Mmm, pumpkin pie!

So I know Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I just had to share this adorable craft.  Maybe you can use it next year!  Unlike many people, I had to work on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week.  I see my intellectual disabilities rooms with the OT on Tuesdays, so when I saw this pin, I had to make this craft with the ID classes!  (The pin I used is “broken”, but I just used the picture as a jumping off point.)

My OT friend has a student with her this semester, so luckily we had some help preparing the supplies beforehand.  Jackie, the OT student, pre-cut the paper plates and glued the orange paper to them.  She also cut the “crusts” from some awesome corrugated paper our art teacher has.  If you are doing this with your students, you could absolutely have them try to cut the paper plates themselves – maybe just draw a thick black line on the back, first. 

Here’s all of our supplies before we started:

This corrugated paper is great for feeling “bumpy”.

There is a slice of pie and a crust for each student.  We used cinnamon, as you can see, but you could also use pumpkin pie spice.  (We had used cinnamon before in an earlier craft, so it was easily accessible.) At the beginning of the session, we talked about what we were making and Thanksgiving, etc.

We poured glue in a suction bowl and added a little water to it to thin it out.  The students used a wide-handled paint brush to spread the glue from the bowl onto the white part of their pie slice.  This was great for following directions: “Put glue on the white.”  Then we added the crust.  We talked about how the crust felt “bumpy” and the orange pie felt “smooth”.

We used a slant board, so the clip on the top was great for holding the crust in place as we added glue and cinnamon to the orange part of the pie (our second step!).  We told the students to “put glue on orange” then we sprinkled some cinnamon onto it.  We, of course, let them have a good sniff of the cinnamon before putting it on their pie.  I love watching their little noses twitch!

Last, we added a little more glue and a cotton ball on top for the whipped cream!  Some students LOVED to feel the cotton ball in their hand and squish it while others hated it.  Sensory needs/preferences are so interesting to me!

Here’s one batch of our finished products!

Aren’t they just so cute?!

I also made a quick BoardMaker question activity for the students to do on the Smart Board when we were finished.  It asked the following questions: “What shape is our slice of pie?”; “What did we make?”; “When do we eat pumpkin pie?”; “What color is pumpkin pie?”.  My students very much prefer these question/answer activities using technology, but you could also make one using Boardmaker and a printed sheet (answer with Bingo dabbers) if you don’t have a Smart Board.  Or use your iPad and the amazing app See.Touch.Learn. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I’m very thankful for the opportunities this blog, and all of you, have brought to my life!

Paint Chip Turkeys

For the past two weeks, I’ve made paint chip turkeys with a good majority of my groups.  I found the original idea here, but didn’t want to work on “I’m thankful for…” with my groups.  Instead, we targeted artic, Wh- questions, pronouns, comparing/contrasting, yes/no questions, absurdities, regular past tense verbs, social skills, and sequencing.  Yes, all of that, sometimes 3-4 things in one session, all with one cute (almost free) craft!

My co-SLP and I raided the paint sections at both Home Depot and Lowe’s.  We grabbed a ton of different shapes, sizes, and colors.  Here’s our loot before we started.

I cut the wide paint chips into 3 long strip, to make them look more like “feathers”.  (The funny shaped ones, that actually look like a feather, came from Home Depot, by the way!)
To target a variety of speech/language goals, I went through my Super Duper “Fun Deck” books.  I have all four at my school, so it was easy to go through them and find a target for each student.  For the artic kids, I used my Jumbo Webber Artic Drill book.  To make the papers fit onto the feathers, I put the page(s) I wanted on the copy machine and shrunk them to 50%.  They may be difficult for you to see, but I promise it won’t be an issue for your students (with the exception of any vision problems, obviously).
I cut out the pertinent information into little boxes for each student.  The student above is working on answering wh- questions given 3 choices.  Some students were shown a picture and asked to label the verb, insert the correct pronoun, compare and contrast the pictures, etc.  The Fun Deck worksheet books covered EVERYTHING that I needed!
verbs and when questions

more when questions

absurdities and answering yes/no questions
It was a great way to work on following directions, too.  Once our feathers were complete, I had the students put some glue on the bottoms of their paint chips and put it on the back of a brown circle I had cut.  This was difficulty for some, so I drew an “X” on the bottom and had the student “put the glue on the X.”  For the turkey’s face, I had students use Sharpie markers to draw an upside-down yellow triangle for the beak and an upside-down red heart for the waddle.  I used googley-eyes, too.  Then we did stick-figure legs on the bottom.  Some students chose to get creative and draw wings on their turkeys, too.  We had the students describe their turkeys’ faces using adjective+noun phrases (i.e. yellow triangle & red heart).  It also worked on features of animals: beak, waddle, eyes, legs, feathers.



social skills

final /b/

past tense verbs

subject pronouns

Why questions

Wh- questions

Wh- questions

Wh- questions

pronouns & absurdities
I couldn’t pick just one…  The last two pictures are of students following the direction, “put your turkey on your head”.  Just some silly fun 🙂
We also worked on conditional directions when we were finished:  “If your turkey has a red feather, go line up at the door.”
Go ahead and bombard your nearest home improvement store.  And save any extras you have for spring time!  😉

CELF problems?

