Tuesday, February 25, 2014

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie....

We are focusing on one of my favorite books, If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.  In this story, we learn how every action leads to another action (also known as – consequences!). Luckily in this story, the consequences are pretty fun. Please help us continue our language growth at home with these activities.

I have to give a HUGE shout-out to Ms. Jenna Rayboun for her fabulous companion packet! This made working on our speech and language goals easy and fun! Check it out:

  • Actions/Verbs: We practiced labeling actions using the present progressive –ing verb. We cheered the poem below as each student took turns pulling out cookies and identifying the action. If your child is not yet speaking, they pointed to the action I named from a field of 3. Many of our children with ASD are great at labeling nouns, but have more difficulty with other parts of speech. This is a great activity to target verbs at any level!!
Run, dance
kick, or nap.
Name the action,
in a snap.
  • Object-Function BINGO: We played Bingo as we identified the functions of objects in the book. Example: You cut with these {scissors} You clean the floor with this {mop}.
  • Vocabulary: The words we really concentrated on were: napkin, refrigerator, pen, straw, mop, broom, and tape.
  • Cause and Effect: We reviewed ‘if-then’ statements {If it is raining, you will need an umbrella}} to explore cause and effect relationships. These skills help your child make predictions and inferences.
  • Cookie Categories: We worked a lot on identifying categories (such as things we eat, wear, see at home and school etc.) and labeling items that belonged in each category! The kids love this game from L. C. SLP!

Knowing the names of categories can also increase our ability to describe. It also gives children a basis on which to learn new concepts. Help your child develop these skills by taking it step by step.
    Steps for teaching categories:
    1. Match: a picture to the group
    2. Sort: pictures into the appropriate groups
    3. Identify (receptive): point to a category as you name them
    4. Name (expressive): label the category as you point to them

Why do I love these “repetitive” books so much??
My sister recently asked me this question and it got me thinking.   Using stories like this is a great way to reinforce vocabulary, increase the length of utterances and create confidence in the child. By using repetitive sentences, the child is able to "predict" what the book is about! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Mitten Speech and Language Lesson

We hope you are having a wonderful 2014! Can you believe ALL of this SNOW!? Despite 6 snow days, we had an awesome month of learning! Our story unit for January was The Mitten adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett. This book is awesome to use in when working on language skills. Listed below are some of the goals and objectives that we focused on as we read this book. 

About the book: In this Ukrainian Folktale a little boy named Nicki wanted his grandmother to knit him a pair of white mittens.  Nicki lost one of his mittens in the snow and it became a warm home for many animals in the forest.  We will be talking about snow and the winter season as well as learning about the many animals that lived in Nicki’s mitten.

We continued to work on prepositional (location) concepts, sorting/categorizing summer/winter clothing, and answering ‘who, what, where’ questions on the Smart board and small group. We always encourage VERBAL answers; however, if your child is not yet at this stage, we encourage them to point to the answers. You should see some of the small group work in your child’s folder. Please help your child by reviewing it with them!

Concepts:  We talked about small/big (mouse/bear), empty/full (the mitten), soft/hard (how do mittens feel?), in/out (the animals crawl in and fly out – ask how!), same/different – mittens are a great way to work on same/different.

Describing and Action Words
crawl               climb              enormous        size     stretch             drop    
cozy                warm              shiny                soft      bump               pull

Sequencing: we talked about which animals were first and last, then laid out the animals in the same order they went into the mitten.

Thank you for being an active part in your child's learning!! 
Please take time over the next week to ask your child about the activities he/she participated in during speech time. Recreating these games and activities at home will reinforce the objectives targeted and help your child to carry over what they have learned into their everyday lives. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's sNOw Secret...

... we had so much fun this week with snowmen! Take a look at what we've been up to!

Music: We sang, "build a snowman" - the cutest song! Watch the video by clicking here.

Story: We read, SnowPlace like Home, the incredible snowkids of marshmallow mountain by Dana Manning. I adore this story, it's so cute. In the story, a group of snowkids come together to fix a candy factory. With some new parts and classic recipes, they are able to bring some excitement to their town! 

