So it has been an extremely long time since the last time I posted. Sorry about that. I also changed the name of my blog (I’ll explain that in a later post).
This week we made a lion mask, and because I just have to be different, I decided to incorporate a couple of other animals into my mask (and yes, I insist on doing all of the crafts my students do, and not just giving the directions. It’s more fun that way)…
I don’t think any of my students knew what I was doing, even after I explained it to them. That’s ok. They colored their lions blue and purple and tye-dye, so whatever. Let me have my lionzebragiraffe.
My students are working on counting in math, and even though I am so sick and tired of working on that goal I laugh every. single. time. I love hearing them count to ten.
Gets me every time.
In a previous post I talked about using a stop motion app on my phone to make a video with my students. Well, it looks like we’re going to do it after all (not King Kong vs. Pterodactyl, but something that goes along with our jungle theme). Summer school is on hold for the holiday week, so it’ll have to wait, but I thought I would take a look at a couple of videos I made with some of my fourth graders with Autism this past school year.
Their classes were doing a stop motion project all together, but both of them were going to be gone when they were filming the video because we take our students to gymnastics once a week. I didn’t want them to miss out on this awesome project, so I downloaded a free app called Stop Animator. I had each kid draw their own scenery and tape it on the wall, as well as arrange the dinosaurs how ever they wanted for each picture. It was difficult to explain to them what we were doing, and we could only take 20-30 pictures before they got impatient with the project, but the smiles on their faces were worth it.
Both of them watched their videos over and over and over and over and over again, and both of them showed their videos to their classes. It was a great project and I can’t wait to do it again with the kids I have now.
This is a clip from ABC’s “What Would You Do?” The scenario involves a family at a diner with their son who has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
As you may know, I’m teaching kids with special needs this summer. The school day is only 3 hours long and we only go to school three days a week. That’s not a whole lot of time to get to know the kids, and with all the IEP stuff and data collection we have to do it can be hard to find time to have fun with them.
We do, however, have a twenty minute recess. Usually recess is a plan time for most teachers while a few are on duty. But in summer school everyone is on duty – all of the teachers and all of the aides. So a typical recess at summer school is ten or so adults standing off to the side chatting while about fifteen kids play on the playground.
It may be wrong, but I love the unhelpful high school teacher.
I have to admit that adult conversation is a nice break from the kid songs and nonsense that usually come out of my mouth when I’m teaching, but recently I’ve realized that retreating into the adult corner is somewhat of a missed opportunity. Recess is really the only time in our short day that requires no data collection or teaching. This is a sacred time specifically and exclusively reserved for having fun.
Every recess I’m torn between hanging out with the cool teachers and going down the slide with the little stinkers that keep my stock in Excedrine in the black. Some days I choose the cool, jaded teachers and other days I choose the stinkers, but I’ve noticed a definite change in my view towards the kids when I play with them. Student A isn’t IEP goal 3.1.4, she’s the brave little one that likes to go down the slide backwards (this is totally against the rules btw). Student B isn’t just working on extending patterns and finding rhymes, he’s building a strong friendship with a kid in another class by playing tag.
I’m not a mushy, sappy, lovey-dovey person with an unrealistic and rose-colored view of “being the change” or whatever, but it is my experience that spending a few minutes to enjoy my students does have a positive affect on their education. On the days I play with them, something kind of amazing happens – they’re more willing to follow directions and stay on task. I really don’t know why. I’m not more lenient and I’m not their friend. In fact, I’ve gotten more strict with them as the days go on. Maybe they feel more comfortable with me? I don’t know. But whatever the reason I guess I would just encourage anyone else who works kids with special needs to spend a few minutes to just relax and have fun with them.
Related Article: Power of Playtime by Science Daily