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Silly Sentences

I love this silly sentences game for mixed groups. It works for expanding sentences using adjectives and prepositions, identifying parts of speech, using past tense, sorting categories, have one child create a sentence/another child adds a word, or says what will happen next, or answers questions about the sentence. However, the original verbs and prepositions were repetitive so one day I typed, cut, and taped new ones on!

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Interactive Activities for Card Sets

thumb_IMG_6965_1024.jpgWe all have them, tons of card sets from various speech-language and education materials companies.  Traditionally they are used in individual sessions, but there are plenty of ways to make them fun and interactive for group sessions.

thumb_IMG_5609_1024.jpgWhat Goes Together Cards – give out 1 part of a go-together pair to each child.  Hold up it’s match and ask “Who has something that goes with a _____”

What Goes Together Cards – Hand out the pairs so that each child has part of a pair. Have the children get up and walk around trying to find the child that has what goes with the object they have. This works best with puzzle type go-together sets. So that they children can fit the pieces together.  This works great as a “find a partner” game too. When all the children are sitting down together with their partner, have them say why each object goes together as you collect the pieces.

Letter cards – play Wheel of Fortune with each child’s name.  Place the letters for each child’s name face down.  Children have to take turns guessing the letters.  If they guess correct, turn that letter over. Kids also love hearing a “ding” or “buzz” noise from the game show. When a correct letter was guessed, I would say “ding” but when a letter was guessed that was not part of the name, I would make a buzzer noise.  Write used letters on the board so children won’t keep repeating the same ones.  Play until each child’s name has been spelled.  After each name is spelled, can count the letters in each child’s name, mix up the letters and have each child put their name back together, switch cards and have children try to spell each other’s names.

Action Cards – Put them face down on the table. Say a sentence that describes one of the cards. Children have to practice holding the sentence in their head in order to find the correct picture. Adds a layer of difficulty and working memory practice. Good for kids who are working on repeating a phrase or sentence in their head in order to remember it. Sentences can be simple “The boy is running” to harder sets such as “The boy who is holding the rabbits is happy.” “The hungry boy eats pizza.”  “The girl is hiding behind the curtains.”  I like to do these with thematic pictures too.

Phonological Awareness Cards for initial sound matching. Shuffle the cards and put them face down in a pile.  Have the children take turns picking the cards, listening for the first sound, and sorting the cards by first sound into piles.  You can reinforce their choice by talking about the other items in the group they pick.  For example “Sun and soup begin with the same sound /s/.”  If they have trouble, prompt by naming objects in each pile.  When all of the cards are sorted, model some silly alliteration sentences. Then let the children pick a sound pile to make their own silly alliteration sentences.  For example “The sun wore a sock and sat on the soap.”  Then have the children help you clean up the cards.  Say “Find something that begins with (sound).”   Once they identify a correct item, they can put the card back in the box.

Sequencing Cards  Below are some activities to make your sequencing cards interactive in small groups.  We all have these sets!  These activities work best for groups of 3-5 children.

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  • Before & After: For three picture sets, keep the middles and give out the first and last pictures to the children so each child is holding two cards from different stories. Present the middle piece and ask who has what came before. Place the two cards down in order. Then ask who has what comes after.  I like to use visual cues like the ones below. I put a “before” card up and an “after” card.  The same activity can be done for “first” and “last.”  Model full sentences like “The girl built the sandcastle before the wave came.” Once the cards are in the correct order, model a story for the children or have the children take turns telling the stories.
  • You can also do this for “beginning,” “middle,” and “end” as pictured.  Ask who has the beginning and who has the end.  This is a good way to teach these concepts to children who are having a harder time with them in longer story books.
  • Rather than give out the beginning and end pictures you can lay them out on the table and have the children take turns finding the right picture.
  • Tell the children that you have some story pictures but you need help fixing them. Lay 1 story out but out of order. This works better with the 4+ story pictures. Have the children work together to put them in order the right way. You can also have the children take turns putting the pictures in order and have another child be the checker.
  • For the out of order stories, have fun discussing why the order is silly. What could happen if the event really took place in that order?
  • Lay the cards out in order and cover all but the first picture. Have the children take turns predicting what might happen next and removing the cover to see if they are correct. For older children, you can ask if the others agree with the prediction or disagree.
  • Have the children take turns telling each other the stories. When one child is done, have another child say what might happen next. For example, in the story below, the child might say, “The girl will build another sandcastle.”

