Work hard; play hard!

Work hard; play hard!
Consulting in Maui!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hink Pinks for Vocabulary FUN!

Click here for a copy of the chart.

Every spring, as my students start getting restless, I pull out the word puzzle contest for the month. I have done analogies, wuzzles, etc. This year I have chosen my favorite again....HINK PINKS! I love HINK PINKS! These are word puzzles that you answer with one syllable rhyming words. Hinky Pinkies are two syllable and Hinkety Pinketies are three syllable rhyming word answers. I find that the one syllable is the best level for my students. These are great for working on vocabulary and overall thinking skills.
In the picture above, you can see that I have a chart that students keep track of their correct answers. These points bring them that much closer to hot cocoa or a root beer float! I usually put up three per week. They can work on them as a group or individually. I also tell them that they can bring them home and get help from their family. This is a great way to draw families into the fun.

I am including Barbara Evans' links for them. She is my favorite creator of them.
She provides them free through TPT. You can also just put hink pinks in Google and there will be sites for you! Have fun!

Click here for Easter Hink Pinks
Click here for St Patrick's Day Hink Pinks

Friday, March 13, 2015

Social Skills Bucks- The Buck Stops Here


We decided that that was a fitting title for this lesson. We said that means, "no excuses and that you need to take responsibility for yourself and your behaviors". That is why we made the Social Skills BUCK!

Click here for a copy of the bucks. 

Our social skills class has been working hard all year on increasing our awareness of our behaviors, owning and fixing our behaviors, and trying to increase our overall accountability to others and how we affect them. So this month we decided it was time to start social skills bucks. The students get paid $15 in social skills bucks every Monday for doing their job, as a student. Then throughout the week they lose bucks as they self-report or others report on their behavior choices. We decided for this month that the students could not earn any more because we wanted them to see that behavior choices have consequences. We told them that maybe next month we would be able to add to their bank accounts for exceptional choices.

On Fridays we open up the Social Skills Store. The student with the most money at the end of the week gets to start shopping first. They can also choose to not spend their money and put it in their Social Skills Savings Account for the end of the year. Once they decide how much money they are going to spend at the store, they put all of the leftover money in their savings account. They cannot take that money out until the end of the year. They also have to keep ledgers for their savings account.

Some students end the week with all fifteen of their Social Skills Bucks;  some end the week with zero bucks in their checking account. This makes for a long Friday for them.

Behavior Umbrellas

During our social skills groups, we were finding that our students kept working on extinguishing one behavior only to pick up another behavior in the same behavior grouping. So, out of necessity to explain the overall behavior, I created what I called "Behavior Umbrellas". This was done on the fly with one of my students who would fall on the spectrum. Since I did it with him though I now had to stick with the visual that I first presented, the umbrella. :-)

*PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM NOT A PSYCHOLOGIST (Although, I always tease that I think I was one in another lifetime and it was my first chosen major. :-)). This is not a diagnosing tool at all.

I just needed to teach my social skills kids some common vocabulary and hopefully understanding for the groupings of behaviors. I wanted them to understand that they needed to start figuring out the patterns in their behavior choices and work on the behavior pattern and not just the specific behaviors. For example, if they are being talked into swearing or being tardy or bullying by someone, then they need to fully understand peer pressure and how those specific behaviors fall under that "behavior umbrella".

I made this full size poster for the classroom to give us a visual reminder and to also allow us to have a working tool that is up during class. When a behavior comes up in class, we now will talk about what behavior grouping the falls under for them.

Here are the worksheets that I created for the different behavior umbrellas:

Click here for a blank behavior umbrella so you can create your own behavior umbrellas. 
Click here for a completed aggression behavior umbrella.
Click here for a blank aggression behavior umbrella.
Click here for a completed avoidance behavior umbrella. 
Click here for a blank avoidance behavior umbrella.
Click here for a completed defiance behavior umbrella. 
Click here for a blank defiance behavior umbrella.
Click here for a completed disruptive/rule breaker behavior umbrella.
Click here for a blank disruptive/rule breaker behavior umbrella. 
Click here for a completed impulsive behavior umbrella. 
Click here for a blank impulsive behavior umbrella. 
Click here for a completed peer pressure behavior umbrella.
Click here for a blank peer pressure behavior umbrella.
Click here for a completed social withdrawl behavior umbrella. 
Click here for a blank social withdrawl behavior umbrella.
Click here for a completed somatic behavior umbrella.
Click here for a blank somatic behavior umbrella.

Depending upon the students in your group and their level of understanding, you can use these in different ways. We projected the blank one up on the white board and went through them each as a class. Then we had them write the responses on their own worksheets. The group, that I work with, rangea in IQ's from the 60's to the 120's and above. Even with the large range of cognitive abilities, this group works! This has to be my favorite class to teach every year!

For our higher level kids, this umbrella concept made sense. They started to see the patterns in their behaviors. Now will this lead us to better choices in our behaviors? This is yet to be determined. I always think though that increased understanding has to lead to increased level of decision making. In the perfect world, this would probably (notice the disclaimer word there!) be so. In a social skills class, this is not always necessarily true. It has given us though another avenue for discussion of their behavior choices.