Category "Preschool Activities"

14Aug2017

School SLPs by the nature of our job often have to be a jack of all trades. One day you may be working with high school fluency students and the next day you may be working with non-verbal three year olds! I have worked with preschool through middle school in my 12 years as a school SLP and I feel like prepping for preschoolers is by far the hardest! In my first year as a school SLP, I was thrown into working with preschool students with severe autism with relatively little experience with kids that young and no materials! It was awful and so stressful for my first few years until I started to figure out what worked through trial and error.

Here are my top 5 tips for surviving your first year as a preschool speech-language pathologist.

  1. Use What You Have: Don’t feel like you have to run out and buy a million toys. While preschool SLPs do have it tougher in that printing out worksheets often is just not going to cut it with maintaining attention with little guys, that doesn’t mean you need to spend a ton of money. One good option if you have preschool classes on campus is to borrow toys and manipulatives from the classes. Most preschool teachers I have worked with have been incredibly willing to share toys with me once they know I can be trusted to protect and return toys intact. Another great resource is garage sales. I still have and use many of the toys that I first bought on a shoestring budget as a beginning SLP from garage stales. I love big church or neighborhood garage sales to get some great toys and games without having to travel all over town.
  2. Use Repetition to Your Advantage: One of my biggest mistakes in my first years as a preschool SLP was thinking I should be bringing in new activities each week for my groups. I killed myself trying to figure out new engaging activities each week because I was afraid teachers would think I was lazy bringing in the same things a few weeks in a row. Not only was that a silly thing to worry about but it turns out that preschoolers actually need tons of repetition to really learn and grasp concepts. Sometimes it has taken hearing a song or seeing an activity dozens of dozens of times before some of my little guys suddenly start showing progress and then we celebrate like crazy! Most books I read in my preschool groups I read at least 2 weeks in a row, sometimes 3 or 4! If you run preschool circle time groups, stick to the same routine each week (i.e., opening song, read a book, do an activity related to book, closing song) and just switch up the books or songs you do every few weeks with a seasonal theme or other type of theme. I use a book from my Interactive What Do You See Books Bundle each month so that I don’t have to think at all when it’s a new month, I just grab that month’s theme book and go! This will save you tons of stress and brain power from trying to think of novel activities each week!
  3. Music, Music, Music: Using music in my preschool groups is truly the savior of my sanity. There is something magical about using music to really grab preschoolers interest and help them learn language concepts. I have a post about the Top 10 Songs for Preschool Speech and Language Development that is a good starting point for songs to use in preschool speech.
  4. Be Interactive: Forget the worksheeets with the 3 to 5 year old set. Whether I am working with a group of preschoolers with autism and low language skills or a group of preschoolers with articulation days you will never see me without interactive activities. For my preschool articulation groups I don’t do many crafts but we are constantly coloring, dot painting, and glueing artic words to keep their little busy bodies in their seats. Interactive Adapted Books are a staple with my in class groups because they are so engaging and versatile. Even students who are just starting to show emerging communication skills can be engaged with matching pictures when using interactive or adapted books.
  5. Have Fun: You will make a ton of mistakes your first year as a preschool SLP, it’s inevitable. Preschoolers are unpredictable, have short attention spans, limitless energy, and are still figuring out all about this crazy world. This will likely lead to many speech sessions that leave you feeling like you have no idea what you are doing! But I truly love working with preschoolers because they can show incredible progress and are often so much fun! I feel so lucky to be able to “play” everyday as part of my job. So while some days working with preschoolers may leave you exhausted and frustrated, remember to relax and enjoy your time with the little ones!

If you are looking for some ready to go activities to get a jump on your preschool caseload I have put together what I consider my Preschool SLP Survival Kit. I hope it will help preschool SLPs feel prepared and ready for the fun of preschool speech therapy!

Preschool Survival Kit Cover Large

29May2016

 

I am a huge proponent of using music with preschoolers during speech therapy. I run weekly circle time speech groups in my preschool classrooms and I have seen how music can increase engagement and help children with many different speech and language skills. Some of the goals that I work on through music are verbal imitation, gross motor imitation, following directions, prepositions, body parts, vocabulary, and more! Here are my top 10 songs for preschool speech therapy with links whenever possible!

  1. Clap Your Hands by Wee Sing: My absolute top pick for getting gross motor imitation and shared attention, also great for working on the concept of fast and slow
  2. What are You Wearing? by Hap Palmer: I use this song as my “circle opener” every week to cue my students in that speech circle time is starting. It is a grew song for learning clothing vocabulary and working on gross motor imitation as well as “what” questions.
  3. One Little Finger by Super Simple Songs: All the Super Simple Songs music is fantastic for language skills but this particular song is one of my favorites. It is great for learning body parts, following directions, and learning to point. The youtube video is great too and has helped some of my students learn to isolate their pointer finger.
  4. Can An Elephant Jump? by ELF Learning: This super fun song is great for lots of goals! Learning action words, yes/no questions, gross motor imitation and more! Kids think it is super funny and I never get sick of it!
  5. Octopus by Charlotte Diamond: Cute song is great for gross motor imitation, verbal imitation (kids can’t resist saying Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!), and gestures (I always do a big “Oh no!” with my hands on my cheeks)
  6. Animal Boogie by Barefoot Books: This is actually a book with accompanying CD but it’s something I always keep in my circle time bag. It gets requested frequently by my students and it is great for working on action words, gross motor imitation, and commenting (I always ask student’s what animal they liked best while we look at the last page that shows all the animals.
  7. We All Go Traveling By by Barefoot Books: Another book with CD by Barefoot Books! This is definitely my most requested book/song by my preschoolers. I love it because I pair a gross motor action with each of the vehicles (stomping for the rumbly truck, etc) and it gets lots of gross motor and verbal imitation from my students. It also grabs the attention of many kids who are tough to engage!
  8. The Body Rock by Greg and Steve: There are several good songs on the Kids in Motion CD by Greg and Steve (Freeze Dance is another favorite) but The Body Rock gets the most play with my kids. It is great for learning body parts and getting gross motor imitation.
  9. Spider on the Floor by Raffi: Pair this song with some cheap dollar store spiders and you have a winner for teaching body parts and following directions.
  10. Puppy, Puppy, Puppy by Kids Express Train: My favorite song on the Imitation Station CD. I have a cheap set of puppies from Oriental Trading Company that I use with this song. It is great for action words, following directions, and getting kids to imitate “woof”!

