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What Do April Fools’ Day and Autism Awareness Month Have in Common?

What Do April Fools' Day and Autism Awareness Month Have in Common?

What do April Fools’ Day and Autism Awareness Month have in common?

If you guessed they are both in March you would be right.

April Fool!

Was that lame?

I don’t like April Fools’ Day!

On April 1, when I was in fourth grade, Mr. Martin asked my class “who knows what spontaneous combustion is?” 30 clueless ten year olds turned towards the projector hoping for a movie.

I’m pretty sure Mary Ellen McNutly knew the answer, but for once she was silent. Glancing in her direction I saw she had the newest Nancy Drew mystery in her lap.  Mr. Martin pulled out a pack of matches, carefully extracted one match and fell to the floor.

That got our attention and we burst into laughter. As Mr. Martin writhed on the floor we laughed and hooted, waiting for him to sit up and shout “THAT students, is spontaneous combustion!”

But he didn’t.

As the laughter subsided we realized something was wrong.  Mary Ellen ran to get the nurse.  Poor Mr. Martin had a seizure while trying to teach his fourth grade class about spontaneous combustion – on April Fool’s Day.

Mr. Martin was okay and returned to school the next week and we finally learned what spontaneous combustion was, but I have often wondered if Mr. Martin’s collapse predisposed me to not like April Fools’ Day.

April FoolI usually have a good sense of humor, but I don’t understand what is funny about toast in the shower or fake pregnancy announcements on Facebook.

I don’t Laugh Out Loud when my Oreos are filled with toothpaste and exploding   anything is not amusing.

Years after Mr. Martin’s collapse, I discovered many of my students with autism didn’t like April Fools’ Day either.  Kids with autism tend to be very literal and jokes and pranks require a level of language sophistication that is not natural for them.

AutismSo, it boggles my mind why Autism Awareness Month is in April. The origin of April Fools’ Day is unclear. We do know it has been around for centuries and is observed in many countries.

Autism Awareness Month on the other hand, was established in 1984. It would seem with 11 other months to choose from the founders might have chosen a month that didn’t begin with April Fools’ Day.

April Fool and AutismRegardless of in which month Autism Awareness is observed, April Fools’ Day can be confusing and upsetting to many children on the spectrum.

Here are some easy to implement tips and ideas to make April Fools’ Day more fun and                                                      less stressful for our autism students.

SAFETY

First and foremost is physical and emotional safety. Be sure all students, not just those with autism, understand if it hurts someone, it is not funny or a joke. Even if it is followed by “April Fool” it is not okay to be mean. “Your dog is dead – April Fool” is not humorous”.

UNDERSTANDING

The more kids with autism know about what is going to occur, the more they can cope and react appropriately.

  • Place a visual reminder a few days before on your calendar. During Circle Time or Morning Meeting refer to it with excitement and practice a joke or two.
  • Read an April Fools’ Day story. April Foolishness by Teresa Bateman is a cute story about two children trying to play an April Fool trick on grandpa. Grandpa isn’t falling for it, but Grandma has the last laugh when she tricks grandpa.
  • If you are planning a party, be very careful with “joke food” such as pound cake fries (I have seen some very realistic looking ones) or carrots wrapped in Toostie Roll paper. Many children with Autism have food issues and can be confused and upset by these.
PRACTICE – PRACTICE – PRACTICE

Kids with autism tend to be rule followers. Once they learn a rule they expect everyone to follow it, all the time. Things are black and white, with no room for exception. When something will be different, it is important for us to prepare them as much as possible. I had a “Something is Different” sign I used in my classroom and on daily visual schedules.

  • Play “I Know or April Fool”. Make a statement to the students and have them respond with either “I Know!” or “April Fool!”

You: There is snow on the carpet.
Student: April Fool!
You: My shirt is blue
Student: I know!

  • If you are looking for a social skills resource that focuses on vocabulary and concept development resource, you can find “What is April Fools’ Day?” in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

You can use “What Is April Fools’ Day” one-on-one or in small groups for multiple practice sessions.

CLICK ON PICTURE ABOVE TO FIND THIS PRODUCT IN MY TPT STORE

These are sample pages. Click on each one to see larger images.

Your students might also enjoy this project pack to celebrate
April Fools Day!

Click on the picture above to see it in my TPT Store!
Click the pictures below to see what’s included!

Everything You Wanted To Know About Bingo But Were Afraid To Ask

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Bingo But Were Afraid To Ask

Celebrate National Bingo Month December 1-31
Bingo Flashback

I thought I knew all there was to know about Bingo – until the night I walked into that smoky, crowded Bingo Hall. On a whim, I agreed to accompany my mom and the “girls” to their weekly game at the Fire Station.  The line was long and moved slowly, because people were purchasing 20 and 30 cards.

When my turn came, I asked the seller at the door for 20 cards.  “You might want to start smaller, dear” she said, her cigarette dangling precariously from her lips.  “Twenty please” I insisted defiantly. I mean this was Bingo after all. My first-grade students played it all the time.

Round One

We settled into our seats and the first round began. Whoa! Why was he calling the numbers so fast! Was this speed bingo? I peeked up to see if anyone else noticed he was going too fast but no one seemed distressed except me, and as a result I missed two more numbers.  The lady behind me yelled “Bingo!”

Rounds Two and Three

Round two began and focusing hard, I managed to keep up, but I was sweating! I mean literally, I was SWEATING. I wanted ask my mom for the crumpled-up tissues I knew she had in her purse, but I didn’t want to miss anymore numbers! By round three, I reluctantly admitted the octogenarian selling cards at the door was right. I gave my mom half my Bingo cards.

Round Four

Round Four. “Bingo!” I won! I WON! It must have been the pure adrenaline running through me at that point because I felt like Olympic Gold. After that it was mainly downhill, but all that mattered to me was that I won on round four! I. Won.

Bingo Now

This all happened a lot of years ago. While Bingo is still immensely popular at churches, fire stations and halls across America (minus the smoking!) online Bingo has had tremendous development since the introduction of “Bingo Zone” and “Bingo Blitz” in the late 1990’s.

Both cyber Bingo and in person Bingo are extremely popular in other countries as well, especially the U.K. where it is played with 90 numbers, 15 more than the 75 played in the U.S.

Bingo Fun Facts

Want some fun facts to impress your students with next time you play Bingo?

  • Bingo was originally called Beano. An excited grannie accidentally yelled “Bingo” when she won.
  • The Queen and Prince William love to play Bingo at Buckingham Palace
  • Women named Margaret are more likely to win Bingo than any other name.
  • The most popular color Bingo dauber is purple.

And here are some facts about the educational benefits for the next time your administrator comes in when your class is playing Bingo.

  • Bingo was originally played in the 1800’s as an educational tool to teach students multiplication.
  • Bingo improves concentration and cognitive skills
  • Bingo increases hand-eye coordination
Let’s Play!

Just about any skill from colors, numbers, math facts, spelling words, science and history facts can be reinforced by playing Bingo. You can create your own Bingo games using these online generators:  Baker Bingo  or Bingo Card Generator

To get you started here is free Christmas Bingo Game from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

 

xmas-bingo

Now Check Out All These Free and Paid Products From My TPT Friends!

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