Hi families! I apologize for the lack of posts the past month! We've been busy wrapping up the school year. In May, we had a lot of M-stepping (state testing) that took up a lot of time. Our students did great, and were so flexible when we had schedule changes! In our social skills group we just wrapped up our circles unit. Each student made a book about the different social circles (Purple=me, Blue=Family,Green=Friends, yellow=Acquaintances, Orange=Community helpers and Red=Strangers) On each page we talked about the levels of trust, touch and communication you should have with the people in those circles. The students did a great job constructing their books! We also made Mother's Day cards to celebrate all the wonderful moms! Throughout the month of May there we a few field trips along the way! This past month flew by! As the school year comes to an end that means my time here is coming to an end too. I've had a great time working with each of the students! Not only did I teach them, they taught me as well! For the last week or so we will be working on a Father's Day project and celebrating the end of the school year! Field Day is Friday, June 9th. 3-5 will be participating in the morning and K-2 will be in the afternoon. I'm excited to experience my first Lakewood Field day!
This is Whitney Rockafellow, Ann's long-term sub. I am a recent graduate from Eastern Michigan University. I completed my student teaching at Muir Middle School and I am a former Huron Valley student. It's great to be back in the district--but on the other side now!
The past two weeks have been crazy, yet wonderful! I've had a great time getting to know the kids! The staff has been extremely helpful.
The past two weeks I've been getting into my groove and getting to know each student. We've started our circles unit in social skills! We've hit the first two circles--purple and blue. So, we've talked about personal information and who should know this information. I asked each student if they knew their address and phone number. Most students were very confident on this! At the beginning of next week we will be talking about family members. It's been a great first two weeks! I'm excited to see what the rest of the school year brings!
We had a very exciting week! Two of our fifth-grade students went to orientation at the middle schools they will attend next year. They came back from the visit very excited about middle school! Wednesday was our Blue Out, with everyone wearing an Autism Awareness shirt during community time. One of our students was a big help during community time, explaining what it was like to have autism. She did a wonderful job, and the entire day was certainly filled with a lot of support from the staff and students!
If you pay a dollar on the last two Fridays of this month, students can wear their Autism Awareness shirts and the money will be collected to buy Autism Awareness books for the Library.
Whitney Rockafellow, the originally scheduled ASD teacher, was able to join us on Wednesday as well, and the kids were excited to meet her! As you may remember from the note that was sent home, she and I will teach Monday, the 17th, together, and that will be my last day.
I am very grateful to have spent time with the kids here at Lakewood, and I will miss them so much!
Thursday afternoon ended the week with a musical performance by our fourth-graders. It was very fun and exciting for everyone, and a great way to end the day!
We were very productive this week, with much of our work centered around writing, the use of conjunctions in writing, learning story elements, and expanding details in our writing pieces. It is truly a wonderful experience to gain insight through the written word, as some children have a more difficult time expressing themselves verbally. Some of our older children finished up their State testing (whew), while some of our younger ones focused on waiting for another person to finish a turn before they began taking their turn. This has proven to be very effective in natural conversation, as well as discussing varying texts in literature and learning. The week we come back from break is our Blue Out, Wednesday, the 12th of April, and the kids and staff are very excited about it! It will also be my last full week of teaching for Mrs. Reece. On Wednesday, April 12th, the new teacher, Whitney, will be coming in to spend the day getting to know the kids, as well as the routines that are in place. She is very excited to be teaching at Lakewood! We will be sending out a letter to the parents introducing her very soon. My last day of teaching will be one as a co-teacher with Whitney on Monday, April 17th. Enjoy the break, and we will see you back in school on Monday, April 10th!
We have had a busy week. Much of our focus has been on various testing, and so, to help give the kids balance, we also played instructional games and read some really good books. A particular favorite is How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends. Our social skills group continued to focus on what we can say versus what we should keep inside our brains, how to stay on topic, and continuing practice of good conversation skills, such as listening and not interrupting. I have continued to learn more and more about each child's individual needs and motivations, as well as applying teaching strategies that will best help each child continue to progress. Your children worked very hard this week, and I am very proud of them. Enjoy the weekend, and the beautiful weather!
With some changes we were not expecting this past week, Mrs. Reece was placed on immediate bed rest. After some time being monitored her doctors decided the baby would be a March baby! On March 10th, Bennett Reece was born at 4.5 lbs and 18 inches long. He is just precious! Mom and baby are recovering well.
We do have a long term sub that will be with us until the week after spring break. Then we will have another sub to end our year. Meighan Linebaugh started with us this week. So far she is doing a great job getting to know the kids and their schedules. In social skills, the kids continued their sorting of thought and speech bubbles. We made a project of brain and mouth pockets where some phrases were placed into each based on what the kids decided.
