Autism Spectrum Disorder: Recognizing Delays, Implementing Adaptations, and Fostering Inclusion in the Classroom

Image credit: www.alumnus.msstate.edu

Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is used as an umbrella term to cover four disorders or range of disorders.  Included under the ASD umbrella are autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and childhood disintegrative disorder (Research Autism, 2016).  ASD is referred to as a “spectrum” because of the “wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD” (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, n.d.).  ASD can present differently from person to person and in a variety of ways.  While some diagnosed with ASD may show severe developmental delays, others may show average or above average intelligence and even giftedness.  However, ASD primarily displays as qualitative impairments in three areas: social interaction, communication, and restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior (Doorlag & Lewis, 2011).  There are a number of ways to consider these impairments in order to differentiate instruction, provide accommodations in the classroom, and aid in student success academically, socially, and communicatively.

Students with ASD often struggle socially.  Reciprocity in social interaction is challenging and may be difficult, confusing, or uncomfortable for ASD students.  This delay is often presented as a lack of joint attention, inability to comprehend social cues, poor or absence of eye contact, limited or lack of interaction with others, difficulty reading facial expressions and body language, and more.  Social interaction should be encouraged in the classroom and can be done so in several ways.  First and foremost, a full inclusion environment is highly beneficial and preferred for ASD students whenever and wherever possible.  Immersion in the classroom with neuro-typical peers offer ASD students the opportunity to gain influence as well as observe and participate in social structure.  Keeping the ASD student in a central location in the classroom is best, so as maintain social immersion as well as to prevent ASD students from distraction or deterring themselves from peer interaction (Doorlag & Lewis, 2011).  ASD students should be encouraged or placed in social situations or cooperative play.  Buddy systems offer motivation for ASD students to interact socially, but also the comfort of one-on-one interaction that is not too over-stimulating (Doorlag & Lewis, 2011).  Once an ASD student is comfortable interacting with one buddy, they may benefit from a social skills group.  Within a social skills group, ASD students may practice social skills with each other and with neuro-typical peers.  Both general and special educators can lead these groups and provide scaffolded language support, structure and predictability, multiple and varied learning opportunities, and more (Anderson & Anderson, n.d.).

Fostering social development varies widely depending on the maturity level and severity of delay of the ASD student.  Students may benefit from interactive games and activities that foster social give-and-take.  Simple tasks such as delivering and returning messages to/from the main office or leading a choral group in memorization tasks (alphabet, counting, etc.) are excellent examples of mutual interaction.  A game of bean bag toss – in which academic topics can also be adapted within the game – is effective in promoting socialization in that it provides “clear reinforcement of nuanced communication: children ask, usually through non-verbal cues, for the bean bag and are rewarded by having it tossed their way” (Integrity Inc, 2015).  Any turn-taking activities that require the sharing of space and materials engage students in social interaction.  Older students should be involved in group work and activities with well-defined roles and expectations.  To reinforce what has been learned, visual prompts in the form of videos, pictures, checklists, or prompt cards are a great way to remind ASD (and all) students of their new social skills.  All of these techniques teach ASD students a “script” for what’s “appropriate” in social behavior that they can memorize and follow as needed.

Communication delays are highly prevalent in ASD.  Some ASD students are non-verbal while others – such as those with Asperger’s syndrome – are less likely to exhibit language delays.  Still, communication and social interaction go hand-in-hand, and most ASD students would benefit from communication building activities.  Communication delays include “delays in spoken language, inability to initiate or sustain conversation, repetitive use of language (or echolalia), and lack of make-believe or imaginative play” (Doorlag & Lewis, 2011).  Delays in language may also include delayed responses – give these students the time to think and formulate responses without the stress of being rushed.  Echolalia is a great way to foster responses from ASD and all students as well: when posing a question, immediately model a response, such as (question) “What is your name?” (answer) “My name is Dan” (Doorlag & Lewis, 2011).  Educators should encourage the student to mimic phrasing and can even use the ASD student’s name in the example for extra direction.  Narration of actions is also a way to provide a lens for the student to see how communication works: narrate everything from what you are writing on the board to what the student is doing as you watch them work through a problem.  This way, much like the “script” that an ASD student might memorize from social learning, a more literal “script” can be learned for communication.  If a student is reluctant to attempt new or reciprocal speech, focus on the student’s interests.  Once these channels of interest are noted and open to discussion, the ASD student may feel comfortable or encouraged to begin a conversation on their own.

Nonverbal students also require communication building.  Although a student may be nonverbal, there is potential for that student to emerge upon language in some form.  Much like with social interaction, initial focus should be placed on nonverbal communication.  “Gestures and eye contact can build a foundation for language” and enables a student to communicate in some form (Dawson & Elder, n.d.).  Simplifying your language and narration will help to build a receptive language databank and may lead to expressive language.  Apps and devices are also available to give these students a means of communicating, from choosing pictures to associate with words to text-to-voice typing.

