An entire year of song & story boards!

Posted by Emily Richardson in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So this “little project” started innocently enough.  Last school year I did a presentation at one of our SLP professional development meetings about ideas on how to integrate therapy into the classroom.  Some of the visuals I brought were my interactive song boards.

A couple of my go-to song boards

A couple of my go-to song boards

You know, the ones that have been crumpled & chewed loved on by students for 13 years!  While still very functional, I have been wanting to revamp and expand my song boards for quite some time now.  This has now translated to a six month project for my new “Functional Communication Song & Story Boards (&more!)”.  This is a packet for teachers, therapists, and parents looking for tools to make songs and stories more accessible for functional communicators. The repetition within the formatting across the months allows for students to become familiar with communication tasks.

A peek at the titles for all song & story boards

A peek at the titles for all song & story boards

Here’s the 4-1-1 on this latest labor of love:

  • Each month is jam-packed with 2 song boards, 3 story boards, plus supplemental cards for sorting, counting, actions and “I have, Who has” games.
  • The materials are mostly thematic to the time of year.
  • Everything is designed to be interactive with our trusty friend, velcro!
  • Functional vocabulary and concepts include counting, colors, shapes, animals, food, clothing, days of the week, transportation, holidays, seasons, and actions.
  • Favorite songs and stories are accessible to our students with limited verbal speech.
  • Literacy-based language instruction targets meaningful concepts like sequencing, sorting, identifying, labeling, requesting, choice-making, questioning, and peer interaction.
  • Over the course of the four seasons, students will experience repetition of targeted communication skills without having to repeat the exact story, song, or activity.
  • “I have, Who has” games teach turn-taking, patience, questioning, and game skills within structured peer interaction.
An example of the "month-at-a-glance" layout

An example of the “month-at-a-glance” layout

There are so many components that it is hard to show them all in a blog snapshot…but I will try!  Each month has a page that outlines the songs, stories, activities, and concepts.  (I plan on using this page for my lesson plan notebook as well as my observation portfolio.)

An example of a story board used for choice making

An example of a story board used for choice making

There are choice boards that can be used for choice-making, identifying, labeling, requesting, and peer interaction.

An example of the sequence boards.  They can be used with velcro or as a cut/paste activity.

An example of the sequence boards. They can be used with velcro or as a cut/paste activity.

Each month also includes complete and blank sequence boards to work on story re-tell and sequence of events.

Supplemental games, sorting mats, and actions cards

Supplemental games, sorting mats, and actions cards

And of course there are action cards, sorting mats, and games!!  This is not just a simple activity set.  I was serious when I said it was comprehensive!!  {One hint when using the “I have Who Has” game…When working in the self-contained classrooms I usually divide the cards and students into three groups instead of each child holding their own.  I am lucky enough to usually have three adults (myself, classroom teacher, classroom assistant) supporting students during communication groups.  Having the cards monitored by adult hands is helpful to maintain them over time.  Also, last year some of those groups had 8 students, so it reduces the chaos of materials all over the table and helps to foster peer communciation.}

I love using the foam board with my picture exchange systems!

I love using the foam board with my picture exchange systems!

My old song boards were on large construction paper that I clipped to a half-size foam board. (I loved that format because it was sturdy and I could attach velcro strips to have a spot for the picture icons throughout the song.)  My variety was very limited, and certainly didn’t go along with the supplemental stories I use in various units.  So, this comprehensive packet was born.  These are all on regular size paper so the implementation can be versatile.  You can laminate or use sheet protectors.  You can then clip to foam board that has velcro strips or use with a binder.  (Many of the song/story boards have velcro in similar spots, so you could re-use the page protectors across the months.)

The bundles come with choice-making icons for each song & story board

The bundles come with choice-making icons for each song & story board

While my intention in creating these were for my students with limited verbal output, the concepts and visuals could easily apply to younger learners and English Language Learners as well.  Also, another note to mention: Even though they are organized by month there is nothing to say you can’t use them at other parts of the year, especially to reinforce choice making and repetition.  For example, I am not in school with my students during the summer months, but we can use some of those at the tail end of school or when we do a unit on friendship or back-to-school.  Each of the bundles (the four seasons and the whole year) come with choice making icons for the song and story boards.  Use velcro for picture exchange or put them in sheet protectors and select with markers.  You can use these for choices, requesting, identifying, and labeling.

Sold in 12 individual months, 4 season bundles, or as 1 year mega-bundle

Sold in 12 individual months, 4 season bundles, or as 1 year mega-bundle

There are several options in purchasing this functional communication set.  Of course, the more you bundle, the more you save 🙂 (Friendly reminder…TPT takes purchase orders and it is a super easy process!  So if you are lucky enough to have some funds available from your school, remember that you can use that as a resource to purchase TPT materials!!)

  • Season bundles:  Fall (September/October/November), Winter (December/January/February), Spring (March/April/May), Summer (June/July/August)
Look at this delicious carrot cake!

Look at this delicious carrot cake that my husband so sweetly surprised me with as I was uploading to TPT!  I am sure he is also thrilled that I am done with creating this packet!!

I am so excited to know that I can walk into my functional communication classrooms this year and have literacy, song, and game materials to support their communication learning!  There is no “easy curriculum” for this area, so I truly hope you find these song & story boards useful!  I would love to hear your feedback!

emily purple

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