Irregular Plurals Interactive Book

30 Oct

Morgan button                                                Click on this box  for direct link

Sometimes we need to allow ideas time to grow.  We don’t always have the right  materials and knowledge when we first start out with an idea. It takes trial and error.  This is a  good lesson to impress upon our students. My wish to write a children’s book was a personal example of this.  I thought you might be intrigued about the process I went through.

Publishing a children’s book was one of those things on my bucket list. So 20 years ago I began to work on it.  It had several different titles and variations but in the end I called it  Morgan the Magician and his Amazing Box.   I didn’t always have a lot of time to devote to it. I would get a part of it going, end up with a road block, and it would get stuck back in the filing cabinet until I was ready to attempt it again.

cover

So how did I end up with the idea of Morgan the Magician you ask? Irregular plurals are not something that seem that important at first glance. Classroom instruction spends only a short  time on them.  They seem to play a small part of what students need for academic performance.   However I find my language students usually have  difficulty  with them and don’t acquire them through the  general education curriculum. I usually try to find some opportunity to review them.

For my therapy students, I started out my career using the usual task cards and tried to

morgan beginningget them to memorize them.  What else can you do when irregular plurals don’t follow the usual rules and are so  irregular.   This seemed to take more time out of therapy sessions than it was worth. Some would get memorized from the cards but were not used in any  other context.  So I tried to think of a better way.  I decided putting them in a story would give them some context.  My own children always liked the stories that had  pull flaps and they could  interact with.  Rhyming also helps us to remember things.  So this began my journey on making an interactive book with flaps that used rhyming.  I often had rhymes swimming in my head so I had empathy for Dr. Seuss.

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I started by making it for personal use first.  In  the first version, I hand drew the characters and objects. This was before graphics were available on computers for  the average person.   My own children said my wizard looked freaky and would scare children.  I  decided I better make him  a more friendly magician.   My first version had a pull strip that was pulled  through a door so that the single item went in the door and the plural came out the other side.  It was a workable book  but  the strips were a bit cumbersome and students had a tendency to pull the strips all the way out.  I also wanted the pages to be double-sided.  The last challenge was making it printable and user friendly for construction.  That turned out to be the biggest challenge.

Getting a publisher interested would be another challenge, but then came Teachers Pay Teachers.  I found I could just publish it myself.  page3 I discovered Power Point and that this program could be used for formating and placing  clip art easily on pages.  I got a notebook with a sketchbook app which openedup new possibilities for drawing characters.  I could draw the magician once and then make some changes to him as I  went without him changing appearance too much.  No more hand drawing each page.  It made it possible for me to make the clip art,  make multiple pages, and make it in such a way that others could make copies for themselves.

Then I had one of those light bulb moments.  I could just use doors and have the pages back to back.   The single task card could be placed in the door by the student.  The next page could  contain the plural form of the word.  The task cards are separate so they can be attached with velcro and used for  other activities.  Such a simple method that took years for me to come up with.

 

iregular plural button

Click on the button at the top of this post for a direct link to TPT and the book.

 

 

Tumblin Monkeys Game for Speech Therapy

23 Oct

Tumblin monkeysI  noticed that this game is being sold once again.  I have used Tumblin Monkeys as  one of my therapy  games for quite a few years.  It is a great game for general reinforcement, and can be played by early language leaners as well as my older elementary students. The game is similar to Kerplunk but looks like a palm tree.   The sticks are a little easier to stick in than kerplunk. The monkeys are placed on top of  the sticks and the sticks are  pulled out one by one.  There is a little more strategy involved  because the monkey tails get hung up on the sticks as they fall.  The other thing I like is the use of dice.  With the addition of a communication board  my early language leaners are provided the opportunities to make comments such as “Your turn”, “my turn”,  “I have pink” or make requests “May I have the die?”  It also emphasizes the word “least” because the winner is the one with the least monkeys.

