Spooky Speech Crafts!

Yesterday, I shared some of my favorite activities for getting my kiddos up and moving a little bit during speech.  Today, I’m going to share some of my favorite Halloween crafts to do in speech this time of year.
First up is Marshmallow Ghosts, a craft that makes me laugh every time I pull it out because of what one of my preschool kids said to his teacher after we were done making it.. 

This kid was SUPER motivated by food.  He kept asking the whole session if he could eat the marshmallows.  I told him that he could have a couple to eat when we finished making our ghost.  He ran back into his classroom afterwards and told his teacher, “Hey! That lady out there shared with me!” (We were doing therapy out in the commons/pod area).  It became a running joke the rest of the year– granted I was new to him that year, but I had worked with him 4 days a week for 10 or 11 weeks at that point and he apparently still had no idea what my name was.. I was just “that lady out there” who shared with him!
Anyway, I digress.. Back to the craft! I let the kids have 1 marshmallow for every repetition.. so 5 repetitions=5 marshmallows to glue on.  They’re motivated to do more repetitions, so it’s a win-win for everyone!  If you can’t use food at your school during therapy sessions, you could use cotton balls as an alternative and cover the whole ghost rather than just the outline.
Another craft we make is another one I’m sure you’ve seen on Pinterest.. Spooky Speech Spiders! This pin was my inspiration.

This craft is super easy to prep– we have die cuts in our workroom, so the body is just the large circle die cut, and the legs are strips just cut with the large paper slicer.

I’ve had a couple preK parents tell me they really enjoy the crafts sent home from speech because then they know what sounds they’re working on that week.  After every word they practice, they get 1 leg to glue onto their spider.  I write the words on the legs in white crayon, and when we’re done, we go back and practice all the words again!

A new craft we did this year was for the song/story 5 Little Pumpkins.  I kept seeing activities for 5 Little Pumpkins all over Pinterest (I guess it’s pretty obvious at this point I have an addition to Pinterest…), so I decided to incorporate it into my therapy and make it into a craft!
This was also an easy craft to prep.. again, just using a pumpkin die cut in our staff workroom and prepping strips by using the paper slicer.  For the speech kids, they got to glue a strip of paper (part of the “fence” / “gate”) after every set of 5 repetitions.  For language kids, we worked on Halloween-related WH questions and glued a piece of the craft after every question.  I also targeted some basic concepts like top/bottom and up/down vs side to side while we built the fence & put on our pumpkins. 
What are some of your favorite crafts for Halloween time?

Movin’ Mondays: Spooky Speech Fun!

I absolutely LOVE Halloween.  It’s my second favorite time of year, second only to Christmas.  I have an entire BOX full of Halloween materials for speech that I look forward to using every year!

Here are some of my favorite up-and-moving activities for Halloween week!

1.  Toilet Paper Ghost bowling

I saw this on Pinterest (link here) during my first year in the schools, and have had a blast with it every year! I typically do this with an artic group of 2– one kid practices their words, then bowls, and while they are setting the ghost pins back up, the other kid is practicing their words.  The second kid bowls, and while they are bowling/setting back up, that first student is practicing speech words again.  That way, each kid is busy with something and there’s not much down time where a student is just waiting for their turn.

I also just saw a variation of this activity today from a new blog, Cheerful Speech Chatter, using bowling pins.. super cute!  http://cheerfulspeechchatter.blogspot.com/2013/10/ghost-bowling.html

2.  Pumpkin beanbag toss

This is pretty simple, but my kids love beanbags! I had them toss beanbags onto a pumpkin, and they had to tell me the number on the pumpkin they landed on (working on number recognition).  The number on the pumpkin was either the number of times they said their speech words (with artic cards) or the number of cards they had to do before their next turn (with the language kids; ie 4 pronoun cards, 2 vocab cards, etc.. Or, you could do it this way with artic, too, and have them do 3 cards 5x each or 4 cards 5x each, etc… for even more repetitions!).  You could modify this for kids working on MLU and put pictures underneath the beanbag and have them use 3 word phrases like (“I got ___”   “I found ___” or “___ under pumpkin” etc…)

One of the preK teachers I worked with last year had some super cool beanbags that one of our previous preschool parents had sewn her, and one of the beanbags was made from a skull & crossbones pattern– perfect for Halloween and my little boys LOVED using it for this activity.  They asked for it almost all every. single. time.  Unfortunately, I don’t work with that teacher anymore so I no longer have access to the skull & crossbones beanbag — I think I need to learn how to sew just so I can make a set for myself! Surely it can’t be too difficult, right?!

