Screaming Ghosts and the Ice Bird: More Spooktacular Fun

In this session, my social learning group talked about anger and how it affects our body. Leah Kuypers explains in her curriculum The Zones of Regulation (http://zonesofregulation.com/), if someone is very upset they are described as being in the Red Zone.  When you are in the Red Zone, you might want to scream or yell. However, there are tools you can use to cool down and regulate your body to a more expected state.  The Zones of Regulation® by Leah Kuypers, MA is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. 

IMG_2439

Even our mascot Meditation Piggy got into the Ice Game!

Our lesson always begins with some breath practice and a message about mindfulness. Today we played the melting ice game. Each child was asked to sit in a quiet, comfortable space. They could close their eyes if they wished. I reminded them about strategies for calming your amygdala.  Then I gave them a small chip of ice to hold and asked to them to simply notice the feelings in their mind and body and try to relax. They remained quiet and calm and took slow, deep breaths until the ice melted. This wonderful activity on mindfulness can be found in Susan Kaiser Greenland’s book, The Mindful Child.

 After the ice melted, we talked a little bit about what we were thinking and feeling as we held the ice. Then we moved on to a lively discussion about our triggers or things that really make us mad.

We made a chart of all the possible physical reactions to anger.

Next, I gave them some sample situations and asked them to rate how upset they would be for each situation on a scale of 1-5 with a 5 as exploding with anger.

Finally, they went over to the Ice Bird and chose a cool down tool that they could use in that situation. The Ice Bird reminds us that although anger can be cold, anger can melt away if you use the right tools and warm your heart. We role-played some of the situations and cool down tools.

I found the Ice Bird Costume at one of my favorite stores, Five Below. I simply stretched the Ice Bird costume out over a wooden beanbag toss stand that I had in my classroom. The kiddos just love Angry Birds so this was a big hit. The tools were taped onto the costume so the students could pick one out that might be good to use in that situation.

IMG_2445At the end of the lesson, we had a little science fun with another Steve Spangler experiment called The Screaming Ghost. Here’s how the experiment went:

  • Place a hex nut into the mouth of an uninflated balloon and shake it down until it rests on the bottom of the balloon.
  • Blow up the balloon and take great care so that you don’t suck the hex nut back out accidentally.
  • Tie the balloon.
  • Draw an angry face (Red Zone face) on the balloon with a Sharpie marker.
  • Make the hex nut swirl around inside by moving the balloon in a swirling circular motion. This took a little practice and I would suggest watching Steve Spangler’s video on Youtube before you teach your kiddos how to do this so the balloon doesn’t pop.
  • Listen to the balloon scream!
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAMW_3kWUhE

We were definitely in the Yellow Zone with all the excitement with the screaming balloons! However, we wanted to return our bodies to the Green Zone before the kiddos went home with their parents. So, we ended our lesson with a little cool down called “Pumpkin Breaths.” In this breathing exercise, each child placed a round “pumpkin” noodle slice on their belly. As they used their belly breathing, the pumpkin would rise on the inhale and lower on the exhale. This was a wonderful way to relax and calm their minds and bodies.

I hope you will enjoy using this lesson with your kiddos!

Group lesson was inspired by Social Thinking®, Superflex®, and The Incredible Flexible You™ curriculums by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and by The Zones of Regulation®, by Leah Kuypers, MA. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. 

 

Whole Body Listening Larry’s Brain is Out of the Group!

There’s been a horrible accident in the science lab. It looks like Whole Body Listening Larry was unable to keep his eyes, hands, feet, heart, and brain in the group! Our social learning group had a little Halloween fun today as we examined Larry’s growing body parts and eyes under a black light (courtesy of Steve Spangler http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/). The kiddos also loved discovering that inside the bowl of ordinary looking water were invisible eyes hiding just below the surface. It was so exciting finding the eyes with the black light. Each student took turns picking the jelly-like eyes up slowly and returning the eyes back “in the group” or bowl and watching them vanish again as they submerged in the water. 

        IMG_2510

We were able to take a closer look at another brain (made of gelatin!) and talk about the functions of the brain and label the parts. I found this Zombie Gelatin Mold this summer at Urban Outfitters for only $1!

 IMG_2506  

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Whole Body Listening Larry by Kristen Wilson and Elizabeth Sautter, this two book series helps children have a better concept of Whole Body Listening and how they need to listen to not only get information, but to be a part of a group. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com.

