Back to School Week! If You Take A Mouse to School

It’s that time of year again.. Back to School! Last week was the first full week with kids, so I began seeing my caseload & working out all the kinks in the scheduling (you know, a school-based therapist’s favorite thing to do!!)

For the first week, I used the book, “If You Take A Mouse To School” by Laura Numeroff to base my therapy sessions around.

I had a big book, too, which made it even more fun!

Building A Mouse House:
At one point in the story, the mouse builds a “Mouse House” out of building blocks.  I adapted this, and used my Jenga blocks as the building blocks.  

My artic kids got to roll a die and the number they landed on was the number of productions they had to give me and the number of Jenga pieces they could pick out to build their Mouse House. You could also work on following directions by giving them instructions on how to build their mouse house!

Roll & Cover/Stamp:

I also made these diy cover-all/stamper pages to go along with the book.  Easy as a general reinforcer activity for a variety of goals! See below for the link to download for free!

Lunch Box Craftivity:

You can use whatever arts/crafts supplies you have on hand.  I happened to have dino stickers I picked up on clearance at Michaels a while back, so it kind of matched the lunch box in the book.  

You can download the lunchbox page along with the roll & cover pages for FREE right HERE

Cariboo for vocabulary:

I am L-O-V-I-N-G that I took the time this summer to make Cariboo card sets for all of my themes throughout the year.  It’s making life easier already! My school supply cards were perfect to incorporate with this book.  I can adapt Cariboo for a lot of different things, but I use it mostly for vocabulary and answering questions.  

You can find the Cariboo cards HERE & read about how I use the game HERE. Jenna at Speech Room News also has a post with a great idea on how she organized these cards– you can read that HERE

Mouse Speak: Articulation

Last Spring, I made a universal articulation companion pack to go along with all the “If You Give A Mouse/If You Take A Mouse” books. It features all of the earlier-developing sounds in all positions of words & can be used with any of the Laura Numeroff “Mouse” books (or any other cute Mouse book, such as “Mouse Paint”). Sounds /p, b, m, n, w, h, t, d, y, k, g, f/ are included.
We had run out of lamination at school, so I didn’t get a chance to prep them in the Spring, and forgot they never got prepped until I went to look for them on that Monday morning– whoops! But I definitely plan to have them ready before I use “If You Take A Mouse to the Movies” this winter! If you want to check them out, you can do so HERE.

What do you do for the first week of school?

Cariboo Cards- How I use them, How I store them, and a compilation of cards with a free download!

The school-based SLP Facebook group has been all abuzz lately with therapists finding Cariboo left and right at thrift stores and yard sales, and wondering how others use the game for therapy purposes.
I’ve been using Cariboo since I first started at my job a few years ago. I work with preschool kids, but elementary kids love this game, too! There’s just something about the suspense of whether a ball lies underneath the door being opened, and that final reward of the treasure box popping open!

 The game is frequently requested and highly motivating, so I use it all the time. I have Cariboo cards to go along with each theme I use in therapy, and wanted to make them available to you, too!

My latest TpT creation is a compilation of of 28 themed sets of Cariboo cards, for a total of 450 cards to use with your Cariboo game!! You’ll be set on Cariboo cards for the whole year!

It includes a set of each of the following themes: 
Getting To Know You, Back to School/School Supplies, Sports, Brown Bear Brown Bear, Farm, Fall, Fire Safety, Halloween, Dinosaurs, Winter, Christmas, Arctic Animals, Polar Bear Polar Bear, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring, Insects/Bugs, Circus, Summer/Beach. Ocean Animals, Transportation, Jungle/Zoo, and THREE sets of cards for Community Helpers (45 cards in all for Community Helpers! includes community helpers, their vehicles, and their tools/items associated with them)

Each themed set has a different color border, making it easy to differentiate which cards belong with each other.


FREE DOWNLOAD: Check out the Cariboo cards and see if it’s something you may like. While you’re there, download the preview for a Getting To Know You FREEBIE set of Cariboo cards to use during the first week of school, or anytime you get a new student!!

In addition to SLPs all over the country finding Cariboo, another topic as of late in some of the Facebook groups is “How the heck does everyone store all their TpT materials?!”  Well, let me show you how I store all of my Cariboo cards!


I keep a binder that stores all of my cards.  I hole-punched cardstock and put Velcro on both the Cardstock and the laminated Cariboo cards.  I keep all the cards for a theme on the same page.  I like the binder method because I can put the pages in the order of my themes for the year, and it’s easily accessible from either a desk drawer or a bookshelf.

I also keep Velcro on my actual game.  For me, it just makes it easier to swap pictures in and out quickly, because I don’t have to slide them in just right– I just slap them on and go (because let’s be honest, I’m pretty much *always* in a hurry!)  This way, I also don’t have to worry about the pictures sliding off, either.

So, I have all the cards, and I have a way of organizing and storing the cards.. Now what? How do I USE all those cards?  Of course, everyone’s caseloads are comprised of different needs, but here’s a few ways I use Cariboo:

 *Listening for Details/Basic Inferences: I describe a picture on one of the boxes, and they guess which one I’m talking about– When they find the correct one, they open the box to see if a ball is underneath.

 *WH Questions: This ties in to the basic inferences– after they name the item, often times, I’ll ask them a question about it to get in some extra practice with WH questions– something almost all my students need! I like to use Cariboo to work on story comprehension questions, as well. I’ll have pictures of items or characters from the story and they use those pictures to help answer my questions about the story.  Cariboo makes it SO easy to incorporate those much-needed visuals for my students!

 *Describing: I have worked on some early, simple describing with some of the older preschool students (going to kindergarten) in mixed groups with peer models within the classroom. One of the students describes a picture to their peers, and the peer whose turn it is has to find the correct picture and then open that box.

*Concepts:  I’ve made a couple Cariboo sets depicting basic concepts (ie find the snowman with a tall hat, find the boy standing in front of the tree, behind the tree, etc..), but you could also work on top/middle/bottom with any pictures.  For example, if you had the dinosaur set on there, you could “Pick a dinosaur in the top row” or talk about what’s on top vs under the door– Are the pictures on top of the door or under the door? Are the balls hiding on top of the door or under/below the door?  Was there a ball under there or was it empty?

 *Vocabulary: As I said earlier in the post, I swap out pictures almost every week to go along with our theme. Cariboo makes it super easy to work on picture naming skills (which, again, many of my students struggle with!) and to do rechecks of themed vocabulary words.

If I were to be told I could only use ONE therapy tool for the rest of my career, it would be Cariboo.  The kids never get tired of it, and as you can see, I can target a variety of different goals with just this one game!  Do you use Cariboo in any ways I haven’t listed here? Tell me your ideas!

UPDATE: An expansion pack has now been created to target additional vocabulary, including pronouns and verbs

A phonology set to target phonological processing errors has been created, as well!