“Meet in the Middle”
(A US Department of Education Grant-Funded Project)
for School Facilitator
(First year participating schools)
If you are reading this, you have already been introduced to the unique “Meet in the
Middle,” project, and accepted a project kit from Special Olympics Texas. Thank-you
for agreeing to be the educator who will facilitate the project on your school campus.
Based on the preliminary student, teacher and administrator reviews from the initial
implementation in early 2009, you and your students are about to embark on an exciting
journey to acceptance, diversity, capacity-building and fun.
These guidelines are designed to ‘walk you through’ the project, offer implementation
procedures, and answer possible preliminary questions you may have before recruiting
students and getting them started on their project activities.
“Meet in the Middle” Project
The Meet in the Middle project is the “Texas” portion of a federal grant-awarded project
from the US Department of Education to Special Olympics on a national level. It is
uniquely our own, and was piloted for the first time during the Spring semester of the
2008-2009 school year in more than 30 school districts around Texas. This is the second
year of implementation and the project will have two groups: NEW school campuses,
such as your own, implementing the project for the first time, and RETURNING schools
for an expanded Year Two- “SUPER” Meet in the Middle project. Both groups will
conduct year-long projects.
The following guidelines are for new schools in their first year of implementation.
The Meet in the Middle project of Special Olympics, Texas is designed for school
students, both typically-developing, as well as those with intellectual disabilities to
partner and participate in activities which focus on interactive, inclusive and FUN
opportunities that will increase acceptance and awareness of each student’s uniqueness,
while supporting fitness, disability awareness, academic achievement, and sports-
related training. It is designed to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Meet in the Middle is an activity-based project that encourages students to select from a
menu of project activities to earn incentives and rewards that Special Olympics will
provide you, as the facilitating teacher, to award at the end of the year to students
based on the following criteria: the student’s commitment to the project’s goals of
inclusiveness, fitness, and sport-specific training to increase the skills, capabilities,
acceptance and opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.
As the students select projects from their individual Meet in the Middle folder’s ‘menu,’
your task is to monitor their progress with the activities, offer suggestions and support,
and assist them with submitting documentation of their efforts to a special website for
sharing the ‘best of what they do’ for Meet in the Middle at your school. (more about this
reporting component later in these guidelines.)
The student activities which can earn incentives and rewards will be individually selected
by involved school student participants, (with your approval) from a special ‘menu’
designed for the project. Each student may individually select projects from their student
folder “menu” to carry out, but a more inclusive option would be to “pair up,” a student
with an intellectual disability and a typically-developing peer, to work on projects
together. Remember, that the activities are designed to foster increased independence,
skills and abilities in the students with intellectual disabilities, while fostering acceptance
of individual differences and the gifts in all children. Think of the theme “we are more
like each other than different from each other!”
If you look at the menu options in the folders, you will see that the activities each include
a rating called the “Involvement Level” assigned to them. The more involved the
activity’s requirements are, the higher the ‘Level.’ The facilitating teacher can use these
‘levels’ as considerations when determining how incentives and rewards sent to you from
Special Olympics Texas, will be awarded.
Incentives and rewards will be sent to the facilitating teacher at the school address you
provide Special Olympics Texas. Smaller incentives may be distributed to participating
students at your discretion, but larger rewards at the end of the project year are
specifically for the recognized student ‘high achievers’ in the project. In addition, in
order to culminate the Meet in the Middle activities for the year, a grant-funded
monetary award will be sent to participating school campuses that have met all of
the project requirements, including the required project documentation submissions
of activities and project successes.
Students will sign-up to ‘join’ the project to participate. Posters are provided in your
school’s Meet in the Middle kit to place around your campus to introduce the project and
encourage interested students to meet with you to inquire about the project’s purpose and
activities. Be sure the posters have your name, room, and any other relevant information
added. Of course, students may be ‘recruited’ or ‘encouraged’ to join, particularly those
who may be in need of a positive school experience like “Meet in the Middle” which
encourages acceptance, dignity, heightened self-esteem and mutual respect.
