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Old 06-28-2010, 08:24 AM
teachersk's Avatar
teachersk teachersk is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,873
Special Education Teacher
Age-Appropriate Middle School "Circle Time" topics

Hey Gang,

We have a period every morning called, "Morning Focus." This is essentially a middle school "Circle Time" but we sit at a table and I try to keep it as age appropriate as possible. I teach in a severe/profound autism class for middle schoolers.

This year, we did:

Days of the Week
Months of the Year
Who is our president?
Who is our governor? (booo Chris Christie)
Where do we live? (city and state)

I also had a different "topic" for each semester.
In the Fall, we did the solar system (we added a new planet every few weeks and now they can name the planets in order from the Sun... not very functional but kind of fun to show off and a neat grade level expectation for them to meet...)

In the Spring, we did "cooking words"... they learned that C. means Cup and T. means tablespoon and t. means teaspoon, etc.

I plan on keeping the days, months, year, geography, but I need one or two more "fun" things to add to the end. Preferably something that's functional but if there's something out there like the solar system or something else you learn about in middle school, that is "memorization" - I don't mind doing that either.

Basically, I have a page for each topic in their morning focus binders, and a moveable velcro piece. So, they move the piece from the left page to the right page (most of it is errorless, some of my higher kids have choices). So, for "Who is our president?" There is a picture of Barack Obama on the left and they move him into the answer box and they all answer, "Barack Obama" or they point to the picture.

I want something similar to add to the end of the books but am coming up with nothing. It can be random facts, etc.

I was thinking maybe I would do the states and their abbreviations? I figured states and abbreviations is actually pretty functional. I feel like over the school year we could get through all of them. Half my kids would be able to actually memorize this and the other half it would just be exposure.

ANy other ideas?
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Old 06-28-2010, 03:58 PM
teacher12345 teacher12345 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 536
What about doing a new survival sign each day?
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:53 PM
bethechange bethechange is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 299
Elementary SPED - Autism
I think states and capitals or states and abbreviations would be very cool and functional. You could do it by region, have the velcro movable pieces shaped like the actual state, etc.

Some other stuff I thought of:

How about something with sports? Do you have any local or school teams you could follow? Learn the players' names/numbers/positions, keep track of/graph wins/losses, learn where other teams they play are from, rules of game, etc.? I think this could be an age-appropriate topic and could be as simple/complicated as you want to make it. Might open the door to some social/leisure opportunities w/peers?

Study a person of the month? Could be a sports/music/movie figure, local hero, teacher in your school, etc. You could find out when/where they were born, what they do, why they are famous, some of their favorite things, etc. Could also be a door to social opportunities w/peers AND I feel like this ties in with reading biographies/autobiographies. You could write a letter to the person or invite them for a party or something when the month is done.

Similarly, you could do a country a month (or however long you think it would be good to study). I think you have mentioned that you have kids from several different countries. Maybe start with those? Match it on a map, close/far from US/NJ, what language the speak, who is president/leader, how do you get there (airplane, boat, trains, bus etc.), some industries/recreational/cultural landmarks, etc. Could tie in with geography/multicultural studies.

Functional/Job Skills - could do a company of the month - where they are, close/far to your hometown, what they do/make, who is president/CEO, jobs there, etc. Could write a letter to the company together. (Maybe this is lame, but I wrote to Crayola in 6th grade telling them how much I liked their product and they sent me a huge backpack full of markers and crayons and such and I never forgot how cool that was).

You could probably do all kinds of cool stuff with those things on the smartboard and save/modify them easily.

I'd love to see pictures of one of your binders if you ever get a chance. Cool.
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:51 PM
WaterfallLady's Avatar
WaterfallLady WaterfallLady is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,056
Originally Posted by teacher12345 View Post
What about doing a new survival sign each day?
That's what I am doing next year if I can find a list of them and the graphics! For most of the day, have the kids who are just a tad too high for life skills (actually some of them belong there), so I am adding a lot of life skills things while still teaching academics.

Also, what about the calendar thing where the class gets a penny each day and for every five days they exhange that for a nickle, etc?

If you don't know what I am talking about I can find something.

Great Source also make sa really cool calendar program called "Every Day Math". http://www.greatsource.com/everydaycounts/
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