Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book of the Week: The Gingerbread Man

I jumped ahead of myself a little bit when I wrote about "The Gingerbread Pirates" last week.  This is actually the first book I use when introducing my Gingerbread Unit to my students.

"The Gingerbread Man" by Karen Schmidt starts out just like most versions of this story...A little old woman and a little old man bake a gingerbread man for a little boy.  They warn him not to open the oven before the gingerbread man is done, but he sneaks a peek.  Out pops the gingerbread man and a chase ensues!

This version is a little different in a couple of aspects.  First, the characters are not the same as other versions.  The characters in this story include the old woman, old man, three farmers, a bear, a wolf, and a fox.  Second, in the traditional version of this tale, the fox carries the gingerbread man across a river and convinces him to move closer to his mouth to avoid the water.  In this version, the fox feigns difficulty hearing the gingerbread man, enticing him to come closer.

Materials and activities I use with this story:

1.  I created these simple pictures for a story stick using Lesson Pix.  If you're not familiar with Lesson Pix, you might want to check it out.  Sometimes it amazes me how QUICKLY I can create an activity with the program.  Scroll down to the bottom of the Lesson Pix page and view the tutorial.  It'll give you a good idea of how the program works.  Also, right next to the tutorial link there is link for a free trial. Definitely give it a try!

2.  I also used Lesson Pix to create a sequencing worksheet (BTW, both the story stick images and this sheet were created in less than 5 minutes!!!).  You can have students cut/glue the icons in sequence, or create a reusable activity with lamination & Velcro.

3.  My Gingerbread Speech and Language Unit on TPT has activities based on this story.  The synonyms/antonyms are words that directly relate to the story.  (I plan to use the Gingerbread Pronouns activity next week when I read "The Gingerbread Girl" by Lisa Campbell Ernst).

4.  Gingerbread play dough.  I've mentioned this before, but my district does not allow us to use food products (even if the children will not be eating them) without permission slips signed by each parent.  Because of this, I don't use food products any more.  However, before this change in policy occurred, I used to make gingerbread scented play dough.  We would work on sequencing the steps of making gingerbread cookies in a hands-on way.  (We didn't actually cook/decorate/eat them).

Here's the Recipe:
(I got this from a teacher I used to work with - thank you Maria!)

  • 2 C. flour
  • 1 C. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. ground allspice
  • 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 C. water

        Combine ingredients in a large blow.  Mix together well and knead until smooth.
        Store the dough in an airtight container.  Refrigerate when not using.

5.  Cookie Doodle iPad app by Shoe the Goose.  ($.99 in the App Store).  Follow the recipe, design your cookie, even create a puzzle from your cookie!  This app is a great way to reinforce sequencing and vocabulary.  You can use it to target building expressive language and following directions as well!

Cookie Design                                                                                             Puzzle

Here are some cookies my kiddos created.  They wanted to make a house for the gingerbread man, but I didn't see a simple house cookie cutter, so we used this one (I think it's supposed to be a school):

6.  Don't forget the Roll a Gingerbread Man Freebie I posted on Monday!

Well, that's about it for today!  Tell me, do you use Lesson Pix?  What is your favorite feature?

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Gingerbread FREEBIE for you!

Here's a quick open-ended game for you...Roll a Gingerbread Man!

This document comes with a dice graph:

A blank gingerbread man:

The pieces...there are enough on one page to make two gingerbread men.  So, only print 1/2 as many of this page as you print the body page.

And this is what it looks like completed...

You can grab the download here.  Please leave me a comment if you do download.  Are you doing a Gingerbread theme this December as well?

PS, Happy Cyber Monday!  Don't forget to clear out your TPT wishlist today and tomorrow.  Enter code CMT12 for a total of 28% off all products in my store :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Receptive Detectives - TPT activity with FREEBIE

I'm taking a little break from the holiday activities to introduce "Receptive Detectives."  I've been working on this file for a while now and was going to wait until January to post it.  However, I know at least a few of you are planning to take advantage of the TPT Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale (see graphic below).  So, because of the sale, I figured I'd post this now.  That way, if you do want it, you can get it on sale! :)

Here it is..."Receptive Detectives!"  (Graphics are by Scrappin' Doodles)

In this packet, you get 36 clue cards.  Essentially, there are 5 clues for each item.  The clues range from vague to specific.  For example, Dog:  5.  It's an animal; 4.  It's a kind of pet; 3.  It might live in your house; 2.  It wears a collar; 1.  It barks.

clue cards

Game play variations:

1.1.  Teacher holds cards and draws one for each student or team. Teacher reads aloud the clues, one at a time, beginning with number 5.  If a student/team guesses the correct answer on the first clue, they get 5 points.  If they guess the answer on the 2nd clue (after reading the #4 clue), they get 4 points, and so on.  The student/team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.  You can use the scoring sheet included if you choose.

scoring sheet
*Depending on the level of students, you may want to lay out several answer cards for students to choose from.


