ONE LAST THANKSGIVING RESOURCE FOR YOU! I decided to create one last Thanksgiving resource for this season…and I really love this one! If you are looking for some Thanksgiving FUN that also targets speech, language, and literacy skills, here you go! This set includes multiple craft activities centered on a thankfulness theme. With these activities, you can target:
articulation – use thankfulness words as stimuli for target productions at word and connected speech levels
receptive and expressive language – target a variety of language skills using the included activities to address following directions, sequencing, answering wh questions, sentence formulation, and more!
literacy – reading and writing – review of everyone’s thankful items after crafts are completed
social-pragmatic language – theme of thankfulness promotes awareness of others’ feelings and can be used to promote conversation among peers
What you get:
1 thankfulness turkey craft activity with picture supports/AAC symbols (picture supports can be printed again for memory game or vocabulary review!)
1 thankfulness feather headband
3 additional Thanksgiving coloring pages
I definitely plan on using this resource in my therapy room this week!!
Thanksgiving fun continues in my therapy room! We’ve been busy at play, utilizing lots of my favorite toys that elicit language and can easily be paired with stimulus cards for any goal (spoiler alert: stay tuned for a blog post in the near future on that very topic!). I’ve also been using my seasonal favorites like my Articulation & Phonology Thanksgiving Bingo Bundle and my Open-ended Thanksgiving Game Board and my Thanksgiving Dinner Core Vocabulary Set. My clients all love these resources, but I’ve found myself needing something that tapped into some additional skills like descriptive concepts, inferential thinking, stating opinions, and formulating sentences to support an opinion. So I’ve just created the perfect tool to target those particular skills as well as many, many others! Here it is, my WOULD YOU RATHER – THANKSGIVING EDITION!!
This Would You Rather Activity Set provides the perfect seasonal tool to target a variety of academic, speech-language, and literacy goals including vocabulary, receptive & expressive language, articulation, choice making, inferential thinking, phrase & sentence formulation, organizational language, written language, and more! This minimal prep (just print, cut, and go!) activity will be a hit with your students, and gives you the flexibility to use with differentiated groups and in multiple sessions.
WHAT YOU GET:
4 pages of Would You Rather text cards with 16 total Would You Rather Questions
4 pages of Would You Rather picture cards – for students not yet able to read and/or to use as visual support for students using text cards.
1 page of three model sentence starters for students to use when formulating verbal responses and when writing.
1 graphic organizer to organize thoughts for written explanation/rationale.
1 paragraph page for students to write their rationale for a choice they made on a select question (can be printed multiple times).
I hope you enjoy this therapy resource! I know I will, and I have a hunch my clients/students will too! Let me know how it works for you.
Anyone else love FREE therapy tools?! Here’s a new one just for you this Thanksgiving season. I’ve got three, FREE pacing boards you can download for your therapy room, classroom, or home! Pacing Boards are an excellent visual support you can use for so many purposes. Use these Thanksgiving-themed pacing boards to give students visual/tactile/kinesthetic feedback for reducing rate of speech, sequencing sounds/syllables in multisyllabic words, increasing mean length of utterance, formulating sentences, increasing conversational reciprocity and more!! These pacing boards can be essential tools to increase student’s independence as they practice skills; perfect for students to use at home, too! Just print onto cardstock or durable paper and/or laminate. Can also be used as game score cards, token reinforcement cards, pattern sets or sorting cards. I LOVE pacing boards because they are super versatile and students really benefit from these low-tech visual supports. Here you go! Free from me to you.
It’s finally November! Early Fall/Halloween season was such a fun, festive time, and now I am ready for MORE! I am of course looking forward to the winter holidays, but I am not the type of person who immediately starts singing carols on November 1st. NOOOOO. First we need to savor this special time of year when we count our blessings and offer thanks — and also look forward to a delicious feast! Thanksgiving season in my therapy room over the years has fostered some special memories. And I have created a LOT of Thanksgiving themed resources! Here are just a few I thought I would share:
Thanksgiving Descriptive Vocabulary Set – Target descriptive vocabulary in a variety of receptive and expressive language tasks with this bundled activity set. Skills addressed include: Thanksgiving Food identification and labeling, comprehension/use of color words in phrases and sentences, identification/use of adjectives to describe object attributes, categories and word classes, identification and description of similarities and differences…and MORE!
