INTRO PHASE:  Students will be prepared by teachers and counselor/s about the GOTTA DIG IT ONE WEEK Program, and open discussion will be encouraged. Three packets will be provided: Parent Packet and Teacher Packet will be distributed prior to program. Student Gotta DIG It Journal will be given at onset of program.

PARENT PACKET: provides information page about the program. Students will bring it home, and are encouraged to discuss program with a parent or guardian. The intent is to prepare all students, both in general population and special education classes (if applicable to your school), for the upcoming program and topics that may arise. Includes form to participate in a WALK FOR INCLUSION, in which all students may invite friends and family to attend. WALK will take place on Day 5 of program.  (For students with disabilities who are unable to walk – a BUDDY will help throughout the walk).


Hello NAME OF SCHOOL Teachers & Staff:

We are participating in the GOTTA DIG IT program at NAME OF SCHOOL.  The objective is to break social barriers between the general population students and those with disabilities. This year’s program will take place on DATE OF EVENT/PROGRAM.

For more info about the program, please go to:


  1. Please read this packet and discuss it with your students prior to Date (should be 4 weeks prior to date of program).
  2. Please send the STUDENT GOTTA DIG IT PACKET home with students prior to Date (should be 2 weeks prior to date of program).
  3. OPTIONAL: Please ask students to have parents sign and return the consent forms if they wish to be part of our GOTTA DIG IT videos and photos. Date (should be 2 weeks prior to date of program).
  4. Please see directions and 7 page GOTTA DIG IT JOURNAL provided: 


OPTIONAL MINDFULNESS/MEDITATION: WE RECOMMEND STARTING WITH A TEN MINUTE BASIC MINDFULNESS PRACTICE: Optional guided meditation and breathing activity can be customized to any age group. Children are most open to new ideas when they are relaxed.  This also creates an atmosphere of empathy and common kindness.  This activity can be done every day if time constraints are not an issue. K-2 may include “Get the Giggles Out” preface to meditation.

TEACHER SCRIPT – May adapt in his/her own words:

“This week we are going to participate a one week program to help us better understand our friends with disabilities, or differences. Today, we are going to complete a consensogram in our Gotta Dig It Journal and then discuss what we observe about people in different pictures.” Ferst we will start with an opening mindfulness activity.”

ACTIVITY #1 A) GOTTA DIG IT JOURNAL ACTIVITY: Students start out the program with individual consensograms in their “GOTTA DIG IT” journals.   Here the students rate how they feel interacting with people with disabilities, at the onset of the week. It will be a 10 point scale, to answer the question, How comfortable am I interacting with people with disabilities?” The students record their ratings in their journals.  Rating is kept private only for each individual student to see. At the conclusion on Day 5, the students will rate themselves again. (K-2 can do this as a group activity).

ACTIVITY #1 B) THE INVISIBLE CHAIR PROJECT:  (Note: Do not tell students the name of this activity until prompted).  Students are shown 2 sets of photos. The first shows people playing basketball.  The children are asked to describe what they see in the pictures. Encourage them to describe details, and create a narrative about the individuals. Next, students are shown same pictures of people playing basketball in wheel chairs, and are again asked to describe what they see, and create a narrative about the individuals. The different reactions to the 2 photos are discussed. Often, the second photo elicits an emphasis on the wheelchairs and the disabilities the individuals may have. You can then tell them this activity is called THE INVISIBLE CHAIR PROJECT.  Discuss the students own reactions, explaining that the goal of this activity is to make the wheel chairs (metaphor for disabilities) become invisible.  The intent is that the students learn to see the people, and not the chairs (or disabilities).


TEACHER SCRIPT – May adapt in his/her own words:

“Today we are going to talk about how we do the same activities as people with disabilities.  For example, visually impaired people like to read books, just like me.  Can you think of other activities that we do, that someone with a disability would like to do as well?”

