Thursday, March 30, 2017

Autism Awareness Month

clipart by the 3am teacher

April is Autism Awareness Month, which is something near and dear to my heart. My sweet son just turned 5, and about 2 years ago, he was diagnosed with autism. You may have heard that autism is not a DISability, but a DIFFERENT ability, and I couldn't agree more. My son is amazing! He's smart, kind, and he has a way of looking at the world that we could all learn from.

 The Autism Speaks website states that Autism Spectrum Disorder refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. We know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges.

One way that autism has been explained to me has to do with how you take in the world around you. When we look at the world, we filter out distractions like background noise from humming lights, music playing in the background, or colors on the wall to focus on what we consider important. Someone with autism has no filter. The hum of the lights stands out just as much as the person in front of him that is talking. That can make the world very overwhelming sometimes. But it also allows my son not make the distinctions that we may have been taught to consider important when looking at someone, such as how much a person weighs or what clothes they are wearing. When he looks at you, he sees the whole you, and it's beautiful. We should all learn to look at the world that way.


My husband, son, and I like to participate in the Denver Autism Speaks Walk. Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. They are dedicated to increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder, being the catalyst for research breakthroughs, and increasing early-childhood screening and timely intervention.

You can join Team Austin and walk with us by clicking here! You can also support Team Austin by making a donation or buying a specially designed bracelet for Autism Awareness! My friend Allison has designed a special KEEP Collective bracelet and key fob in honor of Autism Awareness month. You can support Autism Speaks by purchasing one of these in the month of April because she will donate a portion of the sales to Autism Speaks in honor of Team Austin!







Sunday, March 12, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Read Alouds with QR Codes

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, for which I do receive commissions if a purchase is made, but at no cost to you.

St. Patrick's Day is coming up on March 17th, and you can use these holiday themed stories in your listening center! Pair them with the CCSS aligned Thoughtful Log Entries questions, and you can have students respond to literature with higher level thinking.

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day




Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
Which words provide the text with regular beats? How does it effect the way you read it?

CCSS RL.2.4

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
How is this story similar to another story? Use evidence from both texts to support your answer. (I suggest comparing it to How to Catch a Leprechaun)
CCSS RL.2.9, 3.9 





That's What Leprechauns Do





Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
How would you describe the main characters in the story? What is he/she like? What did he/she do in the story to make you describe the character this way?

CCSS RL.2.1, 3.1, 3.3, 4.1

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
Where does the story take place? What evidence from the text makes you think so?
CCSS RL.1.3, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
Describe the overall structure of the story:
Beginning introduces the story
Setting
Major Events
Ending concludes the story
CCSS RL.1.3, 2.5

Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato




Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
How would you describe the main character in the story? What is he/she like? What did he/she do in the story to make you describe the character this way?

CCSS RL.2.1, 3.1, 3.3, 4.1

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
What is the theme of this story? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
CCSS RL.2.1, 3.1, 4.2

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
How did the character respond to the problem? Why did he/she act this way? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
CCSS RL.2.3, 3.3, 4.3

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
Would you respond in the same way as the character in this story? Why or why not?
CCSS RL.3.6

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
When did this story take place? What evidence from the text makes you think so?
CCSS RL.1.3, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
Does any part of this book (characters, settings, problem, theme, plot) remind you of another story? How? Use evidence from both texts to support your answer.
CCSS RL1.9, .2.9, 3.9
(I would compare the problem in this story with the Little Red Hen, but it would be interesting to have the analyze why the ending didn't seem fair the way it did in the Little Red Hen.)

The Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
What does this word or phrase from the story mean?
What evidence from the text makes you think so?
CCSS RL.4.4

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
Which words in the text rhyme? How does that supply rhythm and meaning to the way you read it?
CCSS RL.2.4

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
Which words provide the text with regular beats? How does it effect the way you read it?
CCSS RL.2.4

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
Which words in the text rhyme? How does that supply rhythm and meaning to the way you read it?
CCSS RL.2.4

Thoughtful Log Entry Question:
How is this story similar to another story? Use evidence from both texts to support your answer.
CCSS RL.2.9, 3.9
(Any of the "Old Lady" stories)



Happy St. Patrick's Day! Enjoy!