Friday, July 31, 2009

Fun ocean activity!

Here is great activity that we used in my classroom to accompany playing AB Seas during our Ocean vocabulary's A Blue Fishy Drink!

Here's what you'll need: a pitcher (see-through is best!), a spoon, blue powdered drink mix (maybe Kool Aid®), sugar, gummy fish candy and cups.
Since this is a great sequencing activity for students with speech-language delays, having sequencing pictures are very useful. You can do line drawings, cut out pictures or even use photographs. This is an example of what we used in my classroom, made with Microsoft Paint:The sequence is: Pour in the mix, pour in the sugar, pour in the water, put in the fish, stir and watch the fish swim, put it in a cup and drink.

The speech and language targets in this activity included:
sequencing-- we cut up the above pictures and reviewed them first a couple of times. Then, as we made our fishy drink, at each step, we had the kids pick the picture that came next. We were also teaching them the temporal concepts of first, next, then and last.

vocabulary--our vocabulary theme was ocean, so we talked a lot about water and fish. We also taught the action words of pour, put, stir, swim and drink.

turn taking--talking and conversation involve verbal turn taking, like a tennis match. Turn taking is also a basic skill preschoolers need to learn. So, when it came time to stir the fishy drink, the kids were guided to turn to their friend and say "it's my turn."

sentence expansion--my 3- and 4-year olds are typically still communicating using gestures, single words or very short sentences. My job is to get them to use longer sentences. So, as we were making the fishy drink, the students were encouraged to "use your words." We also do this through modeling and expanding-- in our own talking, we use the sentences we expect them to use (for example "I am stirring" or "The water is blue"). Then, when they say something using single words, we help them expand it into a complete sentence (for example, if they say "more," we model "I want more. Yes! You said 'I want more'").

articulation--I'm kind of sneaky with my articulation* therapy! (*articulation= how we form our speech sounds). Most of my students are leaving off sounds or changing sounds around, so we need to give them lots and lots of chances to say the words correctly. I chose to focus on the /f/ for Fish, and /s/ for STir. So, as we made our fishy drink, we over emphasized these sounds and encouraged the students to make these sounds. I also like to *show* the kids how to make the sounds by pointing to my mouth to make it obvious how the sound is made.

We also focused on pre-academic skills. (I love working in a preschool setting--we can work on so many things!). These included
counting--we counted the fish as we put them in

colors--we talked about the colors of the fish as we put them it. It also turned out to be a cool science activity as the clear water turned blue when it hit the powder. Magic!!

The students had a lot of fun with this hands-on activity! And, I was happy because there were so many things I could focus on in just one cool activity.
Leave a comment below to let me know if you've tried it!!

Happy swimming!!

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