Cindy L. Meester's Blog- Speech Therapy with a Twist

Not a Box…

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on April 7, 2016
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I took a book idea that my friend Sean Sweeney (Speech Techie) shared at the ASHA convention in November. He had many great ideas on pairing apps with literacy (books). Of course I added my own twists.

1. I chose the book Not a Box by Antoinette Portis.


2. I read it to some of my K-2nd grade students. We worked on making predictions, using our imaginations and thinking outside as well a inside of the box- I couldn’t resist. wink

3. Then I added a twist by giving each student a sheet of paper that I had drawn a “box” on it.

4. They were asked to turn their box into something from their own imagination.

5. Per Sean’s suggested pairing we used the Toca Boca Robot Lab  and Moonbeeps-Gizmo apps once their creations were completed. This was a fun way to work on turn taking, compromising and requesting. The other app suggestion (from Sean)  is Doddle Buddy.

6. I displayed their creations along with the book and of course a cardboard “not a box” on the cabinets outside my room.

Here are the final results:




A rocketship, a spaceship, a house, a pool, another house, a treehouse boat



A house, a monstersaurus, a car, a zombie, a treehouse, a TV

Bonus: To add another twist I plan on gathering a plethora of different kinds and sizes of boxes to make creations that are not a box! Think of all the language skills we can build on in this activity- vocabulary, sequencing, requesting, comparing, contrasting, etc. Three apps I plan to use with this activity are :Adobe Voice, Go Sequencing and Making Sequences . I can take pictures of each step and create a sequencing activity within these apps.

What twists have you added to a book or app?



Bobbing our way into Spring!!!

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on April 4, 2013
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I knew I should do something “springy” in my speech room.  I just didn’t want to go all flowers and birds. So I decided to use an app called Bobbleshop. Here’s the almost completed result: (I don’t know if I can get my whole caseload on one side of my door but I’m going to bobble as many as I can!)


The green grass was cut from Smart-Fab. I was lucky to win several rolls of this material on their Facebook page. The letters and cutouts were free from our school supply room.


The Bobbleshop app was free when I found it. They have other versions you can check-out too.My students are in grades K-3rd and we had a lot of fun with this activity.  I could see with older students taking more time and fine tuning the faces to really look like themselves. Or how about taking an actor, cartoon character, etc. and creating them … then posting them and have others guess who.

My therapy goals: (yea I really did have some)

1. following directions

2. turn taking

3. choosing parts and deciding if they were making them look the same or different from their real self

4. understanding vocabulary and concepts- bobble head, giggle, larger, smaller, darker, lighter

5. emotions- eyebrows, eyes and mouth can make different expressions

6. joint attention- it was fun to see the kids help each other and giggle together

7. humor- is it silly or not silly, one of my students just didn’t understand why others were laughing and why it was funny so that was a whole lesson (to be expanded upon)

8. I am going to print off smaller versions and use these as characters in stories, game pieces and whatever else pops into my twisted brain. I’m thinking Mad Lib like on the whiteboard.  I also have items from Think-a-lot that I use to create stories and including these cute characters will add a new twist.

So take this idea and add  your own twist!


1. meester

Yippee Ki Yay!


Maybe this should be titled Yippee Ki YIKES!!! If it’s August then that must mean my summer vacation is galloping away. So I should be fetching me some tissues and fussing. But… I’m not….yet. It’s been a lazy summer with not many projects or routines so I’m looking forward to some structure again. In the meantime my blog has been ignored this summer so I’m getting back on my horse and writing a new post.

I decided to work on my Cowboy/Cowgirl/ Wild West unit. It is only a start but I wanted to share what I have so far. I have more items at school that will be part of this unit so stayed tuned.

I created cards to use for a memory or go fish game.Wild West Lasso game – Print two copies Wild West card backs– print on the backs of the Lasso cards

Another inexpensive resource:  Perkilou cowboy set

Here are some links I lassoed to learn how to talk like a true cowboy/girl: Old West Slang;  Cowboy CodeSlang and Legends

Apps: Here are some apps to make any cowgirl Appy!

