End of Year Speech Therapy Celebrations

7 May

snow cone machineHow many of you do some sort of end of the year celebration?  I usually do something for  the  last day of speech class. I think it is important to acknowledge the effort students have made in speech class and the progress towards their goals.  Celebrations are not as prevalent in the school environment as in past years.  It seems they have suffered from not being politically correct or there just not enough time with all the accountability.  I think they are valuable teaching moments though.  Our students are missing out on the social communication that goes along with a social gathering.

There are social pragmatic skills that are learned from participating in a party.  A carefully planned platter of cheese and crackers and a pitcher of water or juice works well for teaching basic table manners. Prepare just enough to make it around the table.  Of course you need to check about allergies before doing this. I would still have some in reserve for the unexpected to happen.

Some students may not have much experienced with a sit down meal in a group.  I remember one particular social group  that needed a script to follow on serving. They didn’t think about looking ahead to see the amount of portions on the plate and helped themselves to multiple servings.  They needed to be schooled about looking ahead to make sure there was enough for everyone.  They may also need to be schooled  about asking politely  for the drink, using please and thankyou, and asking the next person if they would like some.

If you have worked on conversation skills in the past, it is a good place to see the culmination of skills;  introducing a topic, staying on topic, exiting a topic, and including everyone.

I find icy parties are also a good therapy tool for the end of the year.  My early language learners enjoy following directions for the treat.  The syrup is economical and available in a sugar-free form for my student with medical restrictions on sugar.  I have an icy machine but you may be able to uses a blender.  I  found I needed to keep in control of the bottles for proper portion control.

I like this party even better than a popcorn party   because it is the easiest to clean up.  Usually it is just wiping the table. We have an ice cube maker in the staff refrigerator so I only need to get a few syrup bottles and bring my icy maker, plastic spoons and cups.  The smaller clear cups actually work the best because you can make layers of color and watch them blend.  You can work on a lot of descriptive vocabulary with an icy party.

I made a pdf of the communication board for those who would like to use it. free download button

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A Very Simple Spider Web

11 Oct

The school year is in full swing.  I had a bit of a shaky start and that is why it seemed like I disappeared.  We have a lot of new staff to include a new principal, new psychologist,  and Learning Resource Teacher.    The new Learning Resource Teacher just started a week ago and a substitute teachers took her place until then.  As  if that weren’t  enough, rooms had changed over the summer and the resource room  was a newly emptied room.  That doesn’t work very well for a substitute teacher and many of you may relate to when chairs, tables and desks are not in rooms they are up for grabs.   I was left with the duty of getting things found and organized so a teacher could use the room with students.  In the spirit of “Good Thing”  and “Bad Thing”; new  procedures can be put into place because there is no one  left to remember the old ways except me, but I am also the only one that  is familiar with the history of  the special education files and students.  I felt like I had to wear many hats.  We also have a new program to complete our special education paperwork.  This  is really challenging my ability to be flexible and learn something new .  It is making me go through the procedures we tell the students to do; deep breaths, count to ten.  It is not OK to scream.

This  school year.  I have pretty much the same population as last year;  2  Life skills classrooms, general education K-5th, and a charter school K-6th.  I am doing push in for two Kindergarten classes and the 2  Life skills classrooms.  The need for social pragmatics groups continues to grow.    I am team teaching  3 social pragmatic groups  with the help of the school counselor. We are implementing material from 2nd Steps, Michelle Winner’s materials, and other things we find.

So getting on  to the topic,   We have been completing spider related activities.  Many of you may be familiar with the Spider Web Activity where students form a circle and toss a ball of yarn across while continuing to hang on to the yarn with one hand.  This creates a spider web in the center of the circle.  I have used it in the past for concepts such as across, left hand, right hand, over, and under.  It also works for teaching the  social pragmatic groups  the importance of working with a group.  If a student doesn’t keep their mind and eyes with the group, they drop the yarn and the web becomes messed up.  We have been talking about how you need to keep your eyes, your ears,  your brain, your body, and your heart with the group so everyone can learn and work together.