I hope you find this list helpful for adding in some great songs for working on preschool speech and language skills!

2Mar2016

March really snuck up on me but luckily I have a great stash of spring-themed activities to use with my preschoolers! I do both a whole group language lesson (circle time) and small group centers language lessons with my preschoolers with autism. Here are my lesson plans for 4 weeks of spring-themed preschool group speech activities! They include books and activities from my TPT store, commercially available books, and FREEBIES!

Week 1:Butterfly Butterfly Cover Small

Circle Time Preschool Group Speech

Interactive Book: Butterfly, Butterfly What Do You See? Interactive Book – interactive book in the style of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” – targets spring vocabulary, picture matching, answering questions

Song: Eensy Weensy Spider from Super Simple Learning

Small Group Centers

Interactive Cut and Glue Book: Butterfly, Butterfly What Do You See? Interactive Book : students create their own black and white version of the book we read during circle time

Interactive Sentence Flips Bugs and Birds: interactive activity for practicing prepositions (in, on, and under), answering “where” questions, and sentence expansion

Week 2:Bunnys Basket Title Page Small

Circle Time Preschool Group Speech

Interactive Book: What’s in Bunny’s Basket Interactive Book – interactive book that targets answering “what” questions related to spring vocabulary and simple inferencing

Commenting Board: What is your favorite spring thing? (included in the What’s in Bunny’s Basket Interactive Book pack) – practices answering questions, asking questions, and making comments

Song: Eensy Weensy Spider from Super Simple Learning

Small Group Centers

Interactive Cut and Glue Book: What’s in Bunny’s Basket Cut and Glue Book (black and white version of the book we read during circle time

Free Spring Categories Cut Color and Glue Pages: freebie for sorting items into categories!

Week 3Bunny Bath Title Page small

Circle Time Preschool Group Speech

Interactive Book: Freebie! Bunny Needs a Bath Interactive Book – targets answering questions, labeling colors, and lengthening utterances

Commenting Board: What Color is Your Favorite? (from Communication Boards – Visuals for Commenting, Questions, and Increased Language)

Song – The Way the Bunny Hops by The Kiboomers

Small Group Centers

Interactive Sentence Flips Bugs and Birds: interactive activity for practicing prepositions (in, on, and under), answering “where” questions, and sentence expansion

FREE Spring Prepositions Cut and Glue Book: extra practice for prepositions that student’s can take home

Week 4

Circle Time Preschool Group Speech

Book – “Bear Wants More” by Karma Wilson – fun book with the repetitive line “Bear wants more” which is great for practicing imitation and eliciting “more” by signing or using AAC devices

Song – The Way the Bunny Hops by The Kiboomers

Small Group Centers

FREE Spring Sequencing Cut and Glue Worksheets – choose from 3, 4, or 5 step sequences based on the skill level of the student

Spring Sequencing

Those are my spring preschool group speech therapy lesson plans! I hope you find them useful! Happy Spring!

23Feb2016

I use interactive books almost everyday with my preschoolers so I am constantly making and putting together new ones! I use two styles of interactive books with my students. One style has the interactive picture symbols along the bottom of the page like the book below. The other style has the pictures along the right side of the book. This how to focuses on how to assemble a book in the style with the pictures along the bottom of the page.Where Questions Vehicle Book Actual Picture smallMaterials needed: printer, laminate, adhesive velcro, scissors, book rings or binding coils

Step 1: Print out all the pages of the book. Cut along the dotted lines near the bottom of the pages. Cut out the picture symbols. Do NOT cut the page that has blank squares along the bottom.

Do Not CutStep 2: Laminate all pages. Place rough-sided velcro on the picture symbols and soft-sided velcro on the blank squares throughout the book.

2013-12-09 08.31.35Step 3: Decide whether you would like to assemble the book with book rings or with binding spines. If you are using book rings, either use a two-hole punch or a hole puncher to punch two holes in the upper 2/3rds of the book. Then use book rings to assemble the book. The full-size page with the blank squares along the bottom is the last page of the book.

2013-12-09 08.41.14Step 4: Place the picture symbols on the blank squares on the last page of the book. Your book is ready to go! Have fun reading it and seeing how engaged your students can be with interactive pieces!

2013-12-09 08.46.54

I have interactive books that cover dozens of themes and language concepts! To see all the interactive book sets available click here!

Communication Window Books