Autumn is probably my favorite season for teaching thematically. I tend to do two week units, and in the fall my units are vocabulary based with activities that are themed around fall words. Starting in September, I begin a series of units on buses, apples, leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows, Halloween (costumes, monsters, jack-o-lanterns, spiders) and turkeys. Most, if not all of these activities can be duplicated in your home.
My sensory bin is filled with dried beans, acorns and plastic pumpkins. Later in October, I’ll add spiders. In addition to sensory play, we scoop and pour, work on in/out, sort, count, label, and make messes (a chance to practice “uh oh” for the emerging talkers). My AAC talkers use their devices to make comments such as “its fun”, “in” and “more”. The babies love this and the upper elementary school kids love it too.
Sometimes, I fill the bin with hats and costume pieces the week of Halloween. For the low language kiddos, we practice /h/ and “hat”. Other kids work on labeling parts of a whole and stretch their pretend play skills as they play dress-up.
For literacy, we focus on /a/ for “apple”, /l/ for “leaves”, /p/ for “pumpkin” and maybe /j/ for “jack-0-lantern”, /m/ for “monster”. There are so many fall related words to work on counting syllables (October, Trick or Treat, candy corn, apple pie, haunted house) and decoding and spelling (cat, candy, acorn, leaf, fall). My writers use pumpkin, apple or leaf shaped paper to write descriptive sentences, practice spelling or create a spooky/silly story.
I posted about a iPad activity teaching size concepts last week. That has gotten a lot of play time the past week….I’ve been able to use it on many different levels. See that post here: https://0newordatatime.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/fall-activity-for-teaching-size-concepts/
I have lots of activities for sorting, describing, answering questions.
I use adapted books for early readers and kiddos working on making longer sentences. My collection is growing!
My go to places for finding cute materials (other than Pinterest) are:
teacherspayteachers.com (check out the peachiespeechie and speech room news)
chapelhillsnipets.blogspot.com – this blogger makes great adaptive books
and a new one I just discovered – en.islcollective.com – which is a site for teaching ESL, but has lots of fun ideas.
And, lets not forget that the best lessons of all are those that are experienced. Take a trip to the pumpkin patch, farmer’s market, apple orchard, petting zoo or corn maze. Hike through the woods and collect leaves and acorns. Examine and talk about the various squashes and gourds available in your grocery store. Peruse the Halloween costume catalogs that come in the mail….there’s a ton of language opportunities there! Have fun and enjoy this loveliest of seasons and expand your child’s language One Word At A Time!