Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beautiful Garland to Make for Spring Activity

This egg-shape garland is so pretty I can hardly stand it.

What a great idea to use a salad spinner if you don't have one of those electric spinners on hand.  If you do have an electric spinner you can use a Power Link and a switch to activate the spinner.

We're going to use it with middle school students who have significant intellectual and physical disabilities.  Students can choose which color paper they'd like to use, which paint they'd like to try and a couple of the students can do the spinning.  Won't the "eggs" look beautiful hung in the classroom or decorating a student-created greeting card? 

Sesame Street Does It Again

Hats off to Sesame Street for including a cool, new member of the neighborhood:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Treats--Planning for 2018

Thanks to Ms. Steinruck, teacher for elementary grade students with autism, for this cool photo:
Sour apple juice (diluted to taste), cupcakes with Airheads Rainbow Candy pieces, green Jello, green grapes and green Rice Krispie treats in shamrock shapes--can you say sugar central?  Sounds like a delicious time to me!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Leprechaun Gold in Them-There Rocks

One of my teacher buddies created some lucky rocks today--full of gold--for students to explore.

She mixed baking soda, water and green food coloring into little mounds and froze them several hours.  Oh, she also hid a little "gold" inside.

At the appointed hour she pulled out the pan of frozen rocks and had students pick a favorite to set inside a shallow basin that had previously been "greased" with dish soap.  Once the rock was in the basin the students used long straws to transfer small amounts of white vinegar for dripping over the rocks--foam city!!!  The dish soap enhanced the foaming effect and it kept growing and growing as each successive student took their turn.

The gold inside gradually showed up as the rocks melted away--lucky gold for St. Patty's Day!

The rocks turn blue in the freezer, then revert to green when they warm up.

Drip small amounts of vinegar onto the lucky rocks.

Wait for the magic foam to dissolve the rock and reveal the gold.

Okay, the gold turned out to be a tiny bell.  It's hard to find lucky gold coins at the store the day before the holiday!

What a great texture to explore, and so cold!
Decorating fun for the classroom:

Same materials--three different student styles.  For this version the student dipped the eraser of a pencil into the paint for a stippled effect.

Sponge painted.

Looks like wide brushstrokes.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!  I'll be wearing the green all day!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Crazy Straw Fidget & Fine Motor Challenge

Our COTA-student, Kaylin Blackwell, created these inexpensive items for fidgeting and fine motor fun:

"So this is my crazy straw activity. I've made two different versions and attached pictures of both below. I used them to work on motor planning, sequencing, and coordination, but the maze version would also be useful for wrist extension/flexion."  K.B.

Add a washer or another item to slide through the straw "maze" and use pieces of tubing or an old pencil gripper at the ends.

This would be a nice, quiet fidget toy.  Or, a soothing fine motor coordination activity, with that soft material.
Thanks for sharing, Kaylin!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Help for Handwriting--Alphabet Beats

This morning I joined a class session for handwriting training.  There were about six elementary-age students with autism and five adult helpers in the room--whew!

This DVD was used to learn how to write the lower case letters "f" and "g":

Alphabet Beats DVD

I found the demonstrations a little slow paced but the kids were mesmerized, at least for the first letter (about 10 minutes), and then they naturally got a little "wiggly."

My OT buddy who ran the session uses it on a weekly basis with the students and says that the students really pay attention.  When I was there they were chanting along with the letter talk and participating in the activities just fine (for the first 10 minutes!)  All the adults were chanting along and participating, too.

Using a solid program, like Handwriting Without Tears, is very successful.  The Alphabet Beats video kept the students' attention and engagement for a good 10 minutes, which is pretty much a record in our attention-span compromised world.  I think using both programs will be a smart move for those of us, and for our teacher buddies, who have students with significant letter writing concerns.