I’ve been working with many of my students on some of those basic color, shape, and number concepts so I created a set of three adapted books just to focus on shape concepts. This series includes “What Shape Do You See?”, “I See Shapes”, and “Let’s Find Shapes”. Each week I used one of these books and paired it with a different follow-up activity. These books have been great to really practice those shape concepts and are engaging for my students. I used my “What Shape Do You See?” adapted book and paired it with a Free Shape Identification Board Activity.
The book “What Shape Do You See?” targets 10 shape concepts and the student has to match the correct shape piece to the shape of the item on that page. I paired visuals with many of the words so the students have the extra support as we read the words. I like to point to each square as I read the page. I always like when my student point to the words/boxes as we read the book. Some of my verbal students will help me read (say) the words as I read them. Especially when we get to the word “see” we point to our eyes and my verbal student usually can say “see” with me.
The pages are set up the same so the repetition helps my students be able to participate in the book with me. First we read, “What shape do you see?” and then we move to the bottom of the page for the next sentence. I read “I see a ….” and then point to the picture in the middle of the page to see if the students can help me identify the shape. You may even want to trace the shape of the item with your finger for the added visual support. Some of my verbal students will say the shape and find the correct shape piece to attach into the book. Other students will just find the correct shape piece and attach it into the book. For example “I see a diamond” and the student puts the diamond shape in the empty box. Maybe you can even name the item on that page. “The kite is a diamond”.
For some of my student, I give them a choice of 2-3 colors to select from and place on the page. You can even fold the color pieces behind the book if they are too distracting for students and only present 2-3 colors at a time. Just change the prompting depending on your student’s skill level and ability to attend to the book. Some of my student are more impulsive so I often have to adapt and change my prompting quickly.
After the student attaches the shape to the bottom of the page we read the whole sentence again. For example, “I see a heart”. I might model the shape concept again as I point to the item such as “heart” or “the cookie is a heart”.
When we finished reading the book we did our Shape Identification Board to keep practicing those shape concepts. You might have used some of my other identification boards in the past and there are several ways you can use them with your students. I’ll share how I have been using them in therapy with my students but you definitely can change what you do depending on your students and their goals.
Many times when I start the activity I fold over the board so the students can only see the first row. I have my students find the number 1 on the board. Then we point to all the shapes in that row as we name each shape. For example, “triangle, circle, pentagon”. Many times my verbal students will try to name the shape concepts with me or produce a verbal approximation of them. If your student has an AAC device they can try and find the shapes on their device too. I like to model those shape concepts before I provide the direction involving a shape concept.
Next I give the students a 1-2 step direction depending on their skill level. For some students I give 1-step directions and I go in the order of the shapes in that row. For other students I give multi-step directions and vary the order of the items. Simple directions for Row 1 would be “touch the pentagon….Color the pentagon purple.” I break it down into simple steps for my students. You might have to cover up one the shapes so the focus is only on 2 shapes or give the student a choice of 2 color crayons. Different ways to change the prompting depending on their skill level.
For some of my students I can combine directions such as “color the star blue” or make it really challenging and tell them “color the heart pink and the star blue.” I model those shape and color concepts multiple times during the session. After each row I often point to the shapes again and say the color and shape concept. When we finish row 2 it would be “blue star, yellow square, and pink heart”. This also works on expanding those utterances.
One more challenging twist for your higher functioning students is have the students take turns and give the directions to each other or helping select what shape to color for that turn. This is great for turn-taking and having the students formulate their own utterances. Plus my students really like to be “in charge” so it’s more motivating for them.