Showing posts with label Seasonal Fun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seasonal Fun. Show all posts

St. Patrick's Day Activities 4

St. Patrick's Day, free, printable, activities, game

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm posting this a bit early this week so that you have time to download and use the last cards of the set this week. I told you that I was having fun updating this set, and I just kept going!

You can do so much with this free set! Play the open ended board game to work on any skill, print duplicate sets of the cards for matching fun, and elicit language for spatial concepts and possessive pronouns! Download it here.

Did you miss the rest of the set? You still have time, just click here.

Lucky you! Enjoy!

St. Patrick's Day Activities 3

Have an easier time planning for St. Patrick's Day with these free printables from Looks Like Language!
Are you having an easier time planning some St. Patrick's Day fun with the free downloads you are getting here?

I know how much work is involved in planning every day, so I'm happy to help you out and provide some quick and easy activities to build children's skills!

This fun, free set coordinates with the free open ended game board in my St. Patrick's Day Activity set at my store.  You can work on any skill with the printable game board, or use these card sets to play color matching games and elicit spatial concepts, pronouns he/she and possessive pronouns his/hers.

Aren't you the lucky one! Get this week's free set here.

Did you miss some of the sets? You can get started here.


St. Patrick's Day Activities 2

Lucky you! Get free St. Patrick's Day printables at Looks Like Language!
Are you feeling lucky yet? I was having so much fun making these cute game card sets to elicit pronouns and possessives that I just kept going! You will have an easy, fun set to play with this holiday!

Get this week's free download here

If you missed the first set, click here.

And don't forget to download the open ended game board at my store. Be sure to leave me some lovely feedback while you are there!


Exciting News at Looks Like Language!

Do you ever feel like the list of things you need to do is unmanageable? And then, how happy and relieved do you feel when you accomplish something on that list?

Then, celebrate with me!

First, I am so excited to have my Speech and Language Activities: Roll It, Say It, Write It! featured in the TpT newsletter! You can get it here.

Check out the new Boom Cards internet no prep, no print activities at Looks Like Language!
Next, I have been thinking for a long time about how I could make some no prep, no print materials that  are interactive, fun and easy to use (and also did not require me to jump through hoops to learn a complicated technology.)

I’m thrilled to have found a solution!  I am starting to incorporate quick and easy Boom Learning card sets into my printable sets, so you can have the best of both worlds! I just hope that you are as excited as I am when you try out my free and preview sets. My sets let your students drag the right answers on the page, and give them another chance if they make a mistake. So fun!

Give BOOM Cards a try!

Get your free no print, no prep internet activity set for mixed groups at Looks Like Language now!
Kids are sure to have fun with this interactive car themed activity that incorporates words with ’R’ sounds for articulation practice, WH questions and categories. Get the answer right to power up your car!

Download it here.

You can also try out free trials of paid activities to see if they are right for you.

Get your free trial and spread a little kindness! Looks Like Language!
How about spreading some kindness? There are two levels that coordinate with my matching printable set.

Acts of kindness is a picture level set for students to find the kind action and drag it to their kindness plate to fill it up with some yummy cupcakes.

Get a free trial of interactive learning for emotions vocabulary at Looks Like Language!
Working on vocabulary for emotions and character traits to help your students discuss kind and unkind actions? Try the free trial of Vocabulary for Acts of Kindness (requires some reading.)

After you’ve given them a try, I’d love for you to provide feedback at my store as a thank you!

Enjoy! Linda

Transition Problems- 7 Questions SLPs Need to Ask

Your muscles tense as you enter the classroom, waiting for the outburst that you know is coming. You walk up to your next student, who starts to scream and throws himself on the floor when he sees you. Sound familiar?

Even if the version you are dealing with only escalates to students turning their heads away and being non-cooperative, it isn’t the reception we were hoping to have when we became SLPS. Nothing boosts your ego like a student acting out upon seeing you.

The truth is, it may have nothing to do with you, personally or as an SLP. Your student has problems making transitions. But, what we can we do about it?

I brainstormed a list for one of my readers recently and thought this information might be helpful to you as well.

Transition Problems- 7 Questions SLPs Should Ask Themselves

Yes, visual schedules can help- but only if they are being used consistently by the whole team and only if the student truly understands them. 

Transition Problems? 7 Questions SLPs Need to Ask
Ask yourself:

1. Does the student truly understand that the generic ‘speech’ symbol means you? Maybe you need to use a photo of yourself or of your room. Or maybe you just need to make sure the student understands the symbol. One way to do this is to have the student carry the symbol from his schedule and match it to the same symbol on your door.

2. Has the student checked his schedule before you arrive to see that a transition is coming? If not, you are a surprise.

3. Do your students have the language to communicate their needs for this situation?  Think about what a verbal student says to help cope:
“Can you wait a minute? I just want to finish this first.”
“I’ll be ready in just a minute.”
“I’m almost done.”

Maybe you need to teach your student to communicate wait and go, not just to follow directions with these concepts.

4. Have I made my therapy room a place my student wants to be? To do this, you have to have rewarding activities and objects which you intertwine with harder work.