US Westward Expansion

Westward Expansion

Little Jake

Talking Cowboy

Oregon Trail



Cowboy Lasso

Cowboy Names

Wrangler Rope

Classic Western Movies

Cowboys and Indians Magazine

Rodeo News

There was a fun Pecos Bill storybook app from Ruckus Media but I do not see it in the app store anymore.

That’s all for now Pardner! It’s time to russell up some grub. More to come later!



LOL or Letting Others Lead or maybe Leaning On Lazy says it best

I had plans…

I had lots of plans…

I thought about lots plans….

So why haven’t I acted on these wonderful plans? Well first motivation went on vacation then diligence kept taking naps so I talked myself into nothing.  In the meantime all the plans floating in my head began to materialize like magic. How can this be I wondered? Did I send telepathic thoughts out? Did I mention it in another blog posting? Hmmm… then I remembered that SLPs are creative and often share the same brain. So the ideas I was going to work on this summer have already been created by others. Oh darn oh shucks pass me another  margarita  tissue. My mottos have always been to share and don’t recreate a new therapy material if it is already out there.

Plan one: to make new cards for my guess who game but guess what there have been others who did this for me!  Check out this one: Speech Room News

Plan two: make cards for my candy land game but here are ones that are already completed: Candy Land Language Cards  and   Candy Land Articulation cards

Plan three-ten: …. I forgot what they were but I’m sure they are brilliant. I’ll just wait until someone else blogs about them. You know it’s nice Letting Others Lead once in a while.

So now that “my plans” are done what is left to do besides sit on the deck, read and enjoy my summer vacation?

So while I am enjoying the day here are some  oldies but goodies that you might not have explored on my blog pages.

Articulation Ideas and Materials

Bulletin Board Ideas

Book Units and Adapted books

Social Skills Materials

I promise to be back with some new ideas once I can find where Motivation is vacationing.  In the meantime here are some fun apps I am playing with this summer in private therapy sessions and on my deck!

Articulation Scenes– great way to practice sounds- here is more information I wrote for Smarty Ears on how I use this app:  Articulation Scenes Ideas

StoryPals– stories with comprehension quizzes plus you can create your own stories

iBernard HD or  iBernard – great for social skills- what is he thinking, what will happen next etc.

Are you BOARD? UNO I am! Plus a giveaway!!!


I love using my iPad and many games are now an app. But I still have all these card and  board games in my speech room. Do I give them away? Do I re-purpose them? Do I toss them? Do I leave them in the cabinet and forget about them?

Since my speech room is small I was given a cabinet to use in another location. It is close but I decided to house my theme unit boxes and some of my games.  The access to these  games is a little tricky since they are stuffed into the “theme cabinet.” I did make a list of the games to help remind me but… I think I need a better system.

I had thought about putting the game boards into picture frames but decided to try some other ideas floating around in my head.  So…I took home some of my games that included a game board or that I could pull out of the cabinet easily.

I put hole reinforcements on the  two corners of the game board that were being drilled.  We left the game boards folded so we were able to drill through two corners at once.  Be sure to drill on a board and not your counter! I was lucky enough to have my husband drill the holes. I think he got nervous when I has asked him where the drill was…LOL. But you can easily do this yourself too.  After drilling I placed hole reinforcers on the front and back of all holes. Now if this is all you want to do you can hang the boards from hooks in your therapy room and store the pieces in small containers. OR you can check out the next options.

FYI: I did not end up drilling holes in the Hi Ho Cherry-O or Chinese Checkers games. They did not have the flat game boards like the other games shown in the  picture above. I’ll come up with something else for them.


I purchased several options to attach to the game boards. The dry eraser sheets and photo magnet sheets were purchased at Office Depot and the felt sheets at JoAnn Fabrics.


Option 1: Dry Erase Sheets

This was super easy- just peel and stick. The sheets can be removed easily. Now here are my ideas for this option.

