Monday, March 31, 2014

Our 'Clicking Camera' Sound

In the month of April we will be working on our 'Clicking Camera' sound, /k/!

Use the following ideas/worksheets to target our "k" sound this month:
  • in isolation practice in front of the mirror, open your mouth wide to say it in the "back!"  You can even trying lying on the floor, or on the grass outside and practice saying our "k" sound.
  • CV combinations (ko, ke, ki, ku, etc.) while playing with toys or games
  • these sheets for initial /k/ and final /k/ at the word level
  • then initial /k/ and final /k/ at the phrase level
All of our sheets for our clicking camera sound are from Heather's Speech Therapy. During drill work you can cue your child to remember and "do it in the back" for correct placement, as this is what we will be talking about during group.  But keep this minimal during daily routines.  /k/ can be a tricky one for some kids, especially because you can't see it produced as easily as other sounds (/f/, /m/, etc.).  If your little one starts getting frustrated, just back off and do some auditory bombardment during play.  This is when you say as many words with our sound in it as you can think of, in a short amount of time… for example, get those colored kittens out and call them "Kate" and "Carl."  They can go camping and have a cool time flying a kite and eating cookies.  Even though your child won't be producing the sound, they will be hearing it over and over, which is helping to train their ear, and in turn help with production of the sound later on.  Have fun with our "k" sound!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Little Mouse, The Red-Ripe Strawberry & The Big Hungry Bear

One of my favorite books for working on concepts and descriptive words is "The Little Mouse, The Red-Ripe Strawberry & The Big Hungry Bear."  

The Little Mouse, The Red-Ripe Strawberry & The Big Hungry Bear

For Large Group next week we will be reading this book and then acting it out with our very own felt strawberries:

Felt Strawberries

Everyone will get a strawberry and we will use this to act out the story as we read it the second time: 

First we will try to hide our strawberries, then we will disguise them just like in the book:

The future's so bright, even strawberries have to wear shades….

Last we will use our hands to cut our strawberries in half and then share one half with our neighbor:

Strawberry halves

Here is our learning card:

Because we will be focusing on descriptive terms, our weekly handout is on teaching adjectives or descriptive words.  It is from Speech and Language Kids.  

Friday, March 21, 2014


For any of you that know exactly what Minecraft is, it's probably no surprise that many of our students are very "interested" in this.  They come dressed in Minecraft shirts, talk about playing Minecraft at home, and ask me if I have Minecraft on my iPad (I don't).  I've explained this before, but the curriculum we use, HighScope, encourages lesson planning around children's interests.  Well because of this, I have been racking my brain for the last few weeks trying to figure out how I could pull that interest in and target a language concept related to the needs in our classes.  After asking students what we could do for our Minecraft large group--which ended up being a lot of talk about zombies, bows & arrows, and skeletons (not a lot of help)--I finally came up with a lesson plan that I am actually really excited about!  So here is our learning card:

We will be transitioning to large group with a fun game of keep the Minecraft mobs in the air…

'Sad' Skeleton & 'Happy' Pig

Then we will look at different Steve heads.  Each one has a different emotion, so we are going to name the emotion and think of times we felt the same way:

Steve Heads

'Happy' Steve

'Sad' Steve & 'Scared' Steve

'Mad' Steve & 'Surprised' Steve

After we talk about each Steve, we will each get to wear a head and dance to some Minecraft music:

Miss Melissa as 'surprised' Steve

If we have time, we will match our emotional Mob-balloons with a Steve head who is feeling the same way.  

'Scared' & 'Happy' Pig, 'Mad' Zombie, 'Sad' Creeper,
'Surprised' Chicken, 'Sad' Skeleton, & 'Mad' Ghost
So, if your child comes home telling you they played Minecraft at school, please know that there were no video games involved in the fun!  :)  Here is our weekly handout.  It is a great one about working on emotions. 

UPDATE 8/6/14:  As many of you may be coming here from Pediastaff's blog, I wanted to provide you with the faces for my Steve Heads. I know they included one for an actual box head, but I thought I would provide all the emotions I was able to find and how I did it.  They are nothing special, but fairly easy to throw together.  I literally just googled "happy/sad/mad steve head" etc. and found a few I liked.  Then I blew them up in Word so that it was only the head, printed them off, cut them out, glued them onto a paper bag that was cut to fit the children's heads, placed some construction paper in brown or black to go to the edges, and then cut out the eyes.  Sorry I don't have pictures of all of this, but like I said, it is pretty straight forward.  You can find the printables for the "happy" Steve Heads, but they are pretty complicated and you would have to have a box for all the kids. That's why I thought the paper bag would work just as well.  Honestly, they were great! I only have them in a Word doc right now, but I will convert them to pdf and post those soon.  Mad Steve Head, Sad Steve Head, Scared Steve Head, Surprised Steve Head, Happy Steve Head.  This is the other Sad Steve Head I used.  For the emotional Mob balloons, I used this site and just gave them different emotions.  Happy Minecrafting... 

