Thursday, January 31, 2013

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie Speech & Language Companion Pack

I am really EXTREMELY excited about this post.  After many, many, many hours of brain-storming, learning how to edit slides and juggle between programs, taking care of two sick kids, getting ready for a weekend away (followed by a house full of friends for the Super Bowl), I was beginning to think this would never get done.  I hope that you enjoy seeing it as much as I've enjoyed preparing it!!

It seems like the munchkins I work with always have the same goals on their IEPs.  I absolutely LOVE working with books (if you couldn't tell already from my post on repetition) and wanted to target the goals using the concepts and vocabulary introduced in Laura Numeroff's book "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie."

I always start by holding the book and looking at the cover with them.  I usually introduce it with some sort of absurdity, asking them if they think the book is about a monkey and a banana, for example.  Silly Miss Monica is always getting it wrong!! I know some teachers, therapists and parents feel that they need to read the book verbatim, without interruption until the end, but I feel that the kids internalize the experience  more when they become a part of it.  It probably takes me 10 minutes to get through a 5 minute story, stopping throughout to ask questions and encourage them to relate their own experiences (e.g. What is your favorite cookie? What do you like to drink when you are thirsty?).

Once the book is finished, I introduce a hands-on activity, whether it be "Go Fish," "Memory," or even better yet, something they can take home with them to practice with their family.

I was inspired by a freebie I downloaded over the holidays by Kara at Sped Ventures. I just loved the way all of the pieces were neatly organized.  Take a look at the interactive prepositions book I created, "A Mouse Around The House," which included vocabulary from the book:

Wondering why there are three possible places to put each piece?  Well, simply for the fact that if you ask a child to place an object "next to," for example, and the only option is a piece of Velcro in the appropriate place, you cannot really be sure if they understand the preposition or just the task of placing something where it belongs.

Another common goal for my munchkins is to use plural endings (e.g. babies instead of baby).  When targeting plurals, as in my Singular/Plural Match-Up seen here:

I usually use the cards in a "Go Fish" style activity.  By doing it this way, I am also working on sentence structure, as well as asking/answering questions and verbal turn-taking.  

Another biggie goal is identifying/labeling objects or pictures by function.  Although there are a ton of ways to target this goal, I have found a preschool favorite to be BINGO.  In this activity the calling cards are descriptions of the pictures (e.g. Something you read) and the BINGO markers are little "cookies."

There is a lot to be said about empowering a child to "read."  Using this Emergent Reader 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.  It is also a great opportunity for them to associate words (even if they are not actually reading them) with spoken language.  I love being able to send them home with a book they can "read" to their family!

I also added this book-themed Game Board to use with any type of drills you need to work on.  The kids love adding cookie cereal along the path!

The final activity was created primarily for articulation goals.  Included are cookie cards for /k/, /g/, /b/ and /p/ phonemes in the initial, medial and final positions.  There are also directions and a template for making a "cookie jar" to put the cookies in after each targeted production.

This companion pack has been a ton of fun to create and I hope that you find it to be a ton of fun to use!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Sweet For Your Sweeties

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I've been using cookie-themed materials to tie my activities together.  Aside from all of the great pre-made materials available, I always love the opportunity to cook with the kids. Getting young kids involved in the kitchen is such a great way to facilitate so many speech and language opportunities.  Making a mess, I mean cooking with kids, involves following directions (mix, pour, stir, measure) while incorporating senses (touching the sticky dough or soft flour, smelling the cocoa, hearing the kitchen timer, tasting the sweet sugar, and of course, watching in amazement).  Also, for those with "picky" eaters, it is a great way help them try new foods.

Here are some of my favorite cookie-themed books that are sure to be a sweet delight...

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Crunchy Munchy Cookies by V.M. Racanelli

Also, for those with access to apps, consider downloading Cookie Doodle on iTunes.  The kids LOVE making digital cookies using ingredients they can mix, roll and cut.  After placing your cookie in the oven, you can decorate it.  You can even hear a crunching sound as you "eat" them!

For a fun simple game you can use to target sequencing, matching and turn-taking, download my free game "Let's Bake Cookies: A Cookie Sequencing Game" available on TpT!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday's Featured Freebie

Check out this adorable penguin freebie from Carrie's Speech Corner!!

I used Carrie's idea of attaching the penguin to a container but used a plastic fish bowl (which my husband so graciously drilled into for the mouth) instead of a tissue box.  I figured it went with the whole "fish" theme and it can take quite a beating from the kids.

I then added paper clips to each little fish card as the child produced the target.

Once our penguin had eaten all of the fish, we used a magnetic fishing pole to remove each one to elicit more productions!

The kids absolutely LOVED this activity!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Concept Development

So many times we come across an IEP goal which refers to "concepts."  The development of concepts may come easily to some children, while others identified with communication delays or disorders may need more opportunities to develop them.  Concepts can seem very abstract, especially if the child has a limited vocabulary.

Here are some basic descriptions of various concepts that are developmentally appropriate for preschoolers, in order of acquisition:

Spatial (Prepositions)   in, on, under, off, out of, next to, beside, between, behind, in front, around 
Directional   up, down, first, middle, last
Quantity   another, one, many, one, two, empty, a lot, one-to-one
Size    big, little
Time   soon, later, wait
Qualitative   same, different, color, both

Linguisystems offers an amazing, comprehensive Communication Milestones Guide written by Janet R. Lanza and Lynn K. Flahive.

Children tend to generalize their knowledge rather and may not fully realize that an object may have more than one attribute.  For example, it is fairly common for a very young child to generalize that all animals with four legs are dogs.  It is through their experiences in comparing different characteristics (shape of the face, length of the tail, places they are found), that they begin to discriminate between the four-legged creatures.  I have found the best way to introduce a concept is to offer many, many opportunities to model and experience the concept.  Also, introducing contrasting concepts seems to be the most effective.  For example, it is much easier to develop the concept of "up" if you are also developing the concept of "down."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Repetition is key

Repetition is key. What did you say?  Repetition is key.  Repetition is a critical component to speech-langauge acquisition.  The more frequently something (in this case, speech and language) is repeated, the more familiar it becomes. 

Singing songs with repetitive phrases, such as Wheels on the Bus or Old MacDonald Had a Farm is a great way for children to learn.  The same goes for books with repetitive language, such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.  As tiring  and as boring as it may be for you, the adult to read the same book for the zillionth time (I know it's not a real number but you get the point), children learn more and more each time it is read to them.  For example, the first time a book is read to them, they may just think "Hey.  That sounds kind of fun and I like the pictures."  After the second or third time, they may begin to recall pictures that are familiar to them.  After several more times, the child begins to recall more details and may even begin to "retell" the story by themselves, as they turn the pages.  This, of course, is my favorite step since you get to really hear how it sounds to them.

Similarly, when we repeat sounds, the child gains more and more knowledge about those sounds, as they are heard over and over.  When a child first begins to use sounds, they usually say the vowel portion of the word most clearly (for example, "ow" for "meow").  It is usually not until the word has been said many, many times that he or she begins to acknowledge the other sounds within the words.