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.
Speech Therapy with a snow theme.
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.
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.
I 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I did not find it through the app store.
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.
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.
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. There are a number of Cariboo cards on Teachers Pay Teachers that would also work.
Progress 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.