MAGAZINE FEATURE

Toolkit for "A Painter Named Kennedy"

“A Painter Named Kennedy” provides students with a narrative about the experiences of one young man with a disability. This toolkit structures a class reading of the story.

Introduction

The story of Kennedy Nganga allows readers to see past stereotypes about disability and learn about a person living with a disability. Students may initially feel sympathy for Kennedy and the challenges he faces—challenges made more difficult by living in poverty. Ultimately, students will see his story as a source of inspiration and one worthy of great respect. This toolkit structures a class reading of “A Painter Named Kennedy.” 

 

Essential Question

  1. What preconceived notions do your students hold about people living with disabilities? 

 

Procedure

  1. Provide each student with a copy of “A Painter Named Kennedy” and the Anticipation Guide.
  2. Have students independently respond to the before-reading statements.*
  3. Have students turn and talk to a neighbor or in groups of three. Students should take turns sharing their opinions about each of the before-reading statements.
  4. Take a survey of the whole class to get a sense of the number of “true” and “false” responses and the reasoning behind those opinions.
  5. Have students turn and talk to a neighbor or in groups of three. Students should take turns sharing their opinions about each of the before-reading statements.
  6. Discuss the answers and any differences of opinion among students.
  7. Return to the before-reading statements. Use the after-reading chart to have students assess how their thinking has changed as a result of reading Kennedy’s story. Encourage them to identify places in the text that helped change their opinions.
  8. End the lesson by taking a survey of the class to get a sense of how learning about Kennedy changed their views on disability.

*Note: If you have students with disabilities in your classroom, adapt the questions accordingly.

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