Monday, October 27, 2014

Balloons Around the World Week

The first Wednesday of October is Balloons Around the World Day.  On that day we celebrate the joy and delight that balloons bring to our lives.  I created a week focusing on balloons going on trips around the world.  I think next year I may create some activities about balloon animals or something like that, but for now, let me show you what we are doing in my speech room for that week.

Around the Globe Articulation:
I created a fun activity to drill articulation words using a globe.  I painted my globe so all you could see were the continents and oceans but a regular globe works just as well.  The students spin the globe and put their finger somewhere on it to stop the movement.  Whatever they land on tells them how many words to say, how many times to say a word, and/or to put the words in a sentence.  The kids think it is fun to see where their fingers end up on the globe and you can get a bunch of repetitions this way.  

Get your Articulation Around the Globe activity here!

Size of the Problem Balloons:

Most of my kids working on pragmatic language/social skills have a hard time determining the size of a problem (to assess how they should respond in terms of behavior) and then deciding how to solve that problem.  Therefore, I created an activity to work on social problem solving.  The kids determine the size of the problem listed on the card and discuss how to solve it to keep their cards.  Sometimes they might draw a card stating their "balloon is losing air" and you take away the number of cards listed.  The person with the most cards at the end of the game wins!

Get you Size of the Problem Balloon cards here!

Balloon Prepositions:

To work on prepositions, I printed off my balloon pictures along with images I found online of different parts of the world and asked the kids to place them in different areas of the pictures.  I can work on prepositions receptively by asking them to place the balloons and expressively by putting the balloons in different areas of the pictures and asking them to tell me where they are.  Sadly, I am not able to give you the balloons as images without putting them into a printable activity and I don't have permission to give out the on-line images, but I wanted you to know about the idea of the activity if you want to make it yourself.

Book Units:

Ben's Dream by Chris Van Allsburg is great because there are several pages without words showing parts of major landmarks around the world.  I found pictures of the actual landmarks and had the kids draw inferences about what landmark he is traveling to and give them a little information about it.  I then check their auditory comprehension by going back and asking questions about the landmarks he visited.

Get Ben's Dream here!!

Up!  by Random House Disney is a good book to work on WH questions, prepositions, and feelings.  My intern created a list of questions to go along with the book that I am adding here for you to use.

Get Up! here!!

Where Do Balloons Go? by Jamie Lee Curtis looks super cute!! I have not lesson planned it since I found it after my week ended.  I will work on this one for next year but I thought I would add it now so you have another book to use.

Get Where Do Balloons Go? here!!

Happy Ballooning!!!
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Johnny Appleseed Week

Next Thursday is Johnny Appleseed's Birthday so of course, I have exploited it and created a week of therapy lessons based on his story.  This was one of the theme weeks I did last year with my kids and they liked it, but I have added a few new things for this year I think they will love!

The two books I presented last year were borrowed from a teacher who retired so I don't have them anymore, which means I cannot tell you about them.  One of the books was about Johnny Appleseed's life and I did that one with my older language kids.  The other book was about an apple tree and the different things you do with it through each season.  I presented that book to my younger students and we worked on sequencing and retell. 

This year we will be doing Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie by Herman Parish!  I am super excited about this because I loved Amelia Bedelia when I was young and I can't wait to introduce her to my kids.  The great thing about Amelia is she is a very concrete little girl.  She does not understand figurative language or multiple meaning words.  This is great for the SLPs of the world because we are provided with a fun way to target those skills. 

I created a speech-language activity pack to work on some other skills throughout the week.  You can pick it up at my TPT store!!

Compare and Contrast:
Have students draw cards to compare and contrast listed items.  They can earn "apples" to put in their pot but watch out for Johnny because he will eat all of the apples out of the pot.  The person with the most apples at the end of the game wins!

Figurative Language:
I made a figurative language card deck as well to work on idioms, similes, and metaphors.

WH Questions:
There is also a WH question card deck to work on who, what, when, where, and why questions.
Articulation Apple Memory:
I thought it might be nice to play Memory with my artic kids, so I made a game where all of the words are on the same cards.  This way all of my kids can play the same game at the same time but work on their own target sounds.  Of course, there was not enough room for pictures on the same card so I don't know how successful this will be.  Hopefully it works.
Expanding Expression Tool:
I LOVE EET!!! I think it is fantastic for describing, defining, and personal narrative.  The pom poms in my room represent EET so I made a worksheet to define/describe apple using this wonderful tool.

