Ending Another School Year and Summer Activity

6 Jun

I didn’t expect to be doing this again but here I am wrapping up another school year.  After announcing retirement last year,  I ended up substituting for SLPs on personal and medical leave in 2 middle schools, and 2 elementary schools. It kept me quite busy and  in semi-retirement.  I did enjoy the reduced schedule.

Our year ends later than most areas of the United States.  We also had another half week added because of our more than usual snow days.  I think the students and I are ready to see summer vacation arrive.

I know this is too late for most of you, but I like to do a special activity for the last days of therapy.  I found Summer Bingo Boards among my downloads from last summer.  I decided Loop Cereal  Bingo would be a good vocabulary and conversation building activity to wrap up the year. The bingo boards were not marked with any identifying information and I have no idea where they came from.  They appear to be a free download from some place but I can’t find the address.   If you are the creator I would love to give credit so please let me know.  I am making them a free download so people can get them here but if there is a better url address I will switch it out.  They are black and white so they won’t use up the color ink.  Just click on the button.

There are 9 boards using summer pictures to illustrate summer vocabulary items.  I am printing mine out on regular computer paper so each child can have his/her own sheet.  That way  loop cereal can be placed on them for markers and each child will have a fresh sheet of paper.  Students can eat the cereal when they get a BINGO.

 

 

 

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Teaching Left from Right

19 Mar

 

I don’t know about you but I’ve found that the concept of left and right can be one of the most difficult  for students to grasp.  Because of this I am always on the look out for ways  to incorporate it into my activities.  I am going to showcase a few games I have used during therapy sessions to reinforce the concept plus add little incentive for the other goals we may be working on.  The students don’t realize it but my games are often selected for a dual purpose.

First off I usually show my students how to tell their left from their right .  When they place their hands palm sides down, their left had will form the letter L which stand for Left.  Easy Peasy Classroom has a nice set of posters to illustrate this.  Click on the picture and it will take you there.

I recently found the game called  Left, Right, Center. It is less than $7.00 at stores such as Wal-Mart, which is a reasonable price for my budget. It is also  small for carrying in my therapy bag. It is a dice game that is a nice incentive game because turns are quick and it is more of a game of luck than skill.  This means that any of my students can be successful regardless of abilities.  It also gives multiple opportunities to figure left from right.

The game consists of chips and a set of dice  with the letters L, C, R or a black dot.  Everyone starts with 3 chips.  Players roll the number of dice that corresponds to the number of chips they have.  They pass the chips according to the roll on the dice.  L means a chip to the person on the left.  R means a chip to the person on the right.  C means a chip to the center of the table and a black dot means you keep a chip.  Eventually there will be only one person left with chips and they get to claim the center.  Then the game is over.

I have also used the game of Block Head.  It is a game that has been out for a number of years, so you may have it.  You could use regular blocks but you would not have the crazy shapes then.  I adapted it for left and right practice by adding a spinner. The spinner is part of a set of spinners that are a free download at my TPT store. just click on the picture.

Block Head is a basic game of taking turns stacking different size blocks until someone knocks the block tower over.
 Students practice left and right by spinning the spinner and then using the hand designated by the spinner.  Students can develop an awareness of which hand feels more comfortable to them and use that to figure out which hand is which.


 

There is also a game I made up for my kindergarten concept groups called Skip and Pass.  It is  in the vocabulary section of this blog or you can click on the green lettering.  A small group of students form a circle and each child has a black or white shape in front of them.  I make die cut shapes.  Students take turns throwing a large dice in the middle of the circle. The die indicates if students pass a ball or bean bag left or right around the circle and who is skipped according to the shape in front of them.  It is a good game to teach group participation as well as several concepts including left and right. The pattern for the dice is included in the instructions.

I hope you found these options useful.  I am taking part in a linking party for special ed. blogs so check out some of these other sites.  We love your comments.  It keeps us writing.


