Social Skill Activity Using Tangram Puzzles

1 Mar

A Tangram Puzzle is an old Chinese tile game that consists of seven geometric shapes called tans.  The tans usually consist of a square, 5 triangles and a parallelogram. The shapes can be used to form various shapes and designs.  I used the original square but also developed a Shamrock puzzle because this lesson was presented  in  March. I would do the shamrock after the square because it tends to be more difficult.

I have used these puzzles when working with my social groups as a cooperative activity.  It is a good activity to work on problem solving, seeing another person’s perspective, using directive language and cooperating within a group.   Hopefully you have had a chance to work on some of these skills before this activity and this will allow you a chance to observe and encourage their development.

To begin the activity you need a square puzzle printed out on cardstock for each student in the group. They cut the square apart into individual shapes. At its simplest level each student mixes their pieces up into a pile and then puts them back together into a square shape. The difficulty and need for interaction can be increased by having students mix their pieces of the puzzle with other students.   They choose puzzle pieces from the mix  and then try to put their square back together again. This forces students to look at the pieces they have and what other students have.  They then need to negotiate and trade for the pieces they need to make the original square.

There are two free downloads for this activity.  One is the square pattern and the other is a shamrock pattern .  I hope your students learn from and enjoy this activity.

                                                Square Tangram pattern

 Shamrock Tangram pattern

 

Recently I found I have Irish in my DNA so I leave you with this Irish saying.

Life is like a cup of tea,
it’s all in how you make it.

Sustainable Web Hosting by Canvas Host

Sustainable Web Hosting by Canvas Host

 

 

Crocodile Dentist Adapted for Communication

7 Feb

I updated Crocodile Dentist with a new communication board.   It was a popular game with my early language learners and I managed to wear out two crocodiles since the original posting in 2013. This was a great game for speech therapy reinforcement and to encourage communication. Apparently some of you are still using it.

Readers  have requested the communication  board I made to go along with the game but unfortunately I don’t have it any longer.  It was left behind with the game when I moved on to other schools.  I no longer have access to the program Boardmaker to print the digital copy. However, there is a free program called Picto-Selector that I have been using to make communication boards.  This program may be a good option for some of you.  Click on the colored print to find the site to download it. I made the board below using it. If you want to download this board click on the board below.

Meanwhile, here are the game adaptations I posted about in 2013.

Crocodile Dentist is a plastic crocodile that has a spring loaded mouth.  The mouth closes when a certain tooth is pushed down. Kids enjoy the suspense of seeing who is going to get bit. I give the  kids an option of using using a tongue depressor because some take this quite seriously. The trigger tooth changes location each time the mouth is opened.

Some of you may already use this game for reinforcement.  I thought you might like to know how you can expand its use a little further.  I use it to expand a student’s verbal output to 2 to 3 word phrases using a communication board and to follow directions using prepositions.

I colored the teeth alternating colors using permanent markers.  I used pink, green, and orange because I already had a die that had those colors.  If you don’t have a die you can make a spinner or use colors for a die you have.

For my students with limited verbal abilities, I use the communication board along with the die in a plastic jar.  I have the students shake the die to get the color of tooth they need to push down.  I then model phrases using the communication board while playing the game.  The game creates a lot of opportunities for repetition of phrases such as “I have ….” or “push down green tooth”.  I also reinforce saying “your turn” and “my turn.”   After repetition the students start to say the appropriate phrase when you point to the correct icons as a prompt.  Finally, they may prompt themselves by pointing to the icons and verbalizing.  This is a good way to break up an imitative pattern that often happens when training non-verbal children and uses a natural context for turn taking.

The colors are used in the direction cards also.  Click on the free download icon for the cards.  Cards were made using the concept vocabulary:  next to, beside, between, right, left, colors, not, side, front, either/or.  Children take turns drawing the cards and following the directions for the tooth to be pushed down.  We play a variation by giving each child three poker chips.  They feed the crocodile a chip if he bites.  The person who feeds all three chips is the winner.             

 I provided a word program down load because I thought people may need to adjust the color words for their needs. If you have any difficulties with this, leave me a comment.  Print out the cards and have the students pull them out of a bag and then follow the directions while playing the game.

A reminder that Teachers Pay Teachers is having a February sale.  If you have been putting off purchasing, now is a chance to get a discount. Don’t forget to use the code.

 

 

Antonym Reversal Sentences and Free Trial Task Cards

14 Jan

 

February is the month I usually focus on antonyms.  You may remember some of my  past February bulletin boards that had an antonym theme to them. Some of my language learners still have difficulties with antonyms following 3rd grade which is when the Common Core has them listed for proficiency.  A lot of my therapy materials seemed a bit childish for older students and they were tired of them by that point. I decided to create some task cards especially for them. This led me to producing task cards that were at a sentence level and using a little more advanced vocabulary then you would find in the early grades. I still include pictures because some of my students really benefit from visual cues. I like them self checking so that students can use them independently and for homework.  As usual, I will post some trial cards for my readers to test out. There is a set of 12 cards.

I have a set of 40 cards at my TPT store if you find them useful and would like more.  Click on the button below and it will take you directly to them.

Speech Therapy Tasks for our High School Level Students

26 Nov

I know finding speech therapy materials for high school students can be difficult.  I also know that some students still benefit from  having skills broken down into specific learning modules.  They get lost when presented passages containing complex sentences and unknown vocabulary. Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Cyber Sale so I thought I would take advantage by showcasing two of my products that work with the High School crowd.

Recently, I have been a substitute Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) at a high school location.  I found at the  high school level it is often more relevant for students to bring their class work for speech therapy.  However, the students being served often forget and come empty handed.  I try to have activities on hand to make the time productive.  I thought I would showcase 2 activities that have worked well with encompassing what they are working on. They are Word Association Cards for vocabulary development  and Sentence Sequence Task Cards for complex sentence comprehension and development. There are free samples in the Vocabulary section of this blog for the Association cards and in the Expressive section for the Sentence Sequence Task Cards.  If you haven’t tried them yet you should.  If you want to get the full sets at my TPT store, they happen to be part of the  Cyber Sale which makes them a real bargain.

Our speech students are often behind with developing vocabulary.  This affects them throughout all their classes. One way to boost vocabulary is to develop word association skills. They need to be able to compare and contrast new words to integrate them into the vocabulary they already have. I often tell them this analogy: Your brain is a closet with different shelves and drawers  holding different words. You try to place things together that are similar such as your socks in a sock drawer.   If you just try to memorize words without making connections with other words you know, it is like throwing everything  in one big pile on the floor and trying to find a brown sock to match another brown sock.   You won’t be able to find or remember what you have when you need it. It seems many of them can relate to this.   Therefore categorizing and making associations is an important skill to learn for their academic career.   This is a skill that gets better with practice.

High School students are often required to take notes on subjects that use a lot of   complex sentence forms.  They they need to be able to consolidate information and retain the meaning in their notes.  Sequencing events using complex sentence forms is a natural way to get students to produce complex sentences and practice this.  These cards present two different activities to address production and comprehension and promote better note taking.

In Activity 1, the students are instructed to use the main details of the three given sentences to form one complex sentence using connecting words such as; and, so, but, because, before, after, when, while, that, and then. In sentence production, students replace parts of the sentence with pronouns to prevent redundancy. They  need to consider which information is most important, hold information into memory, think about time sequence, and then manipulate the ideas into one sentence.  These skills are used in note taking as well as comprehending complex sentences in reading passages.

In Activity 2 the student is presented sentence examples. The students may have developed some of these while completing the first activity. One of the sentences does not have the same meaning as the other two or is an incorrect use of the conjunction.  The students are instructed to find the incorrect sentence. The answer is provided in a QR code in the lower right corner of the card  or by using the answer sheet. Students can correct the error sentence for additional practice.  Student are often motivated by using technology and appreciate the QR code. It means the cards can also be used for independent practice.

I hope you find these products useful and they free up your time from lesson planning. Happy Holidays

 

 

The Virtues of a Grab Bag and Grab Bag Hack

1 Nov

Have you ever wished for extra arms while conducting speech therapy?  Who can forget those early days of  SLP training and starting of clinical hours.   At the time, it seemed impossible to manage everything. I wished for more hands to manage materials, data taking tools, and especially the young clients.   If you turned  your back, your clients had control of the materials and you became an octopus trying to get them back.  This was not a good start to the session.

I got  to thinking about the hacks I discovered along the way that made a difference.  A grab bag was one of my real life savers. If you haven’t discovered the virtues of a grab bag  you have really missed out.

There are lots of advantages to using a grab bag.  A bag allows for control of the materials and prevents students from helping themselves to  items before you are ready to use them.  It allows for controlled  turn taking.  Only the person with the bag has access to the items. They  take items one by one before handing it on to the next person.

It creates  intrigue for some  students who would not otherwise be interested. Who doesn’t like discovering what is hidden in the mystery bag?   And finally, when you find yourself switching locations and working from room to room, you can keep better tabs of those small pieces if they are contained in a  bag that is portable.

I used grab bags frequently with my  early language learners, especially in small groups.  It creates a natural context for communication boards when training core vocabulary such as “I have, I see, I want,” and that mportant question for vocabulary development,  “What is it?”.   I have used grab bags with a activities such as potato head, the car races, and windup toys.  You can use a clear freezer for students who need  to see the parts and request them.

Here is an example of a communication board I used with  mechanical toys and a grab bag. The board is made from Picto-Selector graph which is a free download.  It can be found at https://www.pictoselector.eu/  

A bag can also be used with older students seated around a large table.  The bag can be passed so items can always be reached.  You have one less thing in your hands which really helps when taking data.  You can even have different  bags and different cards in each so students can work on different objectives by pulling from their bag. I have a lot less trouble with a stack of cards being scattered across the table and floor.

I imagine you are saying, “I want one of those. Give me the directions for that grab bag already.”   Well here they are:

Find an old sweater or sweatshirt that has long sleeves and cuffs.  Simply cut the sleeve off, turn it inside out and sew across the flat bottom.  You can glue the bottom opening closed with a glue gun if you can’t sew or don’t have a sewing machine.  Turn it back to the right side and you should have a bag with a cuff opening for the top. Now tell me that isn’t simple.