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Life as a SEIT can be hectic and sometimes our planning time just gets away from us. Totally understandable given all the commuting we do, and all the paperwork and reports we have to complete. Life as a special education teacher can be hectic, and that is why it’s always a good idea to have last-minute activities for SEITs in your back pocket! That way on those busy days when you didn’t have time to prep, you can still have meaningful sessions with your students!
We’ve all had those days that get away from us, and we can’t help but lose out on prep time. No shame. It happens to the best of us.
Once I missed out on all my prep time because I was on the subway when a branch fell on the tracks and short-circuited everything. I was stuck underground for over an hour. When I finally made it to my next case, I had nothing prepared.
Luckily I knew a few simple no-prep activities we could do and was able to salvage what was left of my session.
I used to be really controlling and planning for everything, but over the years I’ve learned the mature and responsible thing to do is to actually have a backup. Things get away from us, and we have to be prepared.
That way no matter how crazy things get, you’ll always be able to help your students work towards acquiring new skills and knowledge.
In this post, I’m going to cover some of my favorite last-minute, low to no prep activities for SEITs.
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Last Minute Activites for SEITs
It is totally normal to need to have no-prep activities to work on. Time gets away from everyone.
For more tips and tricks on time management for SEITs check out this blog post!
In the meantime, please enjoy my favorite last-minute, no-prep activities for SEITs.
Teach a Movement
Being aware of the space around you is important obviously, for safety reasons, but also just feeling secure.
I take Latin ballroom dance classes, mostly salsa and cha cha, and the other day, when the instructor put on a fast song, the gentleman leading me was moving so quickly, I had no idea where my body was in time and space.
It was a strange experience, and I felt like my feet weren’t really touching the floor and that any second I was going to crash into another human or the wall.
So a great last-minute activity for SEITs is to work on movements that make students more aware of their body and where it is in space and in relation to other things.
I like to teach animal walks for this. The bear walk is a great one. I set a starting point, put an obstacle down, and ask students to walk around it and come back to the starting point.
Plus we get to make the bear sounds while doing it, which is pretty fun. This also works for other animal walks like crab, frog, and so on.
Check out this great blog post on animal walks and autism.
This one is super easy and all you need is a deck of cards. It works on gameplay skills and basic math skills.
Take a pack of regular playing cards, shuffle, and deal them evenly between yourself and your student.
You each flip over a top card and the person with the bigger card wins and gets to keep both. The first person to get the whole deck wins.
Okay, that can take hours, but usually, I set a timer and when it goes off we simply say the person with the bigger pile of cards wins.
In the event that two cards are the same, I keep it simple and say everyone has to draw again, and the winner gets to keep both sets. (Note: That is not the standard rule for war).
This one is great because it helps your kids work on bigger and smaller as well as turn-taking.
This one does require keeping printables on hand as well as for your students to have worksheet skills.
I like to keep a stack of word searches with sight words for all grade levels on me. Then we can spend a few minutes looking for simple basic familiar words.
It helps teach visual scanning and sight word recognition.
To cut down on prep, even more, you can skip making your own and purchase my pre-made word searches here!
What’s it made of?
This one is more basic and does require some prep. I grab a few different objects made of different things and sticky notes.
I’ll create categories of different materials on the stick notes.
- And So on
I’ll place the sticky notes either around the room or table depending on where and how we’re working.
Then I’ll have the students sort each of the selected items from around their house into each category.
Afterward, we might make a web, with the material in the center and all the different things we can think of that are made of it.
This one is good because it gets kids to practice their sorting skills, while also helping them learn to identify things based on their observations.
Cross the Midline
Do you remember that nursery rhyme from elementary school?
Miss Mary Mac, Mac, Mac
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back
I loved that one and it still gets stuck in my head.
I made up a game similar to patty cake, but use the Miss Mary Mac rhyme with my older students because it’s slightly more mature.
You clap your hands together and then clap your partner’s opposite hand in between your bodies while crossing the midline.
The midline in the center of your body and getting your left hand to cross it and go on your right side is a big deal for your brain if you don’t do it often.
I’m not sure of the science behind it, but every OT I’ve ever worked with goes on and on about getting kids to cross the midline.
If your students have autism thinking of simple physical activities like one can help improve their body control, thus improving their impulse control.
For more on impulse control and autism, check out this post!
It’s one of my favorite last-minute activities for SEITs because you just need a rhyme and clapping pattern!
When you’re a SEIT or one on one there is no shame in needing last-minute activities. We have too much to do and not enough time to do it.
Plus we have to change locations during the day! That commuting sucks up a lot of time!
Make sure to always have last-minute easy to do activities for your kiddos in your back pocket to maximize your session times, no matter how crazy life gets!
Find me on Instagram and let me know what your favorite Last Minute Activities for SEITs are!