If you are trying to find engaging lessons for your students with mod-severe disabilities, I have a really fun winter activity that you can do in small groups or for your push-in lesson.
There are so many great snowman books to use with your students, so why not add in a simple paper plate snowman craft to build language!? All you need is a paper plate, a black hat, scarf, and carrot nose for this paper plate snowman craft.
Today, I am going to show you my lesson plan for using snowmen with your mod-severe students and how a simple paper plate snowman craft can create a lot of communication opportunities.
This lesson plan would work well with the Self-Contained classrooms k-4. Use your judgment if your 5-8 Self-Contained classrooms would enjoy this activity.
Pick Your Snowman Book
Most often when I do a whole class lesson, I start by reading a book. My biggest tip for you is that if your students struggle with attention, still include the book time, but shorten what you say on each page. If your friends can only handle one sentence per page, talk about the picture.
I like to model the phrase several times as I show the picture to the whole class.
Here is a list of my favorite snowmen books to use in therapy (Amazon Affiliate links included for your convenience):
Use a read aloud on YouTube if you don’t have a copy of the book you want. If you are going into the classroom and the teacher has a SMARTboard, this is an easy way to read the book. Here is an example with the book Sneezy the Snowman.
Whole-Class Lesson Plan for the Paper Plate Snowman Craft
After I read the snowman book, you can show your students this quick “How to Build a Snowman” video on YouTube, so your students can see what a real snowman looks like.
Then you can have them play “I Spy” with different Snowman Stock Photos. We went looking for items that can be used to decorate the snowman like this red shovel. If you need this Google Slide presentation, it is in my Snowman Push-In Language Lesson Plan Guides.
Show Your Students a Real Snowman
You can talk about the verb actions and vocabulary needed to make a snowman. This video also has different versions of snowmen, so you can talk about how they look by color and items they are wearing.
Target Spatial Basic Concepts with a Snowman Popsicle Puppet
As a class, use the snowman popsicle puppets to work on spatial basic concepts. Have your students also say, “Hi,” to the snowman to work on greetings.
You can make things fun by naming your snowman. I named mine Frank. So, the students said “hi” to Frank. Some of my students were very motivated by the snowman puppet.
For my friends that struggle with sitting, I let them hold the snowman puppet during the lesson if they remained seated. The classroom teacher used the snowman puppet to also lead the children to lunch because it was so motivating.
Need this activity for your small groups or whole class instruction? Just click the pink button to download for free.
Paper Plate Snowman Craft Activity for Your Mod-Severe Students
Then, break up your students into small groups. You can either pair students that work well together no matter the skill set or create groups that are leveled by language abilities.
The higher skilled students will be requesting, and sequencing the steps for how they made their craft. Encourage your students to discuss snowman by attributes after the craft is finished.
The other students will be making simple requests with their communication board or AAC device. If you need low-tech AAC books and boards, check out my starter kit HERE.
You can use the visual step-by-step directions for the craft on the Google Slide included in the free lesson plan download to help your students know what to do next. It can also help them with answering comprehension questions about the craft and with retell.
Grab your FREE lesson plan guide below by clicking the pink button.
More Winter-Themed Activities
If you need more winter-themed activities, this blog post has free and paid resources listed by target area for easy planning. What activities do you use with your mod-severe students? Share in the comments!
In real life, I am not a fan of spiders, or any creepy insects for that matter. If I see a spider crawl out of a cupboard or found in a dark corner in a bag in the garage, I literally freak out like someone is attacking me!
Can you relate? In our old house, our garage was known to have black widows, so if I saw one of those gnarly things, I went into a panic: hurry, kill it quick! Daddy long legs and small spiders don’t seem to bring on the panic, but when I hear people say that humans actually eat 8 spiders a year in their sleep, it kinda wants to make me gag. Who knows if that statistic is even true, but I don’t really want to think about it at the moment.
Anyways, the whole reason I bring up “spiders” is to tell you that it is a great theme to use in your speech therapy room. There are lots of great books, crafts, YouTube videos and activities you can use to work on speech and language skills. As long as they are fake, spiders are allowed in my therapy room. How about you? Today I am going to be sharing about spider activities for speech that can be your October theme–this is especially helpful if your school is not able to plan Halloween activities. If you need some Halloween ideas for therapy, check out some of my previous blog posts for therapy ideas:
There are some really great books with spiders as the main character that you can use in speech. Here are some of my favorites to use in therapy:
Aaarrggh Spider by Lydia Monk (affiliate link) is a great story about a spider that wants to be this family’s pet. It is great for answering comprehension questions and story retell. It also works on perspective taking and how the spider feels verses the family. The spider doesn’t understand why the family freaks out every time they see him.
