This is a really fun way to introduce Thanksgiving vocabulary. See if the students can find Thanksgiving pictures. Are they able to figure out why other pictures are not Thanksgiving pictures?? This task was fun for the kiddos and also exercised their ability to do a little bit of reasoning to figure out which ones are and are not Thanksgiving foods!
Executive Functions are higher level cognitive skills which are needed to successfully complete everyday tasks. Executive functions are skills that are required in order to utilize the knowledge that you have to carry out a task. These skills are required in order for a child to manage tasks and solve problems on a daily basis, as well as regulate behaviors so they are appropriate for the demands of specific situations. Listed below are each of the executive function skills as well as a definition of what each one means.
That tricky leprechaun keeps things exciting in our speech room! We have 5 fun St. Patrick’s Day speech therapy activities that are perfect for mixed primary groups as well as our preschool friends.
1.DECORATE! Changing up the décor in our therapy room adds to the homey and comfortable feel that we try to keep in our room. Simple dollar store finds and a runner of seasonal material are easy ways to decorate!
2. SENSORY BIN! A sensory bin is the perfect place to put dollar store props! Hats, beards, glasses, bow ties, shamrocks, coins, beads leis, and even green garland add to the multi-sensory, St. Patrick’s Day theme. It’s a perfect place to hide drill cards or vocabulary. We also added paper shamrocks with one, two and three step auditory directions. Our following direction activities incorporate props and gross motor actions. are better generalized because they are taught in natural context.
3.PORTABLE SENSORY BIN! Put some of those props in a table top sensory bin out of a plastic container with a lid. We used a 12×12 container that usually holds scrapbook paper. Containers with lids are perfect because they can also provide a clear beginning and clear ending to a therapy session for little ones that may need that defined. We hide small objects, vocabulary cards or articulation cards in the portable table top sensory bins. Easy to take your ‘show on the road’ if you push in a variety of environments as well.
4. DRESS UP! Let your kiddos put on some inexpensive paper glasses or green and yellow leis while they’re practicing! Something so simple increases engagement in work tasks.
Why not dress up and have some fun???
5. What sparks the most language and excitement in your St. Patrick’s Day speech therapy? Why leprechaun tricks of course!!! That tricky leprechaun plays a new trick on our kiddos in the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. The anticipation of the daily trick leads to some fun predicting and inferencing even before they walk in! Our leprechaun turns milk green, stacks chairs, leaves footprints, turns tables, spills bins, decorates with toilet paper and even plays games when we aren’t in the room! Leprechaun tricks foster skills like problem solving, memory, WH questions, auditory directions and concepts development just to name a few!
Give some of these ideas a try in March! You’ll have just as much fun as the kids!
We firmly believe in shaping behaviors with positive reinforcement. While we are cautious to include visual prompts in our therapy when they are not needed, we do realize that for some kiddos, visual prompts ARE needed to sustain joint attention, build a positive work ethic and increase work productivity.
Effective reinforcement strategies are critical for some of our kiddos to achieve success. We can shape desired behaviors by reinforcing desirable actions/responses and withhold reinforcement for actions that are undesirable or not small improvements toward shaping our goals or objectives.
Token systems are based on the principals of operant conditioning. The tokens themselves are considered learned reinforcers or secondary reinforcers. Once earned, they can be exchanged for a child-selected (or learner-selected) tangible or social reinforcer.
In our therapy room and school, we use all-in-one token boards. Every board contains 10 token reinforcement ‘doors’.
For initial token training or short work tasks, 1 token ’door’ is open indicating that 1 token is required for the child to earn their desired reinforcer. Once the token is earned, the child closes the door. As the child becomes successful over time and the work requirements increase, the quantity of tokens is adjusted. Separate token cards are no longer needed to adjust the token ratio. We simply open and close the token ’doors’ to customize the ratio for our learners.
Some of our students require a visual reminder of the preferred item for which they are working. We also made boards with an “I am working for…” feature that allows for our child’s own communication system icon or any small photo/text icon to be added.
We like to switch up our token boards based on the child’s interests as well as for seasonal themes.
We have created every day token board bundles as well as seasonal token bundles.
Simply print double sided, laminate, assemble and use!
We came up with a fun idea around this time of year a few years back. We wanted our little ones to have a lot of repetition learning vocabulary for our upcoming Thanksgiving Feast. We decided to post our Thanksgiving vocabulary where it would be seen over and over.
We pulled up our tape line by the door and replaced it with a vocabulary line!
Posting our vocabulary like this allowed for visual exposure to vocabulary multiple times during the day. The kids walked over it every time they came in and exited the room. They followed directions “Stand on the______” when they were lining up to leave the room before transitions. We even asked the kids “What would you like to stand on?” which allowed the kids to express vocabulary. We asked questions that included features/function/class to our kiddos that could already express the vocabulary. What we didn’t expect, was the spontaneous labeling that began as the kids stepped on the vocabulary over and over each day. Even our little ones that were still learning functional communication began to echo vocabulary and tact vocabulary as they lined up. BINGO! By the time the feast rolled around, our data showed mastery for both receptive and expressive feast vocabulary with the majority of our kiddos.
Besides the classroom, we also posted in the hallway where the kiddos sit and wait before and after the bathroom transition.
Just a tip, cover it with packaging tape 🙂 It lasts longer and prevents little fingers from picking at it.
These are posted just a few feet above the floor.
After Thanksgiving, we decided to post our common object and/or thematic vocabulary this way for each unit. WHY DIDN’T WE THINK OF THIS BEFORE????