Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Using the Elf to Promote Speech & Language Skills!

In our house, we absolutely love this time of year. One of my favorite holiday traditions is using the Elf on the Shelf with my kids. Before I had kids of my own, I used the elf in my classroom. If you're not familiar with the concept of the Elf on the Shelf,  the elf is supposed to help promote good behavior this time of year. Each night, he or she flies back to the North Pole and reports to Santa. With the overflow of sugar and excitement, there is no doubt that this little elf is helpful. However, I love using the elf for more than just behavior. This little guy is perfect to help promote speech and language skills!
In my book, anything that gets a child talking and using his/her language skills deserves a gold star. There are countless ways that you can use the elf to encourage your child's skills based on their interests, but I thought I would share a few of my favorites. 
Prepositions
Each night the elf moves to a new place in your home or classroom after she returns from her trip to the North Pole. That means, each day is an opportunity to work on a new preposition. Where is the elf today? Well, in our house she is sitting next to the bunch of bananas that look like minions! Yesterday she was inside the stocking and the day before she was on top of the reindeer. This is such a fun way to work on these skills. 

Predicting
Where do you think the elf will be tomorrow? What do you think he will tell Santa tonight? Making predictions is a skill that many kids have trouble with. They have to think abstractly and about the future. After a few days of seeing the elf move to a new place and learning there is a pattern, your child may have an easier time using his/her prediction skills. 

Vocabulary
The elf can give you plenty of opportunities to teach new vocabulary. Where you place your elf and what you place around her gives you the perfect chance to introduce new words. You can use pictures (my favorite is to make it look like the elf is drawing pictures of target words) or put actual items next to her- hey there's another preposition opportunity!  Working in a school? Use your students vocabulary or spelling words for the week.  Working with articulation students? Place some arctic cards next to her. The kids will have no problem telling you what words the elf has set out for them that day.

Expressive Language
I found an elf template on Pinterest a few years ago that I used with my students. They got to color and decorate their own elf. Then they used their creativity and wrote all about their own elf. They named their elf, told me how old the elf was, what he/she loved to eat (most answers were sugar filled!), and what he/she did for fun. I loved hearing their responses and the kids all got so excited about this activity. You can check out my blog post about this activity and find the free download here.

Language comes out when kids are excited. Use the elf collaboratively with things your child loves. For example, if he loves trucks, have your elf drive a big rig! If she loves princesses, set up an elf and princess tea party. In my experience, the sillier the activity, the more language I see.
I hope you have a wonderful, language filled holiday!

2 comments:

  1. I like your tips for using the elf to promote speech and language skills in children. I've been trying to come up with ways to introduce new vocabulary to my child, so your tip to strategically place the elf in spots in my house as a way to introduce new words seems perfect for my child. The elf seems to add a fun element to learning new vocabulary, so I'll try incorporating it into how I teach my child. Thanks for the tips!
    http://communikids.com.au

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good Chinese translation is in great demand these days because China is the new economic powerhouse in the global economy. Possessing one of the largest industrial bases and consumer markets in the world, Mandarin language. it is an eager partner for mutual prosperity with you in today's world of economic challenge.

    ReplyDelete