June 24, 2015
A few weeks ago, Momot Elementary in Plattsburgh, NY had their very first No Barriers Day with their 4th and 5th graders. No Barriers Day is a one-day event where students learn about developing a No Barriers Mindset to tackle the barriers that they will inevitably face.
The 4th and 5th grade at Momot kicked off their morning by watching my Everest documentary, Farther Than The Eye Can See (45 minute Educational Version). As a fun starter, and a way to help sensitize students to the barriers of physical disability like blindness, they followed the film they paired up and learned a fun PB&J activity. One student was blindfolded, the other had their hands tied behind their back, and together they had to use teamwork to make and eat the PB&J's. A big thank you to Momot’s local Walmart and Hannaford Supermarket for sponsoring the students with the supplies for the activities. The kids said it got a little messy at times, but when I asked them who ate their sandwiches they all screamed with a proud, "ME!!!" Here is a photo from the activity:
Special Education teacher, Clare LaPier, who some of you may remember from a blog I wrote last year http://www.touchthetop.com/blog/teachers-climb-too-2355), helped bring all of this together. The students took their No Barriers Day one step further by taking the No Barriers Pledge. The pledge is a platform for students to make a simple statement and set a goal in their personal lives. I got to video Skype with the students about their pledges and it was inspiring to say the least. As a special gift, to conclude, the 4th and 5th graders played, “Together” by Aloe Blacc. It brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you Momot Elementary! A special thank you to all of the teachers who helped make the day happen including their principal, Mr. Fortin. Here are some of the memorable pledges from the students:
1. I want to be able to multiply 4 and 5 digit numbers
2. If tomorrow is a bad day, then I want to be able to turn it into a good one
3. Not caring what other people think
4. Allowing myself to make mistakes
Momot Elementary made an impact on their student’s lives that will stay with them for years to come. I would like to encourage your schools and classrooms to consider having your own No Barriers Day next year. If you're interested, please reach out to my team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We've got a lot of exciting educational developments we're working on this summer to bring to your classrooms this fall.