One of my favorite activities to use in therapy, especially group therapy, is BINGO! I love how such a fun, engaging, game that feels like a party can target so many skills – object identification/labeling, visual discrimination, auditory processing at the word/phrase/sentence levels, comprehension of wh questions, review of seasonal vocabulary, language formulation, use of vocabulary and related descriptive concepts, as well as speech sound production. These open-ended boards are perfect for differentiated instruction of students in small or large groups, as well as push-in lessons in the classroom. I’ve created a wide variety of theme-based Bingo boards over the years, and they are always a hit. I also use the calling cards from the Bingo sets to use as a memory games, vocabulary pages, card games, pictures for word walls, adapted books, and more. This particular activity set was created to target /k/ and /g/ velar sounds, but its versatility makes it also perfect for any student. I created color pages as well as black and white pages for the Bingo boards and the calling cards. Take a peek if you want!
P.S. I love using the PCS symbols from Boardmaker and Tobii Dynavox. I recently purchased a Maker License from the company (now required for copyright permissions) so I can create all sorts of visual materials and pass them on to other people! Anything you’d like to see? Just let me know!
Interested in some new therapy supplies? Take advantage of Teachers Pay Teachers HUGE Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale! Every single LiveSpeaklove product will be on SALE for 28% off! Now is your chance to stock up on all of the LiveSpeakLove goodies you need. Holidays are our specialty– and we have LOTS of holiday-themed goodies that will give you a December to remember. Keep your prep work to a minimum and target a variety of speech and language goals using my theme-based activities. Fun, engaging activities that allow for differentiation and are aligned to the CCSS…take advantage of this HUGE event and you will have the best, easiest holiday season ever! Don’t forget to check out my FREEBIES!!
I didn’t forget…his birthday is almost here. Most people who work in an Elementary school know exactly who I am talking about. THE Doctor. The ultimate genius in early learning, phonemic awareness and word family skills. Yes, the inspiration for celebrations like Read Across America and Tasting Parties featuring green eggs and other foods…You guessed it, Theodor Seuss Geisel; A.K.A., Dr. Seuss.
I received a few messages asking me if I have any Bingo Boards with the Dr. Seuss theme. Of course!! Every SLP could have their own as well, with the fabulous creation tool (Boardmaker) and the ever useful “shuffle button.” If you have ever created even one Bingo board in Boardmaker, you just need to edit the pictures to reflect your new theme; save as; highlight the buttons; shuffle; save as (repeat 4 more times to make a set.) That’s it…seriously SO easy and the creations can be used to target a multitude of skills. I will say that I am using Bingo boards and similar activities less often now, with my focus on incorporating interactive technology and multi-media resources into my regular therapy. But I firmly believe that every holiday deserves a good Bingo Board….and so, in honor of the Doc himself, here you go…
Many students on my caseload have language difficulties impacting their ability to answer simple questions — a deficit that has the potential for considerable effects on a student’s ability to perform successfully in their educational environment. Think about a typical classroom activity, and the types of things a teacher might say…odds are pretty good that a majority of a teacher’s utterances involve a simple or higher level wh question word (what, where, who, when, why, how, what if?) Reading comprehension is especially dependent on these powerful words (Who is the main character? What happened at the end of the story? Why did they make that decision? What do you think will happen next? Where did the story take place?) Math is also tied to these questions (What is the first step? When do you combine groups?) Because teachers continually elicit responses and assess skills, questions are routinely asked and answered in the classroom. Students with wh question difficulties need training on exactly what the individual words mean and appropriate referents that can be used as an answer. When asked a simple question like, “what did you eat for lunch?” a student with comprehension deficits might answer, “I eat my lunch.” Many times correct answers can be elicited with scaffolded supports such as yes/no questions or given choices. Systematic practice on these types of questions help students to more automatically comprehend the intended meaning and successfully respond. I often use visual supports to provide cues and structured practice on choosing appropriate referents. Here is a visual prompt that I use to prompt students in therapy activities and also to use in their classrooms as a resource during instruction:
Simple WH Questions
To help students differentiate between the types of simple questions, I often use a sorting activity (this activity works very well on my Promethean ActivPanel, where students can drag the pictures to the appropriate column. I also send home the hard copy for practice using verbal responses, or to use as a cut-and-paste activity):
And here are several practice activities I made to address simple wh questions:
I have had good success using simple, Boardmaker-created activities like these to provide structured training on wh question comprehension. As a student becomes more proficient at answering these types of questions, I extend this skill to simple picture scenes, story sequences, and eventually, story recall and comprehension in the classroom. I also spend time educating staff in using wh questions whenever possible, rather than simpler yes/no questions or even just plain directives. For example, instead of saying, “Put that paper in your folder please,” a teacher might instead present, “Ok, where do you think the paper should go?” Embedded opportunities to practice these comprehension skills throughout a student’s day help to reinforce the therapy activities and promote generalization of skills. Finding opportunity is really not a difficult task…questions are everywhere!
