Speech Therapy in the Classroom for Older Students

3 Jul

 

Are you assigned to work with upper grades next school year and wondering how you could work in the classrooms?  Many of us are a bit intimidated to actually do this.  For older students with language processing difficulties, working in the classroom may seem to be the best option. There can be many benefits. It is often a struggle to make therapy relevant for older students and they may  resist being removed from class. It may be a hassle to schedule everyone around academic instruction and you have a lot of students in one particular class. Working in  the classroom allows you to see how the students are functioning in class and you can see how instruction is being presented to the students.  You can consult better with classroom teachers to meet the needs of your students.

However, there are some downsides to the push-in model.   You may not have control over your teaching environment and it may be less than ideal in large classes with limited space. There are the  distractions of other students and you may feel like you are intruding on the classroom teachers space and time. If you don’t get the lesson plans ahead, you may not come adequately prepared for the lesson being presented by the classroom teacher.  It is also difficult to work with more than one student in a class without being your own little group in the back of the classroom.  If you have a high caseload, scheduling can become a  nightmare with inflexible time blocks taken up by single students.

I have experienced mainly  two scenarios with the push-in model.  In one, the Speech Language Pathologist, (SLP) works with a few students in the back of the room and scaffolds what is being presented by the classroom teacher using visuals or breaking it down in segments.  This can be useful for a few students if done discretely. It can also be quite distracting to other students who want to see what is going on and not follow what the classroom teacher is presenting.

In scenario two, the SLP takes over part of  the classroom instruction and co-teaches.  This can be quite effective, especially when the teachers can play off their strengths.  It does require some advance planning and meeting time between teachers.  For the SLP, it may be harder to meet the individual needs of the students you are targeting because you are working with an entire class. I find that taking data is really difficult because your attention is drawn in so many directions.  Often It is hard to sustain this as our caseloads increase through the  school year.  Sometimes you may start with a handful of speech students in a class and then find the students you were targeting moved and you are left with one student in the time slot.

The following are a few methods and activities you may want to try.  These  work best when information is being given in a lecture format such as with social sciences or history.


You can work in the classroom with a small chosen group of students to write notes as information is presented and formulate questions on note or index cards.  This activity can be expanded as a total class activity with some students receiving help and others being independent. It is important to include a question and answer on the card.  The questions and answers can then be gathered and used later in a review activity with the whole class participating.  This process helps students who need a rehearsal of information or information segmented.  It gives students a reason to be engaged and helps those who have difficulty taking notes on relevant information.

I have found game show type activities work well for reviewing at the end of a unit. Once you have it set up it can be used multiple times with little preparation. Now you can bring out the  note cards the students have already prepared and swap them out at the end of each unit you review.

I showcased a Jeopardy activity on a previous post. You can reuse this game by placing letters under the dollar amount cards. You may or may not have categories depending on the topic.  Pile the question cards into draw piles corresponding to the letters and categories if you have them.  You may want to have teams write answers on white boards to avoid blurt outs.  If the question is answered correctly the person or team receives the dollar amount. Don’t forget to put bonus cards in to increase the suspense. For some reason handing out fake money is a real incentive. I hope you have kept it from the previous post.

Idioms of Fortune is another game I have made up.  It can be used as a review game also.  As a bonus it reviews  idiom vocabulary at the same time.  You may want to form teams again as in the previous game and use white boards.

I print out a large illustrated version of an idiom. You may want to have a few of these on hand because sometimes it is figured out sooner than you think.   I set the printer so it prints out the illustration on multiple pages and then tape the pages together to form one large picture.  You can Google idioms and find quite a few.  I used raining cats and dogs from openclipart.org because it did not have restrictions.

This styro-foam poster board I found at the dollar store is turning out to be quite useful. I stuck my idiom picture on it and then tacked index cards on top so that the picture wasn’t visible.  The smaller the cards the more questions that will be needed.  It should look something like this.  Then mark the cards in some fashion.  I put the alphabet on mine. .  

Someone draws a question card and reads it.  This could be an assigned student or the teacher.  A student or team agrees on an answer to present. You may want to use white boards and have the teams write answers.  Again this really helps with the  blurt outs.  If they are right they can choose a card, look at the picture and then take a guess on what  idiom is being illustrated.   The first team to guess is the winner.

This is what it may look like after a few cards are drawn.

You may or may not plan a reward for the winning team. Some students find the competition is enough and don’t care about rewards. You may want to do the opposite type of reward and have the losing team do something silly like sing a nursery rhyme for the other team.  Middle school students seem to  like permission to be silly.  Agree on the terms before starting.

I hope you find these activities useful.  If you have information to add to this topic, please comment.