1. Use as a dry erase board…duh

2. Use as a barrier game- the board bends in half and can be placed horizontally or vertically. You can take turns giving directions on what to draw. You can also use window clings  like the spiderman ones shown and place them on the board and give directions. You can even combine these two ideas; for example- draw a house in the middle- put the black spider on the left side of the house- put  spiderman on the top of the house, etc. Once the directions are completed you can lay the board flat and look at the results side by side.


spiderman window clings

Option 2: Magnetic Sheets

I used 4″x6″ photo sheets but there are larger versions available which I think would be even better to use. These are not as easy to remove and reuse. This could be uses as a barrier game with magnets.

Option 3: Felt

I used felt sheets and a glue stick and double-sided tape. I used the glue stick but I think the double-sided tape would be enough- just be sure to add tape across the middle and along the edges. This is an option for attaching  pictures with felt or velcro backings (the hook part). You could use this to create stories, learn vocabulary, etc.

If you have room you could hang several boards next to each other to create a bulletin board effect. There are calendar dry erase sheets, cork sheets and larger magnetic sheets that would be options to try.

Option 4: Game Savers

While searching for ideas for storing games I came across this site- OBH Enterprises. They have a great product called GameSavers. These are plastic containers that are used to store your game boards and game pieces. The boxes come in three sizes to fit most games created after 1998. The boxes also include stickers to attach to the box for easy identification. I was happy to receive two of the GameSaver boxes to test. So here is my disclaimer: The boxes were given to me for free but my review is based on my own experience.


The larger electric blue GameSaver box is made for games like Monopoly, Life, or Risk etc. It is has a built-in money tray. I was able to put two games in this container- Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders and still close the lid. It measures 16 x 11 x 2.5 inches The game board must smaller than 15.75 x 10.5 x 1/2 inches (double folded rectangular or square boards) and  game pieces cannot be thicker than 2 inches in at least one dimension. This sells for 13.50 on the OBH Enterprise website.

The second box I received was the juicy orange midsize container. This size holds games like Candy Land, Chutes and Ladder, Clue, Stratego, Parcheesi, Charades for Kids, Scrabble, Jigsaw puzzles, Legos and more. It measures 16 x 11 x 1.5 inches. The game board must be smaller than 15.75 x 10.5 x 1/4 inches (Single folded rectangular or square boards) and game pieces cannot be thicker than 1.25 inches in at least one dimension. This one sells for 11.50 on the OBH Enterprise website.  I was able to put two game boards (checkers and Word Trio) and the pieces in this box and close the lid.

The snazzy purple GameSaver box holds games with double folded square boards The board must be smaller than 10.5 x 10.5 x 1/2 inches (Double folded square boards) and game pieces cannot be thicker than 1 inch in at least one dimension. I did not receive this size so my information is based on what can be found on the OBH website. It measures 16 x 11 x 1.5 inches. It can hold games like  Aggravation, Clue Jr., Charades for kids, Dora the Explorer, Family Feud, Monopoly Jr., Parcheesi, Scrabble Jr., Sorry, Scene-It DVD, Trivial Pursuit DVD and more. This sells for 11.50 on the OBH Enterprise website.

I  found these boxes to be light weight, stack and store easily. It was easy to recycle bent and broken boxes and replace them with these GameSaver boxes.  The GameSaver boxes come with one label per game.  There are times I store my boxes the long way and times I store them the short way. So the only thing I added was an extra label on one side of the box. Now I have lots of options on ways to store my games. I will hang a couple on hooks but I can still store the pieces in my GameSaver boxes. I will store others in the GameSaver boxes. One of the great things about these boxes is they are the same length and width which helps a lot when storing goes together. No more trying to stack game boxes of different sizes that just never fit together and can become an annoying puzzle to figure out which piece goes where. It looks like I will be ordering more of these once I get back to school and dig out the rest of my games.  FYI my Hi Ho Cherriy-O and Chinese Checkers games did not fit into the GameSavers containers. So be sure to read the will my games fit on the companies web page. The company also makes a product called BeachPack which can be  viewed on their website.


