Learning About The Appropriate Attire For Each Season In Our Autistic Classroom

As one of our daily lessons, the student are asked various questions during our science/weather lesson. Some of the questions that are asked are: Which item do you wear in the winter, which item do you wear in the summer or which item do you wear in the spring? Given options between a sweatshirt, sandal, hat, shorts, mittens or a tank top, the students answer the questions accordingly. Other items that are included in this lesson are an umbrella, sunglasses, dress, cap, windbreaker jacket and snow boots. You can vary the lesson however you want to. The students will surely enjoy the lesson as they are learning! We sure do!

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Autistic Awareness Month Begins Today: April 2!

Today at the school I teach in, we wore blue to support our students with autism and those who have autism nationally. This year thus far, I have tremendously enjoyed teaching my students who have made progress with structure, consistency, a schedule and a routine. Some of my goals are teaching my students communication and independence in addition to academics. It is so rewarding to see my students be happy, make progress and mature during the course of the year.

I found a simple yet educational video on you tube about autism. Please watch this short video and be inspired!

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Great Homemade Lego Table for Lego Lovers!!

As soon as I saw the picture below online about how to build this lego table, I became excited! This was the perfect table for my own children who all like legos! This project took me a couple of days and it was successful! All you need is a 4-5 feet long board (depending on how long you want the table), 2 plastic storage bins to store sorted legos and lego magazines, a desk clip-on lamp, lego boards, 2 non-skid mats and a chair or two.

Fortunately, I was able to find the wooden board for the table in my basement and I already owned the plastic storage bins. I bought the lego boards from a Lego store for 14.99$ each and the clip-on desk lamp was a gift I received. I purchased the non-skid mats from a local Target and cut it in 2 pieces and put each in between the wooden table and the top of each storage bin. This table was long enough to fit 1-2 chairs. 

This is definitely an easy and fun project that will make your students or children have hours, days and months of fun!

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Music Helps Us Learn in Our Kindergarten (Autistic) Classroom

In addition to my Morning Circle, we also use music to learn during Math and Reading. Through years of experience as a teacher and as a parent, I strongly believe that music does help children retain information and support learning. My students have memorized facts through music and song. With routine and consistency, some students can sing some songs independently today that I introduced to them a couple of months ago.

On this PBS website: http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/boost-memory-and-learning-with-music/, it includes the article:  Boost Memory and Learning with Music  by Cheri Lucas, (Education.com)  and some highlights in her article are:

Music has been found to stimulate parts of the brain, and studies have demonstrated that music enhances the memory of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, including a study conducted at UC Irvine, which showed that scores on memory tests of Alzheimer’s patients improved when they listened to classical music.

It’s possible, then, to use music to help your child retain information and enhance learning. Chris Brewer, founder of LifeSounds Educational Services and author of the new book Soundtracks for Learning, says sounds can help to hold our attention, evoke emotions, and stimulate visual images. “Students of all ages—that includes adults— generally find that music helps them focus more clearly on the task at hand and puts them in a better mood for learning,” says Brewer.

Brewer calls the use of music throughout the day “positive mood management” and suggests that various styles of music are appropriate for different types of activities. For instance, she recommends using upbeat popular music to motivate learning, especially songs with lyrics that encourage positive thinking. When studying, writing, or reading, play instrumental music to sustain concentration, she says. Classical music of the Baroque era, like Bach, Handel or Mozart work particularly well. “Music can help shift energy levels, too, so playing upbeat music can boost tired minds and bodies while slower, more reflective music helps calm and focus,” says Brewer.

For the complete article, see the link above.

Some songs I have included in my lessons on Opposites are on You Tube. My students enjoyed these songs and like to view the songs. They have learned some of the opposites from these songs.

Our Unit on Martin Luther King Jr.

I began our unit of the week last week by reading the book (see below) each day before Morning Meeting ends explaining to the students why we have no school on Monday. The book it titled, “Let’s Read About…Martin Luther King, Jr. by Courtney Baker. After reading the story, the students colored pictures of Martin Luther King (one picture is below). The next day, the students completed a questionnaire about the book by filling in the blanks (see below). During the middle of the week, I showed a video on You Tube called, “Our Friend, Martin.” The video was child friendly and gave details about Martin Luther King Jr.’s story.  At the end of the week, the students did an activity where they had to share their own dream.

