This week was so fun! The kids all enjoyed doing fun activities for the holidays with their classes so we had some extra time in gen ed! That's always a bonus! Some WIN times were cancelled so that parties could be attended. In group we continued to practice and talk about how to give someone a gift and what to do if you open a gift you don't really like. Use your social fake! 1. Smile 2. Say thank you no matter what and for those who are able 3. Give a reason you could use the gift. Ex: "This will be great for...." or "I can't wait to use it!" That shows the person you care about their feelings and want them to be happy. All holiday gifts went home and the parties were fantastic! I'm so proud of the work the first graders have done on their gingerbread musical. Each day they sang more and did a wonderful job!
We had another great week! There was a lot of holiday prep working on finishing up our family gifts. These will be in brown paper bags coming home this week. I am also sending a small gift for the kids (just so you know who it's from). The kids also went to game group with Mrs. Szalay and gen ed peers. We have been talking about how to accept gifts as well. The first graders have been practicing for their gingerbread performance coming up! It's been fun learning new songs and singing with all three first grades. We are also continuing to reference and think about how characters feel and what they are doing in the story. We read, "Dream Snow" and thought about the farmer's point of view. The second graders did not do this as they had their fun "Grinch Day" and stayed in class. They had breaks as needed but did not come to WIN on Friday. Of course we talked about what we did on our snow day and practiced referencing who else did similar activities. Next week we will be having fun in our parties and special activities!
What a fun week we had! The kids all worked on their family gift, which is a secret so I hope they didn't spill the beans. We made special gift bags to go with them. We also wrote a letter to Santa to give us something to speak from in case the kids felt nervous actually interacting with him during the visit on Friday. With the older students we covered the "Social Fake" in group with Mrs. Szalay. She practiced giving the kids a wrapped up gift that was an office supply or something and they had to open the gift, smile and say they liked it. They also practiced saying what they would do with the gift. The kids did a nice job using their social fakes. For more information you can look up Michelle Garcia Winner as she is the guru who coined this term. We all went to the holiday shop and purchased our gifts for our families. It was nice to see what the kids picked out and what they thought were "perfect" gifts for their family members. It was a fun time.
With our half day on Friday, we decided to make it a fun "sensory friendly" party day. The kids all started their day as usual and around 9:30 came in for a visit from Santa! One by one each child had the option to stand next to or sit with Santa. It was important to me to give them the option of the level of touch they were comfortable with not only from a sensory standpoint, but also because we are constantly training our kids to comply, but this can lead to a child being used to being told what to do and how to behave so much so that they can be taken advantage of. As you are talking about appropriate and inappropriate touch please make sure you are giving your child the option NOT to touch, hug, kiss. It should be up to them so they are learning they are in control of their bodies. Mom and dad are different. We know you want to teach how to hug and how to give affection. With other adults we should teach, model, and expect that we all ask permission to touch, hug, or give kisses. This will be covered again in our circles program content in the future. Back to Santa, he said he had a wonderful time and "loved every minute". The kids received a present from him at the end and we took some pictures we will post. After the visit Mrs. Buehner ran the craft station, a cup of cocoa, and Mrs. Swagman ran our treat station. Snowmen sugar cookies with super fun blue frosting was provided by Mrs. Kydd. They were a hit and decorating was fun to watch. In sensory, the kids were able to choose activities they wanted to do or needed to do to release some excitement! After about an hour we wrapped it up and watched "Ice Age". Some of the kids chose to go back to class, but many stayed to hang out as a group. After a little bit of the movie we had lunch either in their classes or in our room and then we packed up and went home. Teachers stayed to work on report cards. Thank you again to our volunteers who helped out!
The term officially ended on Dec. 2 but there were some assessments we gave the kids to collect current data on skills. The district math test has been or will be given to all students this month. We have also been progress monitoring their reading by conferring and giving running record assessments to monitor fluency, accuracy, and comprehenion. Since school has been called off tomorrow, I hope you all had a nice weekend and stayed safe if you had to travel today (tomorrow too).
This week we continued talking about flexible and rigid behaviors. We talked about growth mindset, which is new for some but a review for others. Even some students who were here last year were fuzzy about the concepts. We talked about how a growth mindset is one of flexibility and handling upsets and change, while a fixed mindset was like a rigid brain that gives up quickly, gets upset, and doesn't want to try or change. 1st-2nd graders filled out a little book with phrases we can try to say instead of the rigid statements given. 2nd graders practiced sharing their thoughts and ideas with each other. This was a nice opportunity to listen and learn from others. Today the kids watched a Model Me Kids video about listening to the teacher. The steps to success are: stop, look, and listen. Stop what you are doing, look at the teacher, listen to what is said. Sheets went home today showing this skill breakdown. 1st graders have been learning about the past and 2nd graders have been studying for their communities test.
A little bit of personal news to end the blog. Mrs. Reece and I have two happy announcements. First of all, baby Reece will be joining the world in April of 2017!!!!!! :) Yay! And over Thanksgiving break, I got engaged! Woohoo!
Please don't forget to let me know if you are able to come to the holiday party next Friday, Dec. 9th and if you are able to help at a station (craft, playing in sensory, or treat station). I would love for you to join us and have some fun in our program.
Have a great weekend!
Megan McQuillan is the lower elementary teacher in the ASD program