Spring is here along with new life. In past years, several of my schools, ordered caterpillar eggs in order to watch the life cycle of a butterfly as a science project. Students watched them grow into caterpillars and then magically change into butterflies. They would release the butterflies the last week of May. I found it helpful to review this classroom experience with some of my speech students. I made a one cut book template to commemorate the event. I thought you may also like to use it as a review with students. It is a free download at the bottom of the post. Read on for the directions.
All you need to get started is paper, a printer, or drawing tools. There is are two templates provided in the free download. One is blank for students to draw their own picture sequence. The second template has pictures already provided. For your own version, you can make a template in Power Point using a 3×2 table without a border, inserted into a 8.5 x 11 inch page in landscape mode. Students can draw or paste their own pictures in the template.
Remember when adding pictures to the template, the picture needs to be flipped upside down on the top section. The printer needs to be set to print the full 8.5 x 11 inch page, without a border. This will allow each page to be the same size when folded. You may need to go to custom settings on your printer to select “without border”. You need to print in landscape mode as well.
After printing your template, fold it in half on the dot and dash line. This makes it easier for you to cut the red line. Cut just the red line.
2. Fold on the dash lines so it looks like the first picture
3. Push the section on the right half behind the other. The pages will be double sided.
Click on the star for a free download of the templates.
Distinguishing when a statement is an opinion, fact, or untruth is a critical skill. Students get bombarded everyday in social media with information that is not always correct, although it is presented as fact. They need to be able to weed out the facts and not get persuaded by inaccurate statements. This becomes especially pertinent when our students become voters. It became especially apparent during the last election cycle.
I have made a new activity for my TPT store to address this. There is a true statement, untrue statement, and opinion statement task cards for students to identify. After students read the sentences on one side and identify them, they can be flipped to see the corresponding answers. As usual, I will provide a free sample of 3 pages (9 cards) for you to test out. The full activity consists of 10 pages of 3 inch by 3 inch cards for a total of 30 cards. A digital option is provide by TPT. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions to improve them or see an error. Click on the comment cloud in the post heading.
The cards use facts, myths, and unproven statements that are often passed around in society. These are intriguing to students and they will learn some interesting facts. They can be used for small independent group activities or they can be projected up on a screen for a class quiz activity. Student’s can compete against each other to earn points for correct answers.
A definition chart is provided in the free sample as well as in the TPT product. Students will need to review the following definitions to complete the activity accurately.
You may use this chart for students on your classroom or therapy list. I ask that you refer people to this site for their own copy. Do not distribute or publish it for commercial use.
TPT has made revisions to their digital activity platform. It has been has renamed to TPT Easel. The cards will be available on this platform. It makes them available for digital and distant learning and provides teachers ways to manipulate the activity. Teachers can provide students options such as blocking answers with text boxes. Students can write or type answers into those areas. Unblocked sheets with the answers can be provided for self checking.
Click on the star below for your free sample.
The full 30 card activity can be bought at Teachers Pay Teachers. Just click on the button and it will take you there.
February is a month when many of us send cards or messages to our family and friends for Valentines Day. It is a good time to introduce a lesson on the differences between sending out positive and negative statements. When you get to the bottom, don’t forget to download the free lesson sheets.
Some of our young adults get into a habit of throwing barbs at each other without considering the consequences of hurt feelings or the bad impressions they are making. They may not be aware how these statements affect their friendships and the opinions of adults that hear them. It is good to remind them that it can be next to impossible to completely repair the damage once a hurtful comment is said.
Consider the following: Can your students tell which statements will be considered positive? Can they tell if what they say is offensive to someone? Can they change their perspective and switch to a more positive statement when necessary. Hopefully the free lesson will help you address these concerns with your students.
