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We have reached the last week of in-class therapy for Teacher Norma’s classroom! This week we are doing one of my favorite books, The Napping House by Audrey Wood.¬†
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The Napping House is about a grandma who falls asleep in a cozy bed, followed by a boy, and a dog, and a cat, a mouse, and finally a flea who wakes everyone up! It is a patterned book, with every page adding the next character, and ending with the line “…in a napping house, where everyone is sleeping.”

Targets:

  • Prepositions – ON: Each character lays down ON the character before, with the grandma ON the bed, the boy ON the grandma, the dog ON the boy, etc.
  • Verbs – SLEEP: While not a CORE word, the verb “sleep” is an important word for daily routines. Find the word “sleep” on your child’s AAC system, or look up the ASL sign (some families use “sleep”, and some use the sign for “bed”).
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American Sign Language: “sleep”

  • Predicting: What’s next? is a great question to ask during a story like this. Stories with a predictable structure can help students predict the next words or actions, and use language to describe the story. After reading the story a few times, start asking “What’s next?” and see what your student says!

We are using this interactive book I made, asking “Who is sleeping?” on each page.

You can find The Napping House at your local library, or watch the read-aloud YouTube video here:

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Our book this week is Froggy Gets Dressed, by Jonathan London. Froggy is a fun-loving frog, who sees that it is snowing and wants to go and play! When he tries to get dressed, he forgets to put something on each time – his pants, his shirt, and even his UNDERWEAR!

Things to target with Froggy:

  • Clothing words: Froggy is getting dressed, which is a perfect opportunity to work on functional clothing vocabulary. Students need to be able to receptively and expressively understand basic clothing words – pants, shirt, socks, shoes, and even underwear, as part of their daily routines.
  • “Put on ________”: Froggy needs to PUT ON his clothes! Students can work on the 2-word phrase, or use it as a carrier phrase for 3-word sentences. It is a predictable way to practice using clothing words in longer sentences, and the phrase “PUT ON” comes up in many, many situations at home and at school.

Activities:

  • File Folder game: I made a file folder activity using these cute printables, which we will use to practice “Put on ______”. I can tell students which clothes to put on, or they can tell me which clothes to put on! I put rolled masking tape on the back of the clothing items, but you could also use velcro to make it more sturdy.

Froggy file folder

  • Interactive book: I made an interactive book to accompany Froggy, which you can find HERE.
  • YouTube: you can watch Froggy trying to get dressed on YouTube, or check out the book from your public library.

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Our book in Teacher Norma’s class this week is “Today is Monday” by Eric Carle. Can you ever have too much Eric Carle in your classroom? No, you cannot. ūüôā

Targets:

  • Days of the week: many students struggle with concepts of time and the weekly routine. Learning the days of the week is a basic life skill that helps students to navigate school and home routines.
  • Labeling: the book features common animals and food items, which students can practice labeling with verbal, sign, or AAC words.
  • Sustained engagement: the book has a simple structure, which helps easily distracted students to stay engaged and listen to the whole book. Students know what to expect on each page, and each page repeats all of the previous day’s meals, building on each other until the end of the week.

We are using this emerging reader book on TPT, which I adapted using Boardmaker Online symbols to be interactive with cut&paste icons for each day and food.

This book also has a song, which you can find on YouTube. It’s catchy!

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Our book this week is “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle. This classic book can probably be recited by memory by many parents, and by many children! It is a favorite nationwide, for it’s fun and repetitive format, and simple, engaging vocabulary.

Language targets:

  • Animals: every page features a different common animal. Can we name them?
  • Colors: each animal is a different basic color. Let’s label the colors!
  • 2-word utterances: color+animal makes a great basic 2-word utterance! The predictable format and familiar vocabulary make it easier for students to remember and produce a longer utterance.
  • Listening skills: Many students need practice listening to a whole book without losing interest. A book with a predictable format and familiar vocabulary can keep students engaged, and help them practice listening to the whole story!

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There are more than 200 free Brown Bear Brown Bear activities on the TPT website. We will be practicing requesting colors and tracing color words with this book activity.

You can check out Brown Bear Brown Bear from your local library, or listen to the musical version from YouTube!

