Thursday, January 31, 2013

Almost 100K

Hey fellow OTs and other folks--by my count I have only 80 more blog "hits" to go until my statistics record 100K page views.  Will have to figure out a way to celebrate.

Of course, about 5K of those hits are by my own hand...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Anyone Like Owls?

This is incredible:

Foil Owl Pictures

Nice sequential activity with lots of possibilities for adding detail for older students or simplify the design for younger kids.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Treatment Idea Round-Up

We have a wonderful therapist on staff who is a new grad and I get to be her mentor!  Shared these blogs with her to comb for ideas and maybe you'd like to look at them, too.  Have mentioned them all in previous posts, but it's been awhile since I went back to review them and they still look great.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Resource for School-Related Fine Motor Activities

Taking turns drawing at a classroom easel is a great way to practice pencil grasp and spatial skills.  If you're clueless about art, like me, you might need some help with how to draw prior to trying to help your students.  Here's one resource, and it's free!

How Do I Draw a...?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

App for Letter Writing

One of my OT buddies sent this info to me earlier this week; thx Lauren!

I came across a new handwriting app that I really like. It’s called itrace; it is $3.99. It’s not quite as engaging as Letter School (my favorite), but it has some really nice features including being able to add multiple students & being able to keep track of their work/progress.

Has anyone else used either of these apps?  What did you think?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stand to Write

There are always so many new words to practice writing in this classroom for students with mild cognitive disabilities.  The savvy teacher keeps the week's words in clear sight, so students can incorporate them into their daily journals and other writing.

We grabbed a book from the classroom library, to use as a support, and practiced writing a few of the words.  I wrote the student's word choice and they imitated me on the same page.  Standing up to write helped one of the sleepier students keep his eyes open a little better...

Monday, January 21, 2013

College Cooking Continues...Grilled Cheese and Salsa

For some reason these highschoolers in a class for students with emotional disabilities never seem to mind making a second breakfast at 7:30 a.m.

Grilled cheese might not be the typical morning fare for them, but they were eager to get cookin'.  Unwinding the bread twisty-tie, peeling the wrappers off the cheese "food," figuring out how to scrape layers of butter off the four long sides of the stick of butter (the grown-ups planning the activity didn't quite let the butter get to room temp in time), deciding whose sandwiches would go into the toaster over first...

I wanted to slice tomatoes to add to the sandwiches but my wise SLP talked me out of it.  Instead, she suggested we try dipping the grilled sandwiches in salsa.  Okay (?????)

Another opportunity to use those smart fingers.  My target student used a teaspoon to fill small metal cups with mild salsa and did a pretty good job.  I remember my mom giving that set of metal cups to me years ago..."Here, I never used these things--you take them!"  Now, dipping sauces are all the fashion.

Two of the six students liked the salsa idea.  You can bet I'm sticking with dipping my grilled cheese sandwiches in a big, steaming bowl of trusty old Campbell's tomato soup.

Oops, all I had handy was a little kid's knife.

  We might make English muffin pizzas next time.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Enchanted Forest Animals

The coarse salt used to create this "snow" was very attractive to the kids in a class for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

It was so much fun to pick up little bits of snow and sprinkle them over the animals' heads and backs.

Snowed in our area last night, several inches.  We lost power at my house for about 9 hrs, which isn't too bad for our isolated road.  No school today!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Vertical Mystery Letters

Can you guess what letters the students are "writing" with their eyes closed?  I made them promise not to look.

Lots of teachers use these plastic mats as part of their multi-sensory writing approach.  Maybe they'd also like to use it for writing mystery letters.

Do We Have PE Today???

What a clever way to keep track of your resource schedule!

This third grade teacher, who collabs with special education, keeps a very well structured class.  The students know exactly what to expect.  It's a joy to walk in the room.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rainbow Snowflakes--No Two are the Same

Who says snowflakes should only be white!!!???  Let's jazz them up a little.

This activity is great for experiencing the gooiness of glue, the grittiness of regular salt and coarse salt, paying close attention to the structure of the shape you're designing or tracing and waiting, waiting, waiting for the salt/glue shape to dry before you can have fun painting your snowflakes.

Give your students a choice of large or small snowflake templates to trace.  Pop open that glue bottle and squeeze hard.
Carefully place your paper inside a box lid or pan and gradually shake a little salt over the design. 

Once you've put quite a lot of salt on your design, shake, shake, shake the paper around to distribute the salt over the whole gluey outline.

I made some freehand designs the night before, to have ready for the students to "paint" with the food dye the next morning.
We're not going for perfect here.
Time to mix up the "paint."  Pour about 2 tsp. of water into each muffin well.

Add a 1" ribbon of food dye gel or a few drops of food coloring.
Stir out the little wormies until you get a deep color.
Go ahead and make some more.  Observe your student's "power grasp" as they use the glue bottle.
The snowflakes created by the students needed to dry before they could be painted, so we had the students paint the snowflakes and hands I had made the night before.
Let students share the muffin tin full of "paint."  Cotton tips or science class pipettes work well as applicators.  You can see a lot of organizational approaches as you watch the students coloring their designs.

Snowflakes and hands--no two are the same.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wishing for Snow

Yesterday our combined academic-speech & language-OT group worked on a snowy project in the class for middle school students with significant cognitive and physical disabilities.

Our theme for the month--"Snowflakes, Hands and Hearts--No Two Are The Same."  I brought in recycled  winter-ish holiday cards and used the school's die-cut Ellison machine to make fussy-cuts in the shape of  hands and hearts.  Thought I could use aluminum foil to cut into shapes but that ended up being too flimsy.  The teacher had a ton of fake snow and pre-cut snowflakes, as well as amazing snowflake lights and other props.

 Shiny aluminum foil spices up the alertness level.  Gummy decorations are usually 90% off after the holidays so go out and snag a bunch for next year.
 Winter-theme holiday cards recycled into hands and hearts, then strung along the snowflake lights.  Next week we'll add student photos to the front of the cut-out cards.
 We used large switches with a switch interface to activate the light display.  The lighted snowman guides the  student's aim in the direction of the yellow switch.
 The lights stayed on for about twenty seconds, then it was time to hit the switch again.

Another student used his head switch to activate the lights.

We made sure to dim the lights in the room, and arranged the red background to reduce the glare from the transom window over the closed door to the school hallway.  All we needed was a little snowy music.

Music Speaker with Vibration for Students with Hearing Impairments

Oh man.  I went back to work yesterday and one of my creative teachers got such great presents from her family, to use at work.
 Last year I was searching for some way to make the bass vibrations from rockin' music accessible to several students who have limited hearing, despite aids.  I even set small speakers on the chests, shoulders, hands and legs of students so they could feel the vibration.
This little circle of sound (phrase stolen from my Zenith record player from the 60's) works with a MP3 source, a miniature plug source (like an older model radio or cassette player) and also acts as a radio.  When you set it on metal it really vibrates a lot and the vibration is slightly different if set on wood.  Students can put their hands on the tabletop to feel the vibration or a small, flat metal surface can be placed in their hands or on top of their lap trays.

I'm going to be hunting for one to use at my different schools.

1-30-2013 Update:  Haven't found the exact same thing yet in any stores; this one is called "Wonderful Music."