The kids will be starting their MAP tests this week. Please make sure your child sleeps well, eats breakfast and is ready to rock what they know.
Mrs. Linebaugh (Mrs. L to the kids) is going to be sending a letter to you so you get to know her a little bit better and have her email address. I would still continue to call the office if you are not sending your child to school, arriving late to school, or picking up early so the office can let us all know.
It was a short week, so we didn't get through a lot of social skills curriculum this week. We have, however, been working hard on our academic work and settling back in after a few days off. Over the short break, Ms. McQuillan and I met and started making some plans for April. Many of you know that April is our "Super Bowl" as we celebrate Autism Awareness Month. World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, but we always seem to miss that with either a weekend or spring break. This year, our school Blue Out will be held on Wed., April 12. We are working with Mrs. Szalay and the Recess Buddies to create shirts for all of the students at Lakewood! We are in need of poster board for our Recess Buddies to create some advertisement for the event, so if you have any to donate, we would appreciate it! We have lots of fun things planned to bring awareness to autism and to celebrate diversity in our school community, so stay tuned!
This week, we did not have a joke or emotional word of the week, due to our shortened schedule. We did spend some time talking together, asking questions of one another about our breaks and playing some games. My older kids talked a bit about worrying and my youngers worked on some turn taking. Have a wonderful weekend, and stay warm! It looks like our spring-like temperatures will be coming to an end!
I hope you all had a nice weekend--it was beautiful out!
We had a busy week last week with Valentine's Day and a half day of school. We spent a lot of the week reviewing Social Filter. Some people ask me why we cover the same topics each year and this was a perfect example. We have taught Social Filter for several years (at least 2) and each year, we've done a visual with a filter and marbles and water. None of the students could remember the visual or the concept without a lot of reteaching and prompting. So that's why we revisit important topics! :)
A social filter is an imaginary thing in people's brains that help them decide what to say (in our speech bubble) and what should get filtered out and stay in our thoughts (in our thought bubble). We talked about concepts related to Valentine's Day that we should say or think. The older kids came up with a good list. We discussed the social issues associated with telling our peers and friends "I love you" vs. saying that our families. We also had fun making some Valentine's crafts, working on our joke telling and game playing and learning about the word "melancholy" (one of my favorites!)
The joke this week was: "Where did the pencil go on vacation?
Pencil-vania!" (Thank you Cade!)
Our word of the week was "melancholy". The children added it to their social skills notebooks under "sad". If you hear your child using this word, be sure to high-five them!
This week, we spent some time talking about the Unthinkable, Body Snatcher. Body Snatcher makes people walk away or turn away from a conversation or group. We talked about ways to defeat Body Snatcher. The three ways we discussed were:
1) Use your eyes as clues (be aware of what you're looking at and think if that's where you should be looking).
2) Keep your shoulders pointed at the person you're talking to or the group you're in.
3) Use your brain to ask, "Where should I be looking?" and "Who is talking?"
This week, we also spent some time playing games and talking about worrying. I also (re)introduced the topic of Social Filter. The younger kids read the book Words Are Not for Hurting and talked about how words can make people feel good and bad (introduction to Social Filter).
This week, we had a new joke and a new Emotional Vocabulary Word of the week.
The joke was:
What did zero say to eight? Nice belt! (Courtesy of Cade!)
The word this week was "petrified". The children wrote it in their notebooks under "scared".
Have a great weekend!
I hope you had a great week! We were busy!
This week, all of the children read The Kissing Hand and talked about feeling nervous and lonely. On Tuesday, the groups read the book Germs Are Not For Sharing. We read this every year around this time because lots of us forget rules of good hygiene and it's a tough time of year on our immune systems. We talked about ways to stop germs from spreading and appropriate times to wash our hands. Hopefully this is helpful as I've heard the flu is hitting our area hard! Please be cognizant of signs of illness in your child--thanks for helping us all stay healthy this winter!
On Thursday, the younger kids talked about Habit #3, Put First Things First. We talked about getting the important things done so we had time to play and do fun things. We also reviewed Wasfunnyonce to make sure he was fresh in our minds going into some MAP testing. The older kids enjoyed a game day with Mrs. Szalay. We rounded out the week with a conversation about a new Unthinkable, "Body Snatcher". (This one is not the scary body snatcher from horror movies!) Body Snatcher is an Unthinkable to gets people to walk away from a conversation or group or may have people turning out of the group instead of participating. We will work on him more next week as well.
Have a great weekend!
Ann Reece is the upper elementary teacher in the ASD program.