I have a 25.o0 gift certificate to buy products on the  OBH Enterprise website. 

Enter now through 7/13/12  by clicking on this link to enter:  Rafflecopter giveaway

The gift certificate will be mailed to the winner.

Please! No more ideas… really… I’m going to lose my marbles! ;)

I may be in the minority but please don’t post anymore ideas on Facebook, Linkedin, newsetters or your blogs. I am over run with too many ideas. Don’t even mention Pinterest!! I put my blog posts on there but I don’t dare to look around at any other pins or boards. Being an SLP for 35 years I have lots of materials and resources so I don’t need anymore…really … I’m serious….this time… 😉


My school year is ending on June 8th. I am starting to mentally pack up my room and I’ve already run out of nooks and crannies. How can I store it all? Yes my iPad is wonderful and has a wealth of apps that work great in my sessions. BUT…I have a lot of other great stuff too. I’ve talked about downsizing in past posts but I still have many things (ok maybe TOO many) that I want to keep. I promise I will use them…pinkie swear.  In the meantime I will do my best to organize, pack  up and get ready for summer break.

So what do I plan to do this summer?

1. Relax

2. Play and explore with my grand-daughter – who is now 6

3. Work in private therapy

4. Write blog posts and articles for Smarty Ears Therapy Corner

5. Share more therapy materials/ ideas on my blog

6. Maybe even start a Facebook page for my blog… I’ve been encouraged to do this but what should the page be called??? Send me your ideas!

7. Think about next year …a little

8. Oh dare I say it explore Pinterest…maybe…. ok I probably will

In the meantime I packed away my Ocean theme from my last blog post and my room is looking a little bare. The kids are complaining. Wait… I did leave the sand pail with the liquid water beads out…hmmm. Ok a couple more ideas but I’ll try to make these easy and disposable.

So since I mentioned losing my marbles here is what I plan to do with  them!

Water Beads or Liquid MarblesI have found mine at dollar stores. They have only had the clear ones but they do come in colors.  I use these in sensory tubs or in this case a sand pail. For the last week of school here is how I will use it before I “lose my marbles.”

a. Just play with them- they feel wet and the squeals from the kids are so cute!  We can include a few adjectives to describe them for a language goal.

b. Add items and try to find them (without looking) – paper clips, hard marble, dice, any small trinket. Language twist: talk about the sizes and shapes; Articulation twist: use small laminated words or cards instead of trinkets; Fluency- create a sentence for the trinket or card with easy speech.

c. Add plastic letters or numbers- Pull out an M think of words or summer things that start with M- Pull out a 4 and think of  4 words or sentences using your sound(s) or draw 4 articulation cards or draw 4 vocabulary cards

d. Put a few outside in the sun and make predictions on what might happen to them… I don’t know but my guess is I will be finding out one of these sunny days!

e. Brainstorm a list or find pictures of other things that fill up with water…. pool, water balloon, etc.

There you now have five ideas to use until the end of the school year!

Enjoy and then to downsize just ..

1. Put all the trinkets you used back in your desk where you probably found them in the first place

2. Put the articulation  and vocabulary cards back into their boxes (or if you used ones on an app in your iPad just close it!)

3. Return the plastic letters and numbers to the teacher you borrowed them from

$. Toss the liquid marbles or put them in baggies and send them home with kids…nice surprise… maybe! Or use them at home in vases for fresh cut flowers.

4. Save the sand pail and take it home – you can use it as intended but I see a slushy drink with a little paper umbrella added to mine!


Last Summer Fun!

Can you SEA me now?

We have been swimming in the ocean in my speech room. Well at least figuratively. All the kindergarten classrooms have an ocean unit so I knew it was a perfect time to dive into my ocean theme boxes. It has been fun opening the boxes and rediscovering games, books and more. Honestly I am finding by “themeing” my materials I am using them more effectively.