Receptive language, or what a child understands, is just as important as expressive language, or what a child can say or express.  Some ASD students may understand literal speech but have trouble decoding what is indirectly implied.  Idioms and hypothetical language may prove difficult for some ASD students to comprehend.  Clear and concise language is always best.  For example, asking students to “please put your workbooks away, push in your chairs, and line up at the door” is better than a conversational, meandering monologue such as “It looks nice out today, students!  When you are done with your workbooks, maybe we will go outside.  Line up after you put your workbooks away, but only if you’re finished with your work.”  You can see how the first set of instructions is less confusing that the second.

Finally, restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior are often indicative of ASD.  This behavior may include “preoccupation with an interest, compulsive adherence to a routine, motor mannerisms, and occupations with parts of objects” (Dawson & Elder, n.d.).  Though by definition these are classified as impairments, some of these tendencies can be advantageous or even helpful to ASD students.  Preoccupation of interests can be used to influence students; for example, if a student fixates on the topic of trains, they can be asked to expand on that topic for a writing assignment.  Compulsive adherence to a routine, if viewed positively, can be a sign of good instruction- and rule-following.  If a student reacts negatively to disruption or to diversion of a routine, set a visual timer that the student can control themselves (upon request of the teacher).  Give the student the role or task of transition scheduler where he is responsible for keeping track of transitions, provided the schedule is clearly written and accessible; this also aids the student in fortifying transition strategies which can often be a struggle for those on the spectrum.

Motor mannerisms, or stimming, should not be viewed negatively unless the student is causing themselves harm.  Instead, stimming can be an involuntary means of regulating sensory overload.  Some students may stim if upset or overwhelmed while others may stim from excitement or boredom.  Stimming is often viewed by ASD individuals as a means of creating output to release the overwhelming sensory input they experience.  Thus, stimming should not be discouraged unless absolutely necessary, as it is often a way for students to comfort themselves.  If peers find the ASD student’s stimming distracting or unusual, use this as an opportunity to educate your ASD student’s peers on autism and sensory processing.  Foster awareness and acceptance among them, and subsequently, you may help to evade potential bullying and exclusion.  Often, ASD students are viewed as “different” by their peers, so it is especially important for educators to help promote peer relationships and understanding.

With all of the techniques listed above, it is absolutely crucial to take note of overstimulation in ASD students.  An ASD student may easily become overwhelmed or stressed and may need to be allowed to cope or, in some cases, be helped to cope.  Allowing the student a break from activities, a chance to get out of their seats or time for stimming allows them to work through the sensory overload.  If a student is overly sensitive or overstimulated to sounds, adaptations can be made such as socks or pads on chair legs to prevent scraping or noise cancelling headphones to help with concentration.  If a student is under-sensitive, remove objects that are distracting or suggest compression or weighted clothing/vests for the student.

Understanding autism, differentiating instruction, implementing classroom strategies and adaptations, and fostering awareness among peers is essential to creating a full inclusion classroom for ASD students.  Countless resources are available for educators, parents, and students alike in the education of ASD and ASD awareness.  Websites such as ResearchAutism.org and NationalAutismAssociation.org provide programs, materials, and a central hub for educators, parents, and those affected by ASD alike.

 

 

References

Autism Speaks (n.d.). About Autism. Retrieved from https://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/documents/family-services/social_skills_groups.pdf

Dawson, G., & Elder, L. (n.d.). Seven ways to help your nonverbal child speak. Retrieved from https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2013/03/19/seven-ways-help-your-nonverbal-child-speak

Doorlag, D.H., & Lewis, R.B. (2011). Teaching students with special needs in general education classrooms: student value edition (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Integrity Inc (2015, July 21). Seven ways to increase social skills in children with autism. Retrieved from https://www.integrityinc.org/7-ways-to-increase-social-skills-in-children-with-autism/

Lowry, L. (n.d.). Helping your child cope with his sensory needs. Retrieved from http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Articles/Helping-Your-Child-Cope-with-his-Sensory-Needs.aspx

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (n.d.). Autism Spectrum Disorder fact sheet. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-Fact-Sheet

Research Autism (2016, January 22). Types of Autism. Retrieved from http://researchautism.net/autism/types-of-autism

Sussman, F. (2012). More Than Words: A Parent’s Guide to Building Interaction and Language Skills for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Social Communication Difficulties. Toronto: The Hanen Centre.

By |May 23rd, 2017|Essays, The Exceptional Learner|

Flip, Turn, or Slide and Congruence (3rd grade lesson plan)

Title of Lesson

Flip, Turn, or Slide and Congruence

Course

Grade 3 Geometry

Standards

3.G.A.1           Understand that shapes in different categories (e.g., rhombuses, rectangles, and others) may share attributes (e.g., having four sides), and that the shared attributes can define a larger category (e.g., quadrilaterals).  Recognize rhombuses, rectangles, and squares as examples of quadrilaterals, and draw examples of quadrilaterals that do not belong to any of those subcategories.

Student Learning Goal(s)

  • Students will know the following vocabulary: triangle, congruent, symmetry, transformation, slide or translation, flip or reflection, turn or rotation, pre-image, image.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate the above vocabulary and construct each independently.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Remember previous geometrical concepts that apply to this lesson (e.g. quadrilateral,
rhombus, rectangle, square, and others).
Understand new vocabulary and concepts.
Apply vocabulary and concepts in the activity.
Create diagrams of the vocabulary proposed.

