Archive for the ‘School Based Occupational Therapy’ Category.

Door Stoppers / Pinch Guards for Your Classroom

Problem: At my school, I often want to keep my heavy, automatically-locking door open just a crack so I and the kids can get back in. Using a traditional wedge door-stop works but it often gets stepped on, kicked or misplaced. Now I use these pinch guards. When not in use, I use Velcro (AKA hook and loop fasteners) on the wall to keep them close-by. All-in, they cost around $3 per door and they work very well!

Pinch-guard

Self Adhesive Hook and Loop Tape (Velcro)

Some tips:

  • Use long pieces of Velcro on both the pinch-guard and the doorway, it makes it easier to stick them to the wall quickly.
  • For the Velcro, remember to put the “soft on the surface“. It makes it easier to feel the rough part on the pinch guard and it’s good to establish that as the norm in your room, you can stick objects onto fabric (a good stand-in for soft Velcro).
  • If the glue on the velcro doesn’t hold, try stapling it.
  • I had tried similar, popular horseshoe-shaped pinch guards but they didn’t work well on my thick door with a strong closer.
  • It’s easy to see this white pinch guard on the door from a distance. Regular doorstops can be hard to see.

 

Update 10-29-19: These pinch guards are standing up to normal use but not rough abuse in my classrooms. A student doesn’t have to be strong to tear it apart. I’ve come across a very sturdy rubber-plastic door pinch-guard but I don’t know where to buy more! Where can I buy more of these? They were apparently provided for all the classrooms when one of my schools was renovated in ~2007. See the photo to the right.

 

Keyboard and Mouse Blocking Software for Your Classroom

The problem: In some of the classrooms I work in, students sometimes interrupt computer presentations on the teacher’s computer by randomly hitting the the keyboard.

The solution: A free Windows software utility. With it, the keyboard and mouse can be easily locked and unlocked with a special key combination, for example: Ctrl-Alt-F. This makes their computer immune to “fly-by” keyboard tapping. When the behavior doesn’t get the frustrated attention it used to, it is quickly extinguished.

You can find the software here: BlueLife KeyFreeze v1.4

Just in case, here is a local copy of the Bluelife KeyFreeze 1.4.

I tried several other keyboard & mouse lockers and this one was clearly the best. KeyFreeze is free software. It works great “out of the box” but you may want to change a few options from the icon on the system tray. I turned off the cute lock/unlock music and customized it a little.

Installing it takes a couple steps (I’m not complaining, it’s totally free software!), I’ll walk you through it.

1 РDownload and unzip BlueLife KeyFreeze

2 – It doesn’t run an installation program, it just runs when you double-click on it. It’s not good practice to run the program from my “Downloads” folder so I copied all the files to a new folder named C:\Programs\Keyfreeze

3 – You should make it start automatically when Windows starts. Here’s how to do that: Go to the C:\Programs\Keyfreeze folder and create a shortcut to KeyFreeze_x64.exe by right-clicking on it. Hit Win+R. Type “shell:startup” to open up the Windows startup folder. Drag the shortcut you just made into that folder. Done!

Now, when you want to freeze the keyboard and mouse, just hit Ctrl-Alt-F. To unfreeze, do it again.

 

For difficult classroom situations, you might want to disable the touch-screen and the “turn computer off when closing the lid” features. Here’s how:

– On my computer, to disable the touch-screen I hit the Windows key, type “Device manager”, find “Human Interface Devices”, find the “HID Compliant touch screen”, click the “driver” tab, click “Disable Device”. You can re-enable the touch screen by coming back to this page and clicking “Enable Device”

– To disable the “Turn off the computer when closing the lid” feature, hit the Windows key, type “change what closing the lid does”, change “When I close the lid” to “Do nothing”.

I’d love to hear in the comments if this software was useful in your classroom!