Learning and Sharing

Yoga is cool!

Yoga practice, tree concept for your design

Lunchbuddies really enjoy yoga.  They report that it helps them feel calm, relaxed, and better able to concentrate.  In other words, yoga helps them stay in the Green Zone.

What do children learn from yoga?

1) Breathing that can bring both calm and and the good kind of energy to the body.

2) How to use energy more effectively so that we feel relaxed, focused and motivated.

3)  How to quiet the mind which helps us listen with attention and make good decisions.

This information and more is available at

The guided visualization exercises help reduce stress and teach coping strategies according to Yoga for Children with Autism available at


Mrs. Rairden leads our lunchbuddies in the Gorilla pose.  It helps relax the mind and get in the Green Zone.

tree pose

Look at that great tree pose!  One must have self control to do this pose well.

sun salutation

A calming and relaxing Sun Salutation pose gets us ready to learn.

Yoga is just another fun component of lunchbuddies.




More Problem Solving,

ProblemSolver_thumb As I posted a couple of weeks ago,  our second grade group experienced some difficulty with a problem solving activity.  Throughout the session we heard several lunch buddies express, “I don’t know what to do”. First thing today, I shared that everyone has problems to solve everyday.  In our group we have a safe place to practice how to solve problems.  I made a quick list of what to say instead of “I don’t know what to do”. what to say Sometimes I just have to write it down quick and it turns out not so neat!

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We used another terrific activity created by and available at  I love using the words “stretching your brain” to find solutions.  We talked about how solving problems is something that we have to do for the rest of our lives.


The problems on the game cards were problems that some of the lunchbuddies had experienced before and some were new.  We decided that being a flexible thinker goes a long way in solving many of our problems.  The power card, of course, helps as a reminder.

One of the 3rd grade groups had a great time with the “Think it or Say it? activity created by Kellie Meixner and available on

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When she heard the title of our activity, one student said, “I really need to work on that”.

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The situations were amusing and all too familiar!

We all experience Boring Moments.  Being bored is not a problem.  It’s our behavior when we are bored that can be a problem.  Watch Michelle Garcia Winner in her Social Thinking video on how to deal with the boring moments.

Whew! And it is only Tuesday.





Don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to the weekend!  I got some flowers to plant and a book to read.  Too bad I don’t live at the beach!

A parent shared this great visual with me and I wanted to pass it on.  For those students who struggle with impulse control this visual is so helpful to remind them to stop and think before they speak.  Thank you, Mrs. Campbell.

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More great visuals-

Some of our students who find it difficult to be a part of the classroom and follow those hidden rules that everyone seems to know except them need to have the rules explicitly explained.

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When listening in the whole group- your job is…  The teacher’s job is…  What to do if you need help…  What to do when you are done working.  Jill Kuzma has created this visual called “Rules for Working in your Classroom”.  She has broken it down for any possible way of working in the classroom from listening in the whole group to working with a partner to working independently.  With each way she has listed student’s job, teacher’s job, if you need help, and when you are done working.

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Go to for a better view.  I am thinking this could be a whole class lesson with follow-up in the social skills group with each of the 5 rules taught explicitly.  I am also thinking 3rd/4th grade.


Happy Friday!


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Formulating Questions and Answers


Many of our students struggle to formulate questions when they are trying to show interest in others.  They also struggle to answer questions when asked about an event in their life (what did you do over the weekend?).  Others need practice to increase intelligibility of speech at the level of conversation.


What a fun activity created by  and available at http://www.teacherspayteachers.

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Included in the packet:  printable mustaches (that I laminated and attached to tongue depressors with velcro) and a card game of sample questions for answering and cards for taking turns asking appropriate questions relevant to the topic.

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“Excuse me, dahling, but I mustache you a question!”


One of our favorite activities! Look how our students are referencing the person to which the question is directed with their eyes and by saying the person’s name.

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Some students who have motor planning difficulties or attention deficits often need a visual reminder of what to do “When others do not understand my speech”.  I created this visual to provide that reminder.  There is always a way to help others understand what you are trying to say.

