Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Quick and Easy Tactile Hearts

Still searching for that just right Valentine's Day project with your students?
I have a great easy, peasy idea that packs a lot of educational punch. I was strolling down our hallways when I came upon Annette's preschool display board and instantly pulled up my camera app. This idea incorporates textures, math concepts, social skills, compensatory, sensory efficiency and choice making skill areas.
Plus it is just dang cute! 

You could easily do matching and discrimination skills before you glue these hearts on. Follow up your matching lesson with comparison about size, texture or color (if you can). Lastly, let your students choose where they want to place their hearts and glue them on! It's a perfect little project that is great for little hands on Valentine's Day. The bonus, this project also has potential for kids who are MIVI. You may have to do the cutting for them but you can still work this easily for these kiddos as well. Dare I give just one more idea---can you add a scent to the hearts? Spray a little scent onto these hearts. The ideas are endless!! Thanks Annette for letting me share another of your projects!

Keeping Up With Jimmy...On Valentine's Day

Hello Again Everyone…so it seems as Valentine’s Day is upon us once again!!! And this by far my least favorite holiday when it comes to helping my son with school Valentines. See I am not a “crafty” person AT ALL….like not even a little bit. When I was born the creative gene was left out. I always have such a hard time with Valentines and making them “Braille” friendly. Every year Jimmy and I always talk about what we are going to do and he beggggsssss me to just get normal Valentines for the kids in his class. Which we have done. The first year I did try to braille them, let me tell you this DID NOT work out well at all. The Valentines are too small to get the names on the Valentines. For a couple years we did make our own, just simply used Braille Paper and the same saying on each one for everyone in his class. Well can I tell you that this is time consuming--- I MEAN time consuming.
I found these at

So then the last couple year I have been the most horrible, non-independent, enabling mother there is. I will admit it, I just write out the Valentines for him. We go pick them out then I sit at the table and together we decide who will get which one. I can hear the gasps now (lol) but let me explain. I, as most of you know, try my very best to make Jimmy do EVERYTHING himself independently. But sometimes he just wants to be a normal kid in school and give out typical Valentines like all the other kids. (And yes we have even tried using his NoteTaker but again it doesn’t become very Valentiney and it is once again, a time consuming task) I know my child will never be “normal” so when he has an opportunity to do or use something that all the other kids do, I regress and allow myself to enable him in not being independent. I have learned to choose my battles with him and am fully aware that this does NOT help his independence but at the same time this is just something that happens during 6 (7 if you include Kindergarten) years out of his life and not something that he will be doing every year of his life. When he finds the “one” or even the “at this time” girls in his life he will have to write his cards in a different way or figure something out. 
Again,  I know I am almost doing him a dis-service for writing out all the names for him but if it makes him happy to be able to give out store bought Valentines this one time a year, then so be it and that is what I have chosen to do. Within the family we go to the store and I read him cards for certain members of the family and when we get home we work on our signature, which is a chore as some of you know and others you will see…hehe As always I don’t know if I am doing any of this correctly but I am doing it the best I can and so far I have a happy well-adjusted 10yr old boy.

Robbin's editorial: Kristi does a fantastic job of writing her blog posts so I usually just cut and paste them into the post. I'd like to share my insight to her thought this time around. I love having Kristi share her thoughts on topics because she is living this crazy adventure with Jimmy and she isn't shy to share how it really is. I applaud her for making the Braille attempt every Valentine's Day. I have a great mental image of her and Jimmy making these Braille invites together and her rolling her eyes as she laughs to herself about how "uncreative" she is. I wanted to take a moment and share my thoughts on "independence". It's a tricky word because it usually implies an "all or nothing" situation. Let me say that Kristi is doing everything right when she and Jimmy buy their store bought valentines together. The reality of our sighted world is that Braille isn't part of everything. It is a sighted world and passing out WWE or puppy hearts valentines is part of the experience. The experience of going to the store, selecting the valentines, closing them up with the little heart stickers and passing them out at school. That is the school Valentine's Day experience and you bet your last dollar that Jimmy understands this. He and Kristi probably have a good laugh at picking them out together. Jimmy has his own opinion on things so I am certain that they go through a number of choices before he selects the perfect paper valentines to pass out at school. He's also learning how be at the store, rely on communication with others to make choices and purchases. You can review the price of valentines and discuss why some are $2.48 (the kind my children have to choose from) and why other boxes of valentines are $4.00 per box (the kind my children cannot choose from. It adds up when you have over 75 valentines to purchase, ha ha). Kristi is right. Six or seven years of cute Spongebob valentines is all you get. Think of all the other experiences you can help our kids out with at the school Valentine's Day party--how do you put valentines in to paper bag mailboxes? how do you open up a valentine or close one with the little heart stickers? That all being said, if you are a mom that has super creative talent and has figured out how to successfully get Braille on the paper valentine cards, please share your ideas!! There are several moms out there (maybe even Kristi too!) that would love to hear some tricks of the trade from  you. The beautiful thing about this world is that we are all different. And you know what, 'different' is not a dirty word!!