It is Spring Break for me. I have time to get some creative juices flowing. Just before break, we had our annual book fair. One of the hot items was a “Top Secret UV Pen”. I was lucky enough to get one before they sold out, although teachers were saying it was one of the main items they had to confiscate later after multiple reminders to put it away. Maybe I should have just waited and one would have come my way. Anyway they are pretty inexpensive, in the $3 range. Book fairs are not that different from school to school so maybe you have seen the pens too. I know you are itching to try it out so I am providing the perfect opportunity.
When I saw this item an idea came to mind. I knew my students enjoyed a Super Duper item that had a decoder light. I thought I could make some of my cards more motivating by using it in the same way. It would be perfect for my before and after cards. Many of my students have difficulty with the semantics of when to use before or after. I made a deck of before and after cards with pictures for my non readers quite a few years ago. They were lost in my move last Spring and I dearly missed those cards. Unfortunately they weren’t digital. This pen motivated me to make another set. This time I left a frame where I used the UV pen to write before and after depending on the sentence. The students can light up the answer to see if they are correct. The cards are still very useful even if you don’t have the UV light.
I made a free set of 9 cards on 3 pages for you to try out. If you have the UV light you can add the light the answer feature. I am not sure if the UV will work if they are laminated. I’ll have to see when I get back to work. Anyway try out these free cards and if you want more I’ll have a set of 30 at the TPT store. Click on the button at the top of the page and it will take you directly there.
WordPress before and after free set of 9 trial cards
I have five days left before Spring Break and I realized Easter is coming faster than I thought. It will be done when we come back from Spring Break and I haven’t even pulled out the plastic Easter eggs. The Easter eggs always add a little variety to the speech therapy sessions. In preparation for this, I updated the Descriptive Sentences Activity that is in the Expressive Language section. It now has 20 basic sentences and I added color and visual cues to the spinner. It is free at the TPT store here. I will print out the basic sentences and insert them in the eggs. The students will pull them out and spin the spinner to make more elaborate sentences. If they succeed they will keep the egg. If not, it will get thrown back into the basket. I will give some sort of little prize to the person with the most eggs.
There has been a set of cards called Comprehension of Complex Sentences in the Listening and Comprehension section. I expanded on those, adding pictures and colors and more of them. If you have used these a lot you may like the new version. The answer card on the right is meant to be folded behind the prompt card on the left. This provides a sturdy card if they are glued and laminated.
Download the free set of 9 trial cards.
If you feel like you can use more, there are the full set of 36 cards at the TPT store. The button below is a direct link to the store.
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.
build a paper tower
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
Having a party day mid week sure throws off the concentration. There was a level of energy that was hard to contain. It made for a long week with a lot of interruptions.
This month the 4th grade students studied different types of machines. The final task was making machines that would deliver valentines to their valentine boxes. The styrofoam cup activity that is in the pragmatics section is a good example of a tool/machine operation. I decided to bring it out again to reinforce what was happening in the classroom and add my language component. I used it previous years with larger social pragmatic groups so some of you may already have found it and used it. I thought it was worth mentioning again. I would love to hear how it worked for you if you tried it. Please go to the pragmatic section to download more specific directions.
This time I adapted the activity for my smaller therapy groups of 2 to 3 students. We used 6 to 8 strings on a rubber band and each student pulled 2 of them. I added myself to the mix. Basically the tool is a rubber band with 2 feet lengths of yarn tied to it. Students take a yarn in each hand and pull to open it enough to fit around the end of a styrofoam cup placed bottoms up on a table. They were instructed not to use their hands when moving the cups. When they released the tension the rubber band grabbed the cup and they then lifted the cup with the yarn pieces and moved it into position to form a pyramid. 15 cups make a nice size pyramid. Students took turns being the leader to give directions.
I found adding myself allowed for some sabotage. I just didn’t move unless specific directions were given. One person not moving can make a big difference in the operation of the rubber band which is the beauty of this activity. They learned quickly to use positional words and to work cooperatively. I pointed out that “Whole Body Listening” is important here. One person can ruin the whole operation if they are not focused on the group and cups. That rubber band can assume a rather flat appearance and not be functional if someone isn’t pulling right. Also they can’t make assumptions that people will know where to move.