Monday we started off with discussing words with multiple meanings.  Today let's flip that around and talk about different words with the same meaning.  A lot of times kids who are just learning language or kids with language learning difficulties don't broaden their vocabulary.  They will use the same words over and over.  For instance, in their writing, they will always use "said" in a sentence that uses a quotation.  

"Sure we can," the boy said.  
"I will" said the girl.
"I don't like that park" said his brother.

Is it correct to use "said" in each of those sentences?  Sure!  But can your writing be more colorful and exciting with alternate words?  Yes!

"Sure we can!" the boy exclaimed.
"I will" answered the girl.
"I don't like that park" the boy said sheepishly. (I know, I used said... but only once)

In the world of technology, we forget about good old fashioned BOOKS!  (present company included) I initially thought to look up an app that is a thesaurus.  However, I decided against that.  Kids need to learn to physically look up a word in a thesaurus to see what other words they can use.

If this is an area where your child struggles, I would start by reading.  Point out the different use of words around quotations.  I think that's the easiest place to start.  It stands out to the child because of the quotation marks.  One book that does a great job of this is "Time To Sleep" by Denise Fleming.  

After you have pointed out the different words that can be used, then I'd have your child create a book, write a short story, or use something he/she has already written.  Focus on one word.  Have your child LOOK IT UP in a thesaurus to find alternate words that can be used.  Have him/her "sprinkle" those other words into his/her writing.  Again, beginning with quotation words can sometimes be the easiest place to start.
 
I stumbled upon a great site yesterday:  www.spellingcity.com.  This website does have "premium" options for those who pay a membership fee ($30 for the year for up to 5 students).  However, there are SO MANY GREAT things that are FREE!!  I'll blog about those things.

First off, to piggy back off of our "multiple meanings" blog from yesterday, there are lists and lists of multiple meaning words.  Sometimes it is hard to come up with words that have multiple meanings.  However, if you had a list, that may help you when creating your multiple meanings pages with your child.  Simply click on "multiple meanings" in the "featured vocabulary and spelling lists" box located about halfway down the page on the left hand side.

You can also insert your child's spelling/vocabulary words and the computer will generate FREE games or worksheets!  This makes learning fun and interactive.  Plus, it can be a great reward for getting homework done or doing chores.  Let's face it... they have to practice those spelling words anyway, right?  What better way to do it!

For those kids with articulation word lists, insert your articulation words to create some fun games. After each turn you take, practice saying the word 5 times!

This site also has TONS of teaching resources.  You can click on the "teaching resources" tab at the top and a list of topics will pop up.  Click on any one and you will find videos, enrichment strategies, word lists, games, articles, explanations, etc.  Just this morning I learned what a "capitonym" is!
 
The Super Bowl is only 6 days away.  I don't know about you, but our house is a football house.  Saturdays is college ball and Sundays is NFL.  Our TV gets to rest from late January (or early February this year) until August when pre-season begins.  

Multiple meanings is something that can be very difficult for kids.  When I worked with the Middle School population, I always went through the multiple meaning flashcards that I had created at least once or twice a month.  It's good for them to realize that some words can mean different things and be used in different contexts.  

I thought about this when I thought about the word "super".  Have you thought about the different meanings for the word "super"?  People who live in apartments can have a "super" (I know this is an abbreviated word.  However, it's how it is used and so it should be taught that way) - someone who fixes things.  Super can add emphasis to a feeling - I'm SUPER excited, I'm SUPER sad.  Super can also mean something extraordinary or mythical when used as "super powers" or "super man".  It can also just mean that something is good - Oh wow, that's super!  

Now try that for Bowl - something you eat out of, a sport, a game (super bowl), etc.

Divide a piece of paper into four sections.  Have your child write the word in one quadrant and draw a picture with a sentence to explain the meaning in each other quadrant.  You can punch holes in your papers and start a multiple meanings notebook.
 
Picture
Here is a game to play when you are sick.  Just print, cut out a few things, and get playing.  Maybe you will feel better by the time the game is over!

Click here for full PDF version (the JPG picture doesn't contain all of the file formatting because I was having issues with power point this morning).

 
Winter time is a time for snowflakes, winter wonderlands... and GERMS!! We would know all about the latter since we have had the flu at our house this week.  I don't know what happens at your house, but at our house when my son or I is sick, then the TV is on A LOT more than usual.  I am a firm believer in keeping TV time to a minimum for kids (see blog post from June 2011), but desperate times call for desperate measures (or so they say).

I still didn't want the TV on all day everyday.  When Timothy is sick, we switch back and forth between the TV and our sick box.  What's a sick box?  A sick box is a box filled with special things that only come out when you are sick, which is one reason why they stay special.  It's a way to keep your child entertained even if he/she is couch bound (or at least can't go outside or doesn't have a lot of energy) and feel a little better (because special things always cheer us up a big... right?).  What is in a sick box?  Well, each sick box will look a little different depending on the age of the child, the child's interests, etc.  Here are some suggestions and a starting point for you.

Pre-Talkers:  special stuffed animal (that can be washed), cloth book (that can be washed), See and Say (or something that is exciting that makes noise), mirror (you would be amazed how long a child can be entertained by looking at himself/herself.  You could also practice making funny faces), crayons and paper (for kids who are one or older), CD to sing to.

Early Language:  special stuffed animal (that can be washed), a new book (or a special book), stickers/crayons/paper/envelopes/stamps (you can make special greeting cards and send them to friends while you aren't feeling well), travel game (because they are usually magnetized or use pegs so pieces don't go everywhere), new coloring books, CD and play microphone to sing with.

Elementary/Middle Language:  travel game (because they are usually magnetized or use pegs so pieces don't go everywhere and you don't have to sit at a table), new book to read together, mad libs (those can provide lots of laughs), small figurines of favorite characters to set up and play with (i.e. GI Joes, farm animals, etc).
 
After my renewed spirit for blogging and all the ideas that I received at ASHA came a devastating blow.  A good friend and neighbor became very ill.  I put blogging aside as I tried to help out in any way possible.  I often had her girls at my home to help give her a break and let her body rest.  She lost her battle with cancer and was laid to eternal rest in late December.

It has been hard for me to get my head wrapped around the brevity of life.  I have spent a lot of time hugging on my little ones and really assessing what is important in life.  I wasn't sure if I would come back to blogging, but alas, here I am.  I have decided that helping others and putting ideas out on the world wide web is not only beneficial to others (even if it helps one person), but also is something that I enjoy and THAT is important.  

Be looking for lots of ideas and blogs to come.  I'm sorry for my time away, but I do hope you'll come back to the blog weekly!

Hilary Tr