This week we focused on learning that everyone has problems and we all have reactions to those problems. This is a complex topic which will need lots of repetition, practice, and modeling. The reason we cover it as early as kindergarten and first grade is because this is not only a social skill we have to manage, but it's a life skill ALL of us have to manage. A small problem is something like
The week was full of fire safety events! We had a successful drill, beating our previous time evacuating the building. On Thursday we had a special guest present about fire safety. Mr. Hanniman happens to be a parent at Lakewood as well as part of the White Lake Fire Station. In group we talked about expected behavior and rules for having a fire drill and learned about fire safety tips such as crawling on the ground (and we practiced) if there is smoke, to leave the room/building. We talked about walking instead of running to stay safe. We also learned about what a firefighter puts on with their equipment to show that they are not scary, but there to help.
We also had a jump rope assembly on Friday with the whole school. Everyone did a really nice job sitting through it even though it was loud and high energy! They did a lot of stunts that I was thinking, "don't try this at home...or school!!!!" But, it was a cool experience.
We have been reading our scarecrow and bat poems in kindergarten and have started to talk about Halloween a little bit. This coming week we will be talking about costume rules and trick or treating to help prime the kids for Friday. We will try to prep them for the parade. If you are coming in, we would love any assistance getting costumes on kids. The parade typically is done with staff and parents stand on the side to watch and take photos. Then you can find me and your child and let me know if you will be taking them home or having them ride the bus. If you are not attending, please let me know that also so that we are able to plan accordingly. We want all of our little ducklings safe and under our careful eye :)
In other kindergarten news, we wrapped up unit one and took the first test. We have been talking about apples as well as the kids went on their first field trip! In reading we continue to work on sight words: me, my, and to. We used a Q-tip to paint the word me for extra fine motor practice. As we are reading we make sure to use a pointer finger to track the words. Please do this with the poetry folders as they come home. Last week was my error not sending them, but you should have them this weekend. Return them this Monday and we will continue to work on the projects. Last week we painted a full moon and colored bats to glue on. We have been working on counting by 10s and practiced jumping as we counted. We have also been practicing our counting to 120. We do this together and slowwwwly. :) We also practiced the concept words: longer and shorter. In the picture section see Brennen's cool creation he started off making a long train of blocks and then made short parts to create a map! We also have been singing Greg and Steve's "Number Rock" which counts to 20. In writing we are still practicing drawing simple pictures and labeling them. This is really tricky, so any extra practice you can do is great for fine motor development. Even simple shapes are great to practice on. Breaking crayons in half gives a smaller item to grasp and can be easier for younger kids. Don't forget Monday is library day for everyone so please return your books! Thank you to those of you I saw for conferences this past week. I look forward to meeting with everyone else this week!
This week the focus was learning the vocabulary words expected and unexpected. Mrs. Reece and I use the Think Social! curriculum beginning with me using the book Social Detective and if they are ready and able introducing them to Superflex. Mrs. Reece uses the Superflex book to target behaviors as well. Social Detective introduces the vocabulary words "expected" and "unexpected" to describe behaviors that are safe, positive and unsafe or negative. As kids get older and more aware of others we tell them that unexpected behaviors give people thoughts that could be weird or sad while expected behaviors make others have happy thoughts about us. Right now we are introducing those words. Please reinforce this at home! Try noticing when kids are following rules or directions and tell them they are being "expected!" Also, if you see things that need to be corrected you could say, "that is looking unexpected". We read David Gets In Trouble and David Goes To School and talked about what he did that was expected and unexpected and showed thumbs up or thumbs down to his choices. Then we read a book about making Smart Choices. The kids did a sort with the pictures from the story to show if they were smart or poor choices. We related this to expected and unexpected choices. Fridays are prize day. The kids are earning a dollar for listening and participating. They keep their money in "bank" envelopes on our wall. Every Friday they can buy a prize. They have to count out their money to me before purchasing a prize. As you have been seeing, they will have small toys, pencils, or "stuff" each Friday. The older kids like to save their money for bigger opportunities like being teacher for a group session (which I help plan and implement).
