Team Challenges

20 Jul

I’ve been looking for more team challenges.  I never seem to have enough when working with my social pragmatic groups.  I came across a site named “Great Solutions to Team Challenges”.  It has a variety of challenges posted and I think I will try some of these next school year.  I put the site on the blog roll so I would have an easy time finding it.  I’m also connecting it here in case you would like to try some of them.  Just click on the title.

BINGO for Speech Practice

29 Jun

Most people think of bingo as a game of numbers.  However, with a little variation it is great tool for teaching new vocabulary and language skills for about any age or ability level.  The traditional bingo is built on a 5×5 grid.  BINGO or some other 5 letter word is placed on the top of the grid with numbers underneath.  Each player’s card is a mix of numbers that are placed in different squares from other players cards. There is usually a free space in the center square.  Numbers are drawn randomly and called using the letters on the top and a number that would fall underneath.  Participants look for the numbers on their cards and place a marker on any that are found.  The winner is the person who gets five markers in a row or other designated shape.  When that happens, the person yells Bingo, is declared the winner and possibly gets a prize.

For educational purposes, the number squares can easily be replaced with pictures, vocabulary words, or phrases such as definitions or idioms.  These then provide the answers to questions that are drawn randomly.  This game allows players to search for the best possible answer from a closed set even though they may not know the correct answer from memory.  They are required to review the answers multiple times increasing the likelihood they will remember them in the future.  The difficulty can be adjusted by using pictures or written words.

In the past, to make multiple cards using the same set of items but in a different sequence required a lot of cut and pasting.  Now the internet has made a lot of cards available free of charge.  I have listed some sites that have ready made bingo cards using vocabulary in selected categories and themes.

Bingo cards can also be used for articulation practice.  The squares can have words that contain certain sounds for practice. This site has several.  One game suggested the player to roll a dice to determine which row they could choose a picture from before marking it out. 6 became roll again.   This allowed children to play with cards from different sound sets in the same group.

There are also sites that allow you to make your own cards. They can generate multiple cards from words placed into the program.  The program automatically switches the order of items so that each card is different from the previous one.

I used this program to make a set of cards to teach idioms. I placed the idioms in the squares on the cards and made a draw pile of the definitions.  The idioms and definitions came from

One Cut Books

25 Jun

Summer break is finally here.  Another school year has come to a close but as an educator I am always on the outlook for new things I can use for next year.  Our kindergarten students only attend school half day sessions.   I usually  schedule speech therapy  sessions for 30 minute once a week beyond our push in group sessions.  I make homework packets that students can take home for extra practice and exchange the next time they come.  I try to find things that can be replaced easily if for some reason they don’t make it back.  I use gallon zip-lock bags.  I put a letter explaining it is a homework packet and needs to be returned the next week.  I also put directions for the activity if necessary.  I then add whatever I think would be good for the student to practice on.  I’ve had good luck getting these back and I like that I can get multiple uses from them.

The June ASHA Leader listed   internet sites  for book making.  I think the One-cut books will be great for my homework packets.  They can be made from one 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper.

A group of them have already been made for you thanks to Judy Kuster and 22 graduate students at Minnesota State University.  Just go to this site Thank you grad students.

If you would like to make your own, here is a site that provides the template.

It’s a script

22 May

We’re getting to the end of our school year and I start running out of steam.  Quite a few of the students are working on spontaneous speech and I struggle on new ways to keep their interest in a somewhat structured activity.  A lot of student’s like the idea of being in a play.  However it is difficult to find scripts that have a minimum amount of cast and can be done in about a 20 minute period.  A coworker told me about this site and I’m finding it very useful.  The scripts are free downloads.  I’m finding they are also useful for new vocabulary and developing verbal problem solving.  So have a look and see if you can use it also.

The Importance of Props

18 May

I have realized recently how important props can be when conducting speech therapy in groups.  Groups provide a natural setting to practice such things as turn taking, using positive speech, and solving disagreements in a positive fashion.  The participants of the pragmatic  groups  generally have difficulty seeing another individuals perspective and do not even realize when they have given an insult.    The challenge is to provide feedback to individuals in a timely fashion without singling individuals out.  When pointing out mistakes in a group, an instructor runs the risk of provoking an argument and disrupting  the session for the rest of the group.  A few props and starting rules can make a lot of difference.  It often helps to have the group formulate rules that can then be posted on the wall and numbered.  Typical rules  are allowing everyone a chance to talk without interruption, speaking positively, taking turns etc.  They can be referred to by number as needed.  When expectations are set ahead by the group the instructor becomes less of an enforcer and more of a coach.  Other props I use are a plastic microphone from the dollar store and a spatula with a cardboard pancake taped to it.  The microphone is used to stress turn taking.  The child holding the microphone has the designated turn to talk. The spatula is handed to the student who made a cutting or discouraging remark to another student.  They are instructed to make a positive remark in replacement thereby flipping the pancake.

