Monday, November 16, 2015

Turkey Prepositions {A Forever Freebie!}

Happy Almost-Thanksgiving, Friends!

I don't say it enough, but I am so very thankful for you, and for a profession that allows me to interact with others all over the world!

If you're like me, you have students on your caseload working on prepositions! A few years back, I made these Turkey Preposition cards, and they have been a big hit! My students love using seasonal therapy materials to change thing up a bit, and I hope your's will too!

With this activity, your students can practice preposition flash cards, as well as practice putting the turkey places on their own!

You can download this FREEBIE in my TPT store HERE. (And if you do, I'd love it if you would leave some feedback love!)

Have a great week-before-Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Story Grammar Marker Cohesive Tie Jargon {A Product Review}

Hi Friends!

I'm about to check out of here and head to the ASHA Convention in Denver, CO! I can't wait to get there and see my #slpeeps!

But before I hit the road, I wanted to show you guys something that I've been using for several months now that I simply can't live without!

My love affair with Story Grammar Marker continues. Seriously, people. For my kiddos, it just works. And for me, it works because I have 50+ kids of all ages and abilities levels. And I use Story Grammar Marker with them all. Every. Last. One.

While I've done several posts in the past on how I introduce SGM and how I use it with my younger babies, this post is primarily about how I've been using it with my older kiddos. You can find several posts on SGM by searching "Story Grammar Marker" on my blog homepage.

Many of my older students are working on writing. More specifically, they are working on expanding sentence length and complexity throughout their written responses. A lot of my students have trouble with this. As 3rd-5th grades, their simple sentences make their writing below what is expected at their grade level. "This weekend I stayed at home. I watched tv. I played with my brother. It was fun."

We've been talking a lot about using conjunctions and "cohesive ties" to tie their sentences together to make them more complex. My friends at Mindwing Concepts have a product that fits these lessons perfectly: their SGM Cohesive Tie JARgon kit!

The kit comes with a Jar (pun intended!), 5 clothes pins, a silky clip-tie, and durable cohesive tie word cards. The easier word is on one side of the card (like 'but'), and the harder word is on the other side (like 'however').

I started off having my students tell me about what they did for Halloween using words that I specifically chose for them. As they said them, they clipped them on their tie.

After they got the hang of it (it didn't take long because it just "clicked" with the tangibles to play with!), we used them with the story book From Seed to Pumpkin. They sequenced the steps in the pumpkin life cycle and retold the sequence orally first with the words, and then I had them write it!

After we used the easier words with the sequence retell, I then showed them how they could "take it up a notch" with the more difficult words:

Overall, it has been a HUGE hit! I have been using the JARgon kit for several months now in many different ways, and the students ADORE it! It's easy to implement, and at only $19.95, it's easy on the poor teacher's pocket too! You can purchase the Cohesive Tie JARgon kit from Mindwind's Website by clicking HERE. 

Have you used this kit? What about other SGM products? I'd love to know what you're using and how!

And now I'm off to the airport! Hope to see you in Denver!

Makin Faces!

Hey Peeps!

I don't have to tell you guys again how much I love Story Grammar Marker, but if you're new to the blog, see my most popular blog post on how I do SGM HERE.

I tend to teach the story elements one at a time until they have mastered each one. For some of my kiddos who are just starting, we're working on character. Character is such a fun one to teach! I also teach an overview of emotions when I'm teaching Character, because they go together nicely. Then, I'll spend more in-depth time on emotions later on (how emotions change, differing perspectives, etc.)

Story Grammar Marker teaches that every character has "eyes, a face, and a head." Especially for younger kiddos, teaching characters, emotions, and facial expressions can be so fun! You can talk about what different emotions look like, and it's also a great opportunity to learn about different facial/body parts, their functions, and what they look like on different people/animals (for instance, a pig's snout looks different than a little girl's nose, but they have similar functions!)

There are TONS of fun ways to practice facial expressions, and I'm always looking for new ways! Fall is the PERFECT time to work on characters and facial expressions. Following are a few different things we've been using to practice:

Last year at Michaels, I found these awesome face stickers. You can use them on circles throughout the year for characters, or you can use them on pumpkins for Halloween. For some of my classes, we cut out pumpkins from orange paper. For other classes, I had them color the pumpkins and then put the stickers on. We talked about body parts, but we also talked about which stickers gave the pumpkins different feelings (i.e. happy, sad, mad). The students LOVED making their own pumpkin faces (and it was so much more simple and clean than carving pumpkins)

I often use the bunny and puppy dog parts for Braidy this time a year to teach about how characters can be just about anything, and how we often dress up as different things for Halloween. The students practice changing out Braidy's facial expressions to demonstrate different feelings, and then they practice making those faces themselves! We also read Five Little Pumpkins with some of my younger groups, and used the Braidy flash cards to talk about feelings as well.

I also happened upon these Melissa and Doug sticker sets a while back too. They work the same way as the pumpkin stickers do. I emphasized that it doesn't matter if a character is a person, a horse, a pig, or a rock...As long as they have eyes, a face, and a head, they can be a character.

Here are some of my Pre-K students in an Autism classroom working on their pumpkins. They did amazingly well!

Mr. Potato Head is awesome for working on body parts, facial expressions, characters, and feelings. I found a Halloween character set a few years back, and we've used the Goblin and Ghost (as well as a pirate, Santa Claus, etc.) to discuss different characters and costumes!

Having the students practice making different facial expressions in front of the class or in front of a mirror is also a great way to learn facial expressions, feelings, and how to read body language and facial expressions to know how someone is feeling. We practiced with me giving them a feeling to show, and then we practiced guessing how they feel by their facial expressions. Below are pictures of my little one, Halle Jane, doing the same thing!






Scared: (hahahaha this one always makes me laugh :) )

Finally, we used two songs from Super Simple Learning to reinforce our discussions about facial expressions and feelings:

Can You Make a Happy Face goes through several different facial expressions/feelings, including happy, angry, scared, and sad.

Five Little Pumpkins also goes through different facial expressions and feelings (smiling/happy, pouting/grumpy, yawning/sleepy, crying/sad, laughing/playing).

Super Simple Learning also has these great flash cards to go along with their 5 Little Pumpkins song. They can be downloaded *for free* from their website! (Click the link or the picture below)!

How do you work on characters and facial expressions/feelings? I'd love to hear!