The kindergarten kids finished up unit one in math and will have a test on Monday. We reviewed today. The concepts are about identifying shapes, number of objects, writing numbers, and drawing an amount of something, just like in the homework you've been completing. In reading, we have been focusing on sight words: I, a, is, go and my. I have printed some easy reader books they have been reading with those sight words in them. Our read alouds have been about fall, scarecrows, and Halloween. In writing, we labeled our classroom and some pictures. They continued to share their oral language stories from their heart and we cheered each other on with whatever they were capable of verbalizing. I prompted with WH questions, who was there, where did you go, what did you do, etc. We started to illustrate, but began with a simple picture of a sun and labeled the sounds we heard. We worked on our poetry folders too. I am very proud of how much more work we are able to accomplish compared to a month ago!
Have a great weekend!
This week we continued our work learning the 5 point scale. We often refer to it when we want children to reference how they are feeling and whether they need help calming down or solving a problem. Once children can identify how they are feeling it is easier to advocate for themselves and share that information with others. Often, children on the autism spectrum assume we know their thoughts and feelings because they lack perspective taking (Theory of Mind). This is one way we can help to teach that or build that gap a little.
We finished the coloring and identifying each number and did an activity with picture cards of various stressors or events and sorted how they made each of us feel. For example, a fire drill could make someone a 4 where others it made a 3. A birthday party could make someone a 3 but others a 1 or 2. We talked about how people sort them differently because we each have our own thoughts and opinions. This was really hard for the 1st graders to understand. The kindy kids are really too egocentric right now to understand the concept, so I didn't cover it in detail.
The kids will be bringing home a 5 point scale they will be coloring so you can see the numbers and the feelings we have covered. Then as you notice they are demonstrating a certain feeling or behavior you can reinforce this by identifying it for them. "Wow! You look so happy playing right now. I bet you are at a #1!" or "Seems like this is frustrating. Are you feeling a #3?" The more we practice this, the more we will set a foundation for them as they get older to help self-identify and communicate their needs, feelings, and wants. As kids get upset here and if they lose control at a #5 our rule is you have to calm your body back down to be a #1 or #2 in order to go back to class or other activities (lunch, recess, etc.). We help by taking deep breaths, offering a hug, giving arm and shoulder squeezes, or just quiet time with no words or touching for 1-3 minutes.
In academics, the kindergarten kids worked on the sight words is (by ripping scrapbook paper and decorating a large sight word), go, my, and I. Some were review. We watched a video with the songs (like the go song I posted). We worked on oral story telling with our heart maps and story telling math problems on our fingers. We worked on labeling and this will continue into this week.
The kids did a wonderful job with the fire drill, too! It was a great first drill. We will have more scheduled in throughout the year as required by law (not by the ASD teachers-hehe ;) ).
Hello families! Thanks for your patience as I blog about these past two weeks!
Both grade levels have been reviewing the basic emotions of happy, sad, mad, and scared. We have been making faces to practice, drawing them in shaving cream, and looking at picture cards. We have read the books: The Way I Feel, If You're Happy and You Know It, and My Friend is Sad. You may have seen the happy and sad worksheets that came home. The kids practiced circling the emotion requested.
This past week we began to learn about the 5 point scale. Each child has a social notebook that we started to work in. Pictures of the 5 point scale faces will be on a single page (the #1 happy page will be colored green and will be first, followed by the other faces, numbers and colors). This coming week we will finish that up and continue working on identifying the numbers associated with the feelings. The goal is to have children identify "what number" they are "at" with their emotions and body control so that we as adults can help intervene and figure out preventive/proactive measures to take to help them remain calm. We also teach to the 5 point scale as everyone feeling angry, frustrated, worried, sad, and happy at times, but we have to be safe and responsible with our actions and choices.
More will come with this area and visuals will be sent home to help you support this tool.
The Fun Run was on Friday morning and was a success! They participated and behaved so well! A special shout out to Mrs. Kydd who volunteered as the K/1 leader who gave directions and cheered everyone on! It was fun!
Thank you to everyone who signed up for a conference time. Thank you for being flexible so that I am able to attend with your child's general education teacher. Have a great rest of your weekend!
Megan McQuillan is the lower elementary teacher in the ASD program