I use the following comunication board with my early language leaners.

Tumblin monkeys com board

 

 

Booby Trap Adaption for Speech Therapy

11 Sep

 

Booby trapMany years ago when I was elementary school age, too long ago to mention,  I received a game call Booby Trap as a gift.  It survived my childhood and my mother handed it back to me when she cleaned out a closet.  I added it to my therapy game collection and it became a good standby.  The game was out of circulation for quite a few years so my students were often not familiar with it.   Lately I  noticed the game is back as a remake from the past and you can find some old ones on Ebay.  It comes in a  plastic versions and a wooden one.   One of my students told me the  plastic version is not as good because the pieces fly out easily.  I will let you figure that part out for yourself.  If you are looking for therapy games this is a good one and the wooden one has lasted my teaching career.

The game is easy to learn.  Basically students remove circular pieces that are held tight by a spring bar.  If the wrong piece is chosen the bar will spring forward.  Players pay a penalty for setting it off by returning pieces.  Players choose from 3 sizes of pieces. The larger the piece the more points a students earns.

This game is enjoyed across age levels to include high school level. It is sometimes hard to find games that are age appropriate for the older students who receive special education services.  It works well for general reinforcement  and for language learners with a communication board added.  I use it to develop basic statements such as “I have…”, “I take/took……” “your turn” and “my turn”.  It is also good for developing statements with attributes such as colors, size, and amount.

This is  a copy of the board I use for my language learners.

Boobytrap

 

It’s Good to Be Back Bulletin Board

31 Aug

Back to school sunflowers

School is finally starting in the Pacific Northwest.  We have a late start here compared to other regions of the United States..  I am returning to my main school from last year and adding a  new charter school as well.  The charter school has middle school students so I may get a little more variety this year with the age range. I have had middle school students in the past and enjoy working with this age group.  It is always fun to hear about the latest fads.

I needed a new bulletin board for back to school night and the start of school.  I decided to make something  that would be able to switch to the Fall season.  That happens pretty quickly so  back to school doesn’t stay up very long.  The bee is our school mascot so I have handy bee note papers.  I decided the slogan “It’s good to be back”  would be a nice  play on words. Bees go with flowers and sunflowers are a common Fall flower. That all led me to this video on how to make sunflowers.  It turned out  to be  a fairly simple flower to make. You can click on the title to get the directions.

Sunflower How to Vdeo

Sometimes dog walks give you a good appreciation of nature  and nature gives free material for crafts.  On a dog walk I noticed that the back end of pine cones look similar to the center of the sunflower. I clipped off the end of some pine cones and glued them to the center of my flowers.  Mine turned out to look like this.

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I added some green construction paper leaves.  There you have a sunflower bulletin board that didn’t take long to make at all.   I am sure students would enjoy making the sunflowers.  It may be worthy of a nature walk if you have trees with pine cones nearby.

 

 

Another Calming Tool for the Toolbox

18 Aug

calming bottles

 

I was recently browsing  through Pinterest looking for calming down tools.  Many of my students with special needs get stressed at the beginning of the year with new teachers, new students and new schedules.  Teachers come to me pretty quickly looking for tools to add to a calming center.   The students really benefit from an activity that is calming and gets them to refocus when they are upset.   I thought I would be proactive this year and have some things ready to go.

On Pinterest several  Preschool teachers were posting about calming bottles or glitter jars.  Basically glitter and glue or glitter glue are added to water in a bottle and shook up.  The glitter swirls in the water very slowly until it settles to the bottom. If a child is upset they usually settled down by the time the glitter has reached the bottom. The swirling glitter distracts them.

This  looked like an  ideal activity for a calming center for my elementary students.  In fact it is so relaxing I might use it on occasion myself. The picture really doesn’t do the swirling glitter justice.  It is quite mesmerizing watching glitter swirl.

