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?!

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!)

Pumpkin craft for ANY goal.

 
Today with my kindergarteners I targeted their goals in a brand new way for them. We didn’t play a game, we made pumpkins!  I found the original idea here.
 
To start, I cut orange construction paper in long strips.  My stips are about 12 inches long and an inch and a half wide.  I gave each student ten strips.
 
Using BoardMaker, I printed 1 inch pictures.  My visuals targeted their goals, which had to do with sequencing and wh- questions.  I had questions on some and answers on the others.  I asked the students the questions on the papers; when they answered I gave them the corresponding visuals.  Then they glued them on the orange strips.  I also had steps of common sequences printed out.  I had them separated into groups and gave them to the student.  He put them in order while the other students were answering questions, then he told me “the story” on his turn.  He also glued them to the strip in order.  They really loved it!
 
My hesitation with crafts has always been that the focus would be too much on crafting and not enough on speech/language goals.  Not with this one!
 

When they were all finished gluing their pictures on, I had them stack the strips together again.  I punched holes in each end of each strip.  Then, the students each helped me put a brad “through” the hole.  (We did a LOT of modeling of this word because I know from past sessions that they don’t know it.)
 

When we were finished with the first brad, I had the student flip their strips over so that the pictures were facing the table.  We fanned out the strips and I had the students curl up a strip and hand it to me (so I could keep the holes somewhat in line) one at a time.  I placed another brad in this set of holes and there we had it!  Look how cute they turned out!

wh- question pumpkin

sequencing pumpkin

This was my first attempt at it, so I didn’t add leaves.  I plan to do this same thing with my preschoolers and their artic sounds.  For them I might do a leaf or vine of some sort!

One of the pumpkins (the one I forgot to get a picture of…) came out much more round than the other two.  I have no idea for the life of me why that is, though!  I wish I could figure it out!  I really wish I had gotten a picture, because it really was drastically better.  Oh well!

This was so easy and fun!  I’m definitely going to be doing more crafts with my younger guys!

Fall apple craft

This week in therapy we made apple trees.  We used apples to paint/print with and they came out adorable!  This craft was so simple to do! Here’s a look.

To prepare,  I cut out a “tree” shape from green construction paper.  I also found some cool corrugated cardboard paper stuff in our art supply room, so I cut that in longs strips for the trunk.  This gave us some added texture and ability to talk about “bumpy” vs “smooth”.  I found some fake, decorative apples at the dollar store, so I used those to pre-teach vocabulary and to illustrate how apples can be red or green.  (The dollar store didn’t have yellow pretend apples…)  We put green and red paint in small, shallow tubs and I cut an apple in half.  Make sure to use a sharp knife; the dull, flimsy plastic kind from the cafeteria will make the cut uneven and they won’t print well on the paper.  Not that I know from experience or anything.

 

We did this with our 3 intellectually disabilities (ID) classes back to back.  We did one big tree per class so we wouldn’t be overwhelmed with the number of turns each student needed, since they all require hand over hand.  With the first class, we just had the students using their hands to grab the apple halves out of the paint trays.  This was a BAD idea.  I could barely grip the apple to get it out of the tray (that was just slightly bigger than the circumference of the apple), so how did I expect these students with fine motor deficits to do it?  To fix this problem, we took some adapted forks, with wide, rubber handles, and jammed them into the apple halves.  It worked WONDERFULLY after this!  It’s important to scrape or blot the excess paint off the apples – either using the edge of the paint tray or a paper towel.

With the ID rooms, I had PCS symbols printed out.  Each student made a choice of which color apple they wanted to stamp. 

After each student had a turn, we went around and had each one smell some cinnamon. Then we sprinkled some on the still-wet paint. Last, we glued on the corrugated trunk and our tree was finished! As a little reward and motivator, we had extra apples, sans paint, for the students to snack on! I also had a comprehension wh- question, fill in the blank activity printed (using BoardMaker) but we didn’t have time to complete it. 

I think they came out really cute!

I did the same craft with my high-functioning language group of students with autism.  These students made their own, individual trees because they’re more independent.  I used the same materials.  The students noticed that, although I was holding what looked like a whole apple, it actually had a slice down the middle.  One asked, “How did you cut that apple?”  I used this opportunity to talk about object functions.  We also discussed what you do with an apple and that today we were going to break from the norm and actually paint with an apple!

Next, I laid out the two halves we’d paint with and my fake, green apple.  We talked about ways they’re the same and different and the concepts of “half” and “whole”.  We used multiple attributes to describe the apples: half a red apple & a whole green apple.

I went around and asked who wanted to paint a red apple first.  Here we worked on manners: raising hands, waiting our turn, asking politely for a turn, being patient, etc.

