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10 Lesson Plans that Address New Mass. History Standards on People with Disabilities

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Published on Sun, 12/16/2018

Carrying signs demanding access to work, women and men in wheelchairs and on foot march in the streets, 1977
Protesting the years-long delays in signing 1974 legislation to bar discrimination against people with disabilities, 1977. Photo credit: Anthony Tussler

Engaging ALL students in history and social studies education means not only using inclusive practices, but not overlooking the impact of historical changes and events on people with disabilities, and the impact people with disabilities have had on history. Ten lessons on History of People with Disabilities that address the new Massachusetts standards for History and Social Science are currently available for download from the Emerging America website, and a summary chart that shows how each lesson maps to the standards is provided here. How many students in classrooms today have 504 plans that guide teachers in meeting their needs? The 1977 protests in San Francisco, in which people with disabilities of all kinds marched and took over a federal building to press the urgency of acting on legislation to give rights to workplace and classroom accommodations, is a historic event with personal relevance to students today. The 1977 protest is featured in a civic engagement lesson plan, and the materials provided can be adapted to meet not only Civics content standards at the elementary and 8th grade levels, but standards related to the history of civil rights in the United States. Barriers and difficulties experienced by veterans of US wars were a prime driver of changes in the role of government, and is a central part of the study of how the relationship between citizens, the states, and the federal government changed over time. Who Should Care for America's Veterans is just one of several lessons that examine how the role of government in providing care developed.  To search the Emerging America website for the many ways topics in history and the experiences of people with disabilities intersect, use this link, or type the word “disability” into the search bar on the website.  

Alison Noyes

Manager, Emerging America
Alison Noyes is the manager of the Emerging America program at the Collaborative for Educational Services, where she leads the English Learner Collaborations project funded by a Library of Congress grant to the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies.