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!!
The end of summer…the beginning of a new season, a brand new school year…anyone else just LOVE that fresh, back-to-school feeling that makes you just want to get ORGANIZED and ready for Fall? Back to School season is one of my absolute favoritetimes of the year. Buses rolling through the streets again, children skipping along with back packs and book orders, with visions of soccer games and Halloween costumes not far behind them. Soon we will be ushering in brisk nights filled with pumpkins, scarecrows, hoodies, colorful leaves and homework at kitchen tables as the dusk falls early around our homes. Such a wonderful time of year, filled with promise and the forgiveness of a new beginning. Maybe I am a little sappy and cliche about the back to school season, but to me, this season is the beginning of what life is really all about. Are you ready to start on the right foot??? LiveSpeakLove is here to help! I’ve just posted one of my favorite back-to-school activity sets! This original set is the perfect activity for the Back to School season as classroom routines are formed and baseline data is collected. Use the materials in this set to introduce Back to School vocabulary and the Back to School theme unit. Print duplicate pages to create memory games, take-home practice pages, learning center activities and more! Target receptive and expressive communication skills with wh questions, sentence formulation activities, describing object attributes…these materials can be adapted to meet ANY articulation or language objective. Aligned with Common Core Speaking and Listening standards for multiple grade levels, this set is GREAT for differentied groups!! Hurry, on sale now in my TPT Store!!
Whoo loves owls? We do! I just planned an owl-themed birthday party for my daughter, and had so much fun with all of the owl ideas. Many of the ideas I found would be great as part of an owl unit in your speech therapy room! I even have a few curricular-based activities and visuals to share. Read and click for tons of owl ideas, resources and activities!
Want to start your owl-theme with a book? Here are some Owl-themed tales that can be used in an owl unit or as a book study feature for a single lesson. Click on the image below to see a HUGE list of owl books available for children:
An owl craft activity can be a great follow-up to an owl-themed book. How about an owl-mask? Below are some pictures of the owl masks I made using brown cardstock and paper, and ribbon. I cut out circles using fancy scissors, and used a circle paper punch for the eye cut-outs (but you could trace a circle and cut out by hand, if you’d rather.) Then just use a hole punch and ribbon for the mask ties. I hand-drew my template, but there are lots of templates online here.
Here’s my birthday girl in her mask:
And here is the assortment, ready for her party:
We also had owl goodie bags — wouldn’t these be cute as gifts for students or to use as category or attribute sorting bags, parts-of-speech bags or (stuffed with tissue paper) used as story characters? Just add circle eyes, fold over top of brown or colored bags, and staple! I added text to the back of ours as a “thank you” message to guests, but you could customize the owl with your own text or writing. Click on the picture to download the template I made:
I often use “cooking” as an activity to reinforce a theme. How cute are these owl cupcakes? Just use oreos for the eyes (I replaced the creme filling in ours with pink fondant cutouts, which is very easy to do, but you could leave the oreo filling on yours if you wanted to keep things simple.) Add Junior Mint eyeballs, a triangle nose (mine are made from candy orange slices) and oreo wafer pieces for the eyebrows. You could make a visual recipe in Boardmaker, focusing on sequential directions and descriptive word concepts. And then students get to eat their creations!
We also made a fun, Mama Owl cake, inspired by this cupcake-only version. Our Mama Owl was cut out of a large 1/2 sheet cake, with the cut-out remnants used to create the nest below. We used oreos, fondant cutouts, peach rings and junior mints for the eyes, candy orange slices for the nose and toes, chocolate wafers, sprinkles and chocolate chips for the feathers and brown sugar and pretzel rods for the nesting materials. This cake could be used with a large group as a celebration of some sort or as an Owl Unit finale…too cute not to share!
