Quit Bugging Me!!

ant no white backgroundSpring (even though it feels more like summer this week) is FINALLY here! Do we even dare hope that we are done with snow days? It seems our recent bit of warm weather has brought out all the bugs! These creepy-crawly critters can be a great way to engage students of all ages. This is also a fun way to incorporate nonfiction text into your therapy sessions. Because many times we use the term “bug” in a general sense, it might be good time to talk about the difference between a bug and an insect. You could use this information from Scholastic to begin the conversation and continue the discussion using this simple graphic organizer.

How are Bugs and Insects Related

ReadWorks is a great website that offers fiction and nonfiction texts with corresponding questions. The following are texts that correspond with a “bug” theme:
(All are non-fiction unless marked with an *)
lady bug red
Kindergarten level text:
Busy Bees
Danisha Sees Cricket*
Ant and Grasshopper*
1st Grade level text:
Watch Out Ticks
Butterflies and Flowers
2nd Grade level text:
All About Ants
Buzz About Honey
Insects Move
Time to Fly
3rd Grade level text:
Cat Treats Stop Mosquitos
Ants on a Log
4th Grade level text:
Bugging Out
6th Grade level text:
Buzz
7th Grade level text:
Genetic Basis of Butterflies

By searching “bugs” in the TPT store, you can find page after page of bug and insect related activities. Many of the items are absolutely free!! Here is a quick rundown of activities that may be applicable that are available for free in the TPT store:

Articulation
Love Bug Preschool Articulation
Smash the Bug
bee with buzz tail
Language
Bug Prepositions
Initiating Conversation
Sorting by Attributes
Bug Riddle Book
Adjectives

Vocabulary Specific
Multiple Meaning Words
Bugged Out Antonyms
Vocabulary Bugs for Speech Therapy
Multiple Meaning Word Bugs
Vocabulary Graphic Organizer

Bug Reinforcer

If you have kiddos who love technology the following apps are free and could be used as quick reinforcers:
BugSmasher (for Ipad/Iphone)
BugSmasher (For Android)

I downloaded all the Clipart in this post for free from the TPT Store. You can find it here:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Emily-Education
http://www.emilyeducation.blogspot.com

Are you going buggy this spring? What springy things are happening in your speech rooms?

Earth Day

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?

 

Inspiration

Where do you go when you are lacking inspiration? With two jam-packed weeks behind me and no end in sight, I have had difficulty coming up with inspiration for today’s post. With meetings, paperwork, evaluations, and schedule changes galore, I know you feel the same! So, what does one do when there is no time for creativity? I don’t know about anyone else, but I rely heavily on the creativity of others. There are several ways I do this:

Teachers pay teachers
Most of you are already using this site, but I wanted to share some of my favorite “stores” with you:
Nicole Allison
Jenna Rayburn
Mia McDaniel
Super Speech Powers

These are all “stores” that I have personally bought items from and been pleased with the content. You can find more speech-specific materials by clicking the “specialty” tab under “Subjects.” One of the options there will be speech therapy. Other areas that you might find useful include: English/Language Arts, Special Education, Oral Language, Early Intervention, ESL and American Sign Language (under the languages tab).

Pinterest
A few people that have great ideas:
Lauren S. Enders
Jenna Rayburn
ASHA
PediaStaff
SLPs on TPT (this is a collaborative board for SLPs with stores on teacherspayteachers.com)
JCPS SLPs (YES! We have a pinterest account. We are still working on the logistics of it!) 🙂

Other placed to find useful resources include:
Share My Lesson
Boardmaker Share

Where do you find inspiration when you are feeling uninspired?

It’s All Fun and Games

We all play games all day long, right? I can’t tell you how many times I have asked a group of kiddos what they did in speech last year (with another therapist) and the response is: “We played games.” While we do have to be deliberate in sharing the PURPOSE of the game with our students, games can be a great way to target speech and language goals. Many skills can be targeted in a way that is engaging and motivating for students. So, today I want to share with you my top three favorite games to use in therapy.

1. HedBanz
The traditional instructions are as follows: After dealing one card and three chips to each player, take your card and place it in your adjustable headband without peeking. When your turn arrives, ask each player a question about who, or what, you are (“Am I a food?”). If you get stuck, the sample questions card offers tips on the types of questions you might ask.

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This game allows students to use linguistic reasoning skills, ask and answer questions, and practice fluency and articulation skills in conversation and/or single sentences. There are some alterations that can be made to make the game a little easier, as this may be above the skill level of many of some students. You can always allow students to use the card containing the sample questions or create sample question prompts of your own, depending on the students’ abilities. Another option would be to use articulation cards. This is a good option, not only because you can elicit specific sounds, but also because each card has a duplicate. Students can be presented with several options including the card that matches the one on his or her head.

