Opening Ceremonies in the Classroom

9, 10, 11, 12

The purpose of this activity is to provide the photography students and the students from the Special Arts class an opportunity to meet each other prior to their involvement in the Special Olympic Games.

PrintTwo fifty-five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • understand how all Four Economic Sectors might support the Special Olympics.
  • gain a better understanding of students with special needs.
  • identify ways they can help support the Special Olympics.
  • Personal photographs-portraits
  • (Optional: a digital camera- for those learners/students who are unable to provide the required photo one can be taken and downloaded at school.)
Teacher Preparation 

It is highly recommended that before you begin this unit of study that you contact your local Special Olympic Games coordinator for specific information,


i.e. to determine dates, times, locations, etc of these scheduled events in your area and plan to teach this unit in proximity with these scheduled events.

Information can also be obtained by logging on to

For the sake of efficiency, pre-arrange with one of the instructors of students with special needs in your school (school district) to speak to your class and to share information about the various disabilities, the variety of challenges students with special needs face and that they, as helpers, might encounter while working with these students. Information should also be shared as how to safely and most effective work with the Special Olympics participants.

Prior arrangements should also be made with the teacher(s) of the Special Olympics participants to have a picture of each of the participants, on the backside of which they will have written their name and the Special Olympic event(s) in which they will be participating.


Home Connection 

The learners should bring from home a current photograph of them self, or make the necessary arrangements to have one taken.



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Place the words Special Olympics on the display board and initiate a class discussion that encourages the learners to share their prior knowledge, understanding,and/or experiences with Special Olympics. Tell the learners that the Special Olympics is known as a nonprofit or civil society organization and ask them to share why they think that might be so. (Be sure that the learners understand that a 'civil society organization' is neither a government or business, but rather an example of aphilanthropic organization.)

  2. Place the term Economic Sectors on the display board and beneath it list these four sectors: Government, For Profit Business, Non Profit or Civil Sciety, and Household and have the learners share what they know about the term Economic Sectors and the four sectors listed below it. (The difference between the For Profit and Civil Society/Non Profit sectors may have to be revisited: Non Profit/Civil Society is a term used to describe the Internal Revenue Service’s designation of an organization/business whose income is not used for the benefit or private gain of stockholders, directors, or any other persons with an interest in the company; separate tax treatment exists based on whether it is charitable or not. For Profit is a term use to describe the Internal Revenue Service’s designation of an organization/business whose income is used for the benefit or private gain of stockholders, directors, or any other persons with an interest in the company and ittypically does not have taxexempt status.)

  3. Referring to the Four Economic Sectors, ask the learners which of these four sectors they think help support this civil society organization known as the Special Olympics. (Be sure that they understand that all four sectors have and do support the Special Olympics.) Discuss the reasons why and how these four sectors might play a role in the Special Olympics. (i.e. donating time, talent, treasures, volunteerism, etc. also known as performing an act of philanthropy)

  4. Inform the learners that they will be performing an act of philanthropy by supporting the students from their school who will be participating in the Special Olympics.

  5. In order to gain some understanding of the students with special needs who will be participating in the Special Olympics, distribute to each learner the Did You Know? (Handout One) worksheet and have them complete the worksheet to the best of their ability. (If you know ahead of time who the participants in the Special Olympics will be, it would be helpful to include each of their particular disabilities, along with an brief description, if it does not already appear on this worksheet.)

  6. Provide the learners with the most appropriate responses using the Did You Know? Answer Sheet (Handout Two).

  7. Have the learners share what knowledge and information they personally have due to knowing/living with someone with special needs. (Is is highly recommended to invite an instructor of students with special needs to speak to the class, sharing information about the various disabilities, the variety of challenges these students with special needs face and what they, as volunteers, might encounter while working with these students. Information should also be shared as how to safely and most effective work with the Special Olympics' participants.)

  8. Inform the learners that they, as well as the students who will be participating in the Special Olympics, will be required to provide a photo of themselves, on the backside of which they will write their name and the sports that most interest them. (The Special Olympic participants will record on the backside of their photos, their name and the sporting event(s) in which they will be participating.)

  9. Obtain and give to the learners the photosof the Special Olympics participants.Encourage the learners to individually (or in teams, depending on the number of Special Olympics participants) begin to make some decisions about who they would like to work with during this project. (It is recommended that the photos of the learners also be given to the Special Olympics' participants so as to acquaint the participantswith the process and also give them a chance to see who will be involved.)

  10. To conclude this lesson, the pairings of the learners and Special Olympics participants should be announced in both classrooms, arrangements made to have them meet and greet each other followed by a posting of the pictures of the pairings in an appropriate location.


Involvement in the classroom discussion and inproviding the required photo, information, and participation in the pairings exercise will form the basis of the assessment.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Explain why needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society and family.
    3. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Identify how subgroups and families in society demonstrate giving, volunteering, and civic involvement.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Describe civil society advocacy organizations and their relationship to human rights.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Describe why a civil society sector corporation may produce goods and services without the profit incentive.
      2. Benchmark HS.13 Give examples of how philanthropy has reallocated limited resources through giving and citizen action.
      3. Benchmark HS.2 Explain charitable giving in economic terms related to tax structure.
      4. Benchmark HS.4 Give examples of how civil society sector giving by individuals and corporations can impact communities.
      5. Benchmark HS.7 Explain why the civil society sector rather than the government or private sectors address particular economic areas.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.11 Discuss the concept of corporate citizenship and corporate responsibility for the common good.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      3. Benchmark HS.5 Articulate and demonstrate the safety procedures that are part of the volunteer experience.
      4. Benchmark HS.6 Describe the procedures and the importance of sensitivity to the people with whom students are working.
    3. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.