It is that time of year again and my students are asking for the Homonym Tree. If you remember from a previous year post, I put up a tree in the Spring and the students write homonyms on paper pears to earn a Dum Dum sucker. This year it is even easier for me because one of my fellow teacher ordered a pear die cut. I don’t need to cut out folded stacks of paper. How incredibly thoughtful of her. The tree looks different every year. This year we ran out of brown butcher paper so it ended up mainly black. it will have a lot more pears on it by the end of the year.
Here are two adaptations for the game Crocodile Dentist. This is a plastic crocodile that has a spring loaded mouth. The mouth closes when a certain tooth is pushed down. Kids enjoy the suspense of seeing who is going to get bit. The trigger tooth changes location each time the mouth is opened. Some of you may already use this game for reinforcement. I thought you might like to know how you can expand its use a little further. I use it to expand a student’s verbal output to 2 to 3 word phrases using a communication board and to review prepositions when following directions.
Using permanent markers, I colored the teeth alternating colors. I used pink, green, and orange because I already had a die that had those colors. If you don’t have a die you could make a spinner or use colors for a die you have.
For my students with limited verbal abilities, I use the communication board along with the die in a plastic jar. I have the students shake the die to get the color of tooth they need to push down. I then model phrases using the communication board while playing the game. The game creates a lot of opportunities for repetition of phrases such as “I have ….” or “push down green tooth”. I also reinforce saying “your turn” and “my turn.” After repetition the students start to say the appropriate phrase when you point to the correct icons as a prompt. Finally, they may prompt themselves by pointing to the icons and verbalizing. This is a good way to break up an imitative pattern that often happens when training non-verbal children and uses a natural context for turn taking.
The colors are used in the direction cards also. Cards were made using the concept vocabulary: next to, beside, between, right, left, colors, not, side, front, either/or. Children take turns drawing the cards and following the directions for the tooth to be pushed down. We play a variation by giving each child three poker chips. They feed the crocodile a chip if he bites. The person who feeds all three chips is the winner. I provided a word program down load because I thought people may need to adjust the color words for their needs. If you have any difficulties with this, leave me a comment. Print out the cards and have the students pull them out of a bag and then follow the directions while playing the game.
card download here
It is time for a new Spring bulletin board. I became inspired by the paper curl bird on fun family crafts here. I changed it a little bit mainly because I didn’t think my students would be able to handle that many paper curls.
I continue to try to have some speech therapy value with the bulletin board. This one will promote giving and following directions as well as understanding idioms. As in the past I used the app Storykit to have students produce and narrate the instructions on making the birds. I hope you have found this great free app by now. It is in the blog roll if you need to find it. Here is the story kit link to How you make Paper Birds. If you use the app it will look like a book with pages rather than a story board.
My older students will have a homework component. I made flyers with idioms printed on them and they can either write or tell me the meaning after researching it. Here is the flyer. Bird phrases. I’ve been giving animal crackers for a reward lately. They go with the theme of Spring animals and I tell myself they aren’t as bad as giving candy. The students seem to like to work for them.
This is the look of the bulletin board so far. The birds are suppose to be sitting on wires. I guess you could say it is a work in progress.
It is Spring Break for me. I have time to get some creative juices flowing. Just before break, we had our annual book fair. One of the hot items was a “Top Secret UV Pen”. I was lucky enough to get one before they sold out, although teachers were saying it was one of the main items they had to confiscate later after multiple reminders to put it away. Maybe I should have just waited and one would have come my way. Anyway they are pretty inexpensive, in the $3 range. Book fairs are not that different from school to school so maybe you have seen the pens too. I know you are itching to try it out so I am providing the perfect opportunity.
When I saw this item an idea came to mind. I knew my students enjoyed a Super Duper item that had a decoder light. I thought I could make some of my cards more motivating by using it in the same way. It would be perfect for my before and after cards. Many of my students have difficulty with the semantics of when to use before or after. I made a deck of before and after cards with pictures for my non readers quite a few years ago. They were lost in my move last Spring and I dearly missed those cards. Unfortunately they weren’t digital. This pen motivated me to make another set. This time I left a frame where I used the UV pen to write before and after depending on the sentence. The students can light up the answer to see if they are correct. The cards are still very useful even if you don’t have the UV light.
I made a free set of 9 cards on 3 pages for you to try out. If you have the UV light you can add the light the answer feature. I am not sure if the UV will work if they are laminated. I’ll have to see when I get back to work. Anyway try out these free cards and if you want more I’ll have a set of 30 at the TPT store.
TPT store set of 21 in addition to the 9 trial cards.
WordPress before and after free set of 9 trial cards
I have five days left before Spring Break and I realized Easter is coming faster than I thought. It will be done when we come back from Spring Break and I haven’t even pulled out the plastic Easter eggs. The Easter eggs always add a little variety to the speech therapy sessions. In preparation for this, I updated the Descriptive Sentences Activity that is in the Expressive Language section. It now has 20 basic sentences and I added color and visual cues to the spinner. It is free at the TPT store here. I will print out the basic sentences and insert them in the eggs. The students will pull them out and spin the spinner to make more elaborate sentences. If they succeed they will keep the egg. If not, it will get thrown back into the basket. I will give some sort of little prize to the person with the most eggs.