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Distractor Deflector

What a fun time we had in lunch buddies today!  Continuing our coaching experience for dealing with distractors, we began with a power point video about Brain Eater that I found at .  See the original video created by Jill Kuzma on her website at:


We reviewed our lists of distractors and decided which strategies we thought would work to defeat Brain Eater.  Some of the “inside” and “outside” the head distractors listed were:

  • worrying about others unexpected behaviors which can be defeated by reminding yourself that you are not in charge.
  • looking at posters on the wall which can be defeated by reminding yourself to keep your brain and body in the group
  • reading books that are not related to classwork can be defeated by reminding yourself that you are expected to read classwork first.
  • thinking about bad dreams from the night before can be defeated by that super power-IGNORING

distracter blasterWe then wrote our distractors on paper and our strategies on the Distractor Blastor rockets.  Each student had the opportunity to blast their distractors. (A stomp rocket toy was used as the distracto blastor).

distracter deflectorA Distractor Deflector shield was also used as a way to help our students realize the power they have against their distractors.

It was a fun day.  Some lunch buddies were able to use their super powers over distractors more effectively than others.  Next Monday will give us another opportunity to do better.  We are thinking of using slap bracelets as power cuffs as an additional reminder of our super powers.


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Lunch Buddies Shine

spellingbeeWe are so very proud of Allison and Walker, two Lunch Buddies, who won the spelling bees in their classrooms.  They went on to participate in the school Bee.  So very proud!

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Look! A Distraction


Using a teaching approach to build in students their own inner superheroic thinking to take on various challenges helps them learn how to regulate their own behaviors.  When it comes to distractors, it does take super powers to ignore them!!


Our coaching began with Jill Kuzma’s power point Your Super Brain Power! (  That super power is ignoring.  When we observe our students distracted by others, noises, or what’s going on outside, our first response is “just ignore it” or ‘focus on your work”.  Most of our students with social thinking deficits need to have the concept of ignoring explicitly explained.  It is important to explain visually as well as verbally.


Teaching the “why” of social thinking concepts increases carryover into everyday social situations.

ned's head

Thank you, Jill Kuzma, for this idea to use my What’s in Ned’s Head toy to help the students decide what distractors are “in your head” or “outside your head”.  Ned’s Head is a beloved game and the 2nd grade lunch buddies were delighted to use it in this way.  “Outside your head” distractors seem to be much easier to identify and deal with than “inside your head” distractors.

brain eater wanted posterBOLO for Brain Eater!

braineater defeaterBrain Eater makes your brain: get stuck thinking about your fav topic or show videos or pictures in your head when a friend is trying to talk to you, or recite the names of the United States when you are in a group.

There are ways to defeat Brain Eater.  The ways to defeat him are called strategies.  Once the distractors are identified then strategies can be developed.

Tune in Monday when we utilize our Distractor Blaster and Distracto Shield to practice our strategies.

For details on Brain Eater, check out the SuperFlex curriculum at



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Tattling vs Telling


We needed a coaching experience for tattling (and correcting) today.  If you want to keep others thinking good thoughts about you, sometimes you have to adjust your behavior.  Some of us need to have this specific social skill explicitly taught to us.


Knowing the difference between tattling and telling is important.


Before you tattle or correct someone ask yourself some questions.  Are you in charge?  Is it hurting you?  If the answers are no-well, then mind your own business.


This poster reminds us what others might think or feel if we are constantly tattling or correcting.


The great visuals here are free at

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Zones Bingo!!

In order to understand how our emotions influence our behavior as well as the behavior of others, we started the Zones of Regulation (Leah M. Kuypers,MA Ed. OTR/L). Today we talked about the four zones: BLUE(tired, sick, sleepy), YELLOW(frustrated, worried, silly, loss of some control), RED(mad, mean, yelling, out of control) and the most important zone GREEN(happy, calm, focused and ready to learn).

zones bingo

After discussing the zones with some vivid facial expressions, we played a game of ZONES BINGO.



This was fun and helped us find areas of emotional regulation that may be preventing us from being in the GREEN zone. One student was yawning during the activity and we talked about that being in the Blue Zone. He told us he was frequently tired.

zones w

We will continue the ZONES program to give students a method to understand, monitor and regulate their own personal zone. We want everyone’s favorite color to be GREEN!!



It’s All in the Game!

I bought 2 new games for our lunch buddies groups to start the new year.  Before I reveal what they are, I will write a bit about why we play games in lunch buddies groups.

Playing a board game is an engaging social experience.  Students need to” keep their brain and body in the group” to know when it is their turn and be ready to praise or say encouraging words to their friends.  Before we start a game we review the following social stories:  Jill Kuzma’s learning-from-losing-book or

Whitney Bromley’s social story for winning/losing a game at


Sometimes students need to use “positive self-talk” strategies.  Our favorite we learned from Graham and his mom, Sarah.   If I had fun, I won!!