I came across this spider and decided it would make a good bulletin board project.   http://momitforward.com/craft-toilet-paper-spider .    It met my requirements for materials that are easy to find and cheap.  I found the eyes at the dollar store and already had the paper rolls and pipe cleaners.  I bought a can of black spray paint from Wal-Mart  for a total cost of $3.

I made a spider web out of yarn. and just stapled it to the bulletin board.  It is looking like this.  I added my pom pom spider from last year.

Spider web 1

The students will make spiders that look like this and add them to the web.  I added the crumpled paper on the back for some color.

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I like  my bulletin board activities to cover as many therapy objectives as possible. I use the  free app Story Kit to make pictured directions that my older students can record.  The younger students will practice following  directions and understanding the sequence.  The spiders also provide opportunity for problem solving and telling directions.  It is easy to see how they are made by just looking at them because the parts are all visible.  The Story Kit directions are in the process of being made so the audio is not all available yet. Story Kit formulates a storyboard that can be shared.    http://iphone.childrenslibrary.org/cgi-bin/view.py?b=rpdpipex66oskuofy2ua      The app formulates a  book with pages on your device.

last web

The Value of Playing Cards

20 Jul
playing cards

playing cards

Before we had smart phones and iPods many of us remember playing cards when waiting any length of time with a group. Sometimes it is good to look at the old traditional card games because there is a reason why they had staying power.  Children still like playing them. Card games such as Go Fish, Rummy, Old Maid, Crazy 8 and UNO can meet a lot of different therapy needs as well as provide a recreational activity for disabled students to mix with non disabled students. You may remember we used a game of UNO in our “Circle of Friends Group” to work with a student who performed on academic grade level but was severely impacted socially by Autism. http://cjmonty.wordpress.com/category/circle-of-friends/.

Card games have the advantage of engaging a number of students of different ability levels within a structure. They provide lots of opportunity for modeling by peers in predictable interactions.  The use of card games provides a training ground to reinforce social skills some students need to develop in order to participate in a group and have a conversation. It also allows the peer group to interact with a disable student and see them as a person they can develop a friendship  and play with.

Our high needs students benefit from some preparation such as communication boards, video modeling and visual cue cards. Many of my students I work with  in the Life skills Programs  are working on skills such as maintaining focus with a group, staying on topic, realizing their turn, the turn of others, perspectives of others, and appropriate emotional control with unexpected events.  In addition, they may be working on vocabulary and following directions.

I have collected free downloads of some traditional card games.  I hope this will make it easier for some of your planning for next school year. Some of these have the advantage of using specific themed vocabulary.

UNO

There are some creative variations on the internet. However this particular game is under copyright so I didn’t feel I could post them.  The regular game is very useful for working on following directions.

This is a board that is a tech speak overlay but I just use the board without the device for my less verbal students. http://www.boardmakershare.com/Activities/Search?SearchText=uno

Old Maid

I have used cards that come in pairs such as opposite cards, and plurals.    Just add a blank card that does not match with the others for the old maid.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Opposite-Sort-Freebie-702983

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ocean-Plurals-Freebie-670212

I Have, Who Has

This is a fairly recent card game that seems to have a lot of potential for small groups.  Students need to maintain focus to stay with the group and participate.