Answer cards

2.  Use the included game board.  Give the students clues to the answers.  If they guess correctly, they can roll a dice and move their game piece (you can use coins or pawns from another game).  This game board is the FREEBIE!  Simply follow the link below to the Receptive Detectives page on TPT and click "Download Preview."

And that's it!  Hope you like it and can use it in your therapy rooms!  Don't forget about the TPT Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale!  All items in my store will be 20% off (including Receptive Detectives).  Use the code CMT 12 to save an additional 8%!

Happy Shopping!!!

PS, I promised all of you that I wouldn't be posting a ton of paid TPT items...just wanted to get this one posted before the sale starts.  There will be at least TWO freebies coming soon!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gingerbread Speech and Language Unit

Phew!  Just finished up a new Gingerbread Speech and Language Unit.  I wanted to have this done in time to participate in the Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Monday plus Tuesday sale.

All items in my TPT store will be 20% off.  If you enter PROMO CODE: CMT12, you will get an additional 10% off the discounted price, resulting in a total of 28% off!

Now... Here's my new Gingerbread Speech and Language Unit!  This is a 26 page document with four different games (5 if you count synonyms/antonyms as two games).

For starters, we have Gingerbread Synonyms and Antonyms:

In this game there are 20 synonym pairs (gingerbread boy/gingerbread house) and 20 antonym pairs (gingerbread boy/gingerbread girl).  I've included blank sheets of each set so that you can add your own words to expand the game.  You can use the cards in a few different ways:

  • Provide several cards to a student as foils.  Read a card and ask the student to find the best synonym/antonym match.
  • Play as you would play "Memory."  When a student finds a synonym/antonym pair, they get to keep the pair.  The player with the most pairs at the end of the game is the winner.
  • Play as you would play "Go Fish."  Have students request "Do you have an antonym for 'girl'?" or "Do you have a synonym for 'town'?"


Next we have Gingerbread Pronouns:

For this game, there are large pictures of a gingerbread boy, a gingerbread girl, and a boy and girl together.  I like to attach these images to a small gift bag.   There are also 50 object cards in basic categories (shapes, colors, numbers, letters, animals, vehicles, toys, and food).  You may wish to have students use the object name or object category (e.g. “He has an apple” or “He has a fruit”).

Game play - Receptive:  Place object cards on the table.  Give instructions to the children – “Give a number to him,” “Give a ball to them.”

Game play - Expressive:  Have students take turns giving an object card to the boy and the girl. 

There are sentence strips included for students who omit those little words!  These include:

  • “He has the ___” 
  • “She has the ___” 
  • “They have the ___” 
  • “The ___ is his” 
  • “The ___ is hers” 
  • “The ___ is theirs” 

The third activity in the packet is a Gingerbread Barrier Game:

You can use this for simple following directions (e.g., "Put the girl between the trees") or as a true barrier game.  To play as a barrier game, you will need two copies of the background and two copies of the objects.  Put a divider (open file folder, large book, etc.) between two players/teams.  Have one player/team set up a scene using the game pieces.  Then they describe their scene to the other player/team, who tries to recreate the scene exactly.  The more specific the descriptions, the more accurate the recreation.  Once completed, you can remove the barrier and discuss what is correct or incorrect, discuss where communication breakdowns occurred, and brainstorm what the students could have done to improve the outcome.

Last, but not least, we have Beware the Gingerbread Pirate! Open-Ended Card Game.

Use with any target objective.  Place cards in a pile in the center of the table.  Have students take turns drawing cards.  If the student selects a gingerbread boy or girl, they get to keep it.  If the student selects a Gingerbread Pirate, they must return all of their cards to the table.  The player with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.  There are numbers in the corner of the card game as well.  This way, you can choose to use point value rather than total number of cards to determine the winner.

