Thursday, December 19, 2013

Scholastic Reading Club


Hello parents!

Hope that you and your family are easing into a relaxing holiday season! Winter break is a great time for reading! Scholastic.com has a great reading club that recommends books in a variety of ways! This month I personally recommended a few books about seasons, since our January unit will be on seasons. Our classroom has our own reading club account. Access our class by my name, or use our class access code: HCM7Y. Once you set up your scholastic account, you can order from hundreds of books online each month that will be delivered to Sexton Mountain. Also, each time you complete an order online, our classroom earns points for free books! Hooray!

I wanted to see how to set up a parent account, so I created one for my nephew, Noah. It was very simple! See the step-by-step process below:

Go to scholastic.com and click "for parents"



Fill out basic registration information
Scroll down to connect to teacher, and enter activation code
You're in! See our class page!
Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

November was Noteworthy

Hello SRC Families!

I hope that you're all having a nice holiday weekend, and enjoying time with loved ones. As you know, November flew by! With the holidays, grading periods and Budget Reduction days, November and December end up with very few instructional days. But, we still packed in some great fun and learning!

Food Groups

This month we focused on food and nutrition, and learned about the basic food groups. This is a big concept for our kids, so we focused on very basic classification, and some simple concepts about each group. These are the ideas and phrases we focused on:

Vegetables help us stay healthy. We can eat lots of vegetables every day.

Fruits are healthy snacks.

Grains give us energy to run and play.

Proteins help our muscles grow strong.

Dairy helps our bones stay strong so we don't get hurt. 

We were, of course, flexible with the categorization of these foods, as we wanted them to be relevant to our students' lives--so, rice and soy milk became a dairy, chicken nuggets a protein, and so on. It was wonderful to see the students' awareness of these categories generalize across settings. While a student was in the lunch line, if he was missing an item, a teacher could say, "oops, you forgot a vegetable" and the student knew which of the foods he could choose from and often would tell us a fact about that food group. Using the plate visual from MyPlate.gov was great as it illustrated to our kids that even if they did not eat everything on their plate, they needed to tolerate it being there. This is a great step for kids with food sensitivity issues.

Have you checked out our bulletin board? Right outside the kindergarten pod, by the library, Miss Amanda's class and our class share a bulletin board where we display the work on our thematic unit!
Thanksgiving Lunch

Last Tuesday our students and staff got to take part in a truly inspiring event. The students of the upper and primary classes came together to celebrate a Thanksgiving meal. The traditions of Thanksgiving can be different and challenging for students impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Sitting down at a table with new people and new foods? Big stuff! So all month, we have been preparing for this day in the SRC with social stories, pre-teaching, functional routines, matching and comprehension activities, and this week, our biggest challenge yet--a real life practice. On Tuesday, all the students and staff got together to cook traditional Thanksgiving foods, set the tables and eat together. Due to your support and generous contributions, our children sat down to a meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, peas, corn, applesauce, cranberry sauce, bread and pumpkin pie. The day went beautifully--most ate, many loved and everyone walked away with a new experience. Some of our students tried foods for the first time, others used great language to describe and protest--all in all, a wonderful experience for everyone. Below are some gems from our Thanksgiving lunch prep and feast:


Tables set by students during their life skills sessions

Pouring

Measuring

Helping cook, and coping with a loud appliance

Pouring and measuring

Using some great hand muscles

Following instructions

Gathering ingredients

New challenges

Visual recipes

Anticipation!

Ready for a feast!

Sitting down for a meal with friends

Trying favorites first

So excited!

Delicious!

Teachers helping to facilitate language

Even if we aren't all eating the same thing, we're all eating together and that's what is most important

Ready for pie?

Thanksgiving Lunch=success




Another month in the SRC has come and passed. This month has brought us so much growth and exploration. This Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for the inspiring children and amazing families that I have the pleasure to work with each day. I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Looking forward to an exciting December!
Miss Ashlee


Friday, November 1, 2013

October was Outstanding!

Hello SRC Families!

I hope that each of you are settling into the school routine, and enjoying the pleasant fall weather we've been having! Things in the SRC Primary Classroom have been moving smoothly, and as always, I am excited and impressed by our progress! Below you will find pictures and highlights of our October activities.

