How to Capture the OUTside IN Therapy- Fun and Easy

As lovely as it is to take your therapy session outside (click here if you missed that linky), there can be reasons why it is not the best way to go for certain students. One reason that comes immediately to mind is when the safety of a student is a concern. For example, if your student is a runner who tries to get away, you probably won't want to be outside unless the area is enclosed.
Another reason could simply be that your students are too distracted or self directed to benefit from being outside for any new skills to be taught, although for generalizing skills it may be perfect.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the weather is not cooperative! For all of these reasons, I liked to have a few activities ready to go that bring the OUTside IN!

This year I’ve been working on multiple meaning words with my older students.  They benefit from having models and learning in slow, repetitive steps. To generalize the skills they have learned this year, I’m having a modified scavenger hunt for multiple meaning words and placing items all around my room for them to find.
You can see some of the items I’m using, from both outside and inside, in this photo. After some desk work is done, my students will wander around my room to see if they can find any items that have multiple meanings, write the word and use it in 2+ sentences.  Some of the words will be ones I have targeted this year, while others will be new words to see if any of my students are able to generalize the skill. Bonus points will be awarded to any students who bring in a small item to add to the scavenger hunt.

I keep the wandering time short, so no one gets too silly, and spread the scavenger hunt out over a month. Since my students love contests, everyone who enters will get a bonus point.  Then, there will be small prizes for the most words found, the most sentences, and for having words that nobody else found. Everyone is a winner!

Interested in more ideas for using multiple meaning words in therapy? Click here, here and here!

When working with younger kids, there are so many wonderful crafts and activities to learn the language for OUTside IN your therapy room! I’ll feature one of them next week since I have to go dig it out of a box first. Have you changed locations and population ages very often in your career? What do you do with all of the materials that you are no longer using?

Are you interested in more helpful therapy tips and freebies?  Subscribe to the weekly newsletter or visit on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram:lookslikelanguage.

Taking Therapy Outside
When the weather gets nice and your students’ classes are going out, you don’t stand much of a chance of having happy students inside, sitting at your table. With a bit of planning, you can have some therapy ideas ready that will let you take your therapy session outside! 

The Frenzied SLPs are taking therapy outside this week!

When I worked with preschoolers, I used this as an opportunity to generalize skills for requesting. Swings and roundabouts are the best! You can push just hard enough for a short ride, requiring your students to ask for ‘more pushes,’ ‘again,’ or maybe descriptive words like ‘higher!’ or 'faster!'

Slides are useful for eliciting ‘my turn.’  All you have to do is stand at the bottom of the ladder, looking at the student and waiting for them to say ‘my turn’ before getting out of their way. Do your students need some extra help to talk about the playground? Click here.
When I was working with nonverbal students with autism, this was a great opportunity to apply the skills of looking at a peer and giving an object to them, which I had worked on all year long. I did this by introducing a very modified version of tag. I’d point at the student they needed to find, saying “Give it to __ ” using the same ‘give’ visual that I had taught inside the classroom. The student had to run with a small object, like a ring (the kind that is used in relay races) and give it to the named student. 

Some students needed me to run with them to learn the new game. Using the ring was nice because it made it easy to hold their hand and the ring at the same time, fading to both of us holding the ring, to doing it independently. Besides getting a small edible reinforcer for completing the task, it also provided negative reinforcement naturally- once their turn was done, they were left alone to run around! My bonus? It got me extra exercise!

Some students, however, may not benefit from sessions outside, no matter how appealing it seems to us. For example, some students have too much difficulty attending for you to be able to keep their attention when a wide-open space beckons. Other students I’ve had will try to run away when outside, becoming a safety issue. So, join me next week for bringing the outside into your therapy room! In the meantime, be sure to link up with the rest of The Frenzied SLPs for some great ideas!

4 Easy Games that SLPs Absolutely Need

4 Fun Vocabulary Games
Vocabulary drills can get pretty boring, but my students need a lot of practice to learn and maintain new vocabulary. This has challenged me to come up with many ways to keep practicing skills so I don't hear, "But we already did that!" I am currently using these games with multiple meaning vocabulary words, but you could adapt them to whatever vocabulary you are working on. If you missed my post about why I think multiple meaning vocabulary is so important, click here to find out. My photos show my multiple meaning word task cards, but read my hints for how to adapt this for any vocabulary you are working on!

