Friday, October 5, 2018

6 Strategies for Students Who Are Impulsive

Whether you are working with a younger student who is impulsive or just antsy, it can be difficult to find strategies and resources that work for them.  Some of the issues you may run into include:
  • The student cannot use the strategy independently
  • The strategy is not feasible in that particular classroom
  • The strategy is too disruptive
  • The student did not "buy in" to the strategy
  • The resources I find are too wordy or difficult to understand for my student (I run into this issue a lot with my kindergartners)
Sound familiar?  These are all factors I always try to keep in mind when brainstorming strategies for any student, but in particular a student who is impulsive or a little extra wiggly.  Below I have compiled a list of 6 strategies and resources I have found to be the most successful.  They all vary in style, and I am confident you will find at least one that will work for you!

1. Use of a Fidget
          This may seem like an obvious one right?  But finding the right one can be challenging! Here are some of my favorites: stress ball or bendy stick; Velcro or textured card stock attached to their table or desk; band on the bottom of the chair; wiggle seat; and pencil topper (there are some that can be manipulated and some that are safe to chew on if it is a student that already likes to chew on different items).

2. Adjust the Work Space
           Adjusting a student's work space can look very different depending on the needs of the student.  One way I have done this is by placing tape on the floor around their personal work space: this particular idea can allow the student to stand or wiggle in their work space, while still maintaining boundaries and staying out of the space of others - as long as they stay inside the tape, they are staying in their work space.  You can also adjust the work space by allowing the student to move to a larger table during independent work time, or using an "office" like a trifold on their desk to decrease distractions around them.

3. Place Personal Visual Reminders in Common Spaces
           The idea behind this is that it serves as a reminder before the reminder.  By placing visual reminders in common spaces for the student, they will see it frequently and hopefully remind themselves to stop their impulse before they carry it out.  The visual reminders I use consist of a stop sign with a picture of the impulse I am trying to prevent.  I almost always place them on their desk/table space and at their spot on the carpet.  Some other ideas are on the floor where they line up or the area above their backpack.  I have provided 2 free visuals for having a quiet mouth and raising your hand here.

4. Use a Social Story
           Try using a social story!  You can try this with any impulsive behavior, but for a student who can't keep their hands to themselves, I read over the social story with them a few times, and even allow them to color it for ownership.  Everyone gets a copy of the story - the classroom teacher, PE teacher, music teacher, principal, etc.  When the student doesn't keep their hands to themselves, they are to immediately read over the story (this does not eliminate consequences, the behavior system in place should still be followed, but reading the story immediately serves as a fresh reminder after the impulse was carried out).  I've included a freebie social story here!

5. Play Games That Practice Self-Control
          There are so many common games that also help children practice self-control.  This is a great way to help them learn and practice without even realizing it!  A few include: Simon Says, red light green light, musical chairs, and having a dance party and freezing the music.  Any board game also works well as students need to practice waiting their turn, paying attention to other players, and other positive social skills.

6. Interrupting Chicken and a Companion Activity
           I use the book Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein frequently with my students.  I have used it for class lessons and in individual/small group settings.  Mrs. Wheeler from Teachers Pay Teachers has a great FREE companion activity I have used for years.  It even includes a classroom management system, which I have easily used for individual students.  I have my students start out with 3 chickens, and every time they interrupt, they lose one.  I tie this into my office incentive system where students earn 2 stars on their chart every time they see me.  If they have 0 chickens left at the end of the session, they only get 1 star on their chart that time.  If you can't purchase the book, there are several read alouds on YouTube, and you can find the companion activity here!

I hope you found this post helpful and enjoyed a few freebies!


Credit: Mollie Jo Fonts

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Ultimate Data Tracking Kit: For Counseling!

Hi fellow counselors!
I hope you are all enjoying your summer! If you are like me with only a few weeks left, you are probably already starting to prepare for the new year. This includes secretly checking out the Target dollar spot 😏. For those of you who have more time left before you go back, continue to enjoy your relaxation! I would love to hear what you're up to! (leave it in the comments!)

In anticipation of the new school year approaching, I wanted to take some time to talk about my new data tracking kit, as it is one of my must-haves for my office! For those of you who do not know me, I am currently a school social worker working with all students from early childhood through 8th grade! I am the only social worker in my district, and work between 2 buildings. I LOVE my job. Working with such a wide span of ages every day is very rewarding! But with that said, for me and I'm sure for many of you, efficiency is KEY. In my recent experience, evidence of services and data collection are becoming a large need and request. For the last several years, I have been experimenting with different types of data-tracking. I would collaborate with other counselors in and out of my district and surf Pinterest, but I felt as though I still wasn't able to find something that worked best for me, and worked into my busy schedule. I also wanted many materials that all worked together as one system, complimenting each other, and increasing success. So, I started to make many of my own materials, and started using them all together. Every piece relates to the other pieces included, and I feel as though I have finally created a tested system that works for me.  All of those pieces are everything you will find in my kit, and MORE. I say more, because this kit also includes room for modification (as a bonus!) to tailor to your personal role. Most of the materials are editable, and I have included many different options throughout the kit. Why? Because we are all different. Our job title and what we studied may be similar, but our roles in our buildings may look very different, making what we need, DIFFERENT. I believe this is why it was difficult for me to find materials that worked best for me - our roles are not identical, and we need room to personalize what we use - making it what works best for US.

