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!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's Happening in My Classroom?

Well, it's Summer School time, which means a longer day for students in my class, but less kids. So, we have more time to give the students the attention they need and more time to do FUN stuff!!

The vocabulary theme (remember--one of the best ways to teach vocabulary is within vocabulary units to help them categorize new words they use as they put the words in their little "filing cabinets!") for the next few weeks is: Ocean Life!!

What's the best game to play with my preschoolers?

It's ABSeas!!

For starters, AB Seas is a fantastic way to help your little one learn the alphabet. As they go fishing, they catch sea creatures who have upper case letters written on them. They can say the name of the letter and then match it to their game board. Make it a bit more challenging and have your child match the upper case letter to the lower case letter.

And! There's a bonus!! The fishing poles are magnetic which lead to an awesome science experiment! My students had fun going around the room seeing what items the magnet stuck to (the chair leg! the white board! the filing cabinet!) as well as what it did not stick to (the cardboard box, the pocket chart, the water table). It was pretty fun watching them get so excited.

Now, how can AB Seas be used to teach speech and language skills?...
Vocabulary development: As they fish for letters, they will be encountering several sea creatures, including fish, sea horses, octopus and sharks. The box is also decorated with ocean items, like sea weed, coral, water, shells and bubbles. All of these are great for developing labels and descriptive language.

Basic concepts: While your child is playing, they are taking the sea creatures out and putting them on their game board.

Turn Taking: Often, students with speech ang language difficulties have problems with pragmatic language (that's the social use of language; how people interact with others). One key area of pragmatics is turn taking. A sneaky way to work on turn taking is through game playing--especially when you are super sneaky and only give the kids ONE fishing pole!! They need to know that each kid gets a turn and they can use phrases like "it's my turn," or "I want the fishing pole."

More pragmatic language!: Encourage your kids to ask each other "Do you have the letter B" to see if they can play together to find all of the letters.

My speech and language preschoolers are having a lot of fun with AB Seas! I hope you do, too! It's available here on my website!

Happy fishing!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Discovery Toys Review!

I absolutely *LOVE* hearing what folks who have attended a party or who have purchased items think of the products they have gotten!!
Teresa was kind enough to e-mail me this review, along with some photos (and even a great video of her son, J.J.!), to let me know how her whole family loves the Discovery Toys products.

Hey Marcy;

I just wanted to let you know, I love discovery toys!! My 6 month old J.J. is fascinated by his teething toy Super Yummy. He loves the different textures, and it's bold red color is eye catching to him. He actually will pick it up and turn it to whatever texture he prefers at that moment. Also, the Rainfall Rattle is his favorite. He is aware of cause and effect now, he knows if he throws it, it makes sound, and mommy or daddy pick it back up and give it to him again. The sound that the beads make going through the holes is fascinating to him. THANK YOU for turning me and my son on to Discovery Toys. I am a faithful follower now because I see how my infant son is in awe over these educational toys.


Teresa Saavedra

And, here is an adorable picture of J.J. with his Super Yummy and Rainfall Rattle!

Thanks, again, to Teresa for coming to the party and for sharing her experiences!

Happy playing,