Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Book of the Week: Where's Spot?

Last week, Hurricane Sandy hit.  Fortunately, I did not sustain any damage, but did lose power for a few hours.  (If you missed my post on how you TPT sellers can help teachers who lost more than just power, click here).  Between that and Halloween, I never had the chance to post my book of the week last week.  I apologize to those of you who look forward to this.  But, this I'm back with this week's book - "Where's Spot " by Eric Hill.

This is a traditional lift-the-flap book that's great for targeting so many speech/language elements!  Basic premise: Spot didn't eat his dinner so his mother searches for him, but finds many other animals hiding around the house.  I think it's most appropriate for preschool, but the kindergarteners I have worked with in the past loved the book as well.  Some objectives I target with this book:

  • Vocabulary (animal names)
  • Prepositions (in the box, under the bed)
  • Answering Yes/No questions ("Is he under the bed?")
  • Answering WH questions ("Who was under the bed?" Where was the monkey hiding?")
  • Asking questions (I drag out the title to "Where is Spot?" and ask it on each page. Then each page asks "Is he ___?").
  • Concepts (big/little, in/out, under/over, behind/in front)
  • /s/ and /s/ blends:  Spot, snake, s-s-s (snake sound), Sally (Spot's mom)
  • /b/:  box, basket, book, blanket, baby, bag, bear

Here's how I use Spot in therapy:  (PS, this book works well to inclusion groups and small pull-out groups).

First, I gather my materials:

  • The book! (I'm on my 3rd copy of this book - I've been using it since the late 1990's!).  
  • Spot picture (I drew this little Spot dog back in grad school - also late 90's.  Somehow he lasted even though I didn't laminate him until a year or two ago!)
  • Spot doll - I found the plush on Amazon a year or two ago and added him to my collection!
  • Things for Spot to hide in/on/under/behind (I use a basket, a large book, a baby blanket, a box, a bag, and myself)

At the start of the session, I tell the students that I have brought a special friend.  I usually have Spot hiding in the basket and I give the kids clues to see if they can guess who it is:  He's an animal.  He might live in your house.  He likes to play with a ball.  He can bark.  By now (usually), they've figured out that he's a dog.  So, I bring him out and tell the kids that his name is Spot.  Then we all practice saying his name with a good /s/ sound.  Next I tell them that Spot is a little tired, but that, as soon as we're done with his story, he's going to come back and play a game with us.

When I show them the dog (either plush or paper version), I highlight the fact that Spot has ONE spot, I show them the dog on the cover of the book and we count the spots. There are THREE spots on the dog on the cover because that is NOT Spot, but his mother Sally.  This is important, especially for my younger kiddos because, as soon as I open the book and say "Where is Spot?," they say "He's right there!" while pointing at the mom!

I read through the story.  Again, I repeat "Where is Spot?" on each page and encourage the kids to do the same.  After I'm done with the story, I ask WH questions ("Where was the lion hiding?" "Who was in the piano?").  

Now we bring out Spot.  I lay out my materials in front of me (I'm usually doing this lesson on the floor, so I can have a decent amount of space).  I tell the children that Spot's favorite game is Hide & Seek!  So, I have them close their eyes and I hide Spot in different places (in the book, under the book, behind the book, in the box, under the box, etc.).  We work on guessing where he is using appropriate prepositions (e.g., "He's under the blanket" or "I think he's in the box").  Usually the last time around, I hide Spot behind my back to see if they can figure out where he is.  :)

At the end of the game, I tell them that Spot needs another nap, but he'll come back and play with them again on another day (I have a bunch of Spot books, but the two I use consistently are "Where's Spot?" and "Spot Goes to the Farm").  They LOVE this story and the little game!

Plush vs. Paper

*I've been using the Spot drawing for years and the kids have never had a problem with it.  I purchased the plush thinking they would be more engaged.  What I found was that the kids had a MUCH easier time finding him.  Because of this, they enjoyed the game less.  I think that if you are working with significantly delayed children, the plush would be the way to go.  However, if your children are cognitively on target, but lacking in language skills, I'd use the cut-out!

Also, I've found some other Spot resources on-line.  Here are a few:
  • Fun With Spot (Spot's official website)
  • Teacher's Love (printable Spot Worksheets)
  • Kids-n-fun (Spot coloring pages. Great place to find a printable to make your own "flat" Spot!)
  • And finally, here's a YouTube video which shows an animated version of the book:

You can find "Where's Spot?" and the Spot plush on Amazon:


 Have you used "Where's Spot?" or other Spot books in therapy?  What's your favorite Spot book & activity?

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