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

IMG240

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

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

Styrofoam Cups and Rubber Bands

15 Feb

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. yarn tool

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.

Eggs-actly Descriptive Game Cards

3 Feb

I made a set of egg cards a number of years ago that I always brought out in the Spring to go along with Easter Egg themes.   They evolved from the barrier game cards that are available for download  in the social language section.  I decided they could use an update so I increased the number and difficulty and added a BINGO game.  There is now a bigger range from simple to more difficult.  The full set is at  TPT.   I put 12 of the cards for download here ( Eggs-actly PDF wordpress) . so you can try them out.   I had a fellow SLP that works in the middle school use them this last week..  She said they kept the students interested which is not easy for this age group.  They were able to progress into the more difficult ones. I did make some adjustments.  I had made multiple color spots and they tried to tell the location of each spot.  I thought that was a little too much so changed the spots to the same color.

These cards have been used with 3rd grade to 7th grade students to target descriptive vocabulary and to follow multiple directions. The cards range from two step (make a green star in a red triangle) to more complex directions that require 5 or more steps (draw red lines that intersect perpendicular 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). 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.

I’ve also used them to elicit r,l,s and blends in multi-syllable words in spontaneous speech.  They were especially good for practicing the  th sound in that pesky word with.

You can use them in the traditional speech therapy games of  matching, go fish, following multiple directions, and mystery card.

I also used the cards with a free app called Educreations.  It allowed the students to use the  iPad for drawing.  It seems anything with the iPad is very motivating. I liked it because I didn’t have to deal with markers.  I hope you have fun and let me know how they work for you.

3 eggs

Cupids and Hearts

1 Feb

January was a very busy month.  I didn’t get to my usual bulletin board project.  I ended up putting up snowflakes from a previous year.  The students always look forward to the crafts so I didn’t want to disappoint them by skipping  another month.  Besides Valentines  Day is the perfect time to bring out the glitter.

I decided it would be a  variation of the antonym bulletin board from previous years.  I still used the antonym theme but  added cupids.  I have a younger student population who benefit from  having one of the antonyms presented to them . I wrote a word on the cupid and they needed to think up the match and print it on the heart.  They then joined them with yarn and stapled them on the board.  I cut out the cupids and hearts ahead  to save on time.  My older students used the  Storykit app to make the directions  for the younger ones to follow.  They have done this previously with my help but this time they used my iPad and  did it independently.  I was pleased to see how far they have come in planning the directions with pictures and verbally presenting them.  This is the link for their directions.     Storykit Cupid and Hearts

Here is a picture of the bulletin Board by the end of the day.

cupids and hearts

Go For Broke or Maybe Gopher Broke.

18 Jan

This was a difficult week to get through, mainly because the cold that has been running rampant through the school population finally got me. Even after taking a day off,  I haven’t had as much energy. Our neck of the country was also settling in for a cold spell when the boiler  gave out in the main building.  It made the classrooms quite cold.  You just never know what teaching environment you will have in these older buildings. I am looking forward to the three day weekend.

The title of my post this week refers to a video I put in the video section. Look for Gopher Broke.   I used it this week to talk about prediction, developing conflict  and story plot.  It is a 4 minute animated video that does not have words and is great for interpreting what will happen next.  I stopped it along the way and asked students what clues they noticed and what predictions they could make from them. We also talked about what details in the story made it interesting.

I used the video to lead up to my instruction on story telling.  I have used  a free app called “Toontastic” in the past that the students have really liked.  Unfortunately some of my students are obsessed with  fighting scenarios and can’t get past these to develop other forms of  conflict or plot.  They need help in getting their creative juices flowing.  I came across Story Sticks on Sarcasm 101.  I decided to try something similar and made my own story  craft sticks.  I color coded for characters, conflict, setting and miscellaneous like she did.  However, I printed them out on paper and used a  glued stick to glue them on the sticks.  I then just color coded the tips and edges with a color  crayon.  I find writing on craft sticks is a bit difficult and hard to read so I opted for the paper.    Click here to see what I wrote on the sticks.  Story Sticks.    You may want to make some changes to the list so I kept it in Word format.

Story sticks