Hi everyone! One of the perks of working at my new school is the fact that we get all of Thanksgiving week off! When I was a kid we just got Thursday and Friday, and when I got older the schools started giving kids Wednesday off. But now it is a whole separate vacation! Do any of your schools do it that way?
All week I've been thinking of so many things I wanted to write about, but now that I have some time, my mind is just blank. I feel like I need to lay down and put my feet up all week long! Because I go to three and sometimes four classrooms a day, and don't really get a break, I hardly ever get a chance to sit down at work. The days go by so fast, and usually I am full of energy at work, but when I get home I just crash.
I've been having a good time with Toko! The little dude had absolutely zero impulse control, but he is a really sweet boy. One problem I've been having is the fact that I feel like I am "redirecting" him all day long. A lot of it is things that I don't have a serious problem with, but I want him to stop doing because other teachers or staff members will yell at him. I get tired of hearing my own voice going, "Toko, sit down. Toko, stand up. Toko, walking feet. Toko, put your glasses on. Toko, come back to your desk. Toko, stop talking. Toko, turn around. Toko, pay attention. Toko, hands to self!" I know Toko is starting to get tired of my voice too, when he looks at me and says, "When are you gonna go help Wyken or Bess?"
I want to find a way to redirect him without constantly talking to him or scolding him. Although he doesn't have autism, I've thought of trying something that I've often seemed used with children with autism or very young children. I thought of bringing a camera, and having Toko demonstrate for me the correct way to behave in different situations, such as sitting at his desk working, walking in the hallway, or standing in line. (He does cognitively know the correct ways to do these things, but just forgets in the heat of the moment.) I'd take pictures of him demonstrating each behavior. I could actually tape the picture of him working at his desk onto his desktop, and put the other photos on a key ring. That way, instead of constantly giving him verbal reminders, I could just point to the picture that showed him what he is supposed to do. Then I could save my voice for more positive comments like, "Great job sitting down," or "I like how you're walking so nicely in the hall!"
What do you think?
Meanwhile back in Mr. Shizuko's room, Wyken has been getting out of hand. I think he's starting to drive Mr. Shizuko crazy! He doesn't really behave poorly, but he never stops talking and singing. The other kids complain about it when they're trying to work independently. Mr. Shizuko asks Wyken to sing quietly, or sing in his head, but a minute later Wyken will be singing audibly to himself. It seems to be a sort of unconscious habit. I told Mr. Shizuko he could send Wyken over to my other classroom when he needs a break. but then the resource teacher told me I could not do that because Wyken and Toko have apparently had conflicts in the past and Wyken can't stand Toko. Any ideas for getting a kid to stop singing and talking? All I can think of is giving something else to do with his mouth, such as allowing him to chew gum or suck on a hard candy... but I don't think Mr. Shizuko would allow it. Even though he's one of the less strict teachers, the problem with kids with special needs in inclusion classes is that the teachers think, "If I give this kid something, I'd have to give it to everyone." Something like a bouncy seat cushion can be explained as a physical need, but allowing one student to have candy would probably not fly.
I have a week to stew about these issues, so I hope you can give me some ideas! In the mean time, here are some funny kid quotes for the day!
Kid: "How long is Thanksgiving break?"
Me: "A week."
Kid: "A WEEK? I CAN'T HANDLE A WEEK!!!"
Me: "I found this pencil on the floor. Is it yours?"
Kid: "I have never seen that pencil before in my life."
Teacher: "Toko, can you think of something you're thankful for?"
Toko: "My football!"
Teacher: "We're trying to think of things we really need, like our health, our homes, or our families. Like your brother, maybe! If you could only pick one, what would you rather have... a football, or your brother?"
Toko: "Uh... my football!"
Have a great week, everyone!