The Royal Game of UR

1 Apr

Recently, I discovered the Royal Game of UR. It is an ancient game that gives us a look into the common lives of past civilizations. It would be a good lead in for students studying Ancient History and researching how we have discovered information about past lives. It is generally good for students that are middle school age and above. They will likely be intrigued by it’s history and the game looks age appropriate.
The game has a bonus of originating in the Middle East. We have many students who have Middle Eastern ancestry. We often lack materials representing this ethnic group so it is nice to include things when we can. We can validate this culture and show the positive contributions rather than the negative that seems to be in our mainstream.

Just to give you a little background, the first recognizable game boards were excavated at the Royal Cemetery of UR between 1922 and 1934 in an archaeologist dig by an English archeologist, Sir Charles Leonard Woolley. Most people base their replications on one found at this excavation and housed in the British Museum. They are dated to the First Dynasty of UR around 2600 BC. Other versions have been found throughout the Middle East but were generally not in very good condition.

Game of UR board kept at the British Museum.

I know some of you are wondering how this ended up on a speech blog so here is my reasoning. I like to discover new games and discover how they can be used to teach social communication and general language skills. This one could be used for encouraging participating in an activity with a partner for a length of time, focusing on a topic, handling disappointment, (there are frequent set backs), anticipating consequences for actions, following directions and developing strategy. The rules are fairly simple so students can grasp them in 5 to 10 minutes.

It is generally a race game with conflict. It is a two player game in which each player is required to get 7 tokens across the board before the other player. Set backs occur when a player lands on the opponents token sending it off the board to start over. Luck and strategy both play a part in success so one student may not necessarily over power another student because of cognitive ability. The games last an average of 20 to 30 minutes depending on how much you think it through.

It is not entirely clear what the original game rules were and several sets of rules have been published. A tablet was discovered in Iraq in 1880 outlining rules for a game using pawns, dice, and throws prior to Wooley’s excavation of his game. This tablet was later linked to being the possible rules for the UR game board. The original game used triangular rocks with painted tips for dice and variations on safe places and getting another turn in specific places.

You can see how it is played by watching this youtube video. Irving Finkel is a curator at the British Museum and has produced a number of youtube videos on artifacts that are housed there. He is a unique individual who really plays the part. His videos are entertaining as well as informative.

If you are interested in locating the game that is pictured on my heading, they are being sold on Etsy by True Laser Cutting. I like this particular version because it comes in a wooden box with room to store all the pieces. I can carry it to various schools and not lose any. There is also a 10% off coupon for teachers at checkout so don’t forget to use that. Type in 10FORTEACHERS near the final checkout button.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TrueLaserCutting?ref=l2-shopheader-name


More Tier II Vocabulary Task Cards

3 Jan

Happy New Year! I hope you get off to a good start for the rest of your school year in 2019. I’m starting out the year with new vocabulary task cards. These cards are similar to the ones I made a couple of years ago using 4th grade vocabulary lists. This time I used Tier II Vocabulary lists from the 5th and 6th grade levels. I used as many words as I could that made sense within the context of the paragraphs I wrote. If you make it to the bottom of this post there is a free trial set.

They can also be used with older students who need supplemental help with vocabulary development.  They do not have pictures that older students would find childish or refer to grade levels on the cards. There is a vocabulary list included for instructor reference.

Core State Standards put a strong emphasis on vocabulary words that occur frequently in academic text.  These are referred to as Tier II Vocabulary.  Students come across these words when reading Science, Social Studies and English text so not knowing them can make reading and understanding academic text difficult.

I am always trying to figure out how I can make the biggest impact on my students in the classroom and I think concentrating on vocabulary at the later elementary to middle school level can make a big difference with their comprehension. These cards use the words within short paragraphs so they address comprehension within text as well as giving context clues toward the word meanings.

I am going to give you a chance to try them out with a trial deck of 10 cards. If they work for you, you might want to consider buying the full set on Teachers-Pay-Teachers.

The full set has 2 sets of 16 sheets for a total of 32 sheets of task cards.  There are a total of 120 vocabulary words presented on the cards. Set 2 is a duplicate of set 1 with the following differences. Set 1 has the answers on the right half but they are scrambled and the student will need to find the correct answers from the list. These are marked with Find the Answer.  Set 2 has the correct answers provided on the right half and is marked as  Answers

The cards are placed on the sheets so you can choose to make double backed cards.  For example card two (vocabulary meanings), folded to the back, would make a good backing for the card containing the (text).

