Sunday, November 30, 2014

Jesse Tree Ornaments

If you work for a private or parochial school you might be interested in having your students make ornaments for Advent that illustrate the Jesse Tree idea (maybe you can tell that it's new to me--I don't know how to describe it!)

A friend showed me all these ornaments today and explained how her Kindergarten Sunday School class had decorated the pre-cut felt crown designs.  Other grades had made the more complicated ornaments and volunteers assembled the completed ornaments into boxes, one for each child.  Looks to me like a volunteer artist designed the box label; I have a weakness for woodcut designs.
Looking up "Jesse Tree" I found all kinds of styles of ornaments on Pinterest.  Who knew?  Seems like the gist of the idea is to have a visual way to explain Creation--Rebellion--Redemption.  If this isn't quite what is on the curriculum platter at your school, but you're interested, you can always try it at home...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful for Google This Thanksgiving

A friend just informed me of a new invention by a company, Lift Labs, recently acquired by Google; a spoon that self-corrects when folks with tremors use it to feed themselves:

website with video of person using the spoon

If it really works, what a wonderful difference it will make in a person's life.

Happy Thanksgiving, Ya'll.  Go Gooble  Google

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Time for Chocolate

Yippee!  A quarter million page views as of right now--time for chocolate.  Thanks, reader buddies!

Hmmm...shall it be s'mores from Shindigz?
Highlighted by the gorgeous engagement ring of my girl child, designed and created by Angie Wiggins.
Three fruit parfaits, also from Shindigz in Richmond, VA


A chocolate-stuffed pie, adorned with whipped cream and chocolate drizzles, showcased by the boy child's macho arm.

Choices, choices.

Thx for reading!!!  Bunches!!!   I  'preciate it, tons!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blue Waves of Painters Tape

It's going to take much more than painters tape to keep this kiddo cutting along the road.

Her difficulties with spatial relations, wrist extension and forearm supination make cutting short lines on thick paper quite a challenge.

This was a very good attempt, much better than her work last week.

At first the painters tape prevented her from veering off "the road."  Once she learned that her scissors could cut the tape, all bets were off.

Yes, that really is my attempt to draw Darth Vader, whom she loves.

Note on the bottom of the paper that I recorded how many times she successfully picked up her scissors in the correct orientation, with no verbal or physical prompts from me.
Easy data collection!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

497 to go

If my math skills bear me up, there are only 497 pageviews left to go until this humble OT blog reaches the quarter-million mark.

Is it okay to have some chocolate when that happens???

Perfect Fidget Toy for OTs at Work

Finally made myself veer off course on the drive between schools and spent my rare lunch break looking for the perfect fidget toy for students and us OTs...

Kinetic Sand! (I ended up buying Sands Alive! at 5-Below because the quantity was greater than the other brands.)  It feels soooo soft and doesn't make a mess.  I originally learned about it last year when one of my 3rd graders quietly played with it in her general education class to keep herself calm during tests/quizzes.  Her smart mom had seen it at Brookstone and sent in a small portion in a little plastic container.

Back in the office this afternoon I sent a quick message to one of my OT buddies, who has small kiddos at home:

We OTs don't need much to brighten our days.

Thx, Fiona, for the inspiration for this post!  All about Fiona, my work buddy:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Gel Pens for Lefties

A case manager at a nearby private school for students with disabilities recommended this brand/style of pen for lefties:  energel-deluxe-gel-pen

Not sure if she preferred a specific tip thickness, but I'd probably go with the bold tip for younger students who are still writing on wide-line paper or even wider than that.

Will be on the lookout for this brand and style next time I'm cruising the stationery aisle, which happens to be my favorite section in most stores.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Thoughts about Organizing

My friends know that one of my weaknesses is anything new under the sun that comes out in print about organizing.  When I work with students on becoming more independent in organizing their materials, desks and backpacks they look at me like I'm a crazy woman, especially when I have them follow the steps in a flip-book we create of photos of their own desk as they work through the organizing process.

So, this article is pure "eye candy" and "creative fuel" for nuts like me:

Think there will be lots of applications to helping students and friends at school and at home.

The last sentence is my favorite one of the article.  Sadly, I can't throw every scrap of paper away--at work or at home--but I can toss out quite a bit more than I have so far.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Another blog post on by one of my technology colleagues, Barbara:

If you need some digital organization in your life and you don't mind looking at a computer screen to achieve it, you might try her suggestions.  She's a wonderful writer and is loving writing for a larger audience via this Richmond-based blogging team, I hear.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Listening to Birdies Singing

One of my colleagues, who is a teacher for students with visual impairments, took this bird song/call quiz with one of her middle school students.

Her student LOVED it.

My friend explained that many people with visual impairments are attracted to bird "watching" since they often have well-tuned auditory skills which allow them to locate and identify birds.  Since I have such difficulty visually locating the birds I hear maybe I should hone my auditory discrimination skills and learn their calls/songs. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Touchy Math

One of my teacher buddies (thx, Jennifer M!) created these touchy math & geometric shapes about 4 years ago, and they're still going strong!  They have Velcro on the back to make it easy to attach them to a grabby-fabric background. 

I think I can find some willing students to help me make more of these for kids in other schools I serve.  Nothing beats making shapes out of Wikki Stix, thinking you're just having fun, while your sneaky OT is having you work on spatial, motor planning and fine motor skills. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dental Care and Kids with Autism

Thx to AOTA for sending along this very helpful article:

I frequently have families and teachers ask me how to help students cope with the fine motor and/or sensory difficulties associated with toothbrushing.  However, visiting the dentist is a huge undertaking and many students don't receive the care they need because of their difficulties with the sounds, smells and other aspects of the dentist's office. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Technology, Kids, Healthy Relationships, Schools

A work buddy told me about an upcoming presentation at a local school this week but, alas, I can't possibly stay awake long enough to attend and drive safely home.   So, what do inquiring yet drowsy minds do instead--they watch the presenters via YouTube videos.

Here's one about keeping kids psychologically healthy in the digital age:   It makes me want to serve only slow-cooked organic food, keep only wooden toys in the classrooms and hug everyone to make sure they feel loved.  I don't mean this in a sarcastic way.

Here's one about making classrooms interesting:

When my daughter was old enough to sit in a highchair I used to turn on Sesame Street as background music so I could learn songs to sing to her while she slowly ate her pureed peas.  When I noticed that my six-month-old was staring at the screen I completely dimmed the b/w picture so we only had sound.  She returned to looking at her silly mommy and bopped around in her highchair as I sang, "C is for cookie, it's good enough for me."  She's quite a good singer today and I'm thankful for those times of talking and singing, with no visuals to compete with our face-to-face bonding. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Improving My Mind Along the Way

This school year I'm back at many of my former schools, which are quite a distance away from home. That means--audiobooks are underway!

Years ago I read the entire Hunger Games trilogy via audiobook and they were fantastic.  Let's see what's wonderful this year.  So far the best is the first Harry Potter; what an amazing narrator!

Any recommendations???