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The Many Uses for Popsicle Sticks: Setting Up an Autism Classroom-Materials

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In continuing the posts on affordable materials, I wanted to put the spotlight on popsicle sticks.  There are so many things you can do with them that I thought I’d share a few.  The one below is one of the most basic.  They are great for put-in tasks.  This one uses a potato chip canister and tongue depressor-size popsicle sticks.

Another easy skill is sorting.  If you use colored popsicle sticks you can sort them by color in craft storage trays (left) or in containers like the ones to the right I found at the dollar store with colored tops.

One of my favorite ways to use them is to write things on them.  Above is a picture of a social skills questions game I created for a middle school student working on learning to answer questions or commenting.  He responded well to visual cues and fill-in-the-blank statements.  Using the popsicle sticks allowed us to keep them in a cup and he chose random sticks each day to participate in conversation if he needed a prompt during a social activity.  This kept it fairly fresh.

I have done the same thing with directions that students working on reading comprehension use.  I write 1 or 2-step directions on the popsicle sticks and the students take turns drawing them for directions to follow.  Teachers also use them to draw class helpers, draw who is called on to answer questions and a variety of other purposes where being able to mix things up would be helpful.

And finally, did you know that popsicle sticks make great sentence strips for the Picture Exchange System?  A teacher I worked with came up with this one and it is a great system.

So, how do you use popsicle sticks in your classroom?

Until next time,

4 thoughts on “The Many Uses for Popsicle Sticks: Setting Up an Autism Classroom-Materials”

  1. As a "space man"! For students to use to help put spaces in between their words when writing 🙂

    Also, as a page turner. One of my students can't turn pages of a regular book by herself – she grabs too many, but an aide sits by her and slides the popsicle stick under the next page, and boom, she can now turn the page 🙂

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