After the earned free time after work centers students check their schedule and get ready for breakfast/snack. The entire school gets to eat snack during recess. However, I do snack inside my classroom before recess. I like to keep it structured and functional within the classroom so we have all of our tools handy. I utilize this time of day to really focus on communication. My school SLP pushes in during this time to help with different students and their IEP goals. Overall, this is a quick 15 minute snack time that takes place in the classroom. The rule is- “if you don’t ask, you must not be hungry.” During snack we have communication devices, switches, PECs books and iPad apps. Check out the chapter on COMMUNICATION to learn more about how we use snack as a tool for communication!
Recess is exactly what you would expect- play time outside. Recess is a very unstructured activity. In an ideal world, all of my students would mainstream with their peers for social interaction with no challenges. Of course, this is not the case. I have some students go to the playground during recess while other’s who have more anxiety surrounded by huge groups of people play on the grass. I store a bunch of outside appropriate toys in a wagon so that students can roll out the toys during recess to the designated grassy play area. My staff work hard to recruit and supervise social buddies during recess to promote communication and social interaction for my students. I do not go out to recess with my staff, this is my only teacher prep time during the day!
After recess, my students come in and participate in reading time. I have a book helper pass out book baskets to students and let each student pick a book or two. If the student is on task, I allow them to get a "reading buddy" to help them read. Some students choose to read to their "reading buddy." "Reading Buddies" are such a FUN way to teach our students to remain in their seats and read/look at a book. It helps them stay engaged and interested! My reading buddies change depending on the interests of my students. This year I have some stuffed animals, blankets and pillows. It's important to note: the stuffed animals and toys that are in the reading buddies time are ONLY used during reading time. They are not uses as reinforcers or toys throughout the day. I try not to mix the toys for different activities or their novelty will wear off!
I keep my books in book baskets. I've found its much easier to grab a basket and walk around to let a student choose a book from the basket. The library gets too messy without the baskets as my students have a difficult time sliding the books in a bookshelf! The baskets are a quick fix! During book time I play classical music to help calm my students after an active recess.
It is during book time that we also do all of our toileting needs for the second time in the day. My aides take the students who need supervision in small groups. The ones that have health needs/diapers are taken one by one to the changing room. I stay in the room and supervise the students that are not using the restroom at the time and interact during reading time. We are efficient and are able to get all toileting done in 15 minutes or so. I choose to do this all at once (3 x a day) to minimize the distractions during work centers and such. If a student has to use the restroom and an aide needs to go, it can throw off the work centers.
I have taken over the handicapped bathroom with a ton of visuals. I use visual supports within the restroom to assist students who are being potty trained. To read more about toilet training check out visual supports section In this blog series.
Thanks for reading about my snack/recess/book time routines. Check back tomorrow to learn about afternoon work centers and Calendar!