Free Game Show Activity to Elicit Asking Questions

15 Apr

I will take “Places” for $20 please.

 

Quite a long time ago, when Jeopardy was a familiar TV game show, I used the idea to create a game for eliciting questions and naming items of a category.  It was a good game because it really made students think about categories and how to describe words. It also emphasized using the correct forms for who, what, where, and does/do questions. I liked using it with groups because it worked on so many goals at once with multiple opportunities for practice.  The students were always enthused about playing it mainly because they liked the play money. Sometimes they would request keeping the money as a reward.

The directions for the game are under the expressive language heading, under the title Jeopardy. Previously the game was not as complete.  You were left to find the category pictures on your own.  Well you are in luck. I left my materials for this game at my old school so I had to reconstruct it. I decided since I had to make a new one, I would update it on the blog as well. Now you should be able to print all the materials out without searching for the category vocabulary.  I used the picture program Picto Selector which I am liking more and more.  It is free to try so you may want to take a look.  I made the category cards from it.

To prepare materials for  this game, you need to print and cut out the cards.  I had a pocket calendar I used previously which made an easy place to insert the cards.  I no longer have it.   As a substitution, I  bought a foam board used for project presentations at the dollar store. It makes a cheap alternative. I can hang cards on it with push pins. I really prefer the pockets but this works.  Star stickers are optional. I stick stars on the back of some of the money cards to indicate a double pay out.  You need play money. You may be able to find some at the dollar store. If not,there is some you can print for free on www.KidsMoneyFarm.com.

 

In order to set the game up, I  placed the category cards along the top row. I then placed the object cards in a row below the categories they belong to.

 

 

I then took the money amount cards and pinned them on top of the object cards. It should look like this.

 

I do pre-instruction about what kinds of questions to ask for the type of answer you want to get.  For example  I emphasize who questions are for people answers and work best for the category of occupations and where questions are best for the  places.  This may be confusing for some students who just want to describe the picture.  There are free charts that illustrate who, what, where, why and how questions on TPT or Pinterest..  I usually have one of these posted in my room for reference.

The  students play by choosing a category and a  the dollar amount. The student is given the card with the pictured object or action and is given the task of asking a question so that the other students will reply by giving the answer on the card. For example:  If a student asks for places for $20 he would get a picture of a road.  He would then ask the students the question, “Where do people drive cars?”  Hopefully the other students will provide the answer, road  The student who asked the question gets the dollar amount in play money.

Depending on the abilities of my students I vary what I expect before they earn the money.  Generally, if the student produces a grammatically and semantically correct question that elicits the correct answer he gets the dollar amount of the card.  If there is a star on the back he gets double.

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This blog has been linked with other special education blogs. Just click to check them out. Happy Easter!

What animal is it? Question Activity

12 Mar

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Do you have a collection of stuffed animals that seems to reproduce before your very eyes?  I do.   I inherited a collection of Beanie Babies from my children when they left home.  They were so adorable that I had difficulty parting with them.  Naturally they ended up in my  room of misfit toys, my therapy room.  I have them stored in a shoe storage unit that fits over a door.  As people noticed them they added more to the collection.  After I started using them for therapy, I found how valuable they truly are.

The animals are very enticing even to some of my older students who have moved on to Minecraft. I  have used them for calming distraught Kindergarten students.  Teachers  have borrowed one for the day to get a student through trauma.  Students have used them when they forgot theirs on a “Read to your stuffed animal day.”

I have used them when reading animal stories.  Students take a animal from a grab bag and  listen for the part of the story where  their animal shows up.  It keeps them focused on the story and gives something for their hands to hold.

I have some unusual ones that become a help for expanding vocabulary.   For example, some students have not had exposure to a jelly fish.  I know my stuffed animal is not an exact replica  but does give the idea.   This leads  to a discussion to what is different about a real jellyfish and the stuffed version.  My jellyfish has the typical stuffed animal round eyes which led to the question, “Do jellyfish have eyes?”.    We explored this on the iPad and it provided a very interesting topic.

They are great for categorization according to traits.  A favorite activity I made up is ” Mystery Animal”.  I especially like this activity for its use of questions and cognitive skills. It is a memory and cognitive task to remember the details and use that information in a meaningful way. I have a velvet box that is the mystery box.  One student hides an animal in the box and the other students ask questions to determine its identity.  The rule is they need to ask a descriptive question before they can identify the animal. Some of  my students have difficulty coming up with relevant questions or ask the same questions several times.  I made this communication board to help them with formulating questions.

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This is a pdf version you may be able to download and print  for use.   What animal

They have been used as rewards for behavior plans.  Students earn animal babysitting priveledges and  swap one out occasionally.  This keeps the incentive going.  It is nice to have an incentive that doesn’t need funding or involve food.

Amazingly, I have only lost a few over the years.  They seem to find their way back to my room at the end of the school year.

 

Body Parts and Emotions Theme

21 Feb

LeprechaunI traditionally use the months of February and March to work on  body parts  and emotions theme.  There are quite a few free materials you can use out there. To help you with your search I have listed a few activities I have used with my early language learners.

I started with following directions and naming body parts by putting band aids on a print out of a boy and girl.   Teachers notebook: Toadally Tots Shop has a free download called Betty and Billy Boo-Boo which you might want to check out here.  This was not only good for naming body parts but was also good for subject, object, and possessive pronouns.

I used musical play to encourage movement and use of body parts.  The Hokey pokey song works well for this.  There is an  United Kingdom version: Hokey Pokey- Kids song on You tube.   I used a hula hoop to designate the middle of the circle which worked out particularly well on this version as it mimicked the video.  I liked the speed on this one because  my students could keep up.  Head Shoulders Knees and Toes is another good one.  I used this version here.

I used bubbles to motivate some of my reluctant participants.  Students drew a body part from a bag.  You can use pictures printed from a symbol system or for those who respond better to objects you can use potato head parts.   I blew bubbles and they tried to pop a bubble using their body parts that corresponded to the one they drew.  They got quite a kick out of getting a bubble with their nose.

To work on facial expressions, I found this Leprechaun that works well for a movable face.  The Leprechaun comes from http://www.how-to-draw-funny-cartoons.com/.   It gives directions on how to draw a Leprechaun which can then be placed on a toilet paper roll.  There are directions for making it on the toilet paper roll here.  you can make a Mad lib leprechaun story here. The students have fun turning the roll to get a different face to match an emotion in the story.

I hope you have fun with these activities and it makes your lesson planning easier.   Let me know if you have any other activities that can be added.

 

 

Groundhogs Day Bulletin Board and Activity

29 Jan

groundhog buleting board

We had  a good time  preparing for Groundhogs Day this week.  It seems to be a popular day this year as we are really ready for Spring weather.

There are a lot of free materials out there to help celebrate. We studied facts about groundhogs and checked our comprehension. We did comparisons between rodents.   We explored shadows with a flashlight against the wall.  Home Sweet Home is  a good source for a short video clip.  There is also a young student book you can download for free from http://growingkinders.blogspot.com.  The Groundhog Book was written by Kathleen Pedersen.   I downloaded it and was able to use my iPad again.  I love being paperless.  I can actually find what I need when I need it.

I found the idea for a bulletin board on Pinterest.  There was a  groundhog pattern for  a free  download here at pattern universe. We used the pattern to make our own groundhogs. I put the directions on Storykit so they would be on my iPad.  You may be able to use them  as well. The Storykit directions are here.   Now we are waiting for February 2nd to see if we can bring out the shadows.

 

Have a Winter Blast

19 Jan

Speech Therapy with a snow theme.

snowman prep

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.

corstarch snowYou can add a few extras for snowman accessories.

cornstarch snowman 1

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.

 

penguin clip art (2)

A Little Black Crow Project for Following Directions

17 Oct

crow bulletin boardI found a pattern for these darling little black crows on Pinterest  and adapted them as a project for my speech therapy students.   Crows and sunflowers just seem to naturally go together and I am all for getting as much use of my bulletin board as I can without completely redoing it.

This project met my requirements for a speech therapy project.  The directions were fairly easy and the project could be completed within a 20 minute time frame. I could expand the project to include multiple speech goals.  Most of the materials were available from our school materials closet and were easy to obtain.

Preparation was minimal.  I used the die cut to cut out black circles and yellow triangles from construction paper.   I have younger students who have a lot of trouble cutting and this consumes more time than I have.  You could have students trace circles around a cover and cut them out.   I had left over googly eyes from the dollar store and already had paper fasteners in the store room.  A hole punch and glue sticks were other things I already had.  Making the circles and triangles were the only thing that took preparation time.

I expanded this project to include most of my students. Incorporating the free app Storykit opens up a lot of possibilities.  My language groups worked on sequencing  the directions. They took the pictures to make a logical sequence and wrote some of the instructions.  This also took some communication and collaboration as students agreed on what pictures to take, how to place the materials and what the direction should be 1st and 2nd etc.

My groups working on sounds in spontaneous speech created the verbal directions to go with the pictures. They listened to their recordings and decided if they needed to record again to improve their production.  The school confidentiality regulations didn’t allow me to keep their recordings  for publishing so you ended up with my lovely voice instead. My students listening enjoyed figuring out who was speaking when they were listening to the directions.

