I was just introduced to this website today and it literally has something for everyone - well if you are in grades K through 5th.  Check it out!

http://www.abcya.com

Also, remember that tomorrow is FREEBIE FRIDAY!!  
 
Recently, my son has started to attempt to imitate just about everything he hears.  It's so cute!  My father-in-law calls it "Pete and Repeat".  However, I noticed that he is struggling with multi-syllabic words.  Therefore, I went into "speech therapist" mode.  Here are some easy ways to work on multi-syllabic words if your child is dropping one of the syllables.

1.  tap on your child's hand for each syllable (can - dy would be two taps).  
2.  Pull out blocks or toys of some kind and place the correct number of toys to correspond with the number of syllables (3 syllables = 3 blocks).  You would then touch each toy or block while saying each syllable (to-mor-row).  Always model before you have the child attempt it.

Here is a short video to show you how it's done.

Remember that we are always trying to make sure to try to present information in more than one way.  This will help by giving your child a tactile and visual stimulus!
This tactic can be used with young children who are learning to talk and imitate words.  It can also be used with kids who are working on articulation, the phonological pattern of syllable reduction, or kids who are learning to listen.  For those who are learning to listen, this gives them a visual aid to help them know how many parts of the word that they should be hearing.
 
It's FREEBIE FRIDAY!  As promised, here is an activity that you can do with your kids using the "too many toys" bin that you created.

The attached file is a pattern board using pictures of blocks.  The pattern that is free to print is an AB pattern.  Use these pattern boards to teach your child what an AB pattern is and how to complete it.  There is also a blank pattern board so that you can use the toys in your "too many toys" bin to create a pattern.  You could make a pattern with colors (blue car, red ball, blue block, red car), size (big item, small item, big item, small item), etc.  Make sure to be clear what you are patterning (size, color, shape, etc).  

Also, don't forget that you can create harder patterns:  ABB, AAB, ABC, ABBC, ... the list goes on and on!  This is as GREAT skill to teach your child.  Happy patterning!!!

Click here for the pdf file.

You can also find Halloween pattern boards for sale at my "teachers pay teachers" store.  Simply click "home" to find the link on the home page of this website.
 
Let's continue with idea of what to do if you have too many toys that are just lying around and don't have a home.  These toys CAN be useful!  Click here to see the previous blog post about activities for older kids.

First off, I suggest that you begin by going around your house and collecting up stray toys that seem to get lost in the shuffle and just don't have a spot to reside.  Put them all in a big box.  It doesn't matter what you collect since there are so many different things you can do with the toys.  You don't really have to have a "mental checklist" of "must haves" for your box. In my box I have:  3 cars, 2 trains, 2 small balls, 3 plastic animals, 2 puzzle pieces (the puzzle no longer has all the pieces and was going to be tossed), 1 whistle, and 1 noisemaker.  I could've collected more, but I have a young child and didn't want to overwhelm him.

Pre-Talkers:
  1. Name the items as you pull them out of the box.  Try to make your face look excited to see what is coming out next.  That will help get your child to engage in the activity.  Let him/her hold the objects.
  2. You can tell your child about the objects.  Describing things will give them a great model for language!
  3. Simply take an object out of the box and say "out" and hand him/her the object.  When they are all out, then put them all back in saying "in" with each one.  You can do this same thing with any preposition set (on/off using a table or the tray on their high chair, up/down and move the objects up and down in the air, etc)

Early Language:
  1. Have your child name the objects.
  2. Have your child to try to name one aspect of the objects - i.e. color.  This will start to get them to begin to learn how to describe.
  3. Teach them prepositions using the objects.
  4. Have your child receptively locate items (if naming them is too hard).  You can make it easier/harder depending on the number of options you let them choose from.

Listening Comprehension:  Depending on your child's level of sophistication with listening comprehension, you can:
  1. Have your child find a specific item when named (remember, don't let your child see your mouth moving because he/she should be learning to listen.  Position yourself directly behind your child and have your mouth close to his/her head).
  2. Describe an object using two or three descriptors and see if your child can find the object that you are requesting.
  3. Tell your child a sentence about the object and see if he/she can find the target object.


Pragmatics:
  1. You can have your child work on requesting in an appropriate manner.  Have your child look at you and then request in an appropriate manner (i.e. "May I have a toy" or "May I have the car" or "May I have the blue car").  You will know what the appropriate level is for your child's language capabilities.
  2. If you have two children playing, then teach them about sharing by having them share one of the toys from your bin.  You could also have them swap toys after they have had a few minutes to play with them.  A timer could really help with this activity so that they have equal time with the preferred object(s).


Fluency:
  1. Have your child practice his/her "smooth" speech by naming, describing, or requesting the items in the box.


Articulation:
  1. Try to find objects that have your child's target sound or past target sounds that have been mastered in order to change up your speech "homework" practice time!
 
Do you ever look around your house and think, "we have WAY too many toys?"  I do that on a daily basis.  However, there are some great things that you can do with the millions of balls, cars, trains, dolls/figurines, etc that seem to float around your house.

