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Posts Tagged ‘community based functional curriculum’

Chocolate Covered Fun for All Ages and Abilities

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Mouth watering?

Don’t these chocolate covered strawberries look delicious?

For the Holidays, or any day, what about making chocolate covered treats or gifts for the people you love?

Chocolate Covered Fun for ALL AGES and Abilities

Parents, Special Education Teachers, Directors of Day Programs and Senior Centers: Everyone is looking for activities that are fun, age-appropriate, and allow people with all ability levels to participate.

Taking your favorite snack for a chocolate dip may be the answer.
The costs will vary according to the ingredients, but pretzels and marshmallows are cheap. Of course if you want to go gourmet, hey, yum.

Partial Participation

Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Creative Commons License photo credit: mbaylor

“Partial Participation is Better than Exclusion from an Activity” (Lou Brown)

Even if the recipe says, “Easy” that doesn’t mean every person can do every part of the activity.

For instance, Aaron, my son with the label of autism, wouldn’t be able to set the timer on the microwave–but he can certainly dip the pretzel in the chocolate sauce and choose the kind of sprinkles for the decoration.

Aaron can’t read the recipe with words, but he could follow the directions with pictures and though he can’t drive to the grocery, he can partially participate by picking out the pretzels and chocolate.

When Aaron was in school and had a speech therapist, one of his goals was identifying pictures of grocery items and finding the item in the grocery aisle. When he had a physical therapist, one of his IEP goals was pushing the grocery cart without hitting anyone in the grocery store. (Not a pretend grocery store in the classroom.) When he had an occupational therapist, one of his goals was to hand the grocery clerk the money to purchase the items and put the money back in his pocket. Aaron successfully learned these skills and practiced them every week in his functional community based program and … every time our family went into the community grocery store.

There are lots of things Aaron can do to partically participate in every activity.

When Aaron is part of the group, when he does purposeful, functional activities, he develops self-esteem, he is a doer. He is not just a passive observer. If he is treated as a baby, or as someone who cannot do anything but watch, then he loses his skills and his self-esteem. The people who think they are being nice and helpful to him, are not–they are actually causing him to lose skills/self-esteem.

This is a functional activity because if Aaron doesn’t go to the grocery to get the supplies someone else will have to do it.

If Aaron is actively involved in the shopping, the decorating, and gives the chocolate covered pretzels as a gift HE MADE–then this activity becomes much more than an easy activity to fill the day. It can become a learning and social enhancing experience. When he gives Grandma a package of pretzels he made, it is a joyful celebration for everyone. You should see his smile 🙂

Be Creative: Lots of Ideas

heart-crispies
Creative Commons License

Dip White or Dark Chocolate Ideas:

Dried Fruit (apricots, raisons…)
Fresh Fruit (strawberries, cherries with stems, apples (whole or slices)…)
Pretzel Rods of any size
Marshmallows
Cookies
Graham Crackers
Candy Canes
Rice Krispie Treats

How to Make Chocolate Covered Pretzels:

Age-Appropriate Activity

Activity for All Ages and Abilities

Things You Might Need:

Microwave-safe glass or measuring cups

Cooking spray

Bags white and dark chips (12 oz.)

Spoon

Pot Holders

Cookie Sheet

Wax paper

Bag of pretzel rods (12 oz.) or other food

Small candies or sprinkles

You Tube Video Demonstration

Task Analysis or Recipe

Chocolate-Covered Pretzels with Sprinkles

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen for Food Network Magazine
Prep Time: 20 min, Inactive Prep Time: 24 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 2 min; Level: Easy
Serves: 24 pretzels

Ingredients:
• 1 12-ounce package milk chocolate chips
• 1 12-ounce package white chocolate chips
• 24 large pretzel rods
• Assorted holiday sprinkles

Directions:
Place the milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and the white chocolate chips in another. Microwave one bowl on high for 1 minute. Remove and stir with a rubber spatula. (The chips should melt while you are stirring, but if they don’t, you can continue to microwave for 15 more seconds, and then stir again.) Wash and dry the spatula. Microwave the other bowl on high for 1 minute, and stir until the chocolate is melted.

Dip one pretzel rod into the milk chocolate; use a spoon or butter knife to spread the chocolate about halfway up the rod. Twist the rod to let the excess chocolate drip off. Hold the rod over a piece of wax paper and shake sprinkles on all sides. Place the pretzel on another piece of wax paper to dry. Coat another pretzel with white chocolate and sprinkles. Repeat until you’ve coated all the pretzels, half with milk chocolate, half with white chocolate, and let dry completely, about 24 hours. (Cover any remaining chocolate with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.)

Copyright 2011 Television Food Network G.P. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/chocolate-covered-pretzels-with-sprinkles-recipe2/index.html
All Rights Reserved

Gifts and Favors, Holiday Variations

President’s Day, Halloween, Easter, 4th of July, Christmas Variations

All American Holiday

Gifts and Favors

Stick Pretzels

Paula Deen’s Christmas Pretzels

Halloween chocolate covered pretzels

Comments:

Does it make sense that an activity as simple as making a chocolate covered pretzel can be a learning and self-esteem project? Can teachers, parents and directors of day programs make this more? Can they blow the opportunity?

Have you any ideas on this or other projects?

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward

All my best,
Mary

Other Related Articles:

It’s a Jungle Out There| Inclusion in the Grocery Store

Language of the Heart| Heartaches and Heartsongs

Busy vs. Bored| Life Space Analysis for People with Disabilities

The Animal School| Differentiated Instruction

Test Questions| Inclusion or Segregation?

Teachers| Segregation or Inclusion

Happy Ever Afters| One For The Money

Norm Kunc: What’s Your Credo?

