Plant Life Cycle Activities for Language Therapy

Plant Life Cycle Activities for Language Therapy

During the spring and summer months an easy theme you can use to cover goals for your younger and older students is the plant life cycle.

When I was working with K-8 students, I would try and think of themes or activities that could be adapted for both age groups because it made easier for me to plan and not feel like my brain was constantly shifting gears when it came to teaching content.

Today, I am going to share resources and activities you can do to teach language using the plant life cycle. 

Planting Sensory Bin for Younger Students

Plant life cycle can be taught using a flower garden sensory bin in speech therapy

Our younger students learn best from exploring and what better way to work on a plant life cycle then with a planting sensory bin.

All you need is a sensory bin filler (i.e., black beans, or real dirt), fake flowers from the Dollar Store or flower Toobs, a shovel, mini watering can, and mini pots for planting the flowers. If you need more spring sensory bin ideas, you can check out this blog HERE.

For SLPs that LOVE sensory bins and enjoy doing a flower theme, you can use this flower sensory bin companion to cover all your goals during play therapy. 


Books that Teach the Plant Life Cycle

Another great way to discuss the plant life cycle is through books. This can be a great resource to help work on wh-questions, describing, and building vocabulary in the context of the book. Here are some book recommendations that would help you teach the plant life cycle (Amazon Affiliate links include):

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

Plant the Tiny Seed by Greenwillow Books

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons

The Amazing Life Cycle of Plants by Kay Barnham 

Videos to Teach Plant Life Cycle’s and Vocabulary

There are a lot of great videos that walk through the plant life cycle for children. What can be great about using videos is that it can visually show students the process. When kids can see it in a video, they will be more likely to stay engaged.

Scishowkids has a great video for discussing the parts of a flower, which has some great tier II vocabulary words to work on such as support, stiff, study, separate, nutrients, collect, healthy, or spread.

You can also have students work on explaining the process for how a seed becomes a plant. Particularly, you can give your students transition words to use to help connect their ideas while explaining the plant life cycle. 

Here are a couple of songs to use with younger students to explain the plant life cycle. If you search “plant life cycle songs” on YouTube, you will find more options!

Plant Life Cycle YouTube Videos to use with older students in speech therapy.

Even More YouTube Videos for Discussing the Plant Life Cycle

Fun Science Demos on YouTube has some good videos that visually show where you can find seeds on a plant. I don’t know about you, but I love watching videos with real people using real-life examples. It helps me to understand the content a lot more thoroughly. You can use these videos to discuss main idea and details as well as answering wh-questions. You could also practice using conjunctions and transition words while summarizing the video. 

YouTube Videos About Plants for Older Students

Plant life cycle activities and resources to help teach language skills in speech therapy

Ted-Ed has a lot of great videos that discuss cool science about how plants grow. These videos more friendly for the older student and you won’t get accused for bringing in kiddie materials. In addition, using plant videos aligns with the science standards for life sciences. Here are a couple of videos I thought middle schoolers would like.

Curriculum to Teach Plant Life Cycle in Language Therapy

Have you ever heard of Mystery Science? It has easy to follow videos that answer a question about a science mystery. Often times, the videos also come with a hands on science experiment. What I love the most about Mystery Science is that it even has videos for each of the steps for completing the project, so it helps our students with receptive language challenges follow directions easier. This could be a great resource for using in your small groups to work on tier II vocabulary, syntax, wh-questions, working together in a group, and summarizing. Furthermore, this could be your next collaborative co-teaching activity for a general education classroom. I am sure you could offer to help with a science lesson in your student’s class and co-teach with the student’s teacher. If you are wondering how to co-teach, here is a blog post breaking down collaborative services.

Mystery Science has two great plant series that can last you up to 2 months of therapy. There is the Power of Flowers series that has four lessons and Plant Adaptations that includes five lessons.

Plant Life Cycle Craft Ideas

Use a fun craft to teach the plant life cycle to help students stay engaged while they learn.

Students really do love making crafts. It can be a great way for them to process the information you are sharing with them. When I do choose to do a craft, I want it to be functional for their goals and the concepts that we are doing. You could do this plant life cycle unit for 2-3 weeks and on the last week, allow your students to craft a flower life cycle craft. If you have a lot of mixed groups, there are templates for different sounds and language targets, so everything is working on their goals.

I also saw a fun craft using two paper plates. You can draw the plant life cycle on one plate and then cut a triangle out of the other plate. Attach the two plates with mini brass paper fasteners. Your students can rotate the plate to share the steps of the plant life cycle.

What Activities and Resources Do You Use for Teaching the Plant Life Cycle?

What resources, crafts, books, or activities do you use to teach the plant life cycle? Share in the comments because I am always on the hunt for more relevant resources.

Using spring vocabulary to teach grammar

Using spring vocabulary to teach grammar

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.

Tips for how to use spring vocabulary to target grammar skills in speech therapy

Teaching Methods That Will Increase Your Student’s Expressive Grammar Skills

How to use spring vocabulary to teach grammar concepts in speech therapy
  • 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

Use spring vocabulary to teach transition words while comparing and contrasting nouns

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
  • rake/shovel
  • bird/kite
  • 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.


Use spring vocabulary to teach grammar skills in speech therapy sessions

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.

Tips for how to use spring vocabulary to target grammar skills in speech therapy
Tips for how to use spring vocabulary to target grammar skills in speech therapy

Using Spring Vocabulary to Build Grammatically Correct Sentences

Use spring vocabulary in grammatically correct sentences to work on using verbs in functional 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.

In the Tall, Tall Grass Teletherapy Activity

In the Tall, Tall Grass Teletherapy Activity

The easiest way to run a virtual teletherapy session or class meet-up has been when using a Google Slide presentation. It is just like a PowerPoint. You can add in YouTube videos, images, and visual supports your students may need during the lesson.

You can screen share your Google Slide presentation while running the lesson. Click pink button below to grab your free In the Tall, Tall Grass teletherapy activity Google Slides and have everything ready to go!

As a group, we did our morning greetings, sang an insect brain break song, and then read the book, In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming (Amazon affiliate link.)

I read the book aloud and showed the students the pictures while the other teacher removed the things hidden in the tall, tall grass on the Google Slide.

Then, we played the game, “What’s in the tall, tall grass?” using the virtual grass backgrounds.

In the Tall, Tall Grass teletherapy activity to engage your students in speech therapy with tips for how to change out your virtual backgrounds.

Use Insect Toys To Work on Language

You could also use real toy bugs that you already own and have them land on your head. Just use the ‘STOP VIDEO’ feature to put a new insect on your head. Then, start the video again for the kids to name the insect or give them a CORE word such as “look” to use during the activity. 

How to Change your Virtual Background in Zoom

In the Tall, Tall Grass teletherapy activity with free Google Slides lesson plans

Doesn’t this look super engaging for your students? I would love to know how it goes, so please tag me on social media. Have other fun virtual backgrounds that you use? Let me know! I always need more tools for my speech therapy toolbox. With remote learning, I need all the digital ideas I can get my hands on. 

Insect Sensory Bin Ideas

If you are wanting to do more insect themes for your therapy, click the images below to see how you can make these insect sensory bins! 

If you like to plan your therapy around themes and enjoy doing an insect/bug theme, then you will love the K-2 language activities in my Insect Push-In Language Lesson Plan Guides. You can use the parent newsletter and Google Slide presentations during remote learning and then have lessons ready for when in-person therapy happens again. 

For your older students, you can work on learning about insects with these non-fiction task cards. Students can make an insect book to work on tier II vocabulary, main idea, describing, and explaining details. 

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