It is time to bring out the farm theme materials. Thanks to my sister and her husband I can give you an up to date look at operating a farm in Minnesota. Before technology became available to classrooms, we were stuck using old sets of picture cards that were often very outdated. The family farm has changed a lot since then. Put those materials away because here are some up to date resources.
Thankfully, many of us have access to Wifi and can now stream video for our students. Of course this has led to another difficulty for teachers. When do you find the time to look through all those videos on YouTube to find the right ones. Many are too long or filled with technical jargon.
Farmer Jim has made a series of short video clips for your use. They are each about 4 minutes in length. They are meant to be family friendly and not full of of technical jargon so they can work well for anyone including early elementary grades as well as some special needs classrooms. The tractors, machinery and animals appeal to all ages. They are posted on YouTube.com under Our Minnesota Farm if you would like to look the series up.
The videos are meant to educate people on the day to day operation of a modern farm. A lot of our students and adults live in urban areas and have no idea how our food is produced. All they see is the prepackaged food in the grocery store. It is important for all of us to know where food comes from so that when topics come up in the news, we know what they are talking about and can support our hard working farmers.
The first 2 video clips deal with feeding Angus calves. You are welcome to use the pictures for educational purposes.
Are you wondering how they get fuel for that tractor? You can’t just drive this to the gas station.
Where does the grain come from for the calves?
The field finally did dry out a few days later so tilling was started. These aren’t your old fashion tractors. They also use GPS. I wonder if this counts as screen time. 🙂
This is a descriptive barrier and bingo game I made a few years ago. In February of 2013 to be eggs act. Sorry I couldn’t resist that. It was so long ago that quite a few of you probably haven’t seen or found that post. I thought it would be a good time to bring this activity back up for review for Spring and give you a free activity. I will put a sample download toward the bottom of the post that you can print and use.
This is one was one of my favorite activities because it covered so many goals in a mixed group. I used it with students from upper elementary all the way to high school. I found that my high school students sometimes needed a break from all that drill and pencil/pad pushing work. The vocabulary used is often found in math and science materials.
The cards can be used in a variety of ways to include bingo, matching games, go fish, following multiple directions, comparisons, and finding a mystery card that is described. You can use a pack of colored pencils and have students draw what another student describes. I sometimes used an app called Educreations which turns an iPad into a drawing surface.
The following vocabulary can be elicited: inside, parallel, diagonal, end, striped, spotted, across, center, corner, intersect, above, below, vertical, horizontal, half, between, left, right, perpendicular, heart, square, diamond, triangle, rectangle, and star. The cards range from eliciting two step directions (make a green star in a red triangle) to more complex directions that require 5 or more steps. For example: (draw red lines that intersect to form right angles to each other in the center, draw a red triangle in the upper left corner, a yellow circle in the upper right corner, a green heart in the lower left corner and a blue star in the lower right corner). They can also be use for articulation practice for multiple syllable words containing /l,r,s/ and blends. It provides opportunity for spontaneous speech during a structured activity.
This is a picture of one of the Bingo cards.
Click on the star below for a one page copy of cards you can print out. There is a full set of cards and bingo boards on my store at Teachers Pay Teachers.
Recently, I discovered the Royal Game of UR. It is an ancient game that gives us a look into the common lives of past civilizations. It would be a good lead in for students studying Ancient History and researching how we have discovered information about past lives. It is generally good for students that are middle school age and above. They will likely be intrigued by it’s history and the game looks age appropriate. The game has a bonus of originating in the Middle East. We have many students who have Middle Eastern ancestry. We often lack materials representing this ethnic group so it is nice to include things when we can. We can validate this culture and show the positive contributions rather than the negative that seems to be in our mainstream.
Just to give you a little background, the first recognizable game boards were excavated at the Royal Cemetery of UR between 1922 and 1934 in an archaeologist dig by an English archeologist, Sir Charles Leonard Woolley. Most people base their replications on one found at this excavation and housed in the British Museum. They are dated to the First Dynasty of UR around 2600 BC. Other versions have been found throughout the Middle East but were generally not in very good condition.
I know some of you are wondering how this ended up on a speech blog so here is my reasoning. I like to discover new games and discover how they can be used to teach social communication and general language skills. This one could be used for encouraging participating in an activity with a partner for a length of time, focusing on a topic, handling disappointment, (there are frequent set backs), anticipating consequences for actions, following directions and developing strategy. The rules are fairly simple so students can grasp them in 5 to 10 minutes.
