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.