The Halloween Challenge Continues! Play and Learn

Turning trash to Halloween treasure- that is part of what this Halloween speech/language therapy challenge is all about!  If you have missed any of this series, start here. Be sure to catch the freebie in this challenge!


One set of Target Dollar Finds.
One set of old materials.
One experienced SLP.

That would be me! I'm Linda, the very busy SLP from Looks-Like-Language.  Don't ask me why, but I have a hard time throwing out containers. Especially re-usable containers. I've also noticed that I come up with therapy ideas when under pressure. It can be the every half hour pressure of our work lives, when students walk in the door and you know that your plan won't fly without some modifications, or, as in this case, when I have the pressure of this challenge! 

The Halloween Challenge Loot! Looks Like Language
I used two of my Target finds in today's challenge. The skull erasers don't erase well at all, but they are really fun to toss! The spiky little balls are another fun find. 

The old part of the challenge? I had a empty wipes container to recycle, but when I looked at the wiggly opening, it said 'monster' to me! 

Then, I needed something to address my students' language goals, so I chose Halloween Costume Bingo, an inference game I made a while ago and recently updated. Tossing an eraser on your answer to cover it always makes the learning a little more fun, whether you are using the riddles, the word cards, the inference set or a combination of the three to meet your groups' varied needs!

My students have a lot of problems with literal questions still, often due to a lack of experience and a limited knowledge base, making inference questions even harder. But, being able to make inferences is a really necessary skill for both school work and for daily life social situations.  

So, how to get kids who are literal (SO literal) up to the level of being able to make inferences? My solution has been to start with a basic theme, Halloween in this case, build the knowledge base and transfer the skill from literal to nonliteral by using pictures to help make the connections.
Ideas for learning to infer- The Halloween therapy challenge-Looks-Like-Language

Riddles, with picture cues, are a good way to begin helping students learn to give details and then make inferences. If they have a limited selection of pictured choices, they can learn to listen and connect the clues to one of the items in the pictures. 

The bingo costume game boards are in this photo, but if that provides too many choices for your students, just cut one of the boards apart and make lotto strips instead.

Once students recognize details about the costumes, it is time to move on to expressive skills. I believe that if our students aren't capable of recalling information to tell about an item, they certainly aren't going to be able to call it to mind and then use the details to make an inference from them.

Enter my monster game, thanks to the wipes container. 

Hungry Monster:

Toss one of the skulls and see which word card it lands on.  It is the student's job to tell 3 things about that costume/item to keep the skull. If not, the hungry monster eats it. Take the card away after a student has given information about it. When all of the cards are gone, see who has the most skulls at the end!

Save the day:

Make a prediction: Will you be able to save the day and get the spider balls back into the haunted house? Or will the monster eat them all? Roll one of the spider balls and see which card it lands on. Again, tell 3 details about the item to toss the ball back into the haunted house. If you can't think of 3 things, the monster will gobble it up!

Kids love to play games and make believe. If they seem like they are a little too old, they often still enjoy the challenge and being able to toss some balls around. Play makes life a little more fun! Varying the game and the cards being used builds skills and keeps you from getting the comment, "But we already did this!" quite as much.

Find the things you need to use this idea here:

The haunted house clip art is free from Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.

The fuzzy monster graphic is free from Amazing
The Halloween Costume Bingo Game can be found at my store.

Have fun playing and learning!

Work Collaboratively with More Success and Less Stress!

4 Tips for SLPs- Making it work! And one time it didn't! Looks-Like-Language with The Frenzied SLPs
Working with our students can sometimes be easier, in a way, than working with our colleagues! I'm joining up with The Frenzied SLPs to give some hints we picked up over the years for working in collegial relationships.

Collaborating with teachers can cover a range of experiences. I find it usually helps if you are able to choose which teachers to work with initially and when to be present in the classroom, so that you have some feeling of ease about how to address the IEP goals before walking in the door. 

For example, in elementary school I was comfortable with addressing all of the linguistic concepts needed for math word problems in the classroom, but I don't feel that way about joining a middle school algebra class!

Even when you have a working relationship of mutual respect with a teacher, it takes some time to develop a co-teaching style that you both are comfortable with. Since this journey is different with every teacher you will work with, I'll just give a few points to consider.

Collaborate with more success and less stress! Look Like Language

1. Try to have a short discussion with the teacher to find out when she will be most comfortable having you in. For example, she might feel less stress having you in at the end of the week when her content has been covered and she is doing activities to review and pull it all together. 

Alternatively, she may love to have you in at the beginning of the week when she is introducing vocabulary and basic concepts.  It all depends on her teaching styles, your comfort level with the subject area, and the needs of the student.

2. Be prepared to do more observation than intervention in the very beginning. Watch the teacher's teaching style, figure out how you can address your goals during that time period without causing a major disruption in her routines, and be sure to find out her comfort level with throwing out comments! 