The MLK bulletin board are  shown in the pictures below.



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Learning Prepositions in My Kindergarten-1st Grade Autistic Class

Using props, books, technology, music or manipulatives are a way to maintain the attention of my students during most or all of my lessons. During this ELA lesson, I teach my students the prepositions first introducing a music video about prepositions on You Tube which is the URL above.

An example of a line in the music video is,” Where’s the monkey? The monkey’s in the box, the monkey’s in the box, where’s the monkey, there’s the monkey, the monkey’s in the box.”  Prepositions are highlighted in the You Tube video using a monkey that keeps popping up in different places. The music video highlights some of the prepositions I use in my lesson.

After the music video is seen by my students, I take out my stuffed monkey which I named, “Mandy the Monkey and her baby.” I tell the students that Mandy likes to play games with her baby monkey. She likes to hide in all different places. I made a set of index cards from the Boardmaker program that include some prepositions like: in, out, in front, beside, below, behind, etc. Each student takes a turn to pick a card, reads the preposition on the card and places the monkey where the card says to place the monkey. Like the music video on You Tube, we also sing the same tune on the video during our lesson. For example, if the student chooses the word, “beside,” we sing the tune. The Tune is: “Where’s the monkey? Where’s the monkey? The monkey’s beside the box, the monkey’s beside the box, where’s the monkey, there’s the monkey, the monkey’s beside the box.” As we sing this tune, the student places the monkey besides the box.  I have done this lesson for a month now and the students enjoy the video and have learned the words of the song.

Below are my students seeing the preposition music video. After seeing the video they then pick a card with a preposition on it and place the monkey where the card says to place it.

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Math: Introducing The Concept of Time in My Kindergarten Class of Students With Autism

The materials used in each lesson taught during a school day is vital to a student’s learning. Once you have the materials, the process of teaching the lesson and incorporating the materials is even more important. In my class, since the schedule of the school day is reviewed each day during Morning Meeting, I thought it was important to include the concept of time and allow the students to know what time each lesson or activity is during the day. Below, you will see my schedule of the day and you will see that the day is split up into 8 periods and next to the periods are the times and picture icon of each lesson or activity. The concept of time is incorporated during the school day on a daily basis. 
During Math, besides teaching counting, one to one correspondence, addition, subtraction and money, I have also been teaching about time. Below, you will see the owl clock I use made by TOMY. I call this clock the “wise owl.” During the day, when a lesson is over and a new one is about to begin, I will take out the clock and tell the students the time. For example, snack time is at 2 pm, and I will control the hands of the clock to make 2 pm and say to the students, “The wise owl says it is 2:00,” then ask my students, “What do we do at 2:00?” They’re answer should be, “It is snack time.” I use the “wise owl” 2-3 times per day. My students now know the routine and when I take the owl clock out, they say “The wise owl says…..” It is wonderful to see that the students know the routine and have a concept of time. 
During a regular math time lesson, I will begin the lesson by reading the black book below called: Time by Kari Jenson Gold. I will read the book to introduce the lesson. The first page of the book asks: How can you tell the time of day? The book continues to give examples about which meals do you eat in the morning and at night? See below for some samples of the pages in the book.
After the book is read, I take out another book called, “What’s the Time?” This book includes various times of the day for children which includes: breakfast, play time, lunch time, dinner time and bath time.. The book displays the a clock which the time is controlled by the reader. As I read each page, I change the hands of the clock to match the time the page of the book says. For example, lunch time is at 12:00. As the reader of the book, I set the clock in the book for 12:00 and have the students imitate me on their clocks. Each student is given a clock. The idea of this lesson is so the students can have an idea of time and how the clock works. See pictures below.



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  The book below is read to the students before the time lesson begin. I included some pages for you to view:

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Below is a book that I use with the students called: What’s the Time? I read the book and the students imitate the time the book says on their clocks. For example, the book says that at 12:00, the children eat their lunch. I set it for 12 in the book and the students imitate the time using their own clocks. Each page is a different activity and time of the day (dinner, play time, bath time, bed time).

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