Activities for Minimally Verbal/Nonverbal Students

Am I the only one who’s been a little overwhelmed at work lately?!  I’m so behind in posting and making things!  So, one of these activities is a little outdated at this point, but it can be adapted for any holiday so I’m going to share it anyway. 

I can remember doing this craft when I was in first grade!  You know how it’s said that your scent of smell is most closely tied to memory?  That’s definitely evident here, because this smell is so potent, it’s stayed with my for 20 years!  It’s actually the smell of Jello!  (In its powdered form)  For Valentine’s day, the OT and I took 2 weeks to make a craft with our intellectually disabled group.  We made Valentine’s cards for the students’ parents.

We pre-cut hearts with our Ellison press.  The student glued the hearts onto a pink sheet  of paper that we folded in half, to make the card. We put the Jell-o powder in a plastic cup and had the students smell it.  The students then put glue all over the heart and we used a spoon to pour the Jell-o powder all over it.   It was strawberry, and yes, I got sprayed with strawberry powder as some of the students were “smelling” it 😉

On this day, we only completed the front half of the card.  Then, we had the students use Bingo markers to answer multiple choice comprehension questions about what we had done.

I made the question sheet using Boardmaker Studio.  Does anyone else have this updated version of BM?  It’s AWESOME!
Throughout the activity, there was a ton of language used: heart, shake, strawberry, red, pink, glue, on, in, spoon, etc.  We also had them feel the powder and talked about how it felt similar to sand.
The next week, we completed the insides of the cards.  I again used Boardmaker Studio to make an adapted writing activity. 
The students chose:
-who they’d write their card to: Mom, Dad, or Mom & Dad
-what their message would be: Have a nice day; Happy Valentine’s Day; or I love  you.
-their salutation: Love or From
and then their name from a field of 7 (the number of students in the class).

Here’s what the screen looked like during the writing activity:


We printed it, cut it to fit, and glued it on the inside.  Here is how the inside of one turned out:
Now, the smell dissipated a little over the week, but I’m sure the parents like them regardless.  Besides, the smell was more for the students’ sensory input – which was definitely on overload the first week!  My hands smelled like strawberry Jell-o all day!
In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, this week we made Cat in the Hat hats out of fruit!  I saw this idea on Cooking up Good Speech.  Find her version here.
One of the students in the group is allergic to strawberries, and the grocery store didn’t have raspberries this morning, so I went with grapes.  They got the idea.  And let me tell you – this group has the BEST eating habits!  They LOVE fruit!
We used sliced apples as the bottom of the hat, then stacked banana slices (which the kids cut themselves, with a weighted knife) and grapes on a long toothpick.  This targets patterns, sequencing, a variety of textures, vocabulary, and categorization.  They loved it!  Here’s what my day looked like:

Keep your eye out for more seasonal activities for your nonverbal students soon!  St. Patrick’s day is just around the corner, and we’ve got something up our sleeves. 🙂

Super Bowl Sunday Sale & 2 new products

By now you’ve probably heard that TPT will be holding a Super Bowl Sunday Sale!  Sellers can choose to give 5, 10, 15, or 20% off their products.  Then, using the code “SUPER” at checkout, you can get an extra 10% off the already reduced prices.  That’s a total of 28% off!

I will be giving 20% off all of my products.  Be sure to get your wishlists ready and take advantage of this 28% off opportunity.

I’ve recently added two new products to my store.  Here’s a peak.

The first is a book companion for “If You Give a Pig a Pancake”.

My original inspiration for using this book actually came over the summer.  I was at Marshall’s and saw this ADORABLE spatula in their “impulse buy heaven” of a checkout line.  It was $2 and I had to have it.  I pinned it then but haven’t done anything with it. Until now.

I’d seen those of things on pinterest involving flipping “pancakes” as an activity.  Many of the items in this pack are pancakes.  So, break out your pink spray paint, head to the dollar store for a cookie sheet, and get to crafting!  That’s what I’m gonna do anyway…

There are a variety of preschool/Kindergarden topics covered.

