Do you need a simple project for the winter season? This tree was made by my students and completed during one 20 minute therapy session. Students at all grade levels seemed to enjoy making them. They also made a good bulletin board that was culturally sensitive for this time of year. I added the silhouettes to discuss winter sports and the word silhouette.
I targeted quite a few goals with this project. As usual, I used the app StoryKit to make the directions. My articulation and older students began by sequencing and taking pictures. They recorded the directions using their best articulation skills. My language students targeted vocabulary such as stencil, limbs, triangle, around, and tree trunk. My language processing students listened to the directions and followed them in the correct sequence.
You can get the pattern for the stencil here.
The storykit directions are here. I removed the verbal directions because of student confidentiality.
I am just discovering the full potential of a free app called Tap Roulette – Make Decisions with Friends put out by laan labs. You can find it in the App Store for your iPad. I have no affiliation with this app. I just find that I use it consistently so I thought I would review it. Basically students put one finger down on the screen and lights appear alternating under the fingers until one is lit up. It is a random impartial way to make choices. Obviously it is a good app to use in therapy to choose quickly who goes first and who can choose an activity. I found out this tool actually has some additioal side benefits.
I have several students who have difficulties regulating their feelings and reactions with unexpected events in which they have no control. They end up with undesirable behaviors or refuse to join in an activity that is not of their choosing. I use Tap Roulette to set up such a situation so they can practice their strategies to remain calm and stay with the group.
It is very important to do pre-teaching of the strategies. There are a lot of programs out there that promote self-regulation and those techniques need to be taught before hand. Some of the strategies may be things you are familiar with such as deep breathing and self talk. I usually get student buy in and assurance from them before we start. We all have bad days so no use using it then. Even the ones that have the most difficulty usually want to do it. If they are not chosen and remain calm I give a lot of praise for keeping feelings in check and staying with the group. This seems to be a strong reinforcement that starts to break the cycle of an immediate blow up. This is such an important skill for students to learn socially in order to get along with their peers and function in a classroom.
I find that many of my students have difficulty telling a story. I usually start with sequence cards. They start getting the idea of sequencing a story and understanding a story has a beginning, middle, and end. At this point they get bored with the sequence cards and still need work on being able to elaborate from that basic structure. I am always looking for ways to expand their experiences from the typical sequence cards and allow for more imagination and story plot development.
Just before winter break, I found an free app for my iPad that allowed students to develop story plots much like using puppets. They were able to make animated stories and the structure of the program encouraged them to construct a story with sequence and plot development. The best part was they could replay their creations and critique them. The program has built in flexibility allowing them to add their own drawings and speech. It also allowed them to add music and set a mood. I was impressed that it was child friendly and allowed for imagination to develop. This is a program that actually allows for imaginative play.
My daughter and I had a fun time trying the program out. The app came from toontube.launchpadtoys.com. I want to thank this company for providing a high quality program free. It runs with little interference from advertisement, although they would like you to purchase more characters and scenes.
Currently my employer has restrictions on purchasing apps for our iPads until they get the logistics worked out. This leaves me exploring the world of free apps. When this restriction is lifted, this app will be on my list for more characters and scenes.
Here is an example of my daughter’s creation..