April is here and time to switch out the bulletin board again. We seem to be getting our fair share of rain and the fruit trees are in full bloom. I know some places are still getting snow so I don’t really have a right to complain about the rain. When looking for this month’s bulletin board project, I saw several variations of paper flowers on Pinterest. I happen to have a supply of colored computer paper that would make colorful flowers for the traditional saying “April Showers Bring May Flowers.” I was able to adapt one of the flowers to a version that used the materials I have on hand; paper and tape. The flowers are simple enough that my older students in the Lifeskills program were able to complete them along with my younger general education students. My only problem is that the students want to bring them home for their mothers so I had trouble getting them to leave them for the bulletin board. This is what the board is looking like so far. We made the directions and shared them on Storykit. It is still a good exercise to have the students record the directions. Their voices were removed here before posting because of our school privacy requirements. Directions for flowers on the bulletin board.
March is here again and it is time to find a new project for the bulletin board. I looked into the supply closet and found coffee filters left from someone elses project. This looked like a possibility for inexpensive fun. I started looking for a shamrock pattern. I was disappointed to find the die cut pattern was too big for my needs. Then the kindergarten teacher came to my rescue. She pointed out it was easy to make a shamrock from hearts. Even though I couldn’t find a shamrock, I found 3 sizes of die cut hearts. The plan was coming together. It would be easy to get this project ready because I already have all the materials.
I saw a project that used water based markers and a spray bottle of water. The water made the markers run into interesting designs. I thought the students would enjoy experimenting with that. They could glue the hearts on top of the colored coffee filters and it would look like stained glass. It would add some color to the board. I found a simile that worked well with the shamrocks; A best friends is like a four leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have. This gave an opportunity to talk about Similes with my older students. The younger students worked on following directions and talking about St. Patrick’s Day. This is what it is looks like so far. More Shamrocks will be added as they get completed.
Directions on StoryKit here.
Have fun and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
This is our first week back from the holiday break. Some of us are in the grips of winter. Baby its cold out there! It seemed appropriate to go with a winter theme and cold things. I dug into my archives and brought out my version of “Don’t Fall Through the Ice”. This activity has been in the vocabulary section and there are written instructions that can be printed out under the link. I didn’t include pictures so some of you may have missed it. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words. The activity is really very simple and made from recycled materials. I get a lot of use from my coffee cans. All you need is a wide mouthed container like a coffee container, a large rubber band, paper towels, marbles, and a spinner made from a plastic lid. The spinner has the words, one, couple, few, and several. The marbles are placed in a container of water. The paper towel is stretched across the mouth of the container and held by the rubber band. Students take turns spinning the spinner, taking the corresponding amount of marbles from the water, and placing them on top of the paper towel. Eventually the water will weaken the paper towel and the marbles will fall through. I used this activity as a reinforcement for students during therapy or as a group activity to work on the concepts of amount. I have table groups play and then compare the number of marbles they put on top before they fall through. In addition to the spinner words you can talk about the concepts of wet/dry, weak/strong, and most/ least.
Last year at about this time I made turkey bean bags and used them in a toss game. I brought them out again for another round of Angry Turkeys. This game is made from toilet paper rolls and coffee can lids. I simply covered the toilet paper rolls to give them color. I improved it a bit by making the green pigs from paper rolls cut in half. I just printed clip art of a pig and taped it to the paper roll. This is what it looked like.
For the activity at school, I used Sounding board. It is a free app by Ablenet that allows you to make a communication board with pictures. I wasn’t able to share it so used the same pictures and converted it to Storykit. Here is the Storykit version. http://iphone.childrenslibrary.org/cgi-bin/view.py?b=nma32raqfbftw6v5g23r
The directions for the Turkey Bean bags are here.
The students placed the pigs in the proper spots while reading the story. They then all tossed a turkey on the count of 3. They always want to do it again. I love activities that are self reinforcing.
I am finally on Summer break. Those last few weeks are always such a whirlwind trying to get everything completed. I am sorry if I seemed to disappear from here, but I am sure most of you can relate to the time crunch.
It seems that every school district I have worked for over the years has difficulty providing relevant training for the SLP staff. However, this last year the district SLPs took control over the situation and it was one of our better years. 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 were allowed to use our in service funds for the materials and form a study group on our early release days. Considering my stuttering classes were taken over 20 years ago it was a welcome chance for review and updating my methods. For some unknown reason I have a record number of 3 students with stuttering difficulties on my caseload. Anyone else noticing this trend?
I highly recommend this DVD 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 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 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.