Archive | February, 2012

Synonyms & Antonyms.

29 Feb

After completely loving my pre-K/Kindergarten internship, I signed on to work with my district’s preK program right after graduation. It has become the age group I feel the most comfortable with, and of course the one for which I’ve collected the most materials. This year, however, my caseload shifted a bit. I now go to two of the local private schools (which are K-8 and K-12) for about 1.5 days a week. While I worked with these populations a bit during my grad school placements, it has felt like a new ball game in a lot of ways. I was drawn into the field by my overall love for language, so it has been really fun to target things like higher-level reading comprehension and synonyms/antonyms.

Favorite tool I found recently? This powerpoint presentation has been awesome for some of my 4th-6th graders. I made up a simple word document to go along with it (premade tables for the students to separate synonyms & antonyms) and also printed out the last few slides for each student when we were finished to use as a review/take-home item. The kids really enjoyed the interactive powerpoint and visuals, and I really got to check for understanding as each student filled out their charts.

Another great source for synonym/antonym worksheets? I also took inspiration from this chart of synonyms; turned it into a game in which the students earned 200 points for each synonym they could tell me, etc.

And here’s one more download—I made up a simple jeopardy game for the students (anything with points involved seems exciting). We played it on a whiteboard, but sent this home for practice.

How do you target synonyms/antonyms with your students? Any sources you love for working with later elementary/middle school students?


Articulation: /k/

28 Feb

With pre-K students, /k/ and /g/ are pretty frequent targets (“fronting”, or producing /t/ and /d/ in place of these sounds, is a fairly common error pattern). For some students, it “clicks” after seeing how to produce the /k/, auditory bombardment, hearing their own correct vs. incorrect productions, etc. For others, I’ve used a tongue depressor to move their tongue posteriorly, had them felt my throat/their throat, even laid down on the floor to let gravity take over so they can get used to what correct placement feels like. Since I see a lot of students whose parents bring them 1-2x per week for 30 minutes, I like to have worksheets to both use during sessions and to send home for carryover. Even my little three-year-olds will usually get some good practice in with a Bingo game/sentence strip activity/etc (haver finger puppets say the words for them? even better!). As you’ll keep seeing, I also like to use books as much as possible. I feel it makes the target sounds more meaningful—and often allows them to practice one word over and over without it feeling like drill (Reading “Where’s My Cat?” by Eric Carle? Point to them every time the word “cat” comes up. Heck, retell stories with stunning pictures to get the targets you need!).

So, below are some of the books I’ve loved to use to target /k/, and a bunch of the worksheets I’ve made. Most are pretty darn basic, but I know that, when I’m looking for treatment ideas, sometimes it’s just nice to have a few new activities to print out/utilize! Definitely will recommend my standbys for artic worksheets: Mommy Speech Therapy and the Materials Exchange at Speaking of Speech. And, while it deserves its own post, I wholeheartedly recommend Articulation Station for your iPad. Purchase sound by sound if you want, practice at the word/sentence/story level, take easy data, record in-session…I love it!

Books: Initial: Have You Seen My Cat? by Eric Carle, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff, The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle, Does A Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle, Medial: It’s Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall, A Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff, 10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston; Final: One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root, Duck on a Bike by David Shannon (haven’t read, but want to!), Shark in the Park by Phil Roxbee Cox


Intial/Final /k/ “trees” (targeting consonant + vowel; vowel + consonant)

/k/ Initial Bingo (CV, CVC)

/k/ Initial Powerpoint (visuals + some sounds)

Initial /k/ “I Spy” (circle/say the target words in sentences)

Initial /k/ sentences (CV, CVC)

Initial /k/ and /g/ sentences (targeting correct voicing)

“Have You Seen My Cat?” by Eric Carle (various “cat” Boardmaker visuals)

“Mixed Up Chameleon” by Eric Carle (initial /k/ in multisyllabic words; sentences)

Medial /k/ in sentences

Medial /k/ “I spy”

Final /k/ activities (print, staple. word, sentence, story level)

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert.

28 Feb

Figured I should post about this book before winter officially ends. We have had such a mild one here in Chicagoland that books about snowmen almost don’t feel appropriate. But, hey, with all the kids who have s-blend goals on my caseload? I will use every snow-related material I can get my hands on.

