Monday, August 12, 2013

Don't Throw it Away! Zoo Maps

Summer is the perfect time for visiting the zoo!  When you pay for your admission, make sure you grab an extra map or two because they're great for use in therapy!

Here's a map I grabbed during a visit to Southwick's Zoo:



Ways to use maps in therapy:

Life Skills Groups:  

  • Have students figure out hours of operation, cost of admission, parking, etc.
  • Have students brainstorm what they might need to bring with them if they were spending a day at the zoo (e.g., money for lunch, sunscreen on a hot day, etc.)
  • Have students figure out how much money they should bring for the activities they want to do.
  • Have students call and find out if there are shows that day/what time the shows will be.
  • Ask questions regarding hypothetical events (e.g., What would you do if you were by the lions and you had to go to the bathroom?  What would you do if you fell down and started bleeding?)

Receptive Language:

  • Following Directions.  Have students put their finger on a location on the map.  Give directions (e.g., "If you go south until you see the monkeys then turn to the left, what animal will you see?")
  • Answering yes/no questions:  (e.g., Can you buy pizza at the zoo? Are the leopards at the zoo?)
  • Answering wh- questions:  (e.g., Which animal is closest to the rhinos?, Where would you go if you wanted a drink?)
  • Comprehension questions:  Read the information/rules section (if your map has one) to students or have students read the section.  Ask comprehension questions.
Expressive Language:
  • Pick five animals from the map.  Have students describe the animals using as many features as they can.  (or grab your EET kit!)
  • Give a student two animals.  Have them give directions from one animal to the other.
  • Have students pick an animal they've never heard of (my map has animals like "Capybara," "Kookaburra," "Aldabra tortoise," "Muntjac deer," and "Patagonian cavy").  Get to your computer or iPad and look up the animal.  Have students report back to the group (or to their teacher) what they learned about the new animal.
Executive Functioning:
  • Have each student tell you their favorite animal from the map.  Ask them to make a plan as to how they will see each of the animals by using the shortest route on the map.
  • Provide a scenario where each student gets a certain amount of money and give students a list of costs associated with the zoo.  Have them make a plan regarding what they will spend their money on (rides, lunch, gift shop).
  • Find animals and locations on the map that contain your target sound (e.g., lion, lemur, llama, leopard, reptiles, buffalo, turtle, eagle, etc.).
  • Use any of the above activities for students to practice their strategies.

What do you think?  Do you use maps in therapy?

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