Pages 2-4: props for story retelling, sequencing, story elements, and for use as visuals for a variety of tasks

Pages 5-7: Comprehension/Inferential questions & Pages 7-8: General Wh- questions

Pages 9-11: CVC words with /p, b, m, n, t, d/

Pages 12-20: Initial, medial, and final /g, k, f/ & Pages 21-24:  l blends, s blends

Pages 25-27: Phonemic awareness – word segmentation using compound words

Pages 28-29: Regular plurals

Pages 30-32: Sentence structure targeting is/are, with a pancake per word (for those who omit the helping verb)

Pages 33-35: Third person singular verbs (-s)

Pages 36-38: Basic concepts – clean/dirty, empty/full, hot/cold

Pages 39-41: Association matching (go-togethers)

Page 42: Prepositions

Pages 43-44: What does not belong?

Pages 45-46: Verbs

Pages 47-49: Object functions

Pages 50-53: Categories (receptive and expressive)

Pages 54-55: Attributes

  Grab this download here.

I also made a simple balloon themed phonemic awareness pack.  It targets initial sounds and rhyming.

Initial sounds:
Cute little clowns are holding balloons that have letters in them.  The letters are grouped according to age of acquisition and manner of production: B, P, M, N, T, D & K, G, F, W, H.


There are 8 picture flashcards per sound.  Draw one card at a time.  Students can use dry erase markers or bingo chips (if the sheets are laminated) to cross out that picture’s initial sound.  First one to “pop” all of their balloons, wins.  You could also use dot painters or finger paint to “pop” the balloons, if you don’t mind the sheets not being reusable.

I included some clowns with blank balloons in case you’d like to group your sound differently.  Or you could target lower case letters or a mix of upper and lower.

These mats have a bear and an alligator holding balloons.  Their balloons have pictures in them.  There are 15 picture cards (with words, so there’s no confusion) to draw.  Students pop ALL of the balloons on their mat that rhyme with the word.  First to pop all of their balloons, wins.

Time for a giveaway!  Enter below using Rafflecopter for your choice of either of the 2 products in this post.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope you enjoy the sale and my new downloads.  I’ll be enjoying some greasy food and vats full of bleu cheese dressing.  Sadly, I’m not kidding.

Sensory-loaded Hot Chocolate Craft

Last week we had a 2 hour delay on Thursday  and a 2 hour early dismissal on Friday because of snow.  Tuesday it got up to 70.  What gives?

Although our thermometers are working overtime, my OT colleague, Lisa, and I decided to do a hot chocolate sensory craft with our severely language delayed/nonverbal students.  I found the idea on Pinterest.  The idea originates from the Melissa and Doug blog.  Who knew they had a blog?!?!?!?  I will certainly be following that from now on!
We printed a mug for each student and mounted it on a fun, wintery blue colored piece of construction paper.  We didn’t want to cut out each mug because it would have taken too much time.  Also, the extra space around each mug made the excess hot chocolate and glitter easier to shake off.
We first poured the hot chocolate powder in a cup.  We held it under (not too close – some blew instead of smelled.  hysterical and adorable.) their noses so they could smell the chocolate.  It is surprisingly potent!

We used glue sticks for the “drink” portion.  It actually worked very well!  The chocolate powder adhered well and it dried quickly.  I’d definitely recommend that.  The students scooped the powder with a measuring cup.  Then, we used stick glue on the snowflakes (that are on these cups) and put glitter on them.  The students held the glitter container and shook it on.  The last step was the marshmallows.  We had cotton balls and had the students tear them apart.  We used the little pieces they tore as the marshmallows.  To stick these on, we used liquid glue.  The students helped squeeze the glue bottle.

We worked on receptively and expressively identifying “cup”, “chocolate”, “drink”, and “marshmallow”.  Here’s the finished products.  They really are super cute!

I plan to do one for Valentine’s day with Jello!  Anybody know of any other potent powders that we could craft with????