ACTIVITY #2 – “JUST LIKE ME” ACTIVITY. Students will discuss daily life activities, emotions, hopes, dreams, and objectives that people with disabilities do “just like them.” (I.e. “They go to school JUST LIKE ME.” “They need help sometimes, JUST LIKE ME.”, “They get sad when their friends call them names JUST LIKE ME,” etc.)


TEACHER SCRIPT – May adapt in his/her own words:

“Today we are going to take a step toward including people with disabilities in our lives.  We are going to make a deed or “promise” of inclusion.  An example of this may be to smile at someone in a wheel chair even when your instinct may have been to look away.  It may to be to hold a door open for someone who is not able, or to get to know fellow students with disabilities from our school.  Perhaps you have someone in your life with a disability, like a neighbor or relative who is blind or speaks or walks differently.  You could make your deed of inclusion to do with him or her. Think of what you could do to promote inclusion, and make that person feel included.  Remember, they have feelings JUST LIKE ME.”

ACTIVITY #3 DEED OF INCLUSION  Each child will commit to one important “Deed of Inclusion” – to do one random act of kindness that will promote inclusion.  Teacher will discuss social responsibility to be kind to others and include them, and how it feels “right” to “Do The Wright Thing.”* Students will write about their Deed of inclusion in their GOTTA DIG IT journals.

*Named after Tracy Wright, single working mom with CP, raising 4 kids, who helped inspire this program.


TEACHER SCRIPT – May adapt in his/her own words:

“Today we are going to experience a small taste of what it’s like to have various disabilities.  Keep in mind, for us this is just a short temporary activity, but for people with real disabilities, this is their everyday life all the time.  That’s something to think about.  It makes us realize how “able” they are and how much harder they have to work to do the things that are so easy for us. Remember, though, they are people JUST LIKE US and we share many things in common.”

FURTHER DISCUSSION – PREFACE TO EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING ACTIVITIES: Brief class discussion about what students learned about the experience of having a disability and about speaking openly with panel members.  An emphasis will be placed on what we have in common.

ACTIVITY #4 -EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING ACTIVITIES:   This can be done by grade, and is best run by parent volunteers. Works best with maximum of 6 students at a time per station.

(***If time is an issue due to number of students, this can be set up in an ASSEMBLY FORMAT instead of STATIONS FORMAT, allowing only a few students to volunteer and perform activities on stage in front of rest of students in audience.***)

STATION FORMAT: There will be 5 stations set up to simulate the following types of disabilities: VISUAL, COMMUNICATION, AUDITORY, FINE MOTOR, and SENSORY.  Each student will take turns participating in the activity at each station. The impairments will be simulated as follows:

1.VISUAL: 4-6 Students are blindfolded.  They are each given a paper bag containing one different object each.  (Such as a coin, a granola bar in wrapper, a colored pencil, a yogurt, nail polish).They are asked to identify the objects by touch.  Feeling each one carefully, evaluating weight, texture, features. Then ask for detail, is it a nickel, what kind of granola bar, color of pen, flavor of yogurt, color of nail polish).  Discuss how hard or easy each item was to identify, and how some are impossible without the help of someone who can see or raised writing or braille.

  • Students are given sun glasses covered in Vaseline.  They are asked to read a paragraph in small print (for K-2 group they can be shown small pictures and asked to identify what’s in them).

2.COMMUNICATION: Students will be put in pairs, and each will take turns communicating and listening.  Both partners will actively participate by seeking ways to understand and be understood.

    • Student will be asked to convey a long phrase to partner while maintaining 1-2 marshmallows in his or her mouth.
    • Student will convey a phrase (i.e. “I love GOTTA DIG IT week.”) to partner without words, using gestures, facial expressions, and movements.

3.AUDITORY: Teacher will recite a paragraph (from at least 10 feet away) while mouthing the words silently. Students will try to read teacher’s lips and repeat the phrase verbatim.

4.FINE MOTOR:  Students will perform intricate activities (such as tying a shoe, zipping a bag, picking up one cheerio at a time, etc.) while wearing snow gloves. Whomever succeeds can then try with boxing gloves.

