Thursday, October 25, 2018

A BeWITCHing SLP Circle Time: Room on the Broom

So many times, I've seen questions in Facebook groups about how to do circle time/whole class language groups as an SLP in the preschool setting.  Room on the Broom is one of my favorite Halloween books, and with lots of different characters/elements, all of the kids in the class can have their own prop to participate, making it perfect for whole group language lessons!

I'll walk you through exactly how I run it and all the goals you can hit, below:

Props to collect or print:
-Characters: witch, cat, dog, frog, bird
-Objects: broom, witch hat, bow, wand, pine cone (I legit dug through my Christmas decoration tub in my basement storage room to get one- #dedication), a bone, flower, stick, and a bucket for your "cauldron." I found my black jack-o-lantern bucket at Target for $1, and the witch hat was only $3!

I used a printable witch on a popsicle stick, and plush beanie baby toys for the animals (Looks like my 90s kid obsession paid off, after all... for circle time.  Totally worth the small fortune my parents spent, right?). 

I used a paint stirrer for the stick, a dog bone toy from a Pet Vet set (but you can find a cheap dog bone chew toy at Target for $1-$2), a princess wand from the Target $1 spot a few years ago, a fake flower (you can find these at any craft store or the Dollar Tree), and a pine cone from my Christmas decor! 

My broom was made out of brown construction paper taped together (::cue Iggy Azalea, "Fancy" ::(jk, I actually really hate that song)).  You can also search for clip art images for each of these items if you don't have objects available!

Give each of the kids a prop to hold ahead of time- this method went MUCH more smoothly than trying to give out props as we read the story.  Learn from my mistakes.

The max number of kids I have in a class is 8, so 7 students held an animal or an object that the witch lost, and 1 student held the bucket/cauldron.  There are enough unique characters/objects for up to 13 kids, though, if you hand out the witch, the 4 animals, the 3 lost items, the bucket/cauldron, and the 4 items that go in the cauldron.

Actions: I always, always, always try to incorporate actions into our circle time.  One- it's just good to be moving and keep their attention, and two- some of my kids on the spectrum have motor imitation goals!

In Room on the Broom, we do actions for...
-the part where the witch "looks around, but no (bow, wand, hat) could be found": we put our hands above our eyes like we're looking out, searching for the item

-tapping the broomstick

-"whoosh" they were gone

-stirring the cauldron

-flying through the air

Receptive ID: 
Give your kiddo a field of two choices, ask them to find a specific one, and that's the prop they get to hold.

Following Directions/Social Skills:
I put the broom in front of me while I read the story, with my popsicle witch laying on it.  When we got to the parts of the story where an animal found a missing item, whoever was holding the animal had to bring the missing item to the witch on the broom. 

For example...
Me: "Who has the dog?"
Student: "I do!"
Me: "Find the hat and bring it to the witch"
...And they would then go to whoever was holding the hat to get it and bring it over. 

(The frog finds the wand and brings it to the witch.  The bird finds the bow and brings it over)

We also work on "put in" directions with the items that go in the cauldron.  When all the items are in, everyone gets to stir it up.  When their turn is done, they have to either pass it on down the line, or choose a specific friend and tell them it's their turn.  Sharing is an important preschool skill! :)

Asking Questions + Core Vocabulary:
If you have kids in your group who are working on ASKING questions, make sure they are holding an animal, so they can come to the witch and say, "Is there room for me?" or "Can I get on?"

If you are modeling AAC with....
LAMP: model..
-"I get on?"
"Down!" (for each time it gets to the, "Down! Cried the witch" part)
"Go" (each time for "whoosh, they were gone")
"In" when putting items in the cauldron

ProLoQuo: from the home screen, model, "I come?" or "I get on?"  or, in the "places" folder, you can model, "Can I come?"  Also model "go" for each time they fly away

You can also program, "Is there room for me?" or "Down!" onto a Big Mack switch, too.

-Work on pronoun "she" with the sentences,
"She dropped a..." or "She said 'yes'" (to each of the animals when they asked to join)

Answering "yes":
-I have some kiddos working on answering yes/no without echoing back part of the question.  I'll ask them, "What did the witch say?" after the animals ask their question, and I give them the visual model of the ASL sign for "yes" right away to get them to say 'yes' instead of echoing.

This was more during individual therapy using this book, but I have one kiddo working on /w/ and /m/ sounds, so we worked on...
M: room, broom, me
W: Wet, witch, wand, whoosh, wind

This is one of my all-time favorite Halloween books, so I hope this gives you some ideas of how to use it for a whole group circle time lesson! Let me know you'll be using this book this Halloween!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Monsters Love School Halloween Activities

Halloween is my fave when it comes to therapy activities.  So many fun books, and "Monsters Love School" by Mike Austin is no exception! I discovered it over the summer, and love how these monsters can be paired with "Back to School" themed activities AND Halloween themes!

