Thursday, January 31, 2019

February 2019 Task of the Month

Making A Leisure Choice

Our students typically have strong interests and prefer engaging in those interests when they have time to play. We have successfully used this type of choice board to encourage students to try something new. When the students have free time, they are shown the choices. For this student, the list includes written choices.

Students learn to pick one choice during their first break time and place that written word in the “My Choice” box. When break time is finished, the students move the written word into the “Finished” box. When it is time for the next break, they recognize that the first option chosen in no longer available in the “Today’s Choice” box and is finished for the day. The students then realize (after instruction in some cases) they must pick some other activity.

This structured routine, while giving several choices, leads to students’ expanding their interests. Choosing the same item for play may often be the result of comfort in sameness rather than truly enjoying the activity. We find that when students are guided to try a new leisure activity, they often like it and can add it to their interests. We also see fewer negative behaviors when students are able to see in advance what their choices are and when they will receive them. This takes away the often-enjoyable bartering!

For students who understand they are to make a choice but do not yet read, pictures or even objects can indicate the choices.

We teach our beginning students who find objects more meaningful than pictures or words to use an object choice-board. In this example, each of these objects represent a toy; two represent this child’s preferred toys. Our student chooses one item and gives it to the teacher who gives him the associated toy. Each item is removed once the student chooses and then plays with the toy. When the preferred choices are no longer available, the child must choose something different and, thus, learns to play with non-preferred toys.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

January 2019 Task of the Month

We design tasks to eliminate any possible frustration the students may experience when trying to complete them. Because the items in these examples are large and chunky, they are easier to pick up. Because all pieces are contained and stabilized in the shoeboxes, there is no confusion about how to set up the parts. Because the individual items are organized in bins or on a post, they are less likely to fall from the desk.

Such organized tasks also lead to independence. The materials define what the students are to do.

Clarifying beginnings and endings of tasks eliminates the desire of some students to undo the work they just finished. Having materials disappear into slots emphasizes the finish aspect.

Often when designing tasks for our beginning students, we add a sensory component to make the task more interesting to them.

In this activity, the items students are to push through the opening have different textures.

In this task, the plastic shapes make a clanking sound when hitting the bottom of the tin can. Students enjoy memorizing a sing-song phrase to say along with the action. “Clink! Clank!”

After our beginning-level students can complete tasks requiring them to place objects into openings, we often design this type of sorting task for them. Here, the students must figure out which object fits into which opening. Because the cylindrical spool will not fit into the horizontal slit for the buttons and the buttons will not fit into a round opening, the students must think about what they are doing. They must sustain their attention to a problem as they use trial-and-error methods to make the objects fit. Focusing attention in order to problem-solve is an important skill that can be generalized to other tasks as the students make progress. Learning to complete such a simple put-in task has valuable implications for our students.

Our Tasks Galore series of books will aid you in designing activities for all developmental levels. We address all areas of curriculum whether academic or self-help.

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We wish you a very Happy New Year!