Enjoy the resources — click the images to download and thanks for visiting me at LiveSpeakLove!
I stopped at the store today to buy goodies and cards for my own kids to give their friends on Valentine’s Day. Our home is now equipped with pre-made cards and card-making supplies (for one child with a bit of artistic ambition,) treat bags and several kinds of candy doused with liberal amounts of pink and red. We are just days away from the holiday, and almost all of my kids are getting pretty excited. (Did you know that middle schoolers are now “too cool” for Valentine exchanges, even casual ones under the pretense of spontaneous candy-sharing?? Hmmmph.)
I am not necessarily a huge Valentine’s Day fan, but I do enjoy the chance to mark the swiftly passing days with entertaining, theme-related activities and the chance to celebrate with the people around me. I have a few favorite Valentine’s Day activities to share.
Valentine Bingo Boards – The term “Bingo” is used loosely, due to the fact that I use games like this to target almost every speech or language skill possible before we actually get to any of the “Bingo.” During a typical game, each student’s goals are addressed through differentiated activities involving speech production, identifying vocabulary given verbal descriptions, sentence formulation to respond to wh questions about vocabulary, or following simple and multi-step directions using unique ways to mark the square (no Bingo chips or dotters in my groups…we usually mark our squares by following directions like, “Draw a blue square next to the valentine card.”) We also use related vocabulary to highlight critical attributes and identify similarities and differences. Children often spontaneously share background experiences with the theme-related vocabulary and we take a few minutes to “turn and talk” to relate a past event or experience to a peer or peer group. What might look like a simple “game” to the casual observer is unquestionably a language-rich, engaging experience with opportunities for differentiated instruction tailored to meet multiple learning styles. Made with Boardmaker software, Bingo Boards are cinch to replicate for multiple versions using the “shuffle button” tool. Enjoy these free downloads, and feel free to let me know how you used them.
Valentine Bingo Boards, created using Boardmaker software
Low-Tech Picture Boards: Another activity I’ve used with success is this simple language activity targeting WHO questions using low-tech picture boards as stimuli. Descriptive words (heart shape, color words) are highlighted at the sentence level, while categorical labeling skills are also featured. Extension activities can be created to target related skills such as comprehension of embedded clauses, asking wh questions, using color words in sentences to describe pictures, etc. I use this document (created in Boardmaker) on my ActivPanel smartboard with the “annotate desktop” feature that will allow students to circle, draw lines, manipulate objects and add text to supplement the pictures. Animal sounds inserted as mulit-media files next to each animal (easy to do if you have smartboard software like ActivInpire )complete this fun, engaging activity that my students love!
Another Valentine’s Day activity that could be adapted to meet any therapy objective — this open-ended Valentine’s Day game board. I pair boards like this with picture stimuli, articulation cards, pragmatic question cards, sequence cards…ANYTHING than can be used to elicit a response as students take turns to make their way to the “mailbox” in time to deliver their Valentine’s Day card. This game board was created in Boardmaker on a legal size grid and then converted to PDF. Enjoy!
Thank you for visiting, and Happy Valentine’s Day to you from LiveSpeakLove. <3
Here it is…the NUMBER ONE question I get asked as a speech-language pathologist….
“What can I do at home to help my child learn to communicate?”
A perfect question to ask! Speech-language therapy is important, but often people underestimate the importance of what occurs after little ones have left my room, when the speech supplies are packed away and I am at home resting (righhhhtt!) What occurs outside of the speech room that can help kids learn to communicate? TEMPTATION.
