We Are Thankful Turkeys!

Monday, November 28, 2011
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! It was a much needed break, and to think, only 3 weeks until our next one! I didn't get a chance to post our adorable Thankful Turkeys we made the week before break, so I'll do it now!

I saw this on Pinterest and almost laughed out loud... it's so true. We put our own twist on the "hand" turkeys.

I used this activity as more of a social language activity. I was going to make my articulation kids write things they are thankful for with their target sounds, but changed my mind. I let them be creative. We had some great discussions about what it means to be thankful and how you can be thankful for people, places, things, etc. 

This was my sample turkey. To make her, yes it is a her, I traced the bottom of a coffee can for the brown circle. For the turkey head, I free handed a somewhat peanut shape. I cut orange triangles for the beak and of course added googly eyes! For the feathers (and the sake of time) I traced and precut my hands in different colors. When you only have a 30 minute session, you don't want to waste valuable language time on tracing and cutting. Classroom teachers may want to let the kids trace their own hands..... OR you could collaborate with the OT and have them do the tracing and cutting during occupational therapy :) You may notice my feathers do not have what I am thankful for on them. I have a truckload of things to be thankful for this year, but I didn't want the kids to get stuck on my ideas. I wanted them to come up with their own ideas. 

 Working hard on her turkey!

I love the drawings! This little one drew his sister!

Our Thankful Turkey bulletin board!

The Great Turkey Race!

Thursday, November 17, 2011
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.
The Great Turkey Race by Steve Metzger is one of my favorite stories to read leading up to Thanksgiving Break (2 more days, but who is counting?) This story is about three turkeys who all want to be Farmer Joe's special turkey. They come up with the idea of a field day to show Farmer Joe who the most special turkey is. They all want to win until they find out what really happens to the Thanksgiving turkey!!

**Spolier Alert!!** At the end of the story, the three turkeys escape the farm leaving Farmer Joe and Farmer Kate to eat delicious vegetable soup for Thanksgiving dinner. Wanting my students to use their imagination and prediction skills, I created a worksheet where the students can draw a picture of where they think the turkeys ran away to (I cannot figure out for the life of me how to upload it!).  I had some drawings of turkeys at the beach, some that ran away to a different farm, etc. Have fun with it and encourage creativity!

When Do Speech Sounds Develop?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Many times parents or teachers come to me concerned about their child's speech, but do not know if they should be. I came across this chart on the Mommy Speech Therapy blog, that is easy to read and parent friendly. These norms are based on the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation. I keep this up in my room and handy to give to teachers and or parents with speech concerns.

Picture This!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
This week I did an activity with my first grade language students on visualizing using the fable, The Hen and the Apple Tree by Arnold Lobel. This story is about a wolf that disguises himself as an apple tree in hopes of luring a hen out of her home. I really wanted the kids to understand the importance of incorporating details into a story. So... I read them the story without showing them any pictures. I had the kids close their eyes as I read the story and told them to take pictures in their brain of what they were seeing! When the story was over, we completed a worksheet to help us organize the details as a whole group.

The first section says: "Clues from the story. The apple tree has....."
The second part says: "I think it looks like:"

The first part of the worksheet was to write down the clues about the apple tree we were given by the author (explicit information). The students recalled what they heard in the story and wrote down the clues:
1. 10 furry toes
2. sharp teeth
3. long pointy ears.

The second part of the worksheet was to draw the picture they saw in their brain. They had to use the explicit information given as well as infer what the rest of their drawing should look like. The kids actually did a really great job with this! Here are a few samples:

He even added labels to his picture!

After they were done, the kids shared their drawings with the group. Then I shared the picture the author used in the story. (It was so funny how they were in such suspense waiting for me to share the picture. They kept trying to sneak a peek while I wasn't looking!) At the end of the lesson, we had a discussion about how each drawing is different, but all are correct visualizations as long as they all contained the details the author gave us. 