 

An Unthinkable Burial- FREE Superflex Activity for Halloween!

Wow! I can’t belive it has been sooo long since I have posted anything! Yes- I’m still here! Here’s an activity I plan to try this afternoon with my Social Thinking Group. This particular group has been working with me for quite some time and they are already very familiar with Michelle Garcia Winner’s Unthinkables. This is just something for fun for the Halloween season! Enjoy!

Slide3Slide17

Click here for the PDF of this Free Activity:

Unthinkable Burial

Springtime Fun

267Brrr… hard to believe it is spring with all the cold weather lately! This week my social learning group enjoyed some spring time activities complete with an egg hunt.

1. For our Warm-Up Activity, we pretended to be Fragile Eggs. One at a time, a large bean bag was placed gently on top of the student. When they were ready, the student jumped up and pushed away the beanbag as if they were a baby chick hatching from their egg. One student surprised us with hatching “Gangnam Style!”

224

    225

2. Then we practiced Flower Pose and Rabbit Pose. 228 235

3. For our Breath Practice, we did Bunny Breaths. First, we twitched our nose like a bunny and then we took 4 quick short breaths in through our nose. Then we breathed out through our mouth slowly. We repeated Bunny Breaths 3 times.

4. Talk Time came next. We passed around a bunny and shared with the group which Unthinkable character from the Superflex® curriculum was the hardest to defeat. Social Thinking® is by MIcehelle Garcia Winner and Superflex® by Michelle Garcia Winner and Stephanie Madrigal. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. One of my students had me rolling with laughter when he said that he thought maybe Rock Brain was the hardest for me as it sure seems like I am stuck on Rubber Chickens!  (For more information about Superflex and the Unthinkable characters, please go to www.socialthinking.com

5. Our group activity was a lot of fun. We did an Unthinkable I divided the group into two and instructed each group to find 18 eggs that were hidden inside the classroom. Each egg contained a slip of paper with a situation that described an Unthinkable character that was defeated or an Unthinkable character that needed to be defeated. As a group, they had to figure out which Unthinkable character it could be and match it to the correct character on the Superflex poster. Everyone tried their best and worked well as a group.

6. Time for some movement with a Springtime Obstacle Course! We hopped over eggs onto a colored felt square.

257We walked over a balance beam carrying an egg with a spoon.

265

We tossed plastic eggs into a basket.

259

7. Time to relax and calm our bodies. I found this relaxation story from Bodylogique: http://bodylogique.blogspot.com/2012/04/guided-imagery-spring-themed-self.html#!/2012/04/guided-imagery-spring-themed-self.html

A Terrific Tuesday!

– Mary

A Mindful Journey Over the Rainbow

We found ourselves over the rainbow in group this week as we continued our journey on mindfulness and Social Thinking®. The children focused on paying attention to the here and now and learned about the importance of being mindful by treating others with kindness and compassion. The mindfulness strategies also help us defeat the Unthinkables Energy Hare-y, Brain Eater, and Mean Jean from Michelle Garcia Winner’s Superflex Curriculum! For more information about these Unthinkables, please go to www.socialthinking.com. Superflex® and the Unthinkables© were developed and copyrighted by Michelle Garcia Winner and Stephanie Madrigal.

For our Warm-Up, we got into Partner Yoga Bridges while we listened to Kermit the Frog singing “Rainbow Connection.”

.

The Partner Bridge Pose is a great way to practice balance and cooperation. It’s a more difficult pose as it requires a great deal of strength, trust, teamwork, and communication. It took some time, but we were eventually able to balance long enough to get a picture taken!
132

Next, we calmed our minds and bodies using our Origami Rainbow Prop for Breath Practice. Leah Kalish, founder of Move with Me Action Adventures, shares this idea for helping kids improve posture! For more information, click on this YouTube video:

imagesCAXAY6R2For Storytime, we read a heartfelt story called The Rainbow Stick Boy by Michael Santolini. Huey, the hero of our story, looks different than anyone else in his town and he longed to fit in. The kids in Chromaville make fun of him because they have never seen anyone with many colors. One day, Huey finds a friend that helps him discover the beauty within himself. This is a wonderful story that reminds us to accept others without judgment. The Rainbow Stick Boy is FREE right now on Amazon! Click here for more information:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008IXP7Q8/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B008IXP7Q8&linkCode=as2&tag=myactcom-20#_

Our next activity is called “Flexible Creations.”  This is a fun mindfulness activity to help with attention, flexibility, and cooperation skills. First, I divided the group into two. Each group was given a black laminated poster board as a base and a set of Wikki Stix. You can do this same activity using toothpicks, pool noodles, pieces of yarn, or even lego blocks.

