When I entered the classroom, two activities were taking place. The first activity was an assignment called “Off To See The World.” In this assignment, each student was given a packet titled “______ Is Off To See The World,” with their name and a headshot. They had to fill each page in their packet with something that they pretended they were off to see—such as the Moon, Mars, their aunt. The second activity consisted of an evaluation that Mrs. Shapiro gave to each individual student which tested their mental abilities.
Patrick asked me to help him spell the word “grandma.” I helped him in the way I am allowed to help students with spelling—not by actually spelling out the word, but by sounding out each letter.
With no student needing help with their “Off To See The World” assignments, I looked at the list of students that had been evaluated, and saw that Michael needed to be evaluated, and had completed his “Off To See The World” project. Mrs. Shapiro also wanted to get the evaluations done as soon as possible, and had been spending the last week evaluating the class. So I asked if I could evaluate Michael, and Mrs. Shapiro gave me permission to do so.
I took a copy of the Kindergarten Evaluation from Mrs. Shapiro’s class and began to evaluate Michael. In the evaluation, he had to read all 26 letters, recognize what sound each letter made, and read every students’ first name from a class list. He also had to identify the days of the week, and read the names of basic colors. He also had to write each letter in upper and lower case. When I got to the list of numbers he had to identify, there was only 10 minutes until Free Time was over. Since Michael deserved at least some Free Time, I let him stop. Mrs. Shapiro completed the evaluation on a later date.
When Free Time was over and Clean-Up Time began, I went to the Computer Lab to collect the pictures that were printed by students using the computers during Free Time. After doing it once, it became my regular job. This time, however, the pictures were not printed because the Computer Lab printer was out of paper, and there was no one in the computer lab to fill the tray with paper. On the small screen on the printer it read: “TRAY 1 EMPTY.”
I decided at this point to leave well enough alone. While I knew how to refill a paper tray, the computer lab teacher would soon return and refill the paper. Thus, I planned to come back later and collect the pictures that had been printed after the printer had been refilled.
When I returned to the classroom, Mrs. Shapiro was teaching the students about the letter “H.” She played them a song about a happy horse, and then taught them how to write a capital “H.” Then she assigned the students to return to their tables, where their handwriting packets had been placed, and to practice writing a capital “H.”
Patrick and Robert, two boys who have had trouble in handwriting, needed help. I went to their table and showed them how to properly write the letter “H.” After a few attempts, I showed them which letter “H” was the best letter they had written. After I helped them, it was time for the students to go to the Computer Lab. Mrs. Shapiro announced that even though the computer lab teacher was absent that day, they would still go to the Computer Lab and play KidPix.
Since Mrs. Shapiro stayed to supervise her class in the computer lab, I stayed with her as well.
When our class got to the Computer Lab, I went to the printer to see if it had been refilled. The printer still read: TRAY 1 EMPTY. With the closet of materials locked, no paper to be found, and the Computer Lab teacher absent, I decided that I would refill the printer myself. I collected the paper from the tray in the printer in Mrs. Shapiro’s room, deciding that it was more valuable in this printer if that printer was broken and not being used. Since the printer specified that Tray 1 was empty, I realized I had to fill Tray 1. Tray 1 was an open tray where paper was fed manually. But the paper was not properly aligned, and when the printer started printing, the first sheet of paper jammed immediately.
But I knew what to do, and opened up the printer to fix the jam. With the jam fixed, I took the rest of the paper and filled Tray 2, the other tray which was also empty. Tray 2 did not rely on a manual feed—the printer electronically fed the paper from Tray 2 to the toner. After refilling the tray, I went to Brittany’s computer and asked her if I could print her picture even though she had not finished to see if the printer was working. I did, and the printer printed normally. While I had gotten the printer to work again, the jobs sent to the printer from this morning’s Free Time had been automatically cancelled. Thus, those pictures were not going to be printed.
I informed Mrs. Shapiro what had happened and that I had filled the paper with printer from her room so the students could print out their pictures. She thanked me for helping her, and then informed me that many teachers may have been curious today as to why their print-outs were not coming (since many teachers, according to Mrs. Shapiro, rely on the computer lab printer for their daily teaching).
At the computer lab, I collected every student’s picture when it was printed. By the time Computer Lab was over, all of the paper from Mrs. Shapiro’s room had been used, leaving the printer empty for the next class. Ms. Stevens, the art teacher, walked in right after we had left to pick up things she had just printed to the computer lab. I told her that the printer was out of paper, and we had relied on paper from Mrs. Shapiro’s room to print. She said that was okay and went to fill the paper tray, only to find like I had that no paper was to be found.
After Computer time, the students went back into the classroom briefly to change into their gym shoes for Gym. Mrs. Shapiro went into a closet and gave me some paper that I could use to refill the printer. While she took her students to Gym, I went to the computer lab to see that the printer was still out of paper—Ms. Stevens had not found paper to refill it. I filled the paper with printer and returned to Mrs. Shapiro’s room.
When Gym was over, I went with Mrs. Shapiro to pick the students up. They went to their class and changed back from their Gym shoes to their regular shoes. Then Mrs. Shapiro seated all of the students in rows so I could teach my “Numbers All Around” lesson.
I told the students that when I was their age, I was in kindergarten, and had had Mrs. Shapiro as a teacher. I then told them that like them, I completed a “Numbers All Around” packet, and showed them the number stories I had made as a student in Kindergarten.
What I did not tell them, for obvious reasons, was that I actually went to kindergarten as a 7-year-old special-ed student due to my autism, since it was not until 7 that I was mentally ready for kindergarten, and Mrs. Shapiro let me in during the middle of the year because she felt she could work with a special-needs student. Obviously, this would be too much for the kindergartners to understand. She was able to, and that ˝ year of school was a success in a time when Shay did not offer many services for kindergartners. But since I was able to write quite well as a 7-year-old, I wrote my own number stories myself, and Mrs. Shapiro pointed that out to the students.
Once I was done reading some of my number stories, Kindergarten was over, and the students were dismissed. At the end of class, I gave Mrs. Shapiro an evaluation sheet that she had to fill out and give to Mrs. Trainor regarding my performance in the classroom for the first quarter. I enjoyed the first quarter of my internship, and looked forward to a productive second quarter in the classroom.