This Thanksgiving Articulation & Phonology BINGO Bundle is the PERFECT resource for your therapy room Target a variety of articulation and phonology skills with Thanksgiving-themed Bingo Bundle. This 84-page set can also be used to target object identification/labeling, visual discrimination, auditory processing at the word/phrase/sentence levels, comprehension of WH questions, seasonal vocabulary, language formulation, use of vocabulary and related descriptive concepts, and additional articulation/phonological skills. These open-ended boards are perfect for differentiated instruction of students in your small groups or larger classes. What you get…84 Pages in 6 different Bingo Sets:
Thanksgiving /k/ and /g/ Bingo
Thanksgiving /f/ and /v/ Bingo
Thanksgiving /l/ Bingo
Thanksgiving /r/ Bingo
Thanksgiving /s/ Clusters Bingo
Thanksgiving Consonant Clusters Bingo
Each Bingo Set includes:
6 unique color bingo game boards, each containing the same vocabulary words but in different positions on the boards.
6 unique black and white game boards for students to color
1 page calling cards (color).
Thanksgiving Receptive and Expressive Language Bingo – Super popular resource that I love to use year after year. And…NO PREP!! Target receptive and expressive language skills with this Thanksgiving Bingo Game. This 14-page set has been newly UPDATED and EXPANDED! Use the Bingo game to target object identification/labeling, visual discrimination, auditory processing at the word/phrase/sentence levels, comprehension of WH questions, seasonal vocabulary, language formulation, and use of vocabulary and related descriptive concepts. These open-ended boards are perfect for differentiated instruction of students in your small groups or larger classes.
What you get:
6 unique color bingo game boards, each containing the same vocabulary words but in different positions on the boards.
6 unique black and white game boards for students to color
1 page calling cards (color).
Thanksgiving Dinner Core Vocabulary Activity Set – This set is one of my personal favorites. Target functional communication, vocabulary, and a variety of language skills with this Thanksgiving-themed activity set! These activities are designed to provide students practice with making comments, expressing opinions, and formulating phrases and sentences using core words and Thanksgiving vocabulary.
WHAT YOU GET:
Sorting Activity Page – students can sort Thanksgiving foods into categories to express their opinion and show what foods they like.
Thanksgiving Food Picture Cards – Use for sorting activity; you can also print extras for a matching/memory game, or to use in literacy centers, on word walls, or additional crafts/activities.
Thanksgiving Foods Coloring Page – students can color the pictures to show what foods they like; you can also use this page for practice following verbal directions (e.g., “place a red X on all the foods you do NOT like”). You can print extras copies for use in literacy centers, task boxes, and more.
Sentence Strips with Carrier Phrases – these visual supports provide support for students formulating sentences to express opinions, make comments, and answer questions. The Thanksgiving Food Picture Cards can be used here to complete the carrier phrases.
Thanksgiving Dinner Core Board – this low-tech communication board utilizes practical core vocabulary words that are flexible enough to use with ANY activity. Students can also engage in structured practice for Thanksgiving dinner celebrations using this core board along with Thanksgiving Food Picture Cards or other visuals. Make extra copies for your classroom or therapy room!
Things We Can Say Practice Pages – these visual supports utilize a variety of messages for students to practice with foods they like and foods they do not like. These phrase-based messages are perfect for social interaction with family and friends and support students as they make comments, express opinions, ask questions, and answer questions.
These are just a few of the Thanksgiving materials I’ve created; I also have other activities (with more to come!) Is there anything you’d like to see? Let me know! And in the meantime, enjoy this Sweet November!
Halloween would NOT be complete without this favorite nursery rhyme — Five Little Pumpkins! I thought I would share the little set I made for my younger clients. This set includes all the story characters and elements to share the story, as well as coloring pages for students to cut and/or color to re-create the scene. Click the image below for previews. One of my favorites to share!! ENJOY!!