Silently, each student can add one Wikki stix to create one scene as a group. This time, they were to design a house.

140

“Flexible Creations”

Materials: Wikki Stix & a black laminated poster board

Recommended players: 2-4

Social Goals:

  • Use your imagination.
  • Read someone’s plan.
  • Add to someone’s idea.
  • Read non-verbal body language.
  • Take turns.
  • Give compliments non-verbally.
  • Pay attention.
  • Be flexible.
  • Don’t judge someone’s creation.
  • Build a house together as a team.

Rules:

  1. No talking allowed. Use non-verbal language only.
  2. Place only one stick during your turn.
  3. You can’t build something else while someone else is building. Take turns.
  4. You can’t move someone else’s stix unless you accidentally moved it and you are placing it back.
  5. It’s OK to add items beside your house as long as you are still working together to make one scene.

IMG_0296It turned out to be such a beautiful day and perfect for making Rainbow Snakes!

This is such an easy project. All you need is an empty water bottle, duct tape, a sock, dish soap, and some food coloring.

Step One: Cut the bottom of the water bottle off.

Step Two: Slide the sock over the bottom of the bottle.

Step Three: Use  duct tape or a rubber band to secure the sock.

Step Four:  Pour some dish soap into a shallow container with a little bit of water and gently mix.

Step Five:  Dip the bottom of the sock into the solution. Place a few drops of food coloring onto the wet sock covered end.

Step Six: Step away from others. Now blow gently through the bottle.  Be sure to remind your kiddos to blow air out not suck air in!

For our Cool Down Relaxation, I read The Rainbow in Me from Imaginazium’s Empowerment Pack for Kids.

http://www.imaginazium.com/products-empowerment.html 

Everyone took home their own mini pack of Wikki Stix that I found through Amazon.

Another tremendous Tuesday!

Group lesson was inspired by Social Thinking®, Superflex®, and The Incredible Flexible You™ curriculums by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and by The Zones of Regulation®, by Leah Kuypers, MA. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. 

 

Feeling Lucky

Our lesson this week begins with Dr. Seuss’s book “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are”. First published in 1973, this classic Dr. Seuss book reminds children that no matter what their struggles may be, they should always be thankful. It’s a perfect book to use for a mindfulness lesson and to learn more about Grump Grumpaniny from Michelle Garcia Winner and Stephanie Madrigal’s Superflex® curriculum. For more information about Grump Grumpaniny, please go to www.socialthinking.com. Superflex® and the Unthinkables© were developed and copyrighted by Michelle Garcia Winner and Stephanie Madrigal. In this thought-provoking tale, the young boy, “Duckie”, learns from a wise old man that there are others that are far less fortunate.

When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad…
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…
oh, ever so much more…
oh, muchly much-much more
unluckly than you!

I found an animated video of “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are” on this website:  Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are The children settled down and watched the video while they munched on Lucky Charms cereal. Before the movie started, I instructed the children to save one marshmallow treat of each of the different shapes they found. This took an incredible amount of willpower! After the movie, we took turns picking up one of the marshmallow shapes and sharing something that we were grateful for before we ate the marshmallow. The children talked about how lucky we are to have a nice home, to have food on the table, to go to a good school, to have people in our life that care about us, to have friends, to have clothes to wear, to have toys to play with, and to have pets to love.

At the end of class, I gave each child a real $1 gold coin. Then I told them the leprechaun secret of sharing your good fortune with others. I asked them to look around at what others may need in our community and share their special coin with a charity or person that needs it. Hopefully, the children will come back after Spring Break and tell us how they shared their good fortune!

Trader Joe’s was nice enough to give me FREE stickers for each child, too! Thank you, Trader Joe’s!

IMG_1582    IMG_1585   ??????????????????????????IMG_1603 IMG_1658IMG_1634??????????????

Have a terrific Thursday!

Mary

Group lesson was inspired by Social Thinking®, Superflex®, and The Incredible Flexible You™ curriculums by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and by The Zones of Regulation®, by Leah Kuypers, MA. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. 