Facilitating Teacher Stipend
At the end of the project, when all project efforts have been documented and submitted to
Special Olympics Texas, from your campus, and end-of-project reporting requirements
(such as evaluation surveys) completed, the facilitating teacher from each participant
school will be sent a $400 stipend, from Special Olympics Texas, in appreciation for their
efforts to build, promote, and sustain the “Meet in the Middle” concept and its themes of
acceptance and dignity, on their campus.
The remainder of this guide includes sections providing:
• background information about Project Unify, the national grant project;
• a description of the contents of the “Meet in the Middle” kit;
• ideas for how to use the resources in the kit;
• explanation of and recommendations for your school’s “Meet in the Middle”
• suggestions and ideas for facilitating the students’ individual projects
• directions for reporting contact information on the SOTX website;
• and, information about incentives and awards
Current educational research shows a strong association between motivation, self-
perception, achievement and graduation rates. Studies have found that during the school
years, there is a decline in motivation, self-perception and academic achievement in
students. Sixth graders who do not attend school regularly, exhibit poor behavior, or fail
math or English are very likely to drop out before high school graduation (Balfanz and
Initiatives supported by the National Middle School Association include the recent
“Success in the Middle” bills introduced both in the House and Senate (HR3406 and
S.2227) targeting innovation programs to provide challenging academics and supportive
programs to serve the needs of young adolescents and prepare them for high school and
eventually the world of work. Another supported initiative is the “Campaign for School
Wellness” focusing on activity, health and wellness as indicators of student engagement
and success in the school setting.
In order to support existing school initiatives, Special Olympics International was
awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Education in accordance with the Budget
Authorization outlined in the 2004 Special Olympics Sport and Empowerment Act.
FY2008 was the first year education funds have been realized for this national project
--Project Unify – which is designed to empower students with and without intellectual
disabilities to work together as agents of change, and to build upon existing partnerships
and initiate new ones between Special Olympics and the educational community.
Our Texas project, dubbed “Meet in the Middle,” invites schools around the state to
participate. It is anticipated that at least 50 schools will be participating either in year
one, or year two of the project during the 2009-2010 school year. Schools new to the
project may contact their local Special Olympics Texas staff if they would like a mentor
“Year Two” school to offer ideas and suggestions for implementation of the project.
The approximately fifty schools statewide, will each create their own projects, but the
individual student activities will be chosen from a student ‘menu’ created by Special
Olympics Texas for the project. Activities on the menu are related to academic, fitness,
sports and wellness-related goals and activities of varying complexity and depth, which
increase acceptance and diversity on the campus while students earn fun incentives and
end-of-project rewards. All “Meet in the Middle” projects will be year-long, from
September 2009 - May 2010.
Required School-wide and Individual Student Components of “Meet in the
1) Team meetings facilitated by the project’s contact teacher, at least monthly, with
a core group of school personnel and student representatives to discuss ways to
keep the project momentum going and to decide on ‘school-wide’ projects such as
the ‘signature campaign’ to “erase the use of the R-word, (brochures, stickers,
buttons and a thermometer to track number of signatures of students/teachers
willing to refuse to use the “R-word are included in your “Meet in the Middle”
The meetings can also focus on creation of a video or ‘news’ feature that
encourages students to “Be a Fan…..of Acceptance…of Unity…of Fun….of
Fitness…of Diversity, etc.
Special Olympics staff from the state (Chapter) or Area office are willing to attend
your meetings, do presentations, and bring along a Special Olympics athlete who may
be participating in the Athlete Leadership Program, or perhaps be one of Special
Olympics ‘Global Messengers,’ to speak to the TEAM or student participants. The
team, per school, should be composed of an administrator, the sponsoring
teacher, a PE coach, a special education teacher, an Adapted Physical Education
or Special Olympics coach, plus two female and two male students (two from the
general student population and two students with intellectual disabilities.)
2) Student exposure to the “SO Get into It” curriculum materials. This highly
regarded resource is included in the Meet in the Middle kit. There is a DVD,
including brief videos of inspirational Special Olympic athletes telling their own
stories, background information about the program and the history of treatment of
individuals with cognitive disabilities, which are perfect as discussion starters.
