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Summer break has arrived and although I plan to turn off my SLP brain and relax for a good portion of my summer, therapy finds seem to always catch my attention, even on vacation! All of my children have enjoyed 'I spy' type books. We have acquired a collection, so while I was once again cleaning out a bookshelf, I found myself tempted to pull these unique books for my therapy room rather than find a place for them back on the shelf. This is a habit of mine and my children will often inquire about their missing items or even ask when a new item is bought if it is indeed for my therapy room. Hmmm.  Maybe? Caught once again!

So today, I am blogging about using I spy type books during a therapy session. First, here are a few from my collection.

Disney addicts like us would obviously have an assortment of princess and movie-themed books.

This Usborne The Great Castle Search book (no affiliation) was given to my son by his grandmother after she visited the British Isles years ago. The vocabulary in this book is rich with historical references and could be of high interest to many students.

I also have a collection of Highlights magazines (no affiliation) which are always a place for hidden picture scenes for more spying fun!

Now let's discuss some therapy ideas for using I spy/look & find/hidden picture type books with your students.

Incorporate these books into your themed-therapy planning coordinating with the book topic/theme (e.g. beach, castle, monsters). The images will provide visual supports to enhance the vocabulary development of the target thematic vocabulary.

Increasing utterance length. Use carrier phrases (like these) to aid expansion of sentences as your students search and find items.

Asking and answering questions. Do you see?  Can you find?  Where is ...? What can you do with?

Defining and describing items using category, function, and attributes. You can also practice associations.  What goes with ...?

Compare and contrast. Choose two images and discuss similarities and differences.

Listening comprehension and recall.  Usually the text in the book contains a short story on each page for practice with listening to text.

Search and find for target articulation sounds. Give the student a target speech sound and have him find and say the items to practice articulation targets.

Additionally, have students create their own list of items for peers to find. Give the student category, defining feature, or speech sound constraints when creating. This is great for expanding expressive language and vocabulary.

You can even incorporate technology by using a search and find app, such as Highlights Hidden Pictures App (no affiliation) or allowing students to use a camera to take a close-up picture of their discovery within the books.

What other ways would you incorporate these types of books in your therapy?

It's that time of the school year when paperwork tasks take over therapy planning. In order to combat this reality, The Frenzied SLPs have been sharing one item therapy ideas all month. #tfsoneitem 
I'm here to share a new item that has entered my therapy room.

When I was recently at my local dollar store, I picked up some hula hoops. My students enjoyed our time with some added movement during our basketball theme, so I decided to bring hula hoops into therapy. My initial thought was movement only and then I did some brainstorming.  

Place two hula hoops on the table or floor to resemble a Venn Diagram.  Use sticky notes to write similarities and differences for describing two items or ideas.

Place three hoola hoops on the floor and label beginning, middle, and end. Give each student a stack of target sound cards in mixed positions. Students must sort the target articulation cards into beginning, middle, and end prior to practicing targets. For even more articulation drill work, place a hula hoop on the floor for each child with target word cards inside. Students must toss bean bags onto target cards while saying each target hit. To make this open ended, place sticky notes with points in the center or surrounding the hoop (similar to a target/bullseye). Toss a bean bag and earn those points or say your target speech sound that number of times.

Use the hula hoop for basic concepts. Have the student go through, under, or over the hoop. You can also target:  above, below, middle, center, outside, inside. Add multiple steps for even more following directions fun!

Use the hoops for sorting past, present, and future verb tenses. After sorting, students can create sentences using each tense!  You can even have students sort items or images into designated categories.

Even more ideas:

Use the hula hoop as it was designed :) for reinforcement or a movement break following a set number of trials given articulation or language targets.

Place 3-5 hula hoops in a row/line on the floor. Students can hop from hoop to hoop to sequence the beginning, middle and ending of a story or summarize using SWBST (Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then).

Teach about personal space using the visual of the hula hoop around the student's body. 

Identify behaviors that are expected (inside the hoop) and unexpected (outside the hoop) using Social Thinking Vocabulary {Michelle Garcia Winner}.

Use to accompany your EET {Sara Smith} for defining characteristics by using a variety of different colored hula hoops. Hint:  Your P.E. teacher may have a collection you can borrow!

What other ways can you think of for using hula hoops in therapy?

The Frenzied SLPs are offering some fresh speech therapy ideas for spring! I'm lucky enough to be on spring break and headed for warmer weather with my family! I had spring fever early on in Ohio with our warm February, so I was already thinking about spring therapy planning!

I love using themes and literature in therapy. This year I have also found myself gravitating toward interactive notebooks and craftivities to accompany my therapy targets and themes. Spring is no exception and my list of themes keeps growing.  To round out this school year, I'll be finishing up my basketball theme, dabbling in some Easter-related activities, bringing out the camping theme, and ending with baseball! Around Easter, I have spring-themed plans using the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, an inspirational story about the Lupine Lady who spread lupine seeds and beauty everywhere she went. I was also Pinspired by this craft from I Heart Crafty Things (more on that below).