5. Did I try to move my student along at the pace I hoped for, not the pace the student is capable of learning at?  Making jumps in difficulty level that are too big and spending too much of the session at a level of frustration rather than a level of success can both lead to transition difficulties the next session.

6. Did I end the last session on a positive note, with work the student was successful with and a little time with a rewarding activity?

7. Am I working together with my SPED teacher to support the students’ needs? We make great teams, and the teacher is most likely dreading these outbursts as much as you are.

If you can’t think of anything to change in your therapy session, or even if you can, brainstorming with the teacher is always a good idea. They spend more time with the students, and if you are working to support their classroom communication needs, they will support you, as well!

5 Reasons to Keep Open Ended Games Around

Have you ever walked into a therapy session, all planned, to have your students say, “No way! I’m not doing that!” Maybe they just put their heads down, their hoods up, or their bodies on the floor and refused to communicate at all. It happens, especially when students have special needs, and all your planning goes out the door. What to do now?

Open ended games are a therapy must have!
Try having some open-ended monthly thematic activities around! Why?

1- For holidays, it gives you a chance to build communication skills before the day arrives, which can lead to a calmer holiday when students understand the event.

2- The same skills can be learned and generalized over multiple months if you choose your materials correctly. When the students see the new theme, they feel like they are doing something different, but you know that you are consolidating and expanding their skills!

3- Kids like things that are familiar, especially if they have autism or are dealing with anxiety problems. By using a theme to work on their areas of need, we can help them understand what will happen and what will be expected of them. Working on functional skills is always important!

Whether you are planning to use them or not, open-ended games are great to keep around!

WHY? There are lots of reasons, but here are the 5 that come to mind:

Open ended games are a fun way to review.
1. When you have some extra time after your planned activity, you can quickly review.

2. When you are doing a makeup session and the goals of the group don’t jive, this will help you out.

3. When your planned activity bombs (yes, that can happen to anyone!) you have an emergency back up plan ready made.

Colorful games make great bulletin boards.
4. If you hang them on a bulletin board, they make cute double-duty decorations. 

When kids are having fun, they are engaged in learning.
5. Students who request a specific game that they see will likely be more invested in that session, and you can make open-ended games work for most goals.

Plus, it is just plain funWhat is your reason?


End of the Year Games

Need some help for the end of the school year? Some years, your usual therapy routines just don't cut it at the end of the year. This is one of those years for me! What to do? How about changing it up a little?

In my speech room this year, we are playing lots of online games to review skills after some 'work' is done. I have a complete post on this topic at Speech Spotlight- catch it here!

But, for my loyal readers, here's a few more ideas:


Decide which question word fits the answer.

Read a short passage and roll the cube to answer varied WH questions about it.

Sequence the words to ask a question.


Sequence the words to form a sentence.

Add more words to make sentences more interesting.

Do you like these? Then be sure to see my other post at Speech Spotlight!

Assessing Play Skills- In the Playground!

Preschool therapy can be so fun, even when the little ones tire you out with their boundless energy.

If you've read the rest of the posts in this series, you have scrounged up your materials, using a few of the suggested items on the list in this blog post. You’ve been working for a week or two with your book, their literacy skills are improving and they love the games and crafts you have been doing.  Your students have increased their language to talk about your theme during these structured activities. 

So, what is missing?

Tips for assessing play skills in the playground by Looks Like Language

Play is such an important part of learning for young  children that it is vital to include it in your therapy sessions. When children really have the language that you have been modeling, you will see it emerge in their play.

The opposite relationship is also true! If the child has not yet used the language, but begins to demonstrate comprehension of the concepts in play, the language is more likely to emerge!

A Bit of Background

If you work with young children and are not already familiar with the play scale from Carol Westby, download it NOW!

Patricia Prelock wrote an excellent chapter on understanding and assessing play, which you can download here.

If you are looking for an overview of research on play and the findings, you can access a great article by  Lifter et al. (2011) here.

Observing Play
What better spring theme for preschoolers than the playground?  Observe your students while they’re out there.

Social Interactions
Students may be using “my turn” and “please’” under our watchful eye in the therapy room, but if it isn’t being used on the playground, you still have some generalization work to do. Some kids may be interacting with each other on the equipment while others may be following their own agenda. If this is the case, check to see if they are at least looking at the other kids occasionally to see what everyone else is up to. It gives you some important information for determining their independent level of play.

The student who pushes the kid in front of him on the slide and then looks bothered when the child screams his way down may have weak prediction and cause-effect skills. This child is just acting on a desire to be done waiting and may not be able to think ahead  and plan yet. Time to work some safety issues into your playground play!

You may say see some students, especially those with ASD, wandering aimlessly around the area rather than engaging in the playground activities.  While there can be many components to this, one of them is likely to be unfamiliarity with exactly what is expected. These students may need to be taught specific, concrete activities to do in the play area.

Now that you have observed, what can you do about it in therapy? Here are a literacy set  and a visual sentence building activity set to get you started, but come back next week for some tips! 

Enjoy! Linda

7 Tips for Planning Preschool Therapy

Planning for preschool means lots of activities! If you have been used to working with students who can read (and who can pay attention a little longer!) switching to preschoolers can be a challenge at first. One of my readers asked me to help out with a post about how I planned for preschool. 