Assessment

Formative assessment: following the teacher’s demonstration using an overhead projector and pentominoes (or other shape/geometric materials) to demonstrate the vocabulary, students will attempt to mimic what they have learned and form their own diagrams and recordings.  Teacher will check for understanding.
Summative assessment: following the lesson and subsequent days of practice, an evaluative test would be administered.  An evaluative test can range from (a) simple testing or quizzes with work shown, or (b) via a geometry journal project where students will create a reference book defining and diagraming the vocabulary.

Procedures/Lesson Sequence

  1.  Discuss each term with the students as a class.  Each student will record the term and definition (one per page) in their geometry journal.
  2. Check prior knowledge: use overhead magnetic pentominoes to have students demonstrate their knowledge of the terms.
  3. Conduct hands-on activity: provide students with individual sets of pentominoes and graph paper (optional).  Students will practice translations, reflections, and rotations.
    1. Provide a list of steps students must follow to produce each diagram.  For example, problem #1 would state: from point A, show 2 slides and 2 flips across the graph paper.  Students will then trace the starting point (pre-image) as well as their ending point (image).  These pages of graph paper should be included in their geometry journal.
  4. Closing: Have students share and describe how they found their answers.

Materials

Graphing paper, pentominoes (or other shape/geometric materials), overhead projector, pencils, journal or folder designated for geometry terms.

Technology

An overhead projector is required to demonstrate the vocabulary using pentominoes or other overhead shape/geometric materials.  This technology engages students as it gives a real-time, hands-on example of the vocabulary being discussed.  Students may also be asked to use the projector and pentominoes themselves when called upon to demonstrate their learning.

Adaptations

  • Pre-teach all vocabulary and concepts.
  • Provide study guides and worksheets to provide references and foster memorization.
  • Write vocabulary and definitions on the board so that students may easily transcribe without error into their journals.
  • Use visuals via the overhead for visual cognition.
  • Use simple terms in association with difficult vocabulary (i.e. “slide” for translation, “flip” for reflection, and “turn” for rotation).
  • Have students repeat directions for the steps, and provide substantial pause between steps while vocalizing.
  • Write steps on the board and have students transcribe them into their journals.
  • Have students use pentominoes so as to easily visualize the steps.
  • Have students use graphing paper to produce precise diagrams.
  • Circulate the room and provide assistance or thinking points with students if they struggle.
  • Instruct students to raise their hands and ask questions if they find themselves “stuck.”
  • Have students work with buddies to produce their diagrams, then copy into their own respective journals.
  • If students have difficulty writing, provide print-outs of the steps for students to cut and paste into their journals (graph paper also aids in writing legibly).

 

Image credit: ExcelMathMike

By |March 14th, 2016|3rd Grade, Geometry, Lesson Plans, Math|

The “Feel” of Music (kindergarten lesson plan)

Lesson Title

The “Feel” of Music

Course

Kindergarten interdisciplinary lesson plan for Music and Art

Materials

  • Medium to play music, such as computer, boombox, etc.
  • Various songs of different types (slow, fast, upbeat, sad, etc.) preferably from different cultures/genres
  • Crayons of many different colors for each student to use
  • Large piece of paper that can be divided/folded into parts

Objectives

The students will

  • Listen to different songs and recognize contrasting expressions, emotions, sounds, etc.
  • Identify expressions and emotions that they feel the songs represent.
  • Translate the expressions and emotions into terms of art, such as color, line, etc.
  • Describe their personal reactions to the musical selections and how they referenced those reactions in their artwork.

Standard(s)

Music:

ART.M.I.K.11             Recognize contrasting expressions of music.

ART.M.III.K.3            Describe the music performed and presented in kindergarten by moving, drawing, or through other appropriate responses.

ART.M.III.K.4            Introduce music vocabulary emphasizing opposites; i.e. fast and slow, loud and soft

ART.M.III.K.7            Identify and support personal reactions to a musical selection.

ART.M.IV.K.1            Identify and describe distinguishing characteristics of starkly contrasting styles.

ART.M.V.K.2             Observe and identify cross-curricular connections with the kindergarten curriculum

Art:

ART.VA.I.K.2             Work with materials and tools safely with environmental awareness.

ART.VA.I.K.3             Explore the elements of art through playful sensory experiences.

ART.VA.I.K.4             Prepare, complete, and sign finished artwork.

ART.VA.II.K.2           Use a variety of lines, colors, and basic geometric shapes and patterns to creatively express feelings and personal experiences.

ART.VA.II.K.5           Express thoughts and ideas through the creation of artwork.

ART.VA.III.K.2          Recognize that art can be created for self-expression or fun.

ART.VA.III.K.3          Describe the sensory qualities in a work of art.

ART.VA.V.K.3           Identify how pattern, shape, rhythm, and movement are used throughout the arts.

ART.VA.V.K.4           Explore connections between the visual arts and other curriculum.

