I don’t know of anything that makes me happier than working in classrooms. Mrs. Rairden (OT) and I began going into one of the K classes about a month ago. Our view is that if we can get everyone to use the same Social Thinking® vocabulary and concepts, we can support each other throughout the day. Take a look at how we do it – Very special moments as we practice mindfulness.
This is called the “Hello Game”. During the Hello Game each child looks into the face/eyes of the person sitting next to them and says “Hello, your eyes are____”, or ” Hello, your eyes look _____”. The first time we did this game, there were lots of giggles and uncomfortable thoughts. Now, the children are much more comfortable thinking about others on purpose.
We heard the sweetest things. “Your eyes look shiny”, “Your eyes are beautiful”, and “Your eyes are smiling” just to name a few.
There are so many wonderful books available that help students to understand “thinking about you, thinking about me” and other social concepts. Thinking Thoughts and Feeling Feelings is part of the Incredible Flexible You Curriculum from Social Thinking®. Your brain is where you think a thought and your heart is your feelings keeper.
We use lots of visuals, like thought bubbles. We talk about how our thoughts affect our feelings and that we can change our feelings by changing our thoughts. The Zones of Regulation® is featured in our weekly activities. We know that it is ok to feel our feelings but it is what we do when we feel those feelings that is important. A great social story for this concept is Sometimes I Feel Green by Lynn Hubbell and available at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com.
Here I am reading The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. The story is about a girl who shows persistence and hard work. She does not give up until her invention is just right. Her assistant, her dog, is very supportive and suggests coping strategies along the way. The children loved the story.
Did you notice my Wonder Woman Bracelets? Wednesday was a particularly difficult day. The slings and arrows were mentally fended off by this visual support! :).
We are working to match the size of our reactions to the size of the problem. If we stop to think about the size of the problem, we are often able to solve it ourselves, easy-peasy, and get on with the job at hand.
We are all a work in progress!