Q-tip painting with templates (free printable)

Q-tip painting with templates


Kids dip Q-Tips into paint and press into a circle on paper- one dot per circle. This activity slows movements patterns because requires focus to dot inside of each circle. This activity is a great activity for working on distal control. You can also address appropriate grasp patterns and force modulation (the harder you press the more the paint will spread outside the circles). The kids loved having a choice between pictures and enjoyed making their very own castles!




Areas Addressed:

  • Distal control
  • Fine motor
  • grasp
  • force modulation

Back to School: 8 Tips on How To Make Friends and A Game

8 Tips for a Great First Day! How To Make Friends!
  1. SMILE!  I know that sounds like a small thing, but it’s huge!!!  One little smile goes a long way.  Remember that most of the kids at school are feeling just as nervous as you are, and they are looking for a friendly face!
  2. Hold your head up high and be confident.  I know you might be feeling shy, but staring at the ground will not help you make friends.  When others see you looking down or keeping a big frown or worried look on your face, they won’t realize that you are shy.  They will simply think that you don’t want to be their friend.  Remember, you are a child of God.  You are something special!  People will be as excited to get to know you as you are to get to know them.
  3. Look people in the eye, and say hello.  No one likes to feel invisible (like they are in the room, but no one sees them or cares that they are there).  When you look people in the eye and say hello, you immediately make them feel more comfortable.  Instead of looking away when you catch someone’s eye, look right back at them, smile, and wave or say, “Hello.”  Trust me.  It works!
  4. Introduce yourself.  Did I mention already that you are someone special?  So are the other kids you will meet.  There is no reason to be afraid that they don’t want to meet you.  Be brave.  Think how you feel when someone makes an effort to talk to you.  They’ll feel the same way when you make an effort to talk to them.  Here’s how you do it:  “Hi.  My name is ___________.  What’s your name?”  Easy, peasy.
  5. Ask questions.  If you don’t know what to say, ask your new friend a question.  People love to talk about themselves!  Here are some ideas:  “Are you excited about school?”  “What did you do this summer?”  “What’s your favorite subject?”  “What do you like to do for fun?”
  6. Give a compliment.  Look at your new friend.  Can you think of something nice that you noticed about him or her?  I bet you can!  Don’t you love it when someone says something nice about you?  Your new friend will, too.  How about, “I love your hair!  Did you do it yourself?” or, “Those are really cute shoes.” or, how about, “Thanks for saying hello.  I was really feeling shy, and you made my day.”
  7. Invite someone to sit by you or to play with you.  Are you nervous about who you will sit by at lunch?  Are you afraid you won’t have anyone to play with at recess?  So are the other kids!  Look for someone who doesn’t seem to know anyone.  They’ll be grateful for the invitation to play or to sit together.
  8. Be happy and positive.   No one likes to be around someone that is always grumpy and negative.  Look for the good things about situations and other people.  Choose to be happy, and your happiness will spread.  Kids will want to be around you because of your cheerful attitude and smiling face.
Practice with Role-Playing

Now that you know the techniques, it’s time to practice!  You might feel silly at first, but you’ll be a pro in no time!

  1. Ask your family to pretend to be your classmates.
  2. Hold your head up high as you enter the room, and pretend you are at school.  Practice smiling and starting conversations with your family members.
  3. Take turns.  Practice what to do when someone comes to talk to you and how to start a conversation.
  4. Have fun!  When it’s your turn to be a member of the class, make up fake names and interests to have silly conversations.  (That’s just for practicing.  You’ll want to be sure to tell the truth when you talk to your new friends.)
Motivate Yourself with Back-to-School Games

Want to be sure you don’t chicken out on the first day of school?  Try one or both of these games to reward yourself for setting goals to make friends.

Going back to school (or starting school for the first time) is a scary thing for many kids.  Most have two main fears:  Will I like my teacher?  and Will I make any friends?  I can’t help with the teacher part, but I can help with making friends!  In order to make it more fun, and to encourage them to get out of their comfort zones, I created a back to school friendship game for kids.


