Aaron’s word of inspiration this week is pirate.
When I started my job, I had to sign a confidentiality clause so I don’t post anything about my students in any public way, or share their personal details. I hope that this post doesn’t violate that because I won’t be talking about any one particular student and no one knows where I work.
What you do know is that I work at a school for students with exceptionalities. One of those exceptionalities is Autism. A lot of the students at my school have an ASD diagnosis. This school specializes their teaching methods for them so that they can thrive and it’s so so so so so amazing.
The one thing about ASD is that there isn’t a lot of social play or even group or partner playing. The first day in my class, we had a break for play and the boys all chose to play with cars. But they were playing all together. Now, coming from a school where everyone is basically aunts/cousins or related in someway or another, this didn’t really strike me as out of the ordinary. But another adult in the room was shocked that on the very first day they were all engaging in group play (about 5 boys) and that they were not directed to do so.
I had no idea what a huge thing this was until multiple adults commented on it. One rule that another teacher has is that the first 10 minutes or so of recess is a group game with everyone from the class participating, no exceptions allowed. A game like tag or hide and seek. It’s to form those social skills and those “play” skills. Because the students just don’t naturally have them.
Now back to my class, earlier this week, maybe Monday or Tuesday, we were out for recess and the boys were all on the climber and they were playing a group game as they usually do, and there is a wheel on the top level and I heard one of them go “QUICK! THE SHIP IS GAINING ON US!” as he spun the wheel really quickly as if to “turn” the climber aka his own ship. So I called up and asked what they were playing and they all shouted back “PIRATES!!!” It was the cutest thing! And again, completely undirected in any way by one of the adults around the play structure. So I called up “AHOY MATEYS! Ye have 10 minutes left before ye has to come into port” which they all giggled and didn’t understand so I said they had 10 minutes of play time left and they all went “ARRRRRR!!!” and ran off together.
I have such a social bunch. And even the ones who are more affected by the inability to form attachments and have those social interactions are starting to get involved at recess. It is the greatest thing to see. Especially as a teacher who wants that feel of community and companionship in my classroom. I have one student who will spend all their recess basically just walking around by themselves but that’s just who they are, and on Friday they even came over and did 3 to 4 flips of the mini parachute we were using! I was blown away!! I wrote about it in their agenda so their parents could know! They will be so happy.