This is one of my favorite things to do! Every year, since Jackson was in kindergarten, I have gone in to visit his class and talk about Down syndrome. In the early years I read a book or two. We talked about Jackson and some things that make him and his classmates more alike than different. I would answer any questions the children might have.
This year, fifth grade (FIFTH GRADE?!?! How did that happen?!?!) I wavered. I thought, most of these kids have been in class with Jackson before. They know Jackson. They know about Down syndrome. But then I stopped and realized that next year was middle school, EEK! Bigger school. New kids. I’m not sure I am going to be able to do this next year so I said why not! Let’s end elementary school with a bang! I tweaked my hand out. Scoured the house for the books I wanted to bring in. And it wasn’t until I was walking the halls did I think about turning the tables. I was worried about this being boring. Being old hat. Well instead of just repeating all the same information this year, I decided I was going to make them tell me what they knew! WOW!! These kids are smart. Not only could they give me some scientific and concrete information about Down syndrome that I was looking for they also offer some lovely and insightful thoughts and observations about their classmate Jackson. We had a fully engrossed, two sided conversation about Down syndrome, about being a good friend, about being a good role model.
I am proud of these kids! And I am looking forward to this year. I am counting on my fifth grade teammates to help me get Jackson ready for middle school. It takes a village, and this village of kind, considerate, compassionate boys and girls are eager to help and we will all learn and grow from each other!
We all have something to offer. We all have something to learn from one another. Let’s open our eyes and SEE our friends.
Be kind to one another!
This is my new updated version of my handout. The old version “Hello My Name Is . . .” seemed outdated since they all KNOW Jackson. I like this one. It looks like the classroom newspapers they’ve been learning to produce and a perfect fit! thejacksonjournal