Tomorrow is the last day of school before we go on Spring Break, and both my students and I are ready. Weeks going into and coming out of break are always the hardest on all of us–trying to get things done before everyone enjoys some much needed time off. So, how do I engage my students who just want to play? Play with them of course! Yes, that’s right; for all the paperwork, assessing, and teaching I do, sometimes I just want to play. Getting older is inevitable, but no one said I had to grow up!
Act It Out–a perspective taking and language activity.
I love this and came up with it in graduate school. My students on the spectrum love it even more. It’s how we identify feelings and understand the perspectives of others. This week, I’ll be using the Pigeon books by Mo Willhems and Laurie Berkner’s song. “We Are the Dinosaurs.” First, we read or listen to the material and talk about the character traits and actions we heard or saw and I write them down on a white board. I also use pictures to help solidify concepts. We all talk about our respective favorite parts, causing us to engage in a conversation also adhere to the rules of conversation, or in some cases, just learn about the rules of conversation. Once everyone has had their say, it’s time to play! Each child gets a turn to act out their favorite part of the book or song, adn the other students get to guess which part it is Once it’s guessed correctly everyone gets to act out said part together, then a student is chosen (either by the first student to act out or myself) to act out their favorite part. This continues until everyone has had a turn. That’s right–I fit turn taking in there too! The last round of Act It Out allows for the students to act something out from ANYTHING they like–movies, TV shows, books. This is their reward. It really helps my students understand the emotions of a character in a book, and for my more advanced students, helps generalization of understanding the feelings of others while building their knowledge of story elements and vocabulary.
Articulation friends, I didn’t forget about you either. We’re working on joke books!
Each student gets a file folder, where they get to write down their favorite jokes containing their speech sounds. These can be jokes they know or jokes they make up. As they write them, each student has to practice their jokes with the other students in speech. I intervene to provide specific instruction on how to correctly produce targets. This allows for many trials and practice opportunities for the kids. Meanwhile, the kids think it’s just a “play day” in speech. And we all get to be creative. We all win.
Between now and my next post, I will be in New York City taking in more theatre and will post about that next Wednesday. Can’t wait to share with you! Have a great week!
Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP