For those of you familiar with some of my blogs you know I love themes! I often choice a different theme/topic for each month and plan my therapy activities around the theme. For me it make lesson planning easier and provides structure for my students. I try and pick different topics each month and then use adapted books, crafts, cooking activities, and games all related to the overall monthly topic. Some of the bigger holidays make it easy to create and use materials related to the upcoming holiday. Other times I pick themes related to the season of the year, concepts related to the curriculum/student IEP goals, or even just topics which are motivating or relative to my students. I picked a few of the themes I did this year to give you an idea of how it might work for you. I’m going to try and give you a quick overview!
At the beginning of the school year my theme was “School Supplies”. I created 2 different sets of adapted books both related to school supplies and each set has 3 books in the series. One of the series includes the books “Let’s Get Ready for School!”, “What’s on the Desk?”, and “Pack Up the Backpack!” These books incorporate other basic concepts such as colors, counting, and sequencing terms.
Each book targets different concepts while working on building up those school supply vocabulary terms. For example, “Pack Up The Backpack!” targets not only identification of school supply items but also color concepts. The students have to find all the correct color items to place in the backpack.
“What’s Bugging You? – School Themed Series” also includes 3 different books which all focus on common school supply items but each book targets different concepts. One of the books works on just identifying those basic school supply items, one focuses on color concepts, and the other focuses on identifying the school supply item by its function. These bug books are always a hit with my student.
Sasha created the adapted book “How Many? What Color? What? Back to School Edition” which also focuses on identifying those school supply items but with a different format.
So for this topic I had 7 different adapted books related to school supplies to use with my students. In addition; I created a school supply identification board, we made different color crayons by cutting construction paper into small pieces, and we also practiced patterning skills using pictures of different school supply items (ie. glue, scissors, glue, scissors, etc). School supply bingo is another good to activity or I have some puzzles with big crayons or other puzzles with school supply items on them.
Also check out the book “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books” to continue with the theme. I created some pictures to pair with the book along with both visual and written questions to use with it. If you are interested in a free copy of this resource click the link –There Was an Old Lady – Books. As you can see there all lots of different adapted books, crafts, and other activities all focused around this topic of school supplies. You can target lots of different IEP goals with these books and activities.
Another unit might be working on answering “Who” Questions and identifying Community Members. Here are a few activities I paired with this theme.
“I Spy Community Helpers” is an adapted book to work on the students identify the community member who matches the given description.
Sasha created a “Who” bingo game so the students can practice identifying those community members while playing a game.
Community Helper Association – File Folder Activities is a great resource to work on identifying the different items related to a specific community member. For example the stethoscope belongs to the doctor and the basketball goes with the basketball player.
I used this “who” puzzle with my students. We worked on answering “who” questions, as well as, pairing both different items and work locations associated with each community member.
Holidays often have lots for fun activities to pair with them. Here are some St. Patrick’s Day ideas! I like to use this St. Patrick’s Day book series which includes “Leprechaun, Leprechaun What Do You See – Counting?”, “Where is the Shamrock, and “Leprechaun, Leprechaun What Do You See?” The books all target different skills and I pair each book with a different follow-up craft or activity.
After reading the book “Where is the Shamrock?” we made shamrocks using different color green tissue paper. The students have to work on those fine motor skills to rip and glue on those small pieces.
After reading the book “Leprechaun, Leprechaun What Do You See?” we made rainbows by cutting strips of paper into small squares but I have also used fruit loops. This craft worked on color concepts, number concepts, requesting, and sequencing skills.
To continue to work on number concepts with my students after reading “Leprechaun, Leprechaun What Do You See – Counting?” I created this St. Patrick’s Day Counting activity. If you would like a FREE copy of these pages please click the following link –St. Patrick’s Day Counting
“Shamrock Shakes, Shamrock Floats, and Shamrock Freezes” are fun to make with your students for St. Patrick’s Day. There are both visual and written recipes for these treats depending on your students’ skill levels and each recipe has follow-up questions to pair with it. As I shared before cooking is great to work on following directions, turn taking, and building up vocabulary skills.
I also created some pictures and follow up questions to pair with the book “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover”. If you are interested in a free copy of this resource click the link – There Was an Old Lady – Clover
Picking a theme helps provide structure and focus for your lessons. I usually start by selecting adapted books which I want to use with my students. From there I find a craft which pairs with the book and continues to reinforce those vocabulary concepts. I look for other cooking, following directions, or games related to the book topic to use for that week/month. I know that was lot of information but if you want another really fun theme check out my Farm Themed Blogs from this past May. Click the different links to see what we did each week.