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All About Spiders: October Mini Unit

I love October! Although it's still 89 degrees in Texas, I am official celebrating all things fall. From pumpkin spice lattes to visiting pumpkin patches, I LOVE FALL! This month I wanted to bring you activities that are an easy alternative topic to Halloween and engaging for all of your students. As always, all the activities in this post are FREE!

Anchor Chart: Who says anchor charts needs to be on rectangular poster paper? Creating an anchor chart with your students allows them to take ownership of their learning and provides a visual reference that they can use throughout the unit. As the students read about spiders, they can add the "spider facts" as the legs.


Reading Comprehension Passage with Vocabulary Cards: Prior to reading the passage, review the vocabulary words with your students. A "teacher copy" is also included for the reading passage to compare comprehension accuracy at the beginning and end of the unit/month. Looking for more passages similar to this one? Click Here.


Spider Description: This is a fun activity to encourage your students to use descriptive words to
describe a spider.


"Where is the Spider?" Prepositional Activity Book: Instruct students to draw a spider (or use spider erasers from the Target Dollar Spot) based of the location prompted on each page. I laminated these pages so that students could use a dry erase marker and I could reuse it for multiple sessions.


Articulation Spider Craft: Students can make a list of their target words and them complete the spider craft. 
Materials- black construction paper, glue and scissors 



Books: 

Insect or Spider: How do you know? by Melissa Stewart
The Life Cycle of a Spider by Bobbi Kalman
Spiders! (Time for Kids Science Scoops) by Editors of Time for Kids
Be Nice to Spiders by Margaret Bloy Graham
Spinning Spiders by Melvin Berger
Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott
Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin
Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks
National Geographic Readers: Spiders by Laura Marsh
Are You a Spider? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Videos:



This entire unit is available for FREE! Just leave your name and email and I will send it directly to your inbox! More free activities coming next month. 

amanda

All About Apples: September Mini Unit

Pumpkins, leaves and APPLES! Fall is around the corner and to kick off my favorite season, I am launching a new monthly series packed with free resources and therapy ideas. For September, the theme is "apples!"

Anchor Chart: Creating an anchor chart with your students allows them to take ownership of their learning and provides a visual reference that they can use throughout the unit.


Reading Comprehension Passage with Vocabulary Cards: Prior to reading the passage, review the vocabulary words with your students. A "teacher copy" is also included for the reading passage to compare comprehension accuracy at the beginning and end of the unit/month. Looking for more passages similar to this one? Click Here.


Apple Description: This is a fun activity to encourage your students to use all of their senses when describing (if applicable).


"Where is the Apple?" Prepositional Activity Book: Instruct students to draw an apple based of the location prompted on each page. I laminated these pages so that students could use a dry erase marker and I could reuse it for multiple sessions.


Apple Craft: 
Materials- Paper plate, red and green paint, seeds, glue and scissors 

Steps: 
  1. Cut the side of the plate (see picture) and paint green. 

  1. Paint the top and bottom of the plate red.
  2. Once the "leaves" dry, glue them on the top of the plate from the back. 
  3. Finally, glue seeds in the middle of the plate. 

Books: 


"Apple Picking Day"- Candice Ransom 
"Apples"- Gail Gibbons 
"How Do Apples Grow?" - Betsy Maestro
"The Apple Pie Tree" - Zoe Hall 

Videos:


This entire unit is available HERE for FREE! Check back next month for "All About Spiders" Mini Unit!  

amanda

Using Google Forms and QR Codes for Data Collection

Data. Collection. Two words that may make you cringe or feel a little overwhelmed. There are hundreds of way to collect data and track student progress, but bottom line, it has to be done! I'm here to share with you the system I use. You can definitely modify it to meet your needs and caseload.


Last year, I did a trial run using Google Forms during my speech therapy sessions and this year, I am going all in! This system has been very successful for me. Developing any data collection system takes a little time in the beginning, but once I created the forms for my students, my data collection was efficient and streamlined. I also create QR codes that link to each form to make the data forms easily accessible at the end of each session. 

