It is finally summer break. Those last few weeks are always such a whirlwind trying to get everything completed. It is hard to think of plans for some of out students who receive summer services. This was a popular post a number of years ago so I decided to bring it back up to the top to see if it would help with someones plans.
It seems that every school district I have worked for over the years has difficulty providing relevant training for the SLP staff. The best year was when the district SLPs took control over the situation. One of my fellow SLPs had sent for the Six DVD Series from The Stuttering Foundation entitled Stuttering Therapy: Practical Ideas for the School Clinician. We obtained permission to use it for our training during spring inservice times.
I highly recommend this series if you need a refresher for Stuttering Therapy. It addressed therapy with preschoolers all the way to adulthood. It lived up to its title and provided a lot of practical therapy activities. They still have thiss series as of this posting. They presented video clips of real therapy sessions which was very helpful. Most of the speakers identified themselves as stutterers which made it even more credible to me.
One of my students was a third grader who appeared to take his therapy sessions quite seriously. I wanted to get him to lighten up a bit. One of the suggestions for identification and voluntary stuttering was to use spray bottles and spray each other when stuttered words were heard. The words could be a real stutter or a voluntary stutter it didn’t matter. I thought this sounded like the perfect activity for the last therapy session.
I just happened to have mini water sprayers given as party favors about 10 years ago. Did I mention I never throw anything out because you just don’t know when it will become useful. Well they turned out to be the perfect thing. The above picture makes them look bigger than they are. They held about 3 tablespoons of water so we couldn’t get too soaked. You may be able to find something similar where you purchase party favors for children’s parties.
My student couldn’t believe he could spray me. After a few good squirts from my bottle he didn’t hold back. To see his eyes light up and have fun with stuttering made my day. I am sure he will remember it when we start again next school year.
As we come back from holiday breaks , it’s time to bring out the winter theme items. There are a lot of wintery cold places across the United States weather map. Some places have been buried in deep snow drifts and are having difficulty digging out. Some students are experiencing snow storms for the first time. You may be exploring what a snowflake looks like.
I found a snowflake on Pinterest that was easy to make and looked impressive. It turned out so well that the students didn’t want to leave them for a bulletin board after making them. Thus I only had 3 of the large ones on my bulletin board at the end.
Following directions to make an item is a good way to engage students and introduce new vocabulary. I hope you find this activity useful for your students. You will find pictured directions within the free download.
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. Don’t count on having any left behind for a bulletin board.
I am bringing “Angry Turkeys” to the top once again. It is a game that can be adjusted for the needs of different groups of speech students. For my younger students it was a great way to review prepositions. For my older students it was just a good reinforcement activity with a November theme.
This toss game was originally based on the old app Angry Birds. I renamed it Angry Turkeys and introduced it in November. Students may not be as familiar with the app these days but that doesn’t really matter. Basically the app had pigs building stacked structures. The birds became objects to toss at them and break down the buildings when they hit.
I made turkey bean bags from scrap fabric I had on hand. The only other things you need are paper rolls and coffee can lids. I covered the paper rolls to give them color. I made the green pigs from paper rolls cut in half. I printed out clip art of a pig and taped it to the paper roll to represent the pigs.
I started the game by making towers with the paper rolls and lids. I then gave students the pigs and told them where to place them or they told other students where to place them. This gave them practice following instructions and using prepositions.
I then handed out the turkey bean bags. They all tossed one turkey on the count of 3 and hit the towers down. They always requested to do it again. I love activities that are self reinforcing and encourage review of vocabulary.
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.
Are you looking for learning activities for your home schooled children during the extended school closures? One Cut Books are simple projects that can be used for multiple ages and grade levels. They can be adapted well to any subject. They can be used for creative writing, vocabulary, listing facts, and articulation drill. You can use them to review information later on.
All you need to get started is paper and drawing or writing utensils. There is a free template provided below. A computer and printer are needed to print the template, but you could get by with a ruler and measure out a template. You can also set the template up in Power Point using a 3×2 table without a border, inserted into a 8.5 x 11 inch page in landscape mode. You can then insert your own clip art. Remember that the clip art needs to be flipped upside down on the top section. When printing it out, make sure the printer is 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.
I have included a free download of the Penguin Preposition book to get you started. There is also a site that has already made books. A group of them have been made for you thanks to Judy Kuster and 22 graduate students at Minnesota State University. Just go to this site http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster2/onecutbooks/onecutbooks.html Thank you grad students.
Now let me show you how easy it is to make a book. Lets start with the template and directions. Students can write or draw their own images. I made the template in Power Point to make the Preposition Penguins book. You can download pdf version of this by clicking on the picture of the template below.
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 the red line.
Fold on the dash lines so it looks like this.
3. Fold the top section to the back along the light blue lines. You should be able to open up the red line that you cut at the beginning.
4. Flatten the diamond center by pushing the two ends inward. The pages will be double sided. It should look like this.
Please respect my efforts. You may use my free down loads with parents, and students on your caseloads and in your classrooms. Do not copy, post, or distribute them on other sites. Please do not use for commercial purposes. You may refer people to this blog to obtain their own personal copy.
Stay healthy everyone and practice social distancing. We will get through this by working together.