 

 

Descriptive Sentences: What is old becomes new.

5 Mar

 

One of the benefits of switching work locations is activities that seem old in one school can become new to another group of students. I don’t like hauling a lot of materials around so sometimes I need to think of new  ways for adapting my materials to adjust to new goals.   This last week we had fun with the  game of Cariboo. Many of you may have this game but it can be hard to find since it is no longer being made. Don’t worry, you can make an alternative. If you click on the picture below it will take you to a previous post of mine about a game you can make that would work for this activity.  You just need to switch the pictures out and provide an incentive or clues under the covers.

Activity Tailor also posted some alternatives to the Cariboo game. Just click on the name and it will take you there.

You would think this game is mainly for the younger set, however I had 4th and 5th graders that were enthused to play.  There is something about clues and a secret that just arouses curiosity.  I thought once they discovered what was in the treasure box they would want to stop, but they asked for another round.

I did some adapting to make Cariboo relevant for the older students who were working on developing more complex sentences.    I inserted pictures for using pronouns and a variety of verbs for some of my younger students.  I brought out my  spinner for making descriptive sentences for the older students.  I had students pick a picture on the Cariboo game, spin the spinner and add what the spinner selected to a basic sentence describing the picture.   They could then open the door on the Cariboo game and look for one of six balls that are needed to open the treasure chest.

To get  the descriptive sentence spinner just click on the picture at the top of the page and  it will take you to my TPT store where you will find it.  It is a free download.  I bought the pronoun cards from another TPT store made by another SLP for the Cariboo game.  You probably have some of those cards  in some form already.

I used this same activity for my articulation students who labeled the pictures or described them.  It was a good way to practice using speech sounds in spontaneous sentences. Because they had to think up the sentences it was a little more challenging then imitating or reading sentences.

I hope I have helped with your lesson planning for this week.

 

Communication Board Maker and Pass the Pigs

19 Feb

I thought I was going to have a break for a while but I find myself working in an elementary school again. There is a high need for substitute  SLPs in the schools here and I couldn’t say no. On the bright side, it provides opportunities for blog post  topics.

So now you are wondering how Pass the Pigs has anything to do with communication board software.  Well this is a recent game I added to my collection and so I  did not have a communication board or access to software to make one.  Before thinking of making a purchase I started on a quest to see what was available on the web.  I found Picto-Selector.  I was surprised to  see the  possibilities with this free program.  A donation is encouraged. Best of all sharing was not prohibited as long as you  made sure you provided a link back to the site for recognition. The site is here: Picto-Selector.  You do need to download and install a program but it didn’t take long and I was happy it  passed the virus check on my computer. For a free product, I found the program to be quite flexible and user friendly.   A library of pictures is available within the program. You can use their grids but I chose to use my Power Point program  and make my own grid. I was able to drop pictures from the program and size them on that grid.  This also allowed me to insert my own pictures of the pigs.  I am happy with the results. You may want to give it a try.  The board at the top is an example.

As I have said before, I found that providing communication boards and game activities not only aids nonverbal students but add structure for building sentences and listening skills for some of our students with language processing difficulties.  Games can be used to reinforce turn taking and handling disappointment for those having difficulty with social skills.  Deep breaths and dot pressure anyone?

Here is your warning for  a topic change.   Recently I have I used Pass the Pigs as a game reinforcement. I was surprised to find my youngest students at the elementary school  found this game appealing.  A cup with 2 rubber pigs doesn’t seem that enticing to me. They were more then willing to give it a try though. As with most of my games, I adapted it for my purposes.  Most of the students worked  toward their goals as a prerequisite  for taking a turn. This game was ideal for short turns.   I simplified scoring for my youngest students.   The score sheet that was included with the game was difficult to follow and we spent too much time figuring out pig positions for a score.  I put the new scoring on a communication board for easy access.  I also have some students who had a hard time dealing with the “pig out” score which meant they lost all points. I switched it to zero points which is difficult enough for some students to handle.  I also switched the scoring to if they got 2 pigs with scores above 5 they could add them together for the score.  It was just easier to know that then trying to look up the variations.  Each student was allowed one roll instead of going until they decide to stop.  This was so turns remained short. No one knew the original rules so I didn’t have  complaints.
I joined the February blog link up for special education.  It will bring you to similar blog sites.


