Having a “theme” in the speech room is an easy way to keep your lessons fun and different. It also creates a link between “speech” activities and the outside world. About a week ago, Super Duper sent out an email promoting these Earth Day Language Cards, which prompted me to take a look back at some of my favorite materials related to Earth Day.
April 22 is Earth Day. There are a whole host of materials that allow you to incorporate ideas associated with Earth Day into your speech sessions. A good place to start when you begin planning themed units is News-2-You. News-2-You is a great resource to use with a wide range of kiddos. You can find current events articles as well as holiday specific articles. They offer the “holiday” articles on two levels and the current events articles on four levels. The current events articles are nice because they offer a communication board with related symbols and a supplementary power point. These articles are useful to introduce the topic. You can also easily pull vocabulary and articulation words from the text. Because making comparisons is sometimes an area that is targeted in speech, you could also use a newspaper article or an online article like this one to practice comparing and contrasting. Additional areas that could be targeted using this article and other non-fiction texts include identifying the main idea and key details, retelling information, and answering inferential and recall questions. News-2-You also offers an IPad app which is convenient and saves paper if you have an IPad or if you have a kiddo who uses one for communication. This free video on natural resources from BrainPOP junior may be a useful resource as well. A subscription is required to view most of the brainPOP topics, but this one happens to be free! It includes a matching game, a science activity, a vocabulary word wall, lesson ideas, conversation starters, two quizzes, a joke, and a short comic strip.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is is another great resource to use during an Earth Day unit. With this book, you can practice many language skills including identifying the main idea, comparing and contrasting, answering inferential and recall questions, sequencing (If you print this front and back on cardstock you can cut them out and use them as cards to sequence), describing, retelling information and vocabulary. Dr. Seuss books can also be used to practice context clues. Because many of the words in Dr. Seuss books are made up, students are forced to use the context to derive meaning. This is an example of a worksheet that could be used to practice using context clues.
The Lorax Project is an initiative inspired by The Lorax that is aimed at engaging “individuals of all ages to do their part to conserve the places and species that are critical to the future of our planet.” The website includes an interactive matching game, information about various endangered animals and at risk forests, and a “Lorax Locator.” These resources could be used as an incentive or you could allow students to access the site for research purposes. When introducing the book, it could also be useful to include either the trailer or a short clip from the movie version of The Lorax. There is an older movie version here and a book based video here as well. Sometimes presenting information in a different format is engaging for students. This also allows you to incorporate more comparing and contrasting. If you have middle schoolers who participate in the alternate assessment, you may be able to work with the teacher to allow the students to watch the entire movie, as one of their standards relates to comparing and contrasting two formats of the same story.
This simple book could be used in a variety of ways. It can be used for practice with answering wh recall questions (by either asking the question after each page or asking questions at the end of the book for a longer time delay), answering inferential questions (for example: Why would we talk about recycling related to Earth Day?), and basic vocabulary practice. This social problem solving activity can be used as a conversation starter for articulation and fluency practice in addition to the intended purpose of targeting social problem solving skills. The creator of these cards has a great TPT store and a fantastic blog as well.
There are also several activities available within this freebie packet. It includes materials for practice with vocabulary, conjunctions, word associations, and comparing and contrasting.
Do you have themes or units in your speech room? What are some of your favorites? How are you celebrating Earth Day?