I’ve been having SO much fun creating more seasonal resources! With time to create, I’ve been dreaming up big and little ideas, which I am always happy to share. Here is a quick, little idea I had that I have actually been using in my own therapy room. I work with children of all ages and ranges of ability, so the variety keeps me thinking. I am seeing more children now who present with subtle language difficulties — they are verbal, articulate, and at first glance seem to be on track with their peers. But when you get to know them, you quickly realize that they need organizational language support and practice with both comprehension and expression. So I created this Halloween-themed activity set to provide scaffolded supports and practice with understanding and describing seasonal vocabulary. In this 7-page NO PREP set, I’ve included:
Formulating Descriptions Visual/Graphic Organizer
24 unique picture stimulus cards to:
elicit verbal descriptions of attributes
elicit formulated sentences
target wh question comprehension and formulation of responses
you can also print doubles of the cards to use as a matching/memory game! Always fun practice and extension opportunities.
10 WH question prompts to support verbal descriptions
24 WH questions to be used as stimuli for targeting of wh question comprehension and formulation of responses.
I’ve been having very good success with this set and with variations I’ve created over the years. The visual stimuli, graphic organizer, and structured wh questions appear to be a magic combo! Feel free to check it out if you want:
Happy November from LiveSpeakLove! As we polish off the last of the Halloween candy, many of us are gearing up for the next big holiday…Thanksgiving! November is typically a blur for me with the ASHA convention, American Education Week and anticipation of the ever popular Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa holiday season. But I always make it a point to very purposefully and carefully appreciate the moment that we have for Thanksgiving. I hope you do, too! To help get you get ready for Thanksgiving in the speech-language therapy room, here are a collection of Thanksgiving activities I made targeting comprehensive skill sets from the CCSS. These activity sets allow for differentiated instruction in individual, small group or whole class settings. Everything you need for this month in one spot…Enjoy!!
Do you know about PACING BOARDS? Pacing Boards are a MUST for any therapy room. I usually keep a stash of pacing boards, with varying shapes and colors in different length sets–stored in a pocket chart or hung from a magnetic clip so I can grab them quickly when I need them. They are easily accessed during a therapy session and are useful in almost any therapy activity. My gift to you on this Giving Tuesday is a holiday themed printable containing two pacing boards. Use these festive pacing boards to give students visual/tactile/kinesthetic input for reducing rate of speech, increasing fluency, sequencing sounds/syllables in multisyllabic words, increasing mean length of utterance, formulating sentences, marking grammatical structures in a sentence, increasing conversational reciprocity and more!! These pacing boards can be essential tools to increase student independence as they practice skills — perfect for students to use at home, too — just print onto cardstock or durable paper and/or laminate. You can print multiple sets and then cut the boards to include only two or three shapes — perfect for targeting formulation of two and three word utterances. These boards can also be used as game score cards, schedule cards, token reinforcement cards, pattern sets or sorting cards!! Hope you enjoy this freebie, and put it to good use…I’d love to hear how you use this resource, so leave a comment to let me know! Thanks for visiting LiveSpeakLove!
One struggling parent recently described her son’s speech to me as sounding “like nothing more than a robot.” This description spoke volumes about what it must be like as a parent of a child with autism or similar disorder. A child whose very personality is veiled by a mask of robotic speech — scripted sentences, drill-like productions, automated phrases to answer questions or label objects . As a mom, I can understand the ache that this mom was feeling for her child. She longed for a genuine conversation, a sweet moment to glimpse into her child’s mind and hear him speak with intention and meaning. Working in the public school setting and my additional private practice, I encounter many families struggling with this issue. A large number of my students are children with autism or similar disorders that include significant expressive language impairments. Many of these students are somewhat verbal, but their expressive language appears limited to verbal imitations of given models or simple, scripted sentences following a visual. Often, the presence of echolalia and/or attention difficulties further compound the expressive language issues. ABA or structured expressive language trials often increase verbalization of targeted concepts and scripted sentences, but the spontaneous language may still be very limited. As a trained speech therapist, I know that repetitive trials are often the key to skill acquisition, language memory and motor planning. But I also know that for students struggling with functional, spontaneous language, I need to move beyond the drills, repetitions and the neat sets of ten that convert easily into percentage scores. I need to create moments of intention and meaning that can be reinforced naturally, in the moment. There are a few tricks I’ve acquired that I consider very effective tools to create spontaneous language opportunities. I am pleased to share them with you here in my first official “Top Five” post. Many of these ideas may come naturally to you as a parent or clinician; maybe not. Either way, I hope these ideas will inspire you to think and reflect, and to seek genuine, spontaneous moments of language with your child or student.