 

Adapted Who Shook Hook Game

11 Dec

 

who shook hook

        Who Shook Hook Adapted Game

 

I know some of us do pirate themes in our therapy rooms at some point during the school year.  It helps to develop that ARRR you know.  This is a game that would work with that theme.   I found this game unopened  for a few dollars last year at a Goodwill store and decided I couldn’t go too wrong with such an inexpensive game. I see  there are some 2nd hand ones you can order quite reasonably on ebay or amazon.  Keep your eyes open for it at thrift stores or Goodwill.

I used it for a variety of speech goals.  It is good for developing some vocalic r words such as sword, barrel, tweezers, treasure, shark.  It also had quite a few sh, ch  type words such as treasure chest, cash sack, shovel, beach, shark, bridge, and fishing pole.  A lot of the items used in the game were not familiar vocabulary words such as tweezers,  hammock, palm trees, and barrel.  It seemed that everyone knew what a sword was.  Finally, there was a good use of prepositions as there was a shark beneath or below the hammock, the hammock between the palm trees, and Hook hopefully staying above the shark.  You of course can add other task cards to get more drill incorporated.

It is not a game  I would normally have bought. Some of my students have difficulty with small motor skills and this one looked like it could be frustrating for them.  In the game, players  move figures around a track.  They land on squares that tell them to use various tools  to remove treasures from the hammock without letting Capt. Hook fall. I was surprised to find that this game actually worked out quite well.  Hook doesn’t fall off the hammock that easily.  You can hook his heels into the hammock which makes him pretty steady.  You can adjust the difficulty somewhat by his placement.   Most of the students could find a tool that worked for them and the tools were quite motivating. Some students just used a tool to shove the treasure off rather than pick it up.   It was a fast paced game that didn’t end until all the treasures were gathered or Hook fell.  Students enjoyed the challenge of the tools and didn’t get hung up on winning.

I was able to use the game for some of my early language learners so  I made a communication board to go with it.  You may notice that I try to keep my boards quite similar. The pronouns are to the left and connect easily to my core verbs that are usually want, have, get, or put. My middle area after the verbs has the vocabulary that changes and the far right is the my turn, your turn.  This seems to work for me for being consistent and allowing students to find the words they need to  develop short sentences and phrases. I print them out on regular paper and slip them into plastic page covers.  The board is flexible so fits easily into the game box.

hook

 

 

 

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

 

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.

20150705_131514

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.

 

 

Whirly Therapy Fun

1 Apr

20150331_154939I am not sure what they are called, but as a child I called it a Whirly.  They were a great find this last weekend in the Easter basket toys at Walmart.  It would be a good time to look for them.   I  was trying to find new mechanical toys for my early language learners who get engaged by anything that spins and pops.  For $2 you couldn’t go too wrong.  I did wonder how long it would last but it was sturdy enough to make it through a morning of therapy with the younger K through -2nd grade Life skills class.   There is a precaution for aiming it at people and there is the string to watch out for.

 I used it this week and it was a big hit.  It was great for learning  communication intents and making requests.  It gave opportunities to review the concepts  of  around and over.  If the string was pulled strong enough the spinner would stay on the ceiling a few minutes spinning over our heads. The students would give me the Whirly and make requests for fast pulls.  We also practiced a few more prepositions when  finding  the location of that spinner after it came down.   A few of my students needed a person to hold the device while they pulled the string.  This encouraged joint attention to a task. I like it when a toy can offer so much opportunity for natural communication with very little effort.

Here is the communication board I used for the activity.

twirly board