Showing posts with label Mixed Groups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mixed Groups. Show all posts

Tips for Using Books with Students Who Don't Read



Books! Most of our students will say that they don’t read and that they don’t like books, but they need this exposure, believe me! Reading (and listening to books) builds vocabulary, linguistic structure, and knowledge of story plot elements. 

It is  important for SLPS to support development of literacy skills.

There are so many books to use in therapy for young children.
It is easy to make mixed groups work is by centering therapy around a great book. In preschool, it was easy to find a book that coordinated with the theme (usually seasonal) that the teacher was using in the classroom. 

As students get older, it is not quite as easy. When I’ve tried using classroom books, there was too much my students didn’t understand and the pace was too fast for therapy twice a week to keep up with the plot.

Then I tried using books by Chris Van Allsburg and my students loved them - even my middle schoolers who struggled with curriculum! The plot is in-depth enough to address multiple goals, the books are short enough to do in a few sessions, and the pictures are fantastic! They are beautifully drawn and not babyish, so the books can work for older kids.


Getting Started with a New Book

Tips for how to address varied goals using literacy activities.

👀 Read through the book and figure out where to take breaks.

👀 With simple sequential narratives and younger attention spans, that is the beginning, middle, and end of the story plot.

👀 Divide longer books into complete episodes, if it is possible. 


👀 Use sticky notes to remember where to take breaks and the kind of speech/language goals that can be elicited at that point.

For older students, look for:


👀 Interesting pictures, art or photographs that give clues to the plot without ‘giving it away.’

👀 Stories that have multiple plot episodes to keep your students engaged while still being able to finish an episode in each session.


👀 Stories which provide background knowledge and vocabulary that supports classroom topics or themes.


Use an Organizer


Organizers are great tools for literacy skills.

Start with your most mixed group, or most behaviorally difficult group, and fill in an organizer with the group goals and the targets that you can elicit at that point in the story. 

You can use my free story organizer or fill in the needed information on any organizer your students will fill out after the book is done.


Write a set of questions on a sticky note for asking at various points while reading. This keeps each student participating at short intervals of the story. 

This helpful strategy keeps students with short attention spans, poor working memory, or processing problems engaged. (It is also great for tired SLP overload and memory issues!)


Then add in any other goals or student needs you want to have prepared. 


Tips for Eliciting Goals


Articulation goals


These are the easiest!

👀 Just identify the words, phrases or sentences in each section that you want your student to read aloud.
👀 If there aren’t enough, make a question list that will elicit those words.

👀 Or challenge your students with a homework assignment where they have to find and pronounce the words with their sounds in a story passage.

Story question goals


👀 Have you tried using story grammar? My students showed great success when questions were paired with story grammar symbols. The visual cues helped reduce processing time and enabled students to look back in the text for the requested information.
👀 Try placing the question words or a story element on a popsicle stick for your students to pick out of a can and answer when the story is done.

Occasionally put in one sticky note that has something fun, like 2 free minutes on the computer or a no homework pass, and your students will always want to finish the activity

Grammar goals


Eliciting target structures in sentences is easily achieved.

Have your students:
👀 tell what just happened with correct sentences.
👀 describe the story pictures.

👀 ask a peer a question.

Receptive / expressive language goals


Pause at sections for students to:

👀 sequence the events so far.
👀 retell the story.
👀 summarize the last episode.
👀 tell how a character feels.
👀 infer what they could be thinking at this point.

👀 make a prediction about what will happen next.

For goals that are difficult to target during a story:

👀 Address them in a follow-up activity at the end of the session
👀 Use games as the cohesive element on some therapy days.
👀 Figure out ways to pair up student goals in activities for a smoother flow.

Managing the needs of mixed groups in therapy is a common SLP concern.

Have you found a great way to use books to organize mixed groups in speech/language therapy?

5 Reasons to Assess (and improve) Narrative Skills

Checking students' narrative skills is on the top of my list for back to school assessments! Whether you do this orally or in a written format, there is so much information you can gain to help your students make progress over the year! Why do this routinely?

Many speech/language skills are incorporated in narratives.


5 reasons you should be assessing the narrative skills of your students.
Beside the fact that this is an essential basic skill for conversations, discussion and writing, you can see:

1. how well they retrieve and organize 
information while staying on topic.