Anticipatory Set

5 minutes

Open discussion with students about music:

  • Do you like listening to music?  Why or why not?
  • How do they feel when they listen to music?
  • Does it make them want to dance or sing?
  • Do they feel the same feelings with every song they hear, or do they feel differently about different songs?
  • If you could color or draw how you feel when you listen to a song, what would it look like?

Introduction / Direct Instruction

5 minutes

  • Instruct the children to fold their sheets of paper in as many parts as you have musical selections (i.e. 6 songs, fold the paper to make 6 sections, divided by fold lines).
  • (Transition) “Let’s listen to this first song. As you listen, think about how it makes you feel.  Then, I would like you to color or draw in the first square what you think this song sounds like, or how it makes you feel.  You can draw anything, and it can be any color, as long as you can explain what you drew and how it relates to the music.”
  • Play an excerpt from the first song. Allow the students time to think, then draw.  If further direction is needed, reiterate: “Listen first, then think, and lastly, draw.”

Checking for Understanding

2 minutes

At the end of the first excerpt, select a few students to describe their artwork. Ask: “How did the song make you feel?  What colors did you choose and why?  Did you draw any objects or people, or is it just color?”  You may also use this opportunity to define “abstract art.”  This discussion is to ensure comprehension of what is expected of the students before moving on.

Direct Instruction/Guided Practice/Assessment of Learning

10-15 minutes

Continue with the rest of the musical selections. Discuss each as needed.  Take time to notice differentiation between students’ reactions, i.e. “This song made Suzie feel sad, but it also made Andrew feel tired.  Why do you think that is?” or “Suzie feels sad, so she used the color blue.  Andrew felt tired, so he used the color black.  Why do you think that is?”  Have students explain their reasoning.

Lesson Close

Select a quieter song to use for transition, and relate the components of the song to the students’ expression. “Listen to the softness and quietness of this song.  Let’s be just as quiet as we put away our things and move on to the next lesson.”

 

By |March 7th, 2016|Arts, Kindergarten, Music|

Underhand Throw (1st grade lesson plan)

Physical Education unit consisting of three coordinating lesson plans

 

Lesson Plan Title

Underhand Throw – Demonstration and Bowling

Course

1st grade Physical Education

Total Class Time

30 minutes

Objective(s) the students will be able to:

  • Throw underhand at a target within their personal space.
  • Step with opposition, bring arm back, and release the ball underhanded in front of them.
  • Practice spatial awareness and ball control.

Standard(s)

Demonstrate Level 2 performance in: spatial awareness, effort, underhand throw

Equipment Needed

  • CD player and music
  • Bowling pins
  • Bowling balls

Warm-up

5 minutes (use this time to set up equipment)

  • Students will jog around the track while the music plays.
  • Students will swing their arms with purpose as they run, focusing on the rhythmic swinging that will later on mirror the swing of the underhand throw.
  • When the music stops, students will line up on the track sideline.

Lesson introduction/details, cues, etc.

5 minutes

  • “I will go over the cues for throwing the ball underhand at the target.”
  • Demonstrate the proper stance for standing in the “ready to throw” position, opposite the target.  Demonstrate swinging the arm way back, stepping with the opposite foot, then releasing the bean bag out in front.

 

Skill/Activity Practice

15 minutes

  • Divide the students into five groups.  Create five “lanes” with bowling pins at one end.
  • Students will each take a turn in their groups to underhand throw the bowling ball.  They get two throws each turn (like with actual bowling).
  • One student should be at the opposite end to pick up pins and return the ball – ball must be returned also with underhand throw.
  • Students must practice spatial awareness and ball control due to the ability of the balls to go astray.

Closing

5 minutes

Reiterate the demonstration of the appropriate stance for underhand throwing and controlling the ball.  Have students return equipment to the equipment area.

 


 

Lesson Plan Title

Underhand Throw – Throw the Yard

Course

1st grade Physical Education

Total Class Time

30 minutes

Objective(s) the students will be able to:

  • Throw underhand at a target within their personal space.
  • Step with opposition, bring arm back, and release the ball underhanded in front of them.
  • Practice spatial awareness.

Standard(s)

Demonstrate Level 2 performance in: spatial awareness, effort, underhand throw

Equipment Needed

  • CD player and music
  • Several bean bags (the more the better!)
  • 4 hula hoops

Warm-up

5 minutes (use this time to set up equipment)

  • Students will jog around the track while the music plays.
  • Students will swing their arms with purpose as they run, focusing on the rhythmic swinging that will later on mirror the swing of the underhand throw.
  • When the music stops, students will line up on the track sideline.

 

Lesson introduction/details, cues, etc.

5 minutes

  • “Let’s review how to underhand throw.”  Demonstrate.
  • Discuss the rules for “Throw the Yard” game.  Students will be underhand throwing bean bags into other teams’ “yards.”  If they see a bean bag on the ground in their “yard,” they may pick it up and throw it into the neighbor’s yard (hula hoop).

 

Skill/Activity Practice

15 minutes

  • Divide the students into four groups; also, divide the gym floor into four quadrants.  Each quadrant will have one hula hoop at its center.
  • Students will be underhand throwing into their neighbors’ yards.  They must get their bean bags into the other teams’ hula hoops without leaving their own yard.  The goal is to have the least number of bean bags in their own hula hoops.
  • They cannot take bean bags out of the hula hoops that other teams have successfully thrown into their hula hoops.  They cannot overhand throw or purposefully hit another player.  These violations will call for removal from the game.

