Spring and Mother’s Day crafts for low incidence populations

I’ve been slacking on my usual posts about activities with low incidence populations, so now I’m playing catchup.  Here’s what I’ve done with my intellectually disabled group for the past three weeks.

I live in a suburb of Washington, DC, so the Cherry Blossoms are a big thing.  When I saw this on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it!

We used two different sized soda bottles and two different shades of pink (barely…).  This is great for working on big vs. little and added to the OT aspect as well.

Instead of each student doing their own, we put 2-3 students to a poster and made a collaborative piece of art.  It’s now hanging in the hallway 🙂

First, they drew the trunk and branches with brown paint, then we dipped the soda bottles in the pink paint and added the flowers, and last we put the grass at the bottom.  We worked on colors and nouns (grass, flowers, tree, trunk, branch, etc).

This activity did not take long at all, so we also did a comprehension/wrap up activity on the SMARTBoard using Boardmaker Studio.  Here are some screenshots of the Boardmaker question activity:

Last week we made umbrellas.  I also saw this craft on Pinterest.  I know you’re all shocked…

We used dot paints to decorate a paper plate.

Then the adults cut the paper plate in half and a small slit in each half (the top of on side of the plate and the bottom of the other).  On one half we glued a handle (that we had pre-cut).

While one one adult was cutting/prepping the paper plates, the other occupied the students with the “April” banner from the calendar.  It had rain drops and an umbrella on it.  How perfect!

We glued the handle to the half with the slit on top; the other half of the plate has the slit on the bottom.

Here it is all put together!

We also attached rain drops with white yarn and a hole punch, but I don’t have a picture of that. 

This, again, was a rather quick craft.  Here are the Wh- questions that I asked at the end of the session using Boardmaker on the SMARTBoard.

Today we did a Mother’s Day craft/card.  Here is my inspiration. 

To prepare, we cut pots, strips of green paper (2 different colors for some added dimension), and flowers using the Ellison press.  I also used white yarn.

The pot has a fold at the bottom, so it has 2 halves.

First, we used fun scissors (those craftng ones that cut different patterns) to just snip the grass.  Then, we glued it to the top of the open flower pots.  Here are two examples:

a different shade of green on eaach half

Next, the students chose which color flowers they wanted.  I had 5 colors to choose from.  If you’re doing this with more verbal students, this would be great for requesting and describing: “I want a blue flower.”  We also targeted first/second/third and top/middle/bottom.  The example includes a picture of the student on a fourth flower, but we did not.  As the students chose a flower, we just taped it to the yarn.

Next, we taped the end of the yarn into the bottom of the pot, then glued the sides of the pot shut.

The example has words written on each flower and the pot.  I adapted it for my non-verbal/non-writers by printing symbols beforehand. The students had to receptively identify the word/picture/symbol I asked for.  They read: “I”, “love”, “you”, & “Happy Mother’s Day”.

We glued  and/or taped each symbol to the flower and pot.  Both glue and tape worked, so we just did whatever was nearest to that student at the time or whichever worked for their OT goals.

Here they are all finished.  How cute are they?!  I really think the moms will love them!

I hope you can use these soon and it’s not too late!  Visit the pinterest link for the Mother’s Day craft – there’s a pot template!



Adverb Arcade & a St. Patrick’s sensory craft

Many people have been requesting activities targeting adverbs.  Well, I made just that!  It, like many of my activities, gives a variety of levels.  Also, the arcade theme is appropriate for a variety of ages.

There are 4 posters/anchor charts/visuals that explain: what an adverb is, how an adverb differs from an adjective, examples of adverbs (broken up into type), and examples of difference types of adverbs in sentences. 

Here is a picture of one of the visuals:

There is also a game board:

Then come the task cards.  There are 4 different levels/types of responses, with 17 of each.  Here’s a glimpse:

Receptive: identifying the adverb.
Expressive: multiple choice, fill in the blank.
Expressive: correct the sentence.