3.  Ghost Footprints

I got the inspiration for this from the blog, “Toddler Approved.”  I modified it a bit to fit my needs, and used these Fall Concepts Bingo pieces to tape on to the ghost footprints.  The kids have to listen for a specific picture to find (i.e. find the pumpkin UNDER the table, ON TOP of the table, etc…) and then hop onto that footprint to “catch” the ghost before he floats away.  The kids were giggling the whole time… Oh to be a preschooler again… 🙂

4.  Trick or Treating with speech cards

I’m pretty sure I saw this idea somewhere out there in blog-land/Pinterest a couple years ago, but I have no idea where I saw it first.  I have a couple little trick or treat bags like this one below from the Target $1 Spot

I taped pictures of candy pieces to the back of speech cards, and then hid the cards around the room.  The kids got to “trick or treat” around the room and collect as many pieces of “candy” as they could to fill their trick or treat bags! We practiced each word before putting them in the bag.  Again, you could modify this in any way to fit your kids’ goals! You could work on increasing sentence length by using phrases like “__ in ghost” (or whatever your bag is) “Ghost eats ___,” or “Put in ___.”  
Check back tomorrow for a post on a few Halloween-themed crafts I like to do in therapy, too! What are some of your favorite Halloween activities to do in speech?

Awesome Apps!

Last year for my birthday/Christmas, I put iTunes cards on my wishlist, thinking that I’d maybe get one or two $10-$15 cards.  Wrong.  When all was said and done, I ended up with $125 in iTunes credit! I actually just found one of those $25 cards when I cleaned off my desk at home the other night–I had never redeemed it and it was just sitting on my desk this whole time! I also found a $5 Starbucks card while organizing… talk about hitting the jackpot! Coffee and iPad apps are two things that can make my work life a little a lot easier on crazy days when I don’t have time to plan! (Well, let’s be honest, coffee helps pretty much any day, regardless of how crazy it is…)

So, thanks to all my generous family members, I’ve had the chance to sample a lot of apps! For today’s post, I’m linking up with Speech Room News for her Love It & List It: Language Apps!
As I’ve stated before, I work with preschool students, so that’s what my favorite apps are geared towards.  Up first… Peekaboo HD!  
This is a FREE app similar to Peekaboo Barn that I use all the time during Farm week.  It is great for basic farm animal vocab and WH questions relating to the farm animals.  An animal is hiding behind a haystack and makes its noise, and the kids have to guess the animal before touching the haystack.  When you touch the haystack, it opens up to show the animal behind it and says its name (but you can turn this option off if you want!).  I like that it has the printed name of the animal, too– the more opportunities to incorporate literacy, the better!

All of my kids love this app and so do I– so many ways to incorporate different goals! Turn taking is super easy to do with this app (as are phrases like “my turn” and “your turn”).  You can use it for ‘be’ verbs and -ing verb sentence structure (“Cow is hiding” “Dog is hiding” etc…).  You can even throw in some speech practice with early developing sounds! (Cow/moo, bird/peep, barn, hay, dog/puppy/bark, etc…)

#2: Mr Potato Head!

