December is the month that I always pull out the Gingerbread Man book. It is a great theme for December because it is holiday neutral, but still has that festive feel. Today, I wanted to show you some ways you can do a Gingerbread Man perspective taking activity. I am going to provide three ways you can implement this idea, so you don’t have the materials, you can do the next best option.
In this gingerbread man perspective taking activity, the focus of the lesson is to work on “thinking about others”. Before the lesson or in a lesson prior to this one, you can start working on the vocabulary terms “thinking about my ideas” versus “thinking about others ideas”. You can talk about situations when you need to think about other people’s ideas.
Setting Up For The Gingerbread Man Perspective Taking Activity
I also brought in different colored frosting and types of decorations for the gingerbread man cookies. For my students working on language skills, they got to work on describing by attributes and answering wh-questions from peers. My social skill students worked on thinking about others, but also had opportunities to work on waiting, requesting, turn taking, initiating, and responding with comments.
When I do this lesson, I usually push into the classroom and bring enough supplies for every student in the class. I did this with my K-2 and 3-5 special day classrooms. We partnered up each student and I have the teacher and instructional aids in the classroom help as I present the lesson. One student will be the creator and the other student is telling their partner what to create. If your students struggle with initiation or knowing the social language to ask, you can make visual conversational scripts to help them access the words during the lesson.
How to Organize & Maximize Social Skill Opportunities During The Lesson
For each step of the lesson, I have the student creating the cookie ask his/her partner a question. We first started with, “what size gingerbread man do you want?”. The partner would answer the question, and then the student would go to the designated cookie decorating station to request the cookie and a plate. Then, the student would come back and ask the partner what colored frosting the student wanted. We waited for each partner group to be finished before moving on to asking a new question. Once the first student decorated the cookie for his/her partner, the roles reverse.
We went through each step of making a cookie for someone else. Some of my friends had to learn how to be flexible when the person did not want the colored frosting or decorations that they wanted. It was a natural moment for us to talk about thinking about others and being flexible. You can also have students ask clarifying questions such as “do you want more frosting?” or “is this where you wanted the button?”
At the end of the lesson when everyone’s cookie was decorated, we also had students show their peers or teachers in the class their cookie. Students described each other’s cookies and we also talked about the steps that were needed to decorate the cookie. Before eating the cookie, the students had to say “thank you” to their partner for decorating their cookie. SO.MUCH.LANGUAGE, right!?
Gingerbread Man Perspective Taking With A Craft
If you don’t feel like baking gingerbread man cookies, you can do this same activity using a paper gingerbread man and creating a craft! Simply, print a blank gingerbread man template on brown construction paper or cardstock, grab art supply decorations (i.e. poms poms, glitter, wiggly eyes, sequences, paper cut out like frosting lines, etc) and glue.
Do the same set up as listed above, just use the craft items to have students make selections.
Gingerbread Man Perspective Taking With Playdoh Mats
Don’t want to make a mess with glue, glitter and scraps of paper? Then, do it Play-Doh style! You can buy Play-Doh for this activity on Amazon (Amazon affiliate link included for your convenience), which is my most favorite and time effective way, LOL, or you can make Play-Doh with this easy recipe HERE. Mommy SLP tip….I make the homemade Play-Doh with my own children as a fun bonding time and then take it to school for my speech therapy sessions. Of course, I make extra so my own children can have fun with homemade Play-Doh too.
Print out a blank gingerbread man template in color and then follow the same lesson plan outlined above, but use Play-Doh instead. You can have them add buttons, eyes, clothes, hair, frosting decoration and more.
Gingerbread Man Perspective Taking With Apps
You can even adapt this perspective taking activity to use with your iPad because there are gingerbread man creation apps. If you are a traveling SLP, or so swamped with paperwork that you don’t have time to prep any of the other versions above, this is for you! Here is one that is free, but it has ads on it.
