Easter fun

Wow - it's been a while since I've blogged. There have been a lot of changes in my professional life, but really things aren't that different. Our county created MOID classes at three other schools and there is now only one at my school. One of the MOID teachers moved to the SID/PID class, one moved to gen ed kindergarten. The SID/PID teacher moved to the MOID class at another school, and both of my paraprofessionals were sent to another school. All of the students were sent to the program closest to their home school, so I lost 5 students and gained several from the other MOID classes. My classroom is no longer a MOID class disguised as an AU class (or vice versa). I have two students who do not have any ASD diagnosis (I had three but one moved) but the other 7 are on the spectrum, which is why I say it's really not that different.

Anyway, I feel like I've neglected this blog - even though I'm not strictly an "autism teacher" this year, I still realize that most of what I do in my class would very much be applicable in an "autism class", especially since over 2/3 of my class has autism :-)

This past Friday, of course, we did a lot of Easter activities. Obviously the Easter fun in my class is MUCH more structured than your average elementary school class party. Here are some of the things we did and how I kept it educational!

First thing we did was make these foam egg crafts (I got the materials from Wal-Mart):

The top left craft gave us a lot of opportunity to work on prepositions (top/middle/bottom), colors, and choice-making (i.e. "which color do you want for the bottom of your egg?") as well as some visual perception (putting the pieces together) and the usual fine motor (gluing) and following directions. 

The egg on the top right provided a lot of fine motor (peeling the back off of the little foam stickers and placing them on the egg), requesting (I kept all of the sticker pieces and they had to ask for the ones that they wanted - pink dots, blue rabbit), and letter ID and/or spelling their name. The bottom egg was more requesting and fine motor as well as practicing big/little.

Next we made baskets:

The kids either cut or tore green construction paper into small strips to make Easter grass (fine motor) and put them in the basket. Then I gave them the bottom piece of each color egg and they had to find the matching top piece and put it together. They counted how many eggs they had and told me the color of each egg. Then we twisted a pipe cleaner on to make the handle (lots of fine motor in this one).

Next up: adorable bunny eggs! 
I taped the egg pieces together to keep the kiddos from continually pulling them apart. I used glue dots with one side already affixed to all of the pieces (I did this beforehand) so all the kids had to do was pull the other piece off of the glue dot and put the piece on the egg. We worked on body parts (How many eyes/nose/ears) and more fine motor. There's also a white bunny tail on the back (though it looks like the purple egg must have a pink tail since the nose is white LOL). I drew the whiskers and mouth on for the kids. We then did a little pretend play by making our bunnies hop into our baskets. 

What is Easter without dyeing eggs? Of course we did that too:

Each student got to choose two colors (which, of course they had to identify). After the eggs dried, we decorated them further. For one set of eggs, the kids got to put stickers on them. 

 The second set of eggs we decorated with shrink wrap wrappers. We worked on prepositions (put the egg IN the wrapper or the wrapper AROUND the egg), talked about how the hair dryer was blowing HOT air, and watched the wrappers shrink around the egg, which was fascinating.

Of course we had an egg hunt - but to keep it structured and educational, there were a few twists. We went out to the bus circle, which is a very clearly delineated area of grass (with a couple of small trees) so the boundaries were obvious. I had 9 of each color egg (one per student) that my peer buddies spread around the area on the ground (not really hidden). All of my students sat on the curb and I showed them a piece of construction paper and we talked about what color it is and what things were that color. Then I said "Everyone go find ONE (yellow) egg!" The students went to find the correct color and brought it to me or my paras for verification. If they had the correct color, the next step was for them to find their bag (white paper bags labeled with their names) - so they had to identify their name in print - and put the egg IN the bag. Then they sat on the curb until everyone had found that color. We repeated this with all six of the egg colors.

After having cupcakes, cookies, and other yummy treats ... 

The kiddos got their Easter baskets from me. Naturally, opening the eggs in the basket was structured as well. I passed out the baskets, everyone looked at the big things (stuffed dog, coloring book, playdough, cup) that was not in an egg and talked about them, then we moved to the eggs. 

I told the kids to find their blue eggs. When everyone had found their blue eggs (there were two of each color in their basket), I had them shake the eggs. "Which one is louder?" (We've been talking about sound in science) -"let's open the loud blue egg first! Everyone open your loud blue egg" (Inside, each student had a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter.) We talked about the coins, their values, etc. then put the money back in the blue egg. "Now open the quiet blue egg!" (a little spider ball) We described the spider balls ("Is it hard or soft? What color is yours? Is it big or little?") then put them back in the blue eggs. Now put the blue eggs back in your basket. 
We repeated this with all of the eggs. Here were the contents and what we did with them (some were just for fun, most had some sort of educational component):
  • coins - identify, tell value
  • spider balls - describe, color
  • sound wave (a slinky - we have used a slinky as a model of a sound wave in science for the past couple of weeks - so the students had to show me how the sound waves move up/down and back/forth to make loud/soft and high/low sounds)
  • package of fruit snacks (What do you think is inside this bag? How do you know? What do we do with them?) - we didn't eat these now - saved them to take home
  • small package of M&Ms (What do you think is inside this bag? How do you know? What do we do with them?) - we didn't eat these now - saved them to take home
  • little bottle of bubbles - I opened an extra bottle and blew some bubbles for us to pop
  • little toy dinosaur (boys), little ring (girls) - what is this? describe it.
  • toy frog (What does a frog say? How does a frog move? What is a baby frog called? - review from a past science unit)
  • bouncy ball - just for fun - we bounced them a few times before putting them away to play with at home
  • Easter erasers - a bunny and an egg - describe them
  • Hershey's kisses (5) - count them, what color are the wrappers, what shape are they?
  • I can't for the life of me remember what was in the last egg!! 
After opening and re-closing all of the eggs, I put each student's eggs in a little treat bag that I wrapped up and put in their basket and then put the baskets away (to make sure all 12 eggs made it home with each child) until time to get on the bus.