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. 🙂
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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. 🙂
 
~Denise

Winter Wishful Thinking – Giveaway!

Just like every other teacher (in most states) I pray for snow days.  However, as a former New Yorker now living in what I consider a “Southern” state (VA), I adore in the fact that I do not have to deal with 15 degree mornings, scraping the ice off my car before work (when I’m already running late), and tracking in dirty, brown slush everywhere I go.  It’s a very real inner struggle.  This week in therapy, I am mixing the best of both worlds!

The other SLP at my school found this awesome “instant snow” kit at Hallmark.  During the after Christmas sale, it was only $0.99!

This is what the packaging looked like.  It was originally $5.  I wouldn’t have paid that much, but it is definitely worth the dollar!
The powder (or “snow”) came in this tube, which was taped to the cardboard pictured above.  Please excuse the fruit bowl.  Use what you have…

This group is full of students from self-contained classrooms; their primary disorders include autism and intellectual disability.  My colleague and I share the group and we see them for a full hour.  We usually talk about our weekends and then do something fun and language rich for the rest of the session.  We started out seeing them for the usual half hour, but always had to end at a crucial and fun point in our weekend conversation so we upped it to a full hour session.  And I’m SO glad we did!  At the beginning of the session, we told them we were going to make something.  We gave them one clue that it was not something you eat and then had them guess.  One student guessed hot chocolate.  Another one, with poor initiation, guess we’d be making a Kleenex (there was a box of them next to her.).  This is why I love my job.

After we talked about our weekend, asking questions and formulating grammatically correct sentences, we gave the students a few more clues about what we were making.  We wrote each one on a post-it and laid them out on the table.

The clues were: “white”, “do not eat it”, “see it in winter” and “cold”.

They were able to synthesize all of this information and guess snow (one said “ice” – not bad).  Woo hoo!

Here are the students touching the powder while it was in my hand.  We described how it felt.  Most of them said, “warm”.  I think they were surprised that it wasn’t ice cold but honestly, they just felt the warmth of my hands. I guess the pretend aspect of this was a little too abstract.  It was a pretty coarse powder, so I shared that I thought it felt like sand.

To make the snow, all you have to do is mix it with water.  We had the students tell us step-by-step what to do:
Take off the cap; pour the powder in the bowl; go get water; pour the water in the bowl.

How cute is her blue nail polish?!

We gave each student a chance to dump a little of the powder in the bowl.  Then, while my colleague brought one of the students to go get water, I helped the rest of the group make predictions about where they were going to get the water; the water fountain or the bathroom.

We also talked about the “empty” tube we had.  We had a second package of “instant snow” so we contrasted the two tubes.  We also talked about what the word “instant” meant.

As we poured the water in, the powder grew to this awesome, fluffy consistency!  If you happen to do this with your own students, I’d suggest using REALLY cold water, only to give it more of an illusion of cold snow.

We talked about all of the things you can do in the snow – make snowballs, build snowmen, make a snow angel, etc. Then we passed the bowl around and let each student have a fun sensory experience touching the snow.

This student said, “Look!  I’m making a finger angel!”  So adorable!
attempting a snowball

As we recapped, we used regular and irregular past tense verbs to discuss how we made the snow.  They each used an adjective to describe the snow and how it felt.  We touched on SO many basic concepts, too.  They really LOVED this activity!  And for only 99 cents!  ❤

I’ve also recently added two new winter/Valentine’s themed products to my TPT store.  They are Valentine’s Wh- Questions & Valentine’s Listening and Describing.

The Wh-questions one is pretty self-explanatory.  It includes all 5 Wh- questions and How.  There are 8 of each question type, for a total of 48 questions in all.  Students collect their cards on their envelope.

Here’s a peak at a few of the cards:

The next is Valentine‘s Listening and Describing, which is very much like my Gingerbread Listening and Describing.  If you liked that pack, you’ll love this one!  And what kid doesn’t love a funny little monster now and then???  The pack targets conditional directions,exclusionary listening, listening for details, written descriptions, describing verbally, and negation.


In the first section, each student will get a monster.  They are all a little different and all pretty darn cute. There are two of each type of monster, just in a different color.  There are 10 different monsters in all!

 To play, give a conditional direction (or read one from the list of sample prompts).  Students must do what the direction says, according to their monster’s characteristics.  I’ve given a huge list of sample prompts, or you can come up with your own!  I also made all of the actions that the students need to take nonverbal (and mostly quiet) so that it is not disruptive and  you can tell if they did it correctly or not.  If they were all counting, saying their name, etc, it would make it a little hard!

After you’ve done the conditional directions part, students can write about their monsters.  They must give as specific a description as they can, since the monsters are all so similar.  I’ve included two different writing pages: a blank one and the one below.

Comes with an “answer key” so you can guide your students to the right answer.

I think it would be fun to read these aloud and have the rest of the students guess which monster is being described.  Or, hang them in the hall for everyone to guess!

Next is listening for details!  Students must use all the clues to decide which character you are describing.  The picture below will ideally be used as a mat (do not cut apart).  However, if your students need a smaller field or can handle a larger one, cutting it apart would work too!

Put this mat in the middle of the table for all to see or print one for each player.  If everyone has one, they can use a dry erase marker to eliminate the characters that you are not describing and use process of elimination to determine which you are talking about.  There are 4 mats, with 6 pictures each, for 24 total pictures.  Each picture comes with a unique list of clues for you to read.  All of them are organized according to numbers so there is no confusion.  Here’s just a sample.

I hope you enjoy these activities!  For a chance to win your choice of one of my Valentine’s packs, enter via the Rafflecopter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading! Now go to your nearest Hallmark store and raid their “instant snow” department! 😉
~Denise