Our Kindergarten hallway has the cutest bulletin board with pictures of students trapped in a snow globe and a short story to go along with it. It gave me an idea and I modified it a bit for my students with social language goals. Michelle Garcia Winner’s “Think Social”* materials talk about keeping your “brain in the group”. This concept addresses thinking about what other people are talking about and the importance of focus in conversation. Some of the students that I work with are often distracted by both internal and external things such as their favorite Pokemon movie, worrying about having a substitute teacher, the weather, etc…
My snow globe is a visual representation of our brain when we get distracted. It’s important to talk about how this happens to everybody, but there are things we can do to calm the “distraction blizzard” when our attention gets shaken up! Next, we brain storm as a group to list some things that might give us a “snow globe brain” and write them on the board. We narrow down our choices and then the kids can cut pictures from magazines (or draw them) to represent their distractors. I pre-cut the large black construction paper circles and print out the strategies page before the session to make the most of our time ( I know they aren’t perfectly shaped, don’t judge me, I probably could benefit from a little OT myself :-).
After that, we draw or paste the pictures into our snow globes. You can use glitter (and who doesn’t love a little glitter in therapy?!) to illustrate the snow or the less messy version, use white crayons on the black construction paper. These can represent what happens to our attention when our snow globe gets a bit shook up with distractions, a little blurry, shiny and swirly!
I would then include a conversation about what we might miss when we have snow globe brain due to distractions. This can include other what other people (teachers, peers, parents, friends) might be thinking and feeling, if we aren’t thinking about what they are thinking and talking about! Still with me? Good! Last, have the kids come up with strategies to help themselves stay focused and calm when a distraction blizzard strikes again! I would let the kids take the lead and work together to come up with at least three good strategies that they can use every day, and step in as support. They can usually come up with pretty great ideas themselves (and shhhh, it’s an opportunity for cooperative learning too).
*”Think Social” is a registered trademark and is the creation of Michelle Garcia Winner