Activities: I brought in a “mystery sack” with random items (some normal: scarf, hat, etc—mostly bizarre like in the book: markers, quarters, etc) and had the kids decide what body parts the items should be (an arm made out of headphones? an orange marker nose?). For snack we emphasized our hot/cold theme with cups of hot chocolate…and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We also drew snowmen on the whiteboard; I had the kids give me directions on what to draw next (using body part vocabulary, top/bottom, how many?, etc) until we had a great snowperson.Also a great book for simple predictions (They made a snow dad. Who do you think they’ll make next?).

Other snow/winter books for preK+: 

There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow by Lucille Colandro

The Jacket I Wear in the Snow by Shirley Neitzel

Red Sled by Lita Judge

Toby and the Snowflakes by Julie Halpern

Snow by P.D. Eastman

Snow by Cynthia Rylant

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Downloads: Visuals from the story (made by co-worker, Kristin), Sn- blend visuals (mostly snow related), SMARTBoard targeting hot vs. cold, SMARTBoard for building snowmen (made by Kristin), S-blends to go with “Snow” by P.D. Eastman, S-blends to go with “The Jacket I Wear in the Snow”. If you do have access to Boardmakershare, also recommend searching for winter/snowman activities—there are some great ones!

We print/cut/laminate/velcro the visuals from most books we use during large-group activities. Use it to hold the kids’ attention (give each student a picture, have them listen for their word during the story), provide visual assistance to kids who need it, have an assistant use the folder with a student who needs some extra  support during circle, etc. Once we’ve sequenced all the pictures, I usually have the kids help me retell the story at the end to start practicing “first, then” (First they made a snow dad! Next they made…?).

If You Give a Moose a Muffin.

28 Feb

In our pre-K program, we’re lucky to run a weekly hour-long group that integrates speech/language/motor/sensory/social work. This means planning activities along with our awesome Occupational Therapists and Social Worker. We typically start with a book we all love and come up with appropriate activities from there. Since I also work with the itinerant speech students (mostly kids with just articulation goals), I usually wind up also making up articulation activities to pair with the books.

Last week’s pick? If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff. We chose our books based on a handful of favorite authors/illustrators this year, so you’ll see plenty more related to Eric Carle and Laura Numeroff!

Other activities: We acted out the story while reading it (prop suggestions: muffin mix box, clothespins, handkerchief/sheet, plastic blackberries & muffins, button, moose) and acted out the poem “10 muffins on the window sill” with our little puppet theatre, a moose puppet, and 10 plastic muffins. For our snack the kids got to enjoy corn muffins! Question of the day: what is your favorite kind of muffin?

Below: SMARTBoard activity with book vocab/sorting home vs. school, printable book targeting prepositions (put the muffins different places), sentences with story vocabulary, sentences with medial /f/ (based off of/used with my favorite articulation iPad app: Articulation Station), medial /f/ Bingo.

Welcome (& Kangaroos).

27 Feb

I love finding inspiration on blogs runs by other speech-language pathologists, pinterest, Speaking of Speech…all over the web! I figured I might as well start my own little corner of the speech/language world. While I love contributing to websites like boardmakershare, I don’t think all that many people get to benefit from these activities (love you, Boardmaker, but you’re pricy!). So…here’s hoping starting up this blog will keep me organized and on top of my game! I hope to make it a place where I regularly share materials I’ve whipped up and websites I love.

I’d expect to see a lot of literacy-based activities used in my pre-K program, typically targeting language and articulation. I also work with K-8th grade students for a portion of my week, so will be happy to share great finds for those students as well.

And, just to kick things off, here are a few activities I’m using this week with my pre-K students as we read Does A Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle (currently $5 at KOHL’S…they’re also selling a few of the Eric Carle stuffed animals). We’ve been using it to label animals, work on big/little, expand utterances, and—with my articulation students—target a variety of speech sounds (e.g. initial /k/, medial /g/, initial/medial/final /f/, multisyllabic). Click to get to the Google Docs. Would LOVE to hear any ideas you have in the comments!