I have five days left before Spring Break and I realized Easter is coming faster than I thought. It will be done when we come back from Spring Break and I haven’t even pulled out the plastic Easter eggs. The Easter eggs always add a little variety to the speech therapy sessions. In preparation for this, I updated the Descriptive Sentences Activity that is in the Expressive Language section. It now has 20 basic sentences and I added color and visual cues to the spinner. It is free at the TPT store here. I will print out the basic sentences and insert them in the eggs. The students will pull them out and spin the spinner to make more elaborate sentences. If they succeed they will keep the egg. If not, it will get thrown back into the basket. I will give some sort of little prize to the person with the most eggs.
I know some of you have finished your school year, but we are still plugging along here. With all those end of the year meetings its hard to plan for the actual therapy sessions. I’ve been grabbing into some old but goodies.
In a previous post I talked about using beanie babies in a mystery box to elicit questions, identify attributes, and categorize. I’m doing something similar to this using match box cars and vehicles. It helps to put the vehicles out first and identify parts, use, and descriptions. I have a student put one of them in a mystery box and the others ask questions until it can be identified. You can also have a student make a riddle describing 3 attributes and then have the students guess. I use a vehicle communication board to help students to formulate their questions and descriptions. This board is now in the vocabulary section. The boys always like to see the cars, so this activity keeps their attention.
I’ve also used the map I made for the concept group labeled Cars and Map. I added two taped papers to make walls on either set of the track and added a paper cone to make a mountain to go under. I have the students drive the cars on the track telling me where they are in the process. On the way they identify across the tracks, under the mountain, over the bridge, through the tunnel and between the walls. Some of my lowest students love this activity and can identify those prepositions. Who would believe that poster board with recycled junk taped on top could be so motivating.
Getting my kids working on articulation skills to generalize their skills to settings outside the therapy room is always a bit of a challenge. I try to emphasize that this is their responsibility and I can not follow them around to make sure they practice. In the end it is their parents and teachers that let me know when they are ready to be dismissed from speech therapy. I’ve worked out a system of homework assignments to allow them to practice outside the room and give me input from parents, teachers and family friends. I use the homework rating scale form that is listed in the therapy forms page on this site. I then allow them to pick poems and riddles from such sites as Ken Nesbitt’s site, print them out, and put them in the folder. They enjoy reading these poems to other people. They then get rated on the rating scale and bring the folder back to me. I allow them to put marbles in a group jar according to the number they received on the rating scale. When the jar is full I allow a reward such as popcorn or a shaved ice party. I get more cooperation with bringing the folder back when I do this. I also tell them that when they get a series of 5 s I know they are ready for dismissal. Because the parents have helped monitor the last phase, I have no difficulty with them agreeing with me when I ask about dismissal.
This week, like many schools, we have a short week because of Thanksgiving. It seemed like a good week to have a food theme. We did the “Never Ever Dinner Plate” activity. I originally made this activity to introduce the concept (never). It also works for matching skills, categorization of food and talking about empty and full. The kids always get a kick out of finding the things you never eat. It’s similar to the memory game so also encourages concentration.
We are amazed at the progress the students have made since the beginning of the year. They are now taking turns without difficulties. We can leave a table periodically and the activity will continue on without direct supervision from an adult. They are not worried about who is winning and will actually help students who are falling behind. This is quite amazing since our classes are quite large. It really helps to have them more independent and cooperative.