Expressive: Finish the sentence, open-ended
While using this download, the SLP/teacher can discuss what word is being modified (described), what type of adverb it is, and what question it is answering.  I hope this is something you can use!  Check it out here.  Leave a comment below for a chance to win this download!  I’ll pick my favorite comment on Monday (3/18/13) and announce it on my Facebook page!
Now onto my regular Wednesday post for those minimally/non verbal students on your caseload!  Much like my Valentine’s craft, for St. Patrick’s day we again used Jell-o.  I actually found Jolly Rancher brand gelatin!!!! For 50 cents at Wal-mart! Could it get any better?!  (Maybe if I had actually made it and eaten it…) 
We cut out shamrocks (forgot the green paper, whoops) using the Ellison press.  When I opened the bag of jell-o, the sour apple flavored powder looked VERY pale.  I was afraid it wasn’t going to look green on the white paper.
This time, we went a little different route than we did with the Valentine’s hearts.  We poured liquid glue in a big bowl.  The students took turns squeezing the glue bottle.  When that got tiresome (for me, more than anyone) we got the HUGE bottle of glue refill and had the students take turns pouring it into a measuring cup, then dumping that into the large bowl.  More OT skills targeted, that way!  Then the students all took turns dumping the jello powder into the bowl.  We then passed around the bowl and mixed it!  (It did turn out much more green than I originally anticipated – thankfully!) Then we put each student’s shamrock into the lid of a cardboard box and had them “paint” the jello-glue mixture onto them.  Here are some pictures:
mixing the glue and jello

the box lid helped avoid a mess!

painting it on!

our finished products!

These are to be used as “air fresheners”.  Once dry, their teacher is going to punch a hole in them and string green yarn through it so it can be hung.
The smell on these were not as strong and long-lasting as our Valentine’s hearts.  I’m not sure if it was our method or the brand of jell-o.  If you’re going to do this, use jell-o brand jello- (buy the jolly rancher for yourself – let me know how it is!) and shake the powder onto the glue rather than premixing it, to ensure yours are better than mine were.
Either way, the students loved it and it was language rich!
Enjoy! ~Denise

Activities for Minimally Verbal/Nonverbal Students

Am I the only one who’s been a little overwhelmed at work lately?!  I’m so behind in posting and making things!  So, one of these activities is a little outdated at this point, but it can be adapted for any holiday so I’m going to share it anyway. 

I can remember doing this craft when I was in first grade!  You know how it’s said that your scent of smell is most closely tied to memory?  That’s definitely evident here, because this smell is so potent, it’s stayed with my for 20 years!  It’s actually the smell of Jello!  (In its powdered form)  For Valentine’s day, the OT and I took 2 weeks to make a craft with our intellectually disabled group.  We made Valentine’s cards for the students’ parents.

We pre-cut hearts with our Ellison press.  The student glued the hearts onto a pink sheet  of paper that we folded in half, to make the card. We put the Jell-o powder in a plastic cup and had the students smell it.  The students then put glue all over the heart and we used a spoon to pour the Jell-o powder all over it.   It was strawberry, and yes, I got sprayed with strawberry powder as some of the students were “smelling” it 😉

On this day, we only completed the front half of the card.  Then, we had the students use Bingo markers to answer multiple choice comprehension questions about what we had done.

I made the question sheet using Boardmaker Studio.  Does anyone else have this updated version of BM?  It’s AWESOME!
Throughout the activity, there was a ton of language used: heart, shake, strawberry, red, pink, glue, on, in, spoon, etc.  We also had them feel the powder and talked about how it felt similar to sand.
The next week, we completed the insides of the cards.  I again used Boardmaker Studio to make an adapted writing activity. 
The students chose:
-who they’d write their card to: Mom, Dad, or Mom & Dad
-what their message would be: Have a nice day; Happy Valentine’s Day; or I love  you.
-their salutation: Love or From
and then their name from a field of 7 (the number of students in the class).

Here’s what the screen looked like during the writing activity:


We printed it, cut it to fit, and glued it on the inside.  Here is how the inside of one turned out:
Now, the smell dissipated a little over the week, but I’m sure the parents like them regardless.  Besides, the smell was more for the students’ sensory input – which was definitely on overload the first week!  My hands smelled like strawberry Jell-o all day!
In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, this week we made Cat in the Hat hats out of fruit!  I saw this idea on Cooking up Good Speech.  Find her version here.
One of the students in the group is allergic to strawberries, and the grocery store didn’t have raspberries this morning, so I went with grapes.  They got the idea.  And let me tell you – this group has the BEST eating habits!  They LOVE fruit!
We used sliced apples as the bottom of the hat, then stacked banana slices (which the kids cut themselves, with a weighted knife) and grapes on a long toothpick.  This targets patterns, sequencing, a variety of textures, vocabulary, and categorization.  They loved it!  Here’s what my day looked like:

Keep your eye out for more seasonal activities for your nonverbal students soon!  St. Patrick’s day is just around the corner, and we’ve got something up our sleeves. 🙂