Trash to Treasure- Junk to Save Your Session

Trash to treasure: Ideas for using junk in therapy from Looks Like Language
Turning work into play is a great way to get through the end of the year, sometimes even for older students! It works, especially well when you combine elements of all of the goals from the year to see how well they can use the skills.

What is needed? Junk!  In the photo, you can see some of my life saving junk from this year. The empty egg cartons and ravioli trays are from my house. The foam cubes, colored dice, pompoms, mini erasers and plastic colored discs are from varied dollar place outings. 

Spinners are very easy to make and can be personalized or changed out easily by taping something new on top of the laminated clear spinner. Tape on some words or pictures and get out the organizers your students have used during the year to play a wide variety of language games. Then, just mix and match!

Here's how to create your own.

Trash to treasure: Ideas for using junk in therapy from Looks Like Language

THINK
1.  Determine which skills the majority of your students have worked on this year.
2. Think about what vocabulary or skills for using new words that your students have learned this year.
3. What skills can tie this all together?  Ideas include questions, grammatical forms, sentence structures, and articulation targets or carrier phrases.

Trash to treasure: Ideas for using junk in therapy from Looks Like Language

CREATE 
1.  How long are each of these lists? Place the information that your students have in common on the container or spinner that will fit it best.
2. Get some type of easy to toss item, like mini erasers, pompoms, plastic chips, or packing peanuts, if you have a container.
3. Make a spinner, adapt a cube, or use dice. Dice are fun and easy to use by making a grid with different skills for each number, or by numbering 6 pictures to talk about.
4. Personalize the activities by using an organizer, vocabulary list, or some specific skill for each student.
5. The more of these items you combine in an activity, the longer or more complicated the responses will be. The benefit is that it will require your students to combine multiple skills, demonstrating mastery and making them think. The drawback can be the time required, so I have my students spin, roll, toss, etc. while the other students are responding. An additional benefit for my ADHD kids is that this helps them wait for their turn without getting in trouble!

PLAY
Try all different kinds of combinations! You will find out which activities your students love and how your goals fit best with your junk! On days when I know that I'm not going to get any 'work' responses from my upset students, I pull out one of these activities to save the day.

How do you save the day?

Endings and Beginnings- Time for a Change!

Exciting news at Looks Like Language!
Exciting news, my friends! After 38 years in public schools, I'll be retiring this month. Change is bittersweet! 

After a summer off to relax and rejuvenate, I plan to spend more time on my store and work privately part time.  While I am busy packing up and preparing to move on, I thought I'd share a few random thoughts and tips with you today.









On Students:
The student who, 5 minutes before had been shouting, "NO! NO! I won't come!" found out I was retiring. Now his tune has changed. "You won't be my speech teacher next year? I'm going to miss you." He can't wait to come.

Take away:
Sometimes you are having more of an impact than you realize. Try not to take students' attitudes personally (especially if they are middle schoolers!) They may be struggling with an internal problem, having difficulty transitioning, or may have problems with affect and nonverbal communication skills. Keep reassuring yourself!

Organizing makes packing up easier- Looks Like Language

Organizing:
I have found out that my organization strategy really works for making packing easier! I keep multiple originals in a page protector and store them in a binder, organized by skill or theme. (Read more about it here.)

So to pack up, I've just been recycling any extra copies I made this year and putting the binders in a carry bag. Every day I carry a few out to my car. I have to say, I've had to move a lot in my career and this has been the easiest one by far! Try it out for yourself!


Games and organizers make FUNctional bulletin boards! Looks Like Language

Bulletin Boards:
Since I've never taken pictures of my room before, I thought I'd share this tip with you.

Placing the strategy pages and organizers in page protectors and hanging them on the board made a functional bulletin board. It is easy to grab the one I need for each group. Since my students face that board, an added bonus is that partway through the year, I can leave them up and watch to see who can do the work independently and who is still looking up at the strategy as needed for help.

I also have a some games up there, too. This helps me find out more about what my students are interested in at the beginning of the year. It provides natural opportunities for students to comment, ask questions and request. Plus, some of the TpT materials are so pretty, it makes a functional way to decorate for the holidays and seasons!

I'm counting down to summer!


FREE Social Skills Problem Solving Unit!

Do you have problems finding appropriate materials for solving problems with your older special needs students? If the level is right, the problems may be too young. If the problem is is right, there isn't enough support for the language skills. 
If your teens with language problems need help with problem solving, download this free unit!

The story in this freebie is about a girl whose 'friend' picks a fight in the middle of the cafeteria one day. It is short and sweet, but allows you to address a lot of problem solving and social language skills. Try it out! 


If you download it and love it, please consider kind feedback as a thank you!


Enjoy! Linda
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