Academic Skills



Person First Language

Hey all! I am coming to you today to talk about a personal pet peeve of mine, person first language. I first want to say I am not writing this post to "call anyone out" or anything, but I want to help people see the light on the "PC" way to address children and adults with disabilities. 

When I was working on my undergrad at Bowling Green State University, I had this professor who basically scared the living day lights out of me. He was the only teacher who taught the classes specific to teaching students with moderate to intensive needs and his class was HARD. By the end of my senior year I was so grateful for having him as a teacher because he taught me SO much. The lesson that he instilled in me the most was that disabilities are not adjectives. Autism, Down Syndrome, Learning Disabilities.....they are in no way shape or form a way to describe someone. A persons disability is a part of who they are, but it is not equal to being happy, mean, scared, ugly, beautiful or the millions of other adjectives in the English Language. A persons disability is a medical diagnosis. They are PEOPLE First not the disability that testing on an ETR or a doctor has deemed fitting.

 My professor I mentioned above trained me in not saying the disability first by taking points off papers and test essays if used it, but it stuck with me further than a grade in a class. He taught me that the students in my future classroom deserve the respect to not be defined by their disability and to look at life and the unique people in it from a different angle. This lesson is not in my daily life and I try to teach and advocate others on the best way to speak of my students with respect and dignity. 

 So now you are aware and making the change to incorporate this language into your daily life, but other people you encounter don't know...understand...or are aware of this language. Now what?!?! 

I hope this post has enlightened you to spread the awareness that our students are people with so many amazing qualities that make them who they are. Whatever their diagnosis is does not define them, but shapes them into incredible human beings! 


Morning Meeting!

Morning Meeting! In an Autism classroom Morning meeting is my FAVORITE part of the day. It is one of the few times that we get to sit together.....WHOLE GROUP! Whole group is such a hard thing for my little superheroes to complete. So many distractions, having to wait their turn, attention on other peers, paying attention...the list of challenges goes on an on. 

I attempted to design our morning meeting with a BUNCH of visuals, lots of music, and a routine that does not change so the students know what to expect and how long it will take place. 

Let's start with visuals. I just did a post on visuals in the classroom so Click here to learn about how I use visuals in the classroom! In morning meeting we have visuals to sign in and  the kids tell us how they are feeling, visuals to pick their job for the whole group (weather, days of the week, months of the year, etc), and a visual schedule of the songs and activities. 


All of the songs that we use at circle are from YouTube here are some links to a few of my favorites: 

My students LOVE the Shape Song and the student with the best behavior for the day gets to point to all the shapes on the wall! It is a great reinforcer! 

I got the shape posters from Special Teacher for Special Kids check it out in her TPT store! 

Another student favorite is the Word Family Song by Dr. Jean. I made a cute book to go along with the song and the kids each get a turn to come up and point to the words and pictures and sing to their friends. It is a FREEBIE! in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!


I also SPLURGED and bought this awesome calendar from Lakeshore. I know a lot of people like to use smart boards, but i think there is something special about doing it the old traditional way and allowing the kids to move and manipulate pieces on a BIG COLORFUL pocket chart! 

Here are some other pictures from our circle time area! 


What do you LOVE about Morning Meeting? Share in the comments below!