 

Closing

5 minutes

Reiterate the demonstration of the appropriate stance for underhand throwing and controlling the ball.  Have students return equipment to equipment area.

 


 

Lesson Plan Title

Underhand Throw – Hopscotch

Course

1st grade Physical Education

Total Class Time

30 minutes

Objective(s) the students will be able to:

  • Throw underhand at a target within their personal space.
  • Step with opposition, bring arm back, and release the ball underhanded in front of them.
  • Practice spatial awareness, balance, and the locomotor skill of hopping.

Standard(s)

Demonstrate Level 2 performance in: spatial awareness, effort, underhand throw

Equipment Needed

  • CD player and music
  • Chalk
  • 25 bean bags (one per child)

Preparation

Do this activity on a nice day where you can take students outside to the black top.  Pre-draw several hopscotch courses.

Warm-up

5 minutes (use this time to set up equipment)

  • Students will jog around the track while the music plays.
  • Students will swing their arms with purpose as they run, focusing on the rhythmic swinging that will later on mirror the swing of the underhand throw.
  • When the music stops, students will line up on the track sideline.

Lesson introduction/details, cues, etc.

5 minutes

  • “Let’s review how to underhand throw.”  Demonstrate.
  • Take the students outside and discuss the rules of hopscotch.  Demonstrate how to carefully aim and underhand throw to get the “spot” you want on the hopscotch course.

Skill/Activity Practice

15 minutes

  • Divide the students into four hopscotch teams.  Each team will have their own hopscotch course.  Each student will have their own bean bag to underhand throw on their hopscotch course.
  • Students will throw their bean bags on the course, one by one, in an underhand throw.  The spot on the course that the bean bag lands on, the student must not hop on that spot.  They will hop on one foot through the course, then upon returning, attempt to pick up their bean bag (and then may hop on that spot).

Closing

5 minutes

Reiterate the demonstration of the appropriate stance for underhand throwing and controlling the ball.  Have students return equipment to equipment area.

 

Image credit: OPHEA

By |February 18th, 2016|1st Grade, Physical Education|

Nutrition Labels (5th grade lesson plan)

Health Education unit consisting of three coordinating lesson plans.

Lesson Plan Title

Nutrition Labels – Reading and Deciphering

Course

Grade 5 Health Education

Total Class Time

30 minutes

Objective(s) the students will be able to:

  • Read food labels and find nutritional values.
  • Differentiate between healthy and unhealthy foods based upon their nutritional value.

Standard(s)

1.3         Demonstrate the ability to use information on food labels to choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and to avoid or limit foods and beverages that are low in nutrients or may impact health conditions.

1.4         Prepare meal plans according to the federal dietary guidelines.

Material Needed

  • Food labels cut from various food packages.
  • Federal dietary guidelines for nutrition.

Lesson Procedure

  1. Begin lesson by asking students: “How do we find a food’s nutritional value?  How do we tell if it is healthy for us or not?”
  2. Pass out food labels to students.  Allow time for students to study the labels.
  3. Ask students to share their findings: how much sugar does their food have?  How much salt?
  4. Using the information pulled from the federal dietary guidelines, explain the recommended allowances of sugar, salt, and et cetera with the students.
  5. Ask the students to raise their hands if any of their foods exceed or come close to the recommended allowances.
  6. Determine as a class which labels fall into a “healthy” category and which fall into an “unhealthy” category.

Lesson Continuation

For homework and for the next lesson, ask the students to find their favorite food in their homes.
Each student will cut out the food label to bring to class.
Each student should find the sugar content and, with the help of an adult if needed, measure that amount of sugar into a Ziploc bag to bring to class.
Students should use a sharpie marker to label on the Ziploc bag what the food item is, and how much sugar is in the bag.

 


 

Lesson Plan Title

Nutrition Labels – Favorite Foods

Course

Grade 5 Health Education

Total Class Time

30 minutes

Objective(s) the students will be able to

  • Read food labels and find nutritional values.
  • Differentiate between healthy and unhealthy foods based upon their nutritional value.
  • Compare and contrast sugar content in foods.

Standard(s)

1.3         Demonstrate the ability to use information on food labels to choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and to avoid or limit foods and beverages that are low in nutrients or may impact health conditions.

1.4         Prepare meal plans according to the federal dietary guidelines.

Material Needed

  • Students’ individual food labels brought from home; the teacher should bring one as well for an example.
  • Ziploc bag of sugar coordinating with the chosen food label.
  • A large surface.

Lesson Procedure

  1. Begin lesson by showing the bag of sugar brought by the teacher, explaining the amount, and describing the food item it is found in.  Have the students discuss whether or not the amount of sugar constitutes if the food is healthy or unhealthy.
  2. Allow students to, one by one, share their sugar content.  As a class, decided which are healthy and unhealthy.
  3. Most students will probably categorize their favorite foods into the unhealthy category as most foods contain sugar.  Discuss with the students how a food may contain sugar yet still be considered healthy.
  4. On a large surface, sort the Ziploc bags of sugar in order by least to most sugar.  Have students compare which foods have the least sugar versus which have the most.
  5. Have students turn in the food label cut outs of their favorite foods for the next lesson.

