Today I want to share how to use Bubble Talk in speech therapy with your upper elementary and middle school students. When I saw this game at Target, I had to have it. I think you will want it too! The format of the game is similar to Apples to Apples. You place a photo card in the middle of the table and each player finds a “talk caption” that they think would best represent the people or animals in the photo and puts it face down in a pile.
The judge shuffles the cards and then reads the talk bubbles out loud for the group. Next, the judge picks the “talk bubble” that they think goes best with the photo and that person gets a point. This ends the round and then you get a new photo. Everyone can be the judge, but I was the judge in the speech room to avoid too much conflict.
There are pictures on both sides of the cards, so there are plenty of cards to make this game last for a while.
Here is how I use this game in therapy:
Each round is really quick, so it is a great reinforcer for fluency and articulation goals in between production practice.
I used my visual attribute strip and had my vocabulary students describe something in the photo. Above is a picture of a baby in a drawer. The student had to describe the dresser by attributes.
My higher functioning social thinkers really liked this game and I got a lot of spontaneous eye contact, comments and initiation without prompting or asking. This is also a great way to incorporate humor.
Most of these photos require people to use context clues to determine what is happening. These photos are great for working making smart guesses, inferencing and predictions.
Use these photos to have students create sentences using conjunctions, noun-verb agreement, and verb tense.
Let the students bring in photos from home to use with the game. Before using the picture, the student has to retell who, what, where, when, and why about the photo. This targets personal narration and language organization.
Talking about what is expected vs. unexpected about the photo and what the person may be feeling or thinking can be incorporated. There is a photo of a man dressed as “super man” trimming the hedges in his yard. We talked about how this might make people have uncomfortable thoughts about us.
You could also target think vs. say as well as let the kids make their own talk bubble cards for fun.
Things to consider with this game:
There are two giant stacks of talking bubble cards, which is awesome, but you need to filter through the cards to make sure they are school appropriate. I found a card “That’s what she said”. I don’t want any uncomfortable moments with my middle school boys (enough said).
I would also filter through the photos to make sure they would be appropriate. Most are, but you just never know.
This game is best used with kids who are exhibiting higher social thinking skills and cognition. There are a lot of underlying skills required to understand and enjoy this game. My 4th-5th general ed students loved it as well as my middle school students, so don’t be afraid to try this with upper elementary students.
You can also snag this game on amazon (amazon affiliate link provided). Since I have such awesome followers, I wanted to give this game away for FREE to one lucky person. Enter below!
I am planning a lesson with my social skills group to talk about the Hidden Social Rules of Halloween and trick or treating. We are also going to be talking about what is expected and unexpected behaviors when you go trick or treating.
Do you watch the show Parenthood on TV? I am a fan of the show and I especially love watching Max with his social quirks. Here is a great clip (it’s not the best quality) of him going trick or treating from You Tube. His parents prepped him the whole week on what was expected, so that he could participate with all the kids. Max even picks up on some of the hidden social rules in the clip!
I made a couple of quick worksheets that we are going to use in my session that I thought I would share! It is easy to forget how an event like Halloween can be a very difficult social experience especially for our children’s parents who just want to have a fun evening free from melt downs and awkward social exchanges. I hope reviewing this with my kids will help them have a great experience this Halloween! Grab these worksheets HERE!
I grew up playing softball and watching my younger brother play baseball, so even though I don’t stay up with baseball during the regular season, I usually tune in when the playoff games begin. Back in April, I had a post with some great ideas for activities to use that incorporate baseball since the season starts in the Spring. You can check out that post HERE. In April, I got inspired to create a baseball idioms pack and a Problem solving & prospective taking with a baseball theme, but never shared them with you all!!
I have lesson plans included to show students about the game of baseball and reviewing vocabulary used in the game. There are sheets to talk about the “hidden social rules” for going to a baseball game along with 12 problem solving cards and 12 perspective taking cards.
You can use my 3 Strikes You’re Out Card Game with these cards. There is also a blank set of cards to make your own scenarios.
I also made an idiom activity with all expressions from baseball! Idioms such as “hit a home run” or “we need to touch base” are included in the pack. There are 12 idiom pairs that you can use as a memory game.
