Summer is in full swing and I have been enjoying the flexibility in my day with my kids! I have been taking my son to swim team practice, organizing the house, catching up with friends and taking siestas when my 2 year old passes out in the afternoon. In between all the fun, I have been preparing for a presentation with one of my RSP besties teaching about executive functioning! I found this awesome book about our brains (amazon affiliate link included) that really helped me understand how our brain works in everyday people terms.
So many of my speech kids have deficits with executive functioning, especially my students on the Autism spectrum and students with ADD/ADHD, that it is important to know WHAT executive functioning is and tips/tricks to help improve it in the classroom!
I found some really awesome youtube videos that break down what executive functioning is in the classroom and why it is so important for students to develop these skills. This was my favorite video and inspired my freebie activity that I made!
This activity is a fun warm up to help children work on impulse control and flexibility. This activity is based on Brain Rules and used to help with improving executive functioning.
I made visuals for the night/day activity as well as a summer/winter version of the activity. The Pleasantest Thing shares a similar activity using animals and body parts from magazine pictures.
Explain to the student when you show them the “sun”, they need to say “night” or “evening”. When shown the “night” picture, they need to say “morning” or “day”. If the student is struggling with accurately answering, you can use the visual poster and sing or say “Think about the answer, don’t tell me”. Grab the templates for this activity on my TPT store! Follow my Executive Functioning Pinterest Board for more amazing information on executive functioning!
At one of my sites, I work with students on the Autism spectrum in the k/1 and 2nd/3rd grade Moderate-Severe Classrooms. This population can be very tricky to work with because the secret to success is finding what motivates them to communicate! Often times, these little guys and gals have sensory integration issues, so I also have to figure out how to keep them focused and self regulated. Today, I am going to share some gifts that would be perfect for any child with sensory integration needs for all ages!
This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience!
I got this for my hubby last Christmas and he was super happy with this stocking stuffer! Aaron’s Crazy Putty comes in a tin with a pound of cool looking putty that will never dry out. If you are having difficulty with focusing or you are feeling antsy, pull this putty out and stretch, pull and squish it for ten minutes. I love that it comes in lots of different colors and wouldn’t make kids stand out. This would be great for students with ADHD or on the autism spectrum!
Every child is different, but I have several little kindergarteners who are developmentally functioning between 18 months and 2 1/2 years, so they are wiggly and have short attention spans. I am able to do therapy with this cuties while they sit in the bean bag chairs! They love to request “squish” and “more” when I take a pillow and give them squeezes while sitting in the bean bag chair. I thought this chevron pattern was so cute!!
These are currently on my wishlist to purchase! These are great blocks to work on requesting, stacking, colors and some basic concepts. You can also work on joint attention and cause/effect when knocking down the blocks. These are very cool because you can squeeze them, chew them and they can’t break!!
The OT at my site gave me a trampoline to have in my room when some of my kids need to calm down. I have used this with both my general education students when they need a quick break from sitting. Jumping for 5 minutes really helps some of my kids get ready for learning or releasing energy! We have one at home for my little ones.
I just got this order in before Thanksgiving break! It is a very cool product and I am excited to try it out with my students in the Autism classrooms. This sand stays clumped when you squeeze it and doesn’t make a giant mess!!
I have all sorts of fun animal puppets in my room and just ordered this with my school budget money! It is sooooo cute!! My little ones love to have my puppets eat their nose, hands, ears as well as feed it play food and whatever else I bring in. Puppets have saved me a lot in therapy because I can get lots of engagement with them.
My five year loves his tent! Right now he has made a tent with sheets and chairs and has been camping out in it for the last couple of days. There is something about being confined in a smaller space that helps little ones feel comfortable and happy. I do therapy in a little space in the corner of the room that is blocked off and has bean bag chairs for my two 5 year old girls. I get more joint attention, eye contact and communication when we are all squeezed in!
This peanut ball is on my wishlist!! It is just like an exercise ball, but easier for little ones to sit on it independently. This is perfect for your movers and shakers.
I plan on getting a set of finger paints for my 17 month old, but this is a great exploration activity for your younger clients as long as you don’t mind cleaning up a mess! This is a great product to recommend to parents to use at home with their child.
I am a big fan of using music in the home and during therapy to help stimulate language (I need to use music more)! As a child, I listened to Raffle ALL THE TIME and still enjoy listening to him. If you push into the classroom setting, circle time is a great way to incorporate music and communication. Down by the Bay…….sing if you know it!
This looks like the coolest resource to have! Definitely on my wishlist to add to the therapy room. You can sit in it, spin, hide under it, look through the holes and lots more. The other cool thing is that it’s recommended for ages 24 months to 7 years, so it can be used with LOTS of kids.
Last up, I have to share wooden puzzles from Melissa and Doug. They have great puzzles that are stimulating and you can cover so many skills with them! This latch key puzzle is great for working on open and close, fine motor skills, turn taking, asking for help and requesting for turns. I also have the fishy puzzle that has magnets and it’s really fun!!
