Thursday, October 1, 2015

Growing Vegetable Soup Thematic Unit!

As the weather has been cooling off, I've started my thematic unit that goes with the book Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert.

I've created TWO activities that pair amazingly well with this book. The first one is my Articulation Soup Activity!

The activity is so simple, but the kids LOVE it! Simply cut out the cards and laminate them for durability. I have the students draw a card from their pile (which I have pre-sorted by target sounds). They say the word and then add their "ingredient" to the bowl. 
When we get several cards in there, we stir up our vegetable soup. It cooks and cooks until it's ready to eat! In the meantime, we keep practicing our sounds by labeling the target words we see floating around in our soup! :) 

If you have some play food, you can add it to the bowl, too.

After it's done "cooking," I have the kids add some cards to their individual bowl - saying the words again as they do so. Then they can pretend to eat their "vegetable soup." I love activities that combine articulation therapy and some imaginative play! You can check the activity out here!

And, since I love a good thematic unit, I created a Growing Vegetable Soup Language Packet, which can be found in my teacherspayteachers store, to go along with the book. You can find it here.

Many of my little students are working on basic descriptive concepts. This packet contains a set of flashcards that target big/little, long/short, and color concepts.

This packet also contains vegetable picture cards that include the vegetables in various sizes and colors.

We used these to practice following directions that contained various concepts. For example, "put the red pepper in the bowl" or "put the big potato in the bowl." You can see from the pictures throughout this post that I had two different colored bowls - blue and pink. I could also ask students to do things like: "Put the carrot in the PINK bowl." I chose those two colors because there were no vegetables in the set that were blue or pink. You could bring in several different colors if you wanted and mix them up from day to day to target different colors. (This packet does include a pink and a blue bowl graphic - you could have the students place the cards on the bowl instead of using real bowls.)

We also used the picture cards for following directions with multiple components - "put the potato AND the carrot in the bowl." And multiple step directions - "put the potato in the bowl. Then put in the carrot. Stir it up." The packet includes lists of directions for concepts (could also be 1-step), multiple components (2 or 3 components), 2-step, and 3-step directions. Of course, there are a TON of different directions you can use depending on your student needs and item available. The lists include 15-35 items to give you some ideas!

There are also "recipe cards" to help kids follow directions in sequences. Here is an example of one:
I would read the cards to the students before we started. The pictures make it a little bit easier for my little ones to follow along with the steps. These cards each have 4 directions on them. But the real target skill for these cards is quantity concepts. They target: couple, few, some, all, a, one, and two. You'll need to print out a few sets of the vegetable symbols to use with these cards.

The packet also contains Venn Diagrams for my students that are working on expressing descriptive concepts. I simply popped them in a page protector and we filled them in with a dry erase marker.

Many of my students also struggle with the various "wh" question types. The packet includes an activity to target "where" questions. Ask the students "where" certain vegetables/fruits would grow - on a tree, on a plant, or underground. There are visuals for these places and the students can place the fruit/vegetable symbols on the correct place.

The packet also includes a yes/no questions activity - complete with visual aids, a sorting mat, and a data sheet!

 And, of course, no language packet would be complete without a categorization activity! So many of my students struggle with this! This activity requires students to make different kinds of soups - a dairy soup, a fruit soup, a vegetable soup, a snack soup, a meat soup, a dessert soup, and a drink soup. Have the students sort the picture cards on to the correct bowl to make their soup.

For more advanced students, there is also a set of category flashcards/worksheets targeting the same categories.

Another area a lot of my students seem to struggle with is pronouns - so I included an activity for that in this packet as well. You'll need to print out a set of the vegetable symbol cards and a set of the "people pages." I included a quick list of statements that contain various pronouns - they are sorted by subjective, objective, and possessive - and a vegetable type. The list is just to give you some ideas - the opportunities are endless. For example, "He is picking tomatoes." The student would then have to put the tomato card on the picture of the boy.

You can give them the appropriate vegetable card before they start or you can have them find the correct vegetable to practice their vocabulary skills. There are 6 statement sheets that look like this:
It makes it super easy to keep data and allows you to see exactly what pronouns they are struggling with. There is also a blank version for you to write in your own pronoun statements to target - super simple for data collection AND customizable therapy!  The blank data sheet could be used for directions, categories - anything really!