There is a worksheet for your students to create an idiom journal of all the new idioms they learn. You can take the journal home as review or have them write a story trying to use some of the idioms from their journal. I also included a story written by ME that has many of the idioms, so that your students can work on using context clues to figure out the idiom meanings. What team are you hoping to win the World Series? I hope you find these packs useful during this month of baseball madness!!
Last week, I spent my mornings dabbling in some whistle blowing action as I put on the hat of “activities director” for my church’s summer Kid’s Camp. My family decided to move to a smaller church last year when our pastor wanted to start his own church. It has been the best decision for our family and we love the intimacy of a small church. We had a western theme, so I had to come up with some great activities to compliment the wild, wild west. I called my retired PE teacher mom for help and she came through BIG TIME! She has so much cool equipment that brainstorming for this camp was a breeze and it got the wheels in my head turning for how these activities could also be implemented in the SPEECH room. I am big believer that meaningful experiences spark MORE communication because when a kid is excited about an activity they want to do it again, are eager to learn or follow the rules and then want to tell everybody about it!
First up, is a game I like to call “Steal the Wagon Wheel”. It is a spin off of the classic Tug-of-War game and the kids loved it! I set up two cones and placed the “wagon” in the middle. I split the kids into teams and they each had to line up at their cone. When I blew my whistle, each team races to the wheel trying to get the wheel to their cone first. I had a rule that you could only use one arm and no elbow holding of the wheel. Whichever team gets the wheel to their cone first is the winners.
I thought this game could be used as an activity for students who stutter. You can play this game for fun and let the kids experience the physical resistance that occurs when two forces are pulling something in different directions. After the activity, you can gather as a group and ask them how did their bodies feel when they were pulling the wagon? Was it easy or difficult? Did they feel like giving up during the game? Why or why not? Then, you can talk about situations when they feel like it is “difficult” to communicate or times when they feel like their “stuttering” makes it difficult for them to talk. How do they handle the situation when they stutter? Do they keep trying or give up on the conversation? You can also ask “how did it make you feel having a partner helping you pull the wagon?” Then, have a discussion about who they feel safe with talking to about their stuttering or which friends really support them. This game can simply be a reinforcement for finishing their work in therapy as well!!
Next up, is my horsin’ around relay race in which I made the kids put on a cowboy hat, shirt and boots and then ride a stick horse around a cone and back to the line, in which the next team member had to put on all the western attire before heading around their teams cone. The first team finished with the relay won the game! This game teaches students to follow directions, and practice WAITING their turn, which can be a challenge for many students on the autism spectrum.
This could be a game to work on team work and how to talk to your team when playing a game. After the game, as a group we could talk about the impressions everyone was making by their actions, body language, and words. You can also make your articulation students say a sentence with all their speech sounds before getting to put on the cowboy attire.
I would love to hear of any “out of the box” therapy ideas that you use with your students. Check back later for more creative therapy ideas for your preschool and kindergarten aged students!
Right before the holiday break in December, I wanted to incorporate a fun, hands on activity with my older students working on social skills before we left for vacation. I brought in a cookie decorating activity and the kids loved it! We did a thinking of you valentine’s day social skill lesson to work about thinking about others before ourselves.
Since Valentine’s day is just a couple of days a way, I thought I would pass this lesson onto my speech peeps in case you needed something with a Valentine’s Day theme for your lessons.
Valentine’ Day Social Skills Activity
I wanted to decorate cookies with my kids, but needed to tie it in with “social skills”. So, instead of having the kids decorate their OWN cookies, they would have to “think about someone else” and decorate a cookie for a friend. This would help with teaching “thinking about others” and that people have different preferences.
How To Set Up The Social Skills Lesson
I brought in different shaped cookies, 2 types of frosting and many different toppings. The students paired up with each other and then had to ask their partner what they wanted on the cookie. When they asked their partners what they wanted, they had to work on eye contact, body space, body and facial expression and making comments to show the person they were listening to their friend’s cookie order. Some of my students were working on asking follow up questions, so they had to ask “where do you want me to put the m’m’s?” or “Would you like a lot of sprinkles or a little amount of sprinkles?” We also targeted a little bonus lesson about manners in that you have to wait till everyone is served before diving into your scrumptious treat! All in all, the kids were very motivated to participate and it helped me measure if they were generalizing any of the social skills we were working on into a more natural setting. It was also very helpful for me to see what steps or parts of the social communication exchange was missing. What are you all doing in your therapy groups for Valentine’s Day?