Citizenship on the Geaux: 4-H Day at the Capitol

The 19th annual 4-H Day at the Capitol was scheduled to take place May 27, 2020. 4-H Day at the Capitol is a day where 4-H members, volunteers and staff would converge upon the State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge, LA to promote Louisiana 4-H, to show love and support for the program, and to thank our legislators for their continued support to Louisiana 4-H. In honor of Day at the Capitol, the State 4-H Citizenship Board would like to share information and activities focused on Civic Engagement, Service-Learning and Special Needs Inclusion.

Civic Engagement

Why do we vote?

Voting is not just simply choosing a name from a ballot. When you vote, you are completing one of the most important and influential civil duties by choosing who you believe will best represent the needs of your community on a much larger scale. This could mean choosing your city, parish, state, or national representatives.

For now, we are going to focus on the amazing state we call home, and why it is important to elect individuals who value the cultural excellence, historic importance, and joyous atmosphere of Louisiana by learning more about our state’s legislature. Here you can access an activity book that is sure to inform those of all ages about the rich history and significance of Louisiana.

Check out the Louisiana 4-H Citizenship Board’s video on the importance of voting.

Journey Into Inclusion

How can we acknowledge differences to make for a better world?

Inclusion is an amazing way for us to not only understand others abilities but also our own. This is necessary for us to create a safe environment for ourselves, others, and for generations to come. While it may be difficult to remain inclusive during these tough times, it’s important that we learn how to accept and celebrate others’ traditions and cultures while also introducing our own to them.

Basic Vocabulary

  • Inclusion- To take in something as part of a whole unit.
  • Diversity- A setting where a variety of physical, social, and cultural traits exist together.
  • Discrimination- Unfairly treating a person or group of people who are different from another person or group of people. Discrimination is often against the law.
  • Tolerance- Sympathy for and/or acceptance of the feelings or habits of others.
  • Kindness- An act of gentleness and thoughtfulness towards another person.
  • Stereotype- An idea a person may have about another person or group that is often untrue.
  • Disabilities- Any condition that can make it harder for the person to do certain activities.
  • Ethnicity- To belong to a certain social group that has common national or cultural traditions.

What causes Discrimination?

Most of the time, discrimination happens because people are not knowledgeable and educated of a person’s ethnicity. Kindness is the key to stopping any kind of discrimination or stereotyping. Simple acts like trying to learn more about your friends or making the new children in your classroom feel welcome can make for an inclusive environment around you!

Special Needs Inclusion

Let's take a look at this story from the National Inclusion Project:

“Waiting for a class of Kindergartners in their classroom the other day, I was touched to witness a boy who was visually impaired being escorted into class by his five-year-old buddy and led delicately to the sink so that he could wash his hands. His buddy patiently guided the boy through the process with care and concern and then led him slowly to the carpet in front of me. Soon the rest of the class filed in and joined him there, including a second boy with visual impairments who reached towards me as he passed me when he heard the sound of my guitar. He touched my shoulder and worked his way up to the fret board of my guitar, fascinated by what he heard and felt. His buddy tried to move him along but the boy started drumming his hands on the guitar strings in a perfectly rhythmic and lively manner and the kids started to laugh. I just kept playing and it turned into a spontaneous jam session unlike any I’d ever experienced. Then the whole class jumped up and started dancing to our music and the teachers started clapping their hands.

It was a totally unexpected moment of pure joy and this child just lit up with a huge smile and an energy that I will never forget. We all applauded him and I proceeded with my session of songs and dialogue about respect and tolerance. But the most significant part of my session was the way these two children were accepted and included and treated by their classmates.

For me, it was a glimpse into the goodness of people and the potential for the coming generation to be a whole lot kinder than the one we’re living in today."

This teacher-created an inclusive environment with her student who had disabilities by encouraging the class to join in on their jam session. She took a simple action, such as the class laughing at him, and turned it into a fun learning moment for them all.

There may be several students at your school with special needs. Special Needs may include conditions that can make it harder for a person to do a certain activity. Cognitive, emotional, and/or intellectual capacity may be reduced or non-existent. In addition, for people with special needs, activities such as walking or even writing may be hard to complete. It’s important that people with special needs feel comfortable, welcome, and included in schools and within social circles. Ways to ensure inclusion are by inviting others to join your group, to sit with you at lunch, and by genuinely getting to know people, their hobbies, and their dreams. In the end, we are all humans, regardless of disability, ethnicity, or gender.

Challenge: How can we be more inclusive?

We, on the Citizenship Board, respect everyone’s differences, because we see that these differences strengthen our society and our country, which is truly an amazing melting pot of cultures, races, and ethnicity. We challenge you, during this next school year, to get five or more children who may be sitting by themselves to join you and your friends during recess. Also, we encourage you to create a welcome sign for your teacher to place up in your classroom. This sign can be used to show your school that you are in an inclusive classroom.

Challenge recap:

Invite five or more children who may be lonely and sitting by themselves to play with you and your friends at recess

  • Create and take a welcome sign to your teacher at the beginning of the school year to put up in your classroom

Included in this article is a copy of the lesson plan for the activity completed in the video. Feel free to complete the activity in your own classroom, schools, or parishes to introduce your students to inclusion and tolerance of all people.

References

  • “A Story of Inclusion, Respect and Tolerance.” National Inclusion Project, 2 Jan. 2014, www.inclusionproject.org/story-inclusion-respect-tolerance/.
  • McLellan, Toni. “How to Be a Kind Classmate: An Inclusion and Tolerance Lesson Plan.” Woo! Jr. Kids Activities, 10 June 2019, www.woojr.com/how-to-be-a-kind-classmate-an-inclusion-and-tolerance-lesson-plan.
  • “What Is Inclusion?” Inclusive Partners, inclusivepartners.org/what-is-inclusion/.

All About Service-Learning!

What is service-learning?

  • Service-learning is the multi-step process of connecting your knowledge to the needs in your community to then act and make a difference! It is an approach to service that makes the project more meaningful to those being served and those serving. Learning takes place throughout the project with intentional, scheduled learning opportunities. You can experience a greater impact and sense of accomplishment when doing a service-learning project.

What is the difference between community service projects and service-learning projects?

  • Community service and service-learning both reach out and serve the community while making a positive impact.
  • A service-learning project allows those conducting the project to either identify the issue based on their knowledge and community needs, or it arises from something that affects them personally, such as a community illness, accident, or disaster.
  • Service-learning projects include a thorough amount of research to understand the needs of the area. Once this is complete, one would further their research to have a fully comprehensive understanding of the topic. The actual service would follow and then a reflection on the impact would be made.
  • Community service, while vital, is more focused on conducting a predetermined task.

The Service-Learning Cycle

Service-learning cycle

So why is service-learning so important?

  • Individual benefits of service-learning include enhanced opportunities for learning and personal and social skill development.
  • Individuals gain increased knowledge of academic materials, their communities, and themselves.
  • Individuals may apply classroom knowledge in practical settings to enhance their understanding of class materials.
  • Individuals may develop civic engagement skills with an increased public awareness of key social issues.
  • Individuals can enhance their group, organizational and interpersonal skills.
  • The ability to build relationships and work with diverse members of their communities.
  • Individuals may develop a deeper understanding of themselves and empathy and respect for others.
5/28/2020 3:14:24 PM
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