1. Make an Organizer a Game!
I use a big soft cube that I got at the dollar store, adapting it to match my organizer by placing a sticky note on it. You’ll also notice I saved myself prep time by placing the entire sheet of task cards into a page protector instead of cutting and laminating. 
So, the game goes like this. Students can be assigned as odd/even or top/bottom for a group of 2. For four students, assign a corner. You get the idea, just be creative. The students took turns reading their cards and figuring out the word that they were assigned. Then, they rolled the cube to find the skill (the section of the graphic organizer) to demonstrate with their word. If needed, points can be given to have a winner. I use dry erase markers, in a different color for each student, and take data right on the organizer. The activity ended when one student filled in all of the sections with #correct answers. Another option is to end at # minutes and the student who has the most checks is the winner. 
It is easy to make an organizer by dividing a sheet of paper and filling each box with a skill that you want your students to be able to do using their vocabulary words. Then, place matching sticky notes on the large cube.

2. Connect Three
I like combining task cards with a game. Besides being fun, it keeps me from having to think on the spot! When first learning the words, I use cards with the vocabulary words. The students find the picture for the word and place their token on the space. In the photo, I had my students use task cards with picture supports to figure out which meaning the word has in the sentence. As their skills grow, they could name the vocabulary word for the picture they landed on, tell the definition and use it in a sentence with that meaning. You can easily make your own cards, or have your students make them, by writing the definitions on index cards and the vocabulary words in a bingo grid.

3. Using Comics
Comics are a great tool for language therapy! If you can find comic strips that use the specific vocabulary words, or the type of words, it is a fun way to generalize skills. Pictured are some multiple meaning comics that I use. My favorite source?

4. Bingo Board Bump
In this game, students slide a token across the bingo board and have to do the requested task with that word in order to keep their token on the space that most of the token covers. If they slide their token into with the most in a row and the student with the most tokens on the board when time is up are the winners. The plastic tops that fell off of my Ikea magnet set are great colors and just the right weight! This game is terrific for using vocabulary in sentences and defining words. It would work for synonyms, antonyms and core vocabulary, too. If your students don’t need picture cues, all you have to do is write your vocabulary words in a grid. 

I hope I’ve given you some ideas to spice up your vocabulary work! These games are easy to recreate with your own vocabulary, or you can check out mine by clicking here. You can also try out my free sampler by clicking here.
What are your favorite ways to practice vocabulary?

Are you interested in more helpful therapy tips and freebies?  Subscribe to the weekly newsletter or visit on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram: lookslikelanguage.

April Showers and a Freebie!

Water is so much fun and so much a part of our daily lives, how can we not help our students to have language to talk about it?  The Frenzied SLPs are posting about April Showers this week!
When working with preschoolers and limited students, it is so important to bring the language for daily activities into the therapy room! These activities are what they need to be talking about and provide the most opportunities for reducing communicative frustrations at home while generalizing skills. 

My favorite water activity at this level is washing the baby. Kids love this!  You can even do this in a therapy room that doesn’t have a sink.  Bring in a basin that is much larger than your baby, a washcloth, a towel and some soap. I love using roll-on soap as it is easier to clean up afterwards. The trick to limited splashing is putting just enough water in the basin that you can wash the baby, but not so much that it splashes everywhere.

The language opportunities are tremendous! I have my students request the washcloth and the soap, but I hold off giving it to them until they label where they are going to wash. You can label and elicit every body part in this activity! There are lots of verbs to model and use in phrases, too: wash the baby, wash the baby’s __, rinse the baby, splash the baby (if you are brave!), dry the baby, and dress the baby. Include spatial concepts: put in, put on, take off, wipe off, pick up, bend arms/legs, turn over, take out, etc.

There are many books you can incorporate into the session, although I’d read the book before you start the bath! It is also important to bring the parents in on this theme, since they can model the language with their kids on a regular basis.
Parents are much more likely to be able to follow up at home when your suggestions for them are based around daily routines that don’t involve planning or stepping outside of their comfort level. 

I have found that making a simple checklist works the best. You can adjust the level of the language for each child by checking off the words you’d like the parents to emphasize and having them initial the sheet after the activity is done. Once you have a template set up, it is easy to fill in your current theme, copy and send it home. 

In fact, it is so easy that I made a FREEBIE template for you to download!
If you’d like some April Showers ideas and a FREEBIE for older students, pop over to this post I did with The Frenzied SLPs.

Be sure to link back to The Frenzied SLPs for more great therapy ideas!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...