Winter Language Play Ideas for Home (and School)

IMG_9370.jpgSome days it is just too cold and wet to get outside for a long period of time to play in the snow.  Here are some fun winter-themed ideas for when you might be stuck indoors.   Most of these ideas came from activities I did with my own daughter when she was a toddler, but I am sure many would be fun at school too!

  • Pretend a towel, blanket, or box is a sled. Have your child sit on/in the “sled” and pull the sled to take them for a ride.  Talk about where you might be going. Talk about pulling them fast or slow.  Have them give you directions for how and where to move.
  • Use paper plates as ice skates on a hard floor.  Be careful as you move around.  I used to put on music like Vince Guaraldi’s “Skating” or “Skater’s Walz.”  We would move to the music and talk about where we were going and how we were moving.  “I am skating in a circle”  “I skated across the room”
  • Make pretend snow angels on the carpet. Talk about how your child moves their arms and legs. Up/down, in/out. Move slowly, then move them very fast!
  • Play a naming game.  See how many clothing items you can name that you wear in the winter.  Name things that are cold.  Name things that you might eat or drink when it is cold outside.  Talk about your favorite ways to warm up on a cold day.
  • This one I used to do in my language groups and it was always a hit!  It helps you find a new use for scrap paper.  Get 5 or 6 large pieces of paper. (Newspaper works well but can get messy.)   Take one piece of paper and crumble it tight to make a pretend snowball. Take the next piece of paper and crumple it over the ball.  Do this with the rest of the pieces.  You can also have the children work together and take turns placing pieces over the ball to make it larger.  Talk about how the snowball is growing and getting bigger.  If you do more than one ball, you can talk about who has the largest snowball and who has the smallest.  We also used to have fun finding items around the room that were larger than our snowball, smaller than our snowball, and about the same size as our snowball.  If you do this with a group, you can have the children take turns throwing the ball gently to one another.  Have them say who they will throw it to with a full sentence. “I will throw the snowball to______.”  or practice saying who they threw the ball to using irregular past tense.  Children can practice looking at one another before they throw and catch.  The catcher can also practice using a full sentence with the irregular past tense.  “I caught the ball from______.”  When you are done, pretend your snowballs are melting! Take turns taking off one piece of paper at a time until the snowball is gone!  Don’t forget to recycle! Screen Shot 2019-01-20 at 9.38.07 PM.png
  • Here’s one if you don’t mind a bit of a mess.  Tear up pieces of scrap paper and pretend you are making snowflakes together. Talk about how many snowflakes you tore from each page. Talk about their different sizes. Throw them up in the air and watch them come down.
  • Have your child (or children) pretend to be a snowman. Squat down low and grow up tall, then sink down low again to melt.
  • Bring the snow to you! Fill up a bowl of clean snow and have fun with it inside.  As seen below, my daughter liked pretending to bake and putting the snow into little molds and cupcake tins.  If you are feeling brave, add a little food coloring and talk about all the beautiful colors you see.  The colors on the snow remind me of my favorite book: The Littlest Snowman by Charles Tazewell.
  • If you do get outside: when building a real snowman, talk about the sequence of events. For example, “First we will roll a big snowball for the bottom, then we will make a medium snowball for the middle, then we will make a small snowball for the head, last we will use rocks and sticks to add a face and arms.”  When you are done, talk about what you did using the past tense. Have your child draw a picture to help them tell another person about their snowman.
  • Use the time putting on mittens/gloves or boots to talk about left and right.
  • Make footprints in the snow. Listen to the sounds the snow makes. Talk about different sizes and shapes of the prints.  Who has the biggest footprints? The smallest?

