Help me give my students the opportunity to see it, select it, open it, spill it and clean it up. We learn so much from making choices--and resolving our mistakes by cleaning up spilled items---at snack time.
I serve children who are developing the foundational skills of learning at school--communication, participation and literacy. The students I work with all have a diagnosis of autism and span the spectrum. In our classroom, we focus on verbal and social interaction skills that students need to access academics and to be able to participate successfully in their communities.
We spend time developing skills for communicating, learning and understanding others.
One of the pillars of our day is eating together--breakfast, lunch or snack. Food is a common language that all of us speak, and we use time at the table to introduce and reinforce the key skills of communication--looking, listening, asking and answering questions and making conversation. Eating together also provides opportunities to develop social skills such as sharing, waiting, helping, making decisions and noticing how we are alike and how we may differ in our preferences.
We apply these social and communication skills to academic tasks when we work on literacy and math skills. We meet our students where they are and work with them to get them to where they can go next--more independence, more participation, stronger reading skills, more number and math understanding they can apply and generalize.
Guess what? We loved our snacks so much in the fall that our pantry is almost bare. We are learning to tell and show what snacks we like best. We are learning to share and notice what our classmates like, too. We are learning to try new tastes, and we are learning to include cleaning up in our snack time. Transitions are a key priority for us, and developing clean up skills are a key goal for our snack time transitions. We have a broom and dustpan, but we want to add using a Dustbuster to our skill set. Thanks for helping us gather around a table to have motivating reasons to talk, be social and learn new skills.
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