home and in school.

In addition to other activities at morning meeting, we always practice the proper way to greet someone. I realized that we must explicitly teach students to smile, look someone in the eye, say “Good Morning (name of person)”, and shake their hand. Students need to be taught how to be polite and how to greet someone properly since it is not natural. Spending a little time everyday on treating students and teachers with respect and kindness really helps change the classroom dynamic. In this classroom, all students are inclusive and kind to one another. You rarely see students fighting and rarely see any sort of drama between the girls and boys. I think this is a direct result to conversations and activities as such.