WHY USE GOOGLE FORMS:

  • Quick progress updates 
  • Allows you to graph student progress (teachers and parents for visuals)
  • Easily share data with teachers and parents- no more back-and-forth communication notebook

WHY USE QR CODES:
  • Easily scan from any device
  • Share with parents and teachers- track progress in multiple environments 
  • Post QR code in multiple locations (teachers's desk, cafeteria, library, student binder/agenda 

You will only need to create and link the QR code once. When you add new goals at an ARD/IEP meeting, you can easily edit the Google Form and the same QR code will always link to that student. 

So now that you understand the "why" behind this system, let me share how I set the forms up. Again, you can definitely adapt this system to meet your needs. 


TO CREATE A NEW FORM IN GOOGLE:
  1. From Google Drive, select, "New"
  2. Select, "More" 
  3. Select, "Google Forms"- to make a "copy" and edit an existing form I created, CLICK HERE 

The next step is to edit the form, making the information applicable to the student. At the top of every form, I include the student's goals as well as the levels that I will be targeting (i.e., word level, sentence level, structured activity, general conversation, etc.).


I also include the possible supports/ level of cueing that the student may need and a place to list the activity. The "progress monitoring" area is very important. Make sure that this matches the student's 
goal (percentages vs. trials attempted). Finally, there is a place for observations during the session. 


Once you create the form, you can easily make a copy of an existing form by selecting the three vertical dots and then clicking, "Make a copy." This process allows you easily change the students name and goals for the next student on your list.  


To view the data collected, click, "Responses." This will allow you to access a summary of all the sessions or you can view each individual session. To view the data is Goggle Sheets, click the "Sheets" icon.   


Finally, to share the responses with parents and teachers, click "Share" and enter their email address. By sharing responses with parents, they can see the progress in real-time and allow them to play a role in the speech development and progress of their child. You can also use the "Note/Observations" section to provide a set of words/activities for the parent to practice at home with their child.  

 

Now that you have created the form, you can create a QR code that links to the form providing you easy access to the data form for each student. 



To create the QR code, you will need to view the form in "Preview Mode." You can do this by clicking the "eye" icon. Once you view the form in preview mode, "copy" the URL.  

 

Navigate to a QR code generating site. I used: https://www.qr-code-generator.com/. "Paste" the URL and click, "Create QR Code."


You can then download the QR code or take a screen shot (this is the method I used) and insert the codes on a Google Doc or Power Point before printing them. 

When creating the Google Forms and QR codes, the initial process takes a little time; however, once you have the system in place, it will completely transform the way you collect data and track student progress. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment or email me at: aperfectblendteaching@gmail.com. 


- amanda

Don't Waste Space: Create Interactive and Functional Bulletin Boards

Before the start of every school year, I find myself excited to map out my next classroom theme and design new "decor" to fill the space. Given that my space is significantly smaller than an average classroom, it's important for me to get creative with my design. With everything I add, I ask myself, "what's the purpose?" Of course, I allow myself to respond with, "because it's cute," on occasion, but overall, I try to ensure that the space is functional for my students.


This year, I wanted all of my bulletin boards to be interactive and have a specific purpose that would allow me to target multiple learning objectives. I wanted to provide my students with a variety of visuals to support their learning during therapy sessions.




The first board targets a combination of language and articulation skills. The top half of the board has my most frequently targeted sounds with visuals, prompts for placement of articulators and word lists. Having the visuals and lists on a binder rings, allows me to easily use them during my sessions. On the bottom half of the board, I displayed my figurative language posters. I love the these posters include a visual representation and examples.



The next board is for curriculum vocabulary. Anytime I can use vocabulary or materials from the classroom, I do it! Increasing exposure to the curriculum vocabulary is extremely beneficial for my students. For each unit, I clips the vocabulary words on the board for each grade level. For my language students, we review the words and I will incorporate the words into my lessons. For my articulation students, I will have students circle the words with their target sounds and place their initials to the side of the word. We frequently revisit the board throughout the unit.


The final board is a weekly, interactive bulletin board. I currently have four target areas that multiple students are working on mastering. Each target area has a student-friendly poster that has a visual representation of the skill. Every week, I will change the prompt and review it with my students. The prompts are easily accessible in pockets at the bottom of the board.


In order to maintain consistency with my visuals, I also print a smaller set of the posters and put them on a binder ring for easy reference at my therapy table.


Looking for more ideas to create functional and interactive bulletin boards? Check out this blog post from The Dabbling Speechie. I can't wait to see the boards you create!