Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The First of the Year Classroom Language Lesson

Yesterday I asked for ideas for language lessons. I will definitely be needing them since I scheduled 2 whole-group kindergarten classes weekly in my schedule so please keep them coming.
Today was my first whole group lesson this year and I combined some of the ideas I received-which were great! Since I'm doing these on a regular basis, I thought I would periodically blog about classroom language lessons. If you haven't noticed by now, I am a big believer in whole group lessons-trust me, they are fun! It's a way for us to:
1. Get a perspective of what is expected for students in their classrooms and
2. Demonstrate to teachers what we do.
I'll admit, I was nervous last year when I first started, but I actually look forward to them now! They become easier every week. If you don't currently do classroom lessons, but are thinking of starting, here are some tips on getting the ball rolling:
1. Pick a familiar topic that you enjoy doing with your speech students. Chances are, if your speech students like it, other students will! Then, start thinking of ideas on how to incorporate it for a large group. I loved the suggestion of the Expanding Expression Tool (EET). I just received mine in the mail last week and will definitely be using it in the classrooms!

2. If you're having trouble coming up with a topic, just ask the teachers. They are usually more than willing to share what their particular class is having difficulty with. At teacher suggestions,  I've come in for quick lessons on the difference between /f/ and /th/ sounds (or /l/ and /w/ sounds) and taught the entire class because multiple students were having difficulty with them. It could also be a simple following-directions lesson, building vocabulary, phonological awareness lesson-anything!
2. Start with a teacher that you are comfortable with (perhaps a friend) and ask to do a language lesson in that class. Tell them it would only be 20-30 minutes long.
3. Play games! As speech therapists, we are experts in incorporating games into learning. Kids love this, and will look forward to you coming. I usually divide my classes up into teams based on tables or rows. Games are also a great way to incorporate social skills and topics such as "being a good sport," "how to encourage a friend," and "turn-taking."

I hope these tips help! I challenge you to make a goal of teaching a classroom lesson at least once per month. Please keep me updated on how they go!

Language Lesson #1
Now....onto my language lesson I did with my two kindergarten classes today :)
Topic: Emotions, Social Skills
First, I introduced myself and talked about what a speech therapist does. In a (*cozy) circle around me, we discussed the word "emotion." Then, I used these amazing Super Duper Cards to explain what feelings/emotions are. The kids were able to in to interpret the emotion (sad, happy, scared, angry) and then identify the clues that told them (squinted eyes, smiling, frown, etc.)

Next, we went around and demonstrated what each emotion looked like and when we feel that emotion (a friend asking us to play, a compliment from the teacher makes us happy, etc.) Kids love doing this, especially if you have a mirror or iPad to take pictures so that they can see their own faces demonstrating each emotion.
After that, I moved onto the book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" If you do not have this book, I strongly recommend getting it (or borrowing it like I did). I first heard about it from teachers who implement the "bucket filling system" in their classroom. You may want to check prior to the lesson to see if it is already being implemented.
The book provides a great visual on how each person carries around an invisible bucket. When we say or do kind things, we fill each other's bucket, when we say or do mean things, we dip into each other's buckets. We are either "bucket-fillers" or "bucket-dippers."

There are so many resources and activities that go along with this book. I went ahead and searched TPT for you and found these amazing resources (many of them free!) Pinterest also has super cute ideas to use with this book. During the reading, I of course had to stop and pause to explain vocabulary words such as "purpose, filling, emptying, dipping, etc." I guess that's the speech therapist in me!
Next, I had students sit in a circle. If you have a bucket, great-use it! If you're like me, just have them "pretend" and hold up their imaginary bucket. We went around and each student complimented the student to the left and in doing so, "filled their bucket."
Last, I had printed off certificates from and had the students pledge that they would be bucket-fillers. 

They were so eager to become bucket-fillers!

Does your school implement the bucket-filling system? Let me know!


  1. I do whole group lessons in my preschool classrooms. I typically do a book and then a related game. Today we read "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books." Then I had a bunch of objects in a bag and the kids took turns taking items out of the bag & stating if it is food or NOT food (a HUGE amount of my kiddos have understanding and using negatives on their IEP objectives!) I also use Bucket Fillers in my speech room (I just wrote a guest post for Let's Talk SLP on this book!) and some of the teachers use it as well. It's not being used school wide at this point.

    Carrie's Speech Corner

  2. Hi Carrie,
    Thanks so much for sharing ideas! I LOVE the "Old Lady" books and your idea of the bag. It sounds like the kids have a blast learning negatives! That's really neat that you incorporated Bucket Fillers into your speech room. This was the first time I've used this book but it will definitely be an every-year introduction for my little speechies. I'll have to go over and visit your guest post :). Thanks again and keep the ideas flowing!

  3. Love these ideas! I've done some impromptu whole class Kinder lessons when the teacher is dealing with a behavior student or has to run to the bathroom and I happen to be there! I'll be merging into classrooms for about 90 minutes per DAY this year because of the way the scheduling works. Right now that just looks like me pulling my speech kids to the side and doing the main group activity in a small group. But it may look like doing whole class lessons in the future. We'll see!

    Thanks for your nice comments before. I <3 your things on TPT. I'm actually working on adding the equivalent of the "back side" to your artic probe so that I can have more words easily accessible. I can't believe that I never thought of having all those words together for easy access before!

  4. Thanks so much for your kind words! I love making things and saving SLPs some valuable time is my goal! I know how busy we all are.
    For the classrooms, I first look at scheduling. I concentrate on the lower grades. Most of my students were scheduled in two kindergarten rooms so I went to those teachers and asked if I could teach a small lesson once per week. I'm so blessed with amazing and flexible teachers at my school! I'm sure the teacher would love to see some of your language ideas. Let me know how it goes :)


Nicole Allison