An Autism Connection

Monday, April 28, 2014

Changes for next year

 I have been thinking about next year and what our schedule is going to look like. I will still have the same 6 kids I have had this year, but I will get 2-3 new students, all with lower skills than my current group. So grateful that I know this now and can plan for it.

 I need to revamp a few things I've been doing. I have been doing ULS for science and social studies. I have to say I am a little disappointed. I had read a couple of blogs from people who were using ULS and they had said it was a little boring. Now that I have used it for most of this school year, I would have to agree. There are books and worksheets, and some recipes. The books are a little dull. I didn't get a chance to make them interactive, so that might help in the future. Their life skills pages that follow the lessons are also pretty good, as are the recipes. So I am not giving up on ULS, but I want to do something different, and then incorporate ULS into that.

 I decided to do thematic units for both social studies and for science. ULS alternates months of science and social studies but I will be doing both each month. I looked at what my school teaches in their science and social studies departments and decided to use these topics if I could make them concrete and fun. We are also an international school, so for social studies, I decided we would study 3 continents each year, and then each year pick a different country to study within each continent, to make it more interesting. Each unit will incorporate a field trip, an art project, and either cooking or drama, or both.These are the social studies units I chose for next year.

September- Emergencies- we will review our drills
October- Geography/map skills-
November- South America-
December-Holidays around the world
January- Australia
February- Africa
March- Washington state history
May-Community helpers

For science, I chose the following topics.

October- 5 senses
November- Rocks/fossils
January- force/motion, sink/float, magnets, liquids/solids
February-Weather/Natural Disasters
March-Planets/solar system
April-Human body; puberty
June- Insects

I will start developing them over the summer. If I can find units on TPT, that will make life easier. I will create the rest and will share as I go.

More on other changes later.


  1. Hey,
    I have not used ULS but, I do use News-2-You. This has a lot of options using current events for science and social studies. The current event always has a science experiment and people and places in the news which you could then expand apon for social studies instruction. I like what New2-2-You has to offer in that aspect. Thanks for sharing your ideas as I have often thought about thematic units like this as well.

    1. I have them both, but prefer N2Y. The topics are shorter, there are more differentiation choices for reading. I prefer their worksheets as they are very topic specific and the wide assortment of worksheets available. I've been using them once a week in my reading group, and for writing. I also use the worksheets as fillers for down time, for when I have a sub, and when students are waiting. If I did homework, I could see using them for that. I like the topics in ULS, but every month it is 6 or so chapters in one book. They do have some other activities, such as recipes, etc, but overall, it is just dry. I've thought about adapting the books to make them more interactive, but I just don't have the time to do that. My other complaint is the shear amount of paper and laminating if I want to do that for each chapter. And it really doesn't wok for my lowest kiddos, the ones that are non-verbal, non-readers, non-writers. I'll keep them both for now, and use what I need.

  2. I like this plan! I will definitely be watching to see what you come up with. I am nowhere near planning for next year, but when I do, this looks like a great plan! May try it out myself!
    Keep us updated!!!

    1. I will for sure! Often times we are the only teachers who do what we do in our buildings, which is the case for me this year. It's nice to be able to connect and share with others. I thank my lucky stars for all the blogs that shared their information last year, because they definitely saved my bacon! I am glad to be able to reciprocate!!

  3. I tend to Google a lot to find creative additions to the ULS lessons...takes some digging, but it's worth it! I am loving your blog and am enjoying all of your posts!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. This is my first year with ULS, so I haven't given up on it yet, but the kids were starting to react negatively with behaviors, so I need to dress it up some. I looked for ready made activities and didn't find much, but I have a little more time now and can spend it looking for materials to support it. I've enjoyed the activities that you put together. I will miss your blog!

  4. Does the ULS change like N2Y does each year or is the ULS the same every year? We use Attaiment curriculum in my classroom and they have a Science curriculum that you buy and rotate through each year so I was asking for that but I teach K-5 life skills not middle school. My students also have Science and Social Studies IEP objectives as well as for state testing 4th grade has 3 Social Study topics I have to test on and 5th has 3 Science topics I have to test on so that gives me some topics I need to teach throughout the year also. I was looking into the ULS because I saw our Autism class teachers are recommended to go to a training on it and I was asking if they were the only ones who were going to get it.

    1. The ULS has a 3 year cycle before it repeats, so you only have to purchase for that amount of time. It's about $500 each year. I use the middle school version but you can choose. They have k-2, 3-5, middle school, high school, transition, and might even have pre-school. If you go to the site, you can download the summer version fro free to see what it's like, and you can also look at the grade level bands and see the topics for the next three years. You can choose whatever band you like, it doesn't have to correspond to your actual grade level unless you want it to. If you can get training on it, that would be awesome. As big as my district is, it doesn't do any of those types of things. Good luck!