…Toasters & Hairdryers!
~Also, thanks again to Caffeinated Autism Mom for her help in giving me some pared-down direction to make a presentation of my own using these ideas .
You ladies are amazing!
Here’s Teaching Moment #1 just in case you missed that.
Now on to Toasters and Hairdryers…
This time Mrs. KT started things off with the kids paring up to complete a Venn Diagram. ex:
Another exercise in how they are different and what things they might have in common. She gave them prompts: “draw your favorite food in your part of the circle” and then “ask your partner what their favorite food is and draw that in their side of the circle”, etc. After they had each drawn three small pictures of things that were different about them, they concentrated on the center over-lap, finding two things that they both liked. After some discussion about their diagrams it was my turn.
I started by reviewing just a little bit about what we talked about my first visit to the classroom, the book My Friend Has Autism, and the brain hats they made. I told them about how April is Autism Awareness month and about how some people might be putting blue lights on at their house to remind people about autism. Some of them seemed to think this was pretty cool!
Then I told them it was time for pretend. We were going to pretend that our brains were made up of wires and metal and plastic which got a few giggles from them. Then I said, “Now, what if all these parts of wires and metal and plastic all got together and grew into a….toaster!?!” As I said this I reached into my bag and brought out our toaster. This got a lot of laughs.
“Hey! That’s from our kitchen!” Henry said. Which brought on even more laughter.
“It IS from our kitchen. This very toaster made Henry’s breakfast this morning. So, what is it that toasters can do so well?”
“Make toast!” many of them said.
“Exactly! And they can make all kinds of toast. What else can they make?”
With this, many hands shot up and I got all kinds of good answers! (Yay! I was getting participation!)
“Whole wheat toast!”
Excellent. Then I moved on to talk about, “Now what if MY wires and metal and plastic grew into a hairdryer?” And I reached in to my bag and brought out a hairdryer.
We talked about how even though toasters and hairdryers were made up of similar things, they were very good at different jobs.
“What if one morning Mrs. KT over-slept and because she didn’t want to be late for school she didn’t have time to eat breakfast. When she gets to the classroom, who could help Mrs. KT?”
“Right! But do you think I could also help? Don’t forget I’m a hairdryer.”
“No.” was the most common answer.
“Well, I probably could try to help Mrs. KT but it would be hard and it might take me a really long time, wouldn’t it?”
Henry’s hand shot up about this time. “I want to be a hairdryer, Mom. You be a toaster.” I’m thinking, “Dude you are SOOOOO a hairdryer!”
“Now, what happens on another day when Mrs. KT is running late and she gets to the classroom and remembers that she forgot to dry her hair?!? Who could really help her now?”
“Yep! But do you think all of you toasters could help dry Mrs. KT’s hair too? Maybe. But it would be hard, wouldn’t it? It would probably take a very long time! Especially since Mrs. KT has such long hair!”
Mrs. KT was nodding in complete agreement! (Side note that Mrs. KT does, in fact, have beautiful long dreadlocks that I adore!)
“So, sometimes things are easy for us and other things we might have a hard time with that takes us longer. And that is okay, isn’t it? We’re all make up of the same kinds of things but how we are put together lets us be good at different things.”
By this point I could see that I was losing a few of the kids’ attention so it was time to hand out a coloring page that I had printed out of an awareness ribbon made of puzzle pieces that the kids could color. We put a colored picture of the Autism Awareness Ribbon up on the board and we talk just a little about the ribbon and about April being Autism Awareness month and I reminded them watch for houses with blue lights. And then it was time for me to go. Whew!
[This time I give myself a B. I felt much more comfortable with the kids and I had a good time. It made me feel good that I had gotten such good participation and that the kids really did seem interested! I can only hope that some of this information is sinking in! I will be forever grateful to Mrs. KT for giving me this opportunity!]