Some teachers don't mind having you join in and speak, while others are very uncomfortable having their flow be disturbed, preferring that you be more involved at a specific point during the time. Coming up with visual supports and other strategies for the student to use, with minimal discussion, can be helpful in this situation.

3. Realize that, especially in the beginning, you won't necessarily feel that the same amount of personal intervention with your student has taken place. Your first priority is to build a relationship with the teacher and observe how the student's language needs are impacting his ability to do well in the classroom. 

Once you have established these goals, the interventions you put in place will be more likely to be supported and used by the classroom staff even when you aren't in the room, making up for the slower start.

4. Be flexible! Working with your coworkers demands the same skill set you use to adapt the work and the flow of the therapy session for each of your students. You have to fit yourself into the spot where they are and try to move forward together.

Do you like all of the ways you have to work collaboratively with others? What is your least favorite? Mine, quite honestly, was having student interns. I just didn't know what to do with myself while watching therapy all day long!

The Halloween Therapy Idea Challenge is ON!

If you saw my post earlier this month, you know the challenge is on!
One experienced SLP- that would be me!
One old material- this Halloween box I purchased at Starbucks a few years ago and never used. (Yes, I do tend to keep certain things way too long!)
One new item from my recent finds at Target- that would be the number clings.

Now, for how many ways to use it!

Halloween Therapy Challenge- Looks-Like-Language
1. Articulation in Words
Roll a die and say a word with the target sound that many times correctly to be able to open one of the boxes with the same number that was rolled. Take the cling and throw it at the room window, trying to get that number to stick in the "hoop." The hoop can be any area you define on your window.

2. Articulation in Sentences
Roll a die, then say that number of sentences using the target sound correctly to be able to take out the number cling and throw it at the window. This time, try to get the cling into the spot so that the numbers will be in correct order on the window.

3. Vocabulary
Place the target vocabulary words on slips of paper, putting one in each box. Take the next number that is still on the sheet and open up the box corresponding to that number. Give that number of details about the vocabulary word that was in the box, such as definitions, a sentence, synonyms, antonyms, part of speech, and things associated with it. If you can give the correct number of pieces of information, throw the number at our section of the window. If it falls off, it goes back on the sheet for someone else to use.

4. Inferences
Place the number cling inside the boxes, but don't worry about matching the numbers. Use the inference cards from Halloween Costume Guessing Game, Halloween Inference game, or use your own inferences. The first student to make the correct inference about what is being described gets to open the box with the matching item and take out the number cling.  Count that many students around the group to see who has the next turn.

5. Answering WH Questions
Place the number clings in a box with the matching number. The students roll the die to find out how many questions need to be answered. You ask that number of varied WH questions, on a Halloween theme (of course!) and the student gets to open the box if all of the answers were correct. If not, the next student takes a turn. The number clings wait on the table in front of the students who earned them until all of the boxes have been opened. After ready, set, go, it is a race to see who is the first student who can get all of their numbers to cling to the window first.

6. Grammar
Write varied target grammatical forms on slips of paper, putting them in the boxes. Multiples in each box are okay. The student walks to the window and takes off a number cling, then comes back to the able and opens a box with the same number. The student has to used all of the words that were in the box, along with the name of the Halloween item that is pictured on the front of the box,  in a sentence or a short story. The box stays in front of the student if all of the grammatical forms were used correctly. If not, the papers and the box go back into the haunted house, the cling goes back on the wall, and the next student takes a turn. Students try to get the most boxes in front of them to win the game.

7. Narratives
Place the number clings inside a box with a matching number. Students roll a die and choose which of the two matching Halloween characters will star in the story. If a story with your minimum number of the basic story grammar parts is told, the student opens the box, takes out the number cling and throws it at the window. Their score is the number of story parts plus the number rolled. See who has the greatest score after each student has had a turn.

8. Following spatial directions
Place the number clings randomly in the boxes (one in each box.) Give the student directions to find the pictured Halloween item that is in the cover of the box. If the students followed your directions and named the correct item, they get the number cling inside the box to throw at the window.

9. Following directions with linguistic concepts
Place a target linguistic concept in each of the boxes. Roll the die to see which box to open and take out. If the students follow your verbal direction for that concept correctly, they can throw the matching number cling at the window. If it falls off, you keep it. When all of the boxes are done, see if the students score on the window beats your score.

10. Asking WH questions 
Roll the die to see which Halloween item is to be used. The student has to ask a question whose answer will be that Halloween item, varying the question word each time. If they can ask the same number of  questions as the number they rolled, they get that number cling. Total the numbers at the end. The student whose sum is the greatest wins.

WHEW! Please don't ask me to keep going!

You may be asking, "But what if I don't have that sweet Halloween box?" Well, you could cut openings in the top of a shoebox. You could get small containers from the dollar store and use them in place of the box I have.