Do you remember playing with Mr. Potato Head as a kid? It was one of those toys that kept me busy for hours. Mr. Potato Head is a great toy to invest in for your speech therapy room. If you work with the prek-2nd grade crowd, this is for sure a crowd pleaser!
Why you should get a Mr. Potato Head For Speech Therapy
I love finding toys, games and resources that I can re-use over and over again in therapy. If I can think of MANY ways to use a toy in therapy, it is a winner in my book. So often, SLPs have mixed groups and need to adapt activities to incorporate articulation, fluency, social skills and language goals. It is truly an art to manage all that! Mr. & Mrs. Potato head allow students to explore, manipulate things with their hands, be creative and practice pretend play skills. When you have all those ingredients, a child’s willingness to communicate increases a TON!
1. For my students working on turn taking and collaborative play, I give the box filled with body parts to one student and the potato to the other student. One student has to initiate with the peer to get the items that he/she would like to add to the potato head. We work on making comments after a friend asks for an item.
This activity can teach the expected social rules, turn taking, taking in the group, following your peer’s plan vs. your own plan and so much more!
2. Work on body parts! This is a early developing category group that children should learn. Have the students request the item that they want for their potato head. You can work on the noun-function for each body part, where you can find certain clothing items and where clothing items belong on the potato’s body.
3. Target descriptive language with teaching adjectives. Describing items by color is an easy way to build adjectives and MLU! For example, you can have the students say “Mr. Potato Head has blue shoes.”
4. Work on “who” questions with Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head. First, have your therapy group request and work with their peers to build the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads. Then, find items in your therapy room to use with the potato heads. I used these fun trinkets from Dinky Doodads to use with this activity. Then, I asked my students “who” questions. For example, I laid out three items between both of the potato heads. I then asked “Who has a donut?” This was a great way to work on the beginning stages of understanding what “who” is asking.
5. Build grammatically correct sentences with noun-verb agreement. For my students with limited MLU’s or grammar errors, I used Mr. Potato Head to work on parts of speech, especially noun-verb agreement.
6. Practice articulation with carrier phrases and sentences. Grab a set of pictures with your student’s sound and have them make sentences with silly Mr. Potato Head sentences. I use sound words from my Any Craft Companion Set. You can do Mr. Potato Head ate ______, Mr. Potato Head sat on a ______ or Mr. Potato Head watched a/an __________.
7. For my students working on basic concepts and following directions, I use Mr. Potato Head a couple of ways. I will hide the body parts around the room. The students have to ask for clues using basic concepts to figure out where I put them. Is there a piece under the table, behind the box, near the door, etc.? I will also work on first, next, last and before and after with my students. Before you put on the pink ears, put on the orange nose. It is a great way to also collect data during the session!
Need more ideas for Mr. Potato Head
If you want some more therapy ideas, I found a blog post from Speech Room News that you can read about HERE! Speech For Kids has a great post too that you can read HERE! How do you like to use Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head in speech therapy? Share in the comments below.
Social skills therapy can be overwhelming at times. There are many components to having a successful social interaction, which makes it difficult to know where to start in speech therapy. It is also hard to find resources that break down complex social skills into smaller, more visual parts. This is why I love using social skills videos in pragmatic therapy. It gives me a starting point and helps me guide my lessons. I was so excited when I discovered Everyday Speech’s Social Skills videos!
What is Everyday Speech
Everyday Speech is a website that provides social skills materials for SLPs, special education teachers and other learning professionals. The website’s main focus is building a library of social skills videos that can be used to teach the students specific social skills. They add new social skills videos every month. By next year, Everyday Speech is aiming to have over 100 social skills videos to use in your speech rooms and classrooms (amazing)!
How I discovered Everyday Speech
If you have been following me for some time now, you know I LOVE Youtube! I love finding videos that I can incorporate into my therapy sessions. The kids love technology, I love when my students are engaged, and it makes for some serious low prep, effective therapy sessions. Everyday Speech has a youtube channel featuring some of their videos. I tried them out with my social skill groups and they were a hit!
