Work hard; play hard!

Work hard; play hard!
Consulting in Maui!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pull Into The Conversation

Click here to get a copy of the sheet you can post or hand out to students.
I picked up this $1.00 rope in the pet section at Target and use it as a tool to indicate to my students when they need to pull someone else into the conversation or to even pull themselves into a discussion with others. I of course, went for the red and white one because they are our school colors. So we call it the Panther Pull! It doesn't take long before they associate the rope with pulling someone into the conversation. This has worked with all levels of students.

Click here to get a copy of an explanation sheet.
  1. I teach my students that the rope represents the conversation.
  2. Each thread on the rope represents a sentence or a question.
  3. The threads (sentences) come together to create a topic (thicker red or white cord). 
  4. The change in colors on the rope represent the change in topics. I also tell them that they have to transition smoothly into the next topic, and that they can't just jump from one end of the rope to another. 
  5. Then I tell them that they can't be the only one holding onto the rope (conversation), and that they have to pull someone else into the conversation by throwing them the rope (asking them a question). Then once the person starts answering the question they have to let go of their control of the rope. 
I have used this mostly with developmentally cognitive delayed students. They catch on to these visuals and the concepts quite quickly. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Angry Birds Cup Stacking- The students get to make a large stack of the cups after they say each word or make sentences with the words. Then I bought the Angry Birds pencil cubes (You guessed it, TARGET!) and then they get to knock it down.

Carnival Cups...
here we are using the articulation and/or vocabulary cups in a slightly different way. The students take turns bouncing the ping pong ball into the collection of cups. If they get the ball in the cup they produce the word, make a sentence, give the antonym/synonym, provide a definition, etc. Then they get to keep the cup. The student with the most cups at the end wins the game. We had to define what "'get the ball in the cup meant". For us it meant either the ball stayed in the cup or knocked over the cup and rolled out, but it did not mean went in and bounced out of the cup. This was a fun game for the students.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How can you NOT love PINTEREST!? Here are my students playing the Cup Stacking Game in therapy! As you can see, I have printed on the bottom of the cups (r) words, (s) words, vocabulary words, antonyms, multiple meaning, etc.....I just have the kids produce the words or sentences.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Problem Solving Sheets

These are problem solving worksheets that I developed for my higher level social skills class.

I have used this with my students who are working on taking turns in conversation or working on connecting with others in conversation. It is a visual and tactile understanding of what it means to link into others through conversation. I have done it a couple of different ways. For the first way I put the links in a bowl in the middle of the table or the circle on the floor. Then I start the conversation and if a student adds to my statement with a follow up question or statement they get to pick one from the bowl and make their own link chains or add to my original link that I put down with the first statement. The other way I have done it is to give each student five links and then throughout the conversation they have to make five follow up statements or questions in order to get rid of their links. Both ways serve their purposes. I have also used it with blurters to visually LIMIT the amount of time that they may add statements to the conversation in order for others to speak. This works well in an elementary setting or in a lower functioning social skills classroom at the secondary level. 
We have also had one person stand up in the front of the classroom with their first link and tell something about their weekend. Then students ask follow up questions about the sharing and get to come up and link together in front of the class. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Click here for one of my all time favorite FREE vocabulary sites!
Site Credit:

It has printable vocabulary cards, the students can hear the word so they know how to produce it, and it comes in four levels from basic to the "YIKES...I don't know all of them!" level.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I have used the DOT game in the past, but I found these cute little Dot to Dot pads at Target by the cards so I couldn't resist buying them. I use them just as a motivator for both articulation and language. I have cards or use the chips with words on them to get response for their specific sounds or vocabulary skills. It gets you high number of responses with ease.

