Every year my friend Sharon throws a
terrific Mardi Gras party! Sharon is one
of those people who should be a professional party planner—everyone has a great
time at this yearly event!
my anticipation grows), it got me to thinking about the “art of throwing a
successful party”. Get-togethers with
friends is something most of my students with social cognitive deficits
struggle with, and planning a party is a desired goal they have often voiced in
requires perspective taking and social skills as well as executive function
skills. In other words “social smarts” and
“planning/organizing smarts”! When I think
about the success of Sharon’s party, it is clear that the success lies in the planning
– a step that is overlooked by my students.
An activity that helped us get in the mood was making Mardi Gras Masks! I picked up some inexpensive materials at the craft store: this is a good jumping point to work on following directions, sharing, etc.
When addressing executive function
skills, Sarah Ward (expert and speaker on executive function skills) makes an
interesting point: students need to think about the end product before beginning
a project. Our groups talked about what they
would like their party to be like. I
tried to get them to visualize the party and describe details before we began
activities that focused on social cognition and perspective taking. Our groups talked about the 4W’s involved in
planning: Who, What, Where & When.
To aid organization skills I created a “Mardi Gras necklace” to
check-off the necessary tasks. At this
point, most of my students were surprised by the amount of preplanning
incorporated activities to build language skills. In addition to writing directions to their
home, students reviewed sample invitations to determine what information was
students to mail/give to guests. I also
made a conversation script for calling friends.
without a Kings Cake! This activity
targeted sequencing and expository writing.
Of course you can also use this activity as a platform to address
categorization (what are 5 other desserts?), short term memory (how many
ingredients can they remember), verb tenses (I am spreading the icing on the
cake; I spread the icing on the cake) spatial concepts (Put the sprinkles ON
the cake; The cake is UNDER the icing), and synonyms (cut/slice,
and execute their Mardi Gras Party and “laissez les bons temps rouler”
(let the good times roll)!