There is also a full curriculum with lessons and activities related to disability
awareness and the benefits of sports, fitness, and acceptance of individual
differences in people. Students participating in the Meet in the Middle project
should have an opportunity to meet with you and the other students involved in
the project, perhaps bi-weekly or monthly, to report on the progress on their
individual successes, to design school-wide projects or campaigns, and to
3) Signature campaign and activities to ‘erase the use of the R-word’
4) Use of Special Olympics “Be a Fan” theme in some capacity.
5) Posters and signature campaign thermometer displayed in prominent
locations on the campus and used to track numbers of signatures to Erase the
6) Student participation in the project and in their individually selected
activities (selected from and recorded on their individual “Meet in the Middle”
student folders/activity menus.) Projects focus on positive interactions between
typically-developing and intellectually disabled students.
7) Positive publicity of the project and student initiatives related to “spreading
the word” about acceptance, unity, support, and dignity.
8) Regular online submission to www.slideshare.net at least monthly, by
students and the facilitating teacher, of student essays, uploaded photos and
descriptions of inclusive and sports-training related activities that took place
that month, and Special Olympics support and participation efforts
completed through your campus’s “Meet in the Middle” student projects.
The “Meet in the Middle” Kit
The “Meet in the Middle” Kit contains everything that you will need to organize, track
and facilitate student activities designed to build friendships and promote fun,
acceptance, disability awareness and fitness. The main components of the Kit are the
individual student activity folders. They are designed as a menu of options the students
may select individually or in pairs to do as projects, with your approval. The activities
have different ‘levels’ of value which can assist you, as the facilitating teacher, with
determining which particular projects and student efforts will earn the rewards
mailed to you during the project. Incentives are smaller items that are sent by
Special Olympics to you, to help keep the project momentum going. The number of
incentives sent will always be dependent on number and thoroughness of the
documentation entries (of project efforts) submitted to the online reporting site. In
order to have sufficient incentives sent to your campus, please be sure reports
include quantifiable information, e.g. “on November 14th, 30 students both with and
without intellectual disabilities participated in a demonstration of the sport of bocce,
conducted by the Area __ Special Olympics Director. Based on the training, (and
fun) that the students had, a potential coach was identified from a teacher on our
campus who observed the demonstration, and 24 students expressed interest in a
Unified Bocce team for our district. Our next step is______________ .”
Contents of the Meet in the Middle kit
Your kit will come in a sturdy lidded plastic ‘box’ (the kit) which holds all the materials
for the project and is the facilitating teacher’s to keep and will consist of:
Awareness Bracelets - Large
Awareness Bracelets - Small
DVD - Loretta Claiborne DVD
DVD – Meet in the Middle & SOTX DVD
DVD - R-word” PSAs
DVD – So Get Into It
DVD – Unified Sports
DVD – Young Athlete
Guidelines for organizing the Project
Handbooks - Family Handbooks
Handbooks - Volunteer Handbooks
Handouts - SO Get Into It Curriculum Handouts
Handouts of Children’s and Adolescents’ Literature on Disability
Awareness, Integration and Inclusion: An Annotate Bibliography.
Information Sheet – Unified Sports
Information Sheet – Young Athlete
Information Sheets - Special Olympics Texas Program and Area
Letters of Endorsement
Meet in the Middle banner
Meet in the Middle posters
Monthly Checklist for Teachers
Photo of Young Athlete equipment
R-word Pledge Signature Campaign Forms
R-Word Stickers Rolls of 100
School Commitment Letter/Student Permission Form
Student portfolio materials (Folder and project menu with tracking
Student Roster for Accountability (Meet in the Middle Student ID
Cards from roster)
Thermometer” to track R Word signature campaign
Young Athletes Kit - Contact Mike Sullivan if interested in these
Using the “Meet in the Middle Kit”
The actual “Meet in the Middle” kit is designed to help you keep the materials and
resources organized in one easy-to-identify place. Special Olympics Texas recognizes
how busy your workday is already!
