Monday, August 27, 2012

Sentence Obstacle Course

This year, I've been working on incorporating more movement into my therapy sessions.  First, because it makes therapy more fun.  Second, because I'm hoping the combination of movement with drill work will improve memory and carryover of the skills we are teaching.

Which brings me to my favorite activity of the week: Sentence Obstacle Course.  It definitely needs a better name. 

My first thought was to use directions (forward and back) to help teach the concept of future and past tense.  So the students go through the obstacle course normally to say a sentence like "He is going home."  And they go backward through the course to say, "He was going home."

Here's how we've addressed it in therapy:

1.  Regular/Irregular Verb tenses.  Set up one part of a balance beam, piece of tape or obstacle for the child to jump over.  Have the child state the present tense form when jumping forward and the past tense when moving backwards. 
You can also set up a row of 5 pieces of tape placed horizontally to each other to get more drill practice.  As the child is moving forward they say (word/sentence level) the present tense form.  (ex. driving, driving, driving, driving, driving.)  then they go backwards and practice the past tense.  drove, drove, drove, drove, drove.) 

2.  Auxiliary +ing forms.   Set up balance beams, pieces of tape or obstacles for the child to climb over.  Depending on their level, I may start with an obstacle for each word.  As they get better, I may decrease the number and lump into: Subject verb predicate.

Here is how we had it set up last week:

I used three different colors with the is + walking the same color to teach that this goes with the verb.  Other ideas for basic sentences:
  • Coordinate with some of the great resources available on Teachers pay teachers or the free therapy blogs.  Last week we used the Grammar Gumballs download Jenna Rayburn (Speechroom news) had on her TPT store.  You can find that here:   Grammar Sweets  I had IS/ARE taped up in the front of the room and WAS/WERE taped up at the back of the room.  They walked forward to put a gumball in the IS/ARE bucket and backward to put it in the WAS/WERE.
  • Coordinate colors/colored tape with the colors used in the Rainbow Sentences App.  
  • To expand sentences, practice a base sentence for a few turns, then add another obstacle (Now we have to describe the boy...)
3.  Compound Sentences:
2 sets of sentences with Balance beam in between.  The child says the first sentence, walks across the balance beam and walks back saying the next sentence.  If possible color coordinating the nouns/verbs.

4.  Complex Sentences:
4 pieces (I used pool noodles I got at the Dollar store), balance beam, pillows to crash into.  I do this in our OT gym.  The students say their regular sentence, then the reason: as they are walking across the balance beam.  As a fun reinforcer they can jump from the beam into the pillows for the last part.

I think that there are lots of ways to get this to work in therapy. How would you use this in your therapy room? 

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