It is generally a race game with conflict. It is a two player game in which each player is required to get 7 tokens across the board before the other player. Set backs occur when a player lands on the opponents token sending it off the board to start over. Luck and strategy both play a part in success so one student may not necessarily over power another student because of cognitive ability. The games last an average of 20 to 30 minutes depending on how much you think it through.
It is not entirely clear what the original game rules were and several sets of rules have been published. A tablet was discovered in Iraq in 1880 outlining rules for a game using pawns, dice, and throws prior to Wooley’s excavation of his game. This tablet was later linked to being the possible rules for the UR game board. The original game used triangular rocks with painted tips for dice and variations on safe places and getting another turn in specific places.
You can see how it is played by watching this youtube video. Irving Finkel is a curator at the British Museum and has produced a number of youtube videos on artifacts that are housed there. He is a unique individual who really plays the part. His videos are entertaining as well as informative.
If you are interested in locating the game that is pictured on my heading, they are being sold on Etsy by True Laser Cutting. I like this particular version because it comes in a wooden box with room to store all the pieces. I can carry it to various schools and not lose any. There is also a 10% off coupon for teachers at checkout so don’t forget to use that. Type in 10FORTEACHERS near the final checkout button.
Happy New Year! I hope you get off to a good start for the rest of your school year in 2019. I’m starting out the year with new vocabulary task cards. These cards are similar to the ones I made a couple of years ago using 4th grade vocabulary lists. This time I used Tier II Vocabulary lists from the 5th and 6th grade levels. I used as many words as I could that made sense within the context of the paragraphs I wrote. If you make it to the bottom of this post there is a free trial set.
They can also be used with older students who need supplemental help with vocabulary development. They do not have pictures that older students would find childish or refer to grade levels on the cards. There is a vocabulary list included for instructor reference.
Core State Standards put a strong emphasis on vocabulary words that occur frequently in academic text. These are referred to as Tier II Vocabulary. Students come across these words when reading Science, Social Studies and English text so not knowing them can make reading and understanding academic text difficult.
I am always trying to figure out how I can make the biggest impact on my students in the classroom and I think concentrating on vocabulary at the later elementary to middle school level can make a big difference with their comprehension. These cards use the words within short paragraphs so they address comprehension within text as well as giving context clues toward the word meanings.
I am going to give you a chance to try them out with a trial deck of 10 cards. If they work for you, you might want to consider buying the full set on Teachers-Pay-Teachers.
The full set has 2 sets of 16 sheets for a total of 32 sheetsof task cards. There are a total of 120 vocabulary words presented on the cards. Set 2 is a duplicate of set 1 with the following differences. Set 1 has the answers on the right half but they are scrambled and the student will need to find the correct answers from the list. These are marked with Find the Answer. Set 2 has the correct answers provided on the right half and is marked as Answers.
The cards are placed on the sheets so you can choose to make double backed cards. For example card two (vocabulary meanings), folded to the back, would make a good backing for the card containing the (text).
You could also cut right half off and make a double backed card with the card containing (text) and the comprehension questions folded up to make the other side. You could keep all of them together and fold right half back to provide word meanings and answers to the comprehension questions on the back side.
Set 1 with the mixed answers will require a student’s thought process to get an answer. Set 2 provides answers for a flip side if you choose to make the cards part of a learning center and self checking. By making both sets I can differentiate the instruction for different needs and methods of instruction.
I am going to give you a chance to try them out with a trial deck of 10 cards. I hope this helps with your return lesson planning. Just click on the colored lettering below.
No matter what goals you are working on with a student, there comes a time to move those newly developed skills outside your therapy setting. This is referred to as carry over. For some students we know it can be a real struggle. We all have experience with the student who does a perfect /s/ during therapy and then you see them in the hallway and they turn to you to ask “Is it my peech day?” All of that work does little good if it does not transfer to the real world. Therefore carryover skills are important to address. It is important to have this in mind from the very beginning.
There are things to keep in mind when planning tasks for carry over. It is important that the student is able to do the required task correctly in a controlled setting and hear the difference between his correct and incorrect productions before doing homework assignments on his own. If he doesn’t self correct errors he is likely to practice homework wrong which only reinforces errors. Homework should be given at the level where student is successful.
