MS Means Must Succeed ~
Changing Attitudes Toward the Disabled

Overview MS Means Must Succeed is a five-month program that provides students with an opportunity to become sensitive to the needs and abilities of physically disabled adults. The project teaches the philosophy that people can excel despite their circumstances by demonstrating how science and technology enable disabled people to live useful lives. Students conduct bi-weekly visits to The Boston Home, a residential center serving adults with multiple sclerosis and related neurological diseases. They develop interview skills by talking with residents about their backgrounds and favorite celebrations. Improving writing and computer skills through weekly e-mail correspondence with their pals, students also learn about careers related to working with the disabled.

Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Discuss vocabulary about the disabled & multiple sclerosis.
Read The Acorn People & other disabilities-related literature.
Write letter of introduction to residents..
Learn about residents' backgrounds & interests through E-mail exchange.
Write self-portrait poems.
Apply poems to T-shirts.
Visit web sites to learn about M. S, The Boston Marathon & persons with disabilities.
Write video script summarizing project.
Invite principal & guests to reception & video presentation.
Tour The Boston Home.
Visit residents bi-weekly.
Present T-shirts with poems as Valentine's gifts.
Videotape interviews with residents about themselves & favorite holidays.
Photograph visits with residents using disposable cameras.
Prepare board displaying project writing samples & photos for citywide School to Career Spring Showcase.
Attend Boston Marathon & support participating residents.
Organize year end reception at The Boston Home.
Present video at reception & school events.
Interview & videotape Volunteer Program Director about its residents & MS.
Observe how adaptive computer equipment & software helps disabled workers use technology.
Interview van driver about transporting the disabled.
Interview Boston Marathon staff on needs of disabled participants.
Interview Mass Rehabilitation Commission staff member to learn about services available to the disabled.
Research health & social service careers related to working with the disabled..
Review School to Career competencies.

Learning Standards English Language Arts & Social Studies

Pose questions, listen to the ideas of others, & contribute information or ideas in group discussions & interviews in order to acquire new knowledge.
Interpret the meaning of literary works, nonfiction, films, & media by using different critical lenses & analytical techniques.
Select & use appropriate genres, modes of reasoning, & speaking styles when writing for different audiences & rhetorical purposes.
Design & create coherent media productions with a clear controlling idea, adequate detail, & appropriate consideration of audience, purpose, & medium.

School to Career Competencies

Develop Communication & Literacy Skills.
Interact with Others.
Use Technology.
Complete Entire Activities.
Act Professionally.

Assessment Students receive ongoing feedback during the process of writing letters, video reflections and video scripts. Assessment strategies include figurative language quiz, rubric for poems, peer assessment questions, teacher's written and oral comments, whole class discussions, and videotaped reflections.

Software or Materials Used For literature: The Acorn People by Ron Jones 1996: Laurelleaf; Taking Cerebral Palsy to School by Mary Anderson 2000: JayJo Books; Christopher Reeve Triumph Over Tragedy by Judy Alter 2000: Franklin Watts, Inc. & other disabilities-related literature; for T-shirts: cotton T-shirts, Adobe PageMaker 6.5, disposable cameras, inkjet t-shirts iron-on transfers; for videotaping: VHS-C video cassette tape, Avid Cinema - for editing video production; for word processing: Microsoft Office.

Web Sites The Boston Home; The National Multiple Sclerosis Society; National Library Services Sources Circular of Audiovisual Materials on Disabilities; Massachusetts Disability Employment Partnership; NOBLE Library Exchange Guide to the World Wide Web for Children; The Boston Marathon; All

Keywords Service Learning, School to Career, Multiple Sclerosis, Disabled Adults, Physically Challenged, Boston Marathon, Pen Pals, E-pals

Final Words M.S. Means Must Succeed helps students understand that people can live useful lives despite physical disabilities. Students become effective communicators through the use of e-mail correspondence and personal visits. They appreciate friendships formed through these visits.

Teacher Tip Reading literature about disabled children and adults is vital to creating student empathy. Scheduling bi-weekly visits allows momentum to be maintained. Transportation issues must be addressed

E-mail contact
Hazel Sparrow

Teacher Bio Hazel Sparrow is a seventh grade LD/SAR teacher at the Solomon Lewenberg Middle School, a School to Career school. She has been a middle school teacher in the Boston Public School system for eleven years working with special needs and regular education students. Hazel is a Boston Public Schools Lead Teacher and Mentor. She is also certified as a Rigby Professional Development Facilitator (Life/Supporting Literacy) and works with the Boston Writing Project at UMass Boston. Her students have been published in the "Fun Pages" of the Boston Sunday Globe. Her educational philosophy is to help students excel despite their circumstances and to recognize that what happens outside of school influences, but does not determine success in school. Her goal is to give students the intellectual tools to communicate effectively, whether verbally or in writing.

Subject Areas Language Arts, Social Studies, Technology

Grade Levels 6 - 12

Students Regular & Special Needs

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