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle (affiliate link) is a great book to work on sequencing and teach verbs such as “spin,” “ride,” “eat,” and “run.” This book is also great for teaching the animal category. You can use the pictures in the book to work on describing the animals by attributes and what they are doing or where they are located.
Spider Activities For Speech
Students can use spider webs while working on their speech and language targets.
You can do spider races to work on go/stop (CORE vocab), target the verb “blow”, and teach the basic concept “across”. Read this blog post for more pics and details.
For your students working on functional communication and language skills, use a Visual Recipe from Live Love Speech to make this adorable spider snack. I loved having the visuals to target wh-questions, and vocabulary. Then, while the kids eat their snack, we tried to get some natural conversation going.
Using Spider Crafts In Speech
Make a crawly spider in speech. Students can practice following directions while making this spider craft. You just cut out black circles for the head, get the spider face printable on this blog post (free printable), and then cut black strips of construction paper (affiliate link). The students fold the construction paper back and forth to make the legs. You can work on simple sequencing of how to make the craft, practice the basic concepts “on”, “before”, and “after” while doing the craft. After creating the craft, you can work on asking which pictures are near the spider’s head and far from the spider’s head.
Students can glue speech or language targets on the spider’s leg. Keep the spider crafts as decor or use them as the warm up for the next session. Send them home for additional practice. I used my Any Craft Companion Pack to have targets for the craft. If you are short on prep time, have students write their targets using white crayon or colored pencil.
If you have been following me on social media and my blog for a while, then you will know how much I LOVE Simon’s Cat videos on YouTube. The videos are like a movie comic strip that are non-verbal, so they are very versatile for speech and language therapy. Check out this blog post for more details about how I adapt these videos across grades and skills.
This past week I used these videos with my 4-6th grade students to work on a number of language skills: using the vocabulary word “predict,” perspective taking skills for the characters emotions, thought bubbles, sequencing the video with grammatically correct sentences, connecting words (first, next, last) as well as descriptive language.
Scishowkids makes a pretty good argument about why we shouldn’t be afraid of spiders. This is a great video to discuss main idea and details from a video. You can work on vocabulary tasks with the words “afraid,” “jump,” and “spin.”
Raise your hand if you love doing camping speech therapy activities!?
I do! I do!
Many children go camping during the summer months with their families and friends. As speech therapists, we have an opportunity to bring in themed therapy lessons that are relatable to student experiences. This process helps them use context to access vocabulary words and build skills with narration. In this case, camping is often filled with fun and adventure, so chances are high that this theme will keep your students engaged! Today, I want to inspire you with some camping speech therapy activities that are stress free and highly rewarding for your students! Pick a book a week for up to four weeks while targeting goals and focusing on the fun of camping!
Did you know…..?
One study found that children who come from low-income backgrounds showed improvements with learning new vocabulary when exposed to the words at least 12 times.* Students with language disorders needed at least 6 instructional exposures to the word per session over 6 sessions (36 exposures) to really learn the word. The study tried to do more higher levels of intensity with teaching vocabulary and found that the children didn’t make as many gains.
Based on this study, 36 exposures to vocabulary is a good place to aim when building vocabulary!
Camping Books For Speech Therapy
There are a lot of camping books for speech therapy that you can use to incorporate into your sessions (amazon affiliate links included for your convenience). This is a great way to teach themed camping vocabulary words with pictures!
Here are some of my favorite camping themed books for speech therapy:
Need more summer book recommendations? Head over to this blog post for more suggestions.
Structuring Your Lessons Around Books
When you first work with your student, read the book straight through without stopping for questions. You can point to things in the pictures, but do not ask your student to share his or her thoughts. After reading the story, you can plan a theme-based lesson using the targeted vocabulary from the books to reach your pre-set goals.
Another option for your first session is a book walk. This process includes encouraging students to make inferences about what they think the book will be about just by looking at the pictures. Look at the cover of the book and make inferences about what the book is going to be about. Talk about who might be the characters, where the story may take place and what time of year it could be happening.
Structuring The Next Two Sessions With Books
The second session, you can read the story to your speech therapy students and stop every once and a while for questions.
The third session you may be using the pictures from the story to work on oral narration, language comprehension or having a discussion about what they liked about the book. You can use the pictures in the book to target inferencing/prediction, perspective taking, adding on what might happen if the story continued, work on grammar structures, answering wh-questions about the story/picture, and using the vocabulary words in sentences.