(Please note: Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through those links in this post)

I know this time of year gets crazy, so these book-themed activities are a BREEZE when it comes to prepping!

First up.. the book itself:
An inside look at a monster's day at school- how can anyone resist?! The little monsters have a school supply checklist for their backpacks (object functions, anyone?), and they experience different activities like art class where they make hats and masks. 

Why, thanks, Mike Austin, for basically planning my therapy for me.  Genius, I tell you. (More on the costume part later!)

The monsters also swing, read books, eat lunch, write, walk, and sing... so you can work on some simple action verbs and pronouns, too!

Click here to check out the book!

Play dough Monsters

I love this activity for following directions and basic concepts/prepositions.  All you need is play dough, some pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and beads (or fruit loops.. or anything else you could slide onto pipe cleaners!) I've also used small pieces of cut straws, too.

Some examples of how to target concepts and following directions:
“Put 2 beads on the tall pipe cleaner” 
“Get 1 big eye and 2 little eyes”
"Put 2 beads under the eyes”

OR, use them for articulation/phonology/apraxia therapy, and get an eye or a bead for each sound or word production!

Sensory Bin

Make a monster theme sensory bin! Toss some googly eyes into a bin of black beans, stick in some stimulus cards, and you're good to go! I used school supply Cariboo cards (part of my year-round vocabulary set) to work on object functions.  Click here to find them in my TPT store.

Make a paper plate monster! Print off any stimulus cards on colored printer paper (I used my school supply Cariboo cards again), and glue them onto a paper plate, along with a giant eyeball and a mouth. Voila- their very own monster!

I do crafts like this with speech sound Cariboo cards, too, so that the kids have something to take home to show what sounds/words we've been working on!

Another craft activity you could do is make a mask, just like the monsters made in art class! Perfect activity for Halloween!

You can work on following directions and basic concepts with this activity with different art materials like construction paper shapes, stickers, dot markers, sequins, etc... Or, just use it as a reinforcer activity to keep your kids' hands busy while waiting their turn in a group!

If you have an iPad, take pictures of the students wearing their masks.  Show them the photos, and see if they can guess WHO it is in the group that's wearing that mask.  I did this as a whole group activity for Little Blue Truck's Halloween, and the kids had fun guessing which classmate was under the mask! (And it was great for working on simple "who" questions!)

Which one of these activities is your favorite? Be sure to let me know if you're using any of these!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Preschool Circle Time Language Groups: PUMPKINS

Fall is in full swing, and with trips to the pumpkin patch likely on the horizon for many of our preschool kiddos!  I've seen questions come up often enough in the Facebook groups about whole group circle time language lessons in the preschool setting, so I wanted to start a series of posts to share fun and easy ideas in this area based on common preschool themes.  First up... pumpkins!

Materials needed:
-Book ("Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin")
-Die cut pumpkins with 1, 2, or 3 step directions written on them OR
-Printable pumpkin pages with directions on them (see further down for the link to download)

-Yes/No questions
-Where questions
-Following directions
-Social interaction

Book: Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin

I love this book because it's short enough and simple enough for those groups of kids that have realllly short attention spans, and you can target yes/no questions and "where" questions throughout the book.

"Where is Goose?"
"Is the pumpkin in the apple tree?"

Follow-up Activity: Following Directions Pumpkin Patch

Note: While you are reading the book, have the classroom teacher or a para hide the paper pumpkins around the room in places the kids can easily see and access.  After reading the book, tell your kids that they're going to all take turns to go to the "pumpkin patch" to find a pumpkin, just like Duck and Goose!

Activity targets: "where" questions, prepositions, following directions

Have your students one by one go find a pumpkin and bring it back to the circle. Ask them where they found it (under the table, on the chair, next to the bookshelf, on the table, on the floor, etc...) to target "where" questions and prepositions.

Next, read the directions and have them follow the two-step direction (or, modify as needed and give only one of the directions) on the pumpkin.  Afterwards, that student picks a peer, says their name, and tells them it's their turn.  If you have nonverbal kids, give them pictures of two peers to choose from.  If that child is mobile, help them give the photo to the peer they chose.  Go around until everyone has had a turn to "drive" to the pumpkin patch and get a pumpkin.

