An Autism Connection

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Group meeting

Since I teach middle school, I don't do circle time. However, my students still need work on the same calendar time concepts that are typically taught in circle time. Enter group meeting. We do this right after lunch.  I have just 5 students then. This is led by a Para and he does a fabulous job with it.

This is our group meeting set up. The binder on the table is the one that my higher students work on after the Para is done with the calendar routine. It reinforces the concepts.

 Just to the right of the calendar, I have our question words reminder that I got from Autism Tank. We use this for our sentence of the day. This is also where they check in for several groups.

Here is a close up of the calendar board. I use both items that I had and items I purchased from both Autism Tank and Autism Helper. In the routine, Mr. J goes over the days. We then have the students look outside and tell us what kind of weather we are having. Is anyone surprised that in Seattle we have rain, lol??? Most of my students can answer verbally but my non-verbal students use the velcroed items to show their answers, or use their communication devices with info I have programmed just for this.  Then a student looks in the weather page in the newspaper to see what the high temperature will be for the day, and we graph that. We then move on to the actual calendar and identify the month and season, and look at any holidays or special events and count the days until that event. We then have 2 students write the date in numbers and words. Then we go back to the calendar board and Mr. J goes over our sentence of the day. In the beginning, we only had one error to correct, either punctuation or the capital letter at the beginning. But they have gotten so good, that we include both of those, as well as adding random capital letters and some misspellings, and they can now find them all. I am so proud of them!

 In addition, we also do some polling. This activity was purchased from Lakeshore Learning, which both Autism Tank and The Autism Helper recommended. I have no regrets, this is a wonderful product.  I  love it because the students are actually interested in what the others choose, and they often get to be the leader for this and ask the other students and staff the question of the day.

 Afterwards, the students do  individual work in their binders, as a review of concepts. That is also when the students answer their 5 questions. I got that also from The Autism Helper. In the binders, I have also included more functional items such as name, address, phone numbers, etc.

Next year, I hope to expand this to include more math concepts around the calendar, and maybe expand the newspaper bit to read one article and also include News 2 you. But for now, I am satisfied.
After group meeting, the students do hygiene. Because of some behavioral issues in the bathroom, I try to stagger when the students leave group meeting for their hygiene time.

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