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.
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.
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.
I 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. I had students by put 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.
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.
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.