I let the students stamp as many or as few red apples as they wanted. 

 We talked about concepts like: more, less, some, etc.  Then we moved on to green.

 
 
Once we were finished painting, we talked about why we couldn’t eat any of the apples on the table (even though they mentioned wanted to eat the real apple before we started) – two had paint on them and one was pretend.

 

We talked about where the students were putting their apples using a variety of prepositions.  We also touched on some green apples, some red apples, more red than green, more green than red, who had the most total apples, the most green, the most red, etc.  TONS of quantity concepts!

 
With this group, I stapled the the trunks to the tops of the trees for the students.  Turns out, one of my students didn’t know what a stapler was!  I told her, “Stand up, look on the shelf behind you, and hand me the stapler please.”  She stood up and had NO idea what to do after that.  I repeated the direction, she turned around and looked blankly at my shelf with a tape dispenser and a stapler on it.  I really had no idea she didn’t know this common school object.  I did a LOT of repeating the words “stapling” and “stapler” and I attached their tree trunks.  We also worked on the concept of “together”. 
 
For 4 of the 5 students’ trees, I stapled the trunk to the short side of the green paper.  For the last student, I decided to do it on the longer side.  Here we talked about how one of the trees on was tall, the other was short, one was narrow and one was wide. 
 
 
This activity had way more basic concepts than I even thought of when I first started it!  I hope you enjoy it with your students!  🙂  If you’d like to see my OT colleague’s spin on this, check out HER blog here. 🙂

My Therapy Room

Despite my best efforts to stall it, summer is ending.

When I walked into my room last Thursday, this is what I found:

Everything was pushed toward the center, so I had some furniture rearranging to do.  Once I got everything where it needed to be I found the custodian and asked if he had any tall bookshelves I could have.  He said, “Only that metal one.  It’s old and a mess!”  No problem!  I have plenty of plastic “fabric” to cover it!  He hauled it upstairs for me and I got to work!
 
Here are some before pictures.  What was the obsession with this hideous “mauve” color that every filing cabinet and shelf in my school is?!  YUCK!
It was filthy!

Tons of old masking tape on the top of it.



The theme of my room is definitely “Pirates” but the secondary theme is “black and white patterns” with hot pink accents. So, if I can’t work pirates into the decorating, it’s a black and white pattern!

A couple years ago, I found huge packages of plastic fabric at Wal-Mart.  It was in the fabric section; it’s actually “Con-Tact” brand.  Although, it’s not shelf liner.  It was a HUGE piece of continuous fabric – if I had to guess, I’d say it was about 10’x10′.  It was folded in a small square and wrapped in clear plastic. The picture on the back of the package showed it could be used as a cover for a BBQ grill. (Err, huh?  Who covers their grill in this gorgeous stuff?!)  I bought two packs of them – one black and white damask print and one black and white polka dots.  (**I tried to find the product online but couldn’t.  Sorry!) 

I started by measuring the piece for the top.  I used a spray adhesive to get it to stick on.  I used the end of a binder to smooth everything out.

To do the side, gravity was sort of working against me.  So, I starting by taping the piece I had cut at the top.  Then I sprayed the adhesive on a small area and smoothed it out.

 
I just kept spraying small areas as I went down.
 


When I was done with the fabric, I added ribbon to the outside edge of the inside shelves.  I used hot glue to put that on.

I also have a huge filing cabinet behind me when I’m at my desk. I also covered it with the Con-Tact paper and some ribbon. Here’s it is!

 

Here are all the “go-together” cutouts I got last year and over the summer! I got them all laminated and then had some students who were visiting help me cut the out.  I can’t wait to use them!

I’m lucky enough to have a SMART Board.  Last year I used a flimsy plastic table cloth on the board around it.  I didn’t love how it looked, because I had to piece it together so it looked very “band-aid”.  this year I used a full piece of the Con-Tact paper I had – this time polka-dot!  Then, I used black and white polka dot border around it.  Much better!  I wish I had a before picture to show you.  It’s a huge improvement!

 
I had seen on Pinterest that a classroom teacher made buttons for her students to wear when they got 100 on a test.  They got to wear them all day and as they passed other teachers in the hallway, they were congratulated on their accomplishment.  I think this is the cutest idea so I adapted it for Speech!  I bought these buttons at Michael’s.  I think they were like $2.

Then, I printed the words “I got 100% in Speech today” & “Ask me how I did in Speech today” on bright, fun backgrounds.  Six of each saying because there were 12 buttons in the package.  They are polka dot and diagonal stripes: yellow, orange, purple, green, blue, and pink.

