Giovanni has autism and is considered for lack of better terms ‘low functioning’. You might have read some of his earlier success stories in the blog, and his journey continues. By following his interests and opening up to the way he learns- by moving, talking to himself, etc. Giovanni unlocked a potential that even his paraprofessional, who knows him for a couple years now, did not expect.

His reading comprehension now moved from drawing on the whiteboard what he understood and remembered to a longer lasting project with multiple steps- developing a pencil drawn booklet of a longer story demonstrating the main idea as cover and key details on pages a 5th grade skill to prepare for summarizing and discussing text.

Giovanni making his book

That same day, he learned about the Latin and Greek roots, especially the word anti and antisocial. He was outside and because the class self- managed very well being engaged in a Movement Method lesson, the teacher was able to support Giovanni where he needed it.

He chose the root anti, ran over to the other side of the building to choose a connecting word ‘antisocial’.

He then designed a beautiful craft web on the wall with his two connecting words. Everytime he followed an instruction, he got to run around for a little, come back and do some more work. At the end he got to decorate the design with his favorite things, in this case, sea creatures. (And no, we did not tell him to smile! ;-)

giovanni 2 500

The assessment or confirmation for this lesson was a 1-2 min presentation of the root, the connecting word and the poster. For the first time, Giovanni wanted to go up in front of the entire class after a class member ask him to go together. He grabbed the microphone and presented his poster in a fluent manner, for almost an entire minute. This was huge progress for him, and he did fantastic without being prompted!

Giovanni giving his presentation to the class

In 5th grade every student prepares a meaningful project called Exhibition. They have to collaborate, research conceptual questions, develop a presentation board, present, and take an action to make the world a better place.

Our main focus this year was “How We Express Ourselves”. Giovanni joined the “Pollution Group” and over a timeframe of six weeks developed beautiful powerful drawings about ocean pollution which went with his interest on sea creatures. Giovanni is an outstanding artist by the way…

Giovanni's drawing 1

Giovanni's drawing 2

Because Giovanni’s dad told us he loves filming things, Mrs.Pam and I gave him the opportunity for his action piece to raise awareness of pollution by making a short video. Mrs. Pam was willing to do most of the comments while most of the filming was done by Giovanni.

Giovanni creating a video for his project


Giovanni giving his Exhibition

His growth continues. In math the teacher adjusted fraction activities so Giovanni could show his understanding in form of a puzzle. He has a good understanding of what fractions are, can name them and match them with the appropriate value.

Giovanni doing fractions in the form of a puzzle

When he earned free time because of challenging work in math, he reviewed body systems by drawing and comparing it to animals. He enjoyed the personal teacher attention it got him and continued to draw and explain.

Giovanni shows a very intelligent and creative mind and has truly become part of the class, engaged, able to learn, and with an outstanding sense of humor. Everybody is extremely proud of him and amazed at his capabilities.