I was sent these 2 new activities from Lakeshore Learning that I have been using recently with my younger students – Let’s Go Fishing Sorting and Let’s Go Fishing Counting. I know you could use these activities in the classroom during center time but I have been using them in therapy when I work with small groups of 2-3 students. I wanted to share how I have been using these activities to target different speech-language goals and how I modify the activity to meet the various skill levels of my students.
Let’s Go Fishing Sorting – This activity is perfect to work on color concepts, sorting, following directions, and turn taking with peers. I adapted this activity to meet the needs of my students. I gave each student a board and each board has three fish bowls on it. Above each fish bowl is a color which corresponds with the fish they need to catch. Four out of the five boards have the color fish and the different shape fish they need to catch. For some of my students I just focus on the color concept and not the shape of the fish. After I hand each student a board, I point to the colors on the top of the fish bowl and say each color on the student’s board. If the student is verbal I have him say the colors. I also had some student do this as a receptive task and had the student point to the colors on their board. For example, “find blue” or “find red”. After we identify all the colors on each student’s board we are ready to start the game.
I also used this activity to work on turn taking. Before each student gets the fishing pole I ask “whose turn?” I often have the students point to themselves and model “me” or “my turn”. I also have a “my turn” symbol and sometimes I place it on the table or on a communication book and have the students tap or exchange the picture. Since the student whose turn it is gets the fishing pole it really models this concept of exchanging turns. I like activities which are motivating for the students so they want to take a turn and can practice requesting their turn.
For this group of students still learning color and sorting concepts, I just touch the color the student needs to find and I say “yellow….find yellow”. The student then uses the pole to find the yellow fish and place it in their bowl. This is great to work on following simple directions and modeling those color concepts. After the student gets one fish it is now the other student’s turn and I do the same thing by asking whose turn it is and we pass the fishing pole to the next peer. I tell that student what fish to select based on the colors on his/her board.
The activity goes back and forth and I usually have the student gather 2-3 fish for each jar. If you are working on turn taking and following directions this can take some time just for what seems like a simple activity.
To make it a little more challenging, I provide a direction including a color, number, and/or shape concept. For example “find a red fish”, or “find 3 green fish” or “find a purple long shaped fish”. Then the student needs to request the fishing pole and fish the correct fish. Lots of receptive and expressive language skills you can elicit during this task.
Let’s Go Fishing Counting – I’m loving this new Let’s Go Fishing Counting activity for my students working on that “how many” concept and following more complex directions. There are boards with fishing nets on them with numbers ranging from 1-20. I give each student a board. Then I put the fishing pond in the middle and add all the different fish to the pond just like with the sorting activity.
For some of my student we just focus on selecting the number of fish listed on his/her fishing net board. I have the student find the number on their board and if they are verbal we say the number. If the student has a device or communication book, they can find the visual number to match the one on their board.
Then I tell the student to fish that many fish. I may give a direction involving a color concept. For example, “get three green fish”.
After the student adds the fish to their fishing net board, we count the fish. I make my students touch each fish as we count. My students often just rote count and are not understanding that one-to-one correspondence. You may need to have the students move the fish as they count them off their board to help with that concept. After we count, I ask the question again “how many fish?” I’m working on the students providing the number response instead of staring to count from one again which often happens. Now it is the other peer’s turn and I do the same thing. Again, this is a perfect opportunity to work on turn taking and requesting “my turn” in the activity.
To make it more challenging I give more complex directions such as “take 5 red, 5 green and 1 purple fish” if they have the number 11 on their fishing net board. The student then has to gather the correct red, green, and purple fish. We count the red, green, and purple fish and then count all of them together. I might also model the addition concept for smaller numbers. For example, if the student has 10 I might have them get 5 red and 5 purple fish and model five plus five equals ten. If the student is verbal we work on expanding those utterance such as “I have 10 fish” or “I have 5 red and 5 purple fish”. If the student is using an AAC system you can work on using a 2-3 icon combination such as “red fish”, “five fish”, or “five red fish”. Don’t forget to use those AAC or static devices to request “my turn” throughout the activity.