Friday, February 22, 2013

Three Tips Just for YOU!

Greetings to all my new Northwest Kansas followers!  Last Monday, I gave a "Conscious Discipline & Other Discipline Strategies" presentation to a group of Head Start and Special Education Teachers & Staff from the Northwest Kansas Educational Service Center as part of their February In-Service Day.   I wanted to share a little follow-up from that presentation. 

Boxed Tables

First, here's a picture of what our tables look like with the cardboard boxes taped under them as we discussed on Monday.  

It's super simple!  All I did was find cardboard boxes that were a little taller than my tables, put them next to the table, and cut down the corners to the table height.  Then, I folded that part down and duct taped it to the bottom of the table.  Teacher's Tip: If you use boxes with lots of wording on them, cut down one side and turn them inside out so they are less visually distracting.  

Remember the purpose of the cardboard boxes under the tables is to support children from crawling under the table to avoid their work.  They can still get under the table but they can’t go as far under making it easier for you and your staff to support them in coming out.

Ready/Not Ready Visual

Next, I wanted to share a little update to the "Ready/Not Ready" visual.  The version I shared with you Monday had an “all done, put in” prompt on the top inside. 

Just yesterday, I changed that to support one of my students with transitioning and to remind my staff and I to use the same language with him.  It now says “all done, time for. . .”.  He struggles with transitioning from choice time into centers &/or large group activities, rather than putting away his work  so this supports him in prepping for that change. 

As a little background, the purpose of the "Ready/Not Ready" visual is to help children transition from one activity to the next by prepping them for the change.  It also gives them the words to use if they need more time to make the transition. For example, we set a timer for how long they get to play.  When the timer has one minute remaining, we set the visual out to show"One More Minute" 

When the timer goes off we say, “All Done. Put In.” 

Or depending on what the child needs, we may say, “All Done. Time for. . .” 

Next we ask, “Are you ready? Or not ready?”  If they respond not ready, we set the timer for one more minute, take the not ready icon off the inside of the visual and prop the visual back up to remind them one more minute.

When the timer goes off a minute later, we open the visual and say, “All done, time for. . . You are ready!” (Not ready is no longer an option.) 

We then support the child in transitioning to the next activity.  For further support, I have added some feeling language to the back of the visual.  It provides children with the language necessary to express their disappointment.  

I would much rather have a student say “I am angry. I don’t want to go to snack.” than hit or throw his/her toys when they are asked to transition.  (Instructor's Insight:  Remember we are supporting them with problem solving and accessing the higher centers of their brains through modeling language and  helping them experience success.)  

Several of the attendees from Monday's session were planning to make this visual.  Send me an email if you would like my Boardmaker file. I can also send a pdf version for those who do not have Boardmaker.  

Finally, I must give credit where credit is do.  A very special thank you to Lee Stickle and Linda Wilkerson for giving me the idea of the "Ready/Not Ready" visual.  It has been an amazing support and learning tool for many students.

Response Time Visual

I wanted to share the staff visual, I shared with you regarding response time.  


For the longest time,  my staff and I have been working on giving our students wait time after we state a directive or command. When I attended a session on Sensory Diets by Susan Aebker at the OCALI conference in November, she shared a visual of Templin Grandin (a famous adult with Autism)’s ear canal versus a neurotypical ear canal. She said look at all the channels auditory information has to go through in order to get to the brain of someone with Autism.  For this reason, it is crucial to state a command and then give students time to process.

On my visual, I have 10 periods after Give a Command to remind us to wait 10 seconds before giving the command again or support the child with other directives.  I encourage you to post the visual to support your staff in doing the same because it provides independence and success for your students. 
Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to spend the day with you Monday!  It was fun to learn and grow with you.  

Best wishes to all of you! 


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