Camping Speech Therapy Activities
Here are some camping speech therapy activities that you can do as extension activities to work on articulation, fluency, grammar, vocabulary, wh-questions, and social skills.
Pretend Play that you are camping. Act out roasting marshmallows, building a fire, reading a book in a tent (under the table–lol), going fishing, telling a campfire story, making hot dogs, etc. Here is a pretend play camping set by Melissa and Doug (amazon affiliate). Etsy has SOOOOO many cute felt camping play sets for camping.
Use the themed camping vocabulary to play “Who has the marshmallow?” or Simon Says Preposition Camping games to practice basic concepts and answering “who” questions while using the themed vocabulary.
Play a guessing game using camping vocabulary. I like to call the game Mystery Word Game. You or the student can give a clue and students have to make a guess what the item is. Then, another clue is given and so forth! If you want the FREE Mystery Word Game printable, you can access it HERE.
Talk about the expected and unexpected behaviors when you go camping. Work on what you need to pack for camping and what might happen if you didn’t bring that item! Role play social situations that might happen while camping, such as when your dad asks you to help set up the tent.
Make a google slide presentation that has real pictures from camping. Work on answering wh-questions, acting out camping actions such as “fishing, roasting, building, eating, sitting, hiking, etc.”. Put links to your favorite camping songs, or YouTube videos on how to make s’mores. I have a google slide presentation all set up in my camping push-in language lesson plan guides that have book recommendations, lesson plan cheat sheet, extension activities, YouTube links to movement breaks and read alouds, and a google slide!
Camping Speech Therapy Activities For Older Students
Watch a YouTube video or use how to make a s’more sequencing cards to work on sequencing steps of a process. Make real s’mores if you are up to doing that! You can target so many language skills.
Find reading passages, or YouTube videos about forest animals, How Wildfires Help by Scishow kids or anything related to camping such as How To Set Up A Tent. You can target main idea, vocabulary, grammar, answering wh-questions, sequencing, fluency enhancing techniques and articulation carryover with these topics. These are great “camping” topics for older students.
Camping Speech Therapy Craft Ideas
S’mores are the iconic sweet treat that a lot of families participate in making when they are camping. Why not make a s’mores craft in speech therapy!? You can work on following directions, sequencing the steps for the craft and cover a lot of goals in your mixed groups.
Make a camping lantern and talk about when/why you need a lantern when you are camping. Write or glue speech words, verbs, nouns to the lantern to cover students goals.
Crazy Speech World has a fun DIY camping fire craftivity that is easy to prep and can be adapted to a lot of different goals. To see more details about that craft, check out her blog post HERE.
What camping materials, books or lesson plan ideas do you like to use in your speech therapy sessions?
*Storkel, H.L., Voelmle, K., Fierro, V., Flake, K., Fleming, K.K., Romine, R.S. (2016) Interactive Book Reading to Accelerate Word Learning by Kindergarten Children With Specific Language Impairment: Identifying an Adequate Intensity and Variation in Treatment Response. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. Advance online publication. doi:10.1044/2016_LSHSS-16-0014.
I have found over the years that hands on projects and activities can be very motivating for students. Today, I wanted to share how you can do DIY holiday dioramas as a project for the month of December. My 3-5 grade Special Day Class teacher made DIY holiday dioramas with her students this month. Of course, I loved the idea of students creating DIY holiday dioramas and asked if I could be a part of the fun to work on vocabulary and language with her students.
This could be a fun small group language lesson that could last a week of therapy. Students can spend one session building their DIY holiday diorama and the next session could be describing and sharing about their diorama.
My SDC teacher put them in the hallway for display, so I have even brought other groups by to talk about what they see and work on seasonal vocabulary. It can be a great warm up before heading to the therapy room!
Decorative Items You Can Bring In For The DIY Holiday Dioramas
Before making a holiday diorama, you need to gather all the supplies. The SDC teacher asked kids to bring in anything related to the holidays that the students would want in their diarama. The classroom teacher also had to collect shoe boxes for each student. You can get most of these decorative pieces at the dollar store.
The classroom teacher also bought festive gift tags and then cut out the images and glued them on popsicle sticks. Other items you can get to add to the DIY dioramas: tinsel, ornaments to hang, printable winter items to glue to popsicles sticks or on the diorama, snowflake foam die cuts, mini pine cones, white felt/fabric for snow, cotton balls, festive scrap booking paper for the background, mini erasers, pipe cleaners and bows! Really anything that strikes your fancy.
