Friday, November 30, 2012

Some Beauty to Begin the Weekend

Yep, my little camera takes some purdy photos.  Here are a couple to get us all in a happy mood for Friday and the weekend, taken from my driveway tonight...

Have a nice, relaxing weekend.

Save Time and Words--Use Photos for Documentation

Some teachers I work with probably think I'm the school photographer rather than the occupational therapist, but I love to take photos of cool stuff in classrooms.  I own an inexpensive Samsung camera that I've dropped so many times the battery falls out when I open the latch to remove my memory stick.  Because the falls have disturbed the battery connection I must wait about 10 seconds between photos, since the battery moseys along to recharge the camera, taking its own sweet time.  I think that makes me line up my shots more carefully since each one is devouring precious seconds of time with the kiddos.  Despite these tiny problems I do love this particular camera, since it takes such clear shots and they're exactly what I'm aiming for.
Pencil/Scissors Grasp and General Hand Use--1st Quarter

Following the example of my tech-savvy OT buddy, Lauren, I've been including photos in my student reports for a few years.  It saves so much time when writing, since you can simply write, "...adapted tripod grasp (see photo)..." rather than taking two lines to describe what each IP is doing.

Also, I'm trying to use photos more frequently in my data collection, to visually describe a student's progress over time.  Parents and non-OT colleagues can see the positive changes without me having to put them into so many words.

This photo sheet for data collection was created in Microsoft Publisher, since I find it easy to use when you have to move photos around and quickly resize them.  For reports I just insert photos when writing in Microsoft Word.  You Mac folks probably can do this in your sleep.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Way Too Strong Smelling Sensory Bags

I've wanted to make these gushy bags for a long time.  Yesterday I made myself swing by the Dollar Tree on the way home and buy the "ingredients."

 Quart-size bags.
 Slip in a thin foam shape cut from the school's Ellison (die cut) machine.
Measure a few scoops of (gag) lavender air freshener beads and plop them in the bag.  Saw some very interesting grasps used for scooping today--this was one of the better grasps I observed among my students.
Really cool (AKA gross) sounds emitted by the hair gel bottle.  We measured several tablespoonfuls to add to the bag.  The light blue gel looked very attractive but you can use clear gel with food coloring.
This was one of the not-so-"mature" grasps of the bunch.  However, the student could independently use a more age-appropriate grasp on his own.
 Just a few more smelly air freshener beads.  My nose was watering at this point.
No duct tape available so we used cheap Contact paper.  The students figured out how wide to cut the strips to fit the bag exactly.
 And attach the paper to both sides of the bag.
 Be sure to write your name on the bag.
We made several green and red apple bags.  We also used stocking shapes to go with today's theme in the class for students with intellectual disabilities.

I'm going to look for non-smelly beads, or the marble-size ones you reconstitute with water.  My eyes are watering from working with the "air freshener" ones today!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Please Don't Drool

Not having been at work since Tuesday at 4 (please don't drool, all you hard-working hospital-based or clinical-based or home-health based OT folks) I can't imagine getting up at 5:30 tomorrow morning and prepping for work.  So spoiled.  You should work in a school system, too.

Music Shop Window in Staunton, VA

This time of year is a bunch of fun, though.  A short month due to two weeks off at the end of December, lots of red and green and blue and white everywhere, walking into classrooms to see kids and finding the room empty since the whole class is watching another grade's dress's great.  It's easy to get kids to talk since all you have to do is ask them what they're hoping for, gift-wise.  It's easy to get adults to talk since you just have to say, "Are you traveling for the holidays?" and you'll get the inside scoop on their family dynamics.

Working in the school system helps me appreciate the seasons and the holidays.  Every occasion in the year is used as a visual teaching opp for kids so it's always around you.  A continual orientation to time and place and who I am.  Another free perk of working in schools.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Does This Really Work?

Through a link I found this item:

Fidget Toy

Has anyone used one?  I wonder how to make one that is larger to avoid the "in the mouth" potential hazard for younger students?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Skull Sandwiches

What can you do with Halloween leftovers???  Make skull sandwiches!
Use those smart fingers to warm up and soften up the blue tack (for adhering posters to the walls) until it's ready to squish and squeeze into smaller pieces.
 Make one little skull sandwich, then make a double decker, or more.

 Don't let it topple over!
Excellent activity for finger-tip prehension and joint stability.  Disassembling it is a therapeutic activity as well.

Here's an interesting take on creativity from a Richmond local:  Noah Scanlin--365 Days of Skulls

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Turkey Week Perks

All you hard-working OTs who work in pediatric- or adult-client centered clinics, here's one reason to consider switching to school-based therapy---I only have to work two days next week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Re-Purposing Corks

I just threw away all my corks!  Guess I've got to head to the store to buy more of what came with them!

Tipsy Cork Creations

If I use this idea in a public school I'll probably have to paint the outside of the corks--wonder if the paint will stick?  Maybe the same idea will work with slices of swim noodles???

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wikki Stix Make Great Rewards

Maintaining on-task behavior isn't always on the forefront of students' minds...  Wikki Stix to the rescue!

For every time the bell rang when the students were working hard with smart fingers and talking about what we were doing---they earned one Wikki Stix.  After earning five of them the students created pictures on the wall.  It was a great motivator!

 To him it was a car; to me it was double half notes in reverse.
 Cool place to stretch out the Wikki Stix; he eventually made a snake.

Sailboat or golf flag?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Make Your Own Jellyfish

If I had the right shape plastic bottle I'd make this tonight:

How to Make a Jellyfish

Cushy Bear Friends for Support

When you've had a long morning of sitting up tall, sometimes you need a few furry friends for support:
No, no, I didn't put a pillow over the student's face for the photo, just did some amateur-ish photo retouching.  I know it's creepy lookin' but I have to maintain the student's privacy.  Sorry.

Pumpkin Cloud Dough

Well, this recipe wasn't exactly cloudy, or doughy, but it still was fun to make:

Pumpkin-Scented Cloud Dough Recipe

The students explored a batch of pre-made cloud dough, then followed the directions to make their own.
Most of the students seemed to enjoy exploring the texture of the dough, which was very silky.

 Of course, we tried to form turkey and pumpkin shapes out of the dough.  But, they quickly fell apart.
 The two batches of dough had slightly different textures.  One hard-working teacher ground up orange chalk to add to the dough, to make it more vibrant orange. 
Yes, yes..the poor students had to answer a worksheet.  That's a pink bingo dauber, which requires almost zero pressure to make a mark.

I really did try to make the dough smell like pumpkin pie (cinnamon and nutmeg were added in abundance) but it sorta just smelled like flour.  Boring!

Just checked the blog where this recipe originated--they changed the mixture slightly.  More oil.  Here's a variation for the upcoming season:
Peppermint Scented Cloud Dough

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shoe Tying

Even though this requires quite a bit of finger control to slip the "rings" onto the laces, this is a nice idea for helping kids be more independent while they're still getting the hang of tying shoes in a more conventional way.  Shoe Tying Video

I've also used the tiny clips for Yorkies and other long-hair dogs, which work in a similar fashion to using the little rings.  You can substitute tiny elastic hairbands for the rings, as well.

Cowboy Shoe Tying Song and Video  This is a little weird with the creepy bird showing up out of nowhere...but the laces are fantastic.