My caseload includes 6th and 7th graders this year so I have had to dig out activities for older students. These are a remake of comparative cards I have used in the past. I have used them with my general education 4th and 5th graders as a speech task for articulation skills and they are able to do them. My 6th and 7th grade language learners often need review of the vocabulary and the memory component is often a challenge. I like that they are direct instruction for what is needed in academics and the common core.
My orignal set of task cards only had printed words. I decided it would be useful to provide answers so students can independently check them. This expands the ability of using them with partners if you are teaching a small class. Pictures bring some eye appeal and a bit of cuing even for the older students. I try to make the pictures appropriate for an older more sophisticated eye. Bubble heads do not go over very big with my teens.
The premise of these cards is very simple. Four items are listed along with a descriptive term. Students reorder the items according to the descriptive term. It seems simple but actually requires quite a few skills. They need to have knowledge of the vocabulary listed and descriptive details for measurement so comparisons can be made. They also need to use their short term memory in oder to change the order. The task lends itself to thinking about comparative vocabulary and using er, and est word endings. If you want to test them out, click on the button below and you will get a set of 12 task cards to try out.
The order of things free sample
If you would like a full set, I have them listed on TPT
How many of you do some sort of end of the year celebration? I usually do something for the last day of speech class. I think it is important to acknowledge the effort students have made in speech class and the progress towards their goals. Celebrations are not as prevalent in the school environment as in past years. It seems they have suffered from not being politically correct or there just not enough time with all the accountability. I think they are valuable teaching moments though. Our students are missing out on the social communication that goes along with a social gathering.
There are social pragmatic skills that are learned from participating in a party. A carefully planned platter of cheese and crackers and a pitcher of water or juice works well for teaching basic table manners. Prepare just enough to make it around the table. Of course you need to check about allergies before doing this. I would still have some in reserve for the unexpected to happen.
Some students may not have much experienced with a sit down meal in a group. I remember one particular social group that needed a script to follow on serving. They didn’t think about looking ahead to see the amount of portions on the plate and helped themselves to multiple servings. They needed to be schooled about looking ahead to make sure there was enough for everyone. They may also need to be schooled about asking politely for the drink, using please and thankyou, and asking the next person if they would like some.
If you have worked on conversation skills in the past, it is a good place to see the culmination of skills; introducing a topic, staying on topic, exiting a topic, and including everyone.
I find icy parties are also a good therapy tool for the end of the year. My early language learners enjoy following directions for the treat. The syrup is economical and available in a sugar-free form for my student with medical restrictions on sugar. I have an icy machine but you may be able to uses a blender. I found I needed to keep in control of the bottles for proper portion control.
I like this party even better than a popcorn party because it is the easiest to clean up. Usually it is just wiping the table. We have an ice cube maker in the staff refrigerator so I only need to get a few syrup bottles and bring my icy maker, plastic spoons and cups. The smaller clear cups actually work the best because you can make layers of color and watch them blend. You can work on a lot of descriptive vocabulary with an icy party.
I made a pdf of the communication board for those who would like to use it.
Happy Spring everyone! We have Spring break here so I finally have time to finish a project. I have been working on this one for a while and have tried out a version of these vocabulary cards with my 4th through 6th graders. I seem to have quite a few students with low vocabulary this year. The Common Core State Standards put a strong emphasis on nonfiction, and informational text. If they have difficulty with vocabulary it affects their comprehension. The teachers are beginning to really notice with test preparation in full swing.
I had a student transfer in with a goal that referred to Tier II Vocabulary. I decided to investigated so I could address his goal. Tier II Vocabulary turned out to be those words that occur frequently in academic text. Students may find these words when reading Science, Social Studies and English text I wanted something that would make the most impact for my students and also have a way to track progress. I decided to make a list of words from Tier II vocabulary lists and then use them in the contexts of short paragraphs. This way I could also address comprehension and making inferences from text. There are two different activities. One involves describing the meaning of words and the other is answering comprehension questions. One set requires students to find the answers from given answers and the other is answering the questions and referring to the answers. The level of support can be quite flexible depending on how you cut and fold them.
The words used on my task cards are not a complete compilation and come from a variety of 3rd and 4th grade vocabulary lists. I used what made sense in the context of the paragraphs I wrote. I used a total of 106 words. A few are used more than once and cover multiple meaning. I now can write a goal for teaching Ter II Vocabulary to 80% and measure it. I love making data collection simple.
I made a trial set for you to try. It gives you an idea of what they look like up close.
If you find these fit your needs, there is a full set available on TPT, just click the button below.