I love this app because of all the different potato heads you can create.  It’s great for requesting (“I want hat”), increasing MLU/using carrier phrases (2-3 word phrases– “hat on” or “put on hat”), and vocabulary for clothing and body parts (both receptive and expressive! ie “Show me his shoes” or “What are these?”).  You can target final consonants with this, too, using words like “on” “off” “put” etc.. in a carrier phrases.
#3:  What Goes Together? By Smarty Ears
I target associations a lot in therapy with my older 4 year olds and 5 year olds.  I like this associations app best out of any others I’ve tried because of the amount of customization you can do.  You can choose how many correct pictures you want on the screen, various categories of stimulus pictures, level of difficulty, and whether you want to do expressive vs receptive tasks. 
With preschool, I typically only do a field of 2 with 1 correct picture, and I almost always have it on the ‘receptive’ setting but can easily target expressive on this setting, too.  I love that you have to hit “next” in order to go to the next stimulus picture, and that it doesn’t do it automatically.  This way, when I’m on the receptive setting and the student chooses the correct picture, I can take the time to ask them how or why the two items go together, before moving on to the next picture.  This app is $9.99 in the App store.
I also have another few apps I like to use for baseline data when I’m collecting info for annual IEPs. 
1.  Compare & Contrast Fun Deck by Super Duper:  Easy way to get data on explaining similarities/differences between items. $2.99 in the App store
2.  Understanding Inferences Fun Deck by Super Duper:  I use this to get some data on their ability to make inferences in picture scenes.  Also $2.99 in the App store
3.  The ABA Receptive Identification series apps– I have the ones for identifying items by feature and by category.  I also have one for identifying items by function, but for some reason, it’s not showing up on the kindergarten.com list of apps, nor will it show up in the iTunes U.S. store– not sure why!!
Do you use any of these apps? What are your favorite apps to use in therapy?? Head on over to Speech Room News to check out what other SLP bloggers have listed as their favorite language apps, too! Click on the image below!

Movin’ Mondays- Beep! Beep! Sheep In A Jeep!

A couple weeks back, we had our farm theme in PreK.  One of the books I used was “Sheep In A Jeep” by Nancy Shaw (Amazon link here).

While I was researching ideas on Pinterest (where else?) to use with this book, I saw this craft, which inspired this idea to make a jeep to use in speech to go along with the book!
How cute did this turn out?! To make the jeep, just take a rectangular box and cover it with red paper (mine is covered with bulletin board paper that we have in the staff workroom at school).  Fold all the flaps down except for one in the front for the “windshield.”  The wheels & everything else are just made from black & gray construction paper.  
What did we use it for? I used it for a beanbag toss with different farm animals.  The sheep went driving and picked up his farm animal buddies along the way 🙂 

Here is a board from Boardmaker Share you can download for farm animal pictures.
Some different ways I used it:
  • Vocabulary:  I used this to work on farm animal vocabulary.  A lot of my kiddos can’t name very many farm animals! The kids had to pick a beanbag and name the animal on it before throwing it into the jeep.  You could also target this receptively with two or three beanbags out at a time, and tell them to “Find the sheep” or “Find the pig” before tossing in a beanbag.
  • EET/Describing: For my older preschoolers working on describing (older 5s going into kindergarten next year), I had them pick a beanbag and describe the animal on it before tossing it in.
  • Inferencing:  This goes along with the vocabulary piece, but for some kids with basic inferencing goals (ie naming items when they are described), I described an animal and they had to guess which one it was.  After they guessed, they found that beanbag and tossed it in.
  • Increasing MLU:  We worked on combining 3 words together while tossing the animals in.. “Pig goes in” “Horse goes in” or “Pick up sheep” “Pick up goat” etc… You could also use “Take out (animal)” when taking the beanbags out of the jeep!
  • Articulation:  I used this as a general reinforcer for my artic kiddos.  They got to toss in a beanbag as they practiced their speech words.
As you can see, there are a lot of different ways to use this activity.. and I am all about adapting an activity to target a variety of different goals! The kids really liked getting to stand up and move around a bit during speech– their little bodies can’t stay still for long!

What are some of your favorite activities to use with Sheep in a Jeep? I’m always looking for new ideas! 

Movin’ Mondays: Putting Out Fires!

