One of my bloggie buddies, Kelly from Speech2U, has come up with an awesome idea for a linky party. She will post three ways she has used an item in speech, and then would like others to link up a post of theirs about the same item.
This month's topic is popsicle sticks or tongue depressors.
When I worked in the preschool setting, I used popsicle sticks for crafts all the time. We made puppets, picture frames, and butterflies with them (I am sure we made many more things, but I remember those!). Crafting with them provided a lot of opportunity for building language. We spoke about basic, spatial and temporal concepts, expanded MLU and receptive and expressive language skills. We worked on following directions, responding to and asking questions.
As a therapeutic instrument, I use tongue depressors for helping to elevate the tongue, place the tongue in the correct position, but I also use them for bite blocks. Sometimes I have kids who come in clenching their jaws, opening their mouths too wide or not enough, or they have an inability to stabilize their jaws. Rather than purchasing bite blocks, I make my own. Depending on the opening I want, I tape two to five tongue depressors together. I place these between the student's teeth, showing the opening s/he needs to produce the sound correctly.
Finally, I use popsicle sticks for sorting everything! I write words on them, and kids need to sort them by category, pair synonyms and antonyms, and part to whole. I also use them as word building activities, writing words where children need to find the pairs that will form compound words.
Here is a game you can do with these sticks: Write words that are unrelated on each end of the stick. Make sure you have pairs of words (using the examples I use for sorting) that are not on the smae stick. Hand out sticks to the kids in your group. Lay down one stick so everyone can read it. Students need to match up the ends of the sticks to each other at right angles. It winds up looking like a giant maze when all of the sticks are matched up. The kids love it, and it gets them moving. I will take a picture of it when i return to school in September.
Now it's your turn! If you are a blogger, go here to link up with Kelly. If not, go to her blog and comment about the three ways you use popsicle sticks or tongue depressors!