It is important to reinforce the correct behavior to get it established but after that don’t give immediate feedback every time. Instead, teach self monitoring by asking the student what they think about their production and then give feedback. This makes them responsible for their behavior and not as dependent on your approval. Children often work for approval and do not see the big picture. We want them to be self-disciplined and responsible for their actions. I often tell them they need to become their own therapist because they certainly don’t want me following them around all day correcting them.
As soon as students are at a spontaneous sentence level I encourage them to self monitor by using a hand counter or tally counter. They self monitor by making a click each time they observe themselves doing an assigned task correctly during therapy. This could be monitoring a correct speech sound, using correct grammatical structures, or using fluency techniques. All those things we tend to work on.
It is easiest to do this in an hierarchy. Train the student how to use the clicker when reading a word list or reading sentences that have the words they are working on. Then bring it up to the next level by working on more spontaneous productions. The Silly Sentences in the “Expressive” section are great for a reading task. It goes to the next level of spontaneous speech when student explain what is wrong with the sentence that was read. The Association cards in the “Vocabulary” section are also a way of getting more spontaneous output as the student explains how words are similar in meaning. I often have students working on vocabulary skills as well as sound production in the same group. With the clicker almost any task that requires a spontaneous response can work and meet a variety of needs.
There are a few bonuses for having the student use the tally counters. You can keep track with a second counter or paper and pencil, and compare accuracy of the self monitoring as well number of attempts with the student’s tally. The students finds it motivating to hit a target number of correct productions and you have data for your records.
The clicker can add natural controls at the level of conversational speech. Often students get carried away with a conversation, and forget to monitor or allow others to talk. The flow is stopped if you need to remind them. The tally counter in their hand is a good reminder there is a goal in mind. When working with multiple students you can give an assigned number to tally before passing it to another student. The group can earn a chosen activity when they reach a certain number. For some reason the clicker by itself can be motivating to some students.
The “Social” section at the top has quite a few activities to encourage spontaneous speech in social situations. There are ideas for role playing in this section. Role playing is a good activity for practicing real life situations. Ideally you will be providing tasks that reflect real life speaking situations so students practice what they will actually be saying and then carry it over.
The Forms and Letters section has a “Home Work Rating Scale” I have used to get feedback from parents, teachers, and caregivers. The student becomes aware he is being listened to by others and parents know what can be expected from the student. I often use this sheet as an exit requirement. When parents have been part of the process, they are more likely to know and agree when it is time for the student to discontinue speech services.
I hope you find something you can use in this blog post. I enjoy hearing what works for you or any other feedback. You are always welcome to leave comments. In addition, let me know if you run into links that do not work. I found some recently and deleted or fixed them. It is a hard thing to keep track of some of these things.
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It is that time of year when new SLPS are beginning or will soon begin their 1st SLP experiences. Since I don’t have an assignment to start the new school year, I am finding myself getting quite nostalgic about the whole thing. This time of year I can’t help but reflect back and marvel that I survived it all. I also have to laugh about some of the craziness. I know some things have improved over the years, but a lot remains the same, for instance scheduling has always been a nightmare.
We often want to be accomodating to our teachers and administration. Unfortunately, we often become the default for tasks “somebody” has to do. People don’t know what we do so we become the “somebody”. In some states, SLPs are considered licensed teaching positions and are assigned duties such as recess, lunchroom, and before and after school dismissal monitoring. Of course this doesn’t take into consideration that we accomodate all grade levels in our schedule and therefore use all hours of the day for working with students and having parent meetings. This gets even more complicated if you are in more then one school and more than one school assigns you duties. It is important to become assertive about your duties and set up your schedule early on before you get overloaded. Make a nice copy of that schedule and keep it handy. I’ve had to use my schedule to justify not being assigned a duty. You may need to remind an administrator that you need that time to see students and using your time to do recess duty is not cost effective for special education funds.
After many frustrating years of scheduling I found a few hacks to make it easier. Most teachers have to produce a class schedule early on. I asked teachers at our first staff meeting to provide a copy of their schedule with circled times when I can see students. I would then have the full schedule of each teacher and possible therapy times. The office or attendance system often provided the student list by assigned teachers. This with the teacher schedule gave me the information to set up my schedule. I would then make a tentative schedule. I then emailed or talked to those teachers about the assigned times for their students. This way we needed less correspondence to get things rolling and they could respond by email.