This is kind of the opposite of a scavenger hunt.  Instead of looking for things to put in the container, kids are taking challenges and then eating the treats!  The goal of the game is to get the kids to be brave at school.  The challenges listed under the lids are:

  • Smile at someone
  • Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know
  • Raise your hand to answer a question in class
  • Ask someone to sit by you at lunch
  • Find someone with the same hobby as you
  • Find someone who is alone and invite them to play with you.

For shy kids (like mine), I’m hoping this will be a good reminder for them to be brave and jump out of their comfort zones to make friends at school.  Each morning, the girls pick a challenge and try to complete it that day at school.  After school, they report back to me.  If they did it, they get to open the lid and eat the treat!

Ready to make the game?  Here’s what you will need:

  • A seven-day pill box (can be found at Walmart, the Dollar Store, etc.).   These come in small and large.  I chose small because they were cheaper (and there was only one large one left).
  • Cardstock and/or scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Small foam brush or paint brush
  • If you’re lucky–some type of cutting tool- Letter stencils and regular old scissors work too!
  • Treats to fill the individual boxes.
  • Printout of first week of school ideas


Begin by cutting your paper to fit the top of each lid.  Out of a contrasting paper, cut letters to fit on the lids as well.  (You could title it:  Friends, Be Happy, Service . . . whatever.  I chose “Be Happy” because I plan to use the boxes for a few other games.)

Paint Mod Podge onto the lids of each daily box, and top with your first paper.  Paint another layer of Mod Podge on top, so that it covers the paper and the plastic surrounding it.  Now top the lids with your letters and paint Mod Podge on top again.

Open the lids (so that you don’t accidentally glue them down), and allow the containers to dry.

This game contains seven challenges to help you make friends during the first week of school.  After school, you can get a treat for the challenges you tried!


Print the challenges printable, and cut out the individual boxes.  Glue or tape the tasks inside the lids.  If you don’t use a permanent glue, you can remove the tasks and use the boxes for something new later.  Fill the holes with treats, and you’re ready to go!

Now–most important step–gather your kids and talk about ways to make friends at school!  Talk about smiling, saying hello, and how to make friends.  We even like to roll play entering a new classroom and meeting new kids.  (It makes a really fun family night.)  Let your kids pick their first challenge, and they’re ready to start the new school year off right!

Back-to-School Conversation Starters for Kids {Free Printable}


I changed the rules a little bit this week.  They can do more than one activity a day, and (as long as they do five things during the week) they can eat the rest of the candy on the weekend.  There was no way that candy in their two uncompleted slots was going to survive until today!  Also, they don’t have to do exactly what’s written.  If they can tell me something they did to go out of their comfort zone and/or make a friend, they earn the treat.

If you aren’t into giving your kids candy, small toys and stickers will fit, too.  Those are Squinkies in the picture.

Here is the download to the second Conversation Stater List: Be-Happy-Conversation-Starter-Game

Here is the Text to the second download of Conversation Starters:

  1. How was your weekend?
  2. Did you do anything fun yesterday?
  3.  What do you want to play at recess?
  4. Smile and introduce yourself
  5. What are you going to do this weekend?
  6. Ask someone to sit by you at lunch
  7. Find someone who is alone and invite them to play with you

Here is the Text to the First Download Friend Maker Hunt:

  1. Smile at someone
  2. Introduce yourself to someone you don’t know
  3.  Raise your hand to answer a question in class
  4. Say hello to someone you don’t know
  5. Find someone with the same hobby as you
  6. Ask someone to sit by you at lunch
  7. Find someone who is alone and invite them to play with you

Executive Function Chart (ADHD/ADD)

Executive Dysfunction is an often-overlooked source of the difficulties students have initiating, completing, and turning in their homework and class work.

Now that I have your attention, let’s take a closer look at what the executive functions are and how dysfunction might be impairing your student.