My kids had been so excited about our Pirate Unit that when I took it down they were very sad. Then they asked if I was going to put them on my board again just like in our pirate ship. So this is what I came up with… I used the app I’m in! Traveling. This is a free app but to get the all the scenes it costs 1.99 which I needed for the beach scenes. I took their pictures and added them into the app. Check it out below!

Don’t you just love the parachutist’s face! I did not ask him to make that face but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to do something special with it. I found a parachute picture and glued his face onto it. The can you sea me now  board was created using brown paper for the beach, blue for water, yellow for sky and an orange circle for the sun. I used the I’m in! Traveling app and cut out out the pictures to glue on the “sea board.”  This time I did not add all my students but so far no one is complaining!

I used the beach cut outs on the bottom of my door to work on describing. One student chooses an item with “their eyes” and then gave two clues before the others could guess. You can download the pictures here: Ocean Pictures

Games we played:  I am including links to Amazon (if available) but most of these I purchased elsewhere.

1. Splash! This game is fun play the rules but I never stop there. The toy dolphins included in the game we’re a fun tool to use with my students. After learning Dolphin facts we could have our toy dolphins act them out.

2. I created another He/She board like I did for the pirate unit but this time using the beach theme. You can download it here: ocean he -she

3. I created an Ocean Bingo game using Custom Boards. You need to print out each bingo card. Print one extra card to cut apart and use as the calling cards.You can download it here: Bingo A   Bingo B   Bingo C   Bingo D   Bingo E   Bingo F   Bingo G

4. There are some fun and inexpensive ocean/beach materials at Perkilou Products  that we used- Ocean Adventure, Beach Barrier Game

5. Piranha Panic is a game that I picked up at a thrift store and had proven to be a favorite.

6. Splash Attack is a fast paced game and relies on quick visual discrimination.

7. Spongebob Squarepants Splash n Roll Game– who doesn’t like Spongebob!

8. Curious George Beach Game

9.  This was a great tool to work on as a team. I had the students ask their partner for the pieces they needed. ” I need a small yellow rectangle.”

10. Finding Nemo Storytelling Game

Create an Ocean in a Bag:

This is an activity I did last year and repeated again this year with my site based autism classrooms.  I found all the materials at the dollar store. The sand was different this year and  made more of a mess. I liked the gravel like sand I used in the past but it was not there this year. I’m sure you can look around and find lots of options for your bag! I first used  my iPad to look at an Ocean Video.  We talked about what we find in an ocean and then created our own ocean in a baggie! Here is the visual I used: Ocean in a Bag

If you would like to see another great idea for an ocean in a bag check out Jenna’s post at her Speech Room News blog!

My Room-

This time I bought a large ocean mural from a dollar store and cut it in half. I put the whale on my wall and the undersea half on my white board.

The green sand pail has liquid marbles inside. I bought ocean erasers and put one set inside the pail. The kids take turns trying to find matches by touch or sometimes we just pull one out and talk about the sea creature. The erasers and liquid marbles are both from the dollar store. We used the large conch shells to listen to the ocean (a great way to get it really quiet for a minute!).

Apps – here are some of the ocean apps we splashed in!

My Ocean Friend ( iPhone)   My Ocean Friend ( iPad)

To the Sea (iPhone)    To the Sea (iPad)

Ocean Animals for kids (universal)

Oliva the Octopus (universal)

Hit the Beach (iPad)

Tiny Ocean (universal)

Lettermen go the seaside (universal)

Splish Splash Inn   Splish Splash Inn HD

Learn Sharks Now (universal)

Fisherman and the Goldfish   Fisherman and the Goldfish lite

Sunny Bunnies   Sunny Bunnies HD

Scott’s Submarine (universal)

Josh and Emma go to the beach (iPad)

Candy Fish (iPad)

Sandcastle Maker (universal)

Jellyfish Jam- free (iPad)

Fraise Puzzle (universal)

Little sub abc learn to spell (iPad)

Deep Sea Submarine HD  Deep Sea Submarine (universal)

Lalla Funny Stickers Sea World (universal)

iDraw Ocean

Little Mermaid’s Surprise (universal)

Mermaid dress up – lite

Mermaid Sticker HD

Ocean Sticker book

Shape Collage – this is what I used to create the images at the top and bottom of this post

Now it’s your turn to add your own twist!


