Recess is a pretty crazy time for the students of Woodward Academy. Everyday, the students run at top speed to home base and wait for me to give them further directions.
"Carl" is one of my third grade students. One day at recess, Carl tried to leave the playground and go home. I ran over to him to stop him from leaving school; he was very adamant about leaving. I was able to calm him down, and he decided to stay. After recess, I spoke with his teacher, who informed me that Carl has autism. Some days are better than others for him.
I began to observe Carl more, and noticed that sometimes he likes to play alone, sometimes he likes to play with others and sometimes he just doesn’t want to do anything at all. Most of all, Carl likes things to be consistent. If I change games day to day, he becomes upset and tells me what games I left out.
One day, I decided to set up five-lane relay races, because the third graders love to run. Carl was super excited and intrigued by all the bright cones. He is very fast too. The rules of the race are that you must run between the boundaries, down to the white line and then turn around and come back. I noticed that Carl loved to stand at the white line and monitor everyone. He became very upset anytime another student did not touch the white line and would inform the Junior Coaches.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are now relay day on the playground. And like clockwork, Carl is at the white line. Now he claps and cheers when his fellow classmates touch the white line. A piece of my heart smiles each time I hear him yell good job or hey, you didn’t touch the line, come back! Carl participates well at recess and he is progressing more and more each day. His teacher told me that Carl has the potential to be a great leader, and I agree.