Thursday, October 27, 2016

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy

There are monsters in my speech therapy room.

I'm ready for Halloween in my speech therapy room, with bats and ghosts and pumpkins galore. But this week, the monsters moved in.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com

Monsters have been here before, helping us to learn prepositions, concepts and telling us stories. But this time the monster was big and green and had sharp teeth. He came in when we read a favorite storybook of mine, Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly.

Go Away, Big Green Monster is great for Halloween speech therapy.

I read Go Away, Big Green Monster to my preschool and kindergarten students every year.  I try to read it at Halloween because of the fun monster theme, but it's a great story for any time of year. It does not mention Halloween, so it could be appropriate for those settings where Halloween activities are not encouraged.

The monster theme helps children face their fears. 

When you use not-too-scary monsters it's really fun. Every child has had fears, and monsters are a way for children to express and their fears and face them. With this book, they can even make them disappear!

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The story begins by telling us the Big Green Monster has two big yellow eyes.

Spooky right? As you turn the pages, more parts appear. 


Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comGo Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com

The pages are die-cut, and you can see the layers below, giving the monster a feeling of depth. The simple, bold illustrations are colorful and eye-catching. This story features repetitive text, which is perfect to encourage the children to participate in "reading" with me and re-telling the story.

This is a great story for working on body parts and adjectives.

The monster adds eyes, mouth, teeth, nose, ears, face and hair as you turn the pages. He looks scarier as you go. The body parts have wonderful descriptions, creating an opportunity to work on adjectives: big, long, sharp, squiggly, scraggly.


Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comThese monster puppets are perfect for following up the story later. I have my children request the body parts to make their puppets.

I snagged this set at a garage sale, and have not been able to find another. However, if you are interested in a build-a-monster puppet set, Melissa and Doug have one, available on several sites. (I do not receive any compensation for providing this link, and have no relationship with Melissa and Doug. I simply want to point out that similar sets are available.)

You can see it HERE.



Use the "I'm wondering" strategy

Make comments and ask questions as you read.  Use the "I'm wondering" strategy to make a comment, and children will be anxious to participate and enlighten you. "Oooh, I'm wondering how those teeth feel. Sharp?  I think you're right. What else can we think of that's sharp? What do you think scraggly means?"

We also talk about feelings when we read this book. Is the green face scary? What else is scary? Are spiders scary? Are bunny rabbits scary?


Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comPractice expanding sentences and articulation of velar /g/ with the repetitive text.


After the monster has fully appeared, children can practice telling him to "go away" on each page. It gives them a wonderful feeling of control and empowerment to tell that monster to leave, they love this part!

The phrase "Go away...." repeats, offering multiple opportunities to use initial /g/. Each page describes a body part, encouraging children to use 5-word sentences to re-tell the story. "Go away, sharp white teeth."



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Children love re-telling the monster story.

I have used several ways to work on narratives with this story. We use these magnet board pieces while we read. They also make a great center activity when placed on a cookie sheet.

You can find these free printable storybook pieces at KizClub HERE.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com


Last year I found this cute puppet with velcroed pieces at Lakeshore

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com


If you don't have the budget for that, you may want to make this simple set from a few pieces of felt. It was pretty easy and inexpensive.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com

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Art offers plenty of opportunities for requesting and sentence construction. 


 We have tried several projects, here are two of my favorites.

Make a construction paper Big Green Monster.



The first one simply requires glue and construction paper. I pre-cut the body parts and put them in the bags. The children have to request what they need. I don't limit them to the colors in the book- let them be creative! Pinking shears make great scraggly hair, and a hole punch will make lots of little black circles for the pupils in the eyes, or just draw them on.

Try painting with this monster project.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comIf you are a little braver, get black construction paper, brushes, and tempera paints. 
1.Cut out eyes, ears, noses, mouths and teeth to add to your painting. 
2. Fold a large piece of paper in half. 
3. Have the children generously paint one side of the paper. We use green, purple and blue. 
4. Fold the paper in half again, with the paint on the inside. Press the whole surface of the paper.
5. Now open it up. You will have two sides. Symmetry anyone? 
6. Add the paper body parts with a bit of white glue to the painted face... you can do this while it's wet. 

I love seeing how each creation is different, and that is another great topic of conversation. 

