So in my be-a-more-artsy-and-cutesy-teacher mission 2012, my class did a Thanksgiving craft this week that turned out adorable. And prepare for the shock and amazement: I did not steal this idea for pinterest. Gasp. I’m 98% sure I didn’t. Sometimes I’ll see something it and it’ll chill in my unconscious and then later pop out and pretend it’s my own idea. But for real – I think this is my idea.
In combination with this craft we worked on the tricky, TRICKY concept of ‘being thankful.’ Ughhh. I am not gonna lie – this was a pull out my hair and scream at the top of my lungs frustrating thing to teach. I think some of my students got it though. So I’m claiming victory.
I have talked about this before but working on topics such as this (also when working on things like verbs etc.) is SO challenging for our kiddos because of their language deficits. A diagnostic criteria of autism is a language delay. Language is HARD for our kids. So explain something in terms of language goes right over their heads. Say that ‘thankful’ means things that you appreciate or things that make you happy will not be understood by some of our kids. The key to learning new vocabulary and concept is through associations and categorizing. If you think about it – thats how we organize our whole life. Everything is in compartments – things we don’t like, people who are funny, clothes, places we have been to. Our whole life is categorizing. It is how make inferences, assumptions, and generalizations. So when learning tricky concepts it is essential to practice TONS of examples so are kids can start to see the pattern of the associations.
I even had to go way down to the basics with one guy and work on what makes us happy vs. what makes us sad.
Okay rant over. Onto the craft. After talking at length about ‘thankful’ each student picked one thing they are thankful for and we wrote on this sheet. I photocopied it so it was black and white. The students also colored the picture.
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