October 27, 2016

Mummy Candle Holder Craftivity

My Speech kids and I spent this week making one last craft before Halloween - Mummy candle jars. This craft is not only super cute, but really easy and cheap to make (a little more expensive if you choose to send a candle home with it - but that part is up to you). This is also an easy activity to add a therapeutic spin to it... just keep on reading.

To make these candle holders, you will need:

To make the candle holders, follow these steps:
1. Use the brush to apply Mod Podge all around the baby food jar
2. Stick on strips of gauze one at a time, until no spots of glue are left
3. Use the hot glue gun to glue on the eyes
4. Place a candle inside and enjoy :)

To make this into a therapy activity, you can have students "earn" the strips of gauze by completing language tasks or practicing target words. I also used mummy-themed books to work on comprehension with some of my language groups before making the craft. Some great mummy-books that I have used include:

Skeleton Meets the Mummy
Where's My Mummy?
Runaway Mummy
There Was an Old Mummy Who Swallowed a Spider

Our mummies turned out adorable, and we made a whole "graveyard" with them. This is only a portion of our mummies:

This craftivity was the perfect ending to a fun-filled October. I can't wait until next year!!

October 21, 2016

How to Make Monster Pencils

I love doing crafts with my students that I know won't go into the trash right after they leave my Speech room. And when you have 60+ students on your caseload, a bonus is when the materials used are relatively cheap. These monster pencils are not only cute and easy to make, but functional as well! 

To make your own monster pencils you will need: 
To make these pencils, you first need to pry the erasers out of the sockets. Put hot glue into the metal portion of the pencil and stick on the pompom. To fortify the design, I put additional glue around the spot where the pencil touches the pompom. Next, add the eyes. Since this is a monster, you can have just one eye or more than two. It looks especially cute if you use different sized eyes. Once the glue is dry, the pencils are done!

I paired this craft with the book Hey, That's MY Monster! (although any monster-themed story will work): I used it with different groups to work on comprehension, picked out words from the story containing articulation target sounds, and discussed it with my social skills group. Given the versatility of this activity, it made therapy planning super easy this week!

I wish I could claim credit for this cute idea, but I originally found it here.

October 18, 2016

Trademarks: A Valuable Lesson Learned

Today I was reminded how important it is to pay attention to Trademark and Copyright information. A couple of my products were removed from TPT, as they used the term "Social Thinking", which is apparently trademarked. This phrase gets thrown around so much in our field, I had no idea that this was someone's intellectual property! Unfortunately one of these removed products was my Social Skills Curriculum :(. If you have previously purchased it - don't worry! You can still access the file under your purchased items.

But - when life hands you lemons you make lemonade: I made all of the necessary changes to my curriculum, removing any reference to "Social Thinking". Instead, I used my own coined phrase: "Socio-Cognitive Skills" (and now I am thinking about trademarking THAT, haha!). I also took this opportunity to redo the product cover, which has long bothered me. The new cover is a lot less busy:

So --- problem solved and valuable lesson learned! I have reposted the curriculum HERE. I am also working with TPT to see if I can get the old version reinstated with the changed wording. I would hate to lose all of my feedback!

To avoid this happening to you, make sure to reference potential trademarks on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.

October 17, 2016

Easy Spider Craftivity for Halloween

I love Halloween because there are so many themed crafts you can do. Last week, my students and I made this cheap and easy spider craft.

Here is what you need:
  • Lollipops
  • Black pompoms
  • Googly eyes
  • Black pipe cleaners / chenille stems
  • Pony beads
  • Hot glue gun
Start by making the spider body: Bend four pipe cleaners around the lollipop to create eight legs. Then glue on the pompom and googly eyes.

In order to make this craft educational for therapy purposes, students had to "earn" each bead by producing a word with their target sound 10 times or completing a language task. When student had three beads on each leg (can do more if you have time), we tied a foot at the bottom. At the end of the session, we bent the legs to make the spider stand up.

All in all, this was super easy to do even for my younger students, and they got to take something home. These spiders also looked really great with multifaceted beads.