Fairy dust and wishes

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on March 29, 2012
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Fairy Dogmother (alias Miki at Halloween)

Some of my kids made Fairy Traps the week before our Spring Break. We hung them from the speech room ceiling in hopes that fairies would be there when we returned. I hoped the glitter would have been vacuumed up by then!

Here’s what I usedmost items were found at the dollar store, my school supply room or my house.

  • Small clear containers (dollar store)
  • glitter & glue (school)
  • small glittery pompoms (dollar store)
  • glittery pipe-cleaners (dollar store)
  • glass jewels (dollar store)
  • small buttons (my house) I don’t think the picture below shows the buttons
  • gold rings & ribbon (dollar store- wedding section)
  • flowers (dollar store, my house)
  • clip butterflies (dollar store)

How we did it:

1. First I used scissors to punch a hole through the container lid.  I wrote each student’s name on the lid. We talked about fairies needing air to breath and a spot to enter the trap.

2.  I put some glue around the sides and bottom of the container. The kids chose the glitter color and I put some in and capped the container. They shook it up and oooed and ahhed.

3.  They chose what to put into the containers. (The glitter pipe-cleaners were cut into fairy sizes.) We talked about how much room they should leave for the fairy to be comfortable.

4. I used scissors to push the yarn through the lid’s hole and tied a knot on the inside. I tied a loop on the other end to hang the trap.

5. The students came up with the idea to add the butterflies, flowers and glitter pipe-cleaners to the yarn. We talked about how this might help attract the fairies.

6. I hung them from the ceiling and now we are waiting and waiting and waiting until we get back from spring break in April!   I even changed my door for this adventure!  Click here for a copy of my door sign. One of the first graders asked his teacher if the wings on my door were “real fairy wings.”


We also made a larger Fairy Trap

I used a Voss Glass Water bottle that I found left in a closet at home. The kids helped design what should go into this.  We added moss (dollar store), birch bark (the woods) and the same items that were in the tiny fairy traps. Before we left for spring break we took the cap off and added a sugar cube (fairy food).

The Plan…

Notes from the fairies will be tied to each fairy trap.  I found these at Michael’s in their dollar section. I think they will be perfect. They measure 2.5 x 2.5 inches- just right for a fairy to write on and not too small for the kids to read them.

The fairies did not forget  those on my caseload who did not get to make fairy traps. They will leave the same note and a jewel (glass stones we used in the traps).

This is the note that will be inside the cards. I typed them using Katy Berry font and then cut them out with a decorative edging scissors and glued them into the cards. Of course the fairies also glued a little glitter! These will be tied to their fairy traps. If you would like to use this same note here is a PDF copy.  Inside our big fairy  trap I wrapped the sugar cube in a gauzy fabric (not shown in the photo above) and tied it with a ribbon so it hangs like the ring in the picture.  When the kids return I will have another gauzy fabric wrapped around a battery tea-light  to be the fairy. If the tea-light is too big then I will use one of the small fairy trap containers and put a glow stick goo inside (see below for directions). I’m thinking this may need to be the option.  This too will be tied with a ribbon so I can change it out if our fairy starts to fade. I will have her stay long enough for the kids to give her a name. She too will leave a note (& fairy dust) thanking them for protecting her.




UPDATE- I just found these LED lights at Michaels- 1.99 for a pack of 2 white blinking lights. There are also packs of 10 for 19.99. I already had the colored finger lights that we use to spot cards and objects in the speech room. I decided to but another pack of 3 for 2.00 (also at Michaels). Now the fairy will be able to change colors before she leaves us! Sweet! I will use an artificial flower instead of the gauzy material and place the light inside. The flower will be closed up and the fairy light will shine through. 

