Dragons Love Tacos Activity Pack and Book Companion

DragonsLove TacosSpeechLanguageActivityPacket

This packet contains games and activities to support the book Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin.  The book is instantly engaging using humor and fun illustrations.

Dragons Love Tacos

I have been trying this out for the last two weeks with great success.  The kids love the story and are able to remember details.  Using puppets and the games/cards from the activity has been a great combination.

The Activity Pack, available on TeachersPayTeachers contains two levels.  Level 1 is  designed  primarily for kids with special needs. These are kids who are working on using longer sentences, who are learning spatial concepts and who are learning to answer “wh” questions. I made some of the materials in a large size to accommodate visual impairments and to facilitate focus (larger is easier ).  I also kept the graphics very clean and simple.

The vocabulary in Level 2 (for Kindergarten to 4th grade) includes card for definitions, synonyms, antonyms.  Just cut out these cards and use them during a simple board game. I just give the kids a taco card for each correct answer.

Level 1 also includes positional words (spatial concepts): These concepts can be really difficult to grasp. I made the images large (a full sheet). Concepts included are behind, in front, on (because it’s easy) and under. Hold up the card and say “Where is the taco?” If correct, give student a taco card to hold. Use the sheets to cue for Taco Bingo if needed. Bingo sheets are included. Sometimes bingo chips are too hard for the kids to grasp; try plastic water bottle tops or pompoms.

For both Level 1 and 2, there are  “Wh Questions”. I created some visuals to help with the “wh” questions. The picture sheet is for use in cuing and for kids that are less verbal. The “wh” question cards are for use with the students that are able to answer questions but are still working on knowing the difference between a “who” question and a “where” question.  Kids are given a taco card for a correct answer, they like seeing who can get the most tacos!

I hope you have as much fun with this as we have!

Using puppets to bring a story to life for students with special needs and low attention skills

Using puppets to bring a story to life for students with special needs and low attention skills

I am always on the lookout for great picture books that have a fun message, colorful illustrations , a little humor, and appeal to a large age range. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, is a book that delivers. It appeals to my K through 4 students and my special needs students. I am a big proponent of bringing more literacy and the gift of story to all children. (Click on book title for a link to Amazon.com)

I look for ways to make the story come alive for students that are working on very basic communication skills. Visuals, sound effects, and a crazy enthusiastic reader (me) are all strategies that work! I don’t read at them, I include them in the story by getting them excited. This year I have a couple of student that respond really well to puppets. So I decided to make some puppets and “props” to help support the story in Dragons Love Tacos.

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These sock puppets were sooo easy to make! I bought a really soft pair of socks from Target (the kids love the feel of these) and some felt sheets. It was really simple to make some wings and hot glue them to the socks. My husband helped me, and we made a stream of fire, and some fun little tacos for the dragons to eat.

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 When the puppets talk to the kids, the kids are sometimes more responsive. The puppet can ask them yes/no questions, “what’s your name?”, and ask them questions about the story. It’s just so much fun! I really encourage you to try it. Watch for my Dragons Love Tacos book companion COMING SOON!

dragon puppet in action

 

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Ipad Apps to Use in Therapy: Word SLaPs Vocabulary

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I don’t know about you but I am really excited about the release of the new Iphone 6. I am trying to decide if I want to order it, or wait to go buy it in the store. I love technology and the iPad is an incredible tool to use in speech and language therapy. I have been using the app called “Word SLaPps Vocabulary by Zorten Software, LLC” for a couple of years. It is amazing because you can customize it with your own photos and it has a voice recording feature. I have used it in a multitude of ways. Word SLaPps also comes with two preprogrammed categories, one for animals and one for colors. You have the option to choose the number of turns per game (5, 10 or 15). It is great for small group work.photo 1

 Basically, it is great for teaching receptive vocabulary. We have a little farm at our school (I know, lucky us). Part of my caseload includes three classrooms of students with special needs such as autism, Down Syndrome and cognitive impairments. Learning vocabulary across a multitude of settings and exposures is so important. So, I took pictures of our farm animals and used them for Word Slapps. You choose if you want 1 to 6 pictures to show on the screen. In this example, I chose 3. The three pictures show up and your voice says an animal name. The child touches one of the pictures. If correct, the photo spins and makes a fun noise that the kids like. If they choose the wrong photo, a black X covers it. Once the amount of turns you chose is completed, some animated kids jump up and down and say yay! I have also used this to help the kids learn their classmate’s names.photo 3photo 4

 

I have also used it for older kids to help them learn difficult vocabulary. Once you input the words (Go to settings, Edit/Add Content, Your Folders, Add category, then type in your word). You can then search for an image online. I let the students help me choose the image that most reflects the word for them. Then you can add audio. Again, I let the students record their voice. This is so great because it uses multimodalities and the kids are in on the creation of the game.

