Junior Model United Nations
"Accomplished teachers of students with exceptional needs cultivate a sense of efficacy and independence in their students as they develop students' character, sense of civic and social responsibility, respect for diverse individuals and groups, and ability to work constructively and collaboratively with others." (NBPTS)
During the 2007-2009 school years I assisted the teachers and students who led our Model United Nations conference, one of the largest in the Middle East. For the second year, I led a Junior Model United Nations activity group for our middle school students.
Each week our middle school scheduled an entire class period for activities of interest chosen by the students. Junior Model United Nations was open to grades six through eight. The students that I served in special education eagerly joined the group along with their peers. I used the computer lab for JrMUN activities, so students knew that they would have audio and visual access to materials that they needed.
With help the help of my co-teacher, we used class building activities to introduce the skills needed for successful UN committee work. We also designed instructional activities to outline the purpose of the United Nations, the history of the UN, the roles of the world's peace keepers, the background of some of the world's problems, and the distribution of resources.
To prepare to serve as pages at the high school MUN conference, the students learned the protocol of the UN while learning to get along with each other. The following photos show my students serving as pages, and the high school students who worked with me during the conferences. The high school students of AISMUN are so amazingly competent that I should say some the photos are of students whom I worked for, and who taught me so very much.
My student, left, listens to an experienced delegate
My 8th grade students participate as delegates for the first time. Several used screen reading software to listen to the text that was used for research.
My 7th and 8th graders working as pages at the big conference
The boys worked, too.
And the traditional ending - The Hokey Pokey
When my niece was a middle school student in the gifted program, she participated in Model United Nations. Her enthusiasm for the activity was contagious. I decided that I would start an organization in my own school. Before I had the opportunity to investigate further, I moved to the American International School in Egypt. There, I fell into the good fortune of serving as assistant to the director of the high school program. The following year, the middle school principal asked me if I would consider starting the middle school students with a club activity. I answered "yes," on the spot. Back in the U.S., I am currently recruiting students and learning more about my responsibilities as teacher-leader.