Friday, 30 December 2011

DIY Classroom Projects

1. DIY Concentration-Focus Station for Independent Work:

I was googling different items that I wanted to purchase for my classrooms, when I came across something called a concentration station. Such a brilliant idea; I remember using something similar in school, but it was as a punishment not an antecedent intervention. It got the ball rolling on this...
View of the inside; not painted yet. I think I will paint it one solid colour for minimal distractions.

Side view

View from the back
We got a new computer for Christmas, and it came in a neat little box. It is narrow, but high, and opens like a drawer to reveal a little shelf inside. When I saw how conveniently it folds up, I knew it was perfect for my DIY craft.

2. DIY Crash Mat for in-Class Relaxation, Quiet Reading:
At school we made a huge crash mat, under a lovely OTs recommendation. We took an old duvet cover, and filled it with pieces of square foam which we bought (and cut up) from Walmart. Though it was DIY it was still a bit expensive, but nothing compared to what it would have retailed for at a therapy store :)
In this photo you can see that the crash pad is a bit wet in some spots; because it is a duvet it so super easy to spot-clean. When you need to give the whole thing a solid wash, throw the duvet cover into the washing machine. Please remember to take out to foam!

3. DIY Sensory Cool Down: it is Mobile too!
I have talked about my bean buckets before, but in case this is the first you are hearing of is some more information! After sesnory overload, or sensory meltdowns, some of our kids needs help learning to self regulate. By offering tactile opportunities, without demands, we provide a wonderful way for that child to regroup (which is something many of our kidlets struggles with). Kids plunge hands into bean bucket (usually initiated by he instructor at first, then the child once he or she begins to receive feedback from the tactile opportunities. See image below for example; here is what can go into a bean bucket!

-Dry beans
-Dry lentils of various colours
-Textured beads, multicoloured
-Gluten Free Pasta shells
-A sprinkling of corn flour

The bin is from Wal Mart; a nice heavy duty plastic that can withstand lots of use and not forget that this is very mobile! When you are in a shared space like us, mobility becomes top priority for clean-up days!

4. Re-purposed Book Rack
I really love book racks; I think they are a fantastic way to present themed literature to my little ones. I scoped it out online, and the best I could find was somewhere between 45-75$ for what I considered a decent purchase. I knew I could do better than that, so I headed to IKEA. I found a dish rack, the perfect size for paper back children's books; for about 10$ I had my new book rack and boy was it a steal! I still had overflow, so I purchased a few square tuperwares from the dollar store...and my book area was complete. I also found an increadible crash-mat-like item at a discount store, which I picked up for 27$ and VOILA! A DIY book area....for less than the cost of a book rack. I will post pictures as soon as it's set up at school.

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