In the September 2011 issue of Southern Living, there was an article giving the directions to create "Jar-O-Lanterns."  That gave me an idea of how to work on emotions.

It's a great and easy craft, but it can also be a great speech therapy tool.  You could either make the jars with faces, put the faces on small pumpkins, or draw the faces on paper pumpkins - either or all would work.  Simply draw a face for each emotion: happy, sad, angry, scared, excited, confused, bored, etc.  Then use them with one of the activities below (or something else that works for you):
  • Matching emotions to facial expressions:  Teaching kids that our emotions are written on our face can be hard (especially for kids with Autism).  However, teaching a child to "read" someone's face (not just "look at their eyes) can be very helpful.  You could describe an event or say something and have the child pick the correct facial expression to match the scenario.
  • Teaching kids to try to read facial expressions:  You can make a facial expression and have the child pick the correct jar-o-emotion.  Then, have the child tell you which emotion it is and try to explain a time that he/she felt that way (or make one up).
  • Facial expressions + tone of voice:  Tone of voice can change the meaning of a message.  You could say "no" simply by answering a question, telling a child not to do something sternly, say it sarcastically, etc.  Each "no" changes just a bit with the tone of voice that you use.  You can use the jar-o-emotions to help with teaching this.  You can take one phrase and say it different ways with different tone of voice.  Have the child choose which jar-o-emotion you are meaning each time.  To make it even more difficult, you can give him/her the phrase and the emotion and he/she has to use the correct tone of voice.
  • Teaching about their emotions:  Kids need to know about their emotions - what makes them feel a certain way and how to react appropriately to that feeling.  You could use the jar-o-emotions to help!  Take pictures of your jars and put them on pieces of paper to make a book.  Have your kids identify when they feel a certain emotion (happy = when my puppy greets me at the door) and how to appropriately express that feeling (smile, laugh, hug the puppy).
  • For listening comprehension:  If a child has been taught which face is happy, sad, mad, etc; then it can easily become a listening comprehension task.  Simply line of the jar-o-emotions and tell the child to "find the happy jar".  If your child is more advanced, then you could describe the jar: "find the jar with a smile" or "find the emotion that you feel when you get a present".

There are so many ways to use the jar-o-emotions or a paper version of this activity (easier to store).  I do hope you think this one is "spook-tacular".  :o)
3/6/2012 11:14:35 am

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