You will want to keep ‘hard copies’ of your records for the project in the kit, e.g.
signatures from the “Erase the R-word campaign,” and student permission slips and
release forms, and any documentation of TEAM meetings (e.g. agenda/sign-in sheets)
etc. The Kit also holds extra copies of the student folder/activity menus, and other
resources (e.g. SO Get into It Curriculum and DVD) that you can use at TEAM meetings
as discussion ‘starters’ or with students for ideas for writing or presentation ideas. The
extra resources are included to assist you by offering your ideas, but allowing for
flexibility in their use, dependent on your own ‘twist’ to the project.
It is hoped that students will chose both the fun activities from the menu in their folders
as well as some of the academically-based ones. One ‘teacher’ recommendation is to
consider TAKS practice writing prompts around topics such as ‘What I Have Learned
from my “Meet in the Middle” Partner” or “What My School Can Do to Support Special
Based on reports from teachers and administrators from Meet in the Middle schools that
participated during the ’08-’09 school year, participation in the project generally
increased attendance, motivation, self-esteem, and grades/TAKS scores of the
participant students. Students reported that they would ‘always get their schoolwork
done,’ because they wanted to be able to have time to work with their Meet in the Middle
partners! What bonuses from the project!!
Getting Started Right Away!
Before initiating the Meet in the Middle project, there are some important preliminary
steps to take to introduce the project to you school and recruit students to participate.
1) Be sure a signed copy of the district/campus/teacher Commitment Letter
(included in the facilitating teacher guidelines packet) is given to the Special
Olympics Area Director who provided you with your Meet in the Middle kit.
(You have his or her name and contact information in your kit.) The required
signatures on the letter are those of a Special Education Administrator from your
district, a campus Administrator from your school, and your own.
2) Contact your campus or district Special Education Administrator regarding
confidentiality procedures to facilitate the involvement of students with
intellectual disabilities on your campus who will be encouraged to participate in
“Meet in the Middle.” It is strongly advised that parents/guardians of these
students sign a Special Education release form specifically allowing their
children to participate in the project and allowing information about their
child’s disability, e.g. how it affects learning, socialization, etc. to be shared
as part of the learning and ‘disability awareness’ activities of the student
projects with their non-disabled peers. A photo release for Meet in the
Middle participation should be included with the general confidentiality
release. When posting photos online for the documentation summaries, if
names are used, only provide a first name. Keep a copy of these
parent/guardian-signed releases in your “Meet in the Middle” kit.
3) At a faculty meeting on campus at the beginning of the school year, introduce
“Meet in the Middle” to your faculty colleagues. Be sure to familiarize yourself
with all the items and resources in your school’s “Meet in the Middle” kit first.
You may choose to, for example, show part of the “SO Get into It!” DVD, and
review samples of a few of the menu activity options in the ‘student folders.’
During the introductory meeting, solicit members for your “Meet in the Middle”
support TEAM (one administrator, yourself, a general educator, a special
educator, and a PE teacher or coach, and an Adapted PE or Special Olympics
coach, plus four students.) This ‘TEAM” meets at least monthly to help keep the
project momentum going, to suggest school-wide efforts, and to meet with student
participants in “Meet in the Middle” who will share their projects or requesting
assistance or support for individual projects.
4) Get the “Meet in the Middle” interest posters up in the hallways of your school
which get the most ‘student traffic.’ Be sure that your name and room number is
at the bottom of the poster, and provide a ‘best time’ to stop by (for interested
5) Frequently use the “morning announcements” at your school to raise awareness of
the “Meet in the Middle,” to invite any students to join the project, and to
encourage students to come by your room to learn more about the activities
options and incentives.
6) Most importantly, start to actively recruit students both with and without
intellectual disabilities for the project. There is a ‘sign-up’ form in the Appendix
of your Guidelines. Your campus may want to have evidence of parental
permission to participate in the project. Special Olympics strongly encourages
parent/guardian approval for participation.
Student Folders/Menu of Project Activities
The student folders are designed for each student participant in the “Meet in the Middle”
project. Upon receipt of a signed permission form with both the student and
parent/guardian signature, the student may be given a “Meet in the Middle” awareness
bracelet to denote their participation and to encourage their friends to consider
You may speak to the students individually, as they commit to the project, or in a group
‘meeting’ with several or all of the participants to review the purpose of the project, how
the folders are to be used, the importance of keeping record of their activities, and the
importance of getting your approval (by initialing the activity they are working on, on
their folder before they begin the activity, and a ‘sign-off’ initialing when the activity is
completed and the student has provided evidence of completion and online submission of
photos, poems, stories, artwork, essays, media creations, etc.)