Safety
Our theme this month was safety, so we focused on behaviors across environments that demonstrate safety as well as helpers in our community that keep us safe. We practiced riding in a bus or a car and staying in our seats with seat belts ON. We talked about the importance of walking at school, and learned that running (outside of recess or APE) is not safe, and if we run, we can get hurt. We learned safe ways to redirect our friends with words, and practiced safe ways to praise our friends through words and high-5s. We learned about police officers, doctors, librarians, teachers, mail carriers and other community members that can help us be safe. A highlight of safety month though, was learning about fire safety. We learned about listening to teachers and parents if there is a fire or a fire drill, and learned that fire fighters jobs are to keep us safe. Thank you to the Beaverton Fire Department for our exciting hats and stickers!





Fall, Harvest and the Pumpkin Patch
Our students had a blast at the pumpkin patch! The staff at Plumper Pumpkin Patch were so helpful with selecting a day where our kids would not be overwhelmed by too many other field trips, and the sunshine came out for our special day! We listened to farmers, went on a hayride, played on a really great playground, got to pet animals and be the first to meet a baby chicken, and of course pick pumpkins! The students particularly enjoyed the pumpkin patch after learning about fall and harvest all month, and throughout the day we heard many comments about how pumpkins grow, leaves change color and the temperature gets cooler! Way to go!








Pizza Month
Another highlight of October was that it was pizza month! Who knew? At the beginning of the month we read a story about pizza month, and throughout the month used this topic to explore preferences, fractions, and cooking! Students had 2 opportunities to make mini-pizzas using a visual recipe. While some enjoyed this and others really did not, they did a great job following instructions, what great practice for helping in the kitchen at home!








The Pledge of Allegiance
In October we also started reciting the pledge daily. I would have never guessed how exciting the pledge could be until we introduced it to this class of kids! Wow! Everyone is so enthusiastic to recite it every day during circle (and often at other times during the day)! And as a true test of generalization, I prepared the students that at the assembly at the end of the month, we would all stand up with ALL the other Sexton Mountain students and place our hands on our hearts and do our best to recite the pledge. I am proud to say that each and every student happily performed their best Pledge of Allegiance!




Stopping the spread of germs
We noticed that handwashing was a skill that many friends needed to practice a bit more, so I made 4 videos to model each step of our handwashing routine. Each day during large group instruction, we talk about the steps of handwashing and watch the videos. We now have several students verbally describing the steps of handwashing as I do in the videos, but they are describing them as they wash their hands thoroughly! Hooray! Keep an ear out at home, as you may hear:

First, get soap. 1, 2. (2 pumps of soap)
Then, wash hands. Inside, outside. (while washing both sides of hands)
Next, rinse hands.
Last, get towel. Dry hands.

We have introduced the concept to the kids that one of the reasons we wash hands is to stay healthy. We talk about how germs make us sick, and we get germs on our hands. So, in order to not get sick, we keep our fingers out of our mouths and noses, and we wash our hands a lot. Feel free to use this language at home, as they should be familiar with it!


Library due dates
I want to take a moment to clarify our library check out procedures. When a student checks out a book, they have a few weeks that they can technically keep that book at home. However, each day we go to library, there is "check out time". If your student has not returned their last book, they do not get to check out a book during check out time (even though it is not late). This can be a very frustrating and confusing concept for some of our students--to see someone else get a book but not him seems unfair, and even though he loves that book he has at home, that seems really far away from that library check out time. To make this process easier, an idea is to return your book each library day. That way every day everyone gets to check out a book. Our library days are Sexton Mountain's "D days". For your reference, I have listed below the library days from now until winter break:

Nov. 4
Nov. 14
Nov. 20
Nov. 26
Dec. 6
Dec. 13
Dec. 19

Super Sensory Harvest Party
This year Amanda, the instructional assistants, the specialists and I decided we wanted to try something different for our Harvest Party. We had 6 stations that both classes rotated through in small groups that focused on varying Halloween sensory experiences! The students really seemed to enjoy this structured style of party, and many of them tried new things! Way to go!












Days off of school
Believe it or not, there are only 26 instructional days left until winter break. Below are some important days to remember:
November 6 & 7-No school-Parent/teacher conferences (please check in your student's communication journal to verify your time)
November 8-No school-Staff Development Day
November 11-No school-Veteran's Day Holiday
November 27-No school-Budget Reduction Day
November 28 & 29-Thanksgiving Holiday
December 2-No School-Grading Day
December 23-January 3-No school-Winter Break

Happy November!
Miss Ashlee