This is a sheet I created for my higher level social skills class. It is used to explain to the students that there are different layers of people with whom we interact no matter who you are. You explain to them that no matter who you are a person is always at a Level 2. To make this clear I usually say even police officers have parents or bosses, even the President of the United States has a mom or sometimes even a grandma. We need to monitor and adjust our level of communication according to what level you are interacting with. This was just used as an explanation tool. After that the students started calling each other out on their social hierarchy crimes.
The parents didn't always get it, but the kids got it right away!
As a speech/language pathologist and personally, I have never been a fan of Apples to Apples. I know!! Shock and awe! It is like creating the original sin according to the sp/lang bible. I am a fan of the Apples to Apples Dice game though that I picked up at Target (You would think I am part of Target's marketing as much as I plug this store!) this weekend.
I used it with my articulation kids and language kids alike today. They all seemed to like it. It was great to work on understanding what adjectives and nouns are and how adjectives can be used to expand sentences. I did use a small white board to help them with a basic sentence pattern to begin with. Then after that I let them create their own sentences using both the adjective and the noun. 
I adapted the game a little by having them start with five chips and then put the chip in the can once they were chosen as the best argument for the adjective. They liked getting rid of their chips for some reason better than earning them. 
So now I am a fan of Apples to Apples; however, I only am a fan of the dice version! :-)

Friday, September 14, 2012

I was SO EXCITED when I found these white boards at STAPLES! I use them to teach THOUGHT BUBBLE STATEMENTS (See for a whole set of worksheets on Thought Bubble Statements). I use these to have students write down statements on the thought bubble whiteboard if they said them out loud and they SHOULD HAVE been kept in their thought bubble. I also have used them to create THOUGHT BUBBLE STATEMENTS and then have them turn them into more appropriate statements. Either way, the students like to write on the mini white boards and it becomes more visual and concrete to them as they are learning about what should be kept inside of their thought bubbles.

Click here for TheraSimplicity site.

This is an easy enough cognitive or receptive language activity. Sometimes though the simple escapes us as therapists as we try to create. 
I give students their own white boards with their categories already on them or just three lines. This depends on the skill level of students. Then I give them three cards in three different categories. Obviously, the number of cards and categories can vary for differentiation purposes. Then the students figure out which category the various cards belong to. The EASY part I added (that the students LOVE...) is that once they feel like they have them all done they get to ring the bell. I KNOW! The first one to ring the bell AND get them all right is the winner of the point. 
I DO LOVE A GOOD BELL! Now I have two of them on my speech table that ring a different tone. I drive the mainstream teachers a little crazy, but I figure that is all a part of my job! 

ARTICULATION- I use the Trivial Pursuit pie pieces and pies for many things in therapy. I use the questions from the game or the Disney Trivial Pursuit game to practice on articulation reading and carryover into sentences. The kids really like earning the pie pieces. I found that this works well with students who are gifted also because they like the challenge of the trivia. I have never been good at Trivial Pursuit so that enjoyment escapes my understanding! :-) I find that the Disney one if even tough for me! I think that is another thing that my students love ineptness of the trivial. You could also describe (r) words or (s) words to work on those specific articulation skills.

LANGUAGE- For my students who are more cognitively delayed I have used it when we are describing items. I have picture cards and give them hints or descriptors one at a time. Then the person who guesses the item correctly from the description gets the designated colored pie piece. 

GENERIC- You can use the pie pieces and pies for many different activities. I have used it over and over again and find that my students really don't get bored with earning them.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Articulation Dominoes (r sound)

(R) Sound Articulation Dominoes- Today I made giant dominoes with some (r) sounds on them. The kids seemed to enjoy learning how to play the many different forms of dominoes. I think they like the giant size of the dominoes because we had to play them on the big conference table and the floor! I printed the (r) sounds, (s) sounds, (k/g/ng) sounds, multiple meaning words, antonyms, etc. all on different colored paper so I could use them for specific needs of the students.

Click here for a copy that you can adapt for the needs of your students. 

Here are my students giving the game a thumbs up! High praise for middle schoolers!  This is one of my boys' groups! I do love the energy and sarcasm of a middle school boys' group!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

LEFT RIGHT CENTER and poker chips!