The other day, I heard one of the preschool teachers I work with use a song in her classroom that is perfect for this activity! The kids pretend they're driving a tractor while you sing this song:

(to the tune of "Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Firetruck"): "My friend (name) is driving to the pumpkin patch, my friend (name) is driving to the pumpkin patch, my friend (name) is driving to the pumpkin patch, let's see what (s)he finds!"

Some additional thoughts:
You can have just the child who found the pumpkin follow the direction once they get back to the circle, or have all of the students follow the direction-- I think it really depends on the size of the group and how difficult transitions are.  If you have a lot of kids who have a really difficult time with transitions, following directions with steps where they get up from their chair or spot on the rug, such as "stand up" "turn around"/"spin around" or "take a bow" on repeated opportunities may be more than they can handle at this point in time.

On the other hand, having all of the students follow the directions keeps them involved with the activity throughout the whole duration, and if you're counting this time as therapy minutes, you may be able to take data for following directions for multiple students at once.  Maybe mix and match-- some directions only the "finder" follows, and others you have the whole group follow.

Free download:

If you don't have access to a die-cut machine, or just want pre-made pumpkins, here are a couple options for you-- blank pumpkins, pumpkins with directions, and pumpkins with QR codes if you want to incorporate technology.

If you use the QR codes, you can tell your kids that the pumpkins all have a "secret message" on it, which they are sure to love!  These are text-only, so you don't need wifi to access the message.  I prefer the "QR Reader" free app.

Also included in the download are visuals for prepositions to help your kids describe where they found their pumpkin, as well as visuals for yes/no to go along with the book.

These also come in handy for your nonverbal kids to describe where they found the pumpkin-- you can give them two choices, and, if they have a communication device, model the words on their device as applicable (such as "in" or "on") afterwards ("You found it "ON" the table!").

Grab the download here!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Apple Speech and Language Ideas

Fall is my jam.  I love apple everything, cooler temps (though it's still been upper 80s and 90s here.. gross), boots, scarves.. the list goes on! Most preschool classrooms do an apple theme, and if you're following along with their themes, you probably want some fun and easy apple activities that specifically target your kids' goals!

My apple speech and language unit includes...

File folder activities that are great for kids with Autism who are using workbox-type tasks, or even those who aren't! Target size concepts /big, little/, as well as some additional core vocabulary words like "on" "off" "want" and "more" (want more, put on, take off, etc..)

Feed the boy/girl WH questions:

Questions are on apple cards you can feed the boy or girl (both are included) as you answer-- preschoolers love to force feed people and animals (ha) attached to various boxes/containers, and this is no exception!  Questions are a mix of apple-related and general WH questions.  12 apple-related what/where questions are included, as well as 12 each of general who/what/where questions (48 total questions).  Blank apples are also included, making this activity an open-ended option for any other goal, too!  To target core vocabulary words, model "eat" "in" "want" and "more."

This activity also works well in targeting pronouns-- "He is eating a yellow apple" "He is eating a green apple."  OR, use the category cards (pictured below) to feed the boy or girl different objects ("He is eating a cookie" or "She is eating a boat")

Associations and Go Togethers:

For this activity above, you will use the spinner to see which color apple to pick from the tree.  Once you pick an apple, name the item and something that goes with it.  For example, if your student spins and lands on yellow and chooses the yellow apple with the glue bottle on it, have them name the picture ("glue") and ask, "What's something that goes with glue?" ("paper") etc... Afterwards, they can smash a ball of playdough on that apple.

A blank apple tree is included, as well, so you can also use this activity to work on naming an item based on color (ie land on green, name something that's green, cover a green apple).

Also included are pairs of cards used to target associations/go togethers. The way I play is by lining up rows of apples and baskets (all apples in one row and baskets in another row), and play Memory by flipping one card over in the top row and one in the bottom row to see if the two items go together, and if so, how they go together.  You could also play by placing the apple cards in a sensory bin and leaving the basket cards out.  When you pull out an apple card from the bin, try to find the corresponding basket of an item that goes with it!


Sort the apples into the correct baskets based on category! 10 sets of categories are included, with four being basic categories (food, animals, clothing, transportation), and six being more specific categories (farm animals vs jungle animals rather than "animals,"  and "fruits" vs "vegetables" rather than "food."


Apple-themed Bingo cards to talk about parts of an apple, things you can make from an apple, and other apple-related vocabulary

"Parts of an Apple" interactive book with Velcro pieces to learn about the different parts of an apple.  Each page has visuals for a two-word phrase: the apple part + "on" . (for example, "seed on" "leaf on" etc...) to also work on the core vocab word "on" with your kids using AAC.