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Snowman Bookmarks

This snowman bookmark is an easy winter craft gift. The child can write it a to/from on the back. Fun for mixed groups to address a variety of speech and language goals. Obviously it works for sequencing and following directions, but the placement of objects doesn’t necessarily need to be done in a specific order. You can have the children tell you what they want to do first, next, and help them make a plan. Have them think about who they are making it for and perhaps use that person’s favorite color for the scarf. Depending on age and ability level you can have pre-cut items or have the children cut the hat, nose, and scarf themselves. Pre-cut bookmarks can be found at most craft stores too.

Candy Box Decorating

I normally don’t like saving stuff like this, but a few years ago I received a box of chocolate candy in the shape of a Christmas tree.  My daughter, who was a toddler at the time, had fun “decorating” it with ornament puff balls once the candy was gone.

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Speech and Language Activities for the 5 Senses and Body Parts

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Originally I published this entry in 2015,  but I just updated it today with some more ideas.  Here is an assortment of body part and senses activities that can be done in small groups, large groups, or individually. Some are even fun for parents to do at home. My daughter and I love playing with flashlights.

  • Present various objects to the circle group such as a chocolate bar, perfume, bell, picture. Ask the children, “What part of the body would you use to learn more about ____.”  Have the children answer using a body part and a sense. For example, “I would use my ears to hear the bell.” “I would use my nose to smell the perfume.”  More support can be provided by giving choices, “Would you use your ears or nose to hear a bell?”
  • Make a taste mind map – for example write the word “sweet” on large paper with a circle around it. Children brain storm foods they can think of that is sweet. Write each word as an arm on the larger circle.
  • Give the child about 10 stickers. Let him put the stickers on various parts of his body. Have him tell you where each sticker is. “I put a sticker on my arm” Or “There is a sticker on my arm.”  You could work on future tense and have them tell you where they want to put a sticker before you give it to them.  Or make it a following directions task. Tell the child where to put each sticker. “Put a sticker on your ear.”  “Put a sticker on the body part you hear with.”
  • Try balancing a bean bag or ball on various body parts. Have the child say where the ball or bean bag is, “The bean bag is on my foot.”  When the bean bag falls off, model the use of the irregular past tense. “It fell off your foot.”
  • If you have a hula hoop, tell the child with body part to put in the hoop. Model, “My foot is in the hoop.” “My knee is in the hoop.”
  • Put familiar items from around the school in a pillow case or other large bag. Tell the children you are going to play a guessing game. Don’t let them peak as they put their hand in the bag. Have them take turns picking one item at a time and guess what they are touching. Talk about how they knew what they were touching. For example, “You knew it was a tooth brush because it has a hard handle and soft bristles.”
  • Pretend you are going somewhere, or before you actually go somewhere, talk about what you think you will see, hear, smell, taste, or touch.
  • Turn off the lights in one room of your house.  Give your child a flashlight and let them shine it around the room. Talk about the items he found. Take turns using the flashlight and finding items to work on turn taking in conversations. Take turns asking one another, “What do you see?” or “Can you find the _____?”  For memory work talk about the things you found.  Model sentence forms such as “I see a ____. You can expand sentence length by adding a preposition or an adjective. For example, if the child says “I see a lamp.” Expand with something like, “I see a lamp on the table.” Or “I see a yellow lamp on the table.”
  • Practice asking silly questions like: Do you smell or hear a flower? Can you taste or hear pizza? Can you hear or smell a bee? Can you feel or taste fur? Can you see or smell a bike?
  • Make binoculars or telescopes with toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes. Take a walk and talk about what the child sees through the tube. Model sentences as needed. Later talk about where you went and what you saw to encourage past tense forms.
  • Play some music and dance, then talk about the body parts everyone used and how they used them. This can be an opportunity to model various verbs and compound sentences. “We shook our arms and we kicked our legs” “We wiggled our fingers and we nodded our heads”
  • Talk about synonyms – another word for loud is noisy, another word for quiet is soft, another word for a smell is scent, etc.
  • Ask thinking questions that prompt conversation at snack time like, “Did you ever taste a food you thought you would not like, but then you did like it?”
  • Practice using third person -s with sentences like “A _____tastes ____” “A _____ feels _____” “A _____ smells _____”
  • Round up an assortment of noisemakers. Show the children each one and let them hear each noise. Talk about how each one sounds different. They can have turns using each one and describing the noise. You can then play a barrier memory game. Put the noisemakers behind a barrier. Play one noisemaker at a time and have the children take turns saying which one they think they heard: “I heard the ______” To increase the difficulty, you can increase the number of objects you play and then children must say the order in which they heard each object: “First I heard the bell, then I heard the shaker.” You can also remove the barrier and then ask each child to play the noisemakers in the order that you say: “First shake the egg, then ring the bell, last tap the drum.” You can increase the difficulty depending on each child. Once they know how to play the games, the children can take turns playing the noisemakers for one another behind the barrier and asking questions “What object did you hear?” And also take turns giving each other directions to play the noisemakers in the order they say.

