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How to Fit an Autistic Learner in a Box—A Cereal Box!

A neurodiverse perspective on project-based learning

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all learning box, but project-based learning does appeal to many autistic learners because the project-based approach allows students to pursue their interests and use their enthusiasm for subjects they like to learn across disciplines.

Project-based learning can take many different shapes, and at Ari Learning, we offer a large variety of classes that are designed to encourage students to pursue their individual passions.

In this blog post, we'll focus on Teacher Yvonnes Cereal Box Theatre-class and how it is great as a project-based learning activity for autistic students.

The Cereal Box Theatre project involves creating a miniature theatre out of a cereal box and using it to stage a play or movie scene.

This project is particularly effective for autistic students because it allows them to use their creativity and imagination in a structured way.

Unleashing Creativity with the right teacher:

Teacher Yvonne, an interdisciplinary artist with firsthand knowledge of autism, is the instructor of the "Cereal Box Theatre 1:1" class, which offers a four-week journey of creative expression and skill improvement. By combining clear guidelines and expectations with flexibility and learner led learning, Teacher Yvonne helps learners feel more comfortable and confident in their abilities.

Creating the Theater:

In the first week, your child will embark on the exciting process of transforming a cereal box into a miniature theatre.

With Teacher Yvonne's guidance, they will paint, decorate, and assemble the theatre while exploring the concept of backdrops and scene creation. This hands-on experience nurtures fine motor skills and spatial awareness while sparking their imagination.

Character Development and Plotting:

Week two dives into the world of storytelling and character creation. Your child will have the opportunity to draw characters and craft paper stick puppets. Through discussions on main characters, supporting characters, and plot development, they will learn about story structure and problem-solving. This promotes language and communication skills, encouraging your child to express themselves creatively.

Exploring Story Arcs and Overcoming Stage Fright:

During week three, the focus turns to exploring story arcs and refining their narratives. Teacher Yvonne will guide your child through discussions on storytelling techniques and help them develop their storylines further. Additionally, they will address stage fright, offering strategies to overcome anxiety and build confidence. This empowers your child to step out of their comfort zone and embrace their unique abilities.

The Grand Finale: Performance Week

Week four marks the culmination of the class as your child prepares for their theatre performance. Teacher Yvonne will provide a short lesson on audience etiquette, fostering social skills, and public speaking abilities. If performing live proves overwhelming for your child, parents are encouraged to film their child's play and share the video during class. This flexible approach ensures a supportive and inclusive environment.

Embracing Learning Differences:

The "Cereal Box Theatre 1:1" class caters to learners with dysgraphia, offering a dysgraphia-friendly environment that focuses on play exploration of Middle School English concepts. Writing is not a requirement, and alternative methods, such as visual notecards or point form notes, allow for individualized expression and participation.

Project-based learning, such as the "Cereal Box Theatre 1:1" class, can provide a transformative educational experience for autistic learners. By engaging their creativity, promoting social interactions, and nurturing their unique strengths, this class encourages your child's growth and development.

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