Playdough and Dot Marker Pages:
Several fun playdough and dot marker pages are included with this so you can use materials from this unit with any other goals you're targeting.

I adore these cute apples, and they make me smile each time I pull these pages out to use with kids!

I hope these activities will help make your apple theme planning a little easier! You can find the activities in my TeachersPayTeachers store here.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

7 ways to use Zingo in therapy as MORE than just a general reinforcer

I love using games in therapy because a) they're easy, and b) they lend themselves naturally to a variety of different skills, such as following directions, turn-taking, and learning how to handle a loss.

Often times, we might be using games as just a general reinforcer while we do drill with other skills, but today I wanted to share with you how I've used the game Zingo on its own to target a variety of communication skills, without needing any additional materials! 

Social Skills/Social Phrases:

Learning social phrases ("bummer" "aw man" "cool!" "good try" etc...) and how to handle it when a game isn't going your way are more great skills to target with this, or really any turn-taking game!  


I have some little friends who have a REALLY hard time waiting their turns.  We're talking meltdown city if waiting is involved. Turn-taking in Zingo is simple, with concrete beginnings and ends of your turn, which is one of the things I L-O-V-E about using it to target waiting your turn.

Common Object Vocabulary/Functions/WH Questions:

The picture tiles depict common objects such as "car" "apple" "boat" "tree" "train" "cake" etc... You can work on labeling these pictures, describing their function (when applicable), and answering WH questions about the items ("What do you do with a car?" "Where do you see a boat?" "Who drives a train?" etc...)


You slide the top (aka the "Zinger") OUT, picture tiles come OUT, and then you either put the tiles ON your board, or back IN the Zinger.  Lots of opportunities for repetition with these prepositions within the game.

Answering Yes/No:

Target yes/no by asking, "Is it a match?" or "Do you have a __?" Also a great opportunity to work on the concept of negation ... "not a match" or "I don't have a ___"


VC words: I used this with one of my little guys with Apraxia who is working on words that start with vowel sounds.  I was able to target the words "out" and "in" with tons of repetitions in a functional way, without it feeling like drill.

/SL/:  Do you have any kids working on s-blends? (#justkidding. I know you do.).  Practice the word "SLide" each time you slide the Zinger out.

"CH": I've used this game to target final "ch" with "match" and "no match."

/V/: Work on word final /v/ within the phrases/sentences "I have..." or "I don't have..."

/G/: Your kiddos can practice "go" with "It GOES on my board" or "It GOES back in."  Or, I've also simplified it to "go on" and "go back in"/"go in")


My turn, your turn, I got, you got, you have (#) left, I have (#) left, He has, She has... I go, you go... plenty of ways to target pronouns in a more natural setting/manner versus, say, using a card deck of pronouns.

Zingo is one of my favorite games to use in therapy because it's so easy to target a variety of skills! 

Looking for more ways to use games to target your communication goals without just using them as a reinforcer? You'll love this post on my favorite games for final consonant deletion! 

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round...

If you are following The Frenzied SLPs on Facebook, you may have seen our series of one-item therapy activities.  In case you missed it, I shared ideas for how to use one activity (I know, I strayed a little bit from the one "item" theme) to target a variety of goals for your EI and preschool caseload using a school bus and farm animals while you sing!

First up-- articulation goals!

You can target a mix of earlier-emerging sounds /p, t, d, h, k g/ just by naming the farm animals as you sing the song, "Who stole the bus from school today?" "Pig!"  "Pig stole the bus from school today...." etc...

I actually got the idea for this song while working with one of my 5 year olds on SH and CH.  We sang this song, and used the carrier phrase, "I choose...." for each verse when he had to choose which animal we'd sing about next.

The same little friend was responsible for helping me create this play scheme with the farm animals.  We talked about who stole the school bus, how they woke up late and chased after the bus ("Stop the school bus!"), how they had to follow rules like standing in line to get on the bus, encouraging some of the shy animals to get on the bus and "come to school", etc...  

These materials are great for working on CV and CVCV syllables with your kids with Apraxia using mostly the animal sounds.  We sang about the farm animals and their sounds to the tune of Wheels on the Bus, and pushed the bus back and forth to each other!

I changed jobs/settings this year, and part of my caseload is early intervention.  I have several toddlers with Down Syndrome on my caseload who are working on imitating early sounds, babbling reduplicated syllables, saying first words, and imitating environmental/animal sounds.  They LOVE singing, and love pushing the bus back and forth! I can hit lots of their early speech and language goals with animals and their sounds.

Have students working on prepositions? Have them place the animals in different places on/around the bus, or have the animals form a line to get on the bus and have your student place each animal in front of/between/behind another animal.