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Go Away Big Green Monster Book Companion


I'm excited to share my new book companion for this wonderful story. I wanted additional opportunities to target speech and language, so I created some these monstrously fun activities. Take a peek!

Work on final s-blends and syntax.

 There are round cards for final /ps/, /ts/ and /ks/. Put the silly items in the monster's tummy, and say the sentence.

My children loved this activity today. You will also work on plurals, third person singular and irregular past tense "ate" with these hungry monsters.



Practice articulation and sorting by categories.

There are colorful cards for articulation of initial /m/ and initial and final /g/. The cards double as a category sorting opportunity with this mat.


Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com


Say the sentence as you smash the dough

Expand sentences and practice articulation at the sentence level, as you smash the balls of dough on these smash mats. This was a big hit in my room. (no pun intended)

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com

Wh questions, Yes/ no questions, story comprehension, object function and prepositional concepts and an open-ended game too. 

I really like to have a wide variety of activities and targets in my packs, so that I can pull one... and done. It's so much easier to pull a single pack for the day, rather than searching for multiple activities to meet your caseload's needs.

You'll find cards for many targets. You can use them as you play Chomp! This is a fun open-ended spinner game. Use candy corn for teeth, or the included "teeth" to place on the squares in the monster's mouth. Be the first to collect a mouthful of teeth. Hope he doesn't bite!  

Have a monstrously good time.

  I hope you enjoy a few spooky activities with your children this fall. I would love to hear about your favorite monster or other seasonal activities.

Until next time!



Sunday, October 23, 2016

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier.

Team relationships are critical for SLPs (and everyone else) at work.  

The Frenzied SLPs are talking about team-building this week, and I am linking up with them on this important topic.


SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier. www.speechsproutstherapy.com
How SLPs Can Build Awesome Team Relationships


You see your co-workers every day, often more than your best friends and family. These are people that can make your work life happier and easier if you build great relationships. A rocky relationship can make you dread going to work, feeling grouchy and alone.

What are the keys to successful team relationships when you are the supervisor? 

This year I have added a speech pathology assistant and a paraprofessional to my team. I am happy to say, it's going great. These tips are also valuable for many other team relationships as well. Here's what works for us.


Offer respect and acknowledgment.

Everyone wants to feel their contributions are valued. I think this is the most important of all.  Let your co-worker know when you appreciate something they have done. Acknowledge their ideas, and encourage them to run with them if it fits with what you need to accomplish. You have great ideas, I bet they do too.

You will likely be amazed at how fresh ideas perk things up in your therapy room, and your co-workers will get to take pride and feel invested in your activities and practice. My para suggested we paint pumpkins with our preschoolers and it went beautifully with targeting initial /p/ and language skills.

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your work life easier and happier.  www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Painting Pumpkins for Initial /p/

Be clear about expectations and duties.

Talk about it, better yet write it out at the beginning. This can avoid misunderstandings and hard feelings. No-one wants to be "called out" on something they weren't clear on.


Explain what you are trying to accomplish, and why. 

It can be frustrating and confusing to be asked to do certain things when you don't understand the end goal or big picture. We need to feel invested in a worthy goal to give our best, be cooperative and be cheerful about it! I like to explain the "why" when I give a task or direction to my co-workers.

Why is it super important for my student with apraxia to repeat a stimulus word 25 times? Give a mini-explanation of block practice and motor-learning theory. (See more about CAS HERE). Why do I speak in such direct, short sentences to my non-verbal student with autism, when I give directives? Why should your co-worker  talk less and show more too? A brief overview of language processing difficulties can help with understanding and carry-over of this strategy.

Pitch in and help.

Everyone needs a hand sometimes.

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier. www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Articulation Cards for Go Away Green Monster Book Companion

I know our plates are overflowing, but a few minutes of offering to help can go a long way toward team-building. When you pitch in and help occasionally, your co-workers see that feel you are in this together and are not placing yourself "higher" than they are in respect. I'll bet they will be more likely to cheerfully go that extra mile for you when you need it. 

Get to know each other as a person. 

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier. www.speechsproutstherapy.comWhat does your co-worker enjoy? What are they proud of? Ask about their family. People will respond much better to you if they feel you really "see" them as a person and are interested on a personal level. It builds trust and you will likely enjoy your time together much more too!

Be sure to check out more great posts on this topic by my blogger buddies in the Frenzied SLPs. 

Just click the links below.






Until next time!