2. if there are word finding issues.

3. what is their level of sentence 
complexity.

4. if there are grammatical errors.

5. how well they carried over skills 
from the previous year, including 
articulation or fluency skills.


Being able to tell a narrative is necessary for school success.


If your students are not able to relate familiar events in a sequential, understandable manner, how will they develop the discourse skills necessary for classroom discussions and written work?

Getting Started with Narratives

There are so many ways to get started, but here are a few of my favorites. Whichever method you choose to use, remember to save your students' first attempts so you can see their progress over the year.

Tell a Story

First, of course, check to make sure that our students can relate a personal experience. Why not do this using your computer?

If your school uses Macs, this is quick and easy to do! Let your students think about what story they want to tell. The less input you give, the more natural their story will be.

It is easy to record a student narrative on a Mac!
Then, open up QuickTime on your computer, following the steps in the photo.


Your students can make a movie of their story and QuickTime lets you save it! What a fantastic pre/post assessment!






Maybe your students need some guidance.


Try these ways to work on student narrative skills from Looks Like Language!
What I did over my summer vacation is a school standard, but how about this idea that I found at Activity Tailor? Telling what you didn't do over the summer has a nice twist, keeping your students engaged and letting them be creative! You also will see right away if they understand negatives.

Maybe your students would like creating their own comic strips. Mine loved Make Beliefs Comix! You can save their creations on your computer, or even print their strip to let them write the narrative for it.

Create a Story


Use unusual photos to spark a story!
Can your students create a story when given a topic? Teachers use story starters all the time, but I like using unusual photos. There are so many sites, just try searching words like ‘unusual’, ‘strange’ and ‘weird’ photos to find some that appeal to you.

Retell a Story


Creating and retelling stories in speech/language therapy.
Book reports are a classic way that teachers use story retell. Help your students practice doing this with online sites that have quick stories to read and retell.

Younger kids may like the ones here.
And how about stories written by kids? You will find many choices for all ages at StoryBird.

Making Stories More Descriptive



You can use online story sites for other speech/language goals, too!
Maybe you have some students in your group who have basic narrative skills. Don’t leave them out! There are ways to incorporate other speech/language goals into stories, too!

Build vocabulary and parts of speech using photos at PicLits. Work on descriptive skills with the stories at Fun English Games. Of course, you can find ways to work on carryover of articulation skills at these sites, too!


Using online resources builds technology skills, too.


Are books a vital part of your planning? I can't imagine doing without the physical format, personally, but teaching your students internet literacy is just as important. If you teach students from disadvantaged homes, they may not have the same level of access to computers, so they especially need it included in every aspect of school life to gain digital skills.

Using online books and stories also lets us see if our students engage with them before purchasing the book. YouTube is a wonderful resource for checking out books before you buy them.

There are so many fun, free websites at all levels of skill that can help you improve your students' narrative skills with a little planning! Check out this post to get even more ideas.

If you need to justify this use of your time to school administrators, check out the results of this study by Ron Owston et al.  In their study called Computer game development as a literacy activity, they found that "Field notes and teacher interview data indicated that game development helped improve student content retention, ability to compare and contrast information presented, utilize more and different kinds of research materials including digital resources, editing skills, and develop an insight into questioning skills."

What are your favorite resources for books and narrative skills?

5 Things NOT to Do When Building Conversation Skills

Would you like a life without conversations? No way! We probably can't even count how many we have during a day. So, try to imagine how the life of a child on the autism spectrum is like without this skill.

FREE Getting Started with Conversation Guide- Looks Like Language

No matter what we do to improve vocabulary, concepts, sentence structure, you name it, daily life functioning will be affected if we don't manage to get our students conversing socially. And it isn't always easy!

The traps I fell into when starting to work on this skill included:

* using imitative skills to have "conversations" which went nowhere.

* getting rote I like/What do you like interchanges only!
(While this is a beginning, it is definitely not an end goal.)

* prompting with 'say' and 'ask,' resulting in students getting confused about what was expected of them.

* prompting responses verbally, ending up with my students talking to me and not with each other!

* getting students to converse, but only on a limited range of topics or when prompted.