Other options you may want to try:

1. There are solar-powered fairy jars. While these are pretty they are also expensive – check them out at Amazon.

3. You could copy the idea above by using a recycled jar and battery lights. Just paint the outside of the jar with translucent paint or glass paint- you could even put it on the inside and shake it around. OR you could tear tissue paper and glue it around the jar. Then pop in your battery powered light and a fairy is born.

2. A fun way to make an inexpensive fairy in a jar- DIRECTIONS: A. Cut a glow stick and shake the contents into a jar. Add diamond glitter (if you wish) B. Seal the top with a lid. C. Shake- this will last as long as the goo from the glow stick glows. You can mix glow stick colors too.  There are numerous posts online about these so take a look.

I do believe in fairies because…  I lost an earring and did not notice it until I had gotten home. It had been a Christmas gift from one of my sons so I was feeling sad. I came to work the next day and it was on my table. I thanked our custodian for finding it before it had disappeared into his vacuum cleaner. He said he had not been the one to find it. So I am sure the fairies really did leave it for me! The kids were very excited about this story and wanted details on what the fairy looked like. We can only imagine!

 If you missed my last post that started this fairy theme check it out here.

FYI- You can sign up to have my posts magically delivered to your e-mail! Also be sure to check out all links for websites, materials listed on the right side of my posts. Lots of fun stuff out there!

Q is for Quetzal

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on February 16, 2012
Tags: , , , ,

Imagination is a fun way to interact with kids. They bring so much wonderment to the lessons. Here is one way I have tried to capture this in a classroom  lesson.

The schools I have worked in often introduce a letter each week in Kindergarten. It makes it easy for me to plan my lessons around the letter of the week. In the past I created  lessons that used the letter and introduced an animal. I love doing this as a whole classroom lesson in the kindergarten rooms and it can be done in 30 minutes.  This activity introduced lots of vocabulary, comparing/contrasting, listening skills and problem solving skills.  This is the outline/script I usually followed:


1. What is the letter this week? Q!!

2. Who can think of any words that start with Q? queen, quick, etc.

3. Who can think of a creature/animal that starts with Q? not too many for this one!

4. If the animal was not guessed then I would give clues. It can fly, etc. I picked animals with two thoughts in mind- 1. a Minnesota animal  or 2. an animal that was unique or not as familiar and if I could find information about the creature

5. I would have books (from the school library), pictures, etc. and we would learn facts about the creature and where it lived.  We looked on the globe or map to find its habitat. Now the information could be displayed right on my iPad.

6.  I would choose 2-3 students to be the creature. They first came in front and stated one fact about the creature- “it eats frogs” etc.  The “creatures” would hide around the room and act out the fact they had stated.  I would use animal noses or other props that fit the creature. It could even be deciding what in the room would make a good nest.

7. The class would decide how we could travel to visit the creature- plane, train, boat, walk, drive, etc. We would pack our backpacks with our supplies which were dependent on where we were headed.  We might need sunscreen, sunglasses, rain coats, etc. We ALWAYS packed our cameras and binoculars. Now we can take real pictures on my iPad, iPhone or iTouch.  This app would be a fun way to make an ABC book for our creatures: ABC Spy

8. After “flying” to our destination we had guides to lead us on our safari. If there were 3 creatures hiding then we had 3 guides. We all followed in a line behind our guides as we traveled around the classroom and when the creature was spotted the guide would point. The cameras went wild but the voices were always quiet. We did not want to disturb our creatures!

9.  We “flew” home and sat in our kindergarten spots. I had reporters come to the front of the group to “show” the picture or “video” they had taken. They each talked about what the creature was doing. We all put our photos into our “photo books.”

10. I always sent home a page that talked about our creature so they could continue the safari with their families. This is the one for: Quetzal

So what adventure do you have planned?