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


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