Do you have a collection of stuffed animals that seems to reproduce before your very eyes? I do. I inherited a collection of Beanie Babies from my children when they left home. They were so adorable that I had difficulty parting with them. Naturally they ended up in my room of misfit toys, my therapy room. I have them stored in a shoe storage unit that fits over a door. As people noticed them they added more to the collection. After I started using them for therapy, I found how valuable they truly are.
The animals are very enticing even to some of my older students who have moved on to Minecraft. I have used them for calming distraught Kindergarten students. Teachers have borrowed one for the day to get a student through trauma. Students have used them when they forgot theirs on a “Read to your stuffed animal day.”
I have used them when reading animal stories. Students take a animal from a grab bag and listen for the part of the story where their animal shows up. It keeps them focused on the story and gives something for their hands to hold.
I have some unusual ones that become a help for expanding vocabulary. For example, some students have not had exposure to a jelly fish. I know my stuffed animal is not an exact replica but does give the idea. This leads to a discussion to what is different about a real jellyfish and the stuffed version. My jellyfish has the typical stuffed animal round eyes which led to the question, “Do jellyfish have eyes?”. We explored this on the iPad and it provided a very interesting topic.
They are great for categorization according to traits. A favorite activity I made up is ” Mystery Animal”. I especially like this activity for its use of questions and cognitive skills. It is a memory and cognitive task to remember the details and use that information in a meaningful way. I have a velvet box that is the mystery box. One student hides an animal in the box and the other students ask questions to determine its identity. The rule is they need to ask a descriptive question before they can identify the animal. Some of my students have difficulty coming up with relevant questions or ask the same questions several times. I made this communication board to help them with formulating questions.
This is a pdf version you may be able to download and print for use. What animal
They have been used as rewards for behavior plans. Students earn animal babysitting priveledges and swap one out occasionally. This keeps the incentive going. It is nice to have an incentive that doesn’t need funding or involve food.
Amazingly, I have only lost a few over the years. They seem to find their way back to my room at the end of the school year.
I traditionally use the months of February and March to work on body parts and emotions theme. There are quite a few free materials you can use out there. To help you with your search I have listed a few activities I have used with my early language learners.
I started with following directions and naming body parts by putting band aids on a print out of a boy and girl. Teachers notebook: Toadally Tots Shop has a free download called Betty and Billy Boo-Boo which you might want to check out here. This was not only good for naming body parts but was also good for subject, object, and possessive pronouns.
I used musical play to encourage movement and use of body parts. The Hokey pokey song works well for this. There is an United Kingdom version: Hokey Pokey- Kids song on You tube. I used a hula hoop to designate the middle of the circle which worked out particularly well on this version as it mimicked the video. I liked the speed on this one because my students could keep up. Head Shoulders Knees and Toes is another good one. I used this version here.
I used bubbles to motivate some of my reluctant participants. Students drew a body part from a bag. You can use pictures printed from a symbol system or for those who respond better to objects you can use potato head parts. I blew bubbles and they tried to pop a bubble using their body parts that corresponded to the one they drew. They got quite a kick out of getting a bubble with their nose.
To work on facial expressions, I found this Leprechaun that works well for a movable face. The Leprechaun comes from http://www.how-to-draw-funny-cartoons.com/. It gives directions on how to draw a Leprechaun which can then be placed on a toilet paper roll. There are directions for making it on the toilet paper roll here. you can make a Mad lib leprechaun story here. The students have fun turning the roll to get a different face to match an emotion in the story.
I hope you have fun with these activities and it makes your lesson planning easier. Let me know if you have any other activities that can be added.
We had a good time preparing for Groundhogs Day this week. It seems to be a popular day this year as we are really ready for Spring weather.
There are a lot of free materials out there to help celebrate. We studied facts about groundhogs and checked our comprehension. We did comparisons between rodents. We explored shadows with a flashlight against the wall. Home Sweet Home is a good source for a short video clip. There is also a young student book you can download for free from http://growingkinders.blogspot.com. The Groundhog Book was written by Kathleen Pedersen. I downloaded it and was able to use my iPad again. I love being paperless. I can actually find what I need when I need it.
I found the idea for a bulletin board on Pinterest. There was a groundhog pattern for a free download here at pattern universe. We used the pattern to make our own groundhogs. I put the directions on Storykit so they would be on my iPad. You may be able to use them as well. The Storykit directions are here. Now we are waiting for February 2nd to see if we can bring out the shadows.
Speech Therapy with a snow theme.
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.
You can add a few extras for snowman accessories.
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.
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.
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.
You can get the pattern for the stencil here.
The storykit directions are here. I removed the verbal directions because of student confidentiality.
I 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.