Basic Concept Christmas Trees

Last week, my mod-severe autism groups and I started making Christmas Trees.  Most of those students have goals to do with basic concepts of size (short/long and big/little).  When I saw this idea on Pinterest, I knew it was perfect!

I started by buying some packs of cute Christmas scrapbook paper.  I found 8.5×11 size sheets in packs of about 25 sheets for only $5 at Michael’s, so I bought 3 different kinds.  I cut a couple of each type of sheet into strips that are a couple cm wide.  Then, I took a handful of them and cut them 7in, 6in, 5in, and 4in long.  I left some the length they were (8 in – because that’s how wide the paper started out).  I kept the other halves of the 7/6/5 inch pieces and that gave me my shorter strips. 

So, I started out with strips about 2-3 cm wide, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 in. long.  I’m so glad I bought myself a paper cutter at the beginning of the school year!  It was only $25 at BJ’s!

I recommend putting each length in a separate bag or clipping them together some how.  The above mess was a pain to sort through when I first started.

Each student got a green piece of construction paper.

As I went around the table, I placed a field of 3 strips in front of each student: 1 short piece and 2 long or 1 long piece and 2 short. I used this as a receptive task to identify “short” vs “long”.   

To assemble the trees, we began placing the longer strips were on the bottom of the paper and they gradually got shorter as we went up. 

a field of 3 with the prompt “Give me long.”

I did a couple repeated trials of receptive identification of short vs long for each student.

For students who were not working on short vs long, I showed them a few strips in the size that they needed and had them describe to me which paper they wanted.  This targeted adjective+noun phrases, “I want…” sentences, and descriptions, depending on the level of the student.

Because I have about 4 students in a group, and I did many trials of receptive identification for each student, we only got as far as finishing the tree itself. 

I also used my Cricut machine (“Joys of the season” cartridge) and cut ornaments (of varying sizes), stars (in different patterned papers), and presents (of varying sizes).  We will add these elements this week, while discussing concepts of size and location (i.e. “under the tree”, “on top of the tree” & “on the tree”).  We will also add a trunk! 

I will update this post with a picture of some of our completely finished trees at the end of the week, but I wanted to write it in time for you to use it in your speech rooms! 

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!  (Only 5 more days til Winter Break!  Woo hoo!)

Holiday lights craft

Last week with my Intellectual Disabilities classrooms (where I co-treat with OT) we made thumb print holiday lights.  I’m sure you’ve seen the idea on Pinterest.  Here’s the pin I went off of.

We used one large piece of white construction paper to make a poster per class.  Instead of an ink pad, we used a tray of water color paints (because it’s what we had access to from our art teacher).  I put a couple drops of water on each color and placed the tray in the lid from a cardboard box (from printer paper) so that any drips would be caught in there.

Clearly the box was a good idea.  Not all of that mess is from this project, but that clump in the middle is!

We had students use the photo magnets below to make a choice of what color they’d like to print.  Depending on the student, we gave them a field of between 2-6.  These can be placed on a magnetic whiteboard or on the table, making them easily accessible for a variety of students.  They came from the dollar store, so they’re a cheap, low tech way to make choice-making accessible to a variety of students!

We gave them each 3 chances to do prints.  We used directions like “put finger in (color)”, “put finger on paper”, and some students were even asked to put their finger next to/under/between/above etc. certain colors.  It made for a great following directions activity.  Here is our finished product!

These look SO cute hanging in the halls!  My co-SLP and I also did this activity with our preschoolers.  Their directions were a little more complex and we had them verbalize in phrases/sentences what they were going to do next.  Because they can get antsy, we gave them each a coloring page to do when it was not their turn.  Here’s the one we used.  The site has a bunch of great coloring pages, that could also be used as templates for something.  Here are all of their Christmas options!

The kids really liked this activity and they came out so cute!  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!  How many more days til Winter Break?!

Gingerbread Language Pack

I recently updated one of my students’ goals to include following conditional directions.  While working on it last week, I realized that he is capable of following them when I am speaking to just him, but when they are given in a group, he loses this ability.  This prompted me to make my latest activity – Gingerbread Language pack! 

In it, I target the following receptive and expressive skills:
following conditional directions
exclusionary listening
listening for details
written descriptions
describing verbally
There are 6 different mats/gingerbread men to give to students.  These can be duplicated if you have more than 6 students in your group.
Each gingerbread man has different buttons, eyes, noses, mouths, and other accessories.  I also provide a list of conditional directions.  Your options are certainly not limited to this list!  You can make them easier or harder.  I’ve included 2 steps in mine (i.e. “If your gingerbread man is holding 1 lollipop, clap your hands.  If not, touch your nose.”).  I’ve made all of the tasks involved non-verbal, so they can be done in a group and still maintain a level of composure among the group.  If they all started singing their ABCs or counting to 10, it would get a little crazy!
These same mats can be used for describing.  This can be done verbally or with the writing sheets provided.  I have provided a blank version and a scaffolded version.  These versions allow for different ability levels to participate in the same task.  Can the other students guess which gingerbread man is being described?  You could write the correct answer (a number) in the corner, cover it with a post-it, and write “Lift for Answer” on the post-it. 
The next group of tasks involves listening for details and exclusionary listening.  Print a mat of pictures for each student and laminate it.  As you read the descriptions (out of order) and students must decide which gingerbread man is being described.  They can use a dry-erase marker to cross out, using process of elimination to find out which gingerbread man you are describing.  You could also decrease the field to make it less difficult.
And now, time for an impromptu giveaway of this latest Language Pack!  Enter using Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~Denise