Typically-developing students may never have actually interacted with their peers with
intellectual disabilities and they may have some apprehensions or misperceptions about
them. You may want to provide a disability awareness event (e.g. a talk from the Life
Skills teacher on your campus, or a visit from the Special Olympics coach, a parent of
one of the Life Skills students at your school, or a student speaking about what it’s like to
have a sibling with an intellectual disability, etc.) Another idea is to use the “SO – Get
Into It” curriculum in your Kit. It contains many great suggestions for an orientation kind
of activity plus disability and Special Olympics awareness video clips that are very
appropriate to use.
The students should be told that their folders contain a wide variety of project activities
they can select from, and that they do not have to complete all of them, or complete them
“in order.” They may pick and choose the activities they are most comfortable with and
will ENJOY doing.
Several of the activities purposely required that a typically-developing student interact
and do a joint activity (e.g. ‘fitness minutes’ walking the track together before the start of
the school day) with a student who has an intellectual disability. A close relationship
with the special education teachers who know these students best of all, will help as far as
answering questions or addressing concerns the students might have initially about their
‘partner.’ It will also be essential to get as many of the students with intellectual
disabilities as possible to ‘join’ the project, as well. They may need support to
participate, but partnering with a non-disabled peer, allows them BOTH to get project
credit for the activities they complete together. Encourage comparable activity ‘evidence’
from the intellectually disabled students, as well as their typically-developing peers, such
as artwork, writings, posters, and media presentations, etc. Solicit parent reactions about
the project’s benefits and outcomes and post them online, as well.
You will notice on the project menu portion of the folders, that there are several columns
after each activity description. Two columns are for your initials (approval at the
beginning of a project and your verification of completion of each activity.) There is
also a box labeled: Total (times; minutes; amount). If the activity is in blocks of time,
e.g. 15 minute ‘fitness minutes’ blocks, then the total block would say, for example, 245
minutes. Individual tracking of minutes, etc. can be logged on the back of the student
activity menu. There is also a box labeled “Involvement Level” (i.e. the relative
complexity of each activity. Levels are from 1-3 with 3 being the highest level.)
Remind students to keep track of the dates, amounts of time for any ‘fitness minutes’ on
the back of their menu. The interior of the folder should be maintained by each
participating student, to keep track of activities accomplished, and to serve as a reminder
to submit project online summaries, photos, essays, etc. Depending on your student
participants, you may wish to keep the folders in your classroom or in the Meet in the
STUDENT ACTIVITIES in the Meet in the Middle folders
Facilitating teacher ideas or clarifications for each of the individual activities on the
student folder/menus, and the Level of Involvement for each. Please follow along on one
of the student folders when you review the implementation ideas below:
1. The activity choice about YouTube and videos related to “Intellectual Disabilities”
provides an opportunity for students to experience, through family members’ own
thoughts shared online, the gifts and joys of having a family member with an intellectual
impairment. The videos are positive and up-beat.
Writing an essay, either for a class, or to share with “Meet in the Middle” peers or at a
school event, is a level 1 activity; if the essay is shared in a presentation to another class
or student group, it is a Level 2 activity.
2. The activity about reading a book or story about a person with a developmental or
intellectual disability can be done over time. There is an annotated bibliography in your
“Meet in the Middle” kit with many possible books and stories relevant to the topic. The
school librarian may be able to ‘pull’ some of these books for you to have available in
your classroom as a resource for the project.
After reading a book from the bibliography, encourage the students to complete a project
related to the book’s message, such as an essay, poster, skit, ad, song, etc. Reading the
book would be a Level 1 activity; creating a project related to it and sharing it would be a
Level 2. Note: you may want to create a special place in a high-traffic hallway where
student work on their “Meet in the Middle” activities is displayed.