October 11, 2016

27 Halloween-themed Board Games

Please note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
1.       Cauldron Quest (ages 6+):  This cooperative game  is one of the lesser known Peaceable Kingdom games, but just as awesome as the rest of them! The goal is for players to get three randomly chosen potion ingredients into the witch's cauldron before the potion's path is blocked. The circular game board has spaces leading towards a cauldron in the middle to which potion bottles must be moved. A wizard is working against the players by attempting to block the potions' paths. This is a fun game that is easy to learn, has high quality components, and promotes strategy. Definitely a winner in my book!
2.      Clumsy Witch (ages 5+): Clumsy Witch is a great game for younger students, as you can change the complexity of the rules. Players help a witch find the missing ingredients for her potion. You have to plan your move in advance, so this game promotes strategy and planning skills.
3.      Feed the Woozle (ages 3+): This game is perfect for preschool and lower elementary! Players cooperate to feed the Woozle monster 12 snacks without dropping them onto the ground. The game board is 3-dimensional and players use a spoon to feed snack cards into the monster's mouth. What is especially great about this game is that there are three levels of play, which means that you can tailor the game to the level of your group. In more difficult settings, gross motor components are added, as well as the condition of having to feed the Woozle with eyes closed. As with all Peaceable Kingdom games, the components are of high quality. This is also a great game for year-round therapy.
4.     Friday The 13th (ages 8+): This card game is won by having the lowest score at the end of four rounds. There are four different types of cards: black cats, walking under a ladder, broken mirrors, and Friday the 13th. Each card has a certain value. On their turn, players play a cat, ladder, or mirror card. The next player then plays a card from the same suit (or a "wild" Friday the 13th card) while being careful that the total value of the stack does not exceed 13. If the value is greater than 13, the player has to take the entire stack. Each card is worth one point, except for the Friday the 13th card, which is worth two. If a player has the most cards from a certain suit at the end, the suit is worth zero points. The game is easy to learn and rounds are quick. Because math / counting skills are involved, this game would likely work best with upper elementary / middle school students.
5.      Ghooost (ages 8+): One of my favorite parts about this card game are the hilarious illustrations. Each player "owns" a haunted mansion and needs to drive away the ghosts. In addition to four cards featuring Halloween creatures, each player receives a face-down deck of cards, which is their mansion. The game consists of two phases, each of which consists of different actions players can take in order to get rid of the cards in their hand. There are also some special rules for certain cards. While the game is somewhat complex to learn initially, once you get the hang of it, it can be a quick game to play during speech sessions. I think upper elementary and middle school students are the best audience for this game.
6.      Ghost Blitz (ages 8+): In this game, a ghost takes pictures of various items in a house. His photographs are depicted by cards. However, because his camera is haunted, some of the items may be depicted in the wrong color. Players win by being the first to determine which item on the card is the wrong color. I bought this game about a year ago and found that many of my younger students struggled with the concept, so this may be best for older elementary or middle school students.
7.      Go Away Monster (ages 3+): This game is great for young students. Players have to reach into a bag to match toy shapes on their game board. If they accidentally pull a monster shape out of the bag, players simply tell him to “go away”. Wonderful for teaching shape recognition!
8.     Labyrinth (ages 8+): This is one of my all-time favorite games EVER. I got it for Christmas when I was 8 and it just doesn’t get old. Players have to push cards to create pathways through a spooky maze and collect treasures. It is a great game to work on problem-solving, strategizing, and predicting. Turns can take long, so this may be a good game to play as a “reward” during weeks before a break.
9.     Monster Bake (ages 5+): In this game, players use a wooden spoon to retrieve sugar balls of a specific color in order to help the monster decorate his cake. Whoever has the right color combination of sugar balls first, gets a point. In this game, speed and dexterity count.
10.   Monster Bingo (ages 3+): This is essentially a Bingo game with cute little monster shapes.
11.   Monster CafĂ© (ages 8+): In this card game players have to feed monsters their favorite foods. However, the monsters are picky eaters, and if the wrong foods are given, players lose points.
12.   Monster Catcher (ages 3+): This is such a cute game for younger (preschool) students. In this puzzle-type game, players collect cards in order to complete a monster before the puzzle of the “monster catcher” is completed.