Freebie- Take the Halloween Therapy Idea Challenge- Looks-Like-Language
Or, you could use the cute freebie (yes, the one I so considerately made for my loyal readers out of the kindness of my heart!) and just substitute doors or windows wherever it says boxes and under where it says in.  You are on your own for the clings, although magnetic pictures (like the kind you get in the Story Grammar Toolkit) work great for tossing at a magnetic board!

I sure hope this post got your creative juices flowing and thinking about how you can use materials you have on hand for therapy! 

Win the Challenge! Halloween Speech/Language Therapy Ideas

We all know that kids love games, toys and fun! They also talk and interact more when they are having fun, and isn't that what speech/language therapy is all about?  

Halloween speech/language therapy idea challenge at Looks-Like-Language
Planning for October took me to the Target dollar bins to add a little variety to my speech/language therapy toolbox, um, toy collection for Halloween and I'm excited to share my finds with you!

I actually went to find the eraser set, but I couldn't locate them at first. That got me looking at the other Halloween goodies and thinking about what I could do with them, when suddenly I found erasers! By that time, I kind of liked all of the stuff, so, of course, I bought the whole caboodle.

On my way home, this got me thinking about how my therapy planning has changed over the years. In the beginning, I started with my available prepared materials and activities, lining up quite a few to do each week. Over-planning was a necessity, just to be sure that I didn't run out of enough activities to fill therapy time.

As time went on, I collected more and more materials, worked with  a wider variety of goals, ages and handicapping conditions, and got a bit better at planning on the fly. So, while I started with materials and spent time figuring out how to elicit goals/targets with what I had available, eventually I switched to having a core set of activities available and figuring out which ones I wanted to use with specific students. I also brainstormed for groups, trying to figure out how to make an activity that was really made for one speech/language target able to be used to meet the other students' goals.

Halloween speech/language therapy idea challenge at Looks-Like-Language
All of these planning methods helped develop my skills as a therapist, and honestly, planning became easier over time.  

So this is my challenge to you, wherever you are in your journey as a speech/language pathologist. Pull out all of your 'fun stuff' for Halloween. Think about all of the various ways you have used these materials in therapy and the goals of your students this year. How many ways and goals can you come up with for using them?

I'm going to be doing this challenge this month and sharing my ideas with you! While I have some more 'fun stuff' around, I'm going to try to incorporate these new 'finds' into my therapy this month, combining them with what I already own, of course! How many different ideas can I come up with for each combination, do you suppose? Is your list longer than mine? Join in the challenge!

The game is afoot!

A Sweet Halloween Treat is Waiting for You!

Ghosts, bats, witches and cats- how do they go together? They are Halloween things, of course! This matching go together worksheet is photocopiable and just waiting for you to download.
This Free Halloween download from Looks-Like-Language may make homework easier!

Isn't it wonderful when someone takes care of homework for you? Early educators, SLPs and home schoolers, this may be right for you.

Enjoy your Halloween treats with no calories. I wish I could figure out how to do this with chocolate! 

Get  your free download here!

3 Thrilling Halloween Activities

Halloween is such a fun holiday! Your students can have a blast learning with just a bit of effort on your part if you make these enjoyable interactive therapy materials that cost you almost nothing!

Thrilling, you might say? Well, I was certainly thrilled that my students loved these activities so much that I didn't have too much planning to do! And if you landed here by accident, scroll down to the bottom for some Halloween ideas on video!

Last year this time, my blog was still so new that these fun activities got hardly any exposure, and they truly deserve better than that! So, I am recapping each activity here,  from youngest to oldest ages, with a link to the full posts. My students have had so much fun with these activities, I'm quite sure that yours will, too!

Halloween therapy ideas from Looks Like Language

Our youngest and most limited students often need help learning the language for routines. What better way to help them than play? Just a shoebox, construction paper and some stickers can help you create great Halloween interactive fun. You can use this over and over all month long! Click here.
Yes, you can create easy therapy materials!

A bit of colored felt, glue and markers can add a lot to any Halloween toys that you own! Puppets are so helpful to get shy students talking. Putting anything into a container gives that element of surprise that kids love, almost like opening a present! Give yourself a little present and check out this speech/language therapy idea here!

Tips for Making Bingo Interactive!

Older students like to have fun, too! Get a little gaming and movement into your therapy sessions with this easy to make bingo variation. I've used it to work on inference skills, but you can do so much more to adapt it to your group's goals! Learn about it here.

                                                           Not so cute :(
Felt Halloweenies are quick and easy to do!

Update: I just had to share my latest Target find since it may still be available near you! While it is true that our hand made materials get kids talking just as well as the 'pretty' ones, we do like to treat ourselves a little and these are just darn cute!

I love the button feature- you can reinforce those fine motor skills while having the fun of hiding something inside one of them! Have your students request each one until they find where the prize was hidden!

                                                     Very cute! :)

Be sure to check out the links to my free Halloween downloads! You can access all of the links here.

How about some thrilling, easy to do Halloween decorations?

Or maybe you'd like these fun tricks for setting up a party!

Happy Halloween! Enjoy!
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