October 6-12 is Fire Safety Week, so I thought I’d share a fire-themed activity we did in speech where the kids were up and moving.  I cut out a bunch of flames and taped them around the room– on doors, windows, cabinets, etc…

I used this activity for my artic kids.. I had them say 2 of their speech words 5x a piece before handing them an empty water bottle (their “fire hose”).  Once they had the water bottle in hand, they ran to a spot in the room that had fire on it, and “sprayed” the fire out with their “fire hose.”  They got to spray 1 flame before they had to run back to me and practice 1-2 more words 5x a piece, and then they got to run to another fire before running back to me again.
                      (this guy was running so fast to put out the fires on the filing cabinets that I couldn’t get a non-blurry picture!)
I have to give credit to the new SLP that I’m working with for this idea– I saw her setting it up for her preschoolers, and thought it was too cute not to use with mine!  My kids loved it!  
What are you doing for Fire Safety week?

Co-Teaching Tuesday: Pete the Cat in the PreK rooms!

I’m a day late with it, but here is the latest Co-Teaching Tuesday post!

For small groups in the preschool rooms during Pete week, I did a coloring activity that focused on vocabulary.  I used these coloring pages that I made from last year, where I printed a picture of Pete the Cat and wrote “I love my {color} shoes” above him.  I then printed/cut out black and white coloring page-type pictures of items that are the same color as the named shoe color, and glued the pictures all around the page before making copies.

For small groups, I had 3 brown bags, each containing pictures of the different colored items on the pages (i.e. 1 bag had the red items from the red shoe page, another bag had all blue items from the blue shoe page, etc…).

I had each kid take a turn drawing a picture out of one of the bags.  They had to tell me what it was and what color it was, and then whoever had that item on their page could color it.

This activity lent itself easily to working on a variety of other language targets, too!  We hit WH questions (i.e. “Who lives in a tree?” on the green page), categories (i.e. “What are some other fruits?” for apple on the red page), and functions (“What do you do with a banana?” on the yellow page).  We also did a little bit with basic concepts, like talking about fast vs slow animals when the turtle picture was pulled, named things that were hot vs cold when the sun was pulled, etc… The kids seemed to really like it!

Find all the other activities we did with Pete in speech by checking out this post!

Method To The (pre-k screening) Madness

Madhouse.  That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of many of our preschool screening days.  We move VERY quickly, and get information on speech/language, cognitive, social, fine motor, and gross motor skills for about 5-6 kids in the span of around 1hr/1hr 30 min just depending on the group.  In my district, we hold preschool screenings on the first Friday of every month.  Any parents with children 2:10 to 5 years old (and not yet in kindergarten) who have concerns about their child’s development can call and sign them up for a screening.

Here’s a rundown of how our screenings look:

  • Kids start out at the train table, playing –> We see if there’s any interaction/social skills.  SLPs start the simultaneous language samples!
  • Kids sit on the carpet and listen to a story –> Psych gets data on their ability to attend to the story and any inappropriate vocalizations/movements (i.e. if they get up and run towards the door crying for their parents.. or scream “I don’t like you!!” to a member of the team.. neither of which is out of the ordinary! One of those two things will happen at least once on a screening day!) 
    • I get some info on answering questions, making predictions, and usually a little bit of vocab, depending on the book
  • Teachers split up– 1 at gross motor, OT at fine motor, 2 at cognitive, 1 doing social skills with the psych.  Myself and the other SLP pretty much just hop from table to table taking language samples and sometimes pulling them aside to do some quick language tasks with them!

This is what my language screener form looks like:

You can grab it here.

The teachers check concepts & do vocab pictures for me during their cognitive screening, which is why there’s nothing listed for it on my form.  The ECSE teachers do the Get It, Got It, Go! (G3) testing 3x a year, and picture naming is part of it, so they pick 10 pictures from that set to use. If you’re doing it yourself, just pick 10 pictures of common items and keep them together on a key ring!

For concepts, the teachers have some blocks and a bowl and ask them to put the block in the bowl, take it out, put it on top, take it off, put it under, etc…  The number of concepts is just dependent on age.  For the 3 year olds, we do the basic in/out/on/off/under, and use pictures of early opposite concepts (Which item would be hot? Which 1 is big? etc..  Hot/cold, big/little, wet/dry, clean/dirty are all good early concepts!).  For 4 year olds, we do a little more (like front/back, rough/smooth, etc..).