During therapy sessions, I usually skip the chips and simply allow students to keep the cards that they guess correctly. Generally, this is a fun and engaging activity for kids, if you can keep their peers from shouting out the answer! 🙂

2. Hot Potato

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This electronic version of the well-known game, hot potato, can be a fun way to work on speech and language goals. Students can play the traditional way, but with a specific skill added in. If you have students who are working on articulation, they would be required to produce a word or sentence containing their target sound before they can pass it on. If students are working on categories, they must name something in a given category before passing the potato on to the next person. Students who are working on formulating sentences can produce a sentence using a target word. The possibilities are endless! Not only does this add a little bit of competition and fun into a session, it also puts extra demands on the students’ thinking, as they are attempting to produce the target quickly.

3. Ned’s Head

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Ned’s Head is another game that is very versatile in terms of the skills that can be targeted. If you choose to play the traditional way (each player attempts to find a match to the card they are dealt through feel only) students will be working on inferencing skills. Students could also practice comparing and contrasting their card with the item pulled from Ned’s head by telling why they chose the item they chose (comparing) and what is different about the two items (contrasting). They could also use describing skills to tell about each item. You could also choose to use only the “head” portion of the game and add either your own small items that target specific speech sounds or articulation cards.

An even less traditional use of this game would be to target pragmatic skills. You can print out these thought bubbles and have students decide if it is something that should stay in Ned’s head (something that isn’t appropriate to say) or if it was something that should be shared (something that is appropriate to say).

Do you use games in therapy? What games are your favorite? How do you use these games in a different way?

Monster Mania!

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. With Halloween quickly approaching, the MONSTERS are excited to come out and play! This topic can be used with kiddos of all ages! A go-to book during this time of year is “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. It is a classic children’s book with rich vocabulary, ample opportunity to use inferential skills, and a multitude of pictures to describe. A good place to start (after reading the book, of course) would be with this summary and book review sheet or this more basic version. Picture supports for the basic version can be found on boardmaker share. (the picture choices and questions on the basic version should align) You could also access this sequencing activity via boardmaker share. Just print and cut the pictures apart to have kiddos sequence. If you have kiddos that are working on answering listening comprehension questions or inferential reasoning, this is a jeopardy style game that could incorporate a little competition into your sessions. You could also ask comprehension questions related to this biography of Maurice Sendak, the author. It would also be very simple to identify words or phrases within the book and biography to target specific speech sounds.

In addition, there are many monster themed activities beyond “Where the Wild Things Are.” Another set of characters that are particularly engaging for kiddos are the monsters from Monsters Inc. and Monsters University. Although you cannot assume that all your students are familiar with these characters, it would be a safe bet that most of them are. If you do have kiddos who are unfamiliar, you could show them the trailer at the beginning of the session. For kiddos working on inferential reasoning, you could use this activity that features the characters from Monsters University. Here is a fun online activity to target following directions. You could also have students describe the monster once it is built. (There are similar activities here and here)This is a link to a similar activity that doesn’t require use of the computer. This book mark craft activity could also be used to target listening comprehension/following directions. A tissue box monster would be good to use as a motivator for kiddos practicing articulation. As you can see, there are a multitude of ways you can use “monsters” during your therapy sessions. What spooky things are happening in your speech room this month?

To win a copy of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gobble Gobble

Thanksgiving is almost here!! I can barely contain my excitement!

Several years ago I stumbled upon this virtual field trip. You can choose from four video tours that explain The Mayflower, the pilgrim village, the Wampanoag homesite, and Plymouth Plantation. They range from 17 minutes to 30 minutes, but you could easily watch it in sections and/or split it up among multiple sessions. These “field trips” are a good way to target answering comprehension and inferential questions. You could also use this vocabulary list to introduce new vocabulary related to Thanksgiving. To the right of the videos, there are lessons that are common core aligned for grades K-8. These activities bridge the gap between the speech room and the classroom by incorporating not only ELA standards, but social studies content as well.

In addition to taking a virtual field trip, you could have a party! Kiddos are beginning to get excited about the upcoming holiday season. Why not plan a party in the speech room. To get started, you could either have students brainstorm what you would need to do to plan a party or you could use this party planning checklist. If there are too many or too few details, feel free to alter it to best fit your students’ needs. This activity could be used to target sequencing, inferential reasoning, following directions, and pragmatic skills. Once you and your students have worked together to plan the party, HAVE A PARTY! This activity would, most likely, need to be broken down into several sessions, but you could plan and execute a party from start to finish! Invitations with various themes can be downloaded free here. If you choose to serve food at your party, students could be involved in preparation. When it comes to the guest list for your party, the options are endless! You could throw a party for just your speech group or you could invite the whole school! It might even be fun to collaborate with the classroom teacher to plan the party for the whole class! As a follow up to the party, you could ask students to compare and contrast the party you planned to their Thanksgiving festivities at home. When planning the decorations and food, you could use this worksheet where students will use basic inferential reasoning skills and categorization skills to decide which items would be appropriate décor for your party. You could also use these picture prompts as a sequencing activity. If your students choose to do a craft as one of their party activities, the options are endless, from a simple woven placemat to a paper bag turkey.

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving in your speech room?