An Autism Connection

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Winding down + freebie

I am sooooo ready for summer break!

We still have 17 teaching days left, though, so it'll be awhile yet. I have a few goals for the end of the school year. Here's a couple. More to come later.



1. For the first time ever, I plan to be out of there on the last teaching day. That has never happened before in all the years I have taught. But this year I am doing it because I am BURNED OUT, lol. No foolin'! I need up outta there as soon as possible!! So, to make it happen, I am cleaning/organizing/packing either 1 box, 1 shelf, or 1 pile every day. Room's looking better already. The one thing that might hold me up are my duties as a new Co-Chair  of our SpEd. Dept. But it doesn't pay enough for me to stay later so they better bring whatever it is soooon, or it will have to wait until the end of August. I am not joking!


2. I am also working on my units for the beginning of the school year. I adapted this book from tarheel reader and added some icons to match the pages. Here's one book, but there will be a few others as well in the next few days. I'll post them as soon as I'm finished. Naturally, I did desserts first, but the healthy stuff is coming.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Social skills curriculum ideas for next year.

Since I have a year under my belt, I know what social skills lessons worked and didn't work this past year, and have ideas that I want to focus on for next year. The following is what I came up with for the entire year, just so that I have a framework to go with. Obviously, if an issue comes up, I can be flexible enough to change my plans, but I hate constantly flying by the seat of my pants, which is what I did a lot of this year, so I wanted a plan in place. It makes it easier to prep, too.

Many of these topics are ones I worked on this year, and there were some I identified as needing for next year, or wished I had time to work on. All of my current students are returning next year, as well as a couple of new ones, so I think this will work. They are broken into weekly themes. I do social skills in 20 min sessions, 3-4 times a week. They are short and sweet, with a day or two to practice. I find the curriculum itself in many places: Google it, TPT, pinterest, teacher blogs, or I just make it myself if I can't find something or it doesn't work. I will share more this summer as I start planning for the first few months.

SEPTEMBER- Skills in the classroom
Classroom rules/whole body listening/using a quiet voice
Asking for help /asking questions/interrupting
Expected and unexpected behavior

OCTOBER-Feelings
Identifying own emotions /Expressing emotions
Recognizing others’ emotions /Facial expressions / body language
Positive and negative emotions/making good choices
Halloween manners/trick or treating

NOVEMBER- Feelings Cont’d/Manners
Dealing with fear, disappointment, anger
Apologizing /saying sorry
Table manners/setting the table

DECEMBER- Caring about others
Understanding other’s behaviors/impact of your behavior on others
Kindness/ helping/caring/showing an interest in others
Social service project

JANUARY-Friendship
Acknowledging others /Greetings /Taking turns/waiting
Personal space /Appropriate touch
Good friends/not so good friends
Empathy/seeing other’s point of view

FEBRUARY-Conversation skills
Starting conversations /Taking turns in conversation /Ending conversations
Using humor/jokes
Body language review
Small talk/ conversation topics

MARCH- Problem Solving
Good/bad choices/Dealing with consequences
Bothering others
How big is the problem?
Solving problems/conflict

APRIL-Superflex
Introduction to superflex/Rock Brain
Brain eater
Body Snatcher
Mean Jean

MAY- JUNE  Superflex cont’d/Personal safety
Space Invader
Stranger awareness
Public  versus Private
Introduction to Circles curriculum









Saturday, May 17, 2014

Community based Instruction-McDonald's

At the beginning of the school year, I asked families for donations for the classroom and for $25 to be used in the community to practice money skills, etc. Not one person sent in money. I asked again, and nothing. Some of my families are low income but not all. So, not sure what I did wrong here, or if there's a different way to approach this, so if anyone has any suggestions, I am all ears. My original intent was to be able to purchase food for some small cooking activities,  purchase a meal, or to visit the dollar store. Basically activities that would have the student understand money and use it appropriately when out in the community. With no money,  I had to rethink what  we were going to do while we were out there.