Left Center Right Dice and a bunch of poker chips- 
I purchased a poker chip set at Target (Yes, my favorite store!) and the dice LEFTCENTERRIGHT game. The poker chip set came with five different colored chips and four sets of each of the colors. I use my blue chips for my (r) sounds, red for my (ch) sounds, white for my (s) sounds, etc. I also have one entire set reserved for my language students. Each of this colored set represents antonyms, synonyms, multiple meaning words, irregular plurals, and irregular verbs. This way I can customize the game for each of the students in the different groups. In the ideal world you know we would have articulation groups and language groups, but in the "real" world of speech you know we have combination groups! It all makes life more fascinating! 
Anyway the way we play this game is I give the student three chips to start with. Each of the chips has a word written on each side of it. So to start out the game I have each of the students produce the words or put their words in sentences before we even start. This way I get a minimum of six targets right away. Then they roll the LEFTCENTERRIGHT dice. They play according to the rules. The dot allows them to keep a chip, the star makes them put a chip in the middle, and the right or left have them pass one of their chips on to the player on their left or right. Now you can just play it with dice too. 1= save, 2= save (or pass it across the table), 3= save, 4= put in the middle, 5= pass to your right, and 6= pass to your left. 

The object is to get it down to one FINAL chip. The person has to SAVE that chip by finally rolling a dot or a 1-3 on a regular die. If it ends up in the pot then no one wins or there is a double prize for the next game. One last only roll the number of dice that you have chips. So if you have one chip you only roll one die. If you have 3 or more chips you would roll three die...never more than three. Oopppss....did I say one last thing...I meant TWO last things.....once you run out of chips you are NOT out of the game; someone can roll you back in and then you are good to play again!

How do you get the speech practice in there?? Every time they have to pass the chip off or put it in the middle they have to produce the word or put it in the sentence. 

This has been a hit so far! 
In case you are wondering, I just wrote with a permanent marker on the poker chips.

Cuponk a fun toy that I found at Target. 
So far I have used it for turn taking with my developmental cognitive delay groups. We used it to take turns naming items for categorizing. They LOVED it! I have to admit I kind of like the fun sounds it makes when the ball pops into the glass too! I am a kid at heart in therapy!
Then I used it with my articulation kids. They got one point for doing a tall drop of the ball and two points for doing a bounce shot. They had to either say one of their articulation words or make sentences with one of their words. 
I like this because you can make it so every kid is successful with the task! 
Here is to CUPONK! 

Transition Puzzle Pieces

I do LOVE my Target and their $1 bins! This is especially true in August and September when they gear it towards teachers! YEA for Target!
This is just a simple way to work with transition words. I bought foam puzzle pieces from the Target dollar bins and wrote my transition words on the pieces. Then I use them for telling a story or sequencing cards. 
Easy...............................and cheap! It doesn't get much better than that!

Bucky Balls- Conversational Connectors

Bucky Balls- Today I used Bucky Balls to demonstrate staying on topic and making connections. It was a simple visual way to work with my students. I introduced the topic by putting the first Bucky Ball (These are tiny, WONDERFUL magnets that pack a lot of magnetic power for their size!) into the glass cylinder. Then every time someone from the group added on to that topic by asking follow up questions, making connecting statements or answering questions, I rolled them a Bucky Ball and they got to put it into the cylinder and watch it magically (or magnetically) connect to the topic. Then if we made statements that did not match up to the topic the kids did not get a magnet. If they made a statement that connected with it but was a broader application to that topic we put the magnet ball on the outside of the glass. This demonstrated that the statement was still connected. Then when the connecting balls outside of the glass got to be three or more we talked about the fact that we had now switched over to the other topic (with good transition from the last topic) and moved the outside balls to the inside of the cylinder.
This was a good way for these students to visualize and actively engage in their understanding! The students in the group were students who were from a developmental cognitive delay classroom. All of the students in the group enjoyed the activity and at the end were fully engaged in trying to add to the magnet string of conversation!