I created this worksheet on word. This would be a great activity you could use with almost any book, just adapt the worksheet. Have a wonderful evening!! 9 days until Thanksgiving!!!

You don't know Ned?

Thursday, November 10, 2011
For those of you that do not know Ned, you need to meet him! Ned is anything but adorable, but is always very popular! Ned's Head is a game that includes a giant plush head. To play the game, you first pick a card that has a picture of an object on it. You then reach into Ned's head (through his ears or nose) and try to find the object. Now, these objects are not pleasant. You have to find ear wax, vomit, a dirty diaper, a rat, etc!

You may be wondering why on Earth do I love Ned? The reason is because Ned can be used 1,000 different ways. I rarely ever use Ned the way he was designed to be used. Below are some ideas that I came up with to use this little guy!

1. I created my own shoe box of objects. Inside my box I put objects such as a toothbrush, a calculator, a cotton ball, a small football, a McDonald's toy.... things that don't make you want to lose your lunch! How I use Ned with this version of the game is I put the objects in Ned's Head before the students come into the room. Then, one at a time, the kids reach in Ned's head to find 1 object. They do not take the object out of his head. Instead, they give characteristics of the object (hard, soft, small, round, squishy) and they and their friends have to guess what it is. After they all guess, the object is removed from the head.

2. Having trouble getting your kids to drill speech words? Simply put the words in Ned's Head and let them draw a word card out. They practice the word after the draw the card. Simple, and no whining! :)

3. I created a sentence template on Boardmaker. My sentence says "I found a ______ in Ned's Head." The students draw out an object or word card (depending on the target goal) and fill in the blank. This is good for working on complete sentences and articulation.

4. Working on letter names and sounds? Place plastic letters in Ned's Head and have your kids draw out letters one at a time. They can find the match on a separate sheet, tell you the letter name and sound, or find an object that goes with the letter.

5. Working on initial sound identification? Place objects in Ned's Head with specific sounds you are working on. For example, if you are working on the letter S and the letter M, have objects that begin with S and M inside Ned's Head. Then, have a S and M box. As the students take objects out of Ned, they decide what box to sort the objects into.

The possibilities are endless with Ned. I believe I purchased Ned from Toys R Us. Have a wonderful weekend... I am off to Atlanta in the morning to see my beautiful friend, Francesca get married!!!

M&M's plus Math? Yes, please!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL Halloween!! If you're like me and didn't have very many trick or treaters come to collect this year.... you have lots of leftover candy! So instead of me eating all the leftovers while watching my new favorite show Long Island Medium, (because believe me, I would have!) I decided to use my left over treats for a language activity!

I downloaded this worksheet a few years ago from the Read.Write.Think. website (www.readwritethink.org). This activity is best for first grade and up. I tried it with few kindergarten students, who did surprisingly well, but as a whole I would stick with first grade and above. This activity teaches new math vocabulary (estimate, more than, less than, most, least, compare, graph, etc) as well as reinforces following directions. I of course tied speech in here as well! One of my students that has the "th" sound as a goal, had to use the correct sound in the words "three, " "thirteen," and in the sentence, "I think my bag has _____ M&M's inside."

Each student was given a bag of M&M's or Skittles, a pencil, and a worksheet. I'm sure you cannot read this worksheet from the photo. The first sections says My Estimate _____. None of my students knew the word estimate, so I let them use their detective skills and try to figure out the meaning from my clue, "I want you to estimate how many M&M's are in your bag. You cannot open the bag or touch the bag." The next section says The Amount ______. This is where they open the bag and count their candy. From there, the students had to decide if their estimate was more than, less than, or equal to the actual amount in the bag. 
Counting and sorting candy!

Next, the kids sort their candy into color groups and graph their results! At the bottom of the page, the students fill out which color had the most and which color had the lease amount in the bag. The last step (and most important!) is to eat their candy!

Graphing our results.

Completed graph!

"Check out our graphs!"

Our bulletin board outside the speech room: "This week we learned to estimate!"

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