Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Song to Sing With Students to Facilitate Quiet Hallway Behavior

Hallway Song

This guy is great and has several videos about self control and desired classroom behavior.  Lots of academic videos for math, writing and science that teachers might use, too.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

So Much Great Stuff for Work--So Little Money Spent

Today was an unusually good day for yard sale-ing and thrifting.  At an estate sale I found an almost-new Tupperware cake tote (with riser for double decking), incredibly chic b/w coasters from New Zealand and an old bottle opener, perfect for picnics--$3.00 total. 

Then...I went to my favorite thrift store nearby and found all this amazing stuff for school, just $8.00!
Hmmm...how to use this stuff?
These old-fashioned puzzles will help students focus and practice bilateral coordination when they first sit down to work with me in the classroom.  I can also pull them out for the student to use independently if I need to talk to an adult while I'm in the midst of an activity.

The "kaleidoscope" visuals in this book will help students increase their attention to the mystery letters being created as they turn the wheel.  What letter do you think it will be?  Any clues in the pictures?  We can practice some functional handwriting as we explore the book.  Lots of opps for improving pencil grasp and using the helper hand to stabilize the paper.  The index finger must gently turn the tab on the wheel.
The tic-tac-toe game might be good for practicing a refined pinch, but I really bought it for stamping designs on paper.  We can ink up one side of the shapes and use them to make our own game.  If need be, I can glue something to the top of the shapes to make them easier to grasp.  This was really 50 cents--such a deal!
Now, the Winnie the Pooh stamp isn't really for work, it's for my creative buddy, Lauren.  She loves Tigger and Pooh-Bear and I could give her Hundred Acre Hugs all the time for all she does for me.
Okay, here's the best find of the day:
These little plastic shapes are between 3/4" and 1 1/2" in length and width.  There are at least 8 designs in the bag. 
Last year I was trying to think of how to implement a behavior management program in a classroom with very vocal, high-intensity elementary students in special education. Smiley Face System  The system I used for one of the students worked well, for 30 minutes at a time, but how could the teacher manage 8 students who were equally intense?  Here's my idea:
Set the computer to use an automatic timer system, sounding a gentle alarm every "x" minutes.  Hopefully, it can be an intermittent timer so the students don't figure it out too easily. One Timer Option
Each student has an identity, based on what little plastic critters are available.  Susie's a butterfly, Johnny's a starfish...  The hard-working teacher keeps 5 or so of each critter in her traveling basket, or pouch attached to her belt.  When the timer goes off she pulls out one randomly-selected critter and looks to see if the corresponding student is 1) working hard with smart fingers and 2) paying attention to the task at hand.  If so, the student gets to put the critter in his/her critter cage and earn a point toward a classroom privilege.
Yes, this interrupts the lesson and yes, there may be squabbling about this or that related to the system.  However, over time the intervals between alarms can lengthen and students might increase their attention to their work, a little.
Remember, yard sale-ing and thrifting are really noble pursuits because you're helping recycle things in the environment, supporting lots of charities and building up a big nest egg for your future with all the money you'll save.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Add Quotes to Student Photos to Reinforce Class Rules

This idea just might work with the fast-talking wiggle worms who abide in an elementary class I frequent:

Add Quotes to Student Photos to Reinforce Class Rules

Rope Bracelet tutorial

These rope bracelets are challenging but might be excellent for class fundraising ideas this coming school year.  First I'll have to try making one myself...

Rope Bracelet Tutorial

First Week Back

Mostly new schools and the percentage of elementary-age students in my caseload will be higher this year than in years past.  Lots of students with autism and/or significant cognitive disabilities.  It'll be exciting!

I learned that two of "my" new schools are developing "sensory rooms" without asking for input from their OT personnel.  How to be an encouraging OT to school staff yet also one who promotes treatment integrity when utilizing sensory integration as one tool among many to help students learn to their max?  Another OT in our county works in an elementary school which has a "sensory room" in place, with teachers taking data on effectiveness and using the resources as a daily component of the class schedule.  This will be a great model to cite when talking to staff in other schools. 

Article--"Fidelity in SI Research"

AOTA Presidential Blog

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to Work

Oh man, what a fun summer break this has been.  Daytrips with girlfriends and my family, going to lunch/brunch with friends, exploring vineyards and breweries with buddies and family.  It was probably the most fun summer I've ever had in recent memory.

Even worked outside, pickaxing the dried-up ground around the perennials, transplanting poorly growing flowers to new spots in the yard.  The dogs got more attention, walking and grooming, and the cats got held and petted much more often.  It was glorious. 

I learned to not be afraid of the 100+ degree days here in Virginia.  Keep following the shade and wear a big hat.  If you have to go to the store park far away in the shade at the edges of the parking lots.

Write lots of letters and postcards to friends, they love it and sometimes even write you back.  Give stuff away.  Think about what I can do better at school next year.  Vow to not let technology take first place in the list of priorities.

Hope everyone has a good school year--2012-2013.  We start back next Tuesday.  Eeek!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Individual Work Spaces for Students

Although it may look scary or overly-confining at first sight, this idea of using individual workspaces during portions of the school day might just help some students feel secure and "settled."

Individual Workspaces for Elementary Age Students

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sensory Seeking--Those Toes Knows

This summer I was taking part in an in-home evaluation with our post-infant program team.  The little guy was so young there wasn't too much info in his file, but there were clear indications of him avoiding touch.

After I arrived I sat down on the floor and just watched him interacting with his dad and a few of the toys scattered around the room.  Of course, he was interested in me--the newcomer--so I had his attention for a few seconds.  Rummaging in my eval bag I found little crayon nubs and started fiddling with them in my palms.  For some reason he found this intriguing and walked over to me, with his bottle firmly stationed in his mouth.  After he crouched down he began pushing on his toy trucks with his feet.  I noticed that his feet were the closest thing to me so, for some reason, I put a crayon nub between his toes, just enough to stay put for a few seconds.  Don't ask me why.
Yes, the photo is a little fuzzy.  I took it with just one hand holding the camera and pressing the shutter. 
This was the biggest icebreaker I've ever seen; he loved it.  I took back the crayon and he held out his other foot.  After this I took some hopping plastic frogs and put their little froggy legs where the crayon nubs had been.  He liked this even better.  This really goes against all the rules because I've never before started with sensitive finger or toe webspaces when I touch a child.  Probably, I never will again.

By the end of the eval I was gently pounding his palms and the soles of his feet, and he kept reaching out for more.  He sat close to me, side by side, and interacted with the eval materials and me in a very nice, reciprocal fashion.  His dad and I talked about the OT intervention that had worked best with him in the past via his infant program and how the OT had helped him understand why his son behaved as he did, and how to help him.

I'll try to remember, toes have feelings, too.