Friday, September 25, 2020

Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards Website

The 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards finalists were announced recently, a development I saw on the news (you never know where you will get therapy ideas). Based on the BBC story about the awards, I found 4 or 5 photos that made for great therapy activities. For example, I used this one...

via BBC

...with a high school group in Google Slides as a way to review the concept of thinking with the eyes (Social Thinking®) but also as a review of Zones of Regulation®, starting with the Blue Zone (well, going whole-part-whole as is often recommended for teaching schemes like this). Interestingly, the order of details written here is in order of how the group members processed the picture. Again, this serves as a reminder that Google Slides makes a damn good therapy tool as a multimedia flipchart. 

Following this, I discovered that the Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards website itself is a goldmine, containing past winners and years of finalists. As you likely know a right click on any image gets you a fair-use-copyable for educational activities, but don't republish any images, especially not for commercial use. Be aware also that you will want to screenshot or save images rather than free-exploring the site itself with students. Wildlife occasionally flips the bird or engages in other inappropriate behavior.

Friday, September 18, 2020


 Sharing simple visual materials in teletherapy serves a number of purposes:

-Providing a context for conversation building

-Building descriptive skills

-Practicing observational skills necessary for situational awareness and social functioning

-Tying in with curriculum (in this case, geography)

WindowSwap is a website I stumbled across because a friend shared it on Facebook. It's very "of the now" and the idea that it is safer to be at home, and provides glimpses of shared windows by people around the world. The entries are dynamic videos and very engaging, also somewhat relaxing for self-regulation purposes. Simply share your screen and help the conversation flow within a group. I also used the tactic of placing a shrunken new browser window over the geographic location so that students needed to make "smart guesses" about the location of the window. Sound is also optional so students can track environmental sounds.

Friday, September 11, 2020

A Dark Room

A Dark Room is a simple click-to-play game that I have found to be a great social language context for a number of my groups, at different age levels. It starts with just having options to stoke a fire in a cabin, then other characters and village-building opportunities arise. The gameplay unfolds just by text on screen following your choices, so it's a good opportunity for following a narrative, "thinking with the eyes," visualizing, and having group members take turns and add thoughts. It is also one of those games, like Little Alchemy, that engages students even if you don't/can't give cursor control in a teletherapy situation. 

The plotline of the game (I haven't gotten that far with groups) is a bit dark, which makes it suitable more for middle school/high school than elementary. If you would like to play A Dark Room with multiple groups, it remembers your progress in browser, so I am using Safari with one group and Chrome with another.