Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turkey Surprise

Although these sculptures are created from clay, we can use flour/salt/water dough to produce our sculptures. Remember to poke a few holes where the tailfeathers will be inserted once the dough has hardened.

The surprise for parents is the "I'm thankful for..." note tucked inside, where the gizzards should be.
These friendly fowl were the idea of a middle school art teacher who truly enjoys working with students with "differing" learning abilities.
We all learned the correct name for the wobbly skin that drapes under the turkey's neck--do you know what it's called???

No Money for Classroom Equipment? Be Creative

When the money you raise with the classroom bake sale doesn't quite meet your needs, it's time to get creative.

Enjoy these photos, and one short movie clip, that feature an activity board designed and fabricated by a teacher for elementary students with severe disabilities. All of the toys came from the local 99 cent store.

There are many adults in this classroom and the students who use the activity board are closely supervised.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In addition to the expensive, custom equipment we use with students in classrooms, remember that we can often use everyday, reasonably-priced positioning devices as well.

This preschooler has difficulty sitting independently and tends to lean into any person or other support he can trust to keep him secure. When I noticed how attentive and cautious the classroom instructional assistants were in this particular setting I thought we might be able to wean him a little from his dependence on others for sitting balance.

If you look closely you'll see that he is sitting on a wide-based, plastic footstool. It's the perfect height for him to be 90-90-90 at his hips, knees and ankles. His aide does not leave him when he's on the footstool. After modeling how to physically cue him to sit uprightly for several story times in the classroom, I worked with the aide on doing the same for him. The next week she proudly told me how much his balance had improved. Did I already tell you that she never leaves him alone? That's the key--you have to get a good sense of what the adults will do when you're not around.

One nice feature of using this small footstool is that it allows him to get close to activities, as shown by him putting those famous pumpkins on the fence, right next to a standing classmate.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Set Your Sinuses Free Soup

It's the end of the first grading period--have you had your first cold yet? Getting colds or the flu is a traditional perk of being a school-based therapist. Forget the OTC drugs to clear up your head--this is a great short-term fix. The more curry you add, the more you forget about your problems.

Clear Your Sinuses/Curry Lovers Soup

Assorted colorful vegetables totaling approx 4 cups, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
*Chopped, cooked chicken or other meat, approximately 1-2 cups.
32 oz. reduced-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt, coarse-ground pepper, muchi curry powder** or other variety
1 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar (optional)
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

Heat oil in soup pan, add salt, optional lemon juice or vinegar and curry powder—stir frequently to avoid burning curry.
Add chopped vegetables, rice and pepper and stir frequently at medium temperature.
After vegetables are slightly tender and coated with spices, remove ½ vegetable/rice mixture and set aside to cool.
Add chicken broth (less ½ cup to aid in next step) to soup pan and simmer mixture.
Puree or partially-puree cooled vegetables (adding a little broth in the food processor or blender), then return them to soup pan. This thickens the soup a little.
Simmer until tough vegetables are tender and serve with crisp, dunking bread, if desired. Vegetables will still be slightly crisp the first time you serve it.

*Tastes great without the meat.
**Use 1 tsp. of curry powder the first time you try recipe and adjust to taste the next time. The curry taste is deeper if the vegetables and meat are coated and cooked with it, not if you just add it to the soup.