Have a Winter Blast

19 Jan

Speech Therapy with a snow theme.

snowman prep

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.

corstarch snowYou can add a few extras for snowman accessories.

cornstarch snowman 1

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.

 

penguin clip art (2)

Adapted Who Shook Hook Game

11 Dec

 

who shook hook

        Who Shook Hook Adapted Game

 

I know some of us do pirate themes in our therapy rooms at some point during the school year.  It helps to develop that ARRR you know.  This is a game that would work with that theme.   I found this game unopened  for a few dollars last year at a Goodwill store and decided I couldn’t go too wrong with such an inexpensive game. I see  there are some 2nd hand ones you can order quite reasonably on ebay or amazon.  Keep your eyes open for it at thrift stores or Goodwill.

I used it for a variety of speech goals.  It is good for developing some vocalic r words such as sword, barrel, tweezers, treasure, shark.  It also had quite a few sh, ch  type words such as treasure chest, cash sack, shovel, beach, shark, bridge, and fishing pole.  A lot of the items used in the game were not familiar vocabulary words such as tweezers,  hammock, palm trees, and barrel.  It seemed that everyone knew what a sword was.  Finally, there was a good use of prepositions as there was a shark beneath or below the hammock, the hammock between the palm trees, and Hook hopefully staying above the shark.  You of course can add other task cards to get more drill incorporated.

It is not a game  I would normally have bought. Some of my students have difficulty with small motor skills and this one looked like it could be frustrating for them.  In the game, players  move figures around a track.  They land on squares that tell them to use various tools  to remove treasures from the hammock without letting Capt. Hook fall. I was surprised to find that this game actually worked out quite well.  Hook doesn’t fall off the hammock that easily.  You can hook his heels into the hammock which makes him pretty steady.  You can adjust the difficulty somewhat by his placement.   Most of the students could find a tool that worked for them and the tools were quite motivating. Some students just used a tool to shove the treasure off rather than pick it up.   It was a fast paced game that didn’t end until all the treasures were gathered or Hook fell.  Students enjoyed the challenge of the tools and didn’t get hung up on winning.

I was able to use the game for some of my early language learners so  I made a communication board to go with it.  You may notice that I try to keep my boards quite similar. The pronouns are to the left and connect easily to my core verbs that are usually want, have, get, or put. My middle area after the verbs has the vocabulary that changes and the far right is the my turn, your turn.  This seems to work for me for being consistent and allowing students to find the words they need to  develop short sentences and phrases. I print them out on regular paper and slip them into plastic page covers.  The board is flexible so fits easily into the game box.

hook

 

 

 

A Simple Tissue Paper Tree Project

26 Nov

tissuetree

Do you need a simple project for the winter season?  This tree was made  by  my students and completed during  one 20 minute therapy session.  Students at  all   grade levels seemed to enjoy making them.  They also made a good  bulletin board that was culturally sensitive for this time of year.  I added the silhouettes to discuss winter sports and the word silhouette.

I targeted quite a few goals with this project.  As usual, I used the app StoryKit to make the directions.  My articulation and older students began by sequencing and taking pictures. They recorded the directions using their best articulation skills.  My language students targeted vocabulary such as stencil, limbs, triangle, around, and tree trunk.  My language processing students listened to the directions and followed them in the correct sequence.

Tissue paper trees.

You can get the pattern for the stencil  here.

The storykit directions are here.  I removed the verbal directions because of student confidentiality.

The Potential of Tap Roulette – Make Decisions with Friends Free App

7 Nov

tap roulette framedI am just discovering the full potential of a free app called Tap Roulette – Make Decisions with Friends put out by laan labs.  You can find it in the App Store for your iPad.   I have no affiliation with this app.  I just find that I use it consistently so I thought I would review it.   Basically students put one finger down on the screen and lights appear alternating under the fingers until one is lit up.  It is a random impartial way to make choices.  Obviously it is a good app to use in therapy  to choose quickly  who goes first and who can choose an activity. I  found out this tool actually has some additioal side benefits.

I have several students who have difficulties regulating their feelings and reactions with unexpected events in which they have no control.  They end up with undesirable  behaviors  or refuse to join in an activity that  is not of their  choosing.  I  use Tap Roulette to set up such a situation so they can practice their strategies to remain calm and stay with the group.

It is very important  to do pre-teaching of the strategies.  There are a lot of programs out there that promote self-regulation and those techniques need to be taught before hand.  Some of the strategies may be things you are familiar with such as deep breathing and self talk. I usually get student buy in and assurance from them before we start. We all have bad days so no use using it then.  Even the ones that have the most difficulty usually want to do it.  If they are not chosen and remain calm I give a lot of praise for keeping feelings in check and staying with the group.  This seems to be a strong reinforcement that starts to break the cycle of an immediate blow up.  This is such an important skill for students to learn socially in order to get along with their peers and function in a classroom.

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.

page 34

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.