I wrote this short story to describe what kids might expect at an elementary school Valentine's Day class party. I know it often helps my students to get familiar with upcoming events before they happen, as well as expectations for behavior at those events. A social narrative teaches these ideas in a calm and reassuring way. You can download a PDF of my story here:
For more information about writing social narratives for your children or students, I highly recommend this book. I attended a training with the author of this book years ago, and the method is excellent!
To get an idea of your child's writing level, I find it helpful to get a sample of your child's writing and compare it to samples written by children at different grade levels. You'll find the writing samples that your child's writing most closely resembles, and use that a grade-level estimate of your child's current writing skills.
A great resource to help with this is Reading Rockets. On this page, they have writing samples of students in preschool through third grade. You'll want to look at multiple samples from each grade level to see which ones your child's writing matches best with overall.
You may be wondering how to get a writing sample from your child. One option is to give him or her a picture and a blank paper and ask him or her to write a story about the picture or write what's happening in the picture.
Another idea is to have him or her fill in a story graphic organizer to get an idea of what he or she can come up with for a story.
Here are some graphic organizers you can use for a pre-assessment of your child's writing ability. You will want to have your child fill in the form without help. You can point out the description of each section and clarify these descriptions, but don't give your child examples or ideas. It feels weird not to provide help and prompts to help your child learn, but for now, you want to know what your child can do without help.
Whichever method you choose, you'll just want to make sure not to give your child any prompts or help with writing. If my students ask for help, I usually praise them for asking, but gently reassure them that whatever they can write is fine...it's not really a test. It will just help me know what they already know so I can plan what to teach them next.
Once you have an estimation of the grade-level for your child's current writing skills, you can select lesson plans and activities at this level to work on with your child to increase these skills.
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I love this post from "The Mighty." It's a quick read and absolutely worth your time. The comments section on this post is great too!
Please visit Positively Autism's Christmas page for free visual stories for various holiday social situations including visiting family, opening gifts, and other possible holiday traditions.
Being a Special Education teacher and organization don't always go together. IEPs and assessments can produce a mountain of paperwork that never seems to end. Luckily, I've been able to organize myself quite well since I've been teaching so as to not miss any IEP deadlines and make sure that I assess my students as early as possible prior to their IEP meeting. As an RSP/Classroom Co-Teacher, I also have to lesson plan for my classes. All of this paperwork can end up a huge mess but here are five ways I stay organized to keep my head above water.
1. Large Visible Post-Its On My Desk - I like to use the large, lined Post-It notes to create checklists for what I have to complete for the week. I prefer to keep them posted to my desk so I can constantly refer to them. I love checking things off so large, lined Post-It notes work for me.
2. Google Calendar - Ever since I found out about Google Calendar, I really can't remember how I functioned prior. I put every single thing I must complete (sometimes months in advance) on Google Calendar and it sends me alerts when my meeting is starting or that I promised to fill out the IEP goals at 12:30 P.M. You can put both events and reminders in Google Calendar. You can use the calendar by viewing your weekly and monthly schedule. I prefer to keep it on weekly and keep scrolling. Google Calendar can be directly connected to your email since flights that I have purchased that were sent to my email automatically appear in my Google Calendar feed. This app is perfect for the forgetful and so easy to use.
3. Teacher Bag/Rolling Cart - I have my purse and then I have my teacher tote bag large enough to fit my laptop computer. I make sure that I have plenty of pencils, pens, and a notepad in it. I was even able to get a personalized bag from Etsy so I can easily spot it. You can also use the rolling cart to keep your teaching materials in one place as you travel from home to work.
4. Notes App on iPhone - I use the Notes app on my phone to write anything down from personal thoughts to lesson plan ideas. You can create different folders and categories in the Notes app to keep your dreams and plans organized. I also use this app to take notes and when it's opened, I know exactly where to look to retrieve them. I highly recommend using the Notes app more often if you don't already.
5. Clear 3 Drawer Organizer - I like to use a clear drawer organizer to separate important documents and lessons so I always know where to find them. If you use color-coded folders, the clear drawers work really well. I typically use one of the drawers for testing materials, another for completed IEP assessments, and the other in-progress testing materials. I like using both the smaller one to fit on my desk and the larger one as well.
Download the free guide here on my TeachersPayTeachers store. Remember to follow me while you're there to get notified when I post a new freebie or product.
When we’re teaching kids with autism, we often ask them lots of questions, and we teach them to respond. They get very used to answering questions, which is helpful for their language and vocabulary development.
However, it’s also important that we teach them to ASK questions. This gives them the skills to initiate an interaction with another person (social skills) and ask about things they don’t know the words for (language development).
This guide with give you ideas and strategies for helping you teach students with autism to ask questions. It includes a teaching guide and some printable worksheets.
Learn more about this guide and see sample pages here. I'm so excited to share it with you!
If you have a winter holiday activity for the classroom or home (including Social Stories), share them as a comment on this blog post, and I'll add it to the list. Thanks!
"Visiting Family at Christmas" Social Story
"Visiting Family at Christmas" Social Skill Article (for older/more verbal kids)
Christmas Tree Token Economy
"Going to Visit Santa" Social Story
"Getting Presents at Christmas" Social Story
Christmas Tree Colors and Counting Folder Game Set (4 Games in 2 Folders)
"What to Expect at Christmas" Social Story
Christmas Opposites: Tall/Short
Christmas Opposites: Big/Little
Christmas Manding Activities
Christmas Activity for Speech Therapy Sentence Building
FREE Winter Activity for Autism, Same and Different, Snowflakes
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