Top Five Ways to Encourage Spontaneous Language:
1. Use Communication Temptations – I previously posted about lots of ways to “tempt” children to communicate. Temptation is a very powerful motivator. Though you may be finely in tune with your student and know exactly what they want or think, be sure to encourage functional communication skills as you interact. Offer activities that require the student to be motivated by something they want, need, love or desire. In my post, you can read some of the tools I often use and how to effectively create communication temptations.
2. Use Elements of Surprise – this tool is one of my favorites for increasing spontaneous language. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a quiet, hard-working but rather disinterested child suddenly come to life with exclamations of excitement, laughter and delight. The surprises do need to be varied and presented infrequently or they become, well, not very surprising. And some surprises might be startling or even scary for students, so you should closely monitor students’ reactions. But the right balance of surprise can be an extremely effective tool in fostering expressive language and meaningful connections with your student. Here are a few of my favorite surprises:
Surprise idea #1: Motion sensor toys – I have had very good success with toys that come to life in song, dance moves or cascades of giggles. These toys can be found just about anywhere they sell toys. My latest find is animals that roll and erupt in side-splitting, contagious, can’t-catch-your-breath fits of giggles. My students have all loved my new roly-poly giggling guy, who I first introduced as “my very kind friend who sometimes gets a little silly.” We enjoyed lots of laughs as we practiced language concepts. I have the alligator version of this toy, but it does the same thing as this little pig:
Surprise Idea #2: Planned “accidents” – Accidents catch people off-guard and create instant reactions. I love hearing students express their surprise, pleasure, or even worry as a train drives right off the track or crashes into another train. When a puzzle is “accidentally” knocked off the table onto the floor, I often hear complete sentences like, “Oh no, what happened? It’s ok, I’ll help you!” We work together to remedy the problem, and their spontaneous language is reinforced in a very real-word situation. (Photo courtesy of YummyDelicious.com.)
Surprise Idea #3: Hidden objects – Yes, it’s true, I am known as the Bag Lady in some parts around here. I often bring bags of interesting objects, toys or theme accessories with me. Admittedly born with a somewhat dramatic flair, I take pride in my ability to create an atmosphere of anticipation, mystery and eventual excitement/awe with a mere “something” hidden in a bag. Before the big reveal, I encourage students to guess what might be in the bag, accepting and reinforcing virtually any answer but also calling attention to the bag size and shape. Students can reach in the bag and pull out –whatever it is– which can be fun or even delightful to a curious child. Spontaneous language, as well as other targeted language concepts can be elicited as they react to what they have found. You can also hide objects buried in sand for students to discover as they dig, use the computer or smartboard to reveal hide pictures that can be revealed with the click of a mouse or stylus. Hands-on, interactive activities like these create opportunities for spontaneous language that traditional flash card or picture stimuli do not. (above photo courtesy of glamzzle.com.)
(photo courtesy of Vappingo.com) 3. Make Mistakes – Many times as I am working with a student, I purposefully insert mistakes to catch them off guard and create a reaction. Often, their reaction involves correcting my mistake, a task eliciting language targets without direct prompting. I may use the wrong word in my sentence and simply pause with a confused look on my face as I scratch my head and say, “Is that right?” Another mistake I often make is to hand them the wrong tool or object. If we have just decided to use a certain toy or game, I might hand them a puzzle instead, or maybe even the plant from my desk! A confused look from me usually elicits a reaction, and possibly a clarification of what I was supposed to get. One of my favorite moments using this “purposeful mistake” strategy was when a student remembered what I had done and spontaneously made a similar mistake in our next session. Before I could respond to his mistake, he burst into laughter saying, “I didn’t make a mistake; I tricked you!” Yes, REAL language, without structured prompts; a glimpse into his mind and heart.