3. This activity is an extension of the ‘read a book or story and create a project’ idea
above. If the students create a skit or panel presentation and share it with other students,
teachers, or a parent group, etc., it would be a Level 3 activity.
4. The “Morning Announcements” activity requires that a student ‘write a positive
message relevant to “Meet in the Middle’ that is accepted by the administration for
broadcast over the school’s public address system. Each ‘message’ accepted and
broadcast, is a Level 1 activity. You may consider challenging your Meet in the Middle
participants to see who can write the most creative ‘morning announcements’ and get the
most broadcast through your school’s public address system. This is a Level 1 activity,
but the ‘winner’ of the challenge, would have completed a Level 2 activity.
5. “Fitness Minutes” are designed not only to encourage students with and without
intellectual disabilities to ‘buddy up’ for this activity, but to engage in positive activities
that promote heath, wellness, fitness and otherwise increase the ability of the student with
the intellectual disability to better perform skills that are needed for the Special Olympics
sports they are already involved in, or may be involved in, in the future.
Fitness minutes may be tracked on the back of the student folder. It is a Level 1 activity,
although the facilitating teacher may wish to consider additional ‘merit’ to student pairs
completing on-going and concerted efforts to increase physical fitness, stamina or sports-
6. “Training Buddies” work together in a PE class to develop sports-related skills. The
typically-developing peer can model, assist, or otherwise help their ‘buddy’ improve
skills needed for a sport they may already be participating in through Special Olympics,
or one that is taught during regular P.E. instruction that the student with an intellectual
disability may or may not have any prior experience with. Discussions with the PE
coach, and/or the Special Olympics coach about the best way to work on the skill and
how to interact with the individual safely, etc, is recommended.
Training Buddies is a Level 2 activity. Extra consideration toward student rewards can
be given by the facilitating teacher based on the time and commitment to the activity.
7. This project involving a student with intellectual disabilities (ID) inviting a peer to “Be
a Learning Partner,” is an opportunity for the typically-developing peer to get involved
in an activity in a classroom setting that may be new and unfamiliar to them. It gives the
student a chance to interact with a group of disabled students and to bring their own
interests, talents and positive ideas to the special education classroom. The time of day
that this activity could be done is dependent on the schedule of both students, and the
special educator’s flexibility in his/her own routines. Collaboration (on multiple levels)
is a sure indicator of success for this project.
This is a Level 2 activity. Consideration of effort and time commitment should be taken
into consideration for student incentive/awarding.
8. The “Health and Wellness” project is for students to take positive steps toward goals
of making better food choices, understanding the food pyramid, and developing their own
project related to healthy lifestyles. Together the ‘buddies’ must create some type of
project, e.g. a health-related poster with the guidance of the school nurse, etc. to post near
the nurse’s office or in their classrooms, or a ‘nutrition news’ feature in the school
This is a Level 2 activity.
9. “Track Your Eating Habits” is a partner activity to keep a food diary for a month
and then the partners visit the school nurse for recommendations to eat healthier or a
more balanced diet.
This is a Level 2 activity if both a typically-developing and an intellectually disabled
youth complete it, discuss similarities and differences in their eating habits, consult the
school nurse, and complete the project together. A food diary can be written, drawn, or
cut out of magazines and advertisements.
10. “Interview Each Other” challenges students to get to know one another better, and
to learn about the ‘things they have in common.’ Both the typically-developing student
and the intellectually disabled student have to find ways to ask questions so that the other
can respond. This might require some unique communication strategies. Encourage the
students to ‘think outside the box.’ Differences lessen when similarities are recognized
This is a Level 2 activity.
11. “Volunteer at a Special Olympics Practice” has to be coordinated with the campus
or district Special Olympics coach and approved by the “Meet in the Middle” facilitating
teacher as well as the student’s teachers and administrator. Some practices take place
during the actual school day (e.g. during a PE or a special education Recreation and
Leisure class period ) while in other districts Special Olympics practices may occur after
school or on Saturdays.