 


 

Lesson Plan Title

Nutrition Labels – Make a Menu

Course

Grade 5 Health Education

Total Class Time

30 minutes

Objective(s) the students will be able to:

  • Read food labels and find nutritional values.
  • Differentiate between healthy and unhealthy foods based upon their nutritional value.
  • Create a menu based upon federal dietary guidelines.
  • Learn how to make good food choices as well as the concept of moderation.

Standard(s)

1.3         Demonstrate the ability to use information on food labels to choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and to avoid or limit foods and beverages that are low in nutrients or may impact health conditions.

1.4         Prepare meal plans according to the federal dietary guidelines.

Material Needed

  • Several food labels cut from various food packages, or created mock-ups of food labels.
  • Federal dietary guidelines for nutrition printouts.
  • Paper and pencils.

Lesson Procedure

  1. Begin lesson by passing back the students’ favorite food nutrition labels from the previous lessons and a printout of the federal dietary guidelines.
  2. Review the federal dietary guidelines and discuss the recommended intake values for students their age.  Values should include (but are not limited to) sugar, salt, carbohydrates, fats, protein, vegetables, fruits, and et cetera.
  3. Separate students into groups of five.  Using the food labels or mock-ups, give each group several to choose from.  Instruct the groups to create a day’s menu.  Their menus should follow the dietary guidelines and recommended intake amounts, should seem like enough food to feed an active child, and should allow for one “enjoyable” snack agreed upon by the group.  Have the groups discuss whether their favorite foods can or should be fit into their menus.  The groups should document their finished menus and their nutritional values on one paper per group.
  4. Once completed, have the groups share their findings.  Each group should share what foods they chose and how much of each of the nutritional values listed in step number 2.  Students should also share which of their favorite foods could and could not be fit into their menus.

 

Image credit: HockeyPerformanceAcademy

By |February 18th, 2016|5th Grade, Health|

Primary and Secondary Colors (kindergarten lesson plan)

Title of Lesson

Primary and Secondary Colors

Course

Kindergarten Arts

Complementary subject: music

Resources

The Primary Color song for easy remembering of the primary colors:

The Primary Color Song
(sung to the tune of Three Blind Mice)

Red, Yellow, Blue
Red, Yellow, Blue
I see you
Red, Yellow, Blue
You are the primary colors
You make all the other colors
I wish I was a color
Like Red, Yellow, Blue

Standard(s)

ART.VA.I.K.2       Work with materials and tools safely with environmental awareness.
ART.VA.I.K.3       Explore the elements of art through playful sensory experiences.
ART.VA.I.K.4       Prepare, complete, and sign finished artwork.
ART.VA.II.K.1      Explore the basic uses of art materials to produce artwork.
ART.VA.II.K.2      Use a variety of lines, colors, and basic geometric shapes and patterns to creatively express feelings and personal experiences.
ART.VA.II.K.4      Select subject matter and communicate a personal story in a painting or drawing.
ART.VA.II.K.5      Express thoughts and ideas through the creation of artwork.
ART.VA.III.K.4    Describe a personal artwork.
ART.VA.V.K.1       Identify and discuss art in the student’s environment.

Objectives

Students will:

  • Identify primary and secondary colors.
  • Explain how mixing primary colors can create secondary colors.
  • Create marble art pieces to demonstrate their understanding of primary and secondary colors, as well as how to make secondary colors.

Materials

  • Red, yellow, blue paints
  • Several marbles
  • Shallow cardboard boxes
  • Tape
  • Paper plates
  • Smocks
  • Color Palette Worksheet
  • Whiteboard
  • Red, yellow, blue dry erase markers
  • An array of colored markers, crayons, or colored pencils – ensure you have several colors for each child to choose from.

Vocabulary

  • primary color
  • secondary color
  • shade
  • tint
  • hue

Class Time Needed

Lesson can expand across three days, or be condensed into 1-2 long lessons.

Preparation

To minimize on mess, parent volunteers would be a great asset for the marble art portion of this lesson plan.

Lesson Procedure

Day 1: 15-30 minutes

  1. Introduce the concept of primary and secondary colors by discussing red, yellow, and blue.  Demonstrate the colors by coloring circles of each color on the whiteboard using dry erase markers.  This allows students to more easily visualize the lesson.
  2. Discuss how red, yellow, and blue are primary colors. These are the “main” colors that all other colors are made from.  Teach the students the Primary Color song, which is sung to the tune of “Three Blind Mice.”  The lyrics are:
    Red, Yellow, Blue
    Red, Yellow, Blue
    I see you
    Red, Yellow, Blue
    You are the primary colors
    You make all the other colors
    I wish I was a color
    Like Red, Yellow, Blue
  3. Ask students questions about the primary colors, such as: if they have ever mixed these colors together and what colors they have made; how they have mixed colors (using what medium); what happens when they mix two colors, three colors, or all colors together?
  4. Once the students have thought about the colors they have mixed, hand each child the color palette worksheet. Ask students to color circles on their papers of colors and think  about how each color was made.
  5. Have students suggest colors they think are made from mixing other colors; ask the students what colors they think are mixed to make the color they suggested – write the name of the color on the board beneath the primary colors. Discuss how these mixed colors are hues, tints, and shades of the primary colors, and then define each type (hue, tint, shade).  Discuss primary versus secondary colors.