Vocabulary Targeted:
marshmallow            kitchen             ingredient                candy cane   
factory                       door                 treat                          junkyard
recipe                        snow                spoon                      cookbook       
Verbs and Action Words
stir                            open                   ski                          sit
roll                            work                    ran                      deliver
shout                       watch                   smell                    see                   
going                        taste                    hear                    stop

Next, we split into small groups and practiced s-blends. These are words that start with st, sk, sw, sp, sm, sn, sl. Lots of our students delete the /s/ in these words. Check out our strategies and activities to work on these here and hereExample of providing tactile cues when targeting /s and s-blends/:
  • Students can use their arm as a slide. As they make the "sss" sound, they slide their opposite hand down their arm. If they stop making the "sss" sound, they stop their hand. When they reach the bottom of their arm, they can practice the next sound in the word. When we are first teaching this sound in isolation, we take turns from sliding our hard down their arm and then the student's. We want to provide students with examples of how this should be done.
S-blends we practiced:
SN-       ST-       SW-       SL-       SM-       SP-      SK-
snow     star        sweet     sled       small      spot      ski
snake     stop       sweater    sleigh     smile      space   skate

Finally, we made hot cocoa. First we talked about the sequence of steps and materials we needed. Our goal is to help our kids understand that there is a structured order, beginning and ending, to activities. Sequencing is an important skill for preschoolers to have, as it helps organize their thoughts and helps develop story retell skills. We also used candy canes to practice some oral motor exercises!

 First, we have an empty cup
Next we pour in the chocolate,
 Then we pour in the hot water,
Last we stir it!

As always, thank you for helping to make learning fun for your child! The holidays provide us with many authentic opportunities to work on language development. Enjoy these moments with your children! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pilgrim Pronouns

We will be spending the next two weeks learning about PRONOUNS! Take a look at what we have been up to and how you can help your child at home!

We practiced our pronouns while giving one of the pilgrims (there was a girl pilgrim, boy pilgrim, and a group of pilgrims) some food. Each child picked a piece of food and chose which pilgrim to give it to. Before giving the pilgrim the food, each student had to practice their pronouns. For example, some students pointed to “he” or “she.” Others imitated a sentence such as “he is eating corn.” Some students made up their own sentences such as “she loves turkey. This is a wonderful activity from Speech Time Fun's blog and can be downloaded for free here. 

Pronouns we are Learning
She, He, They
His, Her, Them
I, Me, My, Mine
We, Us, Ours
Herself, Himself
You, Yours

Each child is at a different stage of development in their understanding and use of pronouns. Pronouns such as “she, he, and they”and “her, him, and them” are common pronouns children are learning at the preschool age. Some of the common errors children make are substituting "her"/she, "him"/he and "them"/they. Here are some basic steps for teaching pronouns 'she, he, and they':

1. Identify: Boy vs Girl vs Group (2 or more people). Have your child point to each picture as you say these.

2. Make Associations: Use visuals/pictures to help

Boy = He Girl = She Group = They

3. Imitate: short sentences using “he, she, and they”

Ex: She is sitting Ex: They are eating

4. Practice: use“he, she, they” to describe pictures

5. Ask Questions: Tell your child something like, “Dad went to the store”. Then ask, “Who went the store?” (He did)

*Use the same steps to teach other pronouns such as“they, his, her”

Try it at home!
   Read a book! Discuss the pictures in the book. Have your child identify the boy and/or girl in the picture and/or imitate a short sentence about the picture. Describe what the people are doing using pronouns. Or download the activity we used in class from Miss Speechie's blog! [[Pilgrim Pronouns]]

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Fun! Speech and Language

What a fun week it has been in our early childhood rooms! We have been busy learning about all things pumpkin and all things Halloween!!

We started out group this week with a social language activity. The students sat in a circle and practiced asking and answering questions. We had a ball of yarn and after they asked a friend a question, the student held on to a piece of the yarn, and then threw the ball of yarn to their friend who answered the question. At the end, we ended up with a spider web! So of course we had to sing the "Itsy Bitsy Spider!"

We also learned the popular Halloween nursery rhyme, "5 Little Pumpkins".  There are a few variations of this popular rhyme. Here is how we sang it!

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate
The first one said, "Oh my, it's getting late!"
The second one said, "there are leaves in the air."
The third one said, "but we don't care!"
The fourth one said, "let's run! let's run!" 
The fifth one said, "I'm ready for some fun!"
So ooooo went the wind! and OUT went the lights!
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!