I worked in preschool for 13 years and loved it. Kids that age have short attention spans and lots of energy, so you have to plan more than you think you will need, but they can make such noticeable progress! 

Back then, I was lucky enough to have Sesame Street magazine, which had wonderful activities that I could adapt for therapy. It isn’t available now, unfortunately, but if you know anyone who is a pack rat or you go to garage sales, it is worth picking the old magazines up! Since it isn’t available any longer, I made my own versions of some of my favorite types of activities in a book companion for It Looked Like Spilt Milk.

I collected materials on each theme I used whenever I saw something. I also made a lot of pages from coloring books and preschool workbooks into interactive games. You might want to check these out at the Dollar Store or Target, where they are inexpensive. Over time, I came up with a pattern that worked for preschool planning.

Plan more than you think you will need, although I found 3 activities to be the magic number for a 30 minute session.
Planning tips for preschool therapy from Looks Like Language!
Use some combination of:

1- a theme.

2- a literacy activity.

3- a game.

4- a craft.

5- a song or finger play.

6- a movement activity.

7- thematic play with backup materials (like bubbles or playdoh.)

8- a plan for when you want to take data.

How to Plan Preschool Speech/Language Therapy

1. Start with a theme.  
Using themes in preschool therapy- tips from Looks Like Language.

It can run for 1-2 weeks, depending on how many activities you come up with, and how frequently you see each group per week. Preschoolers do well learning about what is currently going on in their lives, so preschool curriculums tend to include weather, holidays and basic category themes. Whenever your rainy time is, a theme of clouds and rain is great for this age.

2. Get a great book

Literacy activities are the best! My all-time favorite book for clouds is It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw. It incorporates negatives (“but it wasn’t”) which is a difficult language form for special needs preschoolers. It works on visual perception skills and promotes creative thinking. It has lots of activities and it is fun!

3. Have a simple game!

Preschoolers like simple games where you take cards and talk or match. They are more about playing than winning, especially since having one winner can cause upsets. So, if you have a group that needs a winner, try thinking of a way to have multiple winners! 

It is so easy to use simple laminated shapes to make games. You can make them as easy as having happy and sad faces, with the sad faces being set aside and happy faces being kept. You can make one side have pictures or colors that can be matched, or you can even tape other pictures on the shapes.

In the photo, the cloud shapes have pieces from a Sesame Street Rainy Day picture to put together. I tacked them on with funtac, which ended up leaving those dark spots on the clouds over time since they aren’t laminated. So I would suggest taking whatever you stuck on the shapes off before storing them!

3. Have a simple craft!  

There are so many ideas on Pinterest. I’ve listed two boards just for this book at the end of this post. My favorite craft for clouds is fun and easy. Put a small blob of white paint in the fold of a blue piece of construction paper and have the child press on it. Open the paper up and see what shape you made! What does it look like? What does it look like it isn’t?

4. Use songs and finger plays

Kids remember words best if they are put to song- think about how you learned your abc’s. I did a quick online search and found this simple song about clouds that includes sign language. I’m not advocating showing preschoolers YouTube videos, but you can easily re-create this activity to do with your groups. Check it out here.

5. Use movement

When your students start to get very fidgety, it is a good time to wrap up what you were doing and switch to a movement activity. These are great for following directions and can be used to elicit language, too. It can be as easy as cutting large cloud shapes out of different color construction paper and taping a picture on the other side. Give directions to get each student to go to a different shape. When they have all had a turn, they bring their cloud back to the table to tell about the picture they found.

6. Have backup plans!
See if you can adapt your favorite activity to relate to the theme. Sometimes, all of our best plans just don’t go over that day, or maybe didn’t last as long as expected, so a backup plan is always a good idea. Playdoh is easy to incorporate into a cloud theme. Have your students smash it into different shapes and talk about what it is, or isn’t.  

Get out your old playdoh can and a spray bottle of water. First, try using the old playdoh and elicit language like hard, in both meanings. (ex. It feels hard. It is hard to roll.) Then have the students pretend to be rainclouds and squirt a little water on their playdoh. Talk about how it changed when you added some water and mixed it in.

7. Plan how to elicit responses based on needs and how to take data.

As you are planning your activities to use over the week, think about the specific needs of the children this year and which activities are best suited to their goals. Start with those first! It isn’t possible to do all of these activities in one week of therapy time, but different activities will lend themselves better to modeling and eliciting different speech and language needs. 

Don’t get yourself crazy trying to do all of the activities with all of the kids. If you take data for 1-2 kids during one activity and data for the others in the second activity, it is easier to keep things moving more smoothly.

8. Use free resources and ideas!

My Pinterest board:

YouTube Song: Very slow paced with signing for young kids.

Free patterns:

If you start your planning the first year with 2 or 3 activities for the theme and add to it every year, it really is quite manageable!

Of course, you are welcome to stop by my store and get my resource for It Looked Like Spilt Milk! 

Then you will have a fun resource that addresses a variety of goals to make your planning for mixed groups easier!

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