13.   Monster Chase (ages 4+): I love love love this game!! Players cooperate to scare monsters back into the closet (i.e. the game box). On their turn, players flip over a monster card, which also depicts a specific toy (e.g., a soccer ball). Each monster is scared of this toy, so players have to flip toy tiles to find the matching item and scare the monster away. If players are unsuccessful after three attempts of flipp, another monster card is flipped. There are also different variations of this game to change up the difficulty level.  The best part about it? Because the box serves as the game board, my students are cleaning up the game as they play! This game is perfect for elementary students, and even preschoolers. We'll be playing this for years to come!
14.   Monster Factory (ages 5+): This game is a little bit like Hisss, in that players have to draw monster tiles and add it onto others in order to build a monster. However, players have to be mindful and not make it so big that it can’t be finished.
15.   Monster Mashup (ages 4+): In this card game, players compete to be the first one to create a monster using 6 different cards. Easy to learn and quick to play.
16.   Moody Monsters (ages 3+): This is a great game for the preschool population! It’s basically memory featuring monsters making silly faces.
17.   Nox (ages 8+): In this card game, players compete to be the first to score 150 points. Because it involves tracking points / basic math skills, this game may be best for older elementary and middle school students.
18.   Push a Monster (ages 5+): In this 3-D board game, players push monsters onto a stage without accidentally pushing off monsters that are already present. If you push another monster off, the other players receive points. This game requires a great deal of dexterity and patience.
19.   Spinderella (ages 6+): The 3-D game board consists of two layers, the upper of which contains magnetic spiders. The objective of this game is for players to move their magnetic ant pawns on the lower level of the board to the game board corners, where food is found. Opponents can move the spiders in such a way to “catch” the other player’s ants, at which point the ants need to start over. This looks like a super cute and original game! I don’t actually own it yet, but it is one that is on my wish list. The downside is that because it is an import from Germany, the price is a tad out of hand for the US consumer.
20.   Spookies (ages 8+): In this risk-taking game, players climb have to roll a particular sum on dice in order to travel through the levels a haunted house and collect “Spookies” tokens. The player with the most tokens wins. Since a roll of the dice determines whether you win or lose tokens, a big component of this game is based on luck.
21.   Spooky Stairs (ages 4+): This is a board game with a memory component – the objective of the game is to move your pawn to the top of the stairs on the game board, but if a “Ghost” is rolled, a player may place a ghost piece over another player’s pawn. Players have to remember for the remainder of the game which pawn/ghost is theirs. This game is great for multiple age levels and works well with younger students, as well.
22.   Spot it! Halloween Edtion (ages 7+): This is basically the Halloween Edition of the popular game “Spot It”. Players flip two cards containing multiple pictures and try to find the one picture pair that matches.
23.   The Magic Labyrinth (ages 6+): This game is one of my favorites! The concept is super original, too, which makes it worth the relatively high price (I got mine for $25 at Target). Basically, the game board consists of two layers, the lower of which contains walls. Players use their pawns to guide a magnet underneath the board in attempts to reach board spaces with specific treasures. If they hit a wall, the magnet drops and players have to move their pawns back to the starting position. The winning strategy is to remember where exactly the walls are. Definitely a must-have for year-round therapy!
24.   Vampires of The Night (ages 6+): This is another game that utilizes magnets. The game board consists of two layers, the upper of which is littered with holes. Garlic chips are placed on the top layer and players use an opposing magnet to guide a magnetic pawn in such a way to push the garlic chips off the board while avoiding the holes. This game is fairly tricky, and requires a great deal of patience and dexterity. Pro: This game glows in the dark! Con: It takes a couple of minutes to set up and might frustrate impulsive players.
25.   Whoowasit? (ages 7+): In this cooperative game, players work together to find a stolen ring and protect the castle from an evil wizard. Using clues from an electronic talking chest, players decide which rooms of the castle to search before time runs out. Note: You will need batteries. Another down-side is that you may not be able to finish the game in a 30-minute session.
26.   Yahtzee - The Nightmare Before Christmas Edition (ages 8+): This is the all-familiar Yahtzee dice game with a spooky twist. This edition contains a Jack Skellington dice cup and the dice actually contain pictures of characters from the movie.
27.   Zombie Run (ages 7+): This card game consists of 75 cards, each of which pictures a zombie numbered 1-15. The goal is to get the lowest number of zombies in your hand. This game might work best with older students since it requires some counting and math skills.

What other Halloween-themed board games can you think of? Do you have a favorite? Please make sure to let me know in the comments!