Preschool Inspiration has directions for 6 Ways to Make a Calm Down Bottle using materials from craft stores or a dollar store. I can’t really improve on her directions so made a link from her blog name, just click on it.  For my bottles, I used glitter glue from the dollar store, sequins, and glitter stars. It took a  bit of experimenting to get it right.  I found round clear bottles work the best.  I tried  a shower soap bottle that was flat, but the water didn’t swirl as well so the glitter didn’t remain suspended.  You may also want to put a little food coloring in.  I found out that a little drop goes a long way.  My green bottle actually started out too dark. After you get it working the way you want it, make sure to hot glue the cover on tight.  You wouldn’t want the bottle to be opened.

 

 

 

 

 

Blogs, Therapy Materials, and TPT Store Oh My!

2 Aug
It's a Sale

It’s a Sale- click on banner for direct link

It’s a Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers.   Sorry, but  I have to get my spiel in here first.  Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s is having the annual  back to school sale and there are some really good deals there.  You can’t really beat the prices when you compare products to the commercial products.    A lot of the stores have 20% off with an additional 8% if the code BTS15 is used at checkout.  This makes for some significant savings when buying bundles. So if you haven’t discovered it yet, you should make a visit.

I would love it if you came and took a look at my store and “followed” me even if you choose not to buy anything.  By following me you get updates on any changes or new products.  If you click on the image at the top of the page, it will take you directly to my store. You can also click on any of the slides on the slide show  on the sidebar if you want more information on a particular item.

There are so many new stores with clever clipart  I am beginning to feel outclassed.   I decided mine really needed to get an uplift.   I spent a lot of time this summer putting new covers on and updating some of my older products.  The content has remained mostly the same however some have larger print, more clipart, and numbers added.  If you have purchased products in the last couple of years you may want to get the updated versions.  You can download them  again for  free because the system will have record of your previous purchase in your account.  I also created two bundles that will be included in the sale  so will be 28% off the listed price.

socialcombundlecoverComplex Sentencebundelcover

 

These bundles include the task card sets pictured on the covers. You can  click on the images for more specific information.

 

 

As I was going through my materials, trying to see what needed updating, I was marveling how many changes have occurred with therapy materials over the years. When I first started working in the schools  we used something called a ditto machine. You would write or type on carbons which then went on a roller that you would crank and make multiple copies.  Don’t laugh, but I actually have a few articulation worksheets made from carbons stuck in my files.   The print is usually blue and a yellow plastic page protector can make it possible to copy it in a copier.   I bet you don’t need to know that trick though.  Back to the ditto machine.  You could tell the teachers who spent too much  time with the ditto machine because they would have a glazed look from the fumes and purple fingers.  There were no concerns for toxic environment then.

I never liked the ditto machine or the copy machine. It always seemed to wait  for me to  jam up. Some things don’t change I guess because it still seems to jam up or there is a long line.  I started using task cards pretty early on.  I found task cards were the easiest to work with  groups of students with varied needs and I didn’t need to visit any version of a copier machine.  Most of my task cards started out as handwritten notes on index cards. I have revised them through the years as some of our objects become obsolete.  It was in about 1995 that I actually used a computer that made it practical to save them in files.  This led to placing them on the blog for easy download no matter what school I was at.  The last 5 years I have added clipart to the cards.  I like the clipart to be part of the visual cue for the written material so I avoid the repetitive cutesy stuff.  I also like to save on using colored ink which can be a problem at many schools.

The blog downloads have saved me many times when I have lost materials or forgotten them.  I have downloaded and brought them up on my iPad on occasion.  So there you have the progression from ditto machine to iPad in one career.  That is quite a jump.  I wonder what the new SLPs will  have 30 yrs.  from now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary and Secret Circle Activity

6 Jul

It is a year ago that I made the switch to a self hosted  web site.  I do not know why I waited so long.  I have enjoyed having the freedom of decorating as I wish.   There was definitely a learning curve, especially when I found it was hijacked at one point.  Over all It has been worth it.  I decided a free download was needed to celebrate.  Continue on to find it.