Apples to Apples:
This game is great to work on descriptive words for language kids, connected speech for artic/voice/fluency kids, and turn taking/good sportsmanship for social skills kids.  Apples to Apples Jr. is good but I like Apples to Apples Disney better because the cards have pictures on them. It is helpful for our younger kids or poor readers.

Apple Pizza:
We are also going to make apple pizza with Pampered Chef's recipe to work on following directions skills.  For my higher level groups and social skills groups I am going to add a twist to the normal cooking activity.  The first day of the week I am going to introduce the activity after reading Amelia Bedelia and ask what things we need in order to make the pizza.  I am going to make a list of things for each group and only provide those things to the kids when they make the pizza on their second day of speech.  I think this will be a good lesson in problem solving for my kids.  I send home a food permission slip at the beginning of each year for parents to sign and to gather any information on possible food allergies, so I recommend doing that before any activity involving food.

I hope you enjoy!!!
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2nd Annual Pirate Week

Last year I started my theme weeks with Pirate Week for National Speak Like a Pirate Day.  Well, that day is today and my kids had so much fun with this week last year that I had to bring it back.  I added a few extra games and activities to change things up and also a few more books.  Please refer to my previous post for the majority of my plans.
Eye Patch!!:
My kids LOVE Headbands and I do too because there are so many things you can work on with that one game: categories, descriptive features, inferencing, articulation, voice, fluency, etc. My current intern had the idea to attach artic cards to an eye patch and make it more pirate related. (Can I also just take a minute and say how thankful I am for my graduate school alma mater, University of Texas at Dallas, for supplying me with the BEST interns!!! I mean, they are really spectacular.  I have been SO BLESSED with the wonderful ladies whom I have had the pleasure to work with these past few years!!! Sorry, that just needed to be said.)  For my artic kids, I used SuperDuper artic cards for the sounds they are working on.  I used the same cards for all of my other kids, it just didn't matter what sounds I used.  After three days of this game being used at all different levels I can tell you it is a success!!!  Good thinking Morgan!!!

Pirate Pictures:
A bunch of my kids with AU are working on determining a person's/character's feelings/motives/intent through nonverbals so I thought I would print off some pirate pictures for them to look at and discuss.  We focused on three main things for each picture:
1. What the characters are looking at
2. What the characters might be thinking
3. How the characters are feeling
When I was looking for good pirate pictures to use online, I discovered that most of the pictures are not quite appropriate for my kids.  I was feeling kind of low about this fact, and then the clouds parted, and the sun shined down on The Pirates! Band of Misfits.  I have never seen this movie, however what I do know about it is that it is a stop motion film where the characters have great facial expressions and big eyes so you can follow their eye gaze.  I found 20 different pictures online, pasted them into a pirate boarder, and voila! my pirate pictures were born.  I do not know the copy write info on taking pictures from movies so I'm not going to post them to my TPT store, but I will post them here.  So, for anyone who asks, these pictures all came from The Pirates! Band of Misfits which is a movie by Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, and Aardman Animation.  Hopefully that is enough credit ;)

Get your Pirate Pictures here!!!

Pirate Talk:
My artic kids have been working SO hard over the past year on learning how to say all of their sounds so a bunch of them are now at the conversational level. Last year we played a game created by Jenna Rayburn from Speech Room News called Capture the Jolly Roger to work on conversation. I wanted to add another level to the game by creating some questions/conversation starters to elicit even more connected speech from them. You can use the cards alone or in conjunction with the game Jenna created (see previous post). They are also my first product on my TPT store!!! Don't worry, they are still free, I'm just moving everything over there instead of Google docs from now on.

Get your Pirate Talk cards here!!!

The last additions to my Pirate Week activities are some new books: Pirate Soup by Erica Farber and J.R. Sansevere and Edward and the Pirates by David McPhail.  Both books are relatively short so you can do other activities with them.  I make picture cues for Pirate Soup to work with my younger kids on sequencing and retell and am using the Story Grammar Marker to retell Edward and the Pirates

I hope you can use any or all of these activites.  Don't forget to look back at my previous post for more!!!