Ok, here are the new games-

51tXSY5jh2L._SL500_SS500_Zingo has always been a favorite no matter what grade level.  Now, we have Zingo Sight Words.  Kicking it up a notch for 1st graders.


Social Skills Chipper Chat

This game is designed to help students discuss and understand appropriate ways of dealing with social situations.

Fun in the new year!


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Becoming an observer

thCAKZ4729Yesterday I had a thought provoking conversation with my esteemed colleague, Tracy Scott, about some of my newest lunch buddies participants.  We discussed how these students have not developed that most important skill-observing others in their environment.  When students think with their eyes they become observers of what others are doing and adjust behavior accordingly.

If a student is a good observer he/she will “see” others who are getting out their math workbook and “think” that’s what is expected right now and adjust their behavior by getting out their workbook as well.  Being a good observer can keep a student from getting into trouble by not following directions.  A good observer will pay attention to their friends faces and know when it is time to stop talking about their favorite video game and talk about a friend’s favorite topic.

Most children learn to think with their eyes naturally.  Some children need to be taught explicitly through modeling and visuals.  Parents and teachers can help by “thinking out loud” and verbalizing their process of thinking with their eyes.

Whole-Body-Listening-Poster-pkkverWhole Body Listening is a great place to start to teach the concept of observing (and a great visual reminder for those who are still working on listening/thinking with your eyes).

You_are_a_Social_504e5c7ae7b50_125x125Michelle Garcia Winner’s award winning program, You are a Social Detective! is another fantastic resource.

Thanks Tracy for your input.  Thanks parents for supporting social thinking skills at home.

Everyone have a great weekend!


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Can one ever use too many visuals?

The reasons why you should use visual supports:

  • They are part of everyone’s communication system
  • They can attract and hold a student’s attention
  • They enable the student to focus on the message and reduce anxiety
  • They make abstract concepts more concrete for the student
  • They help students express thoughts
  • They help all students.

                                                                                            Roa and Gagie (2006)

I thought I had plenty of visuals to help the 2nd graders with the concept of perspective taking and using your social sense…

social senseWe talked about how it is important to try to make sense of other people’s behavior. thinking about what other people are thinking and feeling about us, and adjust our behavior so that people keep thinking and feeling nice things about us.  Our “social sense” helps us do this.  Carol Gray calls it our “sixth sense”.  Jill Kuzma has these great free downloads at

thinking about you

We used Jill Kuzma’s great visual to further our understanding of thinking of others.  It is super important to think about how a person might feel or what they want before we let our words move from our thinking bubble into our talking bubble.  Our actions and comments impact how people think and feel about us.


Token towers provided a visual support so we could see how well we were using our social sense during lunch buddies.

The perspective taking game we played was hard because our social sense is just developing.  When something is hard to do we sometimes think it is BORING.  Everyone gets bored sometimes. When you have a boring moment there are expected behaviors…

boring momentThis fab poster is hanging in the speech room to remind us what’s expected during those boring moments.  It is from

Thursday was a tough day for all of us.  I realized that even though I had many visuals I still needed more.  I needed to back up a few steps and start again.  I realized that I needed to write it ALL down.  Next Thursday we will begin with a social map.

 Everyone did their best and there was popcorn at the end!!! 



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New Year’s Resolutions: Manage Impulsivity, Foster Self-Regulation and Emotional Control, and Develop Social Thinking Vocabulary


Candy, the Elf, returned to the North Pole and all the parties are over.  Now it is time to gear up for the New Year!

Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.-  Charles Swindoll

Most of us are able to recognize when we are becoming less “regulated” or less organized and do something about it to feel better and get ourselves in a better place.  Many of the students in the social skills groups  are not naturally aware of or independent in controlling their emotions, impulses, and actions.  These students need a systematic, cognitive behavior approach to teach self regulation and a safe place to practice.

th(2)Beginning in January, our Lunch Buddies groups will explore the lessons from a curriculum called The Zones of Regulation by Leah Kuypers (  Our goal is to develop strategies for responding to expected versus unexpected behaviors, in different social contexts, using visuals and coaching experiences.  Dr. Ross Greene ( says “Kids do well if they can”.

In our visuals, coaching experiences, social scripts, and blog posts, we use the terms “expected behaviors” vs “unexpected behaviors”.  Michelle Garcia Winner answers the question “Why do we use the expected-unexpected social thinking vocabulary?” in her blog post at…social-thinking-vocabulary

Some of our 2nd grade Lunch Buddies, who are hyperlexic and performed very well in K and 1st grade, are now struggling with reading comprehension and perspective taking.  For this group we will select a piece of children’s literature such as The Wizard of Oz ( to show how characters have different points of view and one’s actions impact how other people think and feel.

2013 is going to be a year of growth for all of us!

Best Wishes,