Sunday, January 27, 2013

Movers and shakers

I have some serious movers and shakers in my classroom. You know, the kids that constantly tip their chairs, stand to do their work, tap their pencils, are always on the go. Some of these kids have diagnoses of ADD or ADHD some do not, some families have chosen to have their child take meds to help with focus, some have not, regardless I needed to find a way to keep these kids moving so their brains can focus. 

One plan I tried at the beginning of the year was sending a math student to get a drink down the hall. It gave him the chance to wander, see new people, and get out of his normal environment. Just the routine of taking the walk to get a drink helped the student get his brain ready for leaning. He would spend most of math class standing or sitting in one of the fold-up rocking chairs (from Target -LOVE them!). 

I also have the tippers. The kids that tip their chairs and often find themselves on the floor. I am all for kids moving but when their safety is at stake I know I need to find another way to help them out. Here are some of the seating options my movers and shakers have.

This chair has adjustable legs. The height of one of the legs was adjusted so it was shorter than the rest. This allows students to rock the chair without putting them in danger of tipping. 
-This one does take some getting used to. When students first sit down then think they are going to tip backwards but it has quickly become a favorite.

The occupational therapist at my school offered this to one of my students. (Her husband made it) Its called a t stool and looks quite dangerous, right!?! However, the student that uses it has found that it is much safer than chair tipping. As soon as the stool starts to fall the student is able to stand up and the stool falls over. This has been an amazing addition to the choices the students have. Many kids like the movement it allows them while keeping them safe.

These next two are discs (around $20 Amazon) are a much more traditional way of helping the movers and shakers. The top one (teal) is filled 3/4 of the way with air so its squishy and light. It has two sides -smooth and pointy- and users can select the side they find most comfortable. The bottom one (yellow) has a heavier sandlike feeling and is a big heavier to carry and has a much different feel. 

I also have beanbags ($15 at Walmart) and folding rocking chairs (Target) that students can sit in during work time. I try not to have them sit at their desks too often. They always have that option but I find they are much happier to grab a clipboard and find a comfy spot on the floor/beanbags/rocking chairs. 

I have also found that students like to use Bendeez (bendable sticks found on Amazon) or the Tangle Jr Sensory Fidget Toy (Amazon) to keep their hands busy or to keep calm while listening. The occupational therapist at my school has been a invaluable resource. She is always so busy but makes the time to listen to my concerns and always has suggestions and tips. She has helped me to find many of these resources and is always a great go to person.

And when all else fails, brain breaks are a great way to get some of the wiggles out. There are many videos on YouTube, and countless quick activities to reset the brain for learning. 

Best wishes for you and your movers and shakers!

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