Monday, September 24, 2012

Unique Job Chart for Kids

Bet kids haven't seen this style of job chart before.  Would be great to make during a session--good opportunity to plan, sequence, use fine pinch, write, string the slider thingies on the horizontal skewers.

Job Chart

I could chart my frequency with my exercise program, or maybe my Weight Watcher Points Plus...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Little Bits of Paper Tree

Stumbled across this activity.  It would work great with Christmas tree shapes, palm tree shapes, not-too-curvy pumpkin shapes...  Little Bits of Paper Tree
Imagine it as an ongoing class project for a whole week or even a good part of a month.  Cutting out similar but not identical shapes that students have traced on leftover wallpaper or the donated odds and ends from all those crafty art teachers in the schools.  Or, even drawing/stamping abstract designs on plain grocery store bags and cutting out shapes from that.
Scissor skills, accurate tracing around the template of the "leaf" shape, gluing, placing the little bits of paper around the perimeter from the bottom up--what great fine motor and sequencing opps.

Lots of Edible Beauty this Weekend

Yes, OTs do have a life outside of work.  Here are photos of yummy food shared with friends and family this weekend.  Back to work and being disciplined tomorrow!

A de-lish luncheon yesterday with my investment club buddies (fellow OTs).  Sorry--didn't capture a photo of the homemade coconut pie!
My dear husband's b-day lunch at home today--cupcakes from Pearl's bakery in Richmond, VA.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Standing Computer Work Station

A friend who works in the office next to mine wanted to design a work station which would allow her to switch from sitting to standing with minimal effort.  We discussed different ideas; mine were so complicated.  She ended up creating this excellent set-up:

The foundation is an empty box which once held copy paper.  The top lifts off so she can put reams of copy paper inside, to stabilize the box on the desk.  She used a heavy-duty stapler to attach a cut-out sheet of cardboard to the top of the box, allowing a wing on the right for the computer mouse.  Of course, she covered it with fashionable material.  Looks a little "Vera Bradley-esque" to me.

Yes, that's a photo of her gorgeous horse on her computer desktop.  The proud stallion and mare live at my house.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sensory Play for Brits

This is quite elaborate, but quirky and fun.  You can customize the colors and symbols to match your own country, or one that the class is studying:

Patriotic Sensory Play

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Excuse Me While I Gawk In Amazement

This is too wonderful--what a great idea.  Excellent for hands that need a little help with grasp:

Using Swim "Noodles" to Build Things

And this "sensory" salt recipe with foil in the background:

Essential Oil Salt

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Breathe Box

This is a wonderful idea:
Breathe Box

Miniature Sequencing Activity

One of the teachers for high schoolers with autism uses this compact pre-vocational assembly activity to help students practice sequencing.  The little yellow containers are "party" size Play-Doh tubs which are pushed into cut-out circles on a large shoebox.
Wouldn't say it's the easiest task to do if you have difficulties with fine motor coordination and it's not anywhere near the actual size of its real-life counterparts, but it sure keeps your attention visually and is also a clever fidget toy. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Just thrift, thrift, thrifting away

At our local thrift store this AM I not only found the perfect b-day gift for a party tomorrow, but all this great stuff for work: to use this treasure?  Here are some possibilities that came to mind:
The hair bands can be sorted by color or size but it would be even more fun to make them into wristbands or create an activity that requires the student to stretch out the band when attaching it to something else, to promote finger strength and coordination.
The Grinch tin is being saved for Dr. Seuss' b-day celebration in the schools, to fill with Hershey's hugs and give to a favorite librarian who always lets me use her computers.
The wide-handle fork and spoon are going into my stash of feeding equipment.
The cobalt blue timer was irresistible and I'll use it for my behavior management system.
The red plastic needlepoint sheet will go under paper while little ones color with stubby crayons, to give them increased proprioceptive feedback about where their fingers are driving the crayon.
The Fisher-Price schoolhouse box was charming and still clean;  I'll use it instead of a boring plastic tote to keep my collection of student scissors, crayons, other manipulatives closeby when working with students in elementary classrooms.  Also, the latch isn't super easy to open and it will challenge the students' problem solving and fine motor skills.
Finally, the quilt batting.  To make clouds, of course!