At the end, if there’s any kids with speech concerns, I do a quick artic screener.  I was initially using one from my district that was there when I got there, but it wasn’t very visually appealing so I wasn’t in love with it. BUT, I recently found this articulation screener from Let’s Talk Speech Language Pathology and I LOVE it.  Easy to assemble, easy to read/interpret, and just all around simple.  Love it.  Seriously.  The only thing I wish it had were s-blend pictures/boxes.. but I just went ahead and made those myself for my own personal use!

What are the different tools you use for prek screenings?  Do you think my form would be helpful for you?

Movin’ Monday: Movin’ & ‘Groovin’ with Pete the Cat!

Oh Pete.. who doesn’t love Pete the Cat and his carefree, no stress, “it’s all good” attitude? We love Pete here in preschool!

One of my goals this year is to do more activities where my kids are up and moving around while working on their speech/language goals, instead of sitting at a table.  A lot of my little ones have a really tough time sitting still for any length of time (and to be honest, I can’t really blame them– I sat in an inservice for 7ish hours last week, and while I loved the speaker and it was interesting, I know all of us SLPs were really struggling to stay focused and alert while in our seats!), so I wanted to try more activities with movement to keep them more engaged!

Anyway, I decided to kick-start my Movin’ Mondays feature by sharing what we did a couple weeks ago to “move and groove” during Pete the Cat week!

(note his ‘groovy buttons’) 🙂
We did different activities based on what book we were using.  For the “Four Groovy Buttons” book, we used this big hand-drawn Pete and his buttons to work on following directions and simple basic concepts, like:
“Put the yellow button on top of the pink button”
“Move a green button to the bottom” 
“Put a small button next to a big button”
“Put the red button up high/down low”
You could also target same/different with 2 same/2 different color buttons!
For articulation, we went on a “button hunt” around the room.  

When they found a button, they had to say a speech word before moving on to find another button.  

MsJocelynSpeech has some cute button articulation packs on TpT, like this /k/ pack, and TeachSpeech365 has a “Button Bananza” following directions pack on TpT, as well, if you are looking for some other general button-themed activities!

We also used my “Snazzy Sneaker Articulation” pack on TpT that I made to use with my “back to school” activities.  They also went perfectly with the second Pete book, “I Love My White Shoes.”
We played Memory with these cards, and went on a “shoe hunt” with these, too!

 What can I say? My preschoolers love hunting for any and everything!!

One thing I did to adapt the shoe cards to fit a language goal happened while I was with 2 students– 1 was artic, while the other was working on using complete sentences with is/are.  I started off by having the one working on ‘be’ verbs hide the cards while I did some drill with the artic student.  The student working on articulation had to find a card, and bring it to the other student.  That student had to tell him “This is a ___” and name the item.  The artic kid then had to say the word 5x.  When they were done, I let them switch roles for hiding/finding.  It worked well and kept both engaged while working on two different goals simultaneously!

This book is also great to target associations/categories (i.e. things that are red, fruits, things that are blue, etc…).

What else did we do for Pete week?

“Rockin In My School Shoes” wonderful for some basic vocabulary (labeling) and object functions for preschool.  I found clipart for a variety of the pictures in the book (soccer ball, guitar, book etc…) and we used these pictures to play games for labeling objects and identifying object functions.

This book is also perfect for modeling short simple phrases/sentences for your increasing MLU kids.  I would model a sentence for them on each page and have them imitate (i.e. “Pete eats lunch” “Pete slides down” etc..).  This book in particular also lends itself well to inferencing and “where” questions!

The Harper Collins website has a Pete the Cat “Memory” game you can print off. I used this to model phrases/sentences, and also used this to target pronoun “He” and ‘be’ verbs (i.e. “He is sliding” “He is eating lunch” etc…).  I have also used this just as a general reinforcer activity!

Carrie’s Speech Corner had some fun ideas for coloring pages that I used, as well.  Check out what other activities she used on her blog, too!

What are some of your favorite things to do with Pete the Cat? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s “Co Teaching Tuesday” post for the Pete-themed activity I used in the prek classrooms during small groups!