Fall Fun in the Speech Room!

Apple-Farmer-Annie

This week in speech we read “Apple Farmer Annie!” This colorful story by Monica Wellington depicts the process of apple farming in simple, kid friendly language.  The story follows Annie as she picks her apples, makes treats with them (pie, muffins, apple cider) and then sells them at the farmers market. Lately I have been emphasizing gross motor movement and real-life connections with my kids. I like to get them up and moving and acting out stories, since it tends to help make the language more meaningful. So this week, I quickly made some props to re-create  this story in my teeny tiny speech room. Here they are!

Felt Apple Orchard

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Students took turns picking apples. from my felt “apple trees”. We used  these to address a multitude of goals including:

  • Turn taking
  • Following directions (“Pick two red apples and one green one!”)
  • Spatial concepts (Top Bottom, Middle)
  • Vocabulary (Apple, Stem, Leaf, Trunk, Orchard)
  • Fine Motor Skills (the Velcro was surprisingly strong, so little fingers really had to work to pull them off)

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Okay this was seriously a hit. After the students picked their apples, they were able to take turns selling products at the “apple stand.” Here is what I used for my apple stand (most SLP’s I know have a box of pretend kitchen items…so use what you have!):

  • Decorative Apples…I think they were from Wal-Mart or Target ( freshly picked from my felt apple trees of course)
  • Teacups ( for “apple cider”)
  • Toy pots from my pretend food kit ( for “apple pie”)
  • Cupcake liners ( for “apple muffins”)

When students were “selling apples” they practiced:

  • Following directions
  • Number concepts
  • Social language (“Hi how are you?” “What do you want to buy?” “Thank you!”)

When students were “buying apples” they practiced:

  • Verbal requests
  • Expanded sentences (“I want three green apples and one cup of apple cider.”)
  • Social language (“How much is this?”, “Thank you!” “Have a nice day!”)

I find that when I use play-based activities that encourage movement and imagination, not only do I get great language out of my students, but I also have very few behavior problems. Playing and pretending are a a “child’s work,” and unlike some adults I know… their work makes them happy! Happy kids are engaged kids, and kids who are engaged are LEARNING! So I challenge you to stretch your imaginations this week and make a story come to life!

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