Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cool School Tools - seat sack

Are you aways waiting for students to find their assignment notebooks at the end of the day, buried in a sea of loose papers in their desk? Well, look to the seat sack for instant organization! The seat sack can hold items that are used frequently during the school day. Available at Therapro (www.theraproducts.com/) and Childcraft (www.childcrafteducation.com/).

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Now that it fits, get out of that desk!

After all that talk about good seating and positioning for school function, let's get the students out of their desks! Our bodies were not made to sit for extended times. Did you know that Winston Churchill did much of his work while standing at his desk? Let's explore some alternate positions for school work.

Standing - Choose a tall counter for a work area. Some students have more attention while standing.

Sitting backwards on chair - This puts the body in a forward leaning position, ideal for writing. It also is a good position for squirmers because it "grounds" them.

Lying prone on the floor (often seen in Hosmer hallways or on rugs in classrooms) - This is a geat position for several reasons. First, it stabilizes the forearms so that the hand muscles (not arm) are used for writing. Secondly, it encourages visual attention.

Sitting in a beanbag chair - This provides a comfortable, supported seating option. Great for writing with a clipboard or typing on an AlphaSmart.

If students need to be in a desk for longer than 20 minutes, do a few quick stretches. Yoga poses, chair push ups, and brain gym "tune ups" are some examples. Check in with OT/PT staff for ideas and resources.

"Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com"

But what about tables?

Now that you have adjusted individual desks, what do you do about tables? This can be tricky since they accommodate any number of children. If you have more than one table, you can make them different sizes (one for larger students, one for smaller students). Again, start with chairs that would fit this particular group. Then adjust the table top to be at the height 2 inches above the student's bent elbow when sitting.

If you have multisized students and only one table, fit the table to the larger students (not the adults in the room, however). Then provide foot stools to accommodate the smaller students.

It is so important for feet to be firmly planted on the ground. Come by the OT/PT room and ask for a phone book. When wrapped in ducktape with nonslip material on the bottom, they work quite well as footstools.

The School Function Quick Tip

Place the Paper - Paper should be placed at a slight angle to follow the natural arc of the writing hand. For right-handed children, put the right corner higher; for left-handed, the left corner is higher. The writing hand is below the line of writing. This encourages the correct wrist position (not awkwardly bent in a "hook" position).