The Pair/Pear Tree

15 Apr

With the first signs of spring,  the children start asking me when I will put up the pear tree.  It seems to have become a yearly tradition.  The tree takes many forms.  This year I twisted crepe paper to make limbs and tacked them up on the bulletin board.  I then had students trace their hands on green paper and cut them out.  I  rolled them and tacked them next to the limbs for leaves.  This made a 3 dimensional tree.  I cut out pear shapes from yellow construction paper and have them ready for tacking up.

I use the tree to make students more aware of homonyms in our language.   Students are encouraged to find homonyms, tell me the word meanings and then write them on a pear shape to place on the tree.  I get them started by placing the first pair/pear on the tree.  I explain that names do not count.  I allow only one pear per individual per day so that more individuals have a chance.  I keep an alphabetized list so I can cross out those that have already been used.   I learned that this saves you from searching the tree continually.  Amazingly each year they come up with new ones that weren’t used previously.   I give students a token candy for each set they find.  A child needs to be able to tell the meanings of the words they are using and the correct spellings before I allow them to record them on a pear.  I have placed a list of homonyms in the vocabulary section.  It is an excel list because if new ones are added I can easily put them in the correct alphabetical order.  I hope most of you will be able to open it and can just add to it.

Concept Group 21

14 Apr

This week we used ball  relays to go over the concepts behind, in front,  through, over, and end of the line.  They also practiced following 2 to 3 step directions and working in a team.  We formed 3 lines of about 10 students each.

The first direction was to pass a ball through their legs to the person behind them.  The ball continued to be passed until the last person received it and then the line could sit down.  They were encouraged to work as a team and use encouraging words to keep team mates going.  The first group required instruction on sportman ship  and appropriate words to say to another team when they lost.   The 2nd direction was to pass the ball over their head to the team mate behind them.  Again they could sit down when their team completed the task.  These two tasks were then combined together.  The ball was passed through legs to the last person in line and then the last person returned the ball passing it over the head of the  person in front of them.  When it came to the beginning point everyone sat down.

The final task was dividing each line in half so there was a group A lined in single file and facing a group B also in single file.   Separate the two lines enough that a ball can be tossed from one side and still caught on the other side.  The first person in group A tosses the ball to the first person in Group B.  After tossing the ball the group A person runs behind the Group B line and becomes one of them.  The front person in line B now tosses to the person in the front of line A and then goes to the back of line A.  This continues until the lines have now switched to the opposite sides.  This requires some thinking for the students to follow the directions.  Don’t be surprised if one line becomes longer than the other as people get in the wrong line after throwing the ball.  This created an opportunity for a little problem solving.

Concept Group 20

6 Apr

Today we used the gym once again.  We have access to a large parachute in our gym equipment.  It is a great tool to work on concept development.  We started by spreading it out on the gym floor.  It’s good to establish a few rules such as all activity stops when a whistle is blown and everyone needs to hold onto the edge of the parachute unless told otherwise.  There are always a few students who can’t resist trying to  run under the parachute.  To start, we  had the students grab the edge with their right hand, pick up the parachute, and circle to the left.  We still have a few students that do not recognize their left from their right so we reviewed that once again.   Next they practiced holding the parachute high and low as they walked   We then reversed the process and had them grab it with their left hand and hold it high and low.  We then have them grab the edge with both hands and wiggle it up and down  fast and then slow.  A ball is placed into the center and they are told to try to keep it in the center.  In  the last activity we have them hold it above their heads while 4 students’ names are called.  These students are then instructed to run across the middle and under the parachute to the opposite side.  By the time the parachute activity is completed we have reviewed the concepts center, edge, right, left, across, center, low, high and above.

Concept Group 19

31 Mar

We used Tiddly Winks as the group activity this week.  This is a reasonably cheep game that usually comes with at least four sets of different colored winks (plastic circles), a felt take off point, and a target area.  I divide the sets up so there is one big wink and 3 small ones for each table group.  I make extra target areas from small saucers or cups.  We talk about the concepts, center, over, close, edge, and far.  The students then take turns using the larger circles to pop the smaller circles into the targets by pressing on the edges.  Each child gets 3 attempts before moving on to the next child.  The tables can be in competition for who gets the most winks into the targets.  I let the students decide if they want the target moved far or close to them.  It takes a bit of skill to make them pop up, but most get it on the 3rd attempt.  It’s not usual for the winks to fly over their target.  It leads to the use of prepositions quite naturally.

Concept Group 18

12 Mar

This group time we played dominos and reviewed the concepts, different, same, match, end, and between.  There are a lot of domino games out there for purchase that use pictures rather than the traditional dots.  You can use them for vocabulary and category development if you get sets that are made around a theme.  In the vocabulary section there are directions and a place to download them if you want to make your own.