Day 2: 30-60 minutes

  1. Start the lesson by singing the Primary Color song.
  2. Divide students into groups to minimize the number of paint stations in the classroom. Each group should have a paper plate on which you will poor blue, red, and yellow paint.
  3. Each student should have their own cardboard boxes. Cereal boxes with one side cut out work great for this: be sure to tape the sides of the box shut so that a marble can safely roll around in the box.
  4. Have each student put on their smock. Then, put one marble in each color of paint.  Each student should use one marble from each color of paint to roll in their boxes, creating a marble art piece of the primary colors.
  5. To create secondary colors, have each student pick a color they would like to create. For example: a student may saturate a marble in the yellow paint, and then dip it into the red paint as well.  Then, when rolling the marble in the box, they will see how the combined colors create orange.  At this point, it is okay to mix paint colors as they dip – the mess is fun!  As the students create their artwork, encourage discussion about the colors they are making, whether they are primary or secondary, and whether or not they are creating hues, tints, or shades.  Ask students why they chose a certain color, what they like about that color, and what other things are that color.

Day 3: 15 minutes

  1. Start the lesson by singing the Primary Color song.
  2. The marble art pieces should be dry and ready to show off to each other/take them home. Students may discuss with each other or as a whole class the colors they created.

Extension Activity

15-30 minutes

Choose a piece of artwork that is fun to look at and has many colors represented.  Ask students to look for the primary colors.  Then, ask the students to look for secondary colors.  Ask which colors were created to make the secondary colors that they spot.  Subsequently, allow the students to create their own drawing, and have them pay attention to which colors they are using.  Circulate the room and check in with students, asking them which colors they are using, whether they are primary or secondary, and if secondary which colors can be mixed to create the secondary color.

colorbynumber

Image credits: Poissy Design, Printables4Kids.com

By |February 1st, 2016|Arts, Kindergarten, Music|

Physics: Forces and Interactions (kindergarten/3rd grade lesson plan)

Lesson Title

Forces and Interactions

Course

Kindergarten and/or 3rd Grade Science (physics)

Materials needed

  • hairdryer
  • lightweight ball such as a ping pong ball

Objectives

  • Students will observe the concept of force and its interaction with Earth’s gravity.
  • Students will observe the interaction between higher air pressure and the pull of gravity.
  • Students will develop an understanding of Newton’s law of action and reaction: 3rd law: for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction.

Standard(s)

Kindergarten: Forces and Interactions, Pushes and Pulls

K-PS2-1:       Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.

K-PS2-2:       Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.

Grade 3: Forces and Interactions

3-PS2-1:       Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.

Anticipatory set

  • Kindergarten: use a diagramming exercise to focus students’ attention on the class objectives.
  • Third grade: use brainstorming techniques and a Writing to Learn (WTL) exercises to focus students’ attention on the class objectives.

Introduction

Discuss the concepts of gravity, force, air pressure, action and reaction.

Pose questions to engage students. Have students brainstorm and either write down (grade 3) or discuss (kindergarten) theories that may answer the questions.  Pose more complicated questions to grade 3 students.  Questions may include: How does gravity keep us on the ground? What happens if we don’t have gravity?  How does the concept of force relate to gravity?  How do things float?  Can we make something float despite gravity, and if so, how?

  • Grade 3: Conduct the demonstration and ask questions to further understanding: what do you think will happen to the ball when we put it in the air stream? What will happen if we try to pull the ball out of the air stream?  Why do you think the ball can float?  Is the force of gravity still in effect?  What is the “action” and what is the “reaction”?
  • Kindergarten: Conduct the demonstration and have the students draw what they see. As you discuss action and reaction, have the students diagram using arrows and other symbols to display what they believe is happening, i.e. gravity versus air pressure.

Procedures

  • Angle the blow dryer in an upright position and turn the speed on to its highest level.
  • Carefully position the ping pong ball in the air stream, then let go.
  • Move the blow dryer slowly and carefully to demonstrate how the ball will move in sequence with the blow dryer. (Further thinking #1)
  • Have a student slowly and carefully attempt to move the ball out of the air stream. (Further thinking #2)
  • Attempt to tilt the air stream to one side and see if the ball stays suspended. (Further thinking #3)
  • Have a student attempt to add another ball to the air flow. (Further thinking #4)

Conclusion

As the experiment is conducted, have students hypothesize outcomes for each “Further thinking” application. Use the hook, “What would happen if…?”