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Back to School: Welcome to Speech!

First off, I need to apologize again for the extremely long amount of time between posts.  My home life has been a little crazy (dad in and out of the hospital and then passed away, best friend getting married so I had a bunch of wedding stuff to do, and moving into a new place twice!! Long story.) So anyways, blogging sort of got put on the back burner.  I did however create a BUNCH of fun theme weeks to do with my kids last semester, so I will be trying to get them all posted between now when they actually come up this year.

Another thing I had to do was move into a smaller section of my classroom.  My school is exploding at the seams, so they had to do some room rearranging, and I am now sharing a room with the entire special ed team at my school.  Yes, that is right, I am sharing with two resource teachers, our special ed aid, another part time speech therapist, and I have interns every semester from UTD, so I had to get creative with my space.  I thought I would show you what I did in case you ever run into this problem at your school.

First off, I lost half of my whiteboard so I decided to make a whiteboard table.  To create this I found adhesive white board online and attached it to my table.  I purchased Gowrite Dry Erase Rolls from Amazon.  You can go here to see the different options.


I have been writing on my table for years but sometimes it has been difficult for my kids to see some of the colors I like to use.  By making my table a white board, it is easier to clean and I can use any dry erase color I want to.  The kids like it better too!

Next, I had to create some "faux walls" for my area of the room.  Some people could probably do speech in an open room with other special ed groups going on, but I can't.  I need as much of my own space as I can get.  My reasoning is "three fold" (for any of you Friends fans, think Joey in the box at Thanksgiving). 

1. Creating my own space helps keep my kids focused on the speech session instead of other lessons going on in the classroom.

2. It is sometimes difficult for me to hear high frequency sounds when others are talking, so I need to create sound barriers to block other people's conversations/lessons as much as I can.

3. Speech is all about talking, so I need to create sound barriers for the other people in my room to not be distracted by me. :)

One of the best things I have discovered for my classroom redo is the wonder of the magnetic hook.  These hooks are great because they hold a good amount of weight and will attach to the crossbars of your ceiling tiles.  I purchased mine at the teacher supply store in town.  Lakeshore Learning carries them as well.

You can also use your "faux wall" to add extra wall storage by using the backs and sides of bookcases/storage cabinets for bulletin boards and to house your kids' speech folders. 

Another thing to consider in a small space is storage.  I had to utilize the lockers in the hallway to store supplies for my theme weeks because I just didn't have any space in my room.  I also purchased a storage cart from Michels to house supplies I commonly use and put it next to my table for easy access. 

Creating a desk space is important even in the smallest of rooms. I added this Pinterest inspired supply holder for all of my odds and ends for easy access. Just get a spice rack (I bought mine at Walmart) and clean out the spices. Add some scrapbook paper with Mod Podge and you are ready to store things. I also attached contact paper to my filing cabinet to add a little pizazz.

I hope this helps for all of you storage deprived SLPs.  If you have any questions about the bulletin boards or anything else just let me know. 

P.S. I am opening a TPT store!!! I plan on posting anything I already have up on my blog as soon as possible, so be on the lookout for that. 

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Dr. Seuss Week

Dr. Seuss' birthday was March 2nd and is now a national holiday; therefore, it is defiantly a reason to celebrate with a theme week!!

I don't know if I have expressed how much I love Pinterest recently, but it is AMAZING for planning theme weeks! I found a game called What's in the Cat's Hat that I thought was super cute to use, but being the (I don't want to say "cheapskate" so I'll go with...) spendthrift that I am, I decided to make my own hats and use them for several different activities instead. I took some old plastic Lakeshore Learning tubs (at one time they had manipulatives in them but when I moved into my new classroom I inherited four empty tubs that I kept for a random tub emergency.  Well friends, a tub emergency came up and so now I have two Cat in the Hat hats to use!!!) and added red and white felt strips to create the stripes of the hat.  I then took a piece of hard white felt to create the rim of the hat.

Bean Bag/Hat Reinforcer:
My intern made bean bags out of balloons and flour to use with the hats that I made.  We made a starting line with tape of the floor and had them toss the "bean bags" into the hats as a type of reinforcer for my articulation, voice, and fluency groups.  We even made different distance lines to make the activity harder once the kids accomplished getting the bags in the hats from the first distance.

