In my classroom we use the STAR (Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research) curriculum to teach my students many different tasks and skills. With this curriculum, discrete trial training is reinforced with specific preferred items that a student chooses prior to starting the lesson. This box (purchased for about $10 at our local Walmart) became invaluable as a way to store some of these tangibles! From snack crackers to candies to fake mustaches or stickers, this container holds it all!!!
Do you ever get caught up in having to have the best supplies, the coolest games, the newest resources? If you’re like me, you spend hours researching the latest methods for teaching old skills, and I spend hours making things as well. But I recently learned that sometimes the easiest, spur-of-the-moment ideas can net just as good a result as the newest technology and resource!
This summer I have been tutoring kindergarten students in math, and I have been having a great time, but I am working with students who have been identified as needing some extra help. These are kids who have already been taught with the conventional resources, so I have been trying to think of new ways to present material they have already heard (but not mastered). They seem to love drawing but frankly we don’t have much time for extras like that until I had a bright idea! I got out the scrap paper and crayons and asked each of them to draw a house. I told them the house had to have a living room, a kitchen and a bedroom. Then I got out the manipulatives (little people and they each had their own handful to work with) and that’s when the fun began!
I told them to put two people in their living room and one person in the kitchen. Then I asked, “How many people in all are in your house?” They added and then they cleared their houses for the next problem. I called out another problem. They put more people in the rooms named and then they added, “How many altogether?” As I continued to call out problems, they became more and more animated about being able to figure out the total number of people in their houses. They became engaged, because I gave them ownership in their task. Their houses were nothing fancy, but they were theirs, and that created a window for learning. We played, and they learned. It was win-win!
My learning for that day: It doesn’t take fancy materials for our kids to learn. It takes ownership!
Okay, so in the past few days, I have learned that you really can get an education just by watching tv. Here’s my TOP TEN LIST of what my schooling has consisted of:
1. Advertisers can at their own whim make up new words (“healthing”)
2. Advertisers prey on people with financial problems and illness
3. Yes, there really is such a thing as a pet cemetery and you really can spend a fortune having a funeral for your pet (We the People)
4. Yes, male body parts really do get superglued together when females get angry and gang up (some other court show)
5. Some people will actually on public television ADMIT to committing a felony (yes, judge, I was selling jewelry that was fake……trafficking counterfeit goods across state lines) in the process of suing the other person for not paying for said counterfeit goods (ummmm……REALLY????)
6. I can get anyone’s opinion on anything at any given moment
7. I can buy anything at any given moment
8. I am NOT smarter than a 5th grader
9. A large majority of tv shows involve violence of some kind
10. Apparently we Americans ENJOY making fun of other people (I mean, seriously, does Honey Boo Boo really think we watch the show because we think she is so adorable????????)
So, what I have really learned is………I’m going back to cleaning out closets, organizing files and when I need a break, READING……………That is MY world and I like it there!!!!