I hope this generates some ideas for what you need in your therapy room and what to recommend to parents for great gifts for their children. Hope you have a great rest of December!! I am looking forward to the 2 week break that is coming up!!
Over the years, I have built up my behavior management tool box because I always have one kid who needs something extra to help them succeed. This year I have had 3 speech kids who have had VERY escalated behavior and so, I have had to think of ideas for my teachers because I am the case manager and the writer of the behavior support plan. I now have some more resources to share for behavior management. You can check out my post that I did for ASHA SPHERE about behavior management as well.
My Robots themed behavior management pack is filled with incentives for building positive behavior using a robots theme (all boys love robots)! First up, I created a robot puzzle that the student can color in a square of the puzzle every time they return homework, have a great day in class or do all their speech work!
I have a raffle system that the kids can earn tickets for having great behavior in speech, returning important papers and completing speech homework. I pick two winners a week to head on over to my prize box. They love it!
I used this little robot print out with one of my kindergarteners to help with visually showing him every time he was doing what was expected. Once he earned all 5 stickers, he got a preferred activity or prize. We slowly faded this system away as his behavior improved.
One of my kindergarteners needed a positive incentive for using nice hands and following the teacher’s rules and directions. We found out that he loves robots, so I made him a “working for” chart with robots.
The top box is for the preferred item which is anything that motivates the child to earn such as computer time, teacher’s helper, sweet treats, prize box, etc.
Print out on cardstock and laminate for durability. Then adhere velcro and give the child a robot every time he/she is doing a great job. You want to start off giving lots of them in the beginning, so the child gets the system. Then, slowly fade the chart away as they don’t need the support.
Help the robot collect all their gears. Print these sheets out and laminate. You can use magnet token chips that the students can cover a gear every time they practice their sound correctly. You can also use a dry erase marker to cross of a gear every time you see a positive behavior. Once all the gears are marked off, the student can earn a prize! There are lots of other tricks in my robot pack! You can also grab my summer themed behavior management pack here! I also made you a freebie student preference sheet for your students to see what interests they have. I find that I can get a lot better buy in with the student when I know what they love! Enter my giveaway below to win your own copy for FREE!! Check out my Robots Themed Behavior Management Pack on my TPT store!
Summer is here! It has been such a nice start to summer in Sacramento because most days it has been in the 80’s and low 90’s. We did have one day when it was 108 degrees, the hottest day all year! My kids and I have been enjoying lots of outdoor activities before the BIG heat wave hits our city…..then it will be off to the pool or sitting inside our nice air conditioned house. I am planning on doing a “summer” theme in my speech room this year, so I decided to make some behavior management ideas to help keep my kids motivated in speech. I made the pack user friendly for teachers, speech therapists and counselors, so it has a little bit of everything. I also like to have lots of variety with behavior management ideas because I often have teachers and my school psychologist ask me for ideas on how to help improve behavior in some of their students. It is always a nice feeling to pass on something that they might be able to use!
This set includes 5 different sets of summer themed punch cards that you can use to when a student returns their speech homework, has extra great behavior, or if they come on time to their therapy session. After 20 punches, they can earn a prize or whatever you worked out with the student. I can see these being very handy for Junior High and High School Students who may not want to come to speech or want to practice at home.
I also made some raffle tickets that students can get every time they come to speech. They can earn extra tickets for returning important paperwork signed by their parents (I admit I have turned to bribery to get assessment plans and meeting notices signed and returned!), have great behavior during speech or if they completed their homework. Each week you can pick 1-2 winners from your raffle jar to pick a prize out of the prize box. Recently, I have seen a lot of teachers using those behavior clip charts and I think they are great. I am planning on trying to have one in my room this coming year. It is a good visual reminder for children to see the consequences of their behavior when it’s great or not so great.
Every year, I always have 1-2 of my groups that have trouble with following the basic rules and I find myself doing behavior management the WHOLE session. I started using a system for those groups. If everyone had less than two warnings next to their names, they we got a star towards having an ice cream or cookie party. The group had to earn 8 stars before earning a party.
This system taught them that their behavior can affect everyone not just themselves. So, I made an ice cream cone themed chart that I can attach a scoop every time my students have a good session. I just printed and laminated and adhered magnet pieces on the back of each cone. You can also make individual ice cream cones and students can put stickers on their cone each time they come in for a session. You can grab this set on my TPT store!
Now for my summer themed FREEBIE! I love ice cream and figure most kids love it too, so I made some graphic organizers to help with understanding key story elements.
Use these organizers as a PRE-WRITING ACTIVITY to plan out their story or persuasive paragraph. Use the color ice cream sundae visual as a poster to hang on the wall or use with your ELMO projector as a visual during the story elements passage. Have students identify the key story elements and write what happened in the graphic organizer.
Students can then transfer that information to write a summary of what happened in the story. These are perfect for a summer themed classroom unit because who doesn’t love ice cream on a hot day! Go grab your free copy HERE! What are you all planning for therapy next year?