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June 12, 2014

Owls, Owls, Owls!

This week at Small Talk, we've been reading the book, Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell.  This is a fantastic book for preschoolers that tells the tale of three babies owls who wake up to find that their mother is gone.  Sarah and Percy are very brave, but Bill just wants his mommy!  The owls make guesses about where their mother might have gone, but become less brave the longer they wait.  Finally their mother comes back and the baby owls rejoice.  It's a great story that most little ones can relate to, and its just plain adorable!  Here are some of the owl activities I planned to go with this book:

Sorting day and night objects:  I gathered small objects of things that we see or do in the daytime or the nighttime and put them in my mystery box.  I made a mat for the daytime objects and one for the nighttime objects.  Kids reached into the mystery box, pulled out an object, labeled it and then put it on the corresponding mat.  This activity was so great for improving vocabulary skills and answering "when" questions, not to mention sorting items of a category.

Following 2-Step Directions Game:  I made a cute open-ended game board that I used for several different activities depending on treatment goals.  This one was one of the kids' favorites and could be played with a single player or several.  Players turned over a card, I read the directions on each card, and the child performed the actions to follow the directions.  Many of the direction cards contained actions an owl might do, such as flap their wings or say "hoo hoo".  For the kids still working on novel 1-Step directions, I used the same cards, but only gave one part of the the direction.

I turned my Butterfly Garden canopy into a treetop that covers the ceiling in my office.  I attached felt leaves with safety pins and it feels like we are sitting right among the branches.  The kids made owls to hang from the canopy.  It's magical!

Look what I found at my favorite toy store...Owl flashlights!!!  We'll be using those next week when I hide the Mommy Owl around the room.  We'll turn off the lights, and go on an owl hunt!  I can't wait!  I'm sure it's going to be fun!

I've been using this awesome toy as a reinforcer during drill activities.  After the child says the target word or phrase, he or she gets a piece to put on the tree.  This darling wooden tree set comes from Hearthsong and has lasted many years.

Since the Owl Babies text includes many past tense -ed verbs, I decided to make a game to provide more past tense -ed opportunities.  I made another game board that explained that the baby owls watched the kids who were busy in the house and yard below the owls' tree.  Players took turns drawing a card and describing what the owls saw the kids do.  This worked great for both past tense verbs and pronouns.  I even used this game with my older elementary kids who are about to join a social thinking group and are working on identifying another person's plan.  I had them make a "smart guess" about what the person on the card was doing, or how they might be feeling and then had them make a guess about what that person might do next.

And speaking of games, these two games are great for preschoolers.  Easy to learn, easy to play, and not much set-up required.  I found these at my favorite toy store, too.

Last but not least...look at this adorable owl!  His eyes pop out when you squeeze them!  I can probably find a million different ways to use them, but for now, we just say our target words 5 times while we squeeze our owls (I have an orange one, too)!

Whew, that's a lot of fun crammed into one week!  I'm exhausted!  Do you have any owl ideas to add to my plans?  I'd love to hear them!

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