Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Part 3: Art Supports

Just wanted to continue some of my previous ramblings from here and here.  I've taken inspiration from Peter Jackson's Hobbit and broken my posts on Art Supports into three lengthy pages.  Unfortunately for you, none of my posts feature any of the sprightly hobbit-y songs to keep you from falling asleep during those LOOONG shots of the New Zealand landscape.  But, Hobbit you stick around, grab your elevenses, and stick with me, eh?

Sometimes, I have little Art friends who:

A) Need a chill break to regroup and calm themselves


B) Choose to continue flicking clay boogers at their tablemates (or other such naughties)

That's when the Choice Chair enters.  This space is in a nice, quiet nook of my Art Room, and gives kids the opportunity to use strategies to calm their bodies.  For some of my students with autism or behavioral needs, this spot gives them an opportunity to regroup and then rejoin their classmates.  The Choice Chair has zero negative connotation, and my students are really kind when a classmate is using the chair.  At the beginning of the year, part of my Art Room spiel is going over the Choice Chair and its use, so the kids have heard from me, it's okay to need a break!

My students love the Break Box.  Sometimes, if a child is having a difficult time (meltdown, sensory overload, etc.), they struggle with verbalizing their thoughts.  There are other times where students ask to use the Choice Chair for a few minutes to calm down, recognizing that they need a break.  This is an opportunity where I would really praise the student after he/she has calmed their body.  My students understand that sometimes we just need a break.

My Break Box contains:
  • Breathe Bottle - this is simply a water bottle filled with water, glitter glue, and loose glitter)
  • Sensory Balls - these are great for some of my tactile little learners who need a squeeze break
  • Sand timers - I have timers for 3, 2, and 1 minute breaks
  • Deep Breath Cue Sheet - this is a laminated sheet with cues to take 5 deep breaths
Depending on the student using the chair, I will set out the Break Box (or certain items from the box) and ask the student to start the sand timer.  There are cues posted above the Choice Chair and students know to raise their hands when they feel ready.  The visual cues are extremely helpful for my students with autism, as well as, my students with limited English proficiency.

For the Deep Breath Cue Sheet, some of my students will use a dry erase marker to "X" out each number as they take their deep breaths too.

Whew, that was a lot of information! Thanks for hanging around to read this post (or skim it, or heck, even just look at the pictures).  I think I need a break, but the chocolatey Kit Kat bar type of break of course!

It's a Shire bet I'll be posting some of my other favorite Art Room spaces in the very near future.  That's all for now, Mordor less.