Friday, April 28, 2017

Teaching Basic Concepts using Rosie's Walk

Teaching Basic Concepts using Rosie's Walk

Why do we teach basic concepts?

Teaching Basic Concepts
Basic Concepts are essential for success in school. Early concept development begins as young as six to nine months with “more juice” and “all gone.” For school age children, basic concept knowledge is needed for following directions and participation in every aspect of the classroom.

Here is a list of some basic concept categories that students need to comprehend and use in the classroom. Most concepts should be well developed by first grade (age 7-8 years).

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Grouchy Ladybug: Speech Therapy Activities for Mixed IEP Groups

The Grouchy Ladybug: Speech Therapy Activities for Mixed IEP Groups

 Do you need some new ideas for mixed groups?

Grouchy Ladybug ideas
The Grouchy Ladybug  by Eric Carle is an all-time favorite with early elementary teachers for introducing and teaching elapsed time. There are many different speech and language goals that can be targeted using this picture book during a shared reading activity and follow up extension activities. I typically use this book with students in second through fourth grade. It can also be adapted for older students in alternative curriculum classes with comprehension skills at this level. The Grouchy Ladybug is a fun and interactive book for mixed IEP groups.

I’ve listed some possible IEP goals that you can target during reading and extension activities.

Tier 2 Vocabulary: Aphids, stinger, eerily, “happened upon,” encountered, tusks, flippers, arrived, claws, horn, insist, screeched.

Categorize and Associate: Students associate animal with their characteristics (yellow jacket/stinger, elephant/tusk, lobster/claws, rhinoceros/horn, etc.)

Wh-Questions: Students answer “Who, What, When, Where,” and “Why” questions to show comprehension with visual support using my Wh-Anchor Charts FREEBIE.

Sequencing and Story Retell: Students have the opportunity to retell using the vocabulary, “first, next, then, last.”

Compare and Contrast: Students can compare and contrast the two ladybugs, the lobster and whale, the elephant and rhino, or the stag beetle and praying mantis using a Venn Diagram from my Mega Graphic Organizer Bundle FREEBIE or list Similarities and Differences using a T-Chart on chart paper.


They Grouchy Ladybug

Story Comprehension

Using text support, students identified story elements, including: character, setting, problem, solution. Students then completed a story map graphic organizer. Students can work cooperatively to complete a group story map on chart paper or fill in individual story maps by differentiating the activity based on their ability to write and illustrate their ideas.

The Grouchy Ladybug

Character Traits

Students identified the time day and made text-to-self connection. “It was five 'o-clock in the morning when the ladybug woke up. Why do you think he was grouchy?” Students made inferences that the ladybug was still sleepy or was hungry for breakfast. Another inference can be discussed towards the end of the story.  Based on what we know about a ladybug, “Why do you think the ladybug was so tired at the end of the day?” Finally, “How did the ladybug change at the end of the story and why?  These Inference skills can be targeted through discussion, turn-taking comprehension games, task cards, or with a character change graphic organizer. We used the Ladybug Comprehension and Inferring Graphic Organizers FREEBIE from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Articulation Practice

Spring Ladybug Articulation

Students practiced their articulation speech sounds using my Ladybug Articulation Packet.

ladybug activity Grouchy Ladybug


 Students created their own ladybugs by using the supplies of their choice. This was an opportunity for students to cooperatively plan, sequence and problem-solve an activity.

Author's Purpose and Theme

My campus is one of 289  Leader in Me Lighthouse campuses in the world. Teachers and staff help students connect the 7 Habits with classroom content. My students were able to practice Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind by knowing their goal for the session, as well as Habit 5: Seek first to understand then to be understood by discussing the Grouchy Ladybug’s treatment towards his friends.

The Grouchy Ladybug is an Eric Carle Favorite that students may have already read in class during a math lesson. With prior knowledge of this story, students readily engaged in activities and were eager to expand and share their experiences with this story.

What books do you use to target story comprehension skills?

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Grab the three FREEBIES linked throughout the post and check out these other products that can be easily paired with The Grouchy Ladybug.        

