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.
One of the benefits of switching work locations is activities that seem old in one school can become new to another group of students. I don’t like hauling a lot of materials around so sometimes I need to think of new ways for adapting my materials to adjust to new goals. This last week we had fun with the game of Cariboo. Many of you may have this game but it can be hard to find since it is no longer being made. Don’t worry, you can make an alternative. If you click on the picture below it will take you to a previous post of mine about a game you can make that would work for this activity. You just need to switch the pictures out and provide an incentive or clues under the covers.
Activity Tailor also posted some alternatives to the Cariboo game. Just click on the name and it will take you there.
You would think this game is mainly for the younger set, however I had 4th and 5th graders that were enthused to play. There is something about clues and a secret that just arouses curiosity. I thought once they discovered what was in the treasure box they would want to stop, but they asked for another round.
I did some adapting to make Cariboo relevant for the older students who were working on developing more complex sentences. I inserted pictures for using pronouns and a variety of verbs for some of my younger students. I brought out my spinner for making descriptive sentences for the older students. I had students pick a picture on the Cariboo game, spin the spinner and add what the spinner selected to a basic sentence describing the picture. They could then open the door on the Cariboo game and look for one of six balls that are needed to open the treasure chest.
To get the descriptive sentence spinner just click on the picture at the top of the page and it will take you to my TPT store where you will find it. It is a free download. I bought the pronoun cards from another TPT store made by another SLP for the Cariboo game. You probably have some of those cards in some form already.
I used this same activity for my articulation students who labeled the pictures or described them. It was a good way to practice using speech sounds in spontaneous sentences. Because they had to think up the sentences it was a little more challenging then imitating or reading sentences.
I hope I have helped with your lesson planning for this week.
I thought I was going to have a break for a while but I find myself working in an elementary school again. There is a high need for substitute SLPs in the schools here and I couldn’t say no. On the bright side, it provides opportunities for blog post topics.
So now you are wondering how Pass the Pigs has anything to do with communication board software. Well this is a recent game I added to my collection and so I did not have a communication board or access to software to make one. Before thinking of making a purchase I started on a quest to see what was available on the web. I found Picto-Selector. I was surprised to see the possibilities with this free program. A donation is encouraged. Best of all sharing was not prohibited as long as you made sure you provided a link back to the site for recognition. The site is here: Picto-Selector. You do need to download and install a program but it didn’t take long and I was happy it passed the virus check on my computer. For a free product, I found the program to be quite flexible and user friendly. A library of pictures is available within the program. You can use their grids but I chose to use my Power Point program and make my own grid. I was able to drop pictures from the program and size them on that grid. This also allowed me to insert my own pictures of the pigs. I am happy with the results. You may want to give it a try. The board at the top is an example.
As I have said before, I found that providing communication boards and game activities not only aids nonverbal students but add structure for building sentences and listening skills for some of our students with language processing difficulties. Games can be used to reinforce turn taking and handling disappointment for those having difficulty with social skills. Deep breaths and dot pressure anyone?
Here is your warning for a topic change. Recently I have I used Pass the Pigs as a game reinforcement. I was surprised to find my youngest students at the elementary school found this game appealing. A cup with 2 rubber pigs doesn’t seem that enticing to me. They were more then willing to give it a try though. As with most of my games, I adapted it for my purposes. Most of the students worked toward their goals as a prerequisite for taking a turn. This game was ideal for short turns. I simplified scoring for my youngest students. The score sheet that was included with the game was difficult to follow and we spent too much time figuring out pig positions for a score. I put the new scoring on a communication board for easy access. I also have some students who had a hard time dealing with the “pig out” score which meant they lost all points. I switched it to zero points which is difficult enough for some students to handle. I also switched the scoring to if they got 2 pigs with scores above 5 they could add them together for the score. It was just easier to know that then trying to look up the variations. Each student was allowed one roll instead of going until they decide to stop. This was so turns remained short. No one knew the original rules so I didn’t have complaints.
I joined the February blog link up for special education. It will bring you to similar blog sites.
Who Shook Hook Adapted Game
I know some of us do pirate themes in our therapy rooms at some point during the school year. It helps to develop that ARRR you know. This is a game that would work with that theme. I found this game unopened for a few dollars last year at a Goodwill store and decided I couldn’t go too wrong with such an inexpensive game. I see there are some 2nd hand ones you can order quite reasonably on ebay or amazon. Keep your eyes open for it at thrift stores or Goodwill.
I used it for a variety of speech goals. It is good for developing some vocalic r words such as sword, barrel, tweezers, treasure, shark. It also had quite a few sh, ch type words such as treasure chest, cash sack, shovel, beach, shark, bridge, and fishing pole. A lot of the items used in the game were not familiar vocabulary words such as tweezers, hammock, palm trees, and barrel. It seemed that everyone knew what a sword was. Finally, there was a good use of prepositions as there was a shark beneath or below the hammock, the hammock between the palm trees, and Hook hopefully staying above the shark. You of course can add other task cards to get more drill incorporated.
It is not a game I would normally have bought. Some of my students have difficulty with small motor skills and this one looked like it could be frustrating for them. In the game, players move figures around a track. They land on squares that tell them to use various tools to remove treasures from the hammock without letting Capt. Hook fall. I was surprised to find that this game actually worked out quite well. Hook doesn’t fall off the hammock that easily. You can hook his heels into the hammock which makes him pretty steady. You can adjust the difficulty somewhat by his placement. Most of the students could find a tool that worked for them and the tools were quite motivating. Some students just used a tool to shove the treasure off rather than pick it up. It was a fast paced game that didn’t end until all the treasures were gathered or Hook fell. Students enjoyed the challenge of the tools and didn’t get hung up on winning.
I was able to use the game for some of my early language learners so I made a communication board to go with it. You may notice that I try to keep my boards quite similar. The pronouns are to the left and connect easily to my core verbs that are usually want, have, get, or put. My middle area after the verbs has the vocabulary that changes and the far right is the my turn, your turn. This seems to work for me for being consistent and allowing students to find the words they need to develop short sentences and phrases. I print them out on regular paper and slip them into plastic page covers. The board is flexible so fits easily into the game box.
I noticed that this game is being sold once again. I have used Tumblin Monkeys as one of my therapy games for quite a few years. It is a great game for general reinforcement, and can be played by early language leaners as well as my older elementary students. The game is similar to Kerplunk but looks like a palm tree. The sticks are a little easier to stick in than kerplunk. The monkeys are placed on top of the sticks and the sticks are pulled out one by one. There is a little more strategy involved because the monkey tails get hung up on the sticks as they fall. The other thing I like is the use of dice. With the addition of a communication board my early language leaners are provided the opportunities to make comments such as “Your turn”, “my turn”, “I have pink” or make requests “May I have the die?” It also emphasizes the word “least” because the winner is the one with the least monkeys.
I use the following comunication board with my early language leaners.