The librarian at my school is WONDERFUL and has the best stuff in her office.  She found out I was going to do a Dr. Seuss week and brought down a stuffed Cat in the Hat and Thing 1/Thing 2.  I used them with the hats to work on prepositions: put the Cat in the hat, in front of the hat, between the hats, etc.  We then used the 2 things to work on following multistep directions and directions using temporal concepts (e.g., "Before you put the Cat in front of the hat, put Thing 1 next to the hat").

What's in the Cat's Hat:

I put the cards from SuperDuper's Vocab BINGO into the Hat and then pulled each card out and had the kids guess what was in the Cat's hat based on the description read.  You can do this a few different ways depending on the amount of cuing your children require.  You can give the kids their own BINGO board and only put one card deck into the hat so they will know exactly what words to choose from, you can pick a few cards from each card deck and have the kids guess what you are describing without the visual BINGO board cues, you can put items in the hats for them to guess by your description (or describe themselves), or you can create your own pictures to describe.  (Don't forget, if you do not want to make your own hats and just want to buy the game, you can get it on Amazon here

The Cat in the Hat:
I found a YouTube video of Justin Bieber reading The Cat in the Hat with a video of the book behind him on a screen.  Now sadly, I am not a fan of the Biebs but my kids seem to love him so I did this activity for them.  (All Biebs fans, forgive me) I used this video in two ways:

1) Instead of reading the book to my kids, I let Justin Bieber read it and we answered comprehension questions, talked about main idea, and created a summary after the video.

2) The Cat and his friends Thing 1 and Thing 2 do A TON of unexpected things!!! We created mini hats out of red Solo cups and used this video in conjunction with Michelle Garcia Winner's Think Social Lesson 12: Good Thoughts verses Weird Thoughts.  We gave our kids red and blue pieces of paper (red representing weird thoughts and blue representing good thoughts) and they put them in their cups when they noticed a character in the story giving them good or weird thoughts.  In Michelle's lesson the teacher is meant to give the kids the colored paper for their actions, but I find it easier to start with them having good/weird thoughts about another person so they can understand what they are thinking before seeing how their behavior affects me.

Synonyms and Antonyms:
I found some cute I Have, Who Has Synonym and Antonym activities by Carolynn Ruark on Teachers Pay Teachers for FREE and used those with my kids who are working on synonyms and antonyms.  You can go directly to her TPT store here.

Mad Libs:
I LOVE using Mad Libs in speech to work on I ask my articulation kids to try to find words with their sounds in them to complete the Mad Libs and then read it.  It is a great way to work on saying their sounds in connected speech.  I found this Seuss-Inspired Mad Lib on Teachers Pay Teachers for FREE.  You can pick it up at K. Ratliff's TPT store here.

Following Directions:
To work on following directions I created a some following directions cards with Dr. Seuss letters.  I have been focusing on "before" and "after" rules so most of the cards have directions that relate to those rules.  The kids drew a card and completed the direction to earn bean bags.  After they had earned three bean bags, they were able to try to get them in the Cat's hat.

Get your Following Directions Cards here!!

Bartholomew and the Oobleck:
This book is great to work on predicting (size of Oobleck on each page, how it will affect the community, how Bartholomew might be able to stop what is going on, etc.).  To be honest, this book is kind of long so I rewrote it to make it shorter for my time limit.  We then retold it, talked about actions versus consequences, and finished the activity be making our own Oobleck using a recipe I found on Teachers Pay Teachers.  It was really gooey so I would add less water next time but the kids had loads of fun with it. Get the recipe from Gladys Daniels' TPT store here.
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Monster Week

This is quite possibly my favorite week so far.  The funny thing, is I had scheduled to do a chocolate week for this week because I found some random chocolate holiday to celebrate, but I purchased some great monster activities from Teachers Pay Teachers and I wanted to use them.  Monster week was planned and the rest is history.

Before getting to the activities, I need to tell you about my monsters.  I found this cute "tattle monster" idea on Pinterest and decided to make some for myself.  I sent an email out to the teachers at my school asking for empty tissue boxes and egg cartons, and the response was great!!  I had enough to make four monsters for me and four for my intern.  If you can't find these guys anywhere and want to know how to make them, let me just give you the directions now...