For some reason containers hold a certain fascination for me.  It seems like I am always collecting them and thinking about how I can use them for speech therapy.  While drinking my morning orange juice, I got to thinking about the cover to the juice container.  It would make a good tile for a hiding game.  It is at least 2 inches in diameter, can hold  a reasonable size card on top, and a small object underneath.  I also drink enough juice to get  a number of them in a reasonable amount of time.  This led me to thinking about the game of Secret Square and Cariboo. It seemed like it could be made into a game adaptation for either game. The covers just need velcro dots to fasten pictures on top.

20150705_080651

Do you remember the old therapy game called Secret Square?  It was a game that had tiles with pictures on top.  A chip is placed under one of the tiles.  Students find it by asking questions about the pictured items and eliminating the pictures that do not correspond to the answers.  Eventually the chip is found.  Cariboo is similar in that it has pictures on doors that can be chosen to find a hidden balls that is used to open a treasure box.  Both games are very versatile when addressing goals for describing, questioning, and synthesis of information to get the main idea.  It can also address articulation  and specific speech vocabulary such as prepositions with a switch of the cards.  Students love the idea of finding the secret object and it keeps them motivated. Unfortunately Secret Square and  Cariboo are no longer in production.  They can be hard to find and a bit  pricey if bought second hand on e-bay.

 

juice lids

juice lids

Which brings me back to my orange juice container lids.  I could see potential for making a game of   “Secret Circle”  and possibly even a Cariboo type game with items hidden under the lids. This could include pieces of a puzzles hidden  under some of the lids.  All I needed to do was drink 10 containers of juice to get  10 covers and place velcro dots  on top.  Pictures for the tops can range from articulation cards such as found on Mommy Speech Therapy to preposition cards such as found  as  a  free product at my TPT store. I updated and revised my Preposition Penguins especially for this post.  free download button There are a number of Cariboo cards on Teachers Pay Teachers that would also work.

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It is the Little Things That Count

22 May

Many parts of the country have had their last days of school but we are still finishing up the last couple of weeks of our year.  It is easy to feel defeated and wonder if the whole thing is just one big paper using,  report making,  operation.  It is times like these that it is important to remember the things that made you smile through out the year.  Some the following gave me a smile.

dog eating homework

The task cards I make for TPT are usually made for specific student goals.  Some of my students have attention deficit disorders and I am always trying to find creative ways to keep their attention.  I remembered when I was a child that my  name never seemed to be in any stories.  I thought that some of my students may feel the same way so I decided to use the names from one of my classes on the task cards.  One of the boys saw his name and was thrilled.  He had to take the card and show his teacher. They were also thrilled to find their teacher’s name.  Such a simple thing to keep them enthused about task cards. It is one advantage  to making your own materials.

My students with Downs and Autism make me smile a lot.  They continue to show me the value of play and that a toy’s worth is determined best by it’s ability to spin.  Tops can spin almost anywhere for preposition development. A box of happy meal toys is priceless for cause and effect. Do not decide the value of a toy by its cost. Free is sometimes the best.

Good Will was a gold mine this year.  After a year of searching I  almost  fell over when I discovered a Cariboo game for $5.00.  It was only missing the key which I replaced with a golf tee.  My husband couldn’t quite figure out why I acted like it was Christmas.  It is truly a great game for speech therapy so don’t give up on the search.  When you least expect it the game shows up.

I have had an  iPad with some game apps available for reinforcement. When given a choice my students were choosing a game off my shelf rather than the iPad. I have to smile when technology doesn’t always win over the old fashion games. I find this encouraging because I feel board games are still better when it comes to developing social communication.  I know that many therapist are implementing 5 minute individual speech drill  sessions and are foregoing the games.  However, I have only a  few students who see me only for articulation.  They usually have a mix of language, articulation and social skill deficits.   The games play an important part in  therapy and give me a better idea of their skills then drill.