Do you have students who do poorly on the following directions subtest of the CELF-4?  (Have you heard they’re making changes for the CELF-5?  Well, there is still a following directions subtest and the items involve many of the same concepts.)  I found that finding materials to use with students who struggle with these skills (i.e. temporal concepts, multi-step directions, basic concepts, directions with a LOT of language, etc.) was way too difficult.  I decided to make a leveled following directions packet to systematically teach and probe these skills.

 There are 6 levels of difficulty.  The components of each and the concepts targeted are described in detail on the contents page (shown below).

Levels 1 & 2 correspond to a set of 3 visuals (labeled A, B, & C).  There are 16 directions for each visual A, B, & C.

Some examples of level 2 directions that correspond to visual A.

Levels 3-6 correspond to a set of 12 visuals (labeled D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, & O).

Below are some examples of directions that pertain to the visuals pictured above.  They are for levels 3-6.

The number/letter code at the top left corner of each card shows what level the card is and to which visual it pertains.

I’ve also included a data sheet so you can keep track of the types of errors your students are making.

In total, this download has 432 directions: 216 two step directions and 216 three step directions.  The various levels make this appropriate for a wide variety of students/groups.  The vocabulary pictured is simple: computers, notebooks, numbers, and letters.

I hope this is helpful for you and all of those students who struggle with those complex temporal directions (like on the CELF)!  Find it here.

Fall wrap-up

I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post.  I wish I could tell you that I’ve done something exciting with my time, but it’s honestly nothing I can put my finger on.

I know Fall is almost over, but here are all of the things the OT and I did with our intellectually disabled groups over the past month.

Here we did a sensory acorn craft.  I printed an acorn template from Boardmaker in black and white. (Did you know you can use the black and white library only?  I didn’t until last year!)  We used vanilla pudding for the tops and coffee for the bottoms.  Here are all of the materials we used:

We mounted the acorn onto a brown piece of construction paper.  We painted glue on the top half first and squirted the vanilla pudding powder (out of the bear/honey container) onto it.  This smelled AMAZING!

This guy loved smelling the pudding!

 Next, we painted glue on the bottoms and put the coffee grounds on it.  FYI – I used decaf coffee.  I dare not waste my beloved caffeine on artwork!  (The art teacher overheard me say this and was slightly offended! haha)

Next we glued symbols for “top” and “bottom” to label our acorns.  We also glued symbols for “yellow” and “brown” across from the “top” and “bottom” symbols.  We also worked on writing sight words (for those who were capable) “the” and “is” to make a sentence: The top is yellow.  The bottom is brown.”

I will have you know that many of my students HATED the coffee smell.  One could not stop making the stink face at his project, and when we walked down to his classroom, I caught him hovering his paper over the trash can.  Some very much enjoyed it though.  I didn’t tell them what either smell was before having them smell it.  Watching children smell is possibly one of my favorite things to do.  It’s just too adorable and funny.  The faces at the coffee smell – man, I wish I could have gotten them all on video!

The finished project!

Next, we made hot glue spider webs.  This is mainly an adult-only “craft” – but the language is outstanding! We only did this with our higher functioning ASD and language delayed students – not the mod-severe intellectually disabled population.  (Basically only with kids who can understand the danger of a hot glue gun – and follow the command “don’t touch” seriously.)

This is a great activity for following directions!

You will need a shallow pan (a dark one or a Teflon-coated one would work well for seeing the web), cold/cool water, a glue gun, PLENTY of glue sticks, and spider rings.  We told the students that we needed cold water then had then guess where we might go to get that and how we were going to carry it.

 First, we drew circles (about 4) with glue in the water.

Next, draw 4 straight lines through the circles you’ve drawn.  This is how the whole thing will stick together, so make sure everything connects.

The last step is to take it out of the water (make sure the glue has completely solidified) and add a spider!  We cut the ring part off of the spider rings, then glued in onto the webs.  The students told us where they would like to put their spiders.  Most chose “in the middle”.

After doing the first student’s web, we had each subsequent student tell us exactly what to do.  This worked on sequencing, using specific words, giving instructions, using correct vocabulary, etc.

The kids LOVED their “prize” at the end of this session.  This one was a huge hit!

The package of spider rings that we got had orange and black spiders.  I’ve seen purple, too.  This was a great way to have students make specific requests and use adjective + noun phrases.

For the students who could not do this spider activity, we made an adapted version.  We helped the students draw circles and straight lines with glue, then sprinkled silver glitter on it.  We stapled the spider to a corner of the paper.  These came out very cute, too.  The same language concepts were targeted, just in a safer way!  (Sorry, no picture.  Yet.  I’ll take one Monday at school!)