I have always been a big fan of Social Narratives to support success in social skills and behavior. Self calming skills are invaluable for students with extraordinarily aggressive or disruptive behaviors. I provide you with a tool to help your students be successful in Social Narratives to Teach Self Calming Techniques.
Once again, as I am finishing up my end of the school year reports, looking at my progress reports and reviewing my BIP's, I discovered that I actually had a pretty well laid out "social skills curriculum" plan laid out. Since I also try to spend as much time partnering with my general education first grade teacher, I've really only spent one 50 minute period a week explicitly working on social skills. Of course, social skills are very much embedded in the rest of my day, especially our morning and afternoon group, when we do our calendar routines, and sing a number of songs.
Two of my students have spent a lot of time basically wrapped around each other. Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders tend to have greater sensory input needs than typical children, and I really don't see why students on the spectrum can't help meet each other's needs (as long as we are sure that outside the classroom we recognize what is "appropriate" and "inappropriate.") One of my students does really tend to have issues with "self-regulation," managing his emotions. He can be a real drama queen, though I firmly believe the emotions he is exhibiting are very, very real. I have used social narratives to help him manage his feelings, as well as to teach self calming techniques he can use when he is getting overly emotional. First, I needed to address "self-regulation" in the way that we use it in special education . . . which I added to my glossary.
As I was reviewing my student's IEP's, I found the description of the social skills curriculum that was part of one student's BIP. It was pretty good, and I had implemented most of the pieces. But then . . .
I realized I need to be more intentional, and share the structure with my readers. So, first came my article, Building a Social Skills Curriculum. I also discovered I needed to expand the resources I have available. I have written before about Social Narratives, but realized that my example was specifically for learning functional skills. I wrote a new article, Social Stories or Social Narratives, to serve as a springboard to give you examples of Social Narratives to teach emotional literacy, to solve specific behavioral issues, to teach replacement behaviors and finally, to teach social skills.
I realized that we in special education use the term "Status" in a particular way. I will be pulling my students' confidential files in order to file their progress reports and I will "status" that insertion in the front of the file.
I realized the term "Status" needs to go in my glossary. It is important that lay people and even some teachers understand when a special education administrator tells a teacher to "status" something, what exactly that is. The "Status Report" is a sheet in the front of a student's confidential files. Information needs to be entered there. I address the noun, "Status," the verb "Status," and the information that needs to be written in the process in my article "Status -- Both a Noun and a Verb in Special Education."
Students with disabilities often have difficulty with learning and using appropriate social skills. In self contained programs, especially for children with autism spectrum disorders, social skills deficits need to be addressed. A program needs to be designed that meets the specific needs of the students in your class. That plan becomes a social skills curriculum when it is broad enough to address those needs and create stronger skills.
Add specific skills as you see the need: build on strengths before you address deficits. In the end, you will want to design a curriculum that meets all of your students' needs.
This coming weekend is Memorial Day Weekend, and summer is just around the corner. I'm giving some thought to the summer as are you. Some of you are planning for Extended School Year (ESY) and you are making plans: I hope my ideas may help you plan.
Some of you are considering graduate classes, no doubt. Still others are thinking about the skills you need to gain to be successful. Perhaps they are behavior management skills.
This summer I plan to work on some instructional videos to include online. I will be focusing on behavior management strategies.
I continue to find terms that need to be explained and included in the both the glossary and behavior resources.
One is "proximity." It is one of the easiest strategies to use, and at the same time one of the most effective.
Another is "positive narration," the intentional use of praise and "happy talk" to narrate both your idea of what should happen in your classroom as well as the kind of behavior you value. Both of these behavior tools should help support a positive, effective classroom.
I've created two articles to support success in your classroom, and hope they will help you have a positive, happy place for your students to learn.
I find that the only way to get my resources to you is sometimes to reorganize them and put them somewhere you can find them. I've decided to do just that with Spring Flowers -- Art Projects and Activities, which puts several of my resources in a list format so they are readily at hand. At the same time, I am putting a link down in the lower left hand corner of my landing page, to make them easy to find when you visit my site. Enjoy, and watch for more free printable resources to support your program.
I struggle, as I am sure many of you do, with children and parents who are forever passing the buck, being unwilling to take responsibility for their actions. Excuses, excuses, excuses. 40 years ago, when I began teaching, it was usually the children and not the parents who were making excuses. Maybe it was because I started teaching in Minnesota, where at certain times of the year you can freeze to death if you fail to be responsible. My wife and I spend a little too much time shaking our heads over one of our sons and his girlfriend, who were denied a lease because they lied to a previous landlord. They spent a lot of time whining and trying to find a loophole to get the lease. We just said, "Admit your mistake and move on."
It struck me that we can create a positive learning environment that encourages students to take responsibility. Parents may not be helping students develop character: that doesn't mean that we should either throw up our hands or abandon civil virtues. We can model, we can teach, we can support and encourage the behavior we hope to see in our classes. I address that in a new article, Teaching Responsibility as a Social Skill.
Okay, I'm dot to dot crazy. I find that my students struggle with fine motor skills and need lots of practice with numbers. I sometimes struggle to accept the fact that after so many repetitions of some skills, they still don't entirely get it.
Here in Nevada it's getting hot: we've had a number of 90 plus days so far this year. In the rest of the country I know you are enjoying spring. We had beautiful springs in Philadelphia, and I was often awed at the beauty of the azaleas and rhododendrons that exploded across the tawdry, tattered neighborhoods in some very depressed neighborhoods in Philly. These Spring Flower dot to dots are my own little celebration of spring. It will also give my students some more practice with counting to 120, an important standard for first graders in the new Common Core State Standards.