 

lessonplan dartboard

You may notice I have been  playing around with the design of my Blog.  I am not sure if I will ever be truly satisfied.  It is something else that keeps me entertained.  I fixed a few links lately that were not working.  Sometimes updates throw things off. Please make a comment if you can’t get to something.

 

Free Sample; Unexpected and Expected Behavior Task Cards

29 Apr


unexpected button

I use Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® curriculum with many of my students. One of the concepts that is explored in this curriculum is “I have thoughts about you and you have thoughts about me.” In other words, people are always thinking about each other and they may have comfortable or uncomfortable thoughts depending on their actions. This may affect how they treat individuals in the future. People want to be with people they are comfortable with and have good thoughts about. They may avoid those that don’t make them feel comfortable. Therefore being able to tell the difference between what is expected behavior in given situations and what is unexpected can help us when making and keeping our friends. You can find more information on her concepts at http://www.socialthinking.com/

I needed a good set of task cards to review actions that students may do or observe others do.  You may find them useful  if you are teaching from this curriculum. They are double sided with an unexpected behavior on one side and a matching expected behavior on the other side.

I put the cards in a draw bag. The students reached in and drew a card out, and placed it on the table.  They then decided if the side facing up was an expected behavior or unexpected.  They talked about how the actions make them feel. If the unexpected is presented first, students can talk about what they think the expected behavior would be on the other side.

sweater sleeve bag

Students checked their answers by using the Top Secret UV light which I got at our book fair.  I put a U or and E in the box for them to check.  There is also a QR code for those who would prefer to use a scanner. My students find this motivating and they can self check if they are working in small table groups.

The draw bag is an easy thing to make.  I took a sleeve off an old sweater and sewed across the bottom.  The cuff makes a nice finished opening and the bag is stretchy.  It has got to be the easiest bag I have ever made.

In my TPT packet, there are 28 expected cards and 28 matching unexpected cards side by side.  They are meant to be printed on card stock, cut on the horizontal lines and folded back to make a double sided card.   I put a box on each card so I could write with my UV light pen a U or E in the box.  Students can light the answer up. I also put a QR code for those who like that option. The QR code is from http://www.qrstuff.com/. When scanned it will read expected or unexpected to correspond to the side it is on.

I am putting 2 pages of the cards below for you to review as a freebie.  If you like them consider getting the full set at TPT.   Just click on the cover page button at the top  for a direct link to the product.  Your patronage covers the cost of this website and keeps it advertisement free, except for me I suppose.  I am trying to keep the commercial  aspect down and provide resources. I know most of us are on really tight budgets.

 

free trial button

Pool Noodle Fun for Speech Therapy

23 Apr

It is always hard this time of the year to find activities for group therapy with my Life Skills groups.  There are usually 5 students in each group and the abilities are really varied.   I try to include some motor activity because this keeps their attention.  Using objects for actions is more meaningful for them then paper tasks.   However there are a few students who have motor difficulties which makes it difficult for them to do some tasks and work with the group.

pool noodle picture

 

 

My inspiration often comes from my closet.  This is a picture of what I found.   I decided to make a badminton type activity.  They used the pool noodles to hit balloons through the hulu hoop and then over the jump rope stretched across two chairs.  We encouraged two students to hit it back and forth to complete turn taking.  I  reinforced  the prepositions of over, through, below, under, and above.  My early language learners  practiced  phrases such as “Give it to me”, “Hit it”, “I want it”.

One of my students kept saying “there it is”. He was a student who we usually had trouble engaging and he blossomed with this activity.  For a student with Downs he had amazing eye hand coordination.  I hope he does badminton for Special Olympics.

I liked the pool noodles because they didn’t hurt if students hit each other and the balloons slowed down the process enough that all the students were able to hit them. I recommend having spare balloons.  We had one student who couldn’t resist squeezing and popping them.