Guest Blogger: Ellie Sorrentino, Teacher at the Hillcrest ASD Program
Since we have distributed our first issue of our newsletter we have been asked the same question: “What is the Scooper Dooper?” Well, first let’s start with the name. A strong supporter of our Hillcrest Autism Spectrum Disorders Residential Program has a catch phrase “that’s the scooper dooper”. This phrase is just that, catchy. Our staff and some of our students have caught this phrase and added it to our everyday vocabulary. When asking one of our students why they like to say it they instantly laugh and reply “its fun to say!” Our students love to joke and say silly things with one another and staff. That is what we are all about, having fun!
Over the summer the Hillcrest education department was given the challenge to create a summer curriculum with a common theme to educate our students over the summer months. The theme was intended to provide students with a fun way to learn while still targeting their educational goals. Themes also had to relate to the Massachusetts Common Core Frameworks by choosing a content area or two as the foundation of the curriculum. The teachers within the Autism Spectrum Disorders Residential Program brainstormed some great ideas and settled on the idea of choosing writing as our foundation to produce a newsletter. Being that our program is relatively new to Hillcrest and the community of Berkshire County we thought this would be a great way to show everyone who we are and what we do. While having fun, of course!
Now that we had the big idea, our teachers worked hard to find individual educational targets that aligned to a different common core standard for our 21 students. Once these targets were identified our teachers got to the fun part in creating materials and activities that we could use to contribute to the newsletter. We shined on our students’ skills of writing, their artistic talent, their communication and social skills, vocational work, and more! Through this project our students were able to put these skills to work as well as experience some great field trips! Some of our students went to the local Farmer’s Market to buy some healthy foods while others explored our town of Lenox by visiting a variety of community places and greeting our community helpers. We are certainly surrounded by a great community so our teachers were just as excited as our students were to gain these experiences. Our teachers then worked even harder to put together all of the students’ work and pictures to represent this curriculum project as well as capture the skills our students have to offer. Thus, the first issue of the Scooper Dooper was born.
Once this newsletter was ready to put to press our students along with our staff took a great deal of pride in this work. Teamwork is a common theme in our program that is seen every day in all that we do. So make sure you read through our first issue to learn more about the amazing work our staff do to teach our students and make such a big difference! Well, “that’s the scooper dooper” on that. Now the question we often hear is “When is the next one?”, stay tuned for the next issue of the Scooper Dooper in April!
In the meantime, check out the first edition of The Scooper Dooper here!