Temptation is a pretty incredible motivator. Have you ever been tempted by a piece of chocolate cake? Or another few minutes of snoozing after the alarm yanks you out of a perfect, deep sleep? Maybe a more-than-accidental look at that reality t.v. show that adds nothing to your intellect but is so mindlessly enjoyable? Ok, clearly I am bringing my own background experience into play to illustrate a point, but nonetheless…temptation causes you to think. To act…to react. Temptation is motivating and at times pretty powerful (I admit, visions of that chocolate cake are lurking in my brain as I highlight this concept.)
For a child, communication temptations often bridge the gap between “I’m getting by ok with things the way they are” and “I need to let someone know I really mean business here!” Parents are often surprised and a bit embarrassed when they realize how many opportunities they miss to “tempt” their language-delayed youngster to communicate. As a mom, I recognize how easy it is to let these opportunities slip by us. We know our children better than any other people on the planet. We are in tune to their every need, mood, curiosity and disappointment. It’s only natural to anticipate what our child wants or needs, and help them get it. But communication temptations can provide gentle motivators to express those wants and needs, and have a huge impact on a child’s functional communication.
As an SLP, I regularly build communication temptations into therapy sessions, starting right at the door to my therapy room. The door stays locked, and “opens the door,” if you will, to allow some natural communication to occur. Requests for “open” and “help” can be elicited, or for higher-level students, answers to questions like, “What do we need to unlock the door?” or “Look through the window, at the table…what do you see inside?”
Once inside, I often employ a few favorite “tools” to tempt students to communicate. I love presenting therapy activities encased in a closed bag or box (I’ve even been dubbed, “Bag Lady” before, due to the bags I often use in therapy…usually accompanied by piggy-backed tunes with lyrics I “write” as we discover items and reinforce language concepts. Music, by the way, is also a great therapy tool and does not need to be sung well to be effective…I will save that topic for a different blog entry!)
Anyway, hidden materials invite children to make guesses, to make requests, to watch closely as items are revealed. My favorite items to create further temptations include containers with tight lids, wind-up toys, building-block toys and cause-effect toys.
Wind up toys are a great way of getting students to direct action and make requests. More, stop, go, my turn, and help are functional words that go hand-in-hand with wind up toys (that can be difficult for a child to wind on their own.) I even have a broken wind-up toy that is great for eliciting language in developing communicators (Uh oh! What’s wrong?? Oh no! It’s broken. The toy is broken! Need help!) If we get the toy working, we can excitedly shout things like, “Yay! Go, Go, Go! Here we go! The toy can go!”) Simple? Yes. Effective? Definitely.
Containers are another great therapy tool. Clear, acrylic containers filled with colorful objects are very motivating when presented to a curious child. They can’t wait to reach inside and…oh, wait — the lid is stuck. They need help. They want you to open. They want the lid off. Containers are very motivating when students can see what is inside but they have a hard time accessing it. Here is a fun container I recently discovered. It’s a Michael Graves container from Target that opens by squeezing a butterfly clip on the top of the canister (read: difficult for kids to do on their own!):
Other favorite therapy tools are things like bubbles (with lids tightly closed,) toys that produce sound or light when activated, and toys that have pieces that build/go together (e.g., train tracks, housed in tightly-sealed containers!) Throughout a play session, students get repetitive practice making verbal requests (help, more, turn,etc.,) directing other people’s actions, labeling actions (stop, go, pop, open, etc.) and communicating their ideas as they explore and play. Language modeling, expansion and stimulation is built into the play, with instant reinforcers for any communication attempts.
To support verbal language or for use with nonverbal students, I often use communication boards (made with Boardmaker) using core vocabulary words that convey a variety of language functions. These same words are a focus when used on a voice-output device. The word combinations that can be modeled using these few words are quite numerous:
Helping students acquire functional communication skills is very rewarding. Progress can be made quite quickly with the right set of motivators and expectations. I may be the “Bag Lady” who plays with toys for a large part of my day 🙂 but what is more tempting or motivating than a bag of fun? And what is more fulfilling than helping a child learn to communicate their basic wants, needs and desires? Not even a piece of chocolate cake can top that experience!