Owls are fascinating creatures, really. An owl unit is the perfect way to study these animals and their unique attributes. Here is a vocabulary sheet to use for an owl unit introduction or as a word bank for worksheets or related activities. Just click on the link for a free, downloadable copy:Here are a few more links to help you plan your Creature Feature Unit starring Owls:
Most teachers, SLPs and parents know that the internet is packed with creative ideas for turning regular, ordinary items into useful tools and treasures. If you have spent any time on Pinterest, you may have a sense for just how crafty people can be in their DIY endeavors. Something I recently discovered. more than just clever or cute in its purpose–with aesthetically pleasing qualities, combining with elements of function and organization to create an invaluable visual aid– paint chips. The power of paint chips is pretty exciting to a visually programmed SLP like myself, with a love for all things crafty and colorful.
Using paint chips to create treasures is apparently as basic as scribing a single character with a magic marker, or as complex as combining mixed-media techniques to fashion an abstract expressionistic design. Etsy is filled with ideas for creating home decor, gifts and other designs using…yes, paint chips. Here are some of one crafter‘s clever projects:
PediaStaff explains the word family game that can be used in a variety of educational or therapeutic activities. Extending the idea they describe,articulation therapy tools could be created by changing the “word family” unit to target sounds in the initial or final positions of words (e.g., words that end in /k/ or words that start with /b/.)
Inspired by finds like these and others I’ve come across on the Internet, I decided to adapt helloliteracy‘s idea of using paint chips to increase vocabulary and word knowledge skills:
Teachers in my school have been reading and discussing a book, Donavan’s Word Jar, with students daily as part of a school-wide initiative to increase vocabulary use and comprehension. I have been working with many of the teachers by recommending developmentally appropriate words on which to focus, as they expose and incorporate higher-level synonyms into everyday classroom vocabulary. The paint chip idea clearly became the perfect tool to jump in on this initiative and reinforce word knowledge, word relationships, and synonym usage. I soon trekked eagerly to my nearest hardware store and made a slow, casual approach down their paint chip aisle. Seeing the spread before me, I wanted to grab handfuls of every luscious, vivid color. Unfortunately, frequent glances from the staff member at the paint counter, combined with the guilt I felt at the idea of taking items meant for customers actually buying paint…I chose only twelve strips and silently vowed to shop at that very store the next time I found myself in the market for paint.
Using the coveted, colorful strips and PECS symbols created with Boardmaker software, I created a visual display, a Synonym Word Wall which I titled, “Color Your Words With Shades of Meaning.” I hung the display outside my therapy room where students frequently pass while traveling through the building. I’ve seen and heard many students already reading the word wall and commenting on how the colors and words “match” as they “change a little.” Students who come to me for therapy are excited to arrive and label the pictures they see, identify colors, or list synonyms for basic words.
Reflections on paint chips and their many applications randomly appear in my mind throughout the day and, admittedly, the night (isn’t that what all busy moms do — lie awake at night and make mental lists of everything that deserves more attention?) I envisioned paint chips used as pacing board activities, phoneme segmentation , multi-syllabic word production, formulation of 3-4 word utterances, topic boards, visual process charts, graphic organizers for sequencing and story retell….can you SEE why I am so excited about rows of gradient, colored squares??? I also wondered (possibly out loud) if there are ways to obtain paint chips without feeling like a shoplifter. Obviously, asking the stores for old paint chip samples could work, or possibly scouring yard sales and second-hand stores in hopes of finding old paint chip books. With neither option really fulfilling my desire to use these paint chips -RIGHT NOW- I decided to make my own. You could easily make your own too, in whatever shades you desire using one of the many graphic programs available. I quickly made a sample using Boardmaker software tools, and converted the file to a PDF. You may download the sample for free and enjoy the technological advantage of digital paint chips. Add your own text, clipart, visual prompts, etc. to create the exact activity or tool you need:
Feel free to share your ideas for other ways to use this tool in your classroom, therapy room or home. I would love to hear how others are using re-purposed goods like paint chips. Thanks for checking out LiveSpeakLove!