  • Explain: the airflow from the blow dryer pushes the ping pong ball upwards until its upward force equals the force of gravity pushing down on it. When it reaches this point, it gently bounces around, floating when the upward and downward forces are equal.
  • Explain: the reason the ping pong ball stays nicely inside the column of air produced by the blow dryer without shifting sideways is due to air pressure. The fast moving air from the hair dryer creates a column of lower air pressure.  The surrounding higher air pressure forces the ping pong ball to stay inside this column, making it easy to move the blow dryer around without losing control of the ball.
  • Compare: What else works similarly to this concept? The outward-flowing air exerts an inward force on the ball, just like the downward flow of air beneath a helicopter exerts an upward force on the blades of the helicopter.
  • What does it mean when the wavy lines on the paper are higher or lower? How could you use that to measure an earthquake?  Example: height of the largest waves indicates the size of an earthquake.
  • How can scientists use seismographs all over the world to pinpoint the location of an earthquake? Think about ripples in a pond or GPS systems.  Example: length of the earthquake record and the arrival times of each wave, the distance of the focus from the recording point can be determined.
  • What parts of the activity emulate how a true earthquake occurs? What are some of the problems an earthquake causes?  Examples: destruction of buildings, larger earthquakes causing small changes to Earth’s orbit, etc.

What to do next time

  • Have the students consider ways to improve the activity, or present new ways to test action and reaction.
By |November 17th, 2015|3rd Grade, Kindergarten, Science|

Let’s Make an Earthquake! (4th grade lesson plan)

Lesson Title

Let’s Make an Earthquake!

Course

4th grade Earth Science

Materials needed

  • marker
  • plastic ruler that is flexible
  • tape
  • heavy can
  • paper
  • desk

Class objectives

  • Students will learn about the cause of earthquakes.
  • Students will learn about how scientists measure earthquake intensity.
  • Students will build their own seismograph to measure shaking.

Standard(s)

Grade 4 Earth Sciences:     5a. Students know some changes in the earth are due to slow processes, such as erosion, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.

Anticipatory Set

Use three Writing to Learn (WTL) exercises to focus students’ attention on the class objectives.

  • First WTL: have the students write what they know about earthquakes and their personal experiences, if any.
  • Second WTL: have the students research plate tectonics using their textbooks, the internet, and/or the library, then use the information that they find to write a short essay.
  • Third WTL: have the students research seismographs and/or view a video showing how seismographs work.  Students should take notes on what they view to be used for the activity.

Introduction

Begin the class by posing questions to engage students: who has felt an earthquake?  What do we know about earthquakes?  What famous earthquakes have happened in our history? Use the first WTL exercise from the anticipatory set to generate discussion.

Use the second WTL exercise from the anticipatory set to generate discussion.  Explain the concept of plate tectonics and how the outermost layer of Earth, called the lithosphere, is mobile.  When the plates slide over the uppermost layer of the mantle, called the asthenosphere, geological processes take place, including earthquakes.

Use the third WTL exercise from the anticipatory set to generate discussion.  Discuss with students how scientists use seismographs to record when and where earthquakes happen.  Real seismographs are complicated instruments with weights, levers, and motors.  We can make a simple model using these materials (listed above).

Procedures

  • Spread paper out on the table.
  • Tape the marker to one end of the ruler so that it makes a long L shape.
  • Tape the ruler to the side of the can so the tip of the marker is touching the paper.
  • Try gently shaking the table: What happens on the paper?  What happens with smaller or bigger shakes?
  • Real seismographs have rolls of paper that rotate slowly.  Have one person try moving the paper as another person shakes the table.  Can you see seismic (earthquake) waves being recorded?
  • If you shake the table laterally and up and down, how does that affect the image of the waves on the paper?

Conclusion

Have the students use what they have learned via their WTL exercises and apply their knowledge, particularly their notes, to what they learned via the activity.  Answer the following questions in a fourth and final WTL exercise (see WTL listing below):

  • What does it mean when the wavy lines on the paper are higher or lower?  How could you use that to measure an earthquake?  Example: height of the largest waves indicates the size of an earthquake.
  • How can scientists use seismographs all over the world to pinpoint the location of an earthquake?  Think about ripples in a pond or GPS systems.  Example: length of the earthquake record and the arrival times of each wave, the distance of the focus from the recording point can be determined.
  • What parts of the activity emulate how a true earthquake occurs?  What are some of the problems an earthquake causes?  Examples: destruction of buildings, larger earthquakes causing small changes to Earth’s orbit, etc.

Writing To Learn Exercises

Prompt:

Directions:  While watching the video on seismographs, take notes on what seismographs are, what they are used for, and how scientists use seismographs to record when and where earthquakes happen.

Prompt:

Directions:  Using what you have learned from your research, your notes from the video, and the seismograph activity we did together, answer the following questions.

What does it mean when the wavy lines on the paper are higher or lower? How could you use that to measure an earthquake?

How can scientists use seismographs all over the world to pinpoint the location of an earthquake? Think about ripples in a pond or GPS systems.

What parts of the activity emulate how a true earthquake occurs? What are some of the problems an earthquake causes?

What to do next time

Have the students consider ways to improve the activity, or present new ways to test cause and effect using the seismograph in other ways.

 

Image credit: California Academy of Sciences

By |October 27th, 2015|4th Grade, Science|
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