The Ultimate Data Tracking Kit currently includes 495 pages of tools to use with staff, with students, with student families, and help you keep records. One of the tools I love to use are the student task cards. They help hold students accountable for their goal as well, and help them responsibily work towards achieving them. I first created these for those with IEPs, but now I use them with every student on my caseload. Students select from different prompts on their cards each week related to their goal, which help you track progress and remind them what they are working towards. I have included a guide for this tool, which step-by-step helps you create your own prompts for your students. The guide also includes MANY pre-made prompts across several different topics to help you get started - just copy and paste!


Another tool I would like to highlight is the visual reminder cards included. There are 200 of them (100 in color, the same 100 in BW) across different categories. These cards are used during session. They have topics and editable cards to provide as a visual for the student. I color-coded these as well, and personally drew clipart for most as an added visual.


FORMS. I've got you covered there too! This kit includes digital and online tools, and printable/written forms. All digital tools utilize Google Drive (*Not familiar with Google Drive? Don't worry, it's free and I guide you through use 😊*). A few of the tools included are referral forms and tracking forms for time spent.  Some of the digital forms automatically track data, and some create charts to refer to. Other tools included are forms for full entry and exit from services, forms to track progress towards achieving objectives, observation forms, and forms that establish scheduled check-ins with teachers, staff, and students.  Plus, everything can be kept in a binder - and I included labels and organization directions to do so!

What I highlighted in this post are only a few things included in this kit. For the full list, to learn more, or purchase, click here! It's listed for a very affordable price. I hope you enjoy it as much as myself, my students, their families, and my fellow co-workers do! Here's to a great start to a new year. What are some other must-haves you use during the year? Leave them in the comments!  Know someone who might like this kit?  Share this post on social media like Facebook, or pin to Pinterest!

(The Creative Social Worker)

-a special thanks to my former colleague, Juliet, who helped create the digital time tracker-

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Check it out!

Check out this post I guest blogged for my friend Carol (The Middle School Counselor)! It features 2 of my products with several pictures and details of how I use them with my middle school students. Happy March!


Monday, January 2, 2017

Back From Break: No Prep, Just Print & Implement Counseling/Sped Resources

Coming back from break can be such a struggle.  Getting out of bed, getting ready, and getting to school can take more than enough effort before you're thinking "I can go back home now right?"  It can definitely be exciting to see everyone again and catch up with students, but for me, (and I assume most of you!), it is also a time of panic: "oh my gosh, I have to observe this student, schedule these students, collaborate with this teacher, call that parent, catch up on e-mails, voice-mails, finish progress reports, schedule that evaluation, begin testing for an initial, how far did I get my Medicaid billing done before break?...".  The list goes on and on.  And to top it off, I have to lesson plan for my students?!  Now, after a holiday, sometimes this can be pretty easy, but I definitely find it helpful to have no prep, just print and implement resources that I can just whip out to use with my students - easing the transition back to work, and allowing me to focus on the other 100 things I just remembered after returning from break haha.  So, I have teamed up with my fellow counselors to bring some of our favorite resources all in one place!  Below you will find free and paid counseling/special education resources that I hope you find as helpful as we do :)

-The Creative Social Worker

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Kids Say the Darndest' Things!

As social workers, it can be very easy to get wrapped up in all of the negative, and sometimes we can feel defeated or discouraged.  But it is because of this that I try to focus on the positive (isn't this what we were trained to do anyway? lol), no matter how difficult it might be at times.  As a second year social worker, I have learned to make an effort to take a step back, and always look at the bigger picture.  What do I think?  If I wasn't receiving some of the other feedback I did from other staff, would I still have the same opinion?  It can be tough not to get wrapped up into assumptions at times, or jump to conclusions, and I believe this to be a very powerful and important skill to remember day-to-day.

But back to the positive.  I will touch on the previous topic later, but it is just one example of why it is important to remember the positive!  So, in the comments below, tell me any stories of the funniest thing you have heard a student say!  Here is mine:

At the time I was running a social work group in the Life Skills classroom which consisted of 1st-4th, and one student (we will call him Joe) communicated mostly with a communication device, but didn't like to participate during group.  On this particular day, we were discussing the characters from a popular Social Thinking book, and I was having the students remind me what their names were.  That day they were all a little extra quiet.  So we are discussing the characters, and I had asked if anyone could tell me the name of one of the boys in the book.  Joe raised his hand, and I was so excited, thinking "Great! He is going to participate!"  So I call on Joe, and his answer, loudly I might add, was "JOHN CENA!!"  He then proceeded to sing the entire entry song that plays on WWE when John Cena takes the stage!!  Now, thanks to the man in my life, I know all about WWE, about the wrestlers, and I know their entry music (sadly?).  Because of this Joe and I were cracking up, although the rest of the group unfortunately had no idea what had happened haha.  Needless to say, I was able to connect with this student because of this, and it was one of the greatest moments I have had as a social worker.  I will never forget this!!  And I hope it gave you a little laugh!

The Creative Social Worker

Sunday, October 23, 2016

New Products and Thanks!

Hi everyone!

I wanted to thank you for participating in my giveaway!  As promised, I have posted many new items in my store.  Check them out below, and be sure to look out for more!  I have also been putting together a post about organization in small spaces among other information, so be sure to look out for that well!


Kylie (The Creative Social Worker)