You could also cut right half off and make a double backed card with the card containing (text) and the comprehension questions folded up to make the other side.  You could keep all of them together and fold right half back to provide word meanings and answers to the comprehension questions on the back side.

Set 1 with the mixed answers will require a student’s thought process to get an answer.  Set 2 provides answers for a flip side if you choose to make the cards part of a learning center  and self checking.  By making both sets I can differentiate the instruction for different needs and methods of instruction.

 

I am going to give you a chance to try them out with a trial deck of 10 cards. I hope this helps with your return lesson planning. Just click on the colored lettering below.

https://inspontaneousspeech.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/short-storyreviewcomprehension-II-5thppt.pdf

  

Link to TPT for full version

Carryover Activities for Speech Therapy

5 Nov

No matter what goals you are working on with a student, there comes a time to move those newly developed skills outside your therapy setting. This is referred to as carry over.  For some students we know it can be a real struggle.  We all have experience with the student who does a perfect /s/ during therapy and then you see them  in the hallway and they turn to you to ask “Is it my peech day?”  All of  that work does little good if it does not  transfer to the real world.  Therefore carryover skills are important to address. It is important to have this in mind from the very beginning.   

There are things to keep in mind when planning tasks for carry over.  It is important that the student is able to do the required task correctly in a controlled setting and hear the difference between his correct and incorrect productions before doing homework assignments on his own.  If he doesn’t self correct errors he is likely to practice homework wrong which only reinforces errors.  Homework  should be given at the level where student is successful.

It is important to reinforce the correct behavior to get it established but after that don’t give immediate feedback every time.  Instead, teach self monitoring by asking the student what they think about their production and then give feedback.  This makes them responsible for their behavior and not as dependent on your approval.  Children often work for approval and do not see the big picture.  We want them to be self-disciplined and responsible for their actions.  I often tell them they need to become their own therapist because they certainly don’t want me following them around all day correcting them.

As soon as students are at a spontaneous sentence level I encourage them to self monitor by using  a  hand counter  or tally counter. They self monitor by  making a click each time they observe themselves doing an assigned task correctly during therapy.  This could be monitoring a correct speech sound, using correct grammatical structures, or using fluency techniques. All those things we tend to work on. 

Hand counter

It is easiest to do this in an hierarchy.  Train the student how to use the clicker when reading a word list or reading sentences that have the words they are working on. Then bring it up to the next level by working on  more spontaneous productions.   The Silly Sentences in the  “Expressive”  section are great for a reading task.  It goes to the next level of spontaneous speech when student explain what is wrong with the sentence that was read.  The Association cards in the “Vocabulary” section are also a way of getting more spontaneous output as the student explains how words are similar  in meaning. I often have students working on vocabulary skills as well as sound production in the same group.  With the clicker almost any task that requires a spontaneous response can work and meet a variety of needs. 

There are a few bonuses for having the student use the tally counters.   You can keep track with a second counter or paper and pencil, and compare accuracy of the self monitoring as well number of attempts with the student’s tally.  The students finds it motivating to hit a target number of correct productions and you have data for your records.

The clicker can add natural controls at the  level of conversational speech.
 Often students get carried away with a conversation, and forget to monitor or allow others to talk.  The flow is stopped if you need to remind them.  The tally counter in their hand is a good reminder there is a goal in mind. When working with multiple students you can give an assigned number to tally before passing it to another student.   The group can earn a chosen activity when they reach a certain number.  For some reason the clicker by itself can be motivating to some students.

The “Social”  section at the top has quite a few activities to encourage spontaneous speech in social situations.  There are ideas for role playing in this section.  Role playing is a good activity for practicing   real life situations.  Ideally you will be providing tasks that reflect real life speaking  situations so students practice what they will actually be saying and then carry it over.

The Forms and Letters section has a “Home Work Rating Scale” I have used to get feedback from parents, teachers, and caregivers. The student becomes aware he is being listened to by others and parents know what can be expected from the student.  I often use this sheet as an exit requirement.   When parents have been part of the process, they are more likely to know and agree when it is time for the student to discontinue speech services.

I hope you find something you can use in this blog post.  I enjoy hearing what works for you or any other feedback.  You are always welcome to leave comments.   In addition, let me know if you run into links that do not work.  I found some recently and deleted or fixed them.  It is a hard thing to keep track of some of these things.  

