Spatial concepts are an IEP objective for most of my students. I usually find myself struggling for natural activities that will give lots of practice with understanding or using spatial concepts. Its fairly easy for me to identify when this skill is lacking, but treatment sometimes has me stumped. I have thought a lot about different ways to work on this skill and as a result, this blog post was born!
For starters, lets talk about development. Linguisystems has a downloadable chart that outlines when each concept should be emerging. It also provides developmental norms for acquisition of other concepts including colors, matching skills, etc. This chart is useful to reference when writing IEP goals. Working with preschoolers, I typically focus on teaching “in,” “on,” “under,” “next to,” “in front of,” “behind,” and “between”.
In my opinion, the best way to teach these concepts is by using manipulative objects. I hide an object under/on/behind, etc. the table or other object and try to have the student find it and describe the location. In group or classroom sessions, I try to encourage spatial concepts as they occur more naturally. Often, this involves following directions such as lining up behind a certain peer, cleaning up toys by putting them on the shelf, getting materials next to the books, etc. Classroom sessions often provide the most functional therapy!
For those students who need a bit more structure, books can be used to practice labeling pictures of more naturalistic/functional scenarios. Snow on Snow on Snow by Cheryl Chapman uses spatial concepts on almost every page! Aside from the written story line, the pictures provide lots of opportunities to expand on character location using words including “on,” “under,” and “next to”. Interactive books with velcro pieces also provide more structure within lessons.
Hopefully you have found some inspiration from this post! What other ways do you teach spatial concepts? What activities do you incorporate?
This post is long over due, and unfortunately, will be one of my shorter entries! December seemed to fly by and though I did plenty of winter/holiday themes, I didn’t think to document very much! In fact, I took only two pictures of activities during the whole month. That being said, this blog post will leave a little more to the imagination than usual.
This first picture comes from a “winter” theme that I started at the beginning of December. We made penguins! As you can see, this template is from gluedtomycraftsblog.com and has the perfect pot belly for sticking on just about anything! I used this craft mostly as a reinforcer for my articulation kids. Pretty simple–just print the template, add cotton, googly eyes, and a nose! The kids loved it.
To celebrate the Christmas season, we “practiced” opening a Christmas stocking. This was so much fun for my students! I put different items in the stocking including wrapping paper, ribbon, foam objects, themed erasers, puppets, etc. Each item was related to Christmas/holidays in some way. I had students reach in, take one/some/many (targeting those quantitative concepts) and then label or describe the object they pulled out. This was a simple activity that involved using items I already had laying around! You could also use articulation cards or targeted vocabulary pictures as stocking stuffers. Some of my students chose to do this more than once during our holiday theme.
So there you have it, short and sweet! These are two of the many things we did over the last month. My resolution for the new year is to keep up my blogging!
Thanksgiving is around the corner so I thought I’d share a few last minute craft ideas! Here are two low prep, multi functional activities!
- Turkey Feathers
This worksheet is a TpT freebie. Adding feathers turned this into a fun sensory activity! I used it mostly for kids practicing sounds, words, or building sentences.
2. Thanksgiving plate
I printed off some clip art pictures of Thanksgiving foods to facilitate discussion about Thanksgiving dinner. For articulation students, I printed target words from Mommy Speech Therapy. We made up silly sentences with the carrier phrase “I eat ___” using target words!
WordPress just informed me that today is my “one year anniversary” of blogging! To celebrate, I’m sharing some fun Halloween activities that are so low prep you’ll be able to get them ready in time for Monday!
Sensory boxes with Halloween items! I had these foam objects and hid them in my bean box. This was a great vocabulary and sentence building activity. I also used it to target quantitative concepts. With foam objects, the kids had something tangible to take home, but any thematic objects (bat rings, witch fingers, etc.) would be perfect for a sensory bin.
Practice trick or treating! This is as simple as it looks: brown paper taped to make a door and cut paper pictures of different candies. We practiced all the social language involved with trick or treating (saying trick or treat and thank you) and sequenced the events that occur (first we knock on the door, then we wait for the door to open, say trick or treat, and choose candy). Students working on pronouns practiced using “I” to say “I want a Reese’s” or “I am dressed as X.” This was a really motivating (and simple!) activity for my preschoolers.
For a quick “print and go” activity, I found pictures to match “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat” from teaching heart. This is another story that is fun to sequence and incorporates some thematic vocabulary.
What are some of your favorite Halloween activities? Happy Halloween!
I love talking about the farm this time of year! Usually, I have so many activities I can stretch this out for few weeks and target it more than once during the year. Here are just a couple of activities from the week:
We made our own barns!
This was an easy craft with minimal prep. I printed pictures of animals and made two cuts in a piece of red construction paper. Fold the sides in to make doors and you’re done! With many of my students, labeling animals and animal sounds was a challenge. We also worked on identifying animals receptively, CV sounds, and spatial directions with this craft.
We did sensory activities!
If you’ve seen my other posts, you probably know that I am a big fan of sensory boxes. The one pictured above is my “travel” sensory box, so it’s a bit smaller than my usual one. Because it is smaller, I hid pictures (laminated) in the beans. In my bigger one I would use toy animals to make it more fun! I used this with all of my kids and it was a big hit! Even some of my less verbal students imitated some sounds with this.
Of course, my themes would not be complete without books. This week I used “The Very Busy Spider,” by Eric Carle, “Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type,” by Doreen Cronin, and “Duck for President,” also by Doreen Cronin. These three books are each at different levels which was perfect for use with my students of all abilities. With the upcoming election, “Duck for President” was an especially funny read!
Also perfect for preschool are all the farm themed songs! We sang lots of “Old McDonald” and “The Farmer in the Dell” this week. Hope you enjoy these activities as much as we did!
This past week was pumpkin filled! We enjoyed working on speech and language skills while making lots of crafts. Here are a few of my favorites from the week!
- Pumpkin faces
This craft was super easy to prep and was lots of fun for the little ones. This was great for language goals, especially for those learning body parts! This craft was also great for describing functions, requesting, following directions, and spatial concepts. Simply prep your pumpkin from construction paper and cut out body parts (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, arms/legs) from magazines. For more emphasis on body part/face vocab, you could also play the “Silly Faces” game with this activity.
2. The Legend of Spookly the Square Pumpkin
This book is new to me this year, but I absolutely love it! It is all about being different, and how being different isn’t a bad thing! I love the”surprise” ending! After reading this story, we made our very own square pumpkins.
Another simple craft! This was a great reinforcer for those kids working on artic goals (I had them earn pieces by working on targets), and those who were able to handle more “drill” type work. Everyone enjoyed this book and craft!
Happy October! What are your October plans?
“Fall” was the theme for this week’s therapy sessions. I do separate themes to teach about “apples” and “pumpkins,” so this theme primarily focused on leaves. For preschool, we talked mostly about how leaves grow on trees and change colors in the fall. We’ve had fun reading books, crafting, stamping, and coloring our way through the theme this week! Below is a craft that was loved by everyone:
My kids loved tracing their hands to make the tree trunk. I withheld leaves and allowed them to glue them after practicing articulation/phonological targets. This craft was also good for following directions, spatial concepts, and descriptive concepts. It was so easy to prep and make, yet so fun for everyone! You could even use pieces of real leaves!
What are your favorite fall themed activities?