I’ve never had one of those classrooms with ever changing seasonal bulletin boards and over the top hallway crafts. Trying to balance 7 different curriculums, manage staff, and dodge a few bites and kicks along the way doesn’t leave much time for pinterest inspired cuteness. However – this year is different. In my endless quest for age-appropriate activities for my tweens and teens, my classroom stumbled upon some common ground – scary Halloween fun. I sat in absolute awe as my guys talked and scripted endless Halloween ideas, stories, and themes. I gave them some direction and structure and they ran with it. And we have the haunted house inspired hallway to prove it.
We incorporated social skills into this project by going around the school and asking for extra boxes. We needed cardboard for our mega spiders and mummy. We went to the office, custodians, and clerk to get our goods. This is great practice for working on generalizing social skills, interact with unfamiliar adults, and transitioning between the school.
Fine Motor Skills
This project put our fine motor skills to the test. One student made a template for the bats and the rest of us got busy cutting away so we had a whole heard of bats that could fly through the hallways
It is hard for children with autism to work collaboratively. They have a task with a starting point and an ending point and it’s nearly impossible to figure out how to incorporate another person into that. Group work is unpredictable. What work do you do and what work does your partner do? How can you share ideas? What if you don’t agree? This project gave us the perfect opportunity to practice all of these skills using loads of prompting and modeling.
I am a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) and we like concrete & clear cut behaviors. We are all about things we can see and count. Creativity is a little hard to define. How can you describe what is and isn’t creative? How can you teach creativity? One of my students is an amazing artist and got really into this project. Giving him a little push & an extra dose of you-can-do attitude prompted this awesome window decoration:
Part of my OCD-teacher self, had some pangs of guilt related to spending this much time on art project. We had lesson plans, a curriculum map, and a big ole stack of data sheets that got momentarily left behind. But you know what? We survived and those lesson plans were waiting right where I left them when we got back. While we were putting the final touches our hallway, several of the junior high classrooms were on their way to lunch. The jaw dropping ohhhs and ahhhs of all the kids lead to all day long proud ear-to-ear grins on my students. I loved watching their reactions. They were so proud and felt so cool. One of my students turned to me and said, “I knew this would be cool.” 100% worth it. Worth every minute. Sometimes it’s what’s not on the lesson plan that is the most important.
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