5.SENSORY: We will simulate sensory overload. Students are placed in groups of 6. Each student will have a chance to be the reader once. One student, the designated reader, sits in a chair and read a book while other 5 students each engage in one of the following behaviors toward the reader, simultaneously and continuously for 30 seconds:

    • Taps reader on each shoulder from behind
    • Sings in reader’s one ear
    • Holds a phone (or device) playing loud music in reader’s other ear
    • Shines a flashlight (can use phone flashlight) in reader’s eyes
    • Kicks the seat on which reader is sitting

FOLLOW UP:  Discussion on disabilities/differences and inclusion. We recommend starting with this script, but teacher can also use his/her own words:

“Now we have a taste of what it’s like to have a few disabilities or differences in abilities.  Many people live every day with these differences.  They affect how they learn and process information, and how they perform normal everyday tasks, which can be incredibly difficult.

For instance, children with Down Syndrome generally have much larger tongues, making it feel like there’s a bunch of marshmallows in their mouths when they speak.  People with Cerebral Palsy, nerve damage, or neurological disorders have less control of their bodies, and tying a shoe would be like doing it with boxing gloves on.  Blind people cannot read what flavor yogurt they are holding if it’s not written in braille and they’re able to read braille.  People with cognitive or developmental disabilities may find it so hard to communicate how they feel that it feels as restrictive as conveying a message without any words. In fact, some people cannot speak or use their bodies to communicate how they feel.  People on the Autism spectrum, or even with ADHD to some extent, experience sensory overload and it feels just like the reader did while five people were doing the repetitive and distracting behaviors.

People with these differences are often made to feel like they are those differences, instead of being a person who happens to have differences.  They feel different and are often ignored or made fun of.  Think about how hard it must be to have a disability AND not feel included.  That’s where we can change things.  In fact, we can change the world.  You can help educate people about what you’ve learned this week.  Now that you know a little bit about how it feels to be different, you have more in common with people with disabilities or differences.  You also know they’re JUST LIKE US in many ways.”

Students will have a discussion about what the hardest parts were for them during the simulated disability activities. Students will then write about their experiences in their journals, and how they’ve changed their thinking after this week. (K-2 can do this as a class activity)


TEACHER SCRIPT – May adapt in his/her own words:

“You have now learned a lot about how to include people with disabilities in our everyday life.  Now I want you to ask yourselves: How comfortable am I interacting with people with disabilities?”

ACTIVITY #5A CLOSING ACTIVITY:  Students revisit the consensogram that they initiated on Day 1 of the week, and respond again to the question, “How comfortable am I interacting with people with disabilities

ACTIVITY #5B WALK FOR INCLUSION – PLEDGE & KICK OFF: Students will meet in front of school.  The program leader will recite the GOTTA DIG IT PLEDGE (see below), stating “ I encourage you to join in and repeat after me line by line.”  Students will then repeat one line at a time:

  • Students will proceed outside with teachers and parent volunteers for WALK FOR INCLUSION
  • GOTTA DIG IT cuffs will be distributed (pre-ordered) – SCHOOL FUNDRAISER – percentage of sales goes to school
  • Children hold hands and form a chain of inclusion (Children/adults with disabilities are assisted by peers/buddies during walk)



I pledge to open up my mind and take a step toward
Embracing those with special needs I may have once ignored.

I pledge to open up my ears so others can be heard,
Including those who use their voice without the spoken word.

I pledge to open up a door and let a person through,
Who might not walk or might not talk exactly as I do.

I pledge to make an effort to oppose what isn’t fair
And do away with ignorance. Let’s make ourselves aware.

I pledge to share my wisdom with the people who I love,
And teach them how to ditch their fears, and quickly rise above.

I pledge a disability will not make me retreat,
And the notion of exclusion will be something obsolete.

I pledge to be more grateful for the easy life I live,
And recognize that what I have is what I have to give.

I pledge that my abilities will help me pave the way
For a movement of inclusion that’s already underway!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>