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Our book this week is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. There are many themes we can work on using this book!

Numbers: The caterpillar eats through ONE apple, TWO pears, THREE plums, FOUR strawberries, and FIVE oranges! We are using an interactive book I made on the Boardmaker Online platform, which you can find here if you have a Boardmaker Online account. Students cut out the numbers, and glue them onto the correct pages. The book has numerals or number dots, depending on the number abilities of your students.

Days of the week: On MONDAY the caterpillar ate an apple, on TUESDAY he ate pears, on WEDNESDAY he ate plums… You can ask questions about the days of the week, what day is NEXT, or WHEN he ate different fruits.

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“Put in”: For students with emerging cognitive skills, “put in” is a direction they hear a lot. I found this cute caterpillar “put in” task on Teaching Mama, which we will use with our own picture symbols of the food items that we will have the caterpillar “eat”.

You can check out a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar at your local library, or watch Eric Carle read his own book below!

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Our book in Teacher Norma’s class this week is “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes” by James Dean and Eric Litwin. Pete the Cat books are pretty popular, and there are many in the series. Pete the Cat got some new shoes that he loves, and he is singing a song about them. As he goes through his day he steps in different things (strawberries, blueberries, mud) and his shoes turn different colors.

Concepts to work on:

  • Colors: white, red, blue, brown. Students at this level cannot be overexposed to color words.
  • CORE words: Love. “like” is a more common CORE word, but “love” is also a great word for students to learn.
  • Managing emotions: Pete’s shoes get dirty over and over. “Oh no!” he says. But then we learn that Pete didn’t cry. Goodness, no! He kept walking along and singing his song. Students can watch Pete handle a problem without getting upset, and learn to do the same thing themselves.

We are going to use this emergent reader book, and color in Pete’s shoes on each page. Coloring practice is great!


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Now that we have made it through the alphabet (yes, I knowI skipped blogging about “Z”, but we did do it!), we are moving to a book theme for each week. This week’s book is Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley. Our CORE word for the week is “Go”, which we will use all week.

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“GO” in American Sign Language

Some students are using iPads to learn CORE words, some are using ASL, and some are using verbal words. The great thing about CORE words is that we can all learn them in more than one modality! Since we use the word “GO” so often, it is a good idea to know how to say it in multiple ways.

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The words GO and STOP pair together so well. We can use many different activities to practice GO (and STOP). Playing with toy cars, wind-up toys, swings, slides, bubbles, or even iPad apps or YouTube videos are all great ways to practice GO. Set up the activity so that it will STOP by itself, or so that you can choose when it will stop. Then cue the children to tell you “GO” to make it start again! If they can tell you “GO” with a cue, then start fading the cues and waiting for them to tell you “GO” independently. We want every child to be able to say when they want something to GO and STOP.

The book is available at the library, OR you can watch it on YouTube below!

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Answering yes/no questions is a very important skill, especially for children with limited verbal skills. If a child can answer yes/no questions, it expands how much they can tell an adult or caregiver almost exponentially. Yes and No are so powerful!

Yes/No are also ideal target words because they can be expressed simply, with or without verbal words. Children can nod, vocalize, or look happy to express “yes.” They can shake their head, look unhappy, or push away to express “no.” Yes/no questions can apply across many different settings, from snack time (do you want a cracker?) to recess (do you want the ball?) to bedtime (do you want your red pajamas?). They allow parents and caregivers to offer choices, and children to have more control over their lives by expressing opinions. Being able to answer yes/no questions can reduce frustration for both children and parents, especially for children with communication difficulties.

Using gestures or facial expressions is often how children start expressing their preferences. Sometimes making a face is enough, but sometimes the rejection can be pushing or throwing, which we don’t want! Starting with what we know the child wants to tell us, we can build those preferences into more conventional ways to indicate yes/no. If a child is using a push-away to express rejection, we can pair that with a sign or word to help them learn more socially acceptable ways to get their message across. Adults modeling yes/no in¬†situations that children are currently in is very important for emerging communicators to learn how to use yes/no themselves.