World Down Syndrome Day

Today is World Down Syndrome Day!  You can read more about it here.  Or you can also read more about Down Syndrome in this post from October.   

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Next week for Large Group we will be having some fun with lions! Below is our learning card:

We will be doing lots of actions related to lions and other animals, as well as focusing on the negation term, "not." Our weekly handout is actually a fun activity you can do at home to work on action terms and counting.  It is from Investigate Prek.  If you don't have large dice at home just use a box and draw the circles on if you want to do the counting section. However, you can easily do it without that dice and just focus on the animal names, their actions, and verb+ing (jumping).  Have fun!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

International Day of Happiness

This year marks the 2nd annual International Day of Happiness on March 20th! Basically, it's a day where we are encouraged to pursue happiness in our lives and countries are encouraged to guide public policies to improve the well being and happiness of everyone. You can read more about it here or get a few ideas on how to spread happiness through The Happiness Challenge here.  What a fun day!  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Support Group

There will not be a regular group meeting this month for S.O.A.R., instead they will be having a social activity for the children. It is scheduled for Friday, March 21st @ 5:30 (45min class). This activity will be at Mountain Yoga, on Highland Drive (1300 E) and just north of 9400 S. The instructor, along with other professionals, have taken the time to modify this class so that children of all abilities can participate. Siblings and parents are also welcome to participate. They will need to cap this class at 15 participants, so those interested will have to RSVP to by Friday, March 14th.  Please include the number and ages of each participant.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How Does Your Engine Run?

Our schedule for Large Group is going to be a little crazy next week, but for good reasons.  Our preschool Occupational Therapist, Shanon, is going to come do a large group with me.  We will be talking about "How does your engine run" or helping the children with self-regulation.  Because of that, we will be doing both Miss Jeana and Miss Ange's Large group on Monday and then again on Thursday.  There will not be a learning card, but here is our weekly handout:

You can learn more about the Alert program here.  Also, because our Tuesday/Thursday students in Miss Ange's class missed out on our Preschool Ball Large Group, I will be doing that with them on Tuesday.  If you haven't had a chance to check out that post, you can find it here.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

This month is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and this year's theme is "Ability at Work."  Twenty-seven years ago, in 1987, President Ronald Reagan chose this month to encourage Americans to put away their stereotypes and provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to reach their fullest potential.  So this month especially, we are encouraged to recognize people with disabilities as valuable, contributing members of our communities.  As a way to participate and raise awareness, The Arc has planned for a National day out.  You can read more about it here.  They simply want to encourage people to go out and enjoy something fun on March 29th.

A few facts about Developmental Disabilities:
  • approximately 4.6 million Americans live with developmental disabilities
  • developmental disabilities are severe & long term 
  • can affect cognitive ability, physical functioning, or both
  • some may be purely physical (e.g. blindness from birth)
  • appear before age 22 & are likely to be life-long 
  • some developmental disabilities include: cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, & other neurological conditions
  • there are many causes, but a few include:
    • Genetic or chromosomal abnormalities (e.g. Down syndrome and Rett syndrome)
    • Prenatal exposure to substances (e.g. fetal alcohol syndrome)
    • Certain viral infections during pregnancy
    • Preterm birth

So this month, get active, and spread the word about Developmental Disabilities Month!

The Vacuum Sound

This month we will be working on our vacuum sound, the "v" sound.

Use the following ideas/worksheets to target our "v" sound this month:
  • in isolation practice in front of the mirror or with a computer video
  • CV combinations (vo, ve, vi, vu, etc.) while playing with toys or games
  • these sheets for initial /v/ and final /v/ at the word level
  • use the above sheets to focus on initial /v/  and final /v/ at the sentence level
All of our sheets for our vacuum sound are from Mommy Speech Therapy!  There is also a wonderful article on teaching /f/ and /v/ to your children, so if this is a sound we are working on at school, this article may help with practice at home.  During drill work you can cue your child to "bite your lip" for correct placement, as this is what we will be talking about during group.  But keep this minimal during daily routines.  Also, to talk about the difference between /f/ and /v/, we will be feeling our throats/vocal folds while producing each sound.  We will talk about how we "turn on" our voice for the /v/ sound.  When we turn on our voice, we should be able to feel the vibrations in our throat.  You can practice this at home as well.  Keep in mind, this sound may be a later developing sound for some of the students; /f/ is usually mastered by age 4, where /v/ is later, between 5 and 6 years of age.