First off, I suggest that you begin by going around your house and collecting up stray toys that seem to get lost in the shuffle and just don't have a spot to reside.  Put them all in a big box.  It doesn't matter what you collect since there are so many different things you can do with the toys.  You don't really have to have a "mental checklist" of "must haves" for your box. In my box I have:  3 cars, 2 trains, 2 small balls, 3 plastic animals, 2 puzzle pieces (the puzzle no longer has all the pieces and was going to be tossed), 1 whistle, and 1 noisemaker.  I could've collected more, but I have a young child and didn't want to overwhelm him.

Today, I will blog activities for older children...

  1. Have your child sort the toys by category.  You could do color, shape, size, use/function, etc.
  2. Select two (or more) items and have your child compare/contrast the items shown.
  3. Have your child create a definition for the item that you pull out of the box. (see the blog post from August 5, 2011 to discover an easy formula for definitions)
  4. Set out a few items and have your child either describe the item that he/she is thinking about until you can pick it out or you describe the object and let your student/child find the target object.  


The key to all of these activities is the fact that YOU are ENGAGING with your child.  Plus, you have a purpose for some of those stray toys that didn't have a home!
 
This week I am going to blog about activities you can do at home using the toys you already have!  I'll have different activities posted throughout the week and then we'll end with a FREE printable activity on Friday.  Make sure to check back throughout the week.
 
Picture
Learning to re-tell a story is a skill that is hard to teach and even harder to master.  However, practice practice practice and more practice will help kids learn to re-tell a story.

I like to use a simple formula with my kids.  I start off instructing them to tell me the information in 1-2 sentences.  Then, as they are able to master that, then we are able to add more sentences with greater detail.  This form is one that I used with my speech therapy kids to help them remember what information they needed to tell and a way for them to write it out before telling it to the group.

You always want to know WHEN it occurred, WHAT HAPPENEDWHERE the event took place, and WHO was there.  Of course you could always insert more information, but these are the basics.  It becomes a great formula for simple sentences: 

  1. In July, I built a sand castle at the beach with my family.
  2. Yesterday, I shopped for clothes at Kohls with my mom.

Also, as the kids become more comfortable with the information, they can move the information to any order in the sentence (that is grammatically correct).  Simply cut out the parts on the WS and move them around to help keep a visual aid:
  1. My family went to the beach in July and we built sand castles.
  2. In July, I went to the beach with my family and we built a sand castle.
  3. Yesterday I bought school clothes at Kohls with my mom.

You get the idea... 

If your child is working on listening comprehension, then make sure to ask him/her questions about what other people did over the summer.

Oh... and if you need clarification that these activities actually happened over the summer, you may want to send a note home to the parents to write 3-5 major events that happened over the summer.  This way if a student can't think of anything he/she did over the summer, you are armed with a few ideas.

If your student is working on pragmatics, then this can be a great activity to have your student work on maintaining eye contact (with the whole group or pair that student up with one person so the audience is only one person), speaking loud enough for others to hear, remaining on topic, asking a question about someone else's story (and remaining on topic), etc.

Click here to download the pdf file.

 
Columbus Day is upon us.  I'm sure we all know the little rhyme, "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue."  However, that may be where our knowledge ends.  Here is a great website with some FREE Columbus Day printables for all ages.  You may need to register your email address, but there should not be a fee associated with the registration process.

Happy fall break to all those who are off next week!
 
Goldilocks was on the right track - too hot was not good, too cold was not good, but just right was perfect!  It's the same thing when it comes to toys and your kids.  Too easy is not good, too hard is not good, finding the level that is just right for your child is perfect.  But how do you do that?  Is there any way to adjust an activity to make it just right?

Too Easy:
If a task is too easy for your child, then he/she will not be learning and could easily get bored and lose interest.  If you notice that your child is moving on quickly, mastering the skill too easily, or losing interest, then remove the toy.  You may not want to get rid of it - you may want to hold onto it for another child or it may be a favorite of your child's.  If it is a favorite and he/she keeps coming back to it, then simply put it in a closet for a little while and then bring it out later.  

Too Hard:
If a task is too hard for your child, then he/she may show signs of frustration and shut-down.  This is not good because he/she is not learning and may also leave the toy and not want to engage in it later on.  Again, take the toy away and put it away.  Bring it back out at a later time when you think your child can handle it.

Just Right:
If a task is just right, then it will do the following:  
1.  teach your child something
2.  keep his/her attention
3.  bring out very few frustrations in your child

Adjusting the Activity:
If an activity can be adjusted to be easier or harder, then try to make those adjustments.  If it is too easy and you can make it more difficulty, then it may become a "just right" task.  If a toy or task is too hard and you can make it slightly easier, then it may require your assistance, but it could become a task that teaches your child.  What are some ways to adjust an activity?  
1.  If your child has to give a correct answer to something, then provide options (i.e. is it blue or purple?)
2.  If your child has to choose a correct answer, but is able to easily choose the correct answer, then either increase the number of options for your child to choose from or make it a task where he/she must expressively tell you the answer without any options at all.
3.  If you can start the process for your child, then do that.  My son has a puzzle that is two large blocks.  You must match the pictures on the two blocks in order for a sound to play.  He can match the pictures and he can maneuver the blocks, but he can't do both at once.  Therefore, I make sure that I am close to him when he plays with this toy.  I will allow him to find the correct pictures to match and then use a hand-over-hand technique to help him line them up correctly.
4.  If you have been assisting your child and he/she is very confident with your assistance, then begin to fade your help and let him/her "take the reins".