I hope you can use this Gingerbread packet!  You can find it in my TPT store!  Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

PECS: Organizing your Reinforcers

When I first started out, perhaps like many new SLPs, I was using picture symbols for just about everything.  I created communication books for lots of kids.  I taught the kids what to do with the book...without actually teaching them the foundations needed to use the book.

A few years ago, I found myself working in a classroom of students with severe special needs.  We all received a wonderful training from the district Assistive Technology specialist.  How many of you use the PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) by Lori Frost and Andy Bondy?

There is a ton of information on the web about PECS and the Six Phases of PECS.  If you're not familiar with PECS, this page gives you a great rundown of the six phases.  Today I'm going to give you a couple of tips on organizing reinforcers.

You probably are aware of the basic concepts of "Picture Exchange" - a student gives a picture in exchange for a desired object.  Bondy and Frost first suggest that you find reinforcers (motivating toys/objects specific to each child).  This may not be shocking, but in my reinforcer assessment, I found that most of the students in the class had similar "likes."  I found myself using the same toys:  pop-tubes, wind-up toys, books, squishy balls, vehicles, etc.

For easy portability, here's what I did with my reinforcers.  I got a snap-top tote (this is the shoe-box size):

Filled it with my reinforcers:

And attached the picture symbols to the lid of the box with Velcro:

I made two boxes with different toys/activities so I could rotate the boxes and decrease boredom (for myself and the kids).  I used a mix of Mayer Johnson PCS, Pics for PECS, and photographs.  Basically, I took photographs for objects for which I couldn't find a good picture symbol.

Now you're ready to start working on Phase 1, Step 1 (Fully Assisted Exchange)!  What are your thoughts on this?  Would you like more information on the PECS method? If there is interest, I can start a PECS series.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book of the Week: "The Gingerbread Pirates."

Thanksgiving is Thursday and the stores are already decked out for Christmas.  That means December is right around the corner!  I have a few students who do not celebrate Christmas (or Hanukah for that matter).  Because of this, I tend to do a Gingerbread theme in December.  Some of the books I have do have Christmas elements, so I don't necessarily use all of them with each group.

To kick off the Gingerbread theme, and to join up with Lauren's Linky Party at Busy Bee Speech, I'm sharing my Book of the Week a little early (since I won't actually be using this book in therapy for a couple of weeks).  One of my favorite variations of the Gingerbread Man stories is "The Gingerbread Pirates" by Matt Tavares.

In this story, a boy and his mom bake cookies for Santa.  (If you do have kids who do cannot participate in Christmas activities, this book may  not be the best choice.).  The boy, Jim, makes a pirate crew and wants to save "Captain Cookie" and some of his mates.  The book tells of the adventure of Captain Cookie, who is trying to save the rest of his crew from being eaten by Santa, the cannibal.

The book definitely has some higher level vocabulary, including:  cutlass (sword), cannibal, prison, cliff, astonish, wounded, glittered, mantle, etc.  You can simplify it for the little ones, or expand on the vocabulary with the older students.

To accompany the book, I've created this open-ended game board:

I've also created some WH- question cards (2 pages) related to "The Gingerbread Pirates."

You can download both activities from my TPT store.  The graphics for both activities are by Scrappin Doodles.

Hope you like them!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pronoun Practice

Today I'm going to share with you one of my favorite activities for targeting pronouns.  I've been using this activity for years and I wish I could take credit for it, but sadly, I cannot!  A few years ago, I found this activity on the Speaking of Speech Materials Exchange page (It's the first activity listed under Pronouns - "Pronoun Game").  It comes with large pictures of a boy and girl with sentence strips below the children and a page of items.  Here's how it looks:

It fits nicely on a file folder, and those store quite well!  However, I have a lot of kids who have been working on "they" as well.  So, I updated the version from Speaking of Speech to include "He," "She," and "They":

This does not fit quite nicely on a file folder, so I taped together three sheets of oak tag, glued the pages on, and laminated everything together.  Then I attached my velcro.  Here's a close-up so you can see the target sentence - "He has the ___."  

"They have the___"

I do have some younger students who are working on "he" and "she," but are not ready to work on "they."  For these students, I simply folded the "they" page to the back.

I placed the item pictures in an empty (clean) wipes container with the top oval (the part where you pull the wipes) cut out.  The students can reach into the container and pull out an item for each section.  We typically say the sentences together for the first round, then I have the students read the sentences themselves.

What activities do you use to target pronouns?

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