For those of you interested in buying Teachers Pay Teachers products there is a sale you might want to  take advantage of.








 

 

Speech Therapy Schedule Hacks

20 Aug

 

 

It is that time of year when new SLPS are beginning or will soon begin their 1st SLP experiences.   Since I don’t have an assignment to start the new school year, I am finding myself getting quite nostalgic about the whole thing.  This time of year I can’t help but reflect back and marvel that I survived it all.  I also have to laugh about some of the craziness. I know some things have improved over the years, but a lot remains the same, for instance scheduling has always been a nightmare.

We often want to be accomodating to our teachers and administration.  Unfortunately, we often become the default for tasks “somebody” has to do.  People don’t know what we do so we become the “somebody”.  In some states,  SLPs  are  considered  licensed teaching positions and are assigned duties such as recess, lunchroom, and before and after school dismissal monitoring.  Of course this doesn’t take into consideration that we accomodate all grade levels in our schedule and therefore use all hours of the day for working with students and having  parent meetings.  This gets even more complicated if you are in more then  one school and more than one school assigns you duties.   It is important to become assertive about your duties and set up your schedule early on before you get overloaded.  Make a nice copy of that schedule and keep it handy.  I’ve had to use my schedule to justify not being assigned a duty. You may need to remind an administrator that you need that time to see students and using your time to do recess duty is not cost effective for special education funds.

After many frustrating years of scheduling I found a few hacks to make it easier. Most teachers have to produce a class schedule early on.  I asked teachers at our first staff meeting to provide a copy of their schedule with circled times when I can see students. I would then have the full schedule of each teacher and possible therapy times. The office or attendance system often provided the student list by assigned teachers.  This with the teacher schedule gave me the information to set up my schedule. I would then make a tentative schedule. I then emailed or talked to those teachers about the assigned times for their students. This way we needed less correspondence to get things rolling and they could respond by email.

I try to schedule students together according to their goals but this doesn’t always work out.   After many years, I found out this wasn’t as important as I first thought.  It was easier to schedule students from the same grade levels or classrooms.  In most cases therapy could be adapted to meet multiple needs in a group. Since grade levels were often in the same halls or wings I could get students to alert the next group when it was their time to come or I could work in a classroom with multiple students. i found less wasted time with this method.

Don’t forget to give yourself testing and paperwork times.  It’s tempting to use that for student therapy time to make smaller groups, but don’t.  It is an area that is sensitive to a lot of people to include  parents, teachers and administrators.  You need that time to complete assessments in a timely manner.

I found one of the hardest things was having an actual lunch break. It was Murphy’s Law that my lunch time would be prime time for therapy time for multiple groups.  My lunch was often at the end of the school day before running off to a meeting.

I hope you found some tidbits to use in this post.  I hope everyone has a good start to their school year.

 

 

 

 

 

Accessorize Your Speech Therapy Sessions

6 May

I am always searching for activities that can address a number of speech therapy objectives in groups.  Clothing accessories are a good tool for this.   Most of these items are readily available in our closets, yard sales or thrift stores and cost very little if anything.  It doesn’t matter if they seem silly or out of the norm. That  just opens up possibilities for descriptive language, social conversation skills  and clear conversational speech.

So should we see what I can find in my drawers and closet?  I found hats, scarves, beaded necklaces, sun glasses, knee pads, and gloves.

This is how I used them.

To address the social skills of  conversational speech;  complimenting, asking questions, and noticing the perspective of another person.

Have two or three students go out of the room and put a number of items on.  When they come back in, students have a few minutes to observe them.  The students then go back out and switch the items among each other. They then come back in. When they come back into the room, students who remained behind report the differences.  This encourages students to be more  observant of others. I often use this as a lead in  to a discussion about body language.

Another skill to address is starting a conversation. Students ask relevant questions or make a compliment according to what someone is wearing.  For example, “I love that red scarf. Where did you get it?”  “Are you getting dressed for a special occasion?”

In another activity, students conduct  a talk show.  One student can put an item on and be interviewed by another according to the character they become with the items they are wearing. This activity is great for determining if students have conquered those articulation skills conversational speech.

I hope you have fun with these open ended activities and they help you to  get away from the grind of drills, provide an engaging activity and allow for speech and language samples for the end of the year progress reports.