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Our confidential informants have given another good report.  After a conversation with a 4th grade teacher (someone he does not know), Braxton reported that he had “finally defeated the Queen of Wacky Questions and Comments!”.  He also reported that he used flexible thinking and thinking with his eyes to stay in the conversation and defeat the Queen of Wacky of Questions.  Hurray!!  We love reports of our student progress outside the therapy room.  BTW, the Queen of Wacky Questions is one of those Unthinkables from the Superflex Curriculum at  She makes you ask questions that you already know the answer to and make wacky comments not on topic.

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Braxton is holding the Distractor Deflector shield which reminds students that they hold the power to defeat distractors.




The Green Zone of Communication


Keeping with the language of “Zones”,  our activity today was all about the “Green Zone” of communication.  The Green Zone is visual-based Conversation Social Skills Lessons.   It is available at We easily connected the “Zones of Regulation” that we use to the “Green Zone” of communication.

The first visual helped us to see that in a conversation the communication partners must find their shared “Green Zone” of common interests.

Zones of communication

When two people are talking but they each talk only about their interests it’s called “The No Zone”.


Everyone had fun with a hands-on demo.

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With the next visual we discussed that just like with the Zones of Regulation it is best to be in the Green Zone.  When conversation partners are talking about things that they both like they are mixing their interests.  The Green Zone of communication is the place to be.

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We became “social scientists” experimenting with the colors as each student explained the No Zone and the Green Zone of communication in their own words.   Social Scientist, Jack B.  did an excellent job explaining the Green Zone.

Everybuddie loved this activity!

Yours in the Green Zone,


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Think About Others


Garfield finds it easier to concentrate on his own life than think of how others might be feeling. Just like some of our 2nd grade lunch buddies, Garfield needs to learn that magical social skill, thinking about others, to make and keep relationships with friends and family.

Making friend files is one way to help when we are thinking about others.  Our activity today came from  The packet is called Magical Social Skills and it is available at


First, we discussed what it means to think about others.  Then, we completed the thinking about others activity fill-in sheet.  Each member of the group provided information about themselves, such as “I like to talk about ____”.  Guess who answered “myself”?  Everyone read their information out loud.  We all had to remember things about other lunch buddies so that when we picked a game card that instructed us to ” say about the person on your left something they do not like about school” we could open up our file and think about the other person.  It was a challenge for some  lunch buddies.  Lots of modeling needed for this activity today.  What is very cool is that, even though the activities are getting harder and harder, nobody gives up.  I think we all had fun.

On the plus side of lunchbuddiesplus…

We are creating task boxes, shoebox activities or work boxes for some of our students who are learning how to learn.

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Following a visual schedule for our session today, most of  the activities were life skills.  Each activity fit into a box.  We love the benefits of the shoebox activities:  1) help students know what is expected.  There is a definite beginning middle, and end,  2) the activities encourage independence, and 3) the activities are visual and broken down into small steps.


Counting out clothespins to match the number word is a fun activity.


little big sort


There are many good file folder activities, such as this Big/Little sort, at http://www.boardmakershare.




You know, it is April!  My creative brain is running on empty.  Anyone out there have taskbox activity or file folder activity ideas to share?





Zones of Regulation App

zones logo

An exciting new app is out to accompany the Zones of Regulation curriculum.  We love the Zones curriculum because it provides a framework for thinking.  Thinking about you, thinking about you thinking about me.  We want our students to consciously regulate their behaviors .

zones-1The app highlights how to read others’ facial expressions and recognize a broader range of emotions and perspectives about how others see and react to their behavior.

zones 3The app helps students learn to use strategies or tools to manage their feelings and behaviors in each zone.  They explore various calming techniques, cognitive strategies, and sensory supports.

Love it so far.  $4.99 at the App Store

The 2nd grade lunch buddies group had a very challenging activity today.  Continuing the Super Hero Social Skills activities from, we talked about a super hero as a problem solver.  A super hero has a toolbox full of tools to help him get out of tricky situations.  After discussing the tools in the social skills toolbox it was difficult for our students to know which tools to choose depending on the problem and how to apply them to a specific problem.  We heard, “I don’t know what to do!” when students were confronted with problems.  I think we will spend some time on this particular super power.


Back in stride,


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