At the bottom of this post, you will find a Download Star. Click on this link for a free list of statements. The statements are ready to be printed and cut out for your lessons. The statements can be used in a variety of ways. Students can practice taking a negative statement, changing the wording and flipping it to be more positive. I have used the analogy of flipping a pancake. When conducting a social group, I present a spatula as a prop to remind someone to flip offensive statements. Later on, I just have the spatula over to the offending person.
You can also talk about statements that should be left in the mind and not verbalized. Just because a statement is true does not mean it should be said. There are times it is kinder not to say something we think.
You can also explore what effects a difference of intonation may make on a statement. It is possible to convey a message opposite in meaning when using a sarcastic tone. A rising tone at the end can make a statement into a question and it will not seem like you are making an accusation.
I hope you can make use of the free lesson and It lightens your lesson planning load a bit.
On a side note, I have recently changed my site host. The site is now operating with Host Papa. You may notice the little black lock has returned in the URL which indicates it is a secure site.
COVID 19 has created an educational challenge for providing a home school education program for non verbal students. Many educators, teaching virtually, are trying to provide lessons using materials available in a student’s home environment. I have decided to highlight some of the lessons I have used in the past that would meet that need. If the student is participating by virtual means, you may need the help of a caretaker to prepare materials, model responses, and help the student. Most of the materials are common objects available to students at home.
The original posts for these activities can be found by searching in the archives of past posts under the tag Therapy Activities from Scratch and Communication Boards. The search tools can be found in the right column.
Does your student have goals such as maintaining focus, taking turns, increasing vocabulary and increasing sentence length? Many play activities only need visuals such as communication boards and props to make them into structured learning activities to address these goals. If a student has physical difficulties and is not able to manipulate objects, they can still participate by directing and making requests with a partner using a communication board or system.
There are a number of reasons to use communication boards and systems. They lead to more natural social communication with mutual turn taking. They can add structure and provide cues for repeating key phrases. They also provide visual support for children who have limited oral speech and understanding.
Educators can easily adapt to a students learning level and needs with the use of a communication board. An educator begins by providing full verbal models and pointing to the icons while providing a verbal model. They can then use the icons as prompts by pointing to the icons and waiting for the student to provide the verbal output. Eventually the student will prompt themselves by pointing to the icon and providing the verbal output independently. Finally they will no longer need the communication board during the activity and participate verbally without it. If a student’s intelligibility is poor, you will still know what he is attempting to say because the student can use icons as a visual cues. Hopefully you will avoid interactions such as “Say what I say” or ” I don’t understand, say it again.” Many students become frustrated when they find themselves in this type of communication exchange and then refuse to participate.
I have posted pictures of boards I have made in the past, for examples. You will need to adapt the icons for the materials and objects available to your student. There are a number of sources of pictures for making communication boards. Some of my sources include Open clip art, clip art from Teachers Pay Teachers (some are free samples) and Pictoselector which is a free program for Windows users. It can be found at https://www.picto-selector.eu/about/freeware/. Pictoselector allows you to use grid templates for icon placement and a number of icons. Boardmaker is another program that many schools have subscriptions too.
A grab bag with toys is an easy item that can be made in the home environment. This one was made by cutting the sleeve off a sweater and sewing or gluing the bottom seam shut. You can put a number of different toys in the bag. Wind up toys are one of my favorite tools. They are always a high interest item.
The bag allows control of the objects from indiscriminate grabbing and hoarding, and facilitates turn taking. If the child is unable to wind or pull to activate a toy, all the better. That means they will need to request an action.
The Dollar store, Target Bargain bin, and Happy Meals are good places to find wind up toys. Mine have lasted a number of years. The student may also have favorite objects at home such as tops, balls, buttons, old switches, and tools.
Many students have a collection of stuffed animals matchbox cars or other objects. Add a fancy box and these can be put to good use. Hide an item in the box and have a student answer questions to find out its identity. The communication board is helpful for cuing a student for appropriate descriptive questions. Begin by modeling the questions while pointing to the pictures.
