Saturday, February 25, 2012

Light Game Buzzers!

Raising a hand is a thing of the past!

I use these $1.00 (Dollar Store) battery operated (2 - AA batteries needed for each one) push lights as "game" buzzers. At this cost, they are a perfect tool to use in a small group. These lights come in all sorts of shapes and colors!! Of course I chose the smiley face lights -- perfect for an elementary school counselor!

If I'm doing an activity where I am asking a number of questions, to make it a little more novel, I give each student their own light. I explain to the students (very dramatically) that the lights are to be pressed carefully - not smacked, punched, slammed, etc. Otherwise, they will break the light and I will have to take their light away!

Students turn on their light to indicate they have an answer. I attempt to call on the first student who turned on his/her light....but in the case of a "tie" I go with the student who hasn't answered in awhile or who needs the most practice with the particular skill we are working on.

For some crazy reason, these little lights are so intriguing and fun for my students!! The kids absolutely love using them!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Caution! A Fantastic Student Sits Here!

Looking for an inexpensive way to recognize positive student behavior? Use a plastic outdoor sport cone.

Purchase a set of cones at your local department store. You will find them either in the sporting goods section or with the seasonal items. They come in all different colors and sizes; solid or aerodynamic.

Next, using a Sharpie marker, write positive words and phrases all over the cone.

If you spot a student with positive behavior, excellent work habits, or great thinking skills (the possibilites are endless), place the cone on that student's desk!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Friendch Fries

I was out shopping for after Christmas deals and came across this toy on the clearance shelf at Target. It was really cheap!!

So, I stood there thinking to myself that I could find a use for it (probably a common thought of most educators) and in my buggy it went. Inside this McDonald's cup was a bunch of plastic food items. I screwed off the lid, took out the plastic food and placed them into a rice cool down/sensory box. Then, as I was planning for a first grade friendship group, the idea of Friendch Fries popped into my mind! Ahhh....a use for the McDonald's cup!

I purchased some colored popsicle sticks (both large and small). On the yellow popsicle sticks (the Friendch Fries), I wrote general statements/rules for having quality friendships. I also pulled out some green popsicle sticks to be used as rotten or burnt Friendch Fries. On the green sticks, the students will assist me in writing behaviors that might turn a potential friend away. Since I was going to be using this activity with first graders, I used only these statements/rules. Certainly there are many more that could be used and adjusted depending on which grade level you are working with.

After finding a clip art picture of french fries in a red wrapper, I enlarged it to roughly a 5x7 size. I printed enough of these so that each student had one. Next, I found clip art to go with each of the statements/rules on the yellow popsicle stick Friendch Fries. I reduced these images in size so that when cut-out and glued, they would all fit on the 5x7 clip art picture of the french fries.  For example, for the "Hula Hoop Rule" I have a small picture of a hula hoop. For "Be Safe" I have a picture of orange caution construction cones. For "Listen" I have an ear. You get the point. Students got one 5x7 clip art picture of french fries (I wrote Friendch Fries on the red fry container) and a sheet with all the smaller pictures on it.

One by one we went through each statement/rule. The students cut-out the corresponding picture and glued it to their Friendch Fries sheet. I saved each student's sheet because next week we will role-play each of the rules/statements -- picking a Friendch Fry out of the McDonald's container one at a time and doing some acting. We will also come up with the poor friendship skills to indicate on the green rotten/burnt Friendch Fries and will  role-play those.

After the next session, the students will take home their Friendch Fries sheet -- to teach their parents the friendship statements/rules that they learned.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Zipper Baggie Thermometers!

If you are looking for an easy, economical way to create an anger thermometer (that moves) - I have an idea for you!

Purchase a box of Ziploc Easy Zipper or Hefty One Slider plastic baggies (one quart size or different size to meet your needs). The baggies need to have the plastic zipper. I prefer the sturdiness of the freezer bags, but the zipper storage bags work just as well.

Create an anger thermometer using clip art. Find a clip art picture of a thermometer and add text boxes either to the right or left of the clip art - Extremely Angry at the top, Angry in the middle, and Not Angry on the bottom. A colorful feelings thermometer can be downloaded at . Using their thermometer, you can adapt it with text boxes to state Extremely Angry in the red box, Angry in the green box, and Not Angry in the blue box. OR, add the student pictures as it was intended. For the jillychart thermometer, you will have to adjust the size to fit in your baggie (or purchase bigger baggies).

Adjust the size of the thermometer to fit nicely inside the baggie. Print. Slide the picture in the baggie. If you'd like, you can use two different thermometers (slide in the baggie back-to-back) - one will have the zipper to the right and one will have the zipper to the left.

You now have a personal anger thermometer in which students can move the zipper up and down to indicate their level of anger.

I use this baggie thermometer when students are in the midst of anger. I also use it a lot in small support groups when we are identifying anger triggers and how angry each student feels for each trigger. Something so easy has created such a positive response from the kiddos! They enjoy moving the zipper up and down their thermometer. Some have asked for their very own to keep in the classroom - so that their teacher or other school staff will have a visual representation of their anger levels.

Examples of other uses for Zipper Baggies:
  • Feelings thermometer with feeling faces and or level of one particular feeling - such as level of anxiety, worry, stress. Document and keep track of the levels to help students work through difficult situations and days.
  • Any Likert scale...slip inside the baggie and use the zipper
  • To determine level of risk....on a scale of 1-10....use the zipper baggie