 

WasFunnyOnce and the Harlem Shake

Team of UnthinkablesToday we learned about WasFunnyOnce from Superflex®.For more information about WasFunnyOnce, please go to www.socialthinking.com. Superflex® and the Unthinkables© were developed and copyrighted by Michelle Garcia Winner and Stephanie Madrigal.

We have had our fair share of cold and rainy days this winter. When you can’t get outside for recess, it’s hard to fight the Unthinkables! We learned that WasFunnyOnce gets people to use humor at the wrong time, wrong place, or with the wrong person. The person doesn’t realize that humor wears out pretty quickly or at times is not “funny” at all. He doesn’t know the appropriate times for humor and may get so silly that he makes the group fall apart. When the whole group loses control, we call that a silly tornado.

Don’t worry!Superflex® gave us some strategies to fight WasFunnyOnce!

Here’s a glimpse of what we did today in our group lesson:

Warm Up: Chicken Factory

Here’s How to Play: First, you need a rubber chicken. I found mine at Party City. I like to play “The Chicken Dance” song during the activity. Have all players lie down in a line, head to feet. Begin with the chicken between the feet of the first person in line. The first person will roll back with their feet in the air and pass the chicken to the next person’s feet behind them. We usually make two passes through the line. This takes some coordination, motor planning, and attention. Plus, it is a fun way to strengthen your core!

The Chicken Factory activity can be used to work on so many Unthinkables. For example, the Unthinkables we had to fight during this activity included WasFunnyOnce, Space Invader, Rock Brain, Energy Hare-y, Brain Eater, DOF, and Mean Jean. Whew! After we do a group activity like this, we often talk about the Unthinkables that could have popped up during the activity and the Superflex® strategies we used. The kiddos enjoy being a Social Detective and solving some Unthinkable crimes.

Getting Focused: Laughter Yoga

  • Clapping Warm-up: All players should sit in a chair in a circle. Start slowly. While clapping, say “Ho, Ho, Ha, Ha, Ha.” Clap to the front of the circle for “Ho” and to your side for “Ha” Repeat. Switch sides for each “Ha.” Keep going faster and faster!
  • Breath Practice: Sit quietly in your chair with your hands resting on your knees. Now with a smile, breathe in while raising hands over your head. We should hear your breath as the air passes through your teeth. Pause for a few seconds as you reach for the sky. Slowly breathe out through your mouth and lower your hands to your knees. Repeat 3 times.

Group Activity: Harlem Shake: Unthinkable Style

Not another Harlem Shake video! I thought we were learning about WasFunnyOnce! Sorry, I just couldn’t resist making a video with the Harlem Shake and the Unthinkables.  For those of you that may be a little out of touch, the Harlem Shake is a popular style of hip hop dance and the title of a 2012 heavy bass instrumental track produced by Baauer. In February 2013, the dance video went viral and it all began with a masked individual doing the Harlem Shake alone before suddenly cutting to an entire group dancing wildly. Here’s the premise of a typical Harlem Shake video: One person begins dancing to a song while those around him seem not to notice and go about their task. Then the video cuts to a whole bunch of people with crazy props or costumes dancing to the song. I showed my students a few versions of the Harlem Shake on Youtube to give them an idea as to what we were going to try to attempt to do for our Harlem Shake: Unthinkable Style video. The kiddos loved the idea and quickly got how the Harlem Shake can be like WasFunnyOnce in a classroom. The Star Wars edition was their favorite.

Other Harlem Shake videos:

Here’s how our version of the Harlem Shake goes: First, we had to make a plan and agree who would be which Unthinkable. The kiddos certainly have their favorite characters and this took a little compromising. Ready. Action! With the camera rolling, the teacher asks the group to read silently. Then one student, playing the role of WasFunnyOnce, jumps up and starts dancing in class. That’s unexpected! Next thing you know, the entire class joins in and starts dancing. The teacher’s instructions are forgotten and the silly tornado takes over! We loved dressing up like the Unthinkables and it was so much fun to get our wiggles out and JUST DANCE!

Movie Time: After we finished making our video, it was time to start winding down. We watched a couple of short YouTube clips to learn a little more about WasFunnyOnce.