 Lisa, SLP

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

5 Highly Effective Strategies for Managing Behavior

5 Highly Effective Strategies for Managing Behavior 

(Part 1: Why is He Acting That Way?)

Manage Difficult Behaviors
Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like that thirty-minute therapy session was a “total waste of time?” Be honest, we’ve all felt that way. Do you remember that session where little “Johnny” just couldn’t sit still? He couldn’t follow directions, stay on task, sit in a chair, stop making noises, and a sticker just would not motivate him. There are some days I feel like we don’t get anything accomplished in our therapy groups. Those are the days I am ready to just take those little friends back to class and hand them off.

Then, I take a deep breath and remind myself that all I am seeing is BEHAVIOR, but the intended message is COMMUNICATION. That behavior IS communication, and my job is to help students reshape that behavior into an appropriate form of communication.

Before we talk about managing behavior, let’s talk about COMMUNICATION INTENT. 

Communication Intent is the reason or purpose for behavior.  Good or bad, we all have motivations. If I work hard, my work behaviors may result in a raise and I would be known for my strong work ethic. On the other hand, If I come to work slouchy and show up late, my behaviors are communicating that I do not respect my boss, nor do I like my job. I’ve listed 6 possible communication intentions that children may mask with behavior.

Why is he acting that way?
  • I want something, NOW.
  • I want to get out of here (escape).
  • I want to join in but don't know how.
  • I just want to spend time with you.
  • I am on sensory overload.
  • I am trying to ask for help.                                          

There may have been days you knew exactly what your child/student wanted. Then there are other days when it was truly a guessing game and you had no clue what he wanted.

If you feel this way, and you can relate to these instructional challenges, you are not alone. I am here to help. Be looking for Part 2 of this series, 5 Highly Effective ways to Manage Behavior. You don't want to miss these strategies that work! You can also sign up for my blog email list so you do not miss the second part of the series.

Have questions? Leave me a comment. Like, Share, tweet, and PIN this post to your social media of choice.

Lisa, SLP

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How to Create Amazing Adapted Books for Practically Free!

How to Create Amazing Adapted Books for Practically FREE!

Turn Thrift Store Trash into Therapy Treasure

One thing you should know about me is that I love to shop at thrift stores. I am not careless in buying just anything, but I do like to find some hidden treasures. That is where I find the BEST books to adapt for my therapy sessions.
Next time you drive by your local thrift store or Good Will, turn around, go back, and check out their children’s book section. Most thrift stores in my area sell children’s books for 25 to 50 cents each. Hardback children’s books are typically 75 cents.

So why should you shop at the thrift stores for books to adapt? 
Children’s books donated to thrift stores are often gently used, high interest, and may even be donated from home-school parents or classroom teachers thinning out their book bins. I have found Dr. Seuss books, Tomie DePaola, David Shannon, and Kevin Henke sets at Good Will in the past. Of course, I snatched them up!

Monday, April 10, 2017

4 Simple Games Using Easter Eggs

4 Quick and Simple Articulation Games using Colorful Eggs

Easy Articulation GamesDo you need a motivating articulation activity that results in a high number of repetitions? Plastic eggs are enticing to children and only come out of our speech closet for one to two weeks out of the year. There are so many different ways to use plastic eggs in language therapy and play-based therapy.  I want to give a few fun examples of how plastic eggs can be used in articulation therapy that results in up to 100 repetitions in a session.

First, put small picture cards with the target sounds inside the eggs. Students choose an egg and say the target word, phrase or sentence. I often have students roll a die and produce the number of repetitions shown on the die. For older students have them multiply the number times two or three. If the student rolls a four, multiply it times two and the student produces eight repetitions of the target.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Do You Want to Target More Goals in Your Speech Sessions?

How to Use Free Play to Target  More Goal

I have an amazing group of PreK students that I serve on my campus. One group in particular, my group of 4-four year old boys. Taught me all about being flexible this week. Like so many other days, I had a specific lesson planned, the book picked out, manipulatives ready and my outline of my IEP-driven lesson planned out. When those boys, however, walked in my room, they quickly reminded me that they had already done "work" in the classroom and wanted to PLAY. I heard the words, "Can we play instead?" Who am I to argue with the requests of 4 year olds to play?

