Descriptive Snowman Activity

7 Jan

Snowmen picture cards are a very useful tool for practicing descriptive sentences in receptive and expressive language. They are one of my “go to” activities for speech therapy in the month of January. I use them in the traditional “Matching” and “Go Fish”  games.  The students all seem willing to participate because it doesn’t seem like work. They get multiple repetitions on skills they are working on and it doesn’t seem like drilling. These games are  played by a variety  of age and ability ranges  so work well with mixed groups of students.  Continue reading for a free download of cards further down.

Snowman with a blue scarf

When using these cards with my students, I provide carrier phrases for those students who are practicing certain complex sentence types. For example question forms: “Does your snowman have ….. ?”  and relative clauses,  ” Do you have a snowman who has ______ and a ________?” or prepositional phrase, “Do you have a snowman with___ and ______?” I require them to use the pattern until they no longer need a prompt and can do it on their own.

For those students who are working on articulation in conversational speech, there are plenty of opportunities to use the th, r, s, l in words and blends.

As you can see, this activity can be used for quite a mix of students. It is also great for getting data for progress reports at this time of year.

As a reward for making it to this point of my post, I made a free set of cards for your convenience. There are  5 sheets of 4 cards to make a total of 20 different cards.  You can make as many sets as you need. I usually make 4 copies of each page for a game of Go Fish. I have mine printed on cardstock and laminated. They have lasted several years.

button for free download
click here for free download

Just click on the free download button and you will get a printable pdf file. The snowmen in the pictures have similarities and differences, so students really need to listen carefully or make sure they are being descriptive enough when making questions for their listeners.  Saying the snowman has a black hat or stick arms will not give enough information. There are several that fit that description. This may require a student to ask for more information which is also a good skill for students to develop.

The snowmen are from  and are for personal use only.  Commercial use is not permitted.  Please use these cards with students on your caseload or class and not for resale.  If you would like to add more variety there are more snowmen for download on that site. Students can also use the blank cards to make their own versions of snowmen.

Tier II Vocabulary Task Card Challenge 3

23 Nov
Tier II Challenge 3 Cards Cover

Take a look at my latest set of Tier II Vocabulary Task Cards. Challenge 3 is written using words off 7th and 8th grade vocabulary lists. If you have used the Challenge 1 and 2 cards using lower level vocabulary, these are similar. Words are presented in a short paragraph and students complete word meaning and comprehension tasks. I have included a free sample in this post for you to try out. Scroll down to find the free download.

The cards are flexible for a variety of teaching situations and student ability levels. I always liked materials that I could tweak for different learning styles and students don’t appear to be getting something completely different from their peers. I think the instruction sheet below, included in the download, best explains the different options available.

The full set of task cards are on Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT). You can assign them to individual students digitally on their EASEL platform. This allows for paperless teaching if you wish. You can also download and print them out on cardstock. They can then be used with individual students for home work or in learning centers. 126 words are covered in 20 cards/slides. A variation of the 20 cards using the same words means there are 40 cards/slides total. The free sample provides the word list used.

click here for free sample.

If these cards work for you and your students, you can purchase the whole set at my store “The Spontaneous Speech Spot”. Click below for a direct link to the full set.

Summer Games For Speech

26 Jun
Summer game toys

Summer is here and thankfully we are getting back to normal for summer play. The age old question may be coming up now. “What can I do?” Take advantage of that boredom to review language concepts. Students may be interested in participating in their own Summer Olympic Games. Just go into that toy closet and bring out the beach or nerf balls, balloons,  pool noodles, frisbees, and jump ropes  for some fun. Students won’t even know they are reviewing concepts at the same time.  These items can be adapted for almost any ability level.  Here are some ideas I have used in the past.

For a game of badminton, tie a jump rope between two chairs, trees, or poles to make a net.  Use the pool noodles to hit a balloon over or under the net in a game of balloon badminton. Review vocabulary such as over, under, beneath, high, and low. Best of all, the noodles won’t hurt anyone who is accidently hit in the enthusiasm. Also the balloons are slower moving for individuals who need a slower pace. Make sure you have back up balloons for when they break.

