Thursday, May 29, 2014

Favorite Therapy Item Thursday Guest Post by Abby From Schoolhouse Talk: Lego & Duplo Blocks



We are super happy to have Abby Goldenstein from Schoolhouse Talk guest post today. We love her detailed and friendly reminder of how useful building blocks are when doing speech therapy.  This post provides some awesome tips!  Abby is a school-based speech-language pathologist that is always busy making awesome therapy materials and contributing to her great blog, Schoolhouse Talk!  In fact, she has 53 documents over at her Teachers Pay Teachers store right now.  We highly suggest that you check them out by following this link: Schoolhouse Talk at TpT.
Thank you so much for contributing to our Favorite Therapy Item post, Abby, and have a good end to your school year and a very happy summer!  
Sincerely,
Manda & Shanda


Big props to Shanda and Manda for allowing me to guest post for them today! Those two girls have wonderfully creative ideas, so I am thrilled to add to the mix.

With our hectic school schedules, sometimes we have to provide therapy "on the fly". I was thinking last week about my therapy sessions, and I found myself going back to Lego/Duplo blocks again and again as my go-to "grab and go" therapy item. My current assignment is working with early intervention (birth to 3) as well as preschool-aged children, and these little blocks of joy are perfect for bringing communication opportunities and fun to our time together.


What can I target with Lego/Duplo blocks?

You can target so, so much with building blocks! Here's a sampling of what I've done with them:

*Basic Concepts: talk about the colors of the blocks; the number of "bumps" they have; discuss the attributes of the blocks (long, short, skinny, large, etc.); build different shapes or letters out of the blocks; talk about which blocks they need first, next, and last
 
*Emerging Language Skills: Legos provide the perfect opportunity for students to practice requests: more, block please, my turn, more blue, I'm all done, etc.

*Turn-Taking and Pronouns: Some of my preschoolers have a behavior goal for turn-taking. Building blocks are also perfect practice for this as you work together to build a masterpiece. We also get tons of opportunities to practice pronouns: my turn, your turn, we go at the same time, his turn, you do it, I need help, etc.



*Prepositions: up, down, around, bottom, top, inside, through, first, last - they're all covered here!

*Following Directions: You can instruct your kiddos how to build something with the blocks, or have them practice telling each other directions. Since the building pieces are different colors and shapes, it's perfect for adding describing words to your sentences: "Put the long red piece on top of the short purple piece." You can also download building plans such as this one online. Instead of printing them off, I just display them on my laptop or iPad for students to reference.

*Articulation: I have my articulation students practice their target sounds a designated number of times before they can earn more blocks to use. I've also attached their target pictures to the blocks and had them practice as they build. (By the way, this adhesive is such a time and money saver for temporarily attaching pictures! So much better than Velcro!)


Another favorite Lego activity of mine is the Lego Read & Build kits. These neat little activities come with a book and all the Legos you need for building the characters inside the book.


I have this farm set, but there are also caterpillar, fairy tale, jungle, and vehicles sets that I've seen. They are great for little ones and the pages show them exactly how to assemble each item. These are great for traveling SLPs because they are compact and contain only the specific blocks you need for that book.


Finally, if I don't want to lug around a set of Lego blocks as I travel from site to site, I always can count on the Lego Juniors Create & Cruise app to help me out. It is a wonderful and FREE app that I recommend to all the parents and teachers I work with. Students get to build their own Lego car (great for targeting language goals as they describe the car they want to build!), and then drive it while they earn additional game pieces! This one is a must-have app and it is definitely a favorite of all my students :)

Thanks so much for reading! I hope I've inspired you to "build" some fun into your therapy sessions!

Abby
Schoolhouse Talk!

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