A lot of core vocabulary words can be targeted with this activity if you have AAC users on a device that is core-word based, like Words for Life or ProLoQuo.  The images above gives you some ideas for words and phrases to target while you're playing/singing.

You can use this activity with your kids who are at varying levels of PECS stages.  If they are at the single icon level, they can request a specific animal, or request to make the bus "go."  At the two-word level, they can request/comment "animal+go" and "animal+in" and at the three-icon level, they can use the combination "animal"+"go"+"in."

I love the EI/preschool population! They are so much fun, and they are typically entertained by the simplest of things; hence, how I entertained the majority of my caseload with just farm animals, a school bus, and my (awful) singing (Adam Levine, if you're reading this, I am in definite need of a voice coach. Call me.).

What other ideas do you have for using a bus and animals to target speech and language goals? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Target Dollar Spot Finds for Therapy- February 2017!

Well, it's a good thing I struck out on everything I tried on at Loft over the weekend because I went to Target on my way home to pick up 3 things (bananas, milk, and peppermint extract) and proceeded to spend all the money on all the things non food-related:  Target clothes (because I obviously need more than the 8 cardigans already in my closet) and therapy materials in the Dollar Spot (I mean, it's for the kids, right? Right.)  I wanted to share the things I found in hopes that you can find them at your Target Dollar Spot, too!

First up.. These felt boards! *swoon* (pretend there are several heart eye emojis here) I love the transportation one for labeling transportation vocabulary, answering WH questions, concepts/following directions ("Put the blue plane under the sun" etc..), and sorting into categories.  It comes with 11 felt pieces to sort into 4 different locations.

I also used this with one of my AAC users who is using ProLoQuo, and I modeled transportation vocab, as well as phrases using core vocabulary like "go up there" "in there" "up here" "go on" etc...

Here's a closeup of the pieces included: a submarine, ship, sailboat, two rockets, a jet, an airplane, a bulldozer, racecar, train, and police car

One of the other things I LOVE about it is that the back of the board has a pouch for storing all the pieces, and it folds into fourths and ties with a ribbon to hold it together, so it's super easy to store!

The dollhouse felt board set is amazing, too! I love it for household/clothing vocabulary, and following directions.  It had several "lift-the-flap" components to it, too.

It includes 14 manipulative pieces: 4 girls, 8 clothing pieces, a pie, and a cat...

...and folds out to several different rooms.  Here in the kitchen, you can pretend to cook a pie in the oven (the oven opens up), eat/drink various items from the fridge, wash hands at the sink, sit down at the table, etc...

In the closet, you can give directions to hang certain clothing items on the hangers, put the cat on the chair, talk about the clothing items on the background and where they would go, and try on different clothes ("Give her a blue dress") 

You can also have the dolls (and the cat!) take a nap/go to bed.

There are also some outdoor scenes, with the front of the house, and this nature background:

Also found in the Dollar Spot: these reusable sticker clings with background scenes! I picked up the dinosaur and woodland creature ones, but they also had a king/queen/castle/dragon sticker scene, too! 
These are great for targeting following directions with basic concepts.  

You can find the short mountain, tall mountain, put dinosaurs on top of the mountain, in the water, next to the rock, above the tree, below the volcano, etc....

I think the dinosaur one in particular is great for describing.. since they're all dinosaurs, you have to be descriptive/specific in which one to get!
For example, "the blue dinosaur with green spikes" "the blue dinosaur with a long neck and glasses" "the green dinosaur with a yellow belly" etc...  Have your students give you, or each other, the description of which dinosaur to get and where to put it-- with two sets, you could play it as a barrier game.

The forest friends set below was too cute to pass up:

And the dinosaur fingers... oh, the dinosaur fingers.  

 You basically put these on your finger, pull back, and fling with your finger and they go FLYING. I tried to sneakily hit my unsuspecting husband while he was on his computer, but grossly underestimated how far they'd fly.. ha.

This could probably get out of control really quickly, and I'm definitely only planning on using this with kids who I think could handle this and not get out-of-control revved up from the excitement.  I'm thinking we're going to fling these at artic cards propped up against the wall.  I'll report back and let you know how it goes. These would probably make awesome reinforcers, though, if you have older artic kids that aren't motivated to come to speech.

Lastly, there was this super cute, couldn't-pass-up, bug catcher with a frog on it.  I'm not 100% sure what I want to do with this yet, but I think it would be cute to use my "spring" and "bug" themed Cariboo vocabulary cards with this.

Happy shopping, friends!!

01 09 10