Learning and Sharing

What would a good sport do?


We are always striving for good sportsmanship in the Lunch Buddies groups.  Even with all of our coping strategies like positive self-talk ( “maybe I will win next time” or “if you had fun-you won”),  it is hard to be a good sport about losing a game.  Good sportsmanship is about respect.   We respect the rules of the game.  We respect all the players efforts.    Sportsmanship is the ability to win without gloating and lose without pouting.   We offer words of encouragement and words of praise.

Our activity today-

photo 1

A Social Story, a power card for being a good sport and a game “what would a good sport do?” created by CC at and available for purchase at

And then, a lively game of Cars Uno


The Lunch Buddies used their best “sportsmanship” as we played.


Lots of new yoga poses




Having fun,


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Say What?


Have you ever played the game “telephone”?  We did today in the third grade group with lots of laughs and “rubber chicken” moments!


We started out the session with a social story and power card for Listening To Others.  The activity was created by CC at  The Space Hero Social Skills packet is available for purchase at

Included in the packet are cards printed with statements for the game”telephone”.  One must be a very good listener to be successful at this game.  The first player had to read the card and whisper in the next player’s ear.  That player whispered what they heard in the next player’s ear.  That player must then tell everyone what they heard.


Some kiddos had to learn how to whisper!



Big fun!  We became better listeners as the game went on.

My Best,


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We utilize both co-regulation and self-regulation throughout our lives and they play important roles in our growth and development.  Self-regulation is a constant in our Lunch Buddies groups.  I refer to the techniques and coping strategies that we use in this blog.  In helping children learn to self-regulate, we sometimes miss the most important step.  That step is co-regulation.

Zoe Thompson at writes that “co-regulation is the first step in the communicative dance  and the basis for all human communication. In order to communicate verbally, children have to understand that there is a back and forth in an interaction”.

Check out for Laura Hynes’ article.  She writes that “Co-regulation has been identified as one of the core deficits present in individuals with ASD.  Co-regulation is the most simple form of interaction and communication.”  She provides a list of examples for how parents can work on co-regulation with their child.

Linda Murphy, Speech Pathologist and RDI consultant, writes in her great articles Co-regulation:  The Basis for All Social Interaction that co-regulation may be described as “being in-sync.  In fact, for co-regulation to be established, the interaction must be balanced, meaning that both individuals would exhibit competence in their roles and do equal amounts of the “work”.”  She also gives us Impediments to Co-Regulation:

  • prematurely prompting or overcompensating

We create an unbalanced interaction since we are doing more of the work.  It is important to wait and allow children the time they need to assume their role independently.

  • being product focused

When we focus on the completion of a task, we tend to increase our pace.  As the interaction speeds up, the child may not be able to authentically or independently assume his/her role.  It is important to remember to slow down.

  • creating roles that are too difficult

When we create roles that are too difficult for the child, we likely end up overcompensating  or over-prompting.

  • telling children exactly what to do (or say)

When we tell children exactly what to do or say, we take away their opportunity to uniquely add to the interaction.

  • focusing too much on talking

When we focus too much on talking, we miss the opportunities to establish coordinated movements.  Look beyond words for opportunities to work together as a team.

Oh, boy!  The above list are some of my biggest pet peeves.

Self-regulation and co-regulation are important in the classroom as students work in collaborative learning groups.  Students must set goals and monitor their progress, engage and persist in tasks, and sustain attention.  For some students, it is very hard to be part of the group plan.  As parents, teachers and therapists it is critical that we set the stage for co-regulation and establish co-regulation patterns.  It is important that students with ASD learn to “just be” with another person on a very basic communicative level or share space effectively.

Linda Murphy recommends the following:

  • cooperative clean up

Remember that process is more important that product.  Create an assembly line. Positive memories motivate us to try again.

  • engage in moving tasks together

Communicate that the child’s participation is needed and that the job cannot be done alone.

Laurel at recommends that we do not allow the child to control the interaction.  Some children will attempt to take control by talking about an obsessive topic or insisting that we engage in a script with them.  Here is a great way to deal with that-wear head-phones to give a visual cue that you will not participate in the interaction.  Love that one, Laurel!

Just wanted to share what I have been learning in my self-study into co-regulation and self-regulation.

My Best,


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Making An Impression


This week, our social skills focus included making impressions.  Our behavior affects others.   We want others to have good thoughts and good feelings about us so we need to be mindful of the impression we are making.  We make impressions by what we say, what we do, and how we look.

When we keep our brain and body in the conversation, our communication partners will feel that we are interested in them and what they are saying.   Make sure that your communication partners have an equal amount of talking time-don’t use up all the words.  If you use up all the words, the impression you could make is that you are uncaring and annoying.   The topics that you talk about are very important, too.  If you only talk about violent things your communication partners may feel nervous and uncomfortable.

Your facial expression and body language is very important to making impressions.  Smile and look at your communication partners.  The impression will be that you are friendly and nice.  It is also important that you pay attention to how you look.  If you have yogurt on your face while you are talking to a friend at lunch, the impression could be that you are messy.  If you pick your nose during group others will be totally grossed out.

Our visual, created by Jill Kuzma and available at, helps everyone to see how important it is to think about others and be mindful of what they might be thinking about you.