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What Game Shall We Play by Pat Hutchins – model lesson structure

Thank you to those of you who viewed my SLP Summit presentation. I had fun putting it together and I appreciate all your questions and comments. You can also see me in person at the ASHA convention, I do love meeting new people. If I did not answer your question, please feel free to email me at Bitetti@lasalle.edu.

I did not have time in my presentation to present on the example lesson structure I put on the slides, so I have written it here. This is a lesson I did with a kindergarten class of around 10 students, though I am sure it can be adapted for various ages and ability levels. In the fall the class learned about owls, their environment, what they eat, etc. So, to go along with the theme, I did some owl related activities and books.

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In the book “What Game Shall We Play,” a duck and a frog start the story not knowing what to play. They find animals around the forest and ask them, “What game shall we play?” So, it is a repeated text. Each animal they encounter says they don’t know and to ask another animal. Each animal is found in a specific location, but there is an owl following them the whole time. In the end, they ask the owl what to play, and the owl suggests they all play hide and seek together. Within the book, you get that question form repeated several times, can practice make predictions about which animal will come next (because the children have previewed the animals on the cover), and where each animal will be found. The story also can be used to teach and reinforce story grammar concepts such as characters, setting, problem (initiating event), plan to solve the problem, attempts, solution, and conclusion.

Transition into Session
“We are flying” – Depending on the theme and children’s goals, you can have several transitions into the session. For this example, I picked having the children pretend to fly into the room like owls to go with the owl unit. For example, you can ask the children, “How do owls move?” “Owls fly!” Tell them: “You can fly into the room like owls!” Model: “We are flying, we are flying, yes we are, yes we are (repeat)” To the tune of Frere Jacques. It helps to teach the movement song over a few lessons so the children are familiar with it and can eventually move independently as a class using different actions. When the children have entered the room, and are seated, model irregular past tense: “You all flew into the room like owls! What did you do?” “We flew!”

Another possible transition is to preview the book cover with the children before they enter the room and have them say one animal they see on the cover to enter the room or move to their seat. “I see a ______”

Greeting
For this example, I picked a simple call and response greeting: “Good afternoon class, good afternoon Miss Dana!”

Expectations
I began by telling the children that today we are going to read a book called, “What game Shall We Play” and showed the cover. I said, “It’s about some animals who have a problem. They don’t know what game to play.” You can ask the children if they have ever had a similar problem. Are they ever unsure of what to play? How do they solve that problem? etc. I also told them about the author. It was written and illustrated by Pat Hutchins. We read a few of her other books already, so I remind them she also wrote Rosie’s Walk and Don’t Forget the Bacon. We talked about the animals we saw on the cover and identified them as the characters. Before you begin, you can take the opportunity to reinforce whatever the expectations are for sitting and listening to a story in your specific setting.

Main Activity
Then I read the story and asked children to make predictions about where each animal will be found (each location is pictured on each page). For example, “Where do you think they will find the mouse?” The owl is following the animals the whole time and usually one child notices that. Once the animals decide to ask the owl, “What game shall we play?” you can have the children each predict what game the owl might suggest. Because we identified the problem earlier, at the end we talked about how the animals solved the problem. For me, it was always helpful to incorporate into my plan what I was going to discuss and ask as I read the story.