The foundations for learning are attention, memory, and executive function. While most teachers would immediately have some sense of what “attention” and “memory” mean, many were probably never received any training about executive functions. And yet without these functions, so many aspects of our functioning would be impossible or significantly impaired.
Executive functions (EF) are central processes that are most intimately involved in giving organization and order to our actions and behavior. They have been compared to the “maestro” who conducts the orchestra. But what are these processes? The whole topic is very controversial, but there seems to be a consensus that executive functions involve (at the very least):

  • planning for the future and strategic thinking
  • the ability to inhibit or delay responding
  • initiating behavior, and
  • shifting between activities flexibly

If we break down the skills or functions into subfunctions, we might say that executive functions tap into the following abilities or skills:

  • Goal
  • Plan
  • Sequence
  • Prioritize
  • Organize
  • Initiate
  • Inhibit
  • Pace
  • Shift
  • Self-monitor
  • Emotional control
  • Completing

We will consider these skills in more detail later in this article, but for now, it should also be noted that in considering executive functions, we will also be talking about “working memory,” which is not purely an executive function but overlaps executive functions, attention, and memory. Also, although “emotional control” is included in this list, it is not a purely executive function.


Because there is no uniform agreement on what the executive functions are, there has been no agreement on how to assess them. If we talk about particular subfunctions, however, it is possible to answer the question.
Executive functions are generally assessed via neuropsychological tests and assessments. For any one function or subfunction, there may be a variety of tasks or tests that tap into components.

If you suspect that your student has executive dysfunction (EDF), the appropriate referral would be to a board-certified neuropsychologist. Neuropsychologists are psychologists who specialize in the relationship between brain and behavior.2 Although some of the tests school psychologists administer as part of any psychoeducational assessment do tap into some of the executive functions, in my opinion, a typical psychoeducational evaluation is not adequate or sufficient if you suspect the student has EDF.


Let us take a closer look at each of the functions we identified earlier, and consider what dysfunction might look like. In looking at this chart, keep in mind that there are only a few examples of what dysfunction might look like.



Tattling Vs. Reporting Worksheet (free printable)

This freebie download will help your students learn to tell the difference between tattling and reporting.

Students learn that they tattle to get others in trouble, but they report to get people out of trouble.

T Vs. R

Free download here (Answer Key): Tattling vs. Reporting Thank You

Free download here (Worksheet): Tattling Vs. Reporting

Worksheet with scenarios and kids need to figure out if it is reporting or tattling:

Am I Tattling or Reporting?

Tattling is when I get someone in trouble.

Reporting is when I get someone out of trouble.

Answer Key


Michael keeps making faces at me.

Mr. Cobb, Jason isn’t getting in line.

Jerome is drawing in his notebook when he’s supposed to be doing his math.

Ms. Long, Devin isn’t reading the right story.

Meghan isn’t walking on the right sight of the hallway, Mrs. Jones!


Heather scratched me when I didn’t do what she said.

During recess, Callie pushed Dana down on purpose.

Brandon picks on Kayla everyday during lunch.

Some boys are bullying Joshua in the bathroom.

Cooper said he’s going to punch Conner after school.

Incorporate into This Lesson The THINK before You Speak 

Such wise advice….for kids and adults alike! 
Free Printable Poster to Laminate and keep on your fridge: 61772754-Before-You-Speak-Think

Help Your Child Become a Better Reader (free printable Hand-out)


Free PDF Printable hand-out: Help with Reading

Great For Parents and also great for teachers to hand out to parents at the beginning of the year.


Don’t Laugh At Me – Anti-Bullying Activity

Download and print activity and lyrics written in poem format from the Book “Don’t Laugh At Me.” dontlaughatmeformatted

Watch the Youtube Video: 


Decoding Strategy Quick-Reference Guide for the parents to keep at home.

Decoding Strategy Quick-Reference Guide for the parents to keep at home.

More Complex Sounds

Picture 6

Flip The Sound

Picture 5

Decoding Strategies For Parents – Crash Course Review on phonetics – to better help your child learn to read/sound out letters

Picture 3

Great resource for a parent crash course in phonics! I can’t wait to start handing these out.