Matchbox vehicles are a favorite activity. Students often acquire a stash of different ones because they are a cheap item to get on a shopping trip. I was lucky to be gifted a pack by parents and I collected more over the years. you can use them in the grab bag also.
I’ve used this map with students to work with prepositions and descriptive vocabulary. The picture is an example of a simple map that can made by students to review the prepositions across, over, through, and between. It can be used with dice or a spinner as a simple board game, but students also like just driving along and telling where they are. You can have multiple trials by having them request different vehicles for making the trip.
The race game is another opportunity to use the same cars. Students choose cars and then make comparisons and prediction on which vehicles will be first or last. It is another activity that provides opportunities to use adjectives and verbs.
Caregivers may want to venture out on their own with materials. However, I recommend that you consult with your student’s Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) for constructing communication boards, and visuals to meet your student’s specific needs and goals. Although communication boards are presented here as examples, your student’s SLP will know the best vocabulary and language level for your student. An Occupational Therapist (OT) can help with setting up access to a communication board and tools so a student with a physical disability can manipulate objects. These professionals play important roles in an student’s education program and I can not guarantee results when their input is not included with a students education program.
I hope these examples give you some ideas. I would love to hear from fellow educators if you have other examples or ideas to share. If you are willing to share, I can add them to this blog post. You can comment by clicking on the comment cloud located at the top of the post by the heading. I monitor comments for spam so you will not see it posted immediately. You can also tell me if you would prefer to be incognito. Good Luck and stay healthy.
I hope everyone had a good holiday break and are refreshed for 2015. My holiday took an interesting turn this year. I strained my back wiping dog feet the weekend before Christmas. Large dog feet but that really shouldn’t have done it. Who could be mad at a face like this.
Moving around like I usually do was pretty much out of the question. My husband dutifully took over household chores including cooking. It was one the most restful holidays I ever had.
I was just beginning to feel better when the 2nd bad turn happened. My web site was hacked into December 29th. I am thinking that most of you were not visiting at that time which was probably a good thing. If you were you might have been greeted by Russian prose. You can imagine how surprised I was.
As most of you know, I became self hosted in July and moved my Word press blog. It gave me a little more freedom for developing the blog and got rid of the ads. I knew there was a risk for hacking but didn’t think it would happen so soon. Fortunately I used a local server; Host Pond. I contacted them and they provided personal service promptly. Host Pond helped me by cleaning up and putting new security measures in place. I think the Russians were in control only a couple of days. The representative from Host Pond patiently explained to me what security risks I had. So now with a new plugin (Wordfence) I will be notified by email when someone suddenly has administrator privileges.
By the way, my old site cjmonty.wordpress.com is still coming up as a bad site in Google. As a connected site it was flagged as well. It is only used for referral purposes and I will be dropping it. Now would be a good time to drop that url if you haven’t done so already.
I did manage to get a little preparation done for when I get back. I have several students who benefit from fidget toys. You may have noticed cloth marble mazes on Pinterest if you were looking for sensory fidget items. They looked simple to make and I am always looking for items that can not become missiles in the end.
To make them I used textured cloth; fleece and terry cloth. I cut a 9 inch circle for one and 9x 8 inch square for the other. I then sewed around the edge leaving a gap to turn it inside out.
After turning it inside out, I drew a maze leaving 1 1/4 inch channel for the marble to move through. I then sewed on the lines with my sewing machine. These can be as simple or difficult as you want to make them.
I made the circle look like a snail with the marble moving from the edge to the inner circle. Just sew a spiral going to the center. I used a simple stitch first to make sure the marble would make it through and then used a stretch stitch to make it sturdier.
For the square I sewed straight lines.
Remember to alternate the lines from reaching the edge so you have a path for the marble.
When you are finished, insert a marble through the opening and sew the opening shut.
Students use their fingers to move the marble through the maze.
The teachers really had good reviews on these. They held up well and were washable. once I got the hang of it, I could make one in 20 minutes.