Irregular Plurals Interactive Book

30 Oct

Morgan button                                                Click on this box  for direct link

Sometimes we need to allow ideas time to grow.  We don’t always have the right  materials and knowledge when we first start out with an idea. It takes trial and error.  This is a  good lesson to impress upon our students. My wish to write a children’s book was a personal example of this.  I thought you might be intrigued about the process I went through.

Publishing a children’s book was one of those things on my bucket list. So 20 years ago I began to work on it.  It had several different titles and variations but in the end I called it  Morgan the Magician and his Amazing Box.   I didn’t always have a lot of time to devote to it. I would get a part of it going, end up with a road block, and it would get stuck back in the filing cabinet until I was ready to attempt it again.

cover

So how did I end up with the idea of Morgan the Magician you ask? Irregular plurals are not something that seem that important at first glance. Classroom instruction spends only a short  time on them.  They seem to play a small part of what students need for academic performance.   However I find my language students usually have  difficulty  with them and don’t acquire them through the  general education curriculum. I usually try to find some opportunity to review them.

For my therapy students, I started out my career using the usual task cards and tried to

morgan beginningget them to memorize them.  What else can you do when irregular plurals don’t follow the usual rules and are so  irregular.   This seemed to take more time out of therapy sessions than it was worth. Some would get memorized from the cards but were not used in any  other context.  So I tried to think of a better way.  I decided putting them in a story would give them some context.  My own children always liked the stories that had  pull flaps and they could  interact with.  Rhyming also helps us to remember things.  So this began my journey on making an interactive book with flaps that used rhyming.  I often had rhymes swimming in my head so I had empathy for Dr. Seuss.

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I started by making it for personal use first.  In  the first version, I hand drew the characters and objects. This was before graphics were available on computers for  the average person.   My own children said my wizard looked freaky and would scare children.  I  decided I better make him  a more friendly magician.   My first version had a pull strip that was pulled  through a door so that the single item went in the door and the plural came out the other side.  It was a workable book  but  the strips were a bit cumbersome and students had a tendency to pull the strips all the way out.  I also wanted the pages to be double-sided.  The last challenge was making it printable and user friendly for construction.  That turned out to be the biggest challenge.

Getting a publisher interested would be another challenge, but then came Teachers Pay Teachers.  I found I could just publish it myself.  page3 I discovered Power Point and that this program could be used for formating and placing  clip art easily on pages.  I got a notebook with a sketchbook app which openedup new possibilities for drawing characters.  I could draw the magician once and then make some changes to him as I  went without him changing appearance too much.  No more hand drawing each page.  It made it possible for me to make the clip art,  make multiple pages, and make it in such a way that others could make copies for themselves.

Then I had one of those light bulb moments.  I could just use doors and have the pages back to back.   The single task card could be placed in the door by the student.  The next page could  contain the plural form of the word.  The task cards are separate so they can be attached with velcro and used for  other activities.  Such a simple method that took years for me to come up with.

iregular plural button

Click on the button at the top of this post for a direct link to TPT and the book.

Tumblin Monkeys Game for Speech Therapy

23 Oct

Tumblin monkeysI  noticed that this game is being sold once again.  I have used Tumblin Monkeys as  one of my therapy  games for quite a few years.  It is a great game for general reinforcement, and can be played by early language leaners as well as my older elementary students. The game is similar to Kerplunk but looks like a palm tree.   The sticks are a little easier to stick in than kerplunk. The monkeys are placed on top of  the sticks and the sticks are  pulled out one by one.  There is a little more strategy involved  because the monkey tails get hung up on the sticks as they fall.  The other thing I like is the use of dice.  With the addition of a communication board  my early language leaners are provided the opportunities to make comments such as “Your turn”, “my turn”,  “I have pink” or make requests “May I have the die?”  It also emphasizes the word “least” because the winner is the one with the least monkeys.

I use the following comunication board with my early language leaners.