How to Get Kids to Slow Down with Their Work: 25 Tips from Teachers

How to Get Kids to Slow Down with Their Work

Advice from Real Teachers

When it comes to encouraging kids to produce quality work, one of the biggest problems we face is getting kids to slow down and take their time. For some reason, students seem to feel there’s some sort of prize for the one who finishes first, or maybe it’s just that they want to rush through some assignments to get to other activities they think will be more fun. If this is something that you struggle with in your classroom, read on to learn 25 terrific tips from real teachers who have solved this problem.

Today’s Question

Today’s teacher question comes from Cassandra who asks, “Can anyone share strategies for getting kids to slow down in their work? I feel like a lot my kids wanted to get things done as fast as possible and I struggled to motivate them to have pride in their work and take their time.”

Top 25 Tips for Getting Kids to Slow Down with Their Work
Apparently many teachers have a similar problem, and lots of terrific strategies were shared. I eliminated duplicates and narrowed the list to what I felt were the top 25 responses.

  1. Gidget Greenlee – I always tell my students, “I would rather be the last A than the first F”.
  2. Casey McDaniel – 1) Explain how long you think the activity or assignment should take and why.  Emphasize quality of work and expectations. 2)  Have a turn-in tub “timer.”  Don’t “open” the tub until you think the appropriate amount of time has passed. 3)  Circulate around your classroom and keep an eye out for early finishers. Provide feedback and ask questions to help student dig deeper and put forth more effort. 4)  Do speed conferences. Review early finishers’ work quickly and provide quick feedback verbally or on sticky notes to help students improve their work. 5)  Always have follow-up tasks to assign to early finishers so they are never “done.”  This should eliminate some of the rush to complete assignments and place value on quality.
  3. Cathy VoglerI write them a “speeding ticket” and then put it in their planner for their parents to sign also. The student then has to do the work again during their free time at home and recess. I found the speeding tickets on TeachersPayTeachers.
  4. Emma FarrellSometimes if they know there is a fun activity at the end, they tend to rush. I like to use a star system that encourages students to work towards five star rated work. Come together as a class to decide on what that will be. Each criteria will be different for each lesson. Add things like, spelling, neatness, structure (for genre writing), tense etc.
  5. Lydia WoodHave them write the time they start and time they finish on their paper. Give an example of how long a good paper should take. If they get a bad grade, you have proof of how long it took them
  6. Julie LawsonI tell me first graders “it’s NOT a race ….(and they finish my sentence in unison ).. It’s a JOURNEY”.  Then I finish with “enjoy your journey.”
  7. Paula CullYou can set a timer and explain all you want, but they’re still going to rush through it.  If I see one of my middle schoolers rushing through something, I collect their assignment when it’s finished and then give them another copy of the assignment and tell them that they will keep doing it until they do it correctly.  It sounds harsh, but they need to realize that they need to do their assignments correctly.
  8. Trinity TracySet a timer and project it.  This shows them they still have plenty of time left.  It also has the added bonus of getting stragglers to speed up!
  9. Judy Harrison I have an under 70 % redo policy.  That slows the speeders down, they hate having to redo work.
  10. Melanie Dorrian – “I want your best work, not your fastest work.”  Say it like you mean it.
  11. Melanie KetchamShow them what an acceptable paper looks like and then show them what is not acceptable. Then stick to those standards and have rewards for those who follow your directions. (rewards could be to color, read, or play an academic game on the computer) The other students will soon follow your lead. They always want to please.
  12. Anita ErnestI tell my kids that I will not accept any “slop hoppin chop suey.” I make them redo anything that is not their best work. They have to make it up during their free time (recess, specials, lunch)
  13. Alex JavoianPost exemplar model pieces and a general rubric so they can “grade” their own work before turning it in.
  14. Virginia NollandI tell my kids to complete a section of work at a time then they must show me. If it’s not up to expectation, they have to complete that part again. As their work improves I stretch out the time they have to show me.