Possible Related Activities – I have briefly summarized the activities here with some possible language targets. Many of these can be adapted to meet your needs and session time.

  •  Recreate story sequence with magnets on board: As a class, we recreated the story using magnetic animal and location pictures. You can have the children re-sequence the story. Which animal did the frog and the duck ask first? Second, etc. You can give each child a magnet to place on the board in the correct location and practice describing where each animal hid using irregular past tense and prepositions. “The duck and the frog hid in the pond” “The rabbit hid in her hole.”
  • Each child makes their own picture scene: After making the magnet scene, I also had each child make their own picture similar to the one pictured below, but without color.  The children glue the animals in the correct location on the picture sheet.  You can do the picture scene activity all together as a group and have children respond in unison to get multiple repetitions or you can let the children color the pictures while you and other staff rotate through to help each child individually.  (Some animal pictures were printed from do2learn.com picture program View2do. I am not affiliated with the company, just like the program).  After being at the circle time area for the book, to make their pictures, I had them transition to tables to work. To transition to table, possible transitions:
    • What is your favorite game? My favorite game is…
    • What was your favorite animal in the story? “My favorite animal was…”
    • Follow directions to take on thing on the board, “Clean up a green animal that hops” “I cleaned up the….”

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  • Acting out the story: Depending on how many children you have in the group, you can have one child be each animal. I made each area of the classroom one of the locations – tree, pond, grass, wall, rabbit hole, etc. Acting out the story gets the children up and moving. Like the above activities, they can also practice remembering the sequence of the story, practice asking questions “What game shall we play?” and practice responding, “I don’t know, let’s go and ask…..” After acting out the story, you can practice using past tense forms to talk about who each child was and what they did. “I was the rabbit and I hid in my rabbit hole”
  • Hide stuffed animals in the room: One of my favorite activities is to hide things around the room. I was lucky to work in a school with a variety of stuffed animals! I hid stuffed animals like the book characters around the room: stuffed frog, owl, rabbit, fox, duck, mouse, squirrel.  I told the children that some animals were hiding in the classroom and we have to find them.  If it’s a small group, you can have all children look for an animal at the same time. Once they find an animal, have them come back to the circle and take turns asking each other, “Where did you find the ____” “I found it under the ____” Again, another opportunity to practice asking questions, answering using irregular past tense, using prepositions.
    You could also give each child clues one at a time to find each animal: “The owl is hiding in something we build with” So the child might have to go to the block area to find the owl. Depending on ability level, you can have one child hide an animal and then give another child clues, so one child practices describing and the other child has to listen and follow their directions. Once the animal is found, the child who hid the animal could practice saying “I hid the frog in the ___.” The child who found the animal says where it was. If it’s a large group, to keep everyone engaged, you can have all children ask in unison “Where was the _____?”
  • Beginning, middle, end page: If you have smaller groups, another activity could be sequencing the story and teaching the concepts of beginning, middle, end of the story.  Even though the book is repetitive, I think it lends itself nicely to that structure.  How you structure this activity can vary depending on the needs of the individuals. Some children may be able to practice making summary statements that you write in for them, whereas others children may need to practice sequencing the pictures you give them and matching the picture to the words.  You can have the children practice retelling the story to one another and check each others work.

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Wrap Up
For the wrap up, each child could bring their picture scene to the circle and compare. Discuss how we all made a picture and that the pictures all look similar because all the animals are in the right spots. I like to take the wrap up time to give reinforcement of what was done well. You can have children the complement each other’s pictures. “Tell a friend one thing you like about their picture.” “I like….” You can have them compare pictures – Find one thing that is the same and one thing that is different.

Transition out – hand me your picture for your folder and tell me one thing about it.

 

I know I do not have a lot of book activities up right now on the site. I hope to change that and make more of these activities available as well as updating the site more often.  I hope to also get some first weeks of school activities up as well.  There are some in an older post that is searchable.

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