Tumblin monkeys com board

 

 

Booby Trap Adaption for Speech Therapy

11 Sep

 

Booby trapMany years ago when I was elementary school age, too long ago to mention,  I received a game call Booby Trap as a gift.  It survived my childhood and my mother handed it back to me when she cleaned out a closet.  I added it to my therapy game collection and it became a good standby.  The game was out of circulation for quite a few years so my students were often not familiar with it.   Lately I  noticed the game is back as a remake from the past and you can find some old ones on Ebay.  It comes in a  plastic versions and a wooden one.   One of my students told me the  plastic version is not as good because the pieces fly out easily.  I will let you figure that part out for yourself.  If you are looking for therapy games this is a good one and the wooden one has lasted my teaching career.

The game is easy to learn.  Basically students remove circular pieces that are held tight by a spring bar.  If the wrong piece is chosen the bar will spring forward.  Players pay a penalty for setting it off by returning pieces.  Players choose from 3 sizes of pieces. The larger the piece the more points a students earns.

This game is enjoyed across age levels to include high school level. It is sometimes hard to find games that are age appropriate for the older students who receive special education services.  It works well for general reinforcement  and for language learners with a communication board added.  I use it to develop basic statements such as “I have…”, “I take/took……” “your turn” and “my turn”.  It is also good for developing statements with attributes such as colors, size, and amount.

This is  a copy of the board I use for my language learners.

Boobytrap

 

It’s Good to Be Back Bulletin Board

31 Aug

Back to school sunflowers

School is finally starting in the Pacific Northwest.  We have a late start here compared to other regions of the United States..  I am returning to my main school from last year and adding a  new charter school as well.  The charter school has middle school students so I may get a little more variety this year with the age range. I have had middle school students in the past and enjoy working with this age group.  It is always fun to hear about the latest fads.

I needed a new bulletin board for back to school night and the start of school.  I decided to make something  that would be able to switch to the Fall season.  That happens pretty quickly so  back to school doesn’t stay up very long.  The bee is our school mascot so I have handy bee note papers.  I decided the slogan “It’s good to be back”  would be a nice  play on words. Bees go with flowers and sunflowers are a common Fall flower. That all led me to this video on how to make sunflowers.  It turned out  to be  a fairly simple flower to make. You can click on the title to get the directions.

Sunflower How to Vdeo

Sometimes dog walks give you a good appreciation of nature  and nature gives free material for crafts.  On a dog walk I noticed that the back end of pine cones look similar to the center of the sunflower. I clipped off the end of some pine cones and glued them to the center of my flowers.  Mine turned out to look like this.

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I added some green construction paper leaves.  There you have a sunflower bulletin board that didn’t take long to make at all.   I am sure students would enjoy making the sunflowers.  It may be worthy of a nature walk if you have trees with pine cones nearby.

 

 

Another Calming Tool for the Toolbox

18 Aug

calming bottles

 

I was recently browsing  through Pinterest looking for calming down tools.  Many of my students with special needs get stressed at the beginning of the year with new teachers, new students and new schedules.  Teachers come to me pretty quickly looking for tools to add to a calming center.   The students really benefit from an activity that is calming and gets them to refocus when they are upset.   I thought I would be proactive this year and have some things ready to go.

On Pinterest several  Preschool teachers were posting about calming bottles or glitter jars.  Basically glitter and glue or glitter glue are added to water in a bottle and shook up.  The glitter swirls in the water very slowly until it settles to the bottom. If a child is upset they usually settled down by the time the glitter has reached the bottom. The swirling glitter distracts them.

This  looked like an  ideal activity for a calming center for my elementary students.  In fact it is so relaxing I might use it on occasion myself. The picture really doesn’t do the swirling glitter justice.  It is quite mesmerizing watching glitter swirl.

Preschool Inspiration has directions for 6 Ways to Make a Calm Down Bottle using materials from craft stores or a dollar store. I can’t really improve on her directions so made a link from her blog name, just click on it.  For my bottles, I used glitter glue from the dollar store, sequins, and glitter stars. It took a  bit of experimenting to get it right.  I found round clear bottles work the best.  I tried  a shower soap bottle that was flat, but the water didn’t swirl as well so the glitter didn’t remain suspended.  You may also want to put a little food coloring in.  I found out that a little drop goes a long way.  My green bottle actually started out too dark. After you get it working the way you want it, make sure to hot glue the cover on tight.  You wouldn’t want the bottle to be opened.