I think we can all say as speech pathologists that planning engaging therapy lessons that cover a lot of goals, and provide meaningful practice can be HARD to do. What if I told you that you could use spring vocabulary to target a LOT of grammar skills and do it for the entire spring season!?
Using spring vocabulary to work on grammar concepts helps provide increased engagements with vocabulary (language-impaired kids need 36 engagements to learn a word), and it helps your students make connections with words that they hear during the spring weather season. In this blog post, I am going to share grammar ideas for your K-2 students, but some can be adapted for upper elementary students too!
Evidence-Based Practices for Grammar
Students with language disorders need to be explicitly taught grammar rules when learning to add new morphemes to a verb or noun. One study found that implicitly and explicitly teaching grammar rules showed significant improvements with the students learning the grammatical forms.
Implicit teaching – giving a lot of exposure of the morpheme without teaching the explanation or rule. So, reading a book to a student with a lot of emphasis on the morpheme is an example of implicitly teaching the grammar rule. During a play activity, the SLP/educator may model a verb tense while playing in hopes the student will begin to use that verb tense.
Explicit teaching – providing direct instruction about the grammar rules and how to use the rule in language.
Teaching Methods That Will Increase Your Student’s Expressive Grammar Skills
- Teaching the target directly
- Modeling the target with emphasis
- Prompting the child to use the target
- Conversation Recasting the child’s errors on the target – when the SLP models what the child said with the correct grammar and emphasizing the correct morpheme such as “I do like catsssss.” You can read more about this evidence-based practice on this BLOG POST.
- Providing feedback on the child’s productions
To read more about effective grammar intervention information, you can read my blog post, HERE.
Smith-Lock, K. M., Leitao, S., Lambert, L. & Nickels, L. (2013). Effective intervention for expressive grammar in children with specific language impairment. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 48(3), 265–282.
Easy Ways to Use Spring Vocabulary to Teach Grammar
With your students, you can work on comparing and contrasting spring-themed nouns. Not only will this help build depth of knowledge with the vocabulary words (i.e, discussing category groups, function, texture, size, shape, location, etc.), you can also work on transition words ‘because,’ ‘although,’ and conjunctions ‘and’ and ‘but.’
You can also work on noun-verb agreement such as “A water bottle has a lid, but a juice box has a seal to punch with a straw when you want to drink it.”
To work on singular and plural noun forms, you can practice when comparing/contrasting words such as hot dog/hamburger.
Hamburgers have a top and bottom bun. Hot dogs have one bun. Hamburgers have a round meat patty and hot dogs have a long stick of meat.
FREE Compare and Contrast Graphic Organizer
Do you need a visual way to show your students how to compare two nouns? Use this FREE compare and contrast graphic organizer to use with spring nouns.
Here are some good spring noun pairings:
- garden bag/picnic basket
- bug jar/bug container
If you need more spring compare/contrast cards, there are 18 noun pairings in my spring vocabulary and grammar activities set.
Grammar Drill Ideas for Plural Nouns and Third Person Singular
Use spring vocabulary to help your students learn the grammar for marking singular or plural. Make a list of spring items that you may see or use in the springtime. Then, have your students practice marking plurals such as hoses, birds, watering cans, trees, etc.
Another functional drill activity would be to practice third person singular using spring items. Often times, kids like to go bug hunting, so they can talk about what the boy/girl put in the bug jar. For example, you can practice, “He puts three ladybugs in the jar.”
For SLPs that love sensory bins or have a fun jar, use these plastic mini insects (Amazon affiliate link) to have students take turns putting some bugs in the jar. Then, the students can say, “Jeremiah puts a ladybug in the jar.” You can also work on answering “who” questions by asking “Who put in a ladybug?”
If you need spring task cards to work on these skills, they are in my spring grammar and vocabulary sets.
Using Spring Vocabulary to Build Grammatically Correct Sentences
One a piece of paper, you can make a word web with your students to talk about everything that reminds them of spring. After you generate a nice list, have them create grammatically correct sentences with the nouns and verbs. This is a great way to work on past/present verbs, adverbs, prepositional phrases while also working on other skills such as talking about noun-functions, where items are located, and what parts they have. I like having a spring vocabulary poster, so I can talk about everything spring related with my students. It makes the session easy to prep and I know I can cover a lot of goals.
Play Grammar Charades with Spring Vocabulary
You can also play charades with your spring vocabulary or spring verbs. This can provide some movement in your session and also allow meaningful practice of grammar targets!
Make a list of spring verbs or gather all your spring verb pictures. Put them in a hat and have students pick a verb. They can act out the verb. Once the group guesses the verb, you can have students practice making sentences with present, past, and future tenses.
More Games to Play with Spring Vocabulary
Other fun games you can practice is doing word associations such as with the word ‘blowing’ students can come up with spring vocabulary related to that verb. For example, you can see a kite blowing in the wind, or you can blow bubbles.
Kids also love the game Go Fish, so you can use spring vocabulary or spring verbs as your stimulus items. Another game I like to use is the Flashlight game where you turn off the lights and look for words on the wall. If you own magnetic wands, you can add paper clips to your vocabulary or verb cards, turn them over and have kids select a card. Put a hidden token under one of the cards. The person who finds the token wins! You can read about more magnetic wand ideas HERE.
How Do You Use Spring Vocabulary in Therapy?
I would love to know all the ways you are using spring vocabulary to work on grammar goals. Share your ideas in the comments! If you need more spring speech therapy ideas to use with your mixed groups, check out this replay Facebook LIVE video filled with ideas.