Our activity


is part of Help! I Need Social Skills Pack created by The Dabbling Speechie and available for purchase on

I want to report that our star mentor, Davis Elliott, made a wonderful impression on us this week!  He is calm and easy-going.  His critical thinking skills helped all of us in the second grade group.  The impression is that he is a natural mentor!

Stay dry and enjoy your weekend!

My Best,


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New Additions to Book Chat


The purpose of the Friday Book Chat is to help students with ASD develop reading comprehension skills.  What does reading comprehension depend on?  Audra Jensen explains in her book I Get It! that “In their review of the research literature,  Cain and Oakhill (2007) identify three distinct predictors of reading comprehension: the ability to answer inferential questions, the ability to monitor comprehension, and the capacity to understand story structure”.

Maryellen Moreau, founder of MindWing Concepts, Inc, developed  the Story Grammar Marker ® as an effective way to teach students who struggle with the concept of story structure.  Here is what it looks like-


This visual representation system helps students understand the story itself and free up working memory so they can do more thinking.  The green pompom represents the Character (a person, animal or other being).  The star represents the Setting (chosen as the icon because sailors look to the stars to determine their location and direction).  The initiating event is represented by a Shoe ( the initiating event is the “kick off”).  And on it goes…  For more information about the Story Grammar Marker® go to

We do love our visuals and manipulatives!!

I got the Story Grammar Marker or SGM® APP for iPad.  I think it will be a very popular tool.


Will keep you posted on how this is all received in Book Chat!

Have a great week everyone.  Parent-teacher conferences Thursday evening and Friday morning.



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Spread the Word!


I love Book Chat more each week that we meet!  A new student joined the group on Friday and I think his presence will kick things up a notch.  I discovered that if he knows what is expected he will do his best to give exactly that and to encourage his friends in the group to give it too!

The resource teacher and I discussed in our planning sessions how we would like for the students to be more spontaneous with their questions and comments as we read the book for Book Chat.   We would like for them to be spontaneous but at the same time show impulse control and not blurt out when others are talking and to balance the talking time.

This week I revised the script.  It looked like this-


We have experienced students talking over each other and interrupting, but it is expected that we all take turns and if someone starts talking you need to stop and wait for your turn.  We always like to hear supporting comments because it makes us all feel good.  The students have not been asking questions or commenting very much without a spoken prompt or a lead in phrase but it is expected that students verbally participate (staying on topic, of course!).   On the new script, I showed them what that would sound like and what words they could use.  Worked like a charm!  All three adults in the Friday Book Chat had smiles on their faces!

We read this book for Book Chat-


Your Very Own Robot by R. A. Montgomery is a choose your own adventure book.  We created the story with our choices. As we read this book we had to work together to make a choice using information we had gathered and decided on as a group.  It was fun to see where our choices took us!  In the book there are 12 possible endings.

Spread the Word…Book Chat is fun!

My Best,


PS  As I finished this post I remembered a perfect visual for helping this group to talk more or less.  Will introduce this next Friday!



The Group Plan


The Incredible Flexible You lesson for this week was about the Group Plan.  We moved on from Thinking Thoughts as individuals to thinking about something together.  The expectation is for the students to begin to understand that they are part of a group and the group has a plan.  When everyone follows the group plan then it works!

I started the opening routine by acknowledging and greeting each student and saying ” (Name) is in the group and ready to think about the plan”.  By the time I finished they were very curious about “the plan”.

Next we read


The children in the book showed us what it means to follow the group plan.  They also showed us what happens to the group when we follow our own plan.

Of course, we sang and danced to the song The Plan.

Next, we played a game, which I referred to as “our group plan”.  I explained to the students that our group plan was to pass eggs and fill a bucket.  As the music played we passed a plastic egg from student to student.  When the music stopped the student holding the egg put it in the bucket.  When the bucket was full I reinforced the concept by saying “We followed the group plan and filled the bucket with eggs together”.

I love the generalization tips called Beyond the Lesson.  Just because the lesson is over doesn’t mean the learning stops!  It is important to continue to use and reinforce the group plan vocabulary throughout the school day.  “It is circle time.  The plan is to put your body in the group”  or “the group plan is to get your backpack and wait by the door” are examples.

The purpose of this weeks lesson was to increase the students’ awareness that there is an overall plan.

Find more information about The Incredible Flexible You at

Have a great weekend everyone!



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What’s “bugging” you?




Today the 3rd/4th graders had a great time in the social group.  Our discussion of what it means to be a friend continues and today we read




This book got a lot of laughs as we read all the tips on what to do if you want to get rid of your friends.  The girl in the book tattled and was selfish and stingy.  She played tricks on people and whined.  She had tantrums and bullied younger kids.  Even her cat and dog were afraid of her grouchy, grumpy moods.  Guess what?  She figured out that all those behaviors made kids have uncomfortable thoughts about her and didn’t want to be around her at all.  In the end, she realized that ya gotta have friends.

We talked about how some behaviors “bug” us.  I passed out plastic bugs and as we thought of behaviors that “bug” us we placed the bugs in the middle of the table.  Some of the things that “bug” us are: tattling, interrupting, and being tricked.




We did a bit of self-reflection.  What do we do that “bugs” others?



I found this activity on Pinterest.  Visit for details.

My Best,


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