I cut them out with my new circle cutter! (I bought this one and LOVE it!You can choose whatever size you want.)  The buttons required a 2.25″ circle, so that’s what these are.  If you’d like to print them for yourself, here they are!

I’ve decided to use some of my empty wall space to make a Word Wall.  Again – it’s black, white, and hot pink.  Here’s the stuff all cut out:

 
 
 
Grab a copy for yourself here.  It’s an editable ppt file so you can change it how you want!  I haven’t put it on my wall yet, because I’m waiting for my banner to arrive (under which I’ll hang my students’ accuracy charts).

Over the summer, I found two great posters at the Dollar Tree: synonyms and antonyms.  I hung them on the chalk board which is behind me as I’m sitting at the table doing therapy.  On the chalk board is also: a poster I made with a treasure map, my behavior clip chart, some describing and pronoun anchor charts, my rating scale for /r/ students (on a scale of 1-5), and a funny /r/ poster I made using various things I found online.  Here’s how I set it up!

There was some space above my SMART Board so I wanted to add something.  I chose to make a banner illustrating the steps of articulation therapy.  It has a treasure map, “X marks the spot” theme.  Get the elements of it here to make your own!

 Some close-ups:

 

We are only allowed to cover our door with a certain amount (small amount!) or paper due to fire codes.  I saw this idea from “The Buckeye Speech Path” and decided to make my own version.

You can grab the letters for yourself in this download!  The bottom part of the poster with the SLPs’ names on it says, “Arrrrgh happy to have you on board.”

Here is a bulletin board of some personal pictures.  I found some cute pirate fabric, that also happened to be pink and black, at Wal-Mart.  I used that as the background on a cork board that I had and used pink & black argyle duct tape as the border.  Above it, I printed out my chalkboard style poster with a quote from Oscar Wilde that I really like.  I put my polka dot border around it and it’s done!  You can grab that poster here!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my therapy room!  Please share any pictures of how you use any of the freebies in this post.  You can use the hashtag #SLPirates on instagram, too!  Or tag me; my Instagram used name is @speechlanguagepirates

Father’s Day craft

Last week we did a Father’s Day craft a little early.  I found it on Pinterest.  It wasn’t originally made to be a Father’s Day project, but I spun it into one!  Take a look!

We used sharpies to draw the stem and the eraser end of a pencil to stamp our dandelions.  I originally used a circle cut into a paper plate as a stencil.  It worked somewhat in keeping the cirlce shape, but I eventually scrapped that idea.  It also worked when I “drew” a cicle with the white paint and had the students “color” it in with the stamp.

In order to make it in the Father’s Day card, I made this quick heading in Word.  I used a bunch of fun handwriting fonts to make it look cute. 🙂

You can download my version of the heading here!

I hope you enjoy this craft – for those of you still in school like I am… 😦

The wonder of the Dollar Store

Aside from Target, the dollar store is probably my favorite place to shop.  Granted, Target also has a “Dollar Spot” – I sense a theme developing.

My mom found me these at (I believe) a Dollar Tree in New York.  Today I graduated a student and couldn’t wait to deliver this certificate!  How cute is it?!  And there are a BUNCH in the pack!

Stop what you’re doing now and head to your nearest Dollar Tree, because even if your room isn’t pirate themed, these would be perfect when an /r/ kid is dismissed!

I also found these gems at the Target Dollar Spot.  They’re actually coasters!  Although, they were more than $1; they were $3.  I only bought 2 sets, but each comes with 2 halves of the bun, a hamburger patty, lettuce, tomato, and cheese.  If they had been $1, I would have bought all they had!  I haven’t done anything in particular with them yet, but I think it would be fun to make a reinforcing game out of collecting all the necessary pieces to make a cheeseburger (a la Pretty Pretty Princess, circa 1993.  Who’s with me?).  There’s also the obvious sequencing aspect of the coasters.

What would you use these for???  I’d love to hear your ideas!  Please comment below.  If I like your idea and end up using it, you will get to choose any product from my TpT store!

 
A colleague of mine found these frames at the dollar store.  They are magnetic.  In them, she puts symbols or small manipulatives (i.e. coins) so they can be used for cummunication and participation with her intellectually disabled students, who might bend/tear cards or are unable to grasp something as small as a coin.  How great are they?!

 

I got these at the dollar store just the other day.  They are coordinating sets.  I plan to use them for activities that involve matching (synonyms, irregular past vs. present verbs, go-togethers, etc.)  I laminated them and will put Velcro on them.  That way, I can switch out the targets easily!  I will also use a dry erase marker to write the targets of the students who can read.  Aren’t they adorable?!  I got one of each design they had!

 What have you found at the dollar store?!

~Denise