The tinsel and some of the heavier pieces were glued onto the diorama using a hot glue gun that the teacher did. Everything else can be attached with regular glue.
Skills You Can Target With DIY Holiday Dioramas
While assembling the DIY holiday dioramas, students can work on sharing art supplies, initiating requests for needing a decoration from a student, sharing comments with peers about how their diorama is looking, describing the decorations by attributes and practicing using themed vocabulary in sentences such as “I think I want to put my big snowflake in the back of my diorama.” Students can also work on explaining where they want to put items using basic concept words.
After the students have assembled the DIY holiday dioramas, here are some skills you can target using the dioramas as the therapy material:
Articulation Carryover – The student has to explain what is in the different dioramas using his/her best speech productions for their targeted sounds.
Explain the main idea or theme of each person’s diorama.
Ask/answer questions from peers about their diorama.
Explain what the student put in their diorama with complete sentences, using adjectives, vocabulary, basic concepts and conjunctions.
Initiating communication by having the student take their diorama up to different peers, teachers or staff to have them check out their diorama.
Line up all the dioramas and ask who, what, and where questions about the dioramas.
Would you make these in therapy? How would you use these diy holiday dioramas in speech therapy? Have you ever used the hallway decor as a therapy material? I would love to know how you utilized what ya had to target student’s goals.
During the spring and summer seasons, making a FUNctional craft in speech therapy that can be used outside is a great way to keep your students engaged. Windsock craft for kids is just the craft for the busy SLP.
Windsock Craft For Kids
Once you have all the materials for the windsock craft, prep for this craft is pretty easy! Some of my groups I just made the craft during the session. For my groups with younger ages, I prepped parts of the craft, so we could get enough practice in during the session. I have used this craft with LOTS of different ages and all of them loved it, especially my kinder-second grade students.
Materials You Need To Make A Windsock Craft For Kids
Take the construction paper and attach together with tape, glue or a stapler (I used a stapler), so that it looks like a cylinder. You can have your students glue their speech or language stimulus cards to the paper first before attaching.
If you have paint daubers, students can put dots all over their construction paper every time they say their speech sound or language target. Then, after they are finished, they can put the craft together.
Punch holes at the top of the construction paper. Tie yarn or string in the holes. Cut the party streamers into strips. Then, have the students attach the party streamers with tape or glue (I went with tape, it was the less messy option).
Your windsock is complete and ready to use in speech therapy!
Ways To Adapt The Windsock Craft For Speech & Language
Just making the windsock craft is filled with LOTS of language opportunities. For example, your students working on initiation can make requests for the different craft parts. Students have to follow directions with basic concepts such as on, in, around. Furthermore, after student’s finish their windsock craft, you can have them explain the sequencing steps they took to create the craft. You can listen to articulation, grammar and work on adding adjectives while they are explaining the steps for making the craft.
Have students decorate their white paper with paint daubers. Every time they say their speech sound or language target, they can add a dot to their paper.
Students can glue their speech sounds or language targets onto the construction paper. After they finish the craft, they can practice their goals using the pictures on the windsock. I use my Any Craft Companion Pack to adapt this ONE craft for my whole caseload.
Take the windsock outside to teach vocabulary words. I taught my kids the following words as we explored using our windsock: high, low, around, twirl, flutter, fast, slow, and windy.
Have your students show different preposition words using your windsock such as near, far, under, above, below, around, on, in, and between.
Teach turn taking, waiting and thinking about others by only bringing out one windsock to play with. Students have to request a turn using their peer’s name, and wait their turn. You can have students do an action that another student requests the student do to work on thinking about other people.
Here is a video tutorial about how to make a windsock and a fun way to make a “fish” themed windsock. This version is really pretty!
Adapting The Windsock Craft For Your Older Students
Your older students can write a narrative about spring or summer on the white construction paper. You can give them a challenge by providing a list of themed vocabulary words or adjectives to use in their story.
Have your students write sentences on the construction paper. Your students working on grammar can write more complex sentences while your articulation students can write sentences with their target words (perfect mixed group activity right there).
Students can watch this youtube video about how a windsock works. They can share the main idea and details from the video. Pick target vocabulary to discuss from this video and then go test out a windsock outside!
Need More Craft Ideas For Speech Therapy
For those SLPs working during summer, here is a blog post I wrote last year on different summer themed crafts you can do in speech therapy. If you love doing crafts in speech therapy, then check out all of the craftivities I have in my TPT store. You can use one craft with your whole caseload!
