I'm writing this on my iPad on a flight to Chicago for the Autism-one conference, where I hope to learn what is happening around the country for young adults on the autism spectrum who are ready to leave school and enter the economy. At the same time the centers for disease control recently released a new study that used parent reports to assess the prevalence of autism. Rather than using doctors reports (not all children have doctors' diagnoses) or school district reports (some students have 504's instead of IEP's parents report more students from kindergarten to 12th grade. According to the report released March 21' the incidence may be as high as one in 50 in this age groups.
It's clear that we may be facing a crisis when these children reach adulthood. Studies show that as few as 12 percent of adults with autism are employed, whereas over 60 percent of all adults are employed.
One of the barriers to employment for our kids (I teach children with autism: they're my kids too,) is that they lack social skill. Okay, they're weird. But what's wrong with weird? One of the causes of the high incidence of bullying of kids with autism is that typical kids don't understand them! I had one student who was accused by a young woman of stalking her. When I got permission to share Read More...
Randi Weingarten, the president of the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) had another paid column in the New York Times, a column published in fullon Huffington Post. While saluting the quality of what the Common Core State Standards will achieve, Randi takes on the haphazard way in which New York State is implementing the core standards, especially in the area of high stakes testing. She argues that children in grades three through eight were tested on materials (that support the CCSS standards) that they have never seen.
New York has adopted the Common Core State Standards. Nevada has, as well. We are also asking the state legislature to wait until the new high stakes test is written and the standards have been in place before they become part of teacher evaluation. The scores, according to state law, will represent 40 percent of a teachers' evaluation, and is designed to be linked to teacher compensation. What about the gym and art teacher? What about the students (like mine) who don't get regular grades and will not be taking the Curriculum Referenced Test?
In the meantime, we do need to get acquainted with the standards. I will spend much of the coming summer writing curriculum and activities to support you as you gear your instruction to the Common Core State Standards. My newest article, a shoe box center for measuring, is based on the Common Core State Standards for Math.
So, what's happening in your location? Are they holding the Common Core State Standards over your head, or are they supporting you as you attempt to implement them?
As we wrap up the school year, it will mean different things for many of us. This year I did not get a job teaching ESY. I loved the extra money, but know I have lots and lots of things on my plate. For those of you who do have ESY, I have lots of Early Intervention Units I designed specifically for the summer. I also plan to add a dinosaur unit for all our little dinosaur enthusiasts: it will also give me a place to create dinosaur dot to dots. Ironically, I have found easy dot to dots of dinosaurs at Edhelper, but don't particularly care for the quality. I attempt to make my pictures look "real" and also make the numbers and dots easy to see and easy to read.
I plan to spend my summer working as an ABA therapist as part of my preparation for my Board Certified Behavior Analyst. I will also be working hard to raise funds for the non-profit we are starting to provide employment for young adults with developmental disabilities.
I also intend to spend a significant amount of time cleaning up and reorganizing my content. I hope, when you head back to school, you will find it easier to find the resources you need as you start up a new school year!
If you, like me, have struggled with IEP goals that don't make sense, or can't be measured, you will understand the golden rule of special education: Pass a student on as you would have a student passed on to you. It means:
- Being sure all your paper work is in order. Have you put everything in its place in the confidential file?
- Before you wrap up your IEP's have a peer read them. Can they be easily understood? Have you avoided value laden or subjective language, especially in behavioral goals?
- How about Behavior Improvement Plans? Can anyone follow them, or are there reinforcers that only you can supply?
- Share students' strengths and weaknesses in a narrative. Or you can use the form I created.
I have put these, and other end of the year resources together to help you finish up your year and send on your students in proper form.
Once your students have mastered one to one correspondence, they need to start moving beyond tens and ones. You may chose to use your place value blocks to help your students understand the numbers above ten, but practicing counting as well. I've created some dot to dots to give your students some practice in counting above twenty.
These are themed for Spring, with butterflies. The dot to dots I have seen available on other sites often have too many dots, they are too close together or the quality of the pictures are lacking. I hope mine meet a bit stronger standard. Watch for more int he near future.
Mother's day is just as important to your children as it is to their mothers. Giving them a project they can be proud of will build their self esteem and leave their mother with an "artifact" they will cherish for years. We still have projects my sons wrote.
No doubt many of you have books you have created; I decided to have a little fun and use the multitude of fun clip art frames that are available online. This book has a whole variety of different frames, from the art deco to renaissance. So, here's "My Mother," a book for your children.
I'm kind of running up against the About.com calendar and trying to meet personal commitments. I spent the night last night at my church for Family Promise, and organization that uses church buildings to help homeless families. We have five families that we were hosting, and I spent part of the evening playing chess with Joe, a seven year old (or an approximation of the same.) I also didn't have wi-fi, so I loaded my work on my last Mother's day project at Starbucks before school. Well, it's all here: the sunflower art project that I have posted on the landing page. It has been a big hit in my own classroom, but I'm sure many of you will find that it appeals to your students as well.
We are doing some measuring in my class, and I decided to write alongside our classroom activity. I have created some shoebox centers for Measuring. Right now it is just the framework, but expect printable pdf's that you can place in your shoe boxes. Measuring is one of those functional skills that our students need to succeed in "the real world."
I'm busy working through the first grade curriculum. Luckily I have a couple of students who are keeping abreast of the curriculum, while make good progress on behavioral goals. I'm a big believer in inclusion, so I want my students to be ready to spend more and more time in the general education setting, which also requires keeping them on grade level. We are going to compare lengths start getting familiar with measuring length, volume as well as beginning with telling time and coin recognition. They are all found in the domain Measuring and Data.
I've written an article with all the measuring and functional Common Core State Standards for the functional math skills: measuring length, telling time, counting money and using common measures for volume such as cups, pints, half gallons, etc. For our students to succeed after school they will need to know how to use these math skills. As I wrote the article, I was struck how our general education Read More...
I have heard from some readers that we focus too much on projects that are appropriate for young children. It struck me that when I worked with middle school and high school children, adding any kind of a project raised their interest and insured enthusiastic participation.
One of the skills that is critical for success in both school and life is the ability to follow directions. I have created shoebox art centers to help you create activities that older students can pursue independently. Why deny alternate activities to middle school and high school students an opportunity to experience some success while working independently? With students in self contained programs, you will have some students with higher skill levels who will be able to assist classmates.
I only have a couple of centers ready for you now, but hope to have a couple dozen ready by the summer, for those of you who are working in Extended School Year programs, and would like some alternatives for students who are working on meeting differentiated and personalized IEP goal based programs. Some may seem really simple, yet for a student who has little experience of success in other parts of school, a flower they made themselves by following directions will seem like a huge accomplishment of which they can feel very proud.