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Story Sparks Inspiration For Inclusive Classrooms

At Seneca Middle School, a story of inclusion and togetherness inspired sixth-graders in Clarissa Reardon’s classes to foster a classroom culture that encompassed the entire school community.

To begin the activity, students read the Amy June Bates book, “The Big Umbrella,” in which a child carries a big red umbrella on a rainy day down a city street, welcoming countless characters of every size, shape and appearance to escape the rain under the umbrella. As the child continues on the trip, with many newfound friends, the umbrella continues to grow in size to fit more and more characters beneath it. The inclusive message resonated with students in Reardon’s classes, and they created puzzle pieces showcasing unique character traits found in themselves on each piece. The pieces were then placed together under their very own big umbrella, demonstrating the idea that although different, they all fit together.

Through the activity, students reinforced several essential writing skills, including grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Photo courtesy of the Sachem Central School District

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