Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Got stuffed animals? Let's teach some positional concepts!

Children (most of the ones I know) love to cuddle with soft little stuffed animals. Who can blame them? Stuffed animals come in all kinds of sizes and shapes. You can find familiar faces or make a new friend all of your own. I have found that, much like my puppets, a brightly colored stuffed animal can break up the tension in tricky situations. They pass the test with getting undivided attention and getting those reclusive introverts to smile. (And, if that doesn't work, you might try letting the shy students dump a bucket of plastic bugs on your head a few times.)

Elmo and Cookie Monster are both Goodwill finds for $1.
You can find  many stuffed animals at yard sales & flea markets for .25-.50 cents  too.
Elmo and Cookie Monster are the most visible of my stuffed animal friends. They help me model & practice positional concepts with my K-1st grade students. I start out by teaching in, top, bottom, and out with Oscar's trash can. My students get to put Elmo or Cookie around the trash can or even each other for practice.

Elmo and Cookie Monster quickly ensue in the ever-popular "hide and seek" game complete with funny voices and dance moves. My students have to help the characters locate each other.

The size of these stuffed animals are great for tossing in a little tote or carrying for inclusion groups. I usually tuck them in my arm and take them with me to morning remediation (I suppose this would be considered a "duty" but the administration & teachers have worked with me so I can see several of my students during this block).  It's a simple but fun solution.