Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easter Activities

I have two Easter related activities that I’m doing this year.

1. Chicks and Snakes Game
I have a chicks and snakes game that I originally found in the games section on Speaking of Speech and was posted by Marilyn Morgan. Owing to my need to modify everything I found, I recreated the pictures from free online clip art and found some super-cute Snakes and Chicks.

The google doc is here:
 Chicks and Snakes Pictures
*make sure to laminate the chicks and snakes!

I love this game both for the fun and the simplicity. The student selects an egg. If they get a chick they get a point. If they get a snake they lose a point. I vary if the chicks are eaten or scared away based on the sense of humor/maturity level of the speech group. I’m always surprised at how many, and which students DELIGHT in the chicks getting eaten. They actually want to lose points just to say it gets eaten. There are several ways to keep track of points 1) mini white board/paper, 2) chicks back in eggs students hold on to eggs or 3) keep the chicks out of eggs. I suggest options 1 or 2 unless you really like putting things in little plastic eggs and have 10 minutes between sessions. With the exception of a few lower DCD and ASD kids, all of my students put the chicks back in the eggs immediately after initially opening it. I think I had kids leave the chicks out for the first three sessions I used the game in and fairly quickly realized the error of my ways.

This is a great game beyond a fun Easter Activity. It’s great for some lower language students as we see what is inside the eggs, take chicks out, put chicks back in, and take eggs out of the basket. It’s great high frequency practice. I love it for my /k/ and /g/ kids: chick, snake, egg, basket. It can also be used as turn taking activity, gives some fine motor skill practice, basic counting practice when totaling points . I knitted the bag that my eggs live in, since I was worried about the survival of an Easter Basket in the speech room, and for general portability since I was traveling more when I created the game. I recommend any thing with a drawstring for storage.  

2. Experimentally Microwaving PEEPs
This activity is very new for me this year. This is the first year I’ve had a microwave in the speech room so the whole concept of cooking with students is very new for me. The concept of cooking in speech however, is not new to my students. Their previous therapist did multiple cooking activities. I unfortunately do not have the time, money or any particular desire to do a cooking activity. However, after having spent the entire year fielding requests, demands and a substantial amount of whining, I can no longer put off the inevitable. I must cook or face general revolt. This is a non-cooking but cooking/food activity that I can relate to multiple language goals and focus on listening to articulation sounds in conversation.

While not the biggest fan of eating Easter PEEPs (I will, but typically don’t seek them out), I am endlessly fascinated by the little marshmallow chickens. Through internet research I have confirmed my suspicions – I am not alone.  There is one site in particular that has done many horrible, yet fun things to the little, squishy dears. While both fascinating, and occasionally confusing, none of my internet research was fruitful in providing a ready made PEEPs-related speech therapy activity. So I had to make one.

Lesson Plans (in Google Docs), For older kids: PEEPs Worksheet or in Poster Format for younger kids\
EDIT: Grab the updated experiment pages for the Peeps activity for free in my TPT store! 
2 PEEPs/student Mini-paper plates
A few spoons for”poking” (optional)
Microwave and access to a sink!

The Plan: Each student is going to be given two PEEPs for comparison purposes. One “normal,” or control PEEP and one to microwave
My activity is divided into 5 stages:
1. Describing the Control PEEP
2. Making Predictions
3. Microwave the PEEPs 10-15 seconds seems to do it, depending on your microwave Make sure the kids can see as the PEEPs deflate pretty quickly when you take them out
4. Comparing the PEEPs
5. Eating the PEEPs - Self Explanatory

EDIT:  The more I'm doing the PEEPs activity, the happier I am to have a camera, and easy access to a sink!  I also have been doing this with grades 1-6.  For my older students I'm using more classroom, science related vocabulary such as experiment, hypothesis, control ect.  I used this for a push-lesson for an entire (small) ELL classroom and it was fun in a bigger group than a traditional speech group size.

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