This is a Level 2 activity. Special consideration should be given for multiple volunteer
12. “Volunteer at a Local or Area Special Olympics Competition” requires
coordination and information from the Special Olympics coach or “Head of Delegation”
about the schedule of Fall, Winter and Summer competitions in which your school or
district participate. If there are few or no official Special Olympics competitions
available, contact your Area Special Olympics Director about opportunities to attend
Area or regional competitions as a ‘day-of-event’ volunteer.
This is a Level 2 activity.
13. “Recruit Friends to be Fans in the Stands” at a local Special Olympics competition
to cheer for athletes who are participating. Share with the new ‘fans’ some of the talents
and gifts of your friends who are competing.
Challenges to recruit the most ‘Fans in the Stands’ highly encouraged!
This is a Level 3 activity.
14. Be a Special Assignment Newspaper Reporter” – take a photo of one of your
classmates participating in a Special Olympics competition and write a short ‘newsy’
article about them and their performance in the competition. Submit the photo and news
article to your “Meet in the Middle” sponsor teacher within on week of the event, and
offer the photo and article to your school newspaper.
Getting the article/photo in the school paper is a Level 2 activity. Getting the article/photo
accepted by a local newspaper is a Level 3 activity.
15. “Let’s Do Lunch” together, with your ‘Fitness Buddy’ (a student with an
intellectual disability) and learn more about him or her or what you have in common.
The more times the pair eat lunch and ‘hang out’ together, the greater the consideration
for student rewards.
This is a Level 1 activity.
16. “SO- Get into It!” videos. In the teacher’s “Meet in the Middle” kit is the “SO-Get
into It” DVD containing a variety of information and interesting videos about persons
with developmental and intellectual disabilities in history, a famous Special Olympics
athlete—Loretta Claiborne, the history of how people with disabilities have been treated
in society, and a video about all that Special Olympics offers. Get permission to show
one of the videos in one of your classes or extracurricular activity or club. Use the video
to guide a discussion about what your classmates learned and to come up with ideas for
how to support Special Olympics in your school. Share your ideas with your sponsor
teacher or the Special Olympics coach.
This is a Level 3 activity.
17. Ideas for a “Challenge Day” – Special Olympics has a program especially for
students with the most significant disabilities of all. Often these students use wheelchairs
and may have very limited language skills or self-help skills. The Motor Activities
Training Program (MATP) of Special Olympics gives teachers, coaches, classroom aides,
and students the chance to create ‘unique’ one of a kind movement (motor) activities that
these very special students can actually participate in, even with their severe limitations.
For example, a blown-up balloon might be placed on the tray of their wheelchair and the
student moves his or her hand forward in any way possible to knock the balloon into a
box (held by YOU!) at the edge of their wheelchair tray. An activity such as the one
described, would be that MATP athlete’s ‘basketball’ related skill that he or she is
If you have students with very severe disabilities, both intellectual and physical, at your
school, “Meet in the Middle” students can participate in this activity. You may want to
talk to your Special Olympics coach or have the Area Director for Special Olympics
come to your school to explain more about MATP.
If your school or district has an MATP “Challenge Day”(see next activity) and your
students create a unique MATP activity for it, it would be a Level 2 activity.
18. Organize an MATP “Challenge Day” along with the adult on your campus or in
your school district who is certified as a Special Olympics MATP coach. Your district
Special Olympics coach or the Special Olympics Area Director will help organize the
event with your students.
This is a Level 3 activity.
19. “Promote Your Challenge Day” through banners and posters. Help raise the
awareness of Special Olympics most unique program through student art and publicity.
Encourage Meet in the Middle students not only to volunteer at a Challenge Day event,
but to decorate the venue with signs and posters supporting the athletes, welcoming their
parents and the community, etc.
This is a Level 2 activity.
20. “MySpace and Special Olympics” - go to Special Olympics on myspace.com and
blog with others about your own experiences with the “Meet in the Middle” activities.
Watch the Erase the R-word videos.
This is a Level 1 activity.
21. “Facebook and Special Olympics” - Go to the Facebook website as it’s listed on
your menu of “Meet in the Middle” activities. Add SOTX as a friend. Then swap SOTX
FLAIR and represent your school on the SuperWall.
This is a Level 1 activity.