Animals created by Ashley Hughes

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-Have-Who-Has-Animals-197698

Food by Ashley Hughes

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-Have-Who-Has-Food-30-Cards-198322

Winter vocabulary by Kindergarten Squared

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-Have-Who-Has-Winter-Vocabulary-Freebie-460163

Synonyms by Dee Bibb

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-haveWho-hasSynonyms-587727

Halloween Vocabulary by Mandy Neal

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-HaveWho-HasHalloween-360098

Back to School Vocabulary by Simply Speech

http://kcummingsslp.blogspot.com/2012/07/back-2-school-i-have-who-has-freebie.html

Go Fish

http://www.boardmakershare.com/Activity/1729317/Go-Fish-Cue-Card  communication board

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pronoun-People-Go-Fish-570158 (pronouns)

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Go-Fish-for-Irregular-Plural-Nouns-230009 (plurals)

http://www.filefolderfun.com/Pages/PreschoolPictureMatch/GoFishGame.html   (Feelings)

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pet-Shop-Go-Fish-Card-Game-230710  (Pets)

http://bogglesworldesl.com/cards.htm    (a variety of flash cards for vocabulary building.)

If you need help remembering the rules this is a good place to look them up.

http://www.webterrace.com/family/games.htm

Trial and Error Pass

8 Apr

 

trial error button

This is an activity I use with my  social pragmatic groups.   The activity requires students to use a trial and error method of problem solving.  It is a good one to use for defeating  Rock Brain because to be successful students need to be willing to try  different moves.  For students  who fall apart when they are wrong,  it provides opportunity to defeat Glass Man.  This activity can be used to reinforces the idea that mistakes are not necessarily bad and can be used for learning.  It is important to talk about this before you begin so students have the tools to work through their feelings in a constructive manner.

This activity also teaches students to work together toward a common goal.  The solution will be found by observing the mistakes of everyone and it would be very difficult to succeed individually.  Students  also need to use their short term memory and make inferences to predict the pattern.

This activity can be used with small groups of students, two competing teams, or with one or two students.  The object of the game is to cross  a   6×6 grid of steps using the correct pattern.  I lay the grid out on the floor so that students have a good view and can use motor movement.

thumbnail of grid

Pattern cards are made pattern C          A judge, who could be a student or teacher, is selected.  The judge takes one of the pattern cards that will be the solution to the stepping pattern.  A student begins the challenge by stepping on one of the stars in the first row and moves one row ahead for each step.    As the move is made the judge indicates if it is the correct one by saying right or wrong move.  A buzzer for a wrong move adds a game show feature and are available free as an app.   If it is the right step the student continues to move forward.  If it is the wrong step the person returns to the start or the end of the line and watches the attempts of others until they get to the front of the line again.  The students may notice that a pattern is developing as students discover the correct moves.  This will speed up the progress until someone finally makes it across.  Everyone that was paying attention can then make the crossing.  Students should be reinforced for working as a team and not as an individual competition to make it to the finish.

It doesn’t take much to  make pattern cards  and a  grid  on your own.  However, if you prefer to have some of the work done for you, I am putting a set up on the TPT store for download at a minimum cost.

Build a Paper Tower; A Cooperative Challenge

3 Mar

It seems  a lot of people were enthused about the rubber band and paper cup activity.  If you liked that one, you may also like the paper tower  activity.  It has been in the social pragmatics section. Sometimes when directions are just on paper you  don’t see how great an activity is.  I think the paper tower might be one of those activities.   You usually don’t have to go far for materials.  Just empty out your recycle box.

This activity works  well with  Rockbrain if you are doing the Superflex program.   A little instruction about being flexible with your thinking and allowing other people to have different ideas helps on this one.  I have used this activity with different sizes of  social pragmatic groups who were sometimes divided into competing teams.  They were given flat pieces of paper out of the recycle bin and told to build as high of a tower as they could.  No other materials were allowed.  There really isn’t a wrong way to do this.  It seems they typically divide into the cylinder group, or the fold into squares or triangle group.

Cylinder paper tower

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It really is a good activity for group participation and sharing of ideas. They have made it as high as 6 levels.  By that time a student is standing on a chair and no one is breathing.  One false move and the whole thing comes tumbling.  Hopefully no one will have a Brain Eater moment.

Just a note to let you know I updated the (Comprehension of Complex Sentences)   I am putting 3 pages for a free download here.

I have 36 cards available at the TPT store

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Cynthia-Montalbano