Who else has to work next week!? For those of you SLP’s that have to set the alarm clock for the next week, I wanted to share some easy holiday activities for the busy SLP. They should actually be called holiday activities to help the SLP survive the last week of therapy before winter break. I thought the other title sounded a little more professional lol.
The key to getting through the week is to have FUN! This week therapy should be focusing on implementing goals in a natural way. Doing hands on activities in speech therapy builds schema and experiences to draw from when learning language. One important element to good speech therapy sessions is remembering to build meaningful relationships with our students.
Use this week to have FUN with your students.
So, put the data binder away this week and focus on the little people in front of you. I know it is hard to do this when you know you have paperwork to complete before winter break. Just remember that those holiday parties at the end of the week is the perfect time for you to close your door to finish your reports, IEP’s, medi-cal billing and updating therapy logs. Some of our students go home to environments that aren’t the most pleasant, so just remember that a little extra love from you may be just what they need to hold onto during winter break.
Easy Holiday Activities For The Busy SLP
Make a Christmas Countdown Chain! I used my Any Craft Companion Pack to have stimulus items for everyone on my caseload! I printed out the pages I needed, cut the pictures into strips and then let the kids finish cutting them out in the session. My articulation students now have words to practice every day before Christmas. My younger students working on basic concepts got LOTS of practice with the vocabulary words: on, over, and through while assembling. If you have students who are non-verbal/limited verbal, you can work on initiating requests, making comments and sharing feelings about project with my AAC Starter Kit CORE boards. I also included some amazon affiliate links for your shopping convenience.
This candy cane craft is in my TPT store for FREE! Print on red paper and one of the templates for an easy and FUNctional craft. This one is perfect for your 3rd-5th graders because it targets word associations, adjectives and antonyms.
Have you heard of the book Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini? It is a cute, fun holiday book to read this week! If you can’t get the book on amazon or your library, then you can use this youtube read a loud video too! Buy some brown pipe cleaners and plastic beads from the dollar store or craft store to make moosetaches. Each time your student says their speech sound 5x, they can string a bead on the moosetache as a Christmas light. If your students are working on describing items, they can get a bead for every attribute they can share about the noun. Naming items in category groups, creating sentences and sharing expected behaviors are more skills you can target!
The Gingerbread Man is a great theme for the month of December! After you have read the book and worked on story retell, describing and grammar concepts, you can play this fun game that I created! I was inspired by Busy Bee Speech’s instagram photo using paperclips with gingerbread man pics. All you need is a Card Deck, paperclips, and a magnetic wand. I printed up some gingerbread men and foxes on colored craft paper (print more of the gingerbread men then the foxes). You can download the gingerbread and fox printables by clicking the yellow button below. Click Here to get the Gingerbread Man Game Printables
Who doesn’t love holiday ugly sweaters!? I push into my K-2 SDC classroom for whole class instruction. My SDC K-2 teacher came up with this fun craft! We had the best time working on lots of skills. She had lots of stickers, pom poms, and extra art supplies and set them out on the floor using art trays. Here is a tutorial about how to make a vest out of a paper bag. During the craft activity, I was kneeling down next to a student asking them questions while they were decorating. Another student tried to squeeze behind me without initiating an “excuse me” or “can I get by?” This clever SLP decided to block the way every time the student had to get more decorations, so we could work on initiating “excuse me”. It was a great natural social communication exchange.
Have you seen the Elf movie? If you have watched my SLP Blogger Live segment on using Elf in speech, you will know that I LOVE this movie!! It is perfect for working on all sorts of language. Most importantly, it is THE BEST for working on social skills. Check out my blog post on how to use Elf in speech therapy.
Need more youtube videos this week? Have you tried using Christmas commercials in speech because they are packed with language skills to target? I like to let my student’s watch a little bit of the video and then pause it. We can discuss making inferencing about the time of the year, where the person is and what the person could be thinking/feeling. We can also make predictions about what might happen next by looking at the clues in the video. You can also work on summarizing the commercial and working on the main idea. Just so you know, you might start crying during some of them lol. These marketers really know how to pull at their customer’s heart strings.
Christmas Commercials Worth Using In Speech Therapy
Well, there you have it! No more fretting about “what will I do all week?” in speech therapy. The key to a great week is cozy coffee drinks, yummy lunches (so get some good stuff), an ugly Christmas sweater to sport and some festive music to listen to while doing paperwork!
Hope you have a great holiday. Make sure you include some “ME” time, so you can reflect on all the blessings of this year. I will keep those of you that are going through a difficult time in my prayers. Lamentations 3: 31-33 “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. Keep this close to your heart when you are feeling love. I also love reflecting on Philippians 4:8-9.
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