An Autism Connection

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year.

I have been a total slacker on this blog. Lots of issues: computer problems, forgetting to bring home my camera and thumb drives (do they still call them that????), and total exhaustion being the main ones. When I got home, I was too tired to do more than just eat and then read for awhile, and talk to my boyfriend, then it would be time for bed. But, I made some changes before break, as far as leaving closer to when I am supposed to, which made a big difference in how much energy I had when I got home. And then there is the break itself, AHHHHHHHHHHH, so needed and soooooooo good. I could use another week, but at least I feel rested and ready to go. We have a couple of 3 day weekends coming up, and then mid-winter break in February, which I am looking forward to.

Here are some photos from November until now:
The first 5 pictures are from Thanksgiving. I buy hats for each holiday and the students love wearing them. I try to stay low key for holidays and stick to the schedule, otherwise we see negative behaviors. I incorporate holiday or seasonal themes into our daily work, so the students are still participating, but within our normal routine. On Fridays, last period of the day, we have fun activities, such as art, drama, etc. It's part of our routine now, so they have gone really well.That's when these photos were taken. Here are some shots of the students wearing the hats for November. For Thanksgiving, we had the students set the table (they practice as part of their life skills rotation), and then we had a small feast and practiced our table manners (please, thank you, can you please pass the..., no, thank you, eye contact, holding with both hands, etc). It went really well.

I love this photo of 2 of my students looking out our window during their choice time. The student on the left gets to take his shoes off when he gets in the door. If he starts to misbehave, all we have to say, "if you make that choice, you'll have to put your shoes and socks back on", and he stops. We tried having him earn the privilege, but it didn't work as well. This is only for our classroom. If he leaves, he has to put them on, which he understands. We keep them in our class close to the emergency bag in case we have to leave for an emergency.

The next two photos are from December. The first student was mesmerized by the balls as they moved. It was so funny to watch him. They love all these hats. I don't have one for January, but will keep looking. The dollar store is where I get them. I have lots of photos, but all have student faces and I don't know how to blur them. We did some art activities around the holidays, including Hanukkah and Christmas, and Kwanzaa and Las Posadas. I finally got ULS, which we based the activities on, and the some of the other things I ordered LAST JUNE, hahahaha. They started to trickle in at the beginning of December, but I still am waiting for a bunch of stuff. 

And finally, here is my own celebration of Christmas.
I am originally from Norway, so I celebrate it the way we do it over there. We have dinner on Christmas Eve, then we open presents. There's my tree and there are my boyfriend, my 2 children and their significant others, and 3 of my nieces and one of their boyfriends. Don't look at the boxes and the bare walls, we are painting still. I don't have a lot of family here in the states, so this was huge for me. We had a lot of fun and our celebration was filled with joy and laughter and Norwegian Christmas music and traditional food.. And finally, 4 very important members of my family, my fur babies: Indigo, Milo, Thumbelina, and our newest addition, Deja. I also have a cat, Freakabella, but she stayed clear of the chaos. All of them are getting up there in age, so I am trying to enjoy the remaining time I have left with them.

And that is all for now. I am going to try to do a post a week, but we'll see how that goes. For the first time since before school started, I am feeling rested and I took some time to think about my classroom set up and what is working well, and what I can improve on. I am slowly going to start instituting these changes in the next few months, and will document as I go (my goal is to leave my school by 3:00 each day unless I have mandated meetings). My classroom was a quick set up at the beginning of the school year due to shortage of funds and curriculum, and I really just borrowed other people's ideas for centers and schedules.Thank you to the community of bloggers on here who blogged and shared their ideas. I am eternally grateful!! Most of it has worked out ok, but I need to  improve some areas, and make them my own so that they fit my unique population of students. Stay tuned.