What a fun week! There was lots of crafting, projecting, and gift practicing in the ASD room. We finished up our family gifts that went home earlier in the week. We also wrote about who we would run from if we were the gingerbread man. I took an idea Mrs. Szalay had in the past and wrapped up silly gifts in my desk and the kids practiced opening them and using the "social fake". That is where you pretend to like something or be interested even if you are not, so not to hurt the person's feelings. So confusing that we teach kids not to lie except when it can hurt someone's feelings?? What?? But, it's true. The "social fake" can help us in many situations. So, when they opened up masking tape, they had to pretend they liked it and see if their faces and tone of voice matched their reaction. It was quite cute. The kindergarten kids worked on their holidays around the world books and made some Christmas projects. We had fun at our parties. I am very proud of how well the kindy kids moved about the classrooms and participated in the activities. The first graders did a great job (even though they were nervous!) with their concert and special parts of the show they had. What an awesome job they did. Everyone had a wonderful week. I am so blessed to do this job. Thank you for all of the kind words and gifts I received. It was very thoughtful. Have a wonderful break and enjoy sharpening the saw with your loved ones. See you in 2016!
This week, after all the assessing we had to do last week, Mrs. Reece and I co-planned our groups around prepping for the holidays. We started the week off by making stained glass (wax paper and tissue paper) ornaments. These are adorably hanging from our ceiling, window, and doors to our classroom and sensory. Then we wrote letters to Santa! We followed with making wants/needs stockings with Mrs. Szalay assisting with our lesson. We talked about the difference between wants and needs (with needs being items we have to have to survive). They were painted with a shaving cream and glue mixture. Super fun to make. The kids also wrote some thank you cards and letters for our Chromebooks and for our new fence that lines the playground. Mrs. Wolff and I have been trying to obtain some sort of partition or boundary that separates the kids from the parking lot. It took over 8 months, but our persistence paid off and we have a beautiful single row of fencing all down the sidewalk. Mrs. Brower and our special education director, Mrs. Thompson, have been thanked by us and now by the kids. They were the most instrumental in helping us obtain something we felt was a necessity. And to wrap up the week, today we worked on a special holiday gift for you, which is in the process of drying. More work on that Monday. Both grade levels have been doing gingerbread activities/crafts with the kindy kids learning the sight word CAN! As in the poem we read with the book, Run, run, as fast as you CAN. You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man! In math, Kindy kids started unit 3.
Have a great weekend and rest up for festivities next week! Gen ed teachers should be updating you with party or activity schedules, which we will help support!
This week, Mrs. Szalay started a game group with peers from our student's grade level classrooms. Peers joined us for a day during WIN social skill groups to practice game skills such as waiting, turn taking, inviting friends to play, making decisions, having positive social interactions, and being a good sport. The kids really enjoyed it. With the business of December, we will probably not hold another game day with peers until January, but we are excited to have more in the new year. We continued our work on flexible and rigid scenarios and definitions. The kids added the words to their social notebook and used pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks to demonstrate the terms. The kids also wrote letters to Santa about what they wanted.
The kindergarten kids finished up unit 2 in math and took the test. K and 1st graders also took their district math assessments with me. The kids also wrote about what they ate for Thanksgiving and we talked about what they did over the break to practice waiting, turn taking, and small talk. Kindy kids continued the 5 senses unit by reading books, popping bubble wrap, playing sound bingo, and watching more of the 5 senses YouTube video song clips. We talked about how each sense works and what body part(s) go along with each sense.
As the holiday season approaches, I want to extend a small request. I know that some parents will be purchasing gifts for staff. I have to share that I never went into education to obtain gifts of appreciation. I always appreciate the thought and effort, but I truly do not expect anything. Please do not feel obligated! You have already given in classroom supplies, donations, and grant money for Chromebooks. We are so thankful. And, it's our job to help your child. We do it willingly and with enthusiasm! No gifts required.
In the next two weeks we will be making some family gifts, crafts, and be talking about how to accept gifts (even if they are not what we want!!!). IEP Goal updates will be coming home at the end of the week. If you have any questions, please let me know!
Families, before break we worked on two new vocabulary words: flexible and rigid. We made a turkey that was either flexible (bending pipe cleaners) or rigid (breaking Popsicle sticks) based on a scenario we had sorted whole group. The kids caught on quickly. We will continue to review these terms and as with all of our concepts, use them in teachable social moments. I know I was thankful this Thanksgiving for great kids, great colleagues, and great families to work with. Happy Holidays!
Megan McQuillan is the lower elementary teacher in the ASD program