Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sensory Bottle Believer!

Ok, I had complete little faith in using the sensory bottles in my Anger Toolbox.  I blame attribute it to being in middle school, and primarily teaching students with learning disabilities in the past.  Despite my lack of faith, I gave them a fair shot in the Toolbox....and lo and behold, I am now a believer!  Thing 1 particularly likes using these bottles to help her calm down when she is having a moment.  Even if she is too angry to get the bottles herself, she responds quickly when one is handed to her.  It actually calms her and helps her focus on making good decisions.  She then gets the reflection paper out of the toolbox and writes down her feelings.  Thing 1 really gets into the good decision making process, and I plan to take full credit for it with my sensory bottles!
The squeezy stress balls have worked well too!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Salute to Social Skills!

So, the Stop and Think area of the classroom has been helpful...it's not a perfect routine yet, but the class has doubled in size since we started.  That's right...DOUBLED in size.  Sounds like an insane number until you remember that I only had 3 before....then you remember that they are Emotionally Disabled, and DOUBLED sounds daunting again.

Anyway, we've made some additions to the Stop and Think area, and here they are!

First....let's revisit a poster that has been in the area....You'll notice the addition of zebra duct tape at the top and bottom...That would be because Thing 1 had a tantrum a week ago and kicked the wall.  Repeatedly.  Eventually, she kicked her way up to the poster, and RRRRRiiiiiipp!  Sigh.  Lesson #1 - Always laminate all your posters in your Stop and Think area.  I probably would have before putting it up in the first place, but we have been out of laminating paper for about 4 months (Shocking, I know!)  You will also notice an addition of a drawing next to "angry."   A day or 2 after the tantrum, we were working on our daily social skill and the class was asked to draw a picture of how they felt about that day (Shocker #2 - We'd had some challenges that day).  Thing 1 drew a picture of herself being angry.  She then cut it out, grabbed the tape, and placed it on the poster.  I asked what she was doing and she replied, "I put my angry face over there because when I am angry, I go there to calm down.  And I'm a little angry that I tore the poster."  Um, Hello, growth! So, Thing 1's picture of angry has remained in the area.  Let's hear it for students' having some ownership!

 Our new "Get Your Angries Out" poster from PeaceKids.net.  Download it (For FREE!!)  HERE!

I'm loving this acrostic for the word THINK.  Want this version?  Get it for free right HERE!

And if you want this Stop and Think printable, get it HERE!

We've also added an Anger Management Toolbox to the area.  So far, we've only put a few things in, but we want to see how well it works out before loading it with items.  So far we have 2 squishy stress balls and 2 sensory bottles.  One bottle has been filled with rice (Some fancy Basmati rice that I overpaid for, then realized that I don't really like Basmati rice.  But, I digress.) and a few squirts of green food coloring.  Only some of the rice took in the color, which gave me the desired affect.  Now, there are 2 shades of rice, and it gives the kids something to focus on when angry.  The second bottle is a generous amount of Palmolive and water, filled about 3/4 of the way to the top.  Shake it, and it bubbles up.  Pretty simple.  I then hot glued the top on, and added the zebra duct tape (because, you know, gotta keep a theme going, right?).

So, there it is!  Link it up, Pin it, try it in your room and let me know if you learn any lessons too!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Colored Pencil Wreath

While searching Pinterest recently, looking for teaching resources, I found this craft idea, and decided it would look super cute on my classroom door.  So, I broke out my surplus supply of colored pencils, the hot glue gun, some cardboard and ribbon, and then got to work!

First, I traced 2 circles on a piece of cardboard, cut it out to resemble a hoop, and colored it in case any of the hoop shows through the pencils.  You could also wrap the hoop in ribbon or paper, but I went the easy route.

Next, I decided on colors and a pattern for my pencils and started hot gluing them onto the hoop.  Glue just the edge closest to the inside of the ring, as you'll be sliding your ribbon under the pencils as you weave, and cover up some of the cardboard hoop.  Continue all the way around the hoop.  If you use a thinner cardboard, like I did, it will be a little flimsy, but don't worry, the ribbon will provide some support.
Next, cut your ribbon and begin weaving it between the pencils.  Slide the ribbon under every other pencil, between the pencil and hoop. I also used glue to attach the ribbon to the tops of every other pencil for more support.  Once you finish weaving the ribbon, glue on the underside of the wreath.  

Next, cut a length of ribbon to serve as the hanger.  I chose to go a little shorter with my hanger.  I then glued the two ends to the back of the hoop, and added another small piece of ribbon to secure the hanger.

 For a final touch, I made a matching bow to glue to the bottom.  And you're done.  I only used about 30 colored pencils for this project, a piece of cardboard that I saved from the booklets of our last state standardized test, and some ribbon.  It was easy, quick, and looks super cute on my front door.  I can't wait to get the school Monday morning and see how it looks on the classroom door!

I found my original inspiration at Out On A Limb: http://erinoutonalimb.blogspot.com/2011/09/sunburst-pencil-wreath.html

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome, 2012!

Ah, the first day back to school after 2 weeks of well-deserved vacation, and everyone survived!  We even unveiled our all new "Stop and Think" area!

The students were all very excited to try out the moon chair, and check out the new posters!  
As much as I don't want anyone to get angry and cry or flip desks in my classroom, I'm really looking forward to having to use it!!