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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Can you describe a Thinga-ma-jigger? Freebie included!


 
I've been throwing out hints on my Instagram page this week about my little surprise. Many of you have responded that you too have one of these commercial mop contraptions at your school. For years I've been thinking it reminds me of the Thinga-ma-jigger from Dr. Seuss's The Cat In The Hat. Do you agree?
This year, I finally decided to re-create the cleaning machine and rallied my students to help. We used our executive functioning skills to visualize the big picture and plan along the way. Students brainstormed materials, created a list, and sequenced step-by-step instructions. We used latex gloves, mega phones, blow horns, a broom, spinners, and made spirals out of construction paper. We also borrowed lots of slinky sound tubes from our OT friends. 

Drum roll please....

Isn't it fun!

Our school maintenance staff were so accommodating and even agreed to drive it around for the week while wearing the signature red and white top hat!
No theme would be complete without a cool activity to go with it. I created a freebie describing activity to use as a stand-alone activity or Expanding Expression Tool Companion. You can see above that I started my bulletin board where students will display their work. 

Click HERE for link
I would love to see your Thinga-ma-jiggers and/or bulletin board! Just share your pix on my Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter page. Hope you have a whimsical week! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Help Wanted! How to reduce your secretarial work.

Some of us are lucky enough to have a para-educator to help with student services, carry-over, and secretarial work. The super fortunate have a certified SLP Assistant. For the rest of us, there doesn't seem to be any hope of putting a dent in that to-do list. Let me offer a ray of hope by providing some options where you least expect them. 

1. Substitute Teachers- This is a resource we have available daily in our building. Every teacher in our school has at least 1-40 minute prep block each day. I used to walk past classrooms where the sub was reading a book or looking a bit bored with the extra time. I asked a couple of subs what they thought of having the option of doing some secretarial tasks in their prep time and they all liked the idea. I now look at the sub list and bring some optional work to the substitute teacher before the student day begins.

2. Para Professionals- You may not have a para professional, but your school may have one who has extra time in their day. Maybe their 1:1 student is absent or independent during specials. Put a help wanted folder in the copier room and fill it with copying, laminating, and cutting tasks. I also have para educators do daily artic drills at the end of the day with my kids working on carry-over. 

3. Student Volunteers- Do you have a community service group at your school or high school student who may need service learning hours?  Kids love cutting and pasting. We know that this is the most labor intensive part of assembling new TpT products. This help source may not be consistent, but it can certainly help with those large products a couple of times a year. Just ask the guidance counselor for assistance in finding students. 

4. Kids- Speaking of kids, my own children like helping mom. To earn computer time, I may rally the kids to organize cards or sample new products. My youngest likes to play teacher by dabbling glue and adhering card covers. 

5. Parents- With our huge caseloads, there has to be at least 1-2 parents who would love to help out the SLP.  Send this note home and I bet you'll be surprised with the positive response.  


6. Senior Citizens- I recall residents gathered together at a table clipping coupons when I worked in the nursing home. It was a sort of a coffee chat time with a purpose. Call your local nursing home and speak to the activities director about the possibility of residents helping service providers with secretarial tasks. They say that a key to happiness is helping others. I believe this opportunity for elders is a win-win!  

Click on the picture for this free to helper list. 

Comment with ways that you rally help in order to free up time for planning and student focus. I will add them to the list and, of course, give you credit.