Our book this week was The Little Old Lad Who Was Not Afraid of Anything! We sequenced the pictures of the items the little old lady saw as we read the book. When we finished, we talked about what the little old lady saw first and what she saw last. Ask your child what the boots, pants, shirt, hat, gloves, and pumpkin made at the end of the story!

It was such a fun week! We hope you enjoyed the festivities of Fall this week with your kiddos as much as we did!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Supporting our Students & their Families

I recently wrote another guest post for playingwithwords365 about tips for working as a team when servincing students with Autism in the schools. A major component of your team are the parents and the relationship you build with them is SO important. I'd like to share some of the amazing things going on in my district to facilitate and support these relationships.

Create an Autism Support Group
This does not have to be official. Email and spread the word to your staff. Ask for volunteers. Present at a staff meeting. Put something in your local newspaper. My school is lucky to be apart of a local group of parents, school staff, and others who are looking for ways to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. If your local district does not currently have  something like this, you can look into your local Autism Society.

Life is busy - but if you can dedicate one night a month to the families of the students you work with - it will make a HUGE impact! Here are some of the events I participated in last school year:

  • Parent Seminars - 
    • Two times per semester we met and held workshops at the school. Topics included:
      • Safety: fire safety, drowning prevention, and ordering safety kits
      • Family First: Group discussion on how Autism affects parents, children, and the relationships within your family.
      • Therapy Panel: ask local therapists to share about the services they offer.
      • Other topics could include: make and take it, understanding the IEP, meet and greet, book club night.
  • Autism Celebration Walk!
    • Read more about the walk here. We invited our staff and community to join us one (cold) Saturday morning to help raise awareness and money for Autism. It was AMAZING!!
  • Babysitting night:
    • 2 nights during the school year, various staff members volunteered their time to babysit the families affected by Autism. We offered parents 3 hours of kid-free time!!
    • This year we are offering one night a month!!! We have 4-5 volunteers each night.
  • Support Group:
    • Once a month parents are invited to come to an hour long support group. We had an awesome volunteer help facilitate this. We provided childcare while parents were able to come and talk about anything and everything. Parent lead the discussion.
That sums up all the awesome things going on in my neck of the woods! What do you do to help build the relationships between parents and staff?? I'd love to hear!

These activities would not be possible without the dedicated and supportive staff I work with. I would like to say THANK YOU to all of you who give your time, energy, and money to our group. It is apparent you are committed to changing the way for Autism.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fun on the Farm: Week 2

We are having a “moo-velous” week learning about the Farm and Farm Animals! There are so many language and speech goals we are targeting - check it out!
Whole Group Lesson / Book: We read Buzzzz said the Bee by Wendy Lewison. In this story, the bee sits on some farm animals and creates quite the stir. Ask your child what happened to all of the farm animals! This book also allowed us to practice lots of great /z/ sounds!

Articulation: We learned how to make the /z/ sound. We learned that it is the “buzzing” sound and to close your teeth as you do when you smile. Then hide your tongue tip behind your teeth. /Z/ is made very much like the /s/ sound except you must use your voice to make it buzz. If your child is not able to make the /z/ sound quite yet, that’s ok. This sound typically develops by ages 6 and 7.

Singing: We sang the “Bumble Bee” song, which is a great song to practice the “Buzzing” sound that bees make! It is a rather interesting song, but the students love it and it is an easy one for them to sing along. Ask your child what the motions are! Here are the lyrics/motions:

I’m bringing home a baby bumblebee, won’t my mommy be so proud of me
I’m bringing home a baby bumblebee, oouucchh he stung me! (cup hands together)
I’m smashing up my baby bumblebee, won’t my mommy be so proud of me
I’m smashing up my baby bumblebee, ewwww it’s yucky! (rub hands together)
I’m wiping off my baby bumblebee, won’t my mommy be so proud of me
I’m wiping off my baby bumblebee, now my mommy won’t be mad at me! (wipe hands off on legs/pants)


      We learned what each baby farm animal was called!

      We described what each animal looked like and what they would feel like.

      We matched and named animals as the students followed directions with prepositions.

*For the afternoon class, we practiced “first, then” directions as well. Example, “first make the horse run and then put the duck on top of the barn”. It is so important to have a solid understanding of these early learning concepts. We will be targeting the sequential concepts: first, last, before and after a lot this month!
Can you tell we love FARM week?! We are so excited about our upcoming field trip to the farm. We are lucky and are able to go with our class. This is a wonderful opportunity to encourage and build upon our student's language!!!