The Reason I Jump– So, there is a boy that I used to have in class that truly holds a little chunk of my heart in the palm of his hand. This student was such a pleasure to have in class– though not in a traditional sense. This kiddo didn’t sit quietly, offer to assist other students, bring me Starbucks cards at Christmas or anything. He instead did things like talked too loudly at inappropriate times, walked around the room flapping his hands and telling me the ins and outs of Minecraft, and pretended he was being shocked by a forcefield right there in my classroom. He was a bit of a handful. How did he become one of my favorite students? I talked to him. A lot. About what he liked. About myself. About school. About anything.
Sometimes it can be really tough to build relationships with students with autism. There are often things that can get in the way, like behaviors and social norms, that create that barrier. But if you can break through it– it is SO worth it. I just read the book The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida (Introduction by David Mitchell & translated by KA Yoshida & David Mitchell). I’m not sure where I heard about this one– probably in that never ending river of info that is Twitter (so sorry if I’m not giving credit where credit is due here!). Naoki wrote the book when he was thirteen years old– and he has autism. The format of the book is very Q & A– a question tops each page and Naoki’s answer follows. For instance,
“Q21: Why don’t you do what you’re told right away?”
“There are times when I can’t do what I want to, or what I have to. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to do it. I just can’t get it all together, somehow. Even performing one straight-forward task, I can’t get started as smoothly as you can. Here’s how I have to go about things:
- I think about what I’m going to do.
- I visualize how I’m going to do it.
- I encourage myself to get going…”
This young man tries his best to explain what he is thinking and feeling during those situations where many teachers are stumped. What is going on in that student’s head when we have prompted her to get to work 5 times? Why does he keep doing those same misbehaviors even though we have talked about it every day since the 9 weeks began? Though Naoki does his best to explain there are still many questions that go unanswered or are quite vague, but it is a start. Though it is not particularly well written, it is worth a read. What did I get most out of reading this quick, to the point, and powerful book? The reminder that we work with kids— no matter what label comes after their name. It can be tough to remember, especially when your student is repeating curse words to every student he passes in your classroom, but it is the real trick to making your class the best experience for everyone. Let me know if you read it and what you think.
EdPuzzle– https://edpuzzle.com/ is a way to keep students engaged and collect formative assessments during educational online videos. You can choose from videos there on the site or upload your own. Once you have a chosen video, trim it up to get rid of anything you don’t need students to watch. You can then add in audio narration to do the “teaching” during the video, splice in your audio comments to pause and explain (instead of doing this 6 different times with your 6 different classes) and even insert in formative assessment questions for students to answer while watching. So, once you’ve created an EdPuzzle for a video you are ready to go– no forgetting to stop and make that comment, taking time to explain the vid further, or remembering to pause and ask students a question. It is all done for you in a quick, easy to use way! Neat, huh?! Thanks to @tgray_cghs for sharing info on this resource with me!
Enjoy a few weeks of needed rest, relaxation, and time outside of the school building! See you in April!