1) Paint tissue boxes your desired color.  Once dry, use the bottom of a large paintbrush to dip in paint and create your dots.  (** You can use spray paint but I didn't have spray paint and didn't want to buy it, so I used white paint to paint a base coat on the boxes and then painted over it with my desired color.)
2) Seal paint using decoupage.  The paint will chip off of the boxes if you do not seal it.  I decoupaged the boxes and it worked well.
3) Cut the mouth hole a little bigger to give your kids enough space for the teeth and their hands.
4) Cut teeth out of white foam paper and attach to the inside of the mouth using a hot glue gun.
5) Cut egg carton into individual egg holders, attach googly eyes, and glue to the top of the monster.

I used my monsters in a variety of ways...

I told my kids that my monsters were very hungry but they only ate candy.  I gave them chipper chat pieces to feed the monsters (that I had placed throughout my speech room) and the kids got to feed their monster of choice as a reinforcer.
(**extra fun hint: I told my kid that although my monsters liked candy, if they put their hands in the monsters' mouths, they would be eaten.  I gave them my "magic wand" to collect the chipper chat candy from the monsters' mouths at the end of the speech session.  They loved using the magnet to collect the "candy" pieces.)

Categorizing/Comparing and Contrasting:
 Although each monster was a different color, I only used four colors for the dots.   They kids could categorize the monsters by dot color, size of box (there were three sizes), number of eyes, type of mouth, or type of teeth (curly, spiky, two layers, etc.).  They could then compare and contrast the monsters based on their characteristics. 

Like I said earlier, I found some great therapy materials from Teachers Pay Teachers to use this week.  Here are the links to the monster materials I used:

Social Candy Monsters were used with my social skills/spectrum kids.  (that is where I got the idea to feed my monsters candy) You can find the blog about them at Crazy Speech World or you can buy them from Jenn's TPT store.

Another cute monster activity that Jenn at Crazy Speech World made (and this one is FREE) is Conversation Starters.  (These cute pictures might not be monsters but that is what I called them so I could use them this week, so use them however you want.)  I used these with my kids working on anything at the conversational level.  Get them from Jenn's TPT store for free!!

The Monster Question Pack was great to use with any of my kids that were working on asking or answering questions.  It also came with cute monster mouths that I cut out and attached to sticks as a form of a mask (I used them as ways to "buzz in" to answer a question and just as a mask for my kids to use while answering; they loved this!!)  You can find the blog about them at Live Long Speech (but it is by the author of Sublime Speech) or you can buy them from Daniele's TPT store.

Back Pocket Monsters is an oldie but a goodie.  These two games were created by Jenna over at Speech Room News and my kids LOVE them every time we play them.  You can find the blog about them at Speech Room News where I think she is still giving them away for FREE!!

My sweet intern found this story/activity to teach expected and unexpected behaviors in the classroom: Monster Fun! Teaching Manners and Expectations.  It comes with two stories: one about listening with your different body parts (e.g., listening with your hands) and a story about a monster who shows up to school and uses unexpected behaviors.  We read both stories and then discussed what school rules the monster broke and how he could change his behaviors to become expected.  You can get it at the Growing Kinders TPT store for FREE!!

Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley is a great book to work on sequencing skills.  I made a felt version of the monster and had the kids add the parts and then remove them when the story told them to.  We then used picture versions of the book to sequence when each part was added and removed and then retold the story using first, then , next, and last. 
 Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberley and Anne Miranda was used in conjunction with Michelle Garcia Winner's Think Social! Lesson #7: Using Our Brains to Think About Others.  We read the book and then talked about how each monster felt and what might have caused them to feel that way.  The kids then picked feelings to portray and used the monster masks in the books to portray them.

Substitute Creature by Chris Gall is a great story to work on predicting and drawing inferences.  It is a story about a substitute teacher who teaches the students of a misbehaving class "cases" about children who do certain unexpected things (e.g., doodling, playing tricks, stealing things, etc.) and their consequences.  My kids loved this story because of its great illustrations and they liked to predict what the case would be. 

I hope you enjoy monster week!! We had a BLAST in my room!!
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