My Kindergarten friends happened to be working on learning the parts of plants around the same time I was using this unit. I added a plant parts worksheet to reinforce what they were learning in the classroom.

I also had a few students that were working on sequencing, so I made a couple worksheets for that as well. There is one for sequencing plant growth and for making vegetable soup.

You can use Boardmaker to create sequencing strips as well. Unfortunately, I cannot include the Boardmaker strips I made due to copyright! :( Here is what I did using Boardmaker, though. That way you can recreate it if you have Boardmaker available to you! I made one long sequencing strip for the entire book. This was used to help some of my students follow along as I read the book. They could clearly see what step we were on and how many more steps we had to complete. For more very advanced students, they could practice retelling the story using the entire strip.
I also created a 5-step strip, which we used to sequence plant growth, growing vegetables to eat, and making soup.

And, last but not least, this packet also includes a vegetable soup themed board game. The board game is completely generic, so it can be paired with any flashcards or worksheets you already have to allow EVERY student on your caseload to participate in the vegetable soup themed activities. 

I'm lucky enough to have a wide variety of play food available to me - some bought, some borrowed. I have access to big/little pairs that I can use to reinforce these concepts using objects. We also used our play food for a variety of activities. Here are a few:
 1.) Possessive pronouns "mine," "your(s)," "his/hers": I gave each student a few vegetables, as well as myself. I went around the circle, giving each student a direction. "Put YOUR potato in the pot." "Give ME YOUR tomato." "Give HIM MY onion." Put MY cucumber in the pot." You could also print out multiple sets of the vegetable/fruit picture cards from my packet to use if you don't have play food.

2.) AAC Activity #1: Simple Requesting - I start with a the pile of food where the kids can see it, but not necessarily reach it. Then I gave them a bowl and ask them what they wanted to add to their vegetable soup. They created "I want" + vegetable symbol to request the vegetables. They could also request the spoon to stir their vegetable soup.

3.) AAC Activity #2: We targeted "big" vs. "little" with my PECS users. They would request an item to add to their soup and include the "big" or "little" symbol. I used boardmaker symbols because that is the type of symbols my students have in their communication books. However, you can use the picture symbols from the packet if you don't have access to boardmaker.

4.) AAC Activity #3: We practiced making comments using our vegetable symbols as well. I put a few vegetables in the bowl and stirred it around. Then I showed it to the students and had them make an "I see" comment using their picture symbols - "I see + tomato." For my students who needed fewer choices, I would place one vegetable in a spoon and ask them which vegetable they saw in my spoon while giving them an appropriate number of choices depending on their skill level. After they told me what they saw, I added that vegetable to the soup. Once again, the symbols from the packet could be used for this if you do not have access to boardmaker.

5.) AAC Activity #4: We practiced asking questions using our symbols. I started by having the students ask me "Do you have" +"vegetable?" in the therapy setting. Once they asked me for it, I would give them a vegetable for their soup. After they seemed to understand the concept, I expanded their search throughout the building. Before the day started, I asked our office staff, coordinator, principal, lunchroom staff, janitor, and various teachers if I could give them a play vegetable to hang on to.  I told them a student would be coming to ask them for it sometime that day. They all agreed because I have awesome coworkers. Then I took my students who use AAC around the building one at a time. They asked each person "Do you have" + "vegetable?" The person would then give them the vegetable that they had for the student's soup. I did not have the students ask for specific vegetables, but the activity could be advanced to do that as well. You could also ask, "Can I have" + "vegetable?" After the student had collected them all, I redistributed them for the next student. The kids had a blast with this and it was so nice to get them out of the therapy room!

NOTE: ONLY the food symbols are available in this packet! Question words and statement words are NOT included in this packet. My pictures show the BOARDMAKER symbols that I used. However, I cannot make these symbols available to you as they are copyrighted. You can make your own using BOARDMAKER if you have it.

I have used this packet with EVERY student aged Pre-K to 1st grade on my caseload. And it's been a great success! There are a wide variety of activities that target a wide variety of goals. I hope that you can get some use from this packet, too!
You can get the Articulation Soup Activity here and the Growing Vegetable Soup Language Companion Packet here! And it's at a discount for a short time, so scoop it up while you get some savings! :) 

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