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?!

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.
 
 

compare/contrast

Verbs

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!  😉

Memorial Day craft

Today the OT and I did a Memorial Day craft with our intellectually disabled students.  We made flags!  This activity helped target colors, concepts (big & little and top, bottom, & middle), patterns, shapes (star, square, rectangle), nouns (flag, paper, glue), and verbs (squeeze, glue, touch, pick up, put on).

I used sheets of white construction paper then pre-cut strips of red paper into long and short pieces.  I also cut a blue square and used the Ellison press to cut a star.  **I would have used a bunch of little stars, but our Ellison press only had a big star.

our materials
 
 
First, we glued two “small rectangles” to the top right side.  We receptively identified which ones were “small”, which were “red” and then labeled red.
 

gluing the big rectangles

Next, we added two big rectangles to the bottom of the flag.  Lots of great language!

The next step was to add the blue square to the top left (which was blank at this point).  Everything fit perfectly together!  Last, we added one big star to the middle of the blue square.

Voila!  There we have our flags!

Hope those of you who are not yet out of school can use this activity.  Being in an area with a large military population, I know parents will appreciate this Memorial Day activity!