Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time to Make Clouds

Yesterday we made clouds in the high school class for students with autism.  Lo and behold, Home Depot had "snow cover" on sale for $1.24 last weekend.  Good for me because the quilt batting I had been intending to use for the project turned out to be non-stretchable and the activity would have been a fine motor disaster.
 Our SLP brought the invisible thread but it was too slender and flexible to work with.  The thin twine was a better choice.
 We thought we would start by cutting a cloud size piece of fluff but the scissors wouldn't work on the material, nor did the "adult" scissors.  So, we just pulled off sections of the material to use. We used the scissors to cut the twine toward the end of the project.
 Yes, pliers!  Although we could bend the thin wire with our fingers we wanted to have the students experience using these needle-nose pliers.  Some students tried to use them like scissors to cut the twine.
 Our SLP consulted with the classroom teacher ahead of time and determined which clouds were appropriate to discuss during the session.  Answer--cumulus.  The SLP will use copies of these photos later in the week to reinforce the cloud vocabulary when she works with the students.
Although I'm not usually a packrat I did have a stash of this wire at home.  About 10 years ago a friend gave me the leftovers from her TV cable job and I twisted the wires around a pencil and popped them into this jar of non-candy, just for the visual delight.  Toward the end of the cloud activity you will be twisting sections of wire into the top of your finished cloud.

 For students who are less verbal the SLP has this communication sheet on hand.
 Some students dove their hands into the bag of fluffy snow.  For those students who weren't freaked out by their hands disappearing into the bag I pressed down firmly on top of their hands for a few seconds to provide deep pressure.
 To make the clouds more textured (AKA--lumpy) be sure to twist the materials many different ways prior to stretching it into your cloud shape.
 Some students needed a little physical cueing to figure out how to make their hands twist in opposite directions.
 Once you're formed your cloud, big or small, twist in your wire spiral from the top of the cloud.
 Then, hold your cloud by the wire and make sure it doesn't fall to earth.
 Some students used their fingers to make a hook at the top of their wire, where they would later attach a piece of twine.
 Some students were able to use the needle-nose pliers to form a hook at the top end of their wire.

 About 10% of these high schoolers were able to tie a knot independently.
Tell me again, which cloud did we make?

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