So What is FREE PLAY? 

Free Play is child-centered. Students choose the activity and direct the play. Free play elicits problem-solving skills, fosters social-emotional development, and allows for creative thinking to flourish. In free play, the child chooses the activity, determines to function of the objects and directs the episodes during play. The clinician in this setting provides appropriate cuing and scaffolding to elicit skills targeted in student IEPs.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Complete Frog Unit for Your Speech Therapy Groups

A Complete Frog Unit for Mixed IEP Groups

frog unit springHappy Spring everyone! It is raining and chilly in Texas. But just wait, it will be warming up tomorrow. That's how often the weather changes in the Texas Panhandle. As I sit and work on my lessons for the month of April, I realize I keep changing my mind about themes, books and activities as much as the weather is changing. There are so many exciting and wonderful Spring themes, and it can be a little overwhelming to plan thematic units and literacy units for mixed IEP groups, mixed grade levels, and mixed ability level groups.The one theme all my students absolutely LOVE is FROGS. Fiction or Non-fiction, kids (and adults) love frogs. I want to share with you some of my ideas on using frogs in therapy. There are some amazing books, activities, and media that you can use in your therapy this month, and it's all about FROGS.

In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming is one of two companion books (In the Tall, Tall Grass) about animals in their habitat.
Frog Unit and Ponds

Here are some of the activities and language skills that can be targeted with this fun-to-read picture book:

Rhyming Words-wade/parade, shiver/quiver, doze/close, lunge/plunge, splatter/scatter, swirl/twirl, swoop/scoop, clack/crack, dip/flip, etc.

Rich Vocabulary-Tadpole, parade, shiver, doze, heron, scatter, plunge, claws, pile, breeze

Animal characteristics-tadpoles, geese, heron, dragonfly, turtle, minnow, water beetle, crayfish, swallow, frog, duck, raccoon, muskrat.

Comparing and Contrasting animals-goose/heron, turtle/frog, minnow/crayfish, raccoon/muskrat. Use a Venn diagram to identify similarities and differences between two animals living in the pond.

Comprehension questions-Who, What, Which, When, Where and Why questions for comprehension can be simple and direct or abstract requiring perspective and predictions.

Story Elements-This is a great story to elaborate on SETTING. The setting is the where and when a story takes place. What time of year is it? How do you know? Where are these animals? What visual and textural evidence does the story provide that tells the SETTING?

Author's purpose-Why do you think Denise Fleming wrote about life near a pond? Do you think she has experiences of growing up around a pond? Research the author's website and read her bio.

Perspective-Based on the text and the visual clues from the story, what do you think the little boy on the cover of the book is thinking? feeling? saying?

Frog Life Cycle and Frog Facts-students can make illustrations or models of the frog life cycle.

Charting and Shared Writing Opportunities-Write frog facts and opinions, draw and illustrate a frog labeling it's body parts, create a bubble map using adjectives that describe a frog or the character in the story.

In addition to storybooks and predictable text, there are many frog crafts available to supplement your lessons on frogs and pond life. The following links are only a small sample.

·         Frog Bingo Dauber Page 

·         Frog Paper Bag Puppet  

·         Frog Paper Plate Craft 

Click on the titles below to link to my Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) Store for more "Froggy" related activities and read alouds for April.

Download my free graphic organizers to use with any book or video.

 Mega Graphic Organizer Bundle FREEBIE

Below are a few of my favorite authors and books about FROGS. Expand on the topic and incorporate a variety of text for your students based on this theme.

Frog Unit    Spring Frog UnitFrog Unit for Spring

Lastly, give your students a sensory experience with a frog-themed sensory tub. Try putting together a sensory bin filled with small plastic frogs,  water, water beads , blue shredded paper, black beans or split peas for the base, twigs or sticks, cut out Lily Pads, small shovels and nets, and containers of all sizes to put the frogs in. 

I hope you have fun froggin' this month!

Lisa, SLP

Affiliated Amazon Links are provided for your convenience. 


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