Wednesday, March 26, 2014

All Aboard! Train Activities for Transportation Week!!

Below is the very first post I wrote last Spring when I thought I wanted to start blogging, but never actually ended up publishing it (I wasn't in love with the original name for the blog that I came up with). Now that I'm starting to blog about activities for Transportation week, I thought it was as good a time as ever to finally publish this post!


“I love Thomas!!”
“Can we play with Thomas today?? Pleeeeaaasssee??”

It’s Transportation Week in PreK, and thanks to Goodwill, Jenna @ Speech Room News’ “Train Articulation” cards, and a super awesome parent of a former student of mine that gives me her kids’ old toys/games, I’ve had LOTS of squeals/shouts of excitement about the spread of train materials we’re using in speech this week!  I had a Thomas game, Thomas trains, a wooden train station, and train articulation cards to kick off the week!

School SLPs always have jam-packed schedules with little time to be switching out a lot of different materials between each group.  We also typically have groups of kids with mixed speech/language goals, and it’s just not feasible to create different materials for every goal within the group for every session.  When possible, I sometimes like to try to adapt one set of materials to target a variety of goals, which is what I did with the Train Articulation cards (seriously one of the best $4 I've ever spent as a preschool SLP!).

Vocabulary/WH questions: Named the pictures on the cards and talked about their different parts (i.e. wings, beak, feathers, etc… for the “bird” card), and also answered WH questions about the items pictured (ie “Why does a bird have wings?” “Where does a sheep live? etc…)

Concepts: We talked about how the object pictured might feel (i.e. dog’s fur is soft, knife is sharp, etc…).  For spatial concepts, train cards were put on top of the station, under the station, in front of/behind/next to the station, etc…

Functions:  To address object functions receptively, I’d place 3 cards on the table.  I’d describe the function of one, and they would drive their train to the correct card, and then pick it up and “drive” it into the station.  To target this concept expressively, I gave them a card and they had to give the function before driving it into the station.  We tried to see how many cards we could get to the station before time was up!

Associations:  To target this receptively, I put one card at the top, and two cards below it.  One of the two cards on the bottom would go together with the top card.  I asked them to drive their train to the picture that would go together with the top card.  To target this goal expressively,  I picked two cards that went together and had them tell me how/why those two items go together, then they ‘loaded up’ their two cards onto the top of their train and drove it to the train station!

Basic Inferencing:  Some of my students were working on some basic inferencing.  II would set out 3-4 cards and describe one to them (i.e. for bird: “I’m thinking of an animal.  It eats worms.  It lives in trees.  It has wings”) and they drove their trains to the correct picture.

This is a little gem I found for $1.99 at Goodwill last summer. (Heck. Yes.) You can find it here on Amazon (it retails for about $23.. apparently a major score on my part!)

I used this with my artic students and after every couple words they practiced, they would draw a train card from the pile (I had the cards spread out face down on the table).  If it matches a train on their board, they keep it, and if not, it goes back in the pile.  The first to fill up their board wins!  

This also lent itself nicely to a mini social skills lesson on how it's okay to be frustrated that you didn't win, but it's not okay to shove the game off the table when you're feeling that way!! :)

PS- You might even be able to make a DIY version of this game by Google Image searching for different Thomas characters and creating your own board.

Making Learning Fun has a Dot Art page for trains, as well. The stampers/Bingo markers are a go-to activity that I use regularly!

Stay tuned for more general (non-Thomas the Train) activities for Transportation week!

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