Brain Gym Exercises With Left Handed & Right Handed Movements

Brain Gym Exercises With Left Handed & Right Handed Movements
Brain Gym Exercises With Left Handed & Right Handed Movements

Brain Gym exercises include specific movements designed to improve concentration, focus and memory. Educators use Brain Gym activities to improve students’ academic achievements, attitude and organizational skills. Brain Gym movements may also help to enhance physical coordination, relationships and self-responsibility. Some exercises use both left and right handed movements.

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Brain Hemispheres

When you focus on movements that cross the midline of your body, you help integrate the left and right hemispheres in your brain. This helps to improve coordination, as midline crossing movements are routine used in daily life. When a child begins to crawl, or an adult walks, he is using movements that cross the body’s midline.

Double Doodle

Draw with both hands at the same time during the Double Doodle exercise. Draw specific shapes such as circles, squares or triangles. The object is to draw the shapes at the same time using both hands to improve focus and concentration, as your less dominant hand may find this challenging.

Lazy Eight

The Lazy Eight exercise uses a drawing of an infinity sign, or a sideways figure eight. Trace the outline of the figure eight as you hold the paper in front of your body. This exercise causes the hand to cross the midline of the body. You can perform this exercise with both hands at different times.

Cross Crawl

The Brain Gym Cross Crawl exercise is designed to integrate the two hemispheres of the brain and to improve coordination. Perform a Cross Crawl by lifting your right knee and touching your right knee with your left hand. Then perform the same movement with the left knee and right hand. You can do this seated or standing, and for more of a challenge, try the exercise with your eyes closed, or with an additional movement such as a jump.

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

8 Tips for a Great First Day! How To Make Friends!
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  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.

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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

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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!

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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}

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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

What Are Private Parts? – Social Stories (Free printables)

What Are Private Parts? - Social Story (Free printable)

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This social story explains what private parts are in a simple way. It depicts drawings of male and female anatomy.

Download and print here: what_are_private_parts.224161402

Good Touch/Bad Touch - Social Story (free printable)

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This social story explains what touches are okay and which are not, and how to report bad touches. Be sure your child understands what private parts are first

SIDE NOTE: Be careful about using “Good Touch Bad Touch”.  Good/Bad may bring up feelings of guilt, could be over generalized, and might be confusing as an assault often starts with touches that feel good then moves to touches that feel bad.  Also, there are some studies that have shown that children understand the word touch differently than adults.  For example they wouldn’t categorize people kissing as touching, because well, they’re kissing.  I think this could be a problem for someone with an intellectual disability that doesn’t categorize well.  I like the terms safe and unsafe touch.  I also like saying touching makes you feel something.  If a touch feels good, it’s probably safe.  If a touch doesn’t feel good it’s probably not safe.  Then you can teach specific kinds of touches.

Download and print here: private_parts_and_touching.224155032

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.

HOW ARE EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS ASSESSED?

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.

FUNCTIONS AND SIGNS OF DYSFUNCTION

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.

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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

Tattling

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!

Reporting

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

Life Skills for Kids – Quarter Plan for Chores

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Quarter Plan
Each boy starts the month off with 1 quarter for each day of the month.  January has 31 days, so they received 31 quarters.  I poke my head in their rooms daily to see if they made their beds.  If they did they keep their quarter, if not, they bring one to me.  (it’s much more painful to bring the quarter to mom)

If at the end of the month they’ve kept all their quarters, they can trade it in for approximately $7.00 extra in cash each month.  Money talks for my kids, maybe your children would prefer points or pom poms.

We’ll refill quarters at the beginning of the next month and add a new task (probably the bathroom) in addition to making beds.  Make sense?

I know it seems like I’m taking very simple steps, but if we have 12 new tasks done and implemented by the end of the year it could be genius!

What would be on your to-do list?

*** This idea was taken from Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma.  She instituted a dollar plan, I’ve knocked it down to a quarter plan.

Red, Yellow, and Green Thoughts Visual (free printable)

Red, Yellow, and Green Thoughts Visual (free printable)

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Download and Print here: RedYellowandGreenThoughtsVisual

This is the Text:

RED THOUGHTS

Things you can think but never say.

These are “weird” thoughts.

Example: “Your outfit is really ugly.”

YELLOW THOUGHTS

Things you can think but only say to SOME people.

Example: “I had an accident.”

GREEN THOUGHTS

Things you can think and say to ANYONE!

Example: “It’s a beautiful day.”