Take a few of the noodles and bend them in an arch. Fasten them to the ground with dowels, sturdy sticks or lawn stakes. Use the center holes in the tubes to fit over the sticks after you pound them into the ground. Make a course similar to the one used in a game of croquet. Use other noodles to hit nerf balls or balloons through the arches. The dog may even let you use his frisbee. Count how many hits it takes to get through the course and use comparison vocabulary such as less, least, more, and equal.

pool noodle arch

Make circles with the pool noodles by joining two ends. with a dowel. Fill juice or milk jugs with water to make good sturdy targets for a ring toss. Practice throwing the circle or hoops around the jugs as you would at a carnival. Use distance vocabulary such as close, further, near, and far.

noodle ring

Fasten rings to chairs, trees, and poles with bungee chords, or tape. Make an air golf course. Use straight noodles to hit balloons through the hoops. This may not work with a breeze but you can change to nerf balls or a frisbee You can also switch it up by throwing the noodles like spears through the hoops. Review vocabulary such as almost, close, far, near, and through.

I hope you enjoy your summer and come back refreshed. Hopefully these ideas give you a good start for making your summer games a success.

Family Dog

Sentences with Semantic Errors can Promote Meta Linguistic Skills

1 Jan
Cover for Semantic Errors Product

Using sentences containing semantic errors is a great strategy for enhancing vocabulary and comprehension skills. A few posts back I reported that  reading comprehension and meta linguistic skills are strongly linked (Achugar, Schleppegrell, & Oteíza, 2007). Tasks that require a student to read and think critically enhances their ability to remember and integrate what they have learned and not just read words. Students enjoy the challenge of finding and correcting errors and learn at the same time. In the process they will use critical thinking and draw from their knowledge of the world to correct the errors in the sentences.

With our current pandemic, many teachers and speech and language pathologists (SLP) have had to embrace digital teaching and learning. I decided to help out by upgrading “Silly Sentences” that can be used in a digital form. There is a text only version currently located under the Vocabulary heading. I took some of the sentences, added a few new ones, and added visual cues to make a Teachers Pay Teachers product called Sentences with Semantic Errors.

The Sentences with Semantic Errors can be presented a number of ways. They can be printed out, cut, and used as flashcards. They can be given out as worksheets. They can also be assigned digitally. They are available as a Digital Download on the Teachers Pay Teachers site. With this program they can be assigned to students using Google Classroom. Students complete pages digitally and return them digitally to a teacher for feedback.

The vocabulary is appropriate for 3rd through 6th grade levels. Picture cues help to convey meaning as well as make the cards more appealing if they are displayed on a screen. Using the TPT overlay, students can fill text boxes using the tools provided. Students can provide written or typed answers.

I am linking a free sample of the first two pages pictured. Click on the button below. I am not working directly with students at this time, so I do not have a trial group. I would appreciate any recommendations or comments you may have. This free download will not include the digital overlay which is offered with purchase through TPT and is on their platform. Comments can be made by clicking on the comment cloud located in the post heading.

Click on the button above for the free 2 page sample. Click on the cover below for a direct link to TPT and the full product.

Cover for Semantic Errors Product
Direct Link to TPT Product

Comprehending and Answering “How” Questions

30 Aug

The task of answering “How” questions is often difficult for students. Students who have language delays, autism, or are second languages learners often have trouble answering  with the correct information. The answers are often not as predictable as other question forms.

“How” questions are especially important in upper elementary grade levels and beyond. Many programs are science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) oriented. Students are required to integrate their knowledge and figure out how it all works together. It requires a higher level of thinking and language skills to figure out what information is being asked for to answer a question.  Students  often need the ability to problem solve or take on  another perspective to answer a question correctly.

In case you haven’t recently thought about the variety of “How” questions we use in our daily lives, following is a refresher list  of  examples and the types of  expected answers.

  1.  How questions that ask for amount:    How much is it?  It is one dollar
  2. How  questions that ask for a  quality:   How does it taste?    It tastes sour.  
  3. How  questions that ask about a condition:   How cold is it?  Very cold
  4. How questions that require a procedural answer.  How do you get toothpaste from a tube? You take the cover off and squeeze the tube.

I created a set of task cards to work specifically on comprehending and answering “How” questions. They were created to help students become aware of the different  varieties  of “How” questions they may encounter and what information they need to answer them. I am providing a free preview that you may print out and make two sided task cards to try with your students. If they work for you, I have the full set of 22 cards on Teachers Pay Teachers which you can purchase.

click the star for sample

The TPT set is available for printing out or can be used with TPT Easel. With the TPT tool you can place text boxes over the answers. Students can use a variety of writing tools to complete an assigned assignment before submitting it back to a teacher. This creates a digital assignment. Good luck to all as we return to in school classrooms.

Click on the cover for a direct link to TPT