My younger students who are working on following directions and positional vocabulary followed the directions to create their crow.  Concept words included whole/half, center, top, and through. It was interesting to see which students followed the directions for the fasteners or tried to use the glue stick instead.  My students really loved the idea of the movable wings and posed them for the bulletin board.  I had some students who could not part with their bird, so they didn’t end up on the board.  Hopefully they took them home and explained how they were made to someone in their family.

The directions were published on Storykit.  Click on the bird button below and you will see them.  When you use this app the directions are made in a storybook format.  When it is published it comes into your email like a story board.  The app can be found at storkit@childrenlibrary.org.  I did not find it through the app store.

crow button

Happy Anniversary and Secret Circle Activity

6 Jul

It is a year ago that I made the switch to a self hosted  web site.  I do not know why I waited so long.  I have enjoyed having the freedom of decorating as I wish.   There was definitely a learning curve, especially when I found it was hijacked at one point.  Over all It has been worth it.  I decided a free download was needed to celebrate.  Continue on to find it.

For some reason containers hold a certain fascination for me.  It seems like I am always collecting them and thinking about how I can use them for speech therapy.  While drinking my morning orange juice, I got to thinking about the cover to the juice container.  It would make a good tile for a hiding game.  It is at least 2 inches in diameter, can hold  a reasonable size card on top, and a small object underneath.  I also drink enough juice to get  a number of them in a reasonable amount of time.  This led me to thinking about the game of Secret Square and Cariboo. It seemed like it could be made into a game adaptation for either game. The covers just need velcro dots to fasten pictures on top.

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Do you remember the old therapy game called Secret Square?  It was a game that had tiles with pictures on top.  A chip is placed under one of the tiles.  Students find it by asking questions about the pictured items and eliminating the pictures that do not correspond to the answers.  Eventually the chip is found.  Cariboo is similar in that it has pictures on doors that can be chosen to find a hidden balls that is used to open a treasure box.  Both games are very versatile when addressing goals for describing, questioning, and synthesis of information to get the main idea.  It can also address articulation  and specific speech vocabulary such as prepositions with a switch of the cards.  Students love the idea of finding the secret object and it keeps them motivated. Unfortunately Secret Square and  Cariboo are no longer in production.  They can be hard to find and a bit  pricey if bought second hand on e-bay.

 

juice lids

juice lids

Which brings me back to my orange juice container lids.  I could see potential for making a game of   “Secret Circle”  and possibly even a Cariboo type game with items hidden under the lids. This could include pieces of a puzzles hidden  under some of the lids.  All I needed to do was drink 10 containers of juice to get  10 covers and place velcro dots  on top.  Pictures for the tops can range from articulation cards such as found on Mommy Speech Therapy to preposition cards such as found  as  a  free product at my TPT store. I updated and revised my Preposition Penguins especially for this post.  free download button There are a number of Cariboo cards on Teachers Pay Teachers that would also work.

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Have a Heart

9 Feb

valentine flowerProgress reports are in and it is time to get back to planning for therapy.  February is a short month so it goes by quickly.  I find I still need to keep things simple for my younger folk.  We dressed the bulletin board up with heart animals.  This activity was more open-ended then the ones I have done in the past.  I used a die cut to cut a variety of hearts in different sizes and colors. They used sequins for the eyes.  Students were told  to put the hearts together to form an animal.  I showed them a few pictures from Pinterest and then they were on their own.  It was hard for them to get started.  When they found they could try pieces out 1st before gluing they got a little more adventurous.  It was a good opportunity to practice social skills to ask for tools and materials. We have worked a lot on sequencing and this activity required them to think about the order of gluing.   I also listened to my articulation  students to see how they were progressing with their spontaneous speech. Quite a few of my students decided to take them home to give for Valentine’s Day.

They came up with a good variety of animals.

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Winter and Cold Theme

9 Jan

I have noticed that there are a lot of wintery cold places across the United States weather map.  Some of you have even experienced a snow day or two.  We have experienced mainly cold here with blasting wind. We have not had the ice that is typical of this time of year or snow.  We needed to make our own.

January is a good month to bring out the winter theme items.  I found a snowflake on Pinterest that was easy to make and looked impressive.  It looks so good that the students don’t want to leave thenm for my bulletin board after making them.  Thus I only have 3 of the large ones up there. My bulletin board is looking like this.  I put the snowflake directions on the free app Storykit.  You may download them here.free download button

 

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corner2

I added the corner template to make it easier for the students to draw the curved arches in the corners of the triangles. I used cardstock. and cut the slits just wide enough for a pencil.   Download a copy here.free download button

 

The students were able to make them within  a 20 minute time period.  The directions review vocabulary such as half, triangle, corner, arch, curve, middle, small, medium, large,  and center. Have fun. Of course they also get practice following directions.