To accompany Miss Rumphius, I have created interactive notebook companion activities. The vocabulary in this text is rich and the story is captivating for younger and older elementary students. Among other targets using this book, I will focus on inferencing, summarizing, articulation in reading and conversation, irregular verbs, and defining.

I'm no artist and so my first attempt at the craftivity sample turned out to be a "pretty W" as my own kindergartener helped to shape my decision with her honest comment.

Instead, I opted for creating a coloring or stamping worksheet. You can thank her for the freebie!
Speech, language, and open-ended craftivity included.
I've also explored the sensory bin speech craze as well, only after cleaning up way too many spills, I have opted for more of a garland-type fill. My local dollar store seems to have garland for every holiday!

Garland works well as I use the bin mainly for hiding target skill cards or our reinforcement activity game cards. I neglected to take a picture of my prepped Eastery spring bin before I left for spring break; however, I picked up some decorative mesh and small glittery foam eggs.

I'll also plan to add some flower petals, toy garden shovels and gloves. Picking cards while wearing garden gloves surely is a lot more engaging!


What are your fresh ideas for speech therapy this spring?

As I sit here listening to the college basketball games in the background, I am getting even more excited for my therapy plans this coming week.

I'm using a new to me book, Salt in His Shoes:  Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Delores Jordan. (no affiliation). I created a minimal prep book companion to go along with the text. It includes a variety of speech and language activities for mixed therapy groups, suggested K-3. I've pinned a read aloud too. 

For reinforcement and movement, I happen to have a mini basketball hoop on my door (similar to this one).

Suggested ways I use the hoop in my speech room:

Allow a set number of minutes following skill and drill practice-I set a timer for 2 minutes, work with one student for articulation drill and allow others to take turns shooting hoops. Then switch students.

For younger students, I stand at the front of the line and do 5 quick drills and then allow a shot, move to the end of the line, repeat process!

For students working on language tasks, I usually do the lesson and then allow 3-5 minutes of a continuous line of shooting for students in the group.

Here is a free app that will allow for 45 seconds of basketball fun should you not have a speech room or to accommodate some push-in or quick hallway drills! My boys love this app!

My SLP friend from All Y'All Need has these basketball language activities for younger and upper elementary students. My copies are already printed and ready for use!

It's also a short and extremely busy week for me. The light at the end of the tunnel is spring break! Happy hooping it up in speech therapy to you!

March is true to its motto coming in like a lion. My busy life as an SLP and mom of three is actually helping to motivate me to be ultra organized and driven to accomplish my long list of to-dos. This month is filled with overlapping sports for my children, both winter and spring colliding, many IEP meetings, spring conferences, and the school-wide talent show in which I help organize. So, my plans for therapy need to carry me through much of March!

I recently finished my Leprechaun Speech and Language Unit which includes a variety of themed therapy tasks for mixed groups all surrounding a leprechaun theme. I so enjoy creating these thematic packs as the research part is so engaging. I try to create at least one activity for each of my groups K-5 in the themed packets. There are also ample reinforcement activities to pair with any skill and drill activity. I have my March Monthly Themed Therapy pack all ready for those quick drill times, too!

What I am most excited about is a communication engineering project that I know my students will love! I was a bit overwhelmed at the end of last week, so in routine fashion, I organized and purged items in my therapy room. In doing so, I found lots of recycled items that would be perfect for a Leprechaun Trap Challenge! The OT in my building says I would be perfect for Let's Make a Deal, so why not test out this proposition.

Here is what I found:

gold coins
shamrock erasers
toilet paper rolls
Washi tape
popsicle sticks
paper plates
plastic spoons
plastic cups
index cards

Along with glue, tape, crayons, makers, and a stapler, I believe we have our materials.  After my students learn all about leprechauns during our therapy sessions, I am going to have them use their very best communication skills to work as a group to create a leprechaun trap. 

At home, to test out my idea, I also gathered a collection of materials and in no time my engineering-minded middle child, crafted up this trap.

My youngest and best product tester, used her attention to detail to complete the drawing.


Here are some communication targets that I will be prompting for/eliciting during the challenge. 

Carryover of speech sounds in conversation, increasing utterances, past/present/future tense sentences, pronouns, conjunctions, complex sentence structures, following and understanding directions, understanding target vocabulary and concepts, using specific vocabulary and making associations. taking another’s perspective, verbal sequencing, turn taking and conversational skills, executive functioning, listening/attending and topic maintenance, and fluent speaking.

Here is a list of some vocabulary that can be targeted:
St. Patrick’s Day

Do you think you might be able to incorporate this leprechaun trap challenge into your therapy plans? I have made the worksheet and a couple variations into a freebie you can snag here.

Here's to going out like lamb which will be spring break for me! 

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