Why I love using these social skills videos
They are short! Each video is about 2 minutes long, so I can visually show my students the social skill and still have time to practice/role play the skill after the video ends.
The videos have real people acting out the social skills. They get to see what the expected behaviors/actions/words are necessary for the skill.
Video modeling is an effective evidence based therapy approach for students on the Autism. I love how visual the videos are for my students. Plus, they are written by an SLP, so I know they are legit!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the thought bubbles in the video. It helps show what people are thinking during an interaction, which has helped my students understand another person’s perspective.
Planning therapy has become so much easier for me when using these video. There are a lot of videos to chose from in the database, so I can use different videos each week in therapy.
There are worksheets that go along with the videos, which have great discussion questions and can also be given as homework for home carryover.
Everyday Speech has videos that are in game form. There is a BINGO game, Guess what happens next, Act it out, problem solving and two sides. These videos are longer in length and the speech therapist can use them for the entire session. I am using these videos for my push in social skill lessons. The kids have to work in teams and it keeps the students engaged while learning about social skills.
The video topics are relevant to what students are required to know in the school environment such as spreading rumors, being fair on the playground, accepting rejection from a peer, and following directions the first time are just some of the videos you can use!
How do I gain access to these social skill videos?
You can go to the Everyday Speech website to order a monthly or yearly subscription. A monthly subscription is $7.99 a month or a yearly subscription of $79.99. Next year, the monthly and yearly rates are increasing to $9.99/month and $99.99/year, so now is the time to join! Whatever initial price you paid when you joined Everyday Speech, that is the price you will pay each year, so the price increases won’t affect you after you initially join.
Everyday Speech also allows a 30 day free trial for you to use all the social skills videos before you commit!
Interested in getting sharing this with your employer? Everyday Speech has purchase order forms HERE that you can have your school district or employer fill out to buy this subscription for you.
Special Offer For My Followers
Everyday Speech has generously offered a promo code for 50 of my followers! If you sign up for the monthly subscription, you can get the subscription 50% off for the first six months. The first 30 days is completely free, then 50% off for 6 month months ($7.99 -> $3.99). If you sign up in May, that will get you to December for only $24! Plus, it locks you in to the $7.99/month price after that.
Click this link HERE to sign up and make sure “DABBLING” is in the code at checkout.
What do you think of this resource for your social skills therapy? Do you see this helping you with lesson planning and teaching social skills?
Have you ever tried using the dubsmash app in speech therapy? It’s FREE and super entertaining. I wanted to share how I used the dubsmash app in speech therapy with my middle school students. I also prepared a little DUBSMASH video for your viewing pleasure, scroll down to the bottom of this post!
If you haven’t heard of dubsmash, You can download the app HERE! Dubsmash is an app that allows people to lip sync and video themselves performing a TV show, movie or music clip. It’s pretty entertaining and my family has enjoyed playing around with it.
Last year, when I worked with middle school students, I used it with my life skills students. Big Disclaimer here: Make sure you have previewed and chosen which soundbites you want to use. When I was experimenting at home with the app, I would sometimes click on a dub that looked “kid friendly” and was met with flavorful language to say the least.
I used the app mostly to engage my students who were working on functional social language and as reinforcement for participating in the group. This is what I discovered with trying out this app! I saw smiles emerge from my middle school students when I showed it to them. Initiating and commenting increased without me “teacher” prompting them to talk. I built trust and a relationship with my students using this app.
Here are a few other ways I thought you could use this app in therapy:
You can work on identifying emotions based on the tone of voice of the soundbite.
Work on facial expressions when the students create their dub.
Students can use their AAC devices to request, make comments, and engage how they feel about the dubsmash.
Expressing why you liked a dubsmash clip with a conjunction such as “I really liked this dubsmash because…….”
Practice turn taking and waiting. Also, working on sharing positive comments even if you don’t like the person’s dubsmash.
Give your students a social situation and then they have to chose which dubsmash would fit how the person could be feel or thinking during the social situation.