There are different kinds of yes/no questions, also. Yes/no questions that are preference-based (example: Do you want a cookie?) are easier than fact-based yes/no questions (example: Is this a cookie?). Students typically master preference-based yes/no questions before they can answer fact-based yes/no questions.
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Using visual supports is essential for students who have difficulty with yes/no. The graphic above is one I use every day. I have two cards – one with “yes” and one with “no.” When I ask a student a question, I hold up the cards so they can see their options for answering. It helps cue students who may not remember the words independently, but can point to the answer they mean with the visual support. This can reduce the amount of echolalia that students may use (repeating the question instead of answering it). A student can say Yes/No, point to the word they want, or even look at the word that they mean.

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This month we are reading Are You My Mother?¬†by P.D. Eastman during circle time. Each time the baby bird meets a new creature, I ask the question “Is the [cat/dog/cow/boat] his mother?” The board gives visual supports, along with pictures for the “yes” and “no” for modeling and pointing.

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Other books ideal for working on yes/no:

Additional resources:

Lastly, here is a video with a catchy song about yes/no, made by an SLP working on a kickstarter project. There are words that pop on the screen about their project, which is a bit annoying, but the song is pretty fun and could be engaging for a student who doesn’t mind the words, but enjoys music and puppets.

 

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We have been exploring Pete the Cat books in teacher Norma’s classroom the past few weeks. This month we are reading Old MacDonald Had a Farm, featuring Pete the Cat.

I love this book/song for how versatile it is. Students at many different levels can interact with the book in different ways.

Emerging language: Students in the beginning stages of language¬†can practice using “more” to continue the song, or to turn the page. Some students are working on the sign for “more”, while others are using switches or words. This works well for students who are motivated by music or interaction with adults. Pause the song in the middle or end of a verse, and wait expectantly for the student to request “more.” If they are still learning “more,” they may need you to model using it (“Let’s do MORE”, accompanied by helping with the sign, or pushing the switch with the child) and then continue.

Imitation: The repeating refrain “E-I-E-I-O” is great for imitation of speech sounds. I have a few students who are in the babbling/imitation stage of learning language, and they love to sing along and practice different sounds.

Labeling: Students who are beginning to use words can label the different animals in the song or book. Farm animals are fun to label, especially when paired with their funny sounds. I sing the song, and pause when we get to the animal to let the student fill-in the animal themselves. If the student does not know the word yet, I point to it, label it, and then look at them to see if they will label it with me.

Answering questions: Students who are using longer word combinations can start to answer questions about the pictures in the book. Questions starting with “what,” “where,” or “who” are the easiest ones to start with. Talk about what is on each page, and ask questions starting with wh-words to engage more advanced students.

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Where is the turtle? Where is the pig? Who is in the truck? What does a cat say?

You can find Pete the Cat Old MacDonald Had a Farm at the Sno-Isle library, on BetterWorldBooks.com, or you can read it free on YouTube!

This month we have been talking about shapes in Teacher Norma’s classroom! Some students are at the level of exploring physical shapes with their hands, and other students have begun to label shapes verbally. There are many, many ways to play with shapes that can be done at home.

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The book we have been reading together in class is called Shape Capers. You can get it at the library, or on BetterWorldBooks.com. The book introduces shapes – circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, and semi-circles, and then uses the shapes to create fun pictures of different objects (a race car, a rocket, a dinosaur…). The students enjoyed touching each shape, and matching the shape they were holding to the picture in the book.

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I made puffy fabric shapes that velcro onto a display board, which we used as we read the book. Each student got a shape to hold and explore, and when their shape came up in the book, they added their shape to the board. It gave students a chance to learn new words, as well as listen for their shape to be called. And the students enjoyed the texture and squishability of the fabric shapes!

At home, playing with Play-Doh can be one way to learn more about shapes. You can download Play-Doh shape mats here, which you can use while playing with Play-Doh to create and reinforce different shapes.

Flash cards and sorting is another way to learn about shapes. Here is a shape activity with cards of objects that are naturally circles, triangles, squares, etc. Cut them out, and have students label the shapes they see, or sort them into groups based on shape. If your student is not able to label yet, then you can do it with them and model the words as you look at the cards.

Happy Holidays everyone! Stay safe and warm, and I’ll see you in January 2016!

 

 

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Spring break!March 30th, 2018
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