If you have students in middle and high school who regularly show up without supplies, consider letting them keep a second set of materials in the classroom.

This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons, and experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and accessible for all learners.

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Getting To Know You

Posted on August 29, 2011 in Families, Inclusion

I am so excited to be writing this post today and sharing this wonderful and creative idea from my clever friend, Chris Levy. Chris and her partner, Joy, are always looking for neat ways to help their son, Josh, connect with classmates in the beginning of the school year.

They have tried many different things but this year, Chris created these wonderful Shutterfly greeting cards and is sending one home with every child in his inclusive classroom! I am calling it a “call me” card because it encourages students to pick up the phone and make a connection. The front of the card is a handsome shot of Josh and the inside is a message crafted by Chris and Josh.

Photo of Josh Levy

Meet Me Card

Here is the text:

Hi,

My name is Josh. I have cerebral palsy which makes it hard for me to move my muscles including to talk. So, instead of words, I typically use my voice, my hand, my communication device or my PODD book to communicate. I use “switches” to make things work.

I really enjoy making friends and having play dates. When I have friends come over, they like to see all of my equipment and my pets. Some of my favorite things to do with friends are science projects, making things such as robots, putting dinosaurs together, and building things. I like playing computer games too and have ones my friends can use a switch to operate just like I do. I also have different switch-operated games to play or we can just hang out together and have a snack. We can choose from a lot of stuff to do.

If you ever want to have a play date with me, the best way to arrange one is to get in touch with my mom Chris at XXXX. You can also send a note home with me.

Josh (name stamp)

Thank you to Chris, Joy and Josh for sharing this neat idea.

It got me thinking about a neat idea that teachers could implement. What about having all learners in your classroom make “call me” cards? Each student could write a few paragraphs about what they enjoy doing with their free time. They could also add in some lines about “needs” they have, “I am always looking for other people who like watching monster movies as much as I do” or “I would love to hang out with other people who want to learn sign language.” The cards could be collected and made into a classroom directory.

Do you have other ideas for getting kids connected in these first few weeks of school?

Comments

  1. From Susan Wolfson on 31 Aug 2011

    Hi Paula,
    We met at your July conference in Albany. It was one of the only conferences that I actually learned something that I can put into practice and teach to my staff at work. I came back revitalized and energized and have not stopped talking about you!!I have begun putting things together for our School Year Orientation and Paula included in our blended curriculum (ASL,Bilingual, Creative Curriculum, and NYS Pre-K Standards, you will be pleased to know we are integrating your wonderful work on Just Give Him the Whale! I am not sure if you remember speaking with me at that conference but you made such an impact on me and our school,I am forever grateful. You were excited when I told you about our blended curriculum. We are working on going from good to better in our practices with the children and their families as we are always a work in progress. I wanted to thank you for your enthusiasm and energy. I am a huge fan of yours and look forward to speaking to you or seeing you again. Warm Regards, Susan Wolfson

  2. From Sandra Thompson on 22 Sep 2011

    Great compliment! My grandson is autistic and is in 1st grade.He has such a hard time because the other children tease him. How can I help him feel more accepted?

  3. From Lauri hunt on 4 Oct 2011

    What a great idea! My son has just moved from a segregated classroom to an inclusive one. Like Chris, he also uses a communication device,which is a first in this classroom. This “Call Me” card is a great way for the other students to get to know him better. I love the idea of the whole class making them!
    Lauri Hunt

  4. From Beth DeWolf on 1 Nov 2011

    We have also used this in our school, but have had the students create “a movie” using iphoto on the computer. They then show it to their class and the kids love it! Its a great way to use technology and engage their peers.

  5. From Jamie Martin on 2 Nov 2011

    I love this idea, especially having the whole class create these. So warm and welcoming.

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