And last, but not least, use the dubsmash in speech therapy to send to your SLP colleagues and SPED team. You can send dubsmash videos via facebook messenger and text messages! Dubsmash is all about bringing the joy to communication and I dig it!!
So, if you have been following me for a while, you know that I like to have FUN! I invited, I mean coerced, I mean black mailed all my speech therapy blogger buddies to help me make a Dubsmash compilation. Check it out!! We had so much fun.
How would you use the dubsmash app in speech therapy?
Have you ever seen those photo thought bubbles app on your iphone? This photo thought bubbles app to work on perspective taking is easy to implement! I love working on perspective taking with my students with social skill deficits.
The best way to teach students perspective taking is using visuals to show what my brain is thinking! Photo thought bubbles app to work on perspective taking is perfect for that on-the-go therapist that doesn’t always have time to prep therapy! You can use it from your phone and make thought bubbles with people from your student’s environment!! Cool, right!? This is a great activity to target identifying emotions and non-verbal cues as well as work on what could be in their thought bubble. You can add in text or leave it blank, so the students can come up with their own answers.
You can also write in thoughts that don’t match the non-verbal cues and students have to identify if the thought matches the non-verbal cues! The best part of this about this app is that it is only .99 cents! You can download this app HERE!. Have you used photo thought bubbles app to work on perspective taking? I would love to know what you think! What other fun apps have you found for teaching perspective taking ? I would love to add some more to my stash!
I use the vocabulary terms expected and unexpected behaviors from Social Thinking to identify behaviors students are exhibited in different social situations. Expected and unexpected behaviors allows me to acknowledge and praise my students when they are being “expected” for the situation as well as directly let them know when they are being unexpected without lecturing them for 2 minutes about why something is not okay to do.
Last year at the middle school, I primarily used expected vs. unexpected terms with my social emotional students as well as my students with social skill deficits. They learned the terms very quickly; however, when I would verbally point out their behavior (both good and not so good), I got two responses. I either received defensive comments and student denial about the action/words/tone of the behavior or continued behavior in which I was verbally monitoring their behavior throughout the entire session.
As I would further explain how my students behavior was making me feel, I was met with resistance, rude overtures and sometimes escalated behaviors. Most people don’t like to be told they are being unexpected! The struggle with our students with social skill deficits is that they do not naturally pick up on social cues to adjust their behavior independently. SOMEONE has to call them out, so they can learn to survive in the world. Most jobs rely heavily on being able to successfully interactive with other people and if you fail at that, it doesn’t matter if you are an amazing at your job because people remember how they feel rather than the actual job that was performed.
I decided that I would implement a visual monitoring system, so that I could take informal data about the percentage of time the student was exhibiting expected behavior, provide a visual cue (so, I could reduce verbal cues aka lectures), and use as an incentive to point out successes with expected behaviors. Download my easy template HERE or just click on the photo above. I just glued to construction paper and laminated, so I could use a dry erase marker with it.
During the session, I let the student know that I will be visually tracking their behavior. If they have more unexpected behaviors than expected, they do not earn their incentive (for my higher students, I did 5 stars = hot cheetos, jolly rancher, ipad time, game, etc). As I see behaviors, I mark expected or unexpected. If they are being unexpected, I mark unexpected and ignore undesirably comments/behaviors. I quickly try to mark expected to show the student that I am notice both good and bad behaviors.
With one student in particular, every time I tried to explain that his comments were sounding very rude, I would get a big argument about how he was not doing A,B, or C. I got the okay from parents to address his behaviors with the terms kind words/tone vs. rude words/tone. This student would either use rude words or he would say something in a very rude tone for very minimal things such as “I don’t want to play a game” or “I will not seat over there.” I did the exact same system and did not verbally engage the student when I marked rude comments. He quickly figured out that he had to adjust his behavior to kind because he really didn’t like seeing marks on the rude side. This worked for most of my students, but some students may escalate in behavior if they see the “negative” side, so that is something to consider when using this.
How do you work on self monitoring skills? I would love to add more tools in my toolbox!
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