The Animal School| Inclusion and Universal Design

Little Red School House
Creative Commons License photo credit: ヘザー heza


Many people have a hard time understanding the concepts of independence vs. interdependence, inclusion, multiple intelligences and cooperative learning. I thought a revision of The Animal School by George Reavis might explain it all.*

THE ANIMAL SCHOOL

Once upon a time the animals got together and decided to start a school.

The parents and teachers wanted to make everything FAIR, so they decided ALL the animals would take ALL the subjects. No exceptions.

The curriculum consisted of classes in swimming, running, flying and climbing. Each student would need a grade of C to pass. There would be a competition to see who could get the best grades.

DUCK

Doug the duck was excellent in swimming, in fact, better than his instructor. But Doug made only passing grades in flying and was getting Fs in running and climbing.

At a team meeting, it was decided he needed to drop swimming and take remedial classes to practice running.

This continued until Doug the duck’s webbed feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming.

But average, or C, was acceptable in school, so nobody worried about that—except Doug and his family.

RABBIT

Rene the Rabbit started at the top of her class in running. But she soon had a nervous breakdown because she was failing in climbing and the others made fun of her in flying and swimming classes. She passed the standardized tests but the last day of class she buried her books and said she would drop out.

SQUIRREL

Sam the Squirrel was excellent in running and climbing. He also had high marks in flying until the teacher read a research study that said everything should be taught from the ground-up, not the tree-top down.

EAGLE

Edward the eagle was the problem child. He bit the other animals in running class. He perseverated on flying. In the climbing class he insisted on using his own way to get to the top of the tree. After several discipline meetings, it was decided his diving into the river for fish would count as swimming credit. He was considered a loner with no friends. “He just keeps flying off,” the teachers complained and suggested he be put in special education.

CHIPMUNKS

The chipmunks were excluded from school because they could not pass the prerequisite swimming tests. They protested and demanded digging and burrowing be added to the curriculum. This caused hot debate among the parents and students. The rabbits and squirrels thought digging and burrowing should replace swimming. The ducks thought there should be better discipline and a subject on following the leader.

Conclusion:

Even though he got a D in flying, one frog won the student competition and was valedictorian. All the students and their families were unhappy.

Further, the chipmunks boycotted school board meetings and joined the groundhogs and snakes to start a charter school.

Does this fable have a moral?

make way for ducklings
Creative Commons License photo credit: shoothead

REVISED: AN INCLUSIVE Community-based SCHOOL

Once upon a time the animals got together and decided to start a school at the pond.

The parents and teachers wanted to make everything FAIR, so they decided ALL the animals would have Individualized Education Plans with Curriculum goals and objectives.

After all, they thought it is only FAIR to consider each student’s unique and individual differences.

The superintendent announced, “We all have multiple ways of learning and our common survival depends on us all learning to live interdependently in a community. Lessons need to be differentiated according to each student’s gifts and talents.”

The parents agreed that if the purpose of school is to learn the skills required AFTER graduation, then the students needed “Survival 101.”

The teaching methods used would be a functional activity-based project which stressed cooperation and problem solving. “Safety at the pond,” was the thematic unit.

There would be individual goals and objectives and each student would work hard, improve on the skills they have and contribute their talents and strengths to the project. The stress would be on cooperation and interdependence, rather than competition and independence.

DUCK

Doug the duck was excellent in swimming, in fact, better than his instructor. Duck was also good at getting animals to follow in line.

At a team meeting, it was decided he would be the project director and supervise all water activities. Doug the duck was excited to be given leadership activities. He improved his dive, his ability to swim across the lake and his life-saving water safety skills.

RABBIT

Rene the Rabbit was a great runner and jumper. Since she was close to the ground, she was in charge of everything on the earth’s surface. She learned to identify animal tracks, and was to alert squirrel if needed. Because Rene was worried she wouldn’t be able to do her best job, Eagle offered to mentor her.

SQUIRREL

Sam the Squirrel was excellent in running and climbing. He volunteered to be the lookout and guardian of the trees and wildlife. If there was danger, he would issue the alarm and run messages. He would also be the time keeper at all meetings.

EAGLE

Edward the eagle was excited he could fly. Doug the duck asked him to survey the pond from the air. He wanted Edward to use his “eagle eyes” to scout for trouble, trespassers and danger and any animals in trouble.

CHIPMUNKS

The chipmunks, snakes and groundhogs were welcomed in the school. They became a part of the community. They gave digging and burrowing tips to squirrel and rabbit. When a fallen tree threatened to block the water flow, they helped dig a channel.

Conclusion:

In the course of the year, Doug the duck saved squirrel when he almost drowned. Eagle saved Duck when he got caught in the ice and almost froze. Rene got enough confidence that she wants to be the project director next time. Sam raised the alarm when a group of Girl Scouts came camping. Because they all cooperated and learned together, their pond community was a happy and safe place and each animal was respected and valued for their contribution.

Instead of one standardized test or grades, each had gifts, they all survived, learned new skills, made new friends and could celebrate the true nature of community: interdependence and inclusion.

Does this fable have a moral?

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward

All my best,
Mary

Please add your comments:

Do you know any Dougs, Renes, Sams or Edwards?

Do you know any students who are excluded and asked to go elsewhere? Are the students treated like individuals? Is the curriculum differentiated? Does everyone feel happy, safe and like valuable members of the community? Are students encouraged to build on their strengths and talents or does everyone have to learn the same things in the same ways? Are the students learning skills that will help them in Survival 101 after graduation?

Related Posts

What is Inclusion?

A New Year of Learning

Test Questions| Segregation or Inclusion

*Like my husband, George Reavis taught in Cincinnati Public Schools. The original The Animal School was published around 1940 in The Public School Bulletin long before inclusion was even a dream–or was it?