Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Google Docs and Spreadsheets

Create and share your projects online and access them from anywhere.

Have you looked beyond the basic search feature of Google? One useful item is Google Docs and Spreadsheets. It is a way to collaborate online. You decide who you want to invite to work on a document with you. You can create a team assessment, record group consultation notes and more. If you start a project at work, it is to online for you to continue it at home.

Think of all the student applications. If two students read the same book and are writing a book review together, they can be writing at the same time. How many times do we see one student sitting by and watching the other type? Let's make them both active participants!

When students work on group projects, it is not always possible to get together outside of school time. By creating a Google document and inviting peer collaborators, each person can add their section to the project. You got to love Web 2.0!

For more Google tools, go to Google for Educators.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dive Into!

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

Pablo Picasso

It is so easy to be a life long learner this day and age. Not only do we have a wealth of information at our fingertips, but we have many opportunities to share, produce, create and collaborate.

Why not start with, an online bookmarking site. Have you found yourself sitting at one of the library computers saving an interesting site, then later wondering where it was (computer # 8 or was it #9) ? And what about that site you saved at your home computer that you were hoping to use with a youngster at school? Worry no more. Your sites are saved online and you can access them from any computer anywhere.

It doesn't stop there, however. Since these sites are online, they can be shared with everyone. The Hosmer special education staff has a account. Go to Take a look to see what they have considered worth saving!

If you are ready to create a delicious account for yourself, please see Karen Janowski's site, Ed Technology Solutions - Teaching Every Student: Online Bookmarking Resource for Educators. She wrote a recent post on the process.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Digital Natives

Fifteen years ago, the web went world wide. That means the students we work with at Hosmer School are all born AWWW (after world wide web). The internet and other digital tools have been part of their lives since they were born. Their generation is often referred to as "digital natives". Marc Prensky used the term in his 2001 article titled, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants - A New Way Of Looking At Ourselves and Our Kids.

If our students are digital natives, we are digital immigrants. Some of us struggle to learn the new language. Those of us who have attempted to educate ourselves still retain our old accents. There is no getting around it. As adults, we bring with us a certain trepidation when approaching new technology.

Now we have begun vacation week, take a minute to watch this entertaining video called "Introducing the book". It is guaranteed to bring you some laughs.

Do you recognize yourself? I do! Each day, I try to be more "kid like" in my approach, however. Kids tackle a new digital task without the fear of making a mistake. They are not afraid to push a button, click on an object or explore a program. They try, fail, try, fail, try, fail, try and then succeed. We can learn from this process. Don't hold back...begin your discovery! Become a life long learner.

This video was posted on Karen Janowski's blog, Teaching Every Student. Visit her site for a wealth of tips, information and ideas as you continue your journey as a digital immigrant.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Creative Organizer

Here is a video my nephew created trying to clean his room. Although it took four days, you can watch the process in 26 seconds. If only it was that easy. Enjoy!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Get It Out Of The Desk!

Material Spatial Disorganization is a term coined by Dr. Mel Levine from All Kinds Of Minds. It refers to a challenge in organizing our physical world. Young or old, some of us have an uncanny ability to know where things are at a moment's notice. Others of us struggle with locating an object which leaves us frustrated and stressed. If this lost object is a homework assignment or a signed permission slip, then the consequences can be great.

We all know that a student's desk can be a black hole, accepting many objects but with no assurance that they will come out again. Our principal offered this solution. Use a folder bin to keep folders "at the ready". It makes filing loose papers more digging through your desk to find the desired folder.

When in doubt, keep it out!

Make It Visable

Continuing on with the theme of accessibility, this is a nice strategy for those students who need to "see" the contents of their desks. Do you remember the old lift top desks? To retrieve materials, you raised the desk top to have a clear view of the desk contents. With today's standard "front loading" desks, you need to bend and peer into darkness. Try to construct a pull out drawer that fits standard folders and notebooks. We make ours from the covers of copy paper boxes. They are the correct width and just need to be cut down in length. Now the student is able to pull out the drawer to see what materials they need.

Who Can Refuse?

Please Pop!

We tape a sheet of bubble wrap on the wall next to the door of the OT/PT room. This gives students a chance to pop a few bubbles when they enter. The benefits? Finger isolation, tripod grasp, deep pressure to index finger joints and increased alertness.

All the kids know is that it is fun.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why Power Stations?

As occupational therapists working in schools, we have a unique job. Our primary focus is to improve the occupational performance of children as learners. Participation in all areas of the school day is our goal. "Best practice" guides our interventions, which are based on clinical reasoning and evidence.

Why power stations? We know that providing theoretically sound interventions during daily life routines improves participation (Dunst etal.,200,2001,2002,2004). Sensory processing interventions need to be part of the natural context to support generalization (Hanft & Pilkington, 2000).

Stay tuned for more ways we integrate our interventions within the school environment.