I knew that there must be a way to build conversation skills visually and avoid these issues. (You know that I am passionate about visuals and strategies!)

It took me lots of years of trial and error before I came up with the methods that worked for my students on the autism spectrum. I've had the clinician tested materials available for a while now, and I'm thrilled beyond measure that there are students out there making progress in conversation skills that I had a part in helping!

See what happy buyers have had to say:

"What a wealth of resources! The variety of books, games, and worksheets really offer a ton of ideas for therapy."

"So many great activities and materials for conversations!"

"These are great packets. Great visuals. Simple enough for almost any age/skill level. I really like the way each of these activities are presented and my kids enjoy them as well."

"I have been struggling to make/come up with activities for these skills, this bundle is going to be SO helpful in my sessions. THANK YOU!"

I want to help you see the information behind these useful materials, so I decided to make this brand new FREE guide call Getting Started with Conversation! 

It will help you with assessing current student status, planning therapy,  and measuring progress. 

To get this amazing 8 page FREE Getting Started with Conversation Guide, all you have to do is click here. Your email address will be collected so you can receive a monthly hello from me.


Build turn taking skills for conversation with loads of fun activities and printables!
Are you stressed for time? Are you too busy to create your own materials? Then try this out!

This fun packet is full of engaging activities for differentiated instruction and skill building, printable games and a checklist for tracking progress.

Enjoy!

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?

Scrounging for Therapy- Tips for Inexpensive Therapy Materials

Scrounging for therapy? Absolutely!

Preschoolers need to play, so that means you need a variety of materials to match your themes. Yes, it is extra work in the beginning, but the lovely thing about it is that once you have accumulated enough treasures, you can work on a wide variety of goals in your groups since the theme ties it all together!

Scrounging for Therapy- Tips for Adapting Inexpensive Materials
There are many inexpensive books, activities and other materials made for entertaining preschoolers that can easily be adapted for therapy. Surprisingly enough, you won't always find these at the Target Dollar Spot or the Dollar Store.

Keep your eyes open for sweet finds at pharmacies, grocery stores and other places where kids can get antsy!

Besides books, preschoolers often need props for everything to learn to play. Gather up as many theme related 3D items as you can at yard sales, supplement them with boxes, containers and assorted junk, and fill in the rest with paper pictures.

Scrounging for therapy- inexpensive ideas from Looks Like Language!
You know by now that I love page protectors. When I opened up the ones in my playground binder, these are the goodies that I found. 

The Playground Game is an open ended picture game from an old Sesame Street magazine. Remember that I recommended you look out for them at garage sales in my last post? This is a good example of why you should! You can easily make your own version, though with a great photo from a children's book or from a Google search. Just laminate it and cut it into large, simple shapes.

Scrounging for therapy- inexpensive ideas from Looks Like Language!
Check out this Sesame Street playground picture that got turned into a File Folder Sentence Activity! This is how the whole set got started.

This one was made for a student of mine who loved The Wiggles. It worked so well, I tried to figure out a way to use it for my more concrete kids at play level and developed File Folder Activities.


Scrounging for therapy- inexpensive ideas from Looks Like Language!
To the right is a plastic cling activity – heaven knows where I found it, but I sure wish I could draw like that! These activities are fun for giving directions and describing. Tell the student which kid to find by describing them. Then give directions for where exactly to place it in the picture.

Scrounging for therapy- inexpensive ideas from Looks Like Language!
Next comes a simple adapted book for the playground. It works well because there is one playground item per page with simple drawings to elicit the action as well as the label. If you work in a school, the Scholastic flyers the classrooms send out can be a great source for inexpensive books. 

Scrounging for therapy- inexpensive ideas from Looks Like Language!
Next is an example of a work sheet from a very old workbook that was modified to use an open ended group game. After providing a response, the students took a child and figured out where to put the picture based on how the child was moving. 

Work on expressive skills when the activity is done using a clean up game. Students love to be the teacher, so have them take turns telling about one of the pieces. If they used their target correctly, they picked up that piece. Count to see who got the most, and then everyone puts their picture back in the bag. Language and putting away help all at the same time!

But, what about the kids who don’t even know how to play? Come back next week to get some tips!

Enjoy!
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