We ended up going out into the community regularly, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, except when the weather was awful. But we've had some good weather recently and have ventured forth. I have done a variety of things with them while we were out. We practiced looking for our community signs, crossing the street safely, doing scavenger hunts in a variety of businesses, going to the library, our local community garden, and just going to the park to enjoy some relaxation. The students enjoy these activities and love it when they see the community PEC signs on their schedules. It ended up working out just fine.

This past week we had beautiful weather with temperatures in the 80s. If you know anything about Seattle, you know that is hot for us. The thought of going out anywhere in these sizzling  warm temperatures when we're not used to it was not a fun thought. I couldn't think of one thing any of us would want to do until I thought of ice cream cones. There is a McDonalds not too far from the school and I asked the kids if they wanted to go there for our next outing. Sheer excitement. At first I thought just ice cream but they have a dollar menu (and since I was paying, that was the menu we were going to use) and I have some students that are incredibly picky about food, so I thought I would let them pick.  I made this page with icons for them to choose what they wanted to get ahead of time and to practice ordering. Since we were doing it the next day, I didn't work with them on money. But it was relatively cheap, so I will do it again before school is out, and we'll practice with the next dollar strategy. Here is the menu I came up with. I got the idea from someone's blog and I searched for it but couldn't find it. If you know whose it is, please let me know so I can give them credit.



The outing went very well and the students did a great job. We had fun and I look forward to doing it again shortly. If you want a copy of this, I have saved it on google doc in a format so that you can change it to another restaurant, if you need to. I put velcro in the middle to store the symbols, and the sentence, "I want...Please",  goes on the bottom. There's enough space there for ordering up to 3 different items.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Nutrition unit + freebie

So, last post, I wrote what my science and social studies units are going to be in the fall. I decided to get busy now, since that is a lot of ground to cover. Since the district didn't fund me in a timely manner, all the items I purchased during the year were reimbursed out of a different budget, rather than my classroom budget. So I still have my entire budget left. I am putting in an order tomorrow for the Circles Level 1  curriculum from The James Stanfield Company. I have used this before and it is a wonderful tool to teach students about touch, trust, and talk with people they know well, not so well, and with strangers.


I also got a new iPad, which will hopefully be three total for the fall. I already have 6 computers, but 2 haven't worked, and the others are super old. I think I will wean it down to 2 computers, and 2 iPads for the computer station, and 1 iPad for my teacher station.

The rest of the money I used to purchase items to  support the science and social studies units through December. I will have a new budget in the fall, and hope to supplement through Donor's Choose for the rest. We'll see how that goes as I have never tried them before.

Here are the items for my Nutrition unit. I chose to start off the school year with nutrition because food is a difficult issue for some of my students who are incredibly picky eaters. I have one student who has only eaten cheetos and drunk soda which has severely impacted his health to the point where he is in a wheelchair. This is probably one of the more important units I will teach this year for this reason, which is why I have so many activities. Anyway, here are some of the materials I have/will purchase.If I see items, or someone can recommend different activities or items you have used in your classroom, I am all ears.

 I got Nasco's Deluxe cling set from Nasco,
as well as this food replica kit and this one that is more multiculturalfrom Lakeshore Learning.





Also from Lakeshore Learning, I got My Plate Pop and Match,



I have also put this unit on my wish list for next week when it goes on sale,

as well as this lapbook project, which I will modify a little.


And then finally, here are some activities on Google Docs that I made to supplement. I am still new at creating, so please forgive my box sizes ahead of time. I' like to get them to match, but I am not there yet. There are tons of pictures to sort, pick as many as you need, titles for the sort, boxes for matching pictures to words, pictures to pictures (you choose which pictures for both),my plate sort, and then a graphing game with a die to cut out. I formatted the sorts and matching this way so that my students don't memorize which pictures go where. There are enough pictures so that I can mix and match and it will be different each time. Just print,  laminate, and cut.

That should get us through for September. Hope this helps someone.