4. Use Humor – Closely related to using elements of surprise and making mistakes, there is another skill I am proud to exhibit– the ability to be silly and often make a fool of myself! Whether it be acting out silly animal actions, donning a ridiculous hat or mask, or getting goofy during some interactive play, the use of humor can elicit focused attention, interactive smiles, giggles and of course, spontaneous language. One trick I tried recently came from an idea I found on Pinterest, originally from I Love 2 Teach. I modified the idea slightly and created a Boardmaker file of different voices to produce. I used the idea with a group of students working on following directions, and they each picked the voice they wanted me to use to give the direction. INSTANT engagement, amusement and focus on my verbal direction! I plan on using this tool in other types of activities very soon, encouraging the students to try out the different voices on their own. Here is the Boardmaker file for you to download:
5. Play – This Top 5 idea may sound obvious, as many clinicians, teachers and parents incorporate play into their time with language-impaired students. But play, REAL play, is essential for developing spontaneous language, social skills and creativity. Many children do not know how to play. They need experience and appropriate models. When I first began using play in therapy, I would bring out bins of fun toys and then initiate what I thought were interactions, but were actually play-based commands. “Okay, where’s the bear? That’s the bear! Ok, put the bear on the table. You say, ‘On the table!’ ” Sometimes my “play” more closely resembled correction…”No, that’s a chair; I said on the table, put the bear on the table. ” Looking back, I am pretty sure that the children to whom these commands were directed during their “play” time did not really have very much fun. These directives involved toys, yes, but the activity could hardly be called interactive play. Now, I realize the things I wish my much younger self had known. Specifically, real play should involve letting the child explore and choose what he/she wants to do, with interactions built-in to the chosen activity. Interactions are encouraged during moments of play as the child discovers what they find intriguing, amusing or just plain fun. I watch their behavior, and join them in their exploration. As we play, I initiate dialogue using characters or toys as the “speakers” As we play, I also model language production and elicit responses through play behavior, but I stay away from the commands. Throughout the session, I might encourage them to verbalize requests or imitate words and language concepts, but our play is child-led and consists of much more than a series of commands. Using true interactive play is an engaging activity that sets the stage for spontaneous verbalizations, comments, requests and engaging time to connect.
Okay, so there it is…my first Top Five list. Thank you for reading, and if you use any of these ideas, please let me know how it works for you. Thanks for visiting LiveSpeakLove!
I wanted to share a successful activity that I used with a group of students. We have been working on the formulation of sentences using correct verb forms. I posted previously about how to quickly extract Pinterest images from PediaStaff Pinboards to create activities for my interactive smartboard. We have all enjoyed the use of technology in our sessions, and students especially the sound files that are played as they interact with the images. Here is a snapshot of the activity I previously posted:
I have also posted previously about using Animoto to create multi-media videos using images I select. Students have really seemed to love the videos I have used so far. I decided to have a group of students help me create a video as part of their speech-language therapy, using images I extracted from the PediaStaff Action Verb Photo Library on Pinterest. To start, we reviewed the folder of images I extracted from the photo library, stored on the computer. Students took turns choosing which pictures they wanted to include in the video, and produced a sentence with their targeted verb form (e.g., “The lion is roaring.” or “The boy was crying because he was tired.”) As they took turns, I copied their selected images into a newly created folder to use for our Animoto video. After all the images were selected, we easily and quickly made our Animoto video. To make the video, we uploaded an mp3 file I bought for 99 cents from Amazon, and then we uploaded the images students just selected. We added a couple of text slides (as we reviewed the concept of Action Words, and the different verb forms each student was currently working on as their objective.) Ta-da!! Our video was created. After a couple of minutes to discuss each student’s progress, our video was ready to view. Students were amazed that the work they just completed was instantly transformed into their very own music video! This activity reinforced their work in such a dynamic, rewarding way. Students were excited, beaming and abuzz with chatter about how they had just made their own video — definitely a success!! I plan on using this technology tool again very soon. For your viewing pleasure, here is the video that my students created:
Interested in trying Animoto for yourself? Click here: Animoto
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