  15. Carie RosaThis is a method used to help students do a good job on their work with a picture analogy. What you can do is take some pictures of you baking a cupcake in steps. The steps represent work turned in complete and not so complete just as you are baking a cupcake. You can take a picture of a perfectly finished cupcake and then make a sloppy one to take a pic of. Just show the difference and reference that to nice neat work. This year I will take four pictures and reference them to neat work. For example a plain non frosted cupcake, a perfectly frosted cupcake, a sloppy one and a burnt one.
  16. Natalie Wheeler – I send best work to the principal for praise.
  17. Tiffani ReedWe talk about and model quality work. What is quality work? How do you know? Show examples. Have the kids tell you what makes it quality work. Then only accept quality work from your students.
  18. CM GoodrichPost a “Star” work poster displaying samples of great work, call it a club, and daily add new names as work improves.  Also might try no cost rewards for good work product like entering name in jar to draw for biweekly eating lunch in room with teacher, etc.
  19. Joli Isip ScolloConference and give positive feedback and next steps (how to improve). Send them back to their seats to work on those next steps.
  20. Shelley Rolston – As crazy as this sounds, the best strategy I had this year after sharing and promoting others work was a happy face in their agenda ( next year it will be Class Dojo) for effort and neat work. I spoke to the parents ahead of time and they worked out an incentive at home for the child’s goal. (Ex 4/5 happy faces) It worked  MIRACLES for the five or so 2nd graders I had. I suspect it could be adapted for older kids. They have to want to care. For the rest of the class, sharing their work aloud and peer editing is very effective. In both cases you’ll notice it is almost solely out of the teacher’s hands which is where it needs to be.
  21. Daniel OsborneAt the beginning of the year I make a big deal of being proud of your work. I show different examples of my own work from college or grad school and ask them to describe what they see. I also show them examples of work from some of previous students that are not acceptable. They go through them and give me reasons why they were not acceptable. I also say on a near daily basis, “Be proud of your work. Do not turn in slop.”  If I do get slop I make them redo it. Once they see I am serious I rarely have students redo work.
  22. Georgia BoethinI don’t let students get up to turn their work in when they are finished.  They are to keep working or read if they get finished until I give them a signal that they have about a minute or two left to complete work.  I then ask them to pass their work to the east or west and then north or south to a designated person. I teach them to place their paper face up with the top aligned as it should be on the next student’s desk.  That student passes both of them on to the next and so on.  All the papers are turned in at one time, and all of them are ready to just pick up and correct.  It keeps the classroom orderly, and it avoids that rush to be done when someone gets up to turn in a paper.  It’s very efficient.  I teach fifth grade, so I don’t know if it would work with younger students, but I would think that it would.
  23. Angela Boykin-Schoppe – I make a LOT of comments praising quality work. What worked great with one of my boys (2nd grade) was letting him choose one assignment each day and do his very best.  It was so beautiful that even his classmates noticed and complimented it on it. Before long–and it only took a week–the quality work was the norm. This probably wouldn’t work as well on older kids though.
  24. Laurel  Quinn – I make a big deal out of quality student examples and what parts are to be celebrated. They go up on a star board. Rubrics are needed, too. I try not to accept rushed work. Keep making them redo, giving them pieces to focus on,  and eventually after hundreds of eyeball rolls, they will hopefully try the first time.
  25. Sheila Quintana – I teach high school ELL. When my students tell me they’re finished, I just point to the “I’m finished” folder stapled to the wall. They can choose to check their work or grab an assignment out of the folder. 9 times out of 10 they choose to make their work better. Those that choose an extra assignment can have that assign

“When is it Okay to Laugh?” Social Story/Social Narrative – Free download

The packet you can download for free contains the printable social story, worksheets to accompany it, and take home worksheets.

It’s a great way to get your kids to understand when it’s OK and not OK to laugh!


Download Social Narrative for FREE here: appropriatelaughingsocialstory

Here is How it starts:

The packet you can download for free contains the printable social story, worksheets to accompany it, and take home worksheets.

It’s a great way to get your kids to understand when it’s OK and not OK to laugh!