Friday, September 7, 2012

College Cooking

One of my favorite speech-language pathologists (SLP) and I met this morning to discuss our group ideas for this school year.  Our high schoolers may not all be heading for college next fall but they sure could use some practice with self help skills.  We decided to plan several sessions during this school year centered around "College Cooking."

Where to start?  Grilled cheese sandwiches made by ironing the bread--am I nuts? No, let's not do what I used to do in my dorm room; let's do something safe yet yummy.

My SLP surveyed the teachers and found no known allergies or sensitivities in the two classrooms for students with autism or the classroom for students with emotional disabilities.  So, we can prepare anything we want as long as we can make it with a microwave, air popper, blender or other small appliance.  What to make next week?

Trail mix!  Measuring and pouring, stirring and stabilizing the bowl with the non-dominant hand, heating margarine in the microwave and mixing it in, scooping out portions into small plastic bags--it'll be excellent for a beginning activity.

Here are some recipes we might test during the year:
Chex Mix Recipes

Just to be on the safe side I'm going for gluten free.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Planning the Schedule

It takes more than a week to figure out exactly how many students are on my caseload, since some students move away and new students enter the county.  While I'm waiting for the caseload to settle, this is how I begin figuring out what days I'll--most likely--be at my schools and early childhood playgroup.
It's a little difficult to see but the sheet is divided horizontally into AM and PM.  Then, the school days of the week are written across the top in a row.
I figure out how much time I'll spend 1-1 with students at each school according to the students' OT services frequency--perhaps 2 students at 120 minutes per month, perhaps 3 more at 60 minutes per month and perhaps another 3 at 30 minutes per month.  This info is written for each school on a little "sticky note" and I juggle the notes between days when I learn when schools will have Child Study teams or other factors which affect scheduling. 
Since I primarily work in classrooms or other school environments there isn't a big concern about sharing a working space with other itinerant staff since I don't have to arrange a space to see students.  I also enjoy the luxury of having a desk and storage space in an administrative building, when working in a school library or computer lab isn't available or I need more materials than I usually carry around in my car.
Sure, I could use a MS Word document with moveable text boxes or some other type of digital planning but this scheduling system is fast and easy to carry with me in my teensy "Important Papers" folder.  Sure beats erasing over and over, too.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Enchanting Teaching

This is my first exposure to this style of dynamic teaching.  Her transitions are magical.  She must have spent so much time getting her students to this level of responsiveness.

Magical Elementary Teaching--Math Lesson

Also, she's wearing all my favorite colors!  I'm so shallow.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Little Blue Bugs Were a Hit

 Sorting and counting these little plastic critters was bunches of fun for a 2nd grader today.
We decided what to name each kind of bug and then made a "home" for each bug "family" out of a little piece of scrap paper.  How many can you take to their homes in five minutes?

Afterward, we counted the number of critters in each family and figured out which family was the biggest. It was a big success!  I also learned that supination of her dominant forearm was not easy for her to do as she counted the critters.

While standing, the student leaned over to pick up one or two critters from the table surface, then walked over to a high bookshelf to place each bug in its home.  Next time I'll increase the walking distance and maybe put the critters on the floor so she has to change planes and challenge her balance a little more.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Play Before the Real Work Begins

Happy Labor Day to everyone in the States!  I spread out my labor over the last couple of days so I could "yak" in the lake this morning and enjoy a traditional BBQ lunch at home, via my hard-working, trusty crockpot.  The best part of the meal was dessert--banana splits! 

If you look closely you'll see more fruit than ice cream, and only a slight drizzle of chocolate sauce.  That kind of thinking is definitely called rationalization.
Speaking of drizzle, here I am, kayaking with my dear daughter in the rain.  The menfolk helped us launch and then skeedaddled off to read their newspapers in the warm, dry cab of the pickup truck.

 Doesn't the poncho go nicely with the sunburst colors of the kayak?
What's a little drizzle, quickly turning into a light rain--we wanted to be in the water, right?  Since the lake was so high we were able to explore the lagoons that normally are too shallow for the kayaks to float into.

Tomorrow is the day that students return to schools in Virginia.  I have two "old" schools and three new schools.  The adventure begins afresh!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Turn Back the Clock

My 30 year old and 28 y.o. children need to be little again so I can do this activity with them and see the wonder on their faces.  Their development is just not complete because I never, before tonight, knew we could do this together:

Ice Bubbles