Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Therapy Activity Shared


Students just loved seeing photos of therapy pets Lily & Surprise dressed in various Halloween Costumes, a total of 9 in all! Discussed were the dog’s expressions and why they might be feeling as they appeared. Also discussed were the similarities and differences in the pairs of costumes. Students then were given a direction to gather at least 3 stuffies, one small, one medium and one large and select who would wear what costume. Sizing the costumes to the stuffies and actually getting dog costumes on to the stuffies, the velcro & straps were challenges and an excellent fine motor activity. Photos & videos were taken of students with their stuffies using the free app-Blurb Mobile. Here students described what they did /what their character was wearing, and why they chose that costume/what they liked about it and how they think their character feels wearing it. Kids also shared what makes that stuffie special to them.

The Blurb app is so easy to use. We added voice recordings to still pictures and giggled at the short video clips. We were able to instantly create a "movie" of this activity and email out to parents and teachers to be viewed on any device or pc. A group photo (shown above) was also emailed for printing so students could instantly have an image to share and a talk about at school that day. This summer a similar activity was done around the topic of Water Safety and students dressed their stuffies in of one 3 dog’s life jackets! It is amazing the rich language used by students during dynamic activities like these. Skills addressed include expressive language (use of adjectives, past tense verbs, pronouns he/she, asking for help) language concepts (sequencing, comparing sizes), social skills (interpreting facial expressions, relating to similar situations, emotions), and fine motor (fastening clothing). I have found that my students recall this type of activity and are still talking about it weeks later :-)

This costume activity will be extended this week using three other apps Sentence Maker, LittleSpeller Four Letter Words both by the developer Grasshopper apps and Jigzo. Using the individual photos taken for each student and the pet photos, I can create customized spelling and sentence building activities. Both of these apps easily let me import my own library of photos. In Sentence Maker, I can import an image and record a sentence. The student then matches the sentence to the word tiles. In Little Speller, they match individual letters. Both apps allow tremendous variability in the difficulty level from maximum cues to no hints at all. Kids love seeing their own creations come alive in apps like this. Some students even record their own voices to be used in the app. As a related and simple activity that presents another opportunity to talk about the images, Jigzo is a Free simple puzzle-making app. I import the image, choose the puzzle difficulty and voila, a puzzle is instantly made. Additionally, students could send out postcards of their Halloween characters using the free apps PhotoCard Lite (allows you to add a voice recording as well as text) or Easy Cards. 

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