December 12, 2013

Holiday Speech Craftivity

This holiday season I am trying to incorporate more crafts so that the kids actually get to make something to take home. In the past I have often cringed at doing artsy projects since I was always worried that precious speech time would get wasted gluing/cutting, etc., so I am trying to find crafts that involve fewer of these components. After scouring the internet, I found a really cute little project: beaded wreath ornaments! I thought I'd share how I used this idea to maximize productions during our session. 
Wreath ornaments.
First off, you will need to gather the materials (all of them are available on amazon.com): 
  • red chenille  stems (pipe cleaner)
  • green tri-beads 
  • red or white (or both) round faceted beads (mine were 8mm)
  • little silver and golden bells
  • wire
Next, I prepared two different types of "gift tags" to be attached to the ornament at the end. For these, I typed a message in Microsoft Word, printed it out, and glued it on a die-cut tree shape. One tag was for my artic students, and one for those working on language/fluency targets:
Artic & Language gift tags.
I also created "visual instructions" for my younger students, so that they could grasp the pattern of the beading.
Visual instructions.
Now we were ready to get started! Each student was required to "earn" their beads. The price per bead was either 10 productions of a target word or a language-based activity (e.g., answering a Wh-question, providing a descriptive detail about a picture, making a sentence about a verb card, and so on). The patterning for these wreaths consists of 3 green tri beads followed by a round faceted bead. My wreaths had 5 faceted beads each until we attached the bell.

Since each wreath consists of about 23 beads (you can add more if desired), I got about 230 productions out of each artic student. To make sure we could get this done in a 30 minute session, I had larger groups practice chorally in unison. As they earned their beads, they got to string it onto the pipe cleaner. This was a nice opportunity for my younger students to work on sequencing and patterning as well.
One of my Kindergarteners at work.
All of my students (including preschoolers) were able to master the fine motor component of this project (I should note that I have not done this with my lower functioning SDC kids, many of whom have OT services) and had a lot of fun. One of my 1st grade artic students even noted, "I wish we could do this every week instead of work." 

As the very last step, I helped the kids tie a bow at the top (all of them needed help with this part) and attach the gift tag to the the ornament.
The finished product!
At the end the kids got to take it home! Definitely a quick and fun activity to get into the holiday spirit. I surely will be doing this again (or something similar) next year!
~Viola

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