I try to schedule students together according to their goals but this doesn’t always work out. After many years, I found out this wasn’t as important as I first thought. It was easier to schedule students from the same grade levels or classrooms. In most cases therapy could be adapted to meet multiple needs in a group. Since grade levels were often in the same halls or wings I could get students to alert the next group when it was their time to come or I could work in a classroom with multiple students. i found less wasted time with this method.
Don’t forget to give yourself testing and paperwork times. It’s tempting to use that for student therapy time to make smaller groups, but don’t. It is an area that is sensitive to a lot of people to include parents, teachers and administrators. You need that time to complete assessments in a timely manner.
I found one of the hardest things was having an actual lunch break. It was Murphy’s Law that my lunch time would be prime time for therapy time for multiple groups. My lunch was often at the end of the school day before running off to a meeting.
I hope you found some tidbits to use in this post. I hope everyone has a good start to their school year.
I am always searching for activities that can address a number of speech therapy objectives in groups. Clothing accessories are a good tool for this. Most of these items are readily available in our closets, yard sales or thrift stores and cost very little if anything. It doesn’t matter if they seem silly or out of the norm. That just opens up possibilities for descriptive language, social conversation skills and clear conversational speech.
So should we see what I can find in my drawers and closet? I found hats, scarves, beaded necklaces, sun glasses, knee pads, and gloves.
This is how I used them.
To address the social skills of conversational speech; complimenting, asking questions, and noticing the perspective of another person.
Have two or three students go out of the room and put a number of items on. When they come back in, students have a few minutes to observe them. The students then go back out and switch the items among each other. They then come back in. When they come back into the room, students who remained behind report the differences. This encourages students to be more observant of others. I often use this as a lead in to a discussion about body language.
Another skill to address is starting a conversation. Students ask relevant questions or make a compliment according to what someone is wearing. For example, “I love that red scarf. Where did you get it?” “Are you getting dressed for a special occasion?”
In another activity, students conduct a talk show. One student can put an item on and be interviewed by another according to the character they become with the items they are wearing. This activity is great for determining if students have conquered those articulation skills conversational speech.
I hope you have fun with these open ended activities and they help you to get away from the grind of drills, provide an engaging activity and allow for speech and language samples for the end of the year progress reports.
I published a post quite a few years ago about making a flexible brain. It was a very popular post at the time. I decided to re-publish this post because for me the jello brain lesson tended to come up in the month of April and is relevant for many today when using the popular Superflex program by Michelle Garcia Winner who is author of Social Thinking Curriculums. For those who do not know the program, There is a character, Superflex, who conquers Rock Brain who is not flexible and doesn’t adapt to change well. He keeps getting stuck doing the same old thing and being rigid in his thinking pattern.
The lesson required the use of a flexible brain to illustrate how the brain needs to be flexible to grow and handle changes in an ever changing environment. There is a comparison of a rigid brain with a flexible brain. The lesson manual suggested using a brain mold to make a jello brain and the mold itself for the inflexible version.
I was able to order a brain mold from a Halloween prop store. Now there are quite a few alternatives where you can order a mold on line. Just do a search for brain molds. It was fairly inexpensive and I used it multiple times.
The manual did not give actual directions or a recipe for the mold. I have a bad history with Jello molds from the 1970s. My jello would stick to the mold and never turn out and lose it’s shape. There was also the problem of trying to work in the time line of classes at two different sites. I needed to be able to transport it. I figured the Jello would melt and be over the table before the first session was up.
I researched Jello brain recipes on the internet. It turns out that there are a lot of these. Some of them are a bit on the gross side of things. I decided to stay away from the worm and bug infested brains although I’m sure they would be attention grabbing. I wanted something that would be close to flesh tone and stay fairly solid even if it wasn’t in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. So I settled for the following recipe. It worked well.
You need the following ingredients:
3 boxes of jello with orange to pink colors (watermelon, peach), Evaporated milk (12 ounce can), green food coloring, and 2 1/2 cups boiling water
Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, Spray the inside of the mold with vegetable oil spray. Add milk and cold water to the gelatin mixture and stir until smooth. Add 2 drops green food coloring. The mixture should look flesh-colored. Add a drop at a time until you get the right color. Pour the mixture into the mold and put in the refrigerator. This brain turned out to be quite solid and kept its shape for several hours. In between sessions I slipped it back into the mold and put it back in the refrigerator.
For the lesson, slips of paper with brain functions from the categories of social awareness, motor,and factual/science are inserted into the jello brain. The students take turns pulling these out and talking about them.
I debated the best method of getting the papers in the Jello. I ended up laminating the papers and poking them in after the brain was taken out of the mold. This worked better than pouring the jello mixture over them. This way ends of the paper were left sticking out and easy to grab with tweezers. Surprisingly, the brain kind of resealed itself and was in good shape after the papers were removed. I reinserted the laminated papers into the same locations for the next group and used it again.
No one asked if they could eat it. I wouldn’t recommend it after all that examination with tweezers and handling of papers.
I took a picture of the brain so you could have a visual. The photo at the top is my original jello brain.
A Tangram Puzzle is an old Chinese tile game that consists of seven geometric shapes called tans. The tans usually consist of a square, 5 triangles and a parallelogram. The shapes can be used to form various shapes and designs. I used the original square but also developed a Shamrock puzzle because this lesson was presented in March. I would do the shamrock after the square because it tends to be more difficult.
I have used these puzzles when working with my social groups as a cooperative activity. It is a good activity to work on problem solving, seeing another person’s perspective, using directive language and cooperating within a group. Hopefully you have had a chance to work on some of these skills before this activity and this will allow you a chance to observe and encourage their development.
To begin the activity you need a square puzzle printed out on cardstock for each student in the group. They cut the square apart into individual shapes. At its simplest level each student mixes their pieces up into a pile and then puts them back together into a square shape. The difficulty and need for interaction can be increased by having students mix their pieces of the puzzle with other students. They choose puzzle pieces from the mix and then try to put their square back together again. This forces students to look at the pieces they have and what other students have. They then need to negotiate and trade for the pieces they need to make the original square.
There are two free downloads for this activity. One is the square pattern and the other is a shamrock pattern . I hope your students learn from and enjoy this activity.
I updated Crocodile Dentist with a new communication board. It was a popular game with my early language learners and I managed to wear out two crocodiles since the original posting in 2013. This was a great game for speech therapy reinforcement and to encourage communication. Apparently some of you are still using it.
Readers have requested the communication board I made to go along with the game but unfortunately I don’t have it any longer. It was left behind with the game when I moved on to other schools. I no longer have access to the program Boardmaker to print the digital copy. However, there is a free program called Picto-Selector that I have been using to make communication boards. This program may be a good option for some of you. Click on the colored print to find the site to download it. I made the board below using it. If you want to download this board click on the board below.
Meanwhile, here are the game adaptations I posted about in 2013.
Crocodile Dentist is a plastic crocodile that has a spring loaded mouth. The mouth closes when a certain tooth is pushed down. Kids enjoy the suspense of seeing who is going to get bit. I give the kids an option of using using a tongue depressor because some take this quite seriously. The trigger tooth changes location each time the mouth is opened.
Some of you may already use this game for reinforcement. I thought you might like to know how you can expand its use a little further. I use it to expand a student’s verbal output to 2 to 3 word phrases using a communication board and to follow directions using prepositions.
I colored the teeth alternating colors using permanent markers. I used pink, green, and orange because I already had a die that had those colors. If you don’t have a die you can make a spinner or use colors for a die you have.
For my students with limited verbal abilities, I use the communication board along with the die in a plastic jar. I have the students shake the die to get the color of tooth they need to push down. I then model phrases using the communication board while playing the game. The game creates a lot of opportunities for repetition of phrases such as “I have ….” or “push down green tooth”. I also reinforce saying “your turn” and “my turn.” After repetition the students start to say the appropriate phrase when you point to the correct icons as a prompt. Finally, they may prompt themselves by pointing to the icons and verbalizing. This is a good way to break up an imitative pattern that often happens when training non-verbal children and uses a natural context for turn taking.
The colors are used in the direction cards also. Click on the free download icon for the cards. Cards were made using the concept vocabulary: next to, beside, between, right, left, colors, not, side, front, either/or. Children take turns drawing the cards and following the directions for the tooth to be pushed down. We play a variation by giving each child three poker chips. They feed the crocodile a chip if he bites. The person who feeds all three chips is the winner.
I provided a word program down load because I thought people may need to adjust the color words for their needs. If you have any difficulties with this, leave me a comment. Print out the cards and have the students pull them out of a bag and then follow the directions while playing the game.
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