The first one we watched was the trailer for Despicable Me 2. In this clip, 4 of Gru’s minions are singing their own special rendition of the Beach Boy’s 1965 hit Barbara Ann with funny substitutions like “banana” and “potato.” One of the minions keeps blowing a party blower (WasFunnyOnce) and another minion is getting more and more upset by the obnoxious blowing. Spoiler Alert! There’s a Glass Man moment! Of course, the kiddos asked to watch the clip just one more time as they were rolling off their ball chairs with laughter.

In case you want to sing along, here are the lyrics to their rendition of Barbara Ann:

‎BA BA BA BABANANA BA BA BA BABANANA NA NA NA AHH POTATO NA AH AH BANANA AH AH TO GA LI NO PO TA TO NI GA NI BA LO BA NI KA NO JI GA~ BA BA BA BABANANA. YO PLANO HU LA PA NO NO TU MA BANANA LIKE A NUPI TALAMO BANANA BA BA POTATO HO HOOOOOO TO GA LI NO PO TA TO NI GA NI BA LO BA NI KA NO JI GA BA BA BA BABANANAAAAAAAA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuzyODgWRp4&list=PL5EEF1376E2FBDE18&index=2

The second clip was a few words from Mr. Tickle from The Mr. Men Show:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP34RhZFWw4

Cool Down Game: Don’t Make Me Smile!

The group sits in a circle facing inward. One member of the group is ‘it.’ The objective is for this person to make another smile. He goes around the circle, picks a person, and asks him/her, “If you are my friend, would you please, please smile?” The person must respond with, “I am your friend, but I just can’t smile,” without smiling. If he/she smiles, that person becomes ‘it’, replacing the first. If the person ‘it’ does not convince a person to smile, he/she must approach another until he/she does. The person ‘it’ may do any gestures he/she wants to make the person smile, but cannot touch the person.

Closing: Pass the smile: Sitting in a circle, silently pass a rubber chicken to the person sitting next to you and remember to smile and give eye contact.

Relaxation: Laughter Practice: Lie on your back on your yoga mat. Start with a giggle, then let go and truly laugh.  Laughter is contagious!

A Truly Terrific Tuesday!

Group lesson was inspired by Social Thinking®, Superflex®, and The Incredible Flexible You™ curriculums by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and by The Zones of Regulation®, by Leah Kuypers, MA. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. 

 

 

Silly Presents

064Our social learning group talked last week about the hidden social rules for receiving a gift. For practice, we did a short improv activity called “Silly Presents.” All you need is a box wrapped up like a present that can easily be opened and used repeatedly. The giver gives the gift to the recipient and tells then what it is in the box. The giver was instructed to use their IMAGINATION and tell them it is something very silly such as an old, smelly sock. Then the recipient had to decide how to react to the gift by showing gratitude and being FLEXIBLE. They had to do their very best to practice the SOCIAL FAKE and be positive no matter how absurd of a gift.  065

 

 

 

 

 

066

SOCIAL FAKE was developed by Michelle Garcia Winner. Group lesson was inspired by Social Thinking®, Superflex®, and The Incredible Flexible You™ curriculums by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP and by The Zones of Regulation®, by Leah Kuypers, MA. The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. Social Thinking® is a term coined by Michelle Garcia Winner and represents a coordinated teaching framework of curricula, vocabulary, teaching tools and strategies for individuals aged preschool through adults. Learn more at www.socialthinking.com. 

 

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

083A little holiday fun with my social learning group with a team building activity I call “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” We had two teams that were aiming to decorate the dancing Christmas trees with velcro ping pong balls. Each team tried to hit the Christmas tree of the opposing team. One team had a traditional tree and the other team had a Palm Beach holiday tree. The team with the most decorations or ping pong balls at the end won! 086

091

094

Holiday High Five!

IMG_4152Holiday high five everyone! One of our warm-up activities recently asked the children to go around the room and give friendly greetings to all. Before we started, we watched a very funny commercial of an elf greeter that wasn’t so friendly this holiday season. Some of the social secrets we shared included:

  • Look at the person.
  • Smile.
  • Use a friendly voice.
  • Respect personal space.
  • High fives should be “just right” and not “too much.”
  • Spread Christmas cheer just like Buddy the Elf.
  • Smiling is contagious.
  • Acknowledging others by saying hello gives people good thoughts about us!

IMG_4164

If you would like to watch Friendly’s Angry Elf commercial click here: