I don’t know about you but I’ve found that the concept of left and right can be one of the most difficult for students to grasp. Because of this I am always on the look out for ways to incorporate it into my activities. I am going to showcase a few games I have used during therapy sessions to reinforce the concept plus add little incentive for the other goals we may be working on. The students don’t realize it but my games are often selected for a dual purpose.
First off I usually show my students how to tell their left from their right . When they place their hands palm sides down, their left had will form the letter L which stand for Left. Easy Peasy Classroom has a nice set of posters to illustrate this. Click on the picture and it will take you there.
I recently found the game called Left, Right, Center. It is less than $7.00 at stores such as Wal-Mart, which is a reasonable price for my budget. It is also small for carrying in my therapy bag. It is a dice game that is a nice incentive game because turns are quick and it is more of a game of luck than skill. This means that any of my students can be successful regardless of abilities. It also gives multiple opportunities to figure left from right.
The game consists of chips and a set of dice with the letters L, C, R or a black dot. Everyone starts with 3 chips. Players roll the number of dice that corresponds to the number of chips they have. They pass the chips according to the roll on the dice. L means a chip to the person on the left. R means a chip to the person on the right. C means a chip to the center of the table and a black dot means you keep a chip. Eventually there will be only one person left with chips and they get to claim the center. Then the game is over.
I have also used the game of Block Head. It is a game that has been out for a number of years, so you may have it. You could use regular blocks but you would not have the crazy shapes then. I adapted it for left and right practice by adding a spinner. The spinner is part of a set of spinners that are a free download at my TPT store. just click on the picture.
Block Head is a basic game of taking turns stacking different size blocks until someone knocks the block tower over.
Students practice left and right by spinning the spinner and then using the hand designated by the spinner. Students can develop an awareness of which hand feels more comfortable to them and use that to figure out which hand is which.
There is also a game I made up for my kindergarten concept groups called Skip and Pass. It is in the vocabulary section of this blog or you can click on the green lettering. A small group of students form a circle and each child has a black or white shape in front of them. I make die cut shapes. Students take turns throwing a large dice in the middle of the circle. The die indicates if students pass a ball or bean bag left or right around the circle and who is skipped according to the shape in front of them. It is a good game to teach group participation as well as several concepts including left and right. The pattern for the dice is included in the instructions.
I hope you found these options useful. I am taking part in a linking party for special ed. blogs so check out some of these other sites. We love your comments. It keeps us writing.
Conducting speech therapy in a classroom setting can be a bit of a challenge especially for a group of students with a wide variety of skills such as in a life skills program. I often have limited time and resources as well. I am thankful to have a number of activities in my toolbox that have worked in a number of settings. The question chain happens to be one of them.
The question chain can be used to target a number of goals to include asking questions, answering yes and no questions, staying on topic, and concept vocabulary such as long short, and equal.
The only materials you need are plastic links or you can use strips of paper to make an old fashion paper chain. If you use the strips of paper to make a paper chain, a stapler is best for connecting rather than glue. It is faster and they stay together better. You need enough to make a chain of 10 or 15 links for each group you form. I usually divide the class into 3 to 5 groups so there are 3 to 5 students in each group. You can be flexible here.
The procedure is really very simple. Yes and no questions are asked and students are polled in each group. Each group puts a link together for each yes answer. The chains get longer and are compared to see if they are equal or if some are longer or shorter.
Depending on your group you may need to have preformulated questions. You can vary the complexity of the questions by how you ask them. It is really adaptable to the abilities of your group. The following are possible example questions.
- Do you have a brother or sister?
- Are you wearing blue?
- Do you have a pet (dog, cat, and fish)?
- Do you like pizza?
- Did you ride the bus today?
- Do you have short hair?
- Did you walk to school?
- Are you wearing red?
- Are your eyes brown?
- Do you like to eat carrots?
After giving some of the preformulated questions, the students can be given a chance to ask their own questions.
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At my recent assignment at the middle school, I did push-in speech therapy sessions with the life-skills classroom. Students had a variety of skill levels. It can be a challenge to find activities everyone can do and enjoy. There was not a curriculum or materials available to me so I ended up using my ingenuity to make lessons. That is when I was thankful for the history I have posted here. I dug back to the beginning of my post archives. I did find some inspiration but it was also an eye opener. My posts have come along way since then and the post really didn’t look to appealing. I thought a revision would be helpful since it is unlikely many are finding it from six years back.
The original post was labeled Concept Group 12. A real catchy title uh. That was before I realized the importance of a title for search engines or appeal. It was a time when I was pushing into Kindergarten classes and teaching concepts using group activities. Although each lesson focused on concept vocabulary, we also worked on taking turns, asking questions, and following directions. The lesson I used this last week with my middle school life skill students focused on the concepts of right, left, top bottom, half, whole, and match. The class still benefitted from working on social pragmatic skills, following directions, and concept vocabulary.
You need some old alphabet animal cards for this activity. Prepare the cards ahead for use in the classroom.
The ones I used came from an old reading program that was taken out of circulation. There are two free downloads available on the internet from Jason’s Online Classroom and Jan Brett’s blog.
To prepare the cards, I cut them in half.
Divide them into two piles. One pile should have the upper halves and the other pile the bottom halves. Count out the number of cards to the number of students. There is a possibility of 26 matched sets so you may not need all of them. Do make sure you have the matches in the two piles.
In the classroom, pass out the top halves of the cards to students and talk about how it is only the top half of the card or animal. Show them that you have the other bottom half of their cards.
Mix up the 2nd pile of bottom half cards and place them in a box. Let the students draw a random card and match it to the card they already have. This creates a somewhat cooky animal which often elicits some laughter. You can take this opportunity to ask them if they have a match and how do they know it is not a match. You can also talk about bottom and top.
The next part works best if students are seated in a circle. It involves following one and two part directions as you direct them to pass the top or bottom to the student on the left or right. I vary the directions according to the ability level of the group. They may not be able to handle two part directions such as hand the top card to the person on the right. in that case I bring it down to one step such as pass the bottom card and direct the direction. After each pass they look to see if they have a match. If they get a whole set they can keep it and discontinue the passing. Keep going until everyone has found their whole card.
Speech Therapy with a snow theme.
It is time to bring out the cold weather activities . January started out with a winter blast here. The first two days back from winter break were cancelled because of freezing rain, snow, and ice. I see the cold bast is continuing across the United states so many other places are getting snow days as well.
I have a few snow activities posted on this site from previous years. You may or may not have noticed them. I thought I would showcase some of the activities I have used recently.
For my early language learners I have brought out the cornstarch and shaving cream snow. It is easy to make, only 2 ingredients. All you have to do is mix one or two cans of shaving cream with two boxes of cornstarch . The shaving cream makes it feel tingly cool, has a soft silky texture and a refreshing smell. To make this wonderful artificial snow add the shaving cream into the cornstarch gradually until the mixture will form a ball when squeezed together in your hands . Although it brushes off hands fairly easily, I recommend putting plastic down on carpet, so it doesn’t get ground in and hard to vacuum up.
You can add a few extras for snowman accessories.
I found this activity works well after reading a short story about a snowman. Choose your favorite one. There are quite a few out there.
I made a snowman story on StoryKit a few years back. The link is here. It explores prepositions using a snowman theme.
I also used a felt board story about making a snowman. The directions are here.
Have fun playing in the snow.
Just a reminder that there is a sale on Teachers Pay Teacher starting January 20. Now is a good time to get those things on your wish list.
Don’t forget to use the code START16 to get the discount. You can click on the penguin for a quick link to my store.
It is always hard this time of the year to find activities for group therapy with my Life Skills groups. There are usually 5 students in each group and the abilities are really varied. I try to include some motor activity because this keeps their attention. Using objects for actions is more meaningful for them then paper tasks. However there are a few students who have motor difficulties which makes it difficult for them to do some tasks and work with the group.
My inspiration often comes from my closet. This is a picture of what I found. I decided to make a badminton type activity. They used the pool noodles to hit balloons through the hulu hoop and then over the jump rope stretched across two chairs. We encouraged two students to hit it back and forth to complete turn taking. I reinforced the prepositions of over, through, below, under, and above. My early language learners practiced phrases such as “Give it to me”, “Hit it”, “I want it”.
One of my students kept saying “there it is”. He was a student who we usually had trouble engaging and he blossomed with this activity. For a student with Downs he had amazing eye hand coordination. I hope he does badminton for Special Olympics.
I liked the pool noodles because they didn’t hurt if students hit each other and the balloons slowed down the process enough that all the students were able to hit them. I recommend having spare balloons. We had one student who couldn’t resist squeezing and popping them.