I still have not gotten any funding for the classroom, although I was told on Thursday it will be coming in 2-4 weeks. This has made my life difficult and I have had to work 60 hour weeks to plan for everything. Sometimes it's been fun, and other times not so much. I am exhausted at the end of the week, but despite all of that, I am loving my new job. The kids are great and super funny and the new IA's are fantastic.
I have had to make many changes to the class schedule as I get to know my students. And my centers are still a work in progress. I thank The Autism Helper, Autism Tank, Autism Classroom News, and The Autism Adventures of Room 83 for providing a framework for me to build on. Their links should be to the right. Since I haven't received the funding YET (crossing my fingers that they mean it), their blogs and products have literally been a real time and life saver for me. So THANK YOU!
For Science/Social Studies, I plan to use Unique Learning System.
But, since I am not currently signed up yet, I decided to start the Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH) curriculum that our district uses. It was actually created by our county's health Department and is free to anyone. I am using the Special Education version. Here is a link to the site.
In our school, this curriculum is taught by the science teachers. According to ARC, up to 80% of people with intellectual disabilities are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. I want to do everything I can to help my students protect themselves. Plus, although my students are delayed in many ways, their bodies develop typically, just like their peers. Middle school is where it starts and I want them to develop appropriate ways of handling their sexual desires and feelings right off the bat. I was a nurse before I became a teacher so this is not a subject I shy away from or find embarrassing at all. So to start with, we are working on Public versus Private places, leading eventually to Public vs Private behavior. I also plan to use aspects of the Circles curriculum, which teaches students about how to talk, touch and trust different people in a broadening circle of relationships, from people close to them, to total strangers. I had planned to do these units during the shorter months where ULS does not have a planned curriculum, such as December and June, but I have needed to start them now as I wait for the funding to come through. I have had the students cutting inside and outside places out of a magazine and I have been laminating them for future use. We will be sorting them this week.
The FLASH unit also ties in loosely to our social skills unit, which is unexpected and expected behavior in many different places. We have been able to generalize this language to other times throughout the day and the kids get it! When they are engaging in poor choices we just tell them this is unexpected behavior and they STOP, can you believe it??! This is from Michelle Garcia Winner and really is a WINNER, lol. This week we will be talking about good manners as expected behavior. My students really need to work on this as I am getting tired of students picking their noses (it is CONSTANT and totally grosses me out) and touching and adjusting their privates, among other behavior. We will get to this in due time. However, we are starting small with with saying Please, Thank you, I'm sorry, and Excuse me. I have created a sort of 10 different behaviors for each category that I have observed or I know is important to them. I am including a link to this activity through my Google Docs for you to download if you want to.
That is all I have for now. Basically it's all I have the energy for. Have a great week!