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!)

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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

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