22. “Be a Fan”….of fun….inclusion…dignity….joy…courage, etc. Visit the Special
Olympics website to learn more about how everyone can be involved. Design a
presentation, poster, essay, make up a song or poem, etc. based on something you learned
from the website. Share in a class or club you belong to and answer classmate questions.
This is a Level 2 activity.
23. “Make a Difference”: - with your Meet in the Middle classmates, organize a
fundraiser to donate to your local, Area, or State Special Olympics. Work with the Area
Special Olympics staff to develop this project.
This is a Level 3 activity.
24. “Honor the Woman Behind the Legacy” – In August, 2009, Eunice Kennedy Shriver,
the founder of Special Olympics (forty years ago) passed away. Visit her website
www.eunicekennedyshriver.org to learn all about the vision, commitment and service of
this wonderful woman. Create a project of your own to keep the legacy of Special
Olympics alive in her honor.
Projects could be testimonial photo albums, skits, fundraisers, Youth Rally’s, etc. This
may be a more appropriate project for the students to do as a group.
This is a Level 3 activity.
Reminders for Sponsoring Teacher Regarding Student Folders/Activity Menus.
Please meet regularly with your students in any way that works best for you, but still
ensures that the students are using the folders for project ideas and uploading project
summaries, creative work, and photos to the Slideshare website so that Special Olympics
Texas can monitor project implementation and uniqueness, and celebrate individual and
You will have to approve each project (which means the students should at least talk to
you beforehand about what they plan to do.) Once they have completed an activity, they
should be able to show you evidence that they completed the projects, e.g. fitness minutes
recorded on the back of their folder in 15 minute blocks, a copy of their essay, poster, ad,
morning announcement, food diary, photo, poem, song, news-loop created with a
classmate who has an intellectual disability if the project is a ‘partnered’ activity.
The “Involvement Levels” of each activity and the types of activities chosen by the
individual students are to be used by you to award the prizes that Special Olympics will
send to you. Quantity and quality of the incentives/prizes will be based on the ONLINE
SUBMISSIONS of your school’s efforts. Please keep your school’s submissions of
projects updated. Students and facilitating teacher may enter the submissions.
Directions for online submission of Meet in the Middle projects:
Direction will be coming soon. They will be simple to follow. Once you register with
Meet in the Middle, your school will be set up on the Slideshare site so that you
simply need to log on and submit your information.
Signing On as a Meet in the Middle School
There is a hot link for “Meet in the Middle” on the homepage of Special Olympics Texas,
www.sotx.org. Once on the “Meet in the Middle” pages, you will find a “Campus
Registration Form.” Only campuses accepted into the project through their Special
Olympics Area Director, with the approval of the school principal and a commitment
from an educator on the campus to be the facilitating teacher of the project, can register
their campus for the project. Campus Registration Forms must be completed online
before a Meet in the Middle kit will be given to the project’s facilitating teacher.
The form requires the following information: the Education Service Center Region, the
campus name and mailing address, the total number of students on the campus, and
campus sponsoring teacher’s and administrator’s contact information.
Incentives, Awards and Prizes
There are R-word campaign buttons, stickers, and awareness bracelets in your “Meet in
the Middle” kit that can be used as incentives as you wish to use them to keep the
momentum of the project going. The stickers can be given to students and educators
signing the “Erase the R-word’ campaign.
Special Olympics Texas will also be sending you prizes and awards (such as school
supplies, key chains, totes, and larger prizes toward the end of the school year, to award
students based on YOUR determination of their individual accomplishments particularly
worth recognizing. Special Olympics staff will be in contact with you to support your
efforts and provide ideas for other opportunities that may interest your student
Very important: At the end of the project, it is necessary for grant purposes, that
each campus hold an ‘end of project’ Youth Summit of some kind so that the “Meet in
the Middle” students can present as a panel to the student body, student council, faculty,
etc. to share highlights of the project and/or discuss future ideas to keep the momentum
going regardless of whether there is additional grant-funded support, e.g. perhaps to
create a “Meet in the Middle Club,” a Special Olympics booster club, etc.
More information about incentives, awards and the end-of-projects winners will be
shared with the sponsoring teachers throughout the project period.