I have two things this year I am going to work on. The first one, which I heard about at the autism conference I just attended comes in two parts. #1 I am no longer going to say the words NO or Don't to my kids. I don't think I say it often, and when I do, I back it up with reasoning "NO, we don't have time to play with that now, but later, after lunch you will". So, I am going to try to leave the "NO" part off. Be more positive. Instead of saying "don't slam the chair down" I will say something more like "I understand you are upset, but let's think of other ways to get out our frustration". Or maybe instead of "NO we can't go to the snack bar now" I can say "now is not a good time, let's see if we have more time later".
#2 Instead of telling the kids what to do "go wash your hands", "go get your folder", "sit in your seat" we will say "what would be the proper thing to do after we sneeze?", "what do we need to have to start out our day?", "where should we be if we are ready for our lesson?". Does that make sense? The speaker expressed that we feel the need to rescue them. While he was talking I totally saw that this is what we were doing all day in my room "go sit there" "go get your book" "get your jacket" "line up for breakfast". Not that these are bad things, but we are not allowing them to make any of their own decisions or to even think about what it is they need to do. We need to be teaching them self-regulation.
I am going to really make this a priority in my room and model it for my aides so I can get them on board as well.
Ok, my second resolution is to hold a morning meeting with my kids everyday. It's so hard to find the time mostly because my kids arrive separately over a 45 minutes period. So here's the plan. When they arrive (7:30 - 8:15), they write their brief morning message, and work on one functional academic page in their folders. Then off to breakfast (8:15). When they come back (8:45), I am going to take this time for no more than a 15 minute meeting. I am going to really try to not go over that time frame as they will still need to finish their work and be out at the buses by 9:30.
I want it to look something like this:
Good morning .....
Ask students how they are feeling this morning and let them share that.
Go over the calendar for the day.
Count coins together from the wall (nickels, dimes, quarters)
Include a question: ex. "if you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?"
short teamwork activity .... ex. block tower, ball toss
"I hope you have a fantastic day".
So, that's the plan and I'm sticking to it (fingers crossed)!
Do you have any new resolutions for your classroom this year? I would love to hear about them!