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For your convenience here is a link to more information https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/word-slapps-vocabulary/id413888079?mt=8 I have no affiliation to Word Slapps, I am just a fan.

The best part is the price, just $4.99. If you try it, let me know what you think!

Together We Are a Masterpiece Bulletin Board

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I found this cute bulletin board idea on Pinterest and used it for a great how-was-your-summer activity.

Materials:

  • White paper (I just used photocopy paper)
  • Pencils
  • Colored markers
  • Scissors

I traced most of the kids hands for them in pencil. Then, I told them to decorate their hand however they liked. I showed them the Pinterest picture that we were following.

During the activity, we just chatted. I was able to get an informal sample of how each student was doing with their goals in a casual conversational setting (usually this is very informative). We talked about their speech-language schedule for the year, reviewed goals, and reviewed the “rules of the classroom”. (I use the Whole Brain Teaching Rules. If you are not familiar with them here is a link http://www.wholebrainteaching.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=160:five-classroom-rules&Itemid=127And here is a link to the Free Download of the Posters I use from Mrs. Magee on Teachers Pay Teachers http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Whole-Brain-Teaching-Rules-Posters-FREE-292602

The older students cut out their finished hand, however, in the interest of time, I did it for the younger students. For my students with special needs, we used this as a following-directions and labeling colors activity. They loved it!

Have students put their name on one of the fingers of their hand so it will be visible in the finished product.

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I just used bulletin board paper for the background, the saying and the flower stem and leaves. I wrote the quote in freehand (sometimes my art background comes in handy). To create the flower, just start with the outer edges of it, I just visualized a big circle. You could do a light pencil outline if you need to. Then start stapling on the larger hands and spiral your way to the center. The kids love the finished product and are having fun finding their hands. Such a great message too!

Blog We Are Each Unique

Bridging the Gap Between School and Home

 

About my Day Cover

Imagine that you are a parent. Your little cutie pie comes home after being at school (and away from you) for seven hours. You want to know all about their day!

“How was your day sweetie?”

“Good.”

“What did you do?”

“Play.”

“What else?”

“That’s all.”

This is a normal conversation even for a typically developing child. But with prompting, he should be able to tell you the basic events of his day. On the other hand, a child with an expressive language impairment may lack the organizational structure and vocabulary to be able to recall the events of their day. The ability to remember and tell about the people, places and things he encountered is a foundational skill for the next step of sequencing. Recognizing the order of events is a vital skill for organizing thoughts.

After having many conversations with parents at IEP meetings or in the clinic waiting room, I wanted to make something tangible to help bridge this communication gap. My little client Suzy (not her real name), is six years old and couldn’t really tell her mom much about her day. Or if she did, she would repeat the same events every day saying things like “I went for recess” or “I played with my friends”. I put a worksheet together for her, talked to Suzy about it, and gave Suzy’s mom some ideas on how to give her some choices and prompts when Suzy says “I don’t know”. This was her homework for the week until I would see her again. We are now on our fifth week of homework. Suzy’s mom says Suzy requests it every night. Yay! We keep changing the three things and Suzy is learning some organizational thought processes and giving more details. The other great thing is that it is a multi-sensory experience with the colorful visuals (Suzy loves the colors and the kid graphics), she is touching the paper, she is writing, she is talking to her mom about it and she is talking to me about it. And she is practicing the skill in multiple environments for much more effective carryover.

About My Day

 The “About My Day” worksheets are available as a FREE download from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. (Scroll down for the link or www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/About-My-Day-Take-home-sheets-for-expressive-language-1432730 ). With colorful fun visuals and the “3 things” structure these worksheets are linked to Common Core standards and can also serve as writing prompts.

CommonCore

 If a student is in a special education classroom, it may be appropriate for an adult to fill it in or use pictures. I use a color sheet as the cover page and staple six b/w copies behind it. Included are two versions (girl graphic, boy grapic) and two blank sheets to use as masters. (Make sure you set your printer to landscape setting). Or if you want to use it with your iPad, open it in Ibooks or the PDF reader app, then make a screen shot and open it in Skitch. Use your finger or a stylus to write with.

I hope you enjoy these!

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