Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Responsive Face

Responsive Face is an applet from NYU's Media Lab.  The interface allows you to explore facial expressions with your students by selecting different facial actions, which can of course be linked to emotions.  Thanks to Alex Laufer Lobo of Dramatic Pragmatics for sharing this resource with me.

Language Lens:
  • Students with social cognitive deficits lack emotional vocabulary and ability to read nonverbal cues.  Creating lessons with Responsive Face, perhaps in a larger context such as exploring emotions in a book, video or real life event, is a motivating, interactive way to explicitly teach what different facial expressions mean.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Garden Pizza Place

The Garden Pizza Place is one of my favorite interactives that relates specifically to curriculum topics. Designed by 4H, this site has kids experiment with different amounts of water, sunlight and fertilizer to grow a large plant.  This site is a perfect example of how easily we as SLPs can incorporate curriculum concepts, build language skills, and apply principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) all at the same time.

Language Lens:
  • The activity targets the abstract category of "plant needs" and causal and conditional sentence structures all over it!
  • I created a tracking sheet that kids could use to monitor the decisions that led to successful growth, providing further visual support for sentence formulation, as well as practice using a graphic organizer.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fake out!

A popular way to teach kids website evaluation skills is to present a "fake" website and apply certain criteria to determine if it's a credible site. This also would be a nice thing to target around April Fool's day. Try this one:

Language Lens

  • The site is quite texty, but you can use the humorous mockup pictures to convey the main points with your students. The first section of the text would be a great context to use a description graphic organizer and break down the absurd "information."
  • Try going through the site using a website evaluation protocol like this one.

Secular Easter?

I am not sure about Easter as a topic for public school SLPs. You decide.

I also don't love Primary Games as a resource; their site is infested with ads, BUT there are a few good activities there. The Easter Basket Dress Up game is a cute click-and-drag interactive you might want to check out this week.

Language Lens
  • Print out the page (before arranging) in color and this would make a great barrier game for two or more younger students, targeting object naming, size, color, and spatial concepts (Put the big yellow chick behind the purple Peep, etc).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Creeptastically Fun!

Some resources that are quite clearly ads can provide some terrific interactivity and learning potential. One of these is Old Navy's Supermodelquin Supersearch. The site allows you to mold yourself as a mannequin, select clothing, accessories, a background, type of script and a "line" to say in a virtual ad. You can download a screenshot of your model, use an email address to enter your ad into a contest and save it online. I have always found this ad campaign spooky and annoying, so it is nice to know that something good can come of it! This site might be up just for the length of the contest, so I would try it out soon...

Language Lens:
  • Essential descriptive skills and categories can be targeted with the face/body "molding" process as well as selection of clothing and background settings.
  • The site would be great fun with a pragmatic group as a sharing activity (probably if you have multiple laptops available) and also hits on topic maintenance as students get to create a "line" that flows in the conversation of the other mannequins.
  • The site allows you to rate other "ads", tapping some evaluative and discussion skills.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ready for April Fool's?

Like so many other examples of my probably convoluted thinking about language resources (in which things that are supposed to be used for x can be used for y) Improv Everywhere is not really about April Fool's Day, but can be used to talk about it. In preparation for some possibly fun lessons this coming week, I wanted to feature the blog of this theater troupe, whose goal is to stage "missions" that cause "scenes of chaos and joy in public spaces." The troupe edits all their missions into short, bite-size bits of video hysteria, along with wonderfully detailed and visual breakdowns of the preparation and execution of the missions, most of which are totally clean. I would avoid missions like "No Pants Subway Rides," especially with younger students, but fully recommend "Slo-Mo Home Depot," "High Five Escalator," and "Spontaneous Musicals." Watch them all the way through in case I missed something, though! Check out the blue sidebar for links to all the missions. Here is one of my faves, Grocery Store Musical:

Language Lens:
  • The Improv Everywhere videos would be great to present to students as a saboteur strategy and see if they can describe the context.
  • Each mission is a nice opportunity to work on concepts such as expected and unexpected behaviors, perspective taking, sequencing (with use of the mission breakdowns) and use of humor.
  • Try completing a setting map for any given video- what is the place like and what do you usually see happening there?
  • The Unthinkable character Wasfunnyonce from the Superflex curriculum would be a great point of comparison- Why are these missions acceptable use of humor? What changes would make them not acceptable? (lots of if statements here!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words...

This is nothing revolutionary, but a good tech tip nonetheless. At the private practice I have worked in for some years, we do a lot of email communication and updates to parents. As one can imagine, writing an email update on the activities in a session can be very time consuming. Recently, I sought to cut down that (essentially unpaid) time I was spending, and also to make my updates more useful to parents and clients by adding more visual content. Attaching or inserting a picture cuts down on amount of text I need to type to explain the activity, and has the added bonus of being a visual that can result in a helpful conversation between the parent and client after the session. I ask parents to show the picture to their child and prompt him/her to explain what happened in the session.

At first, I planned to bring my digital camera to each session to facilitate this plan, but then chided myself, "Helloooo, you always have an iPhone with you!" The quality is adequate, and I don't need to remember to charge the darn camera, remember to bring the camera itself, or deal with a cord or iPhoto. I simply forward the message to my own email, download the file, and insert it into a parent email from there. Overall, I have recieved good feedback from parents, and perhaps saved myself from a painful typing injury.

Here's an example of a good update photo, illustrating a lesson on whole-body listening. Thanks Amanda Citrin and the kiddos in her group for creating this poster:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SLPs and our clients' communication online

With regards to yesterday's post, it is worth discussing how SLPs' expertise in the nuances of communication can help our students and clients as some of them venture into the world of social networking on sites such as Facebook. With some teen groups I have worked with in private practice, Facebook has come up a lot and we have explored the use of it as a social tool and its benefits and challenges. In our discussions with parents the other day, it was interesting to hear one mom describe how Facebook has really helped her son with AS in some situations. His being able to thoughtfully explore some communication with peers online without having to worry about the fast-paced nature of verbal conversation, or nonverbally getting into the same space as potential friends in the hallway, etc, has assisted in "breaking the ice." Of course, parents and everyone else worry a lot about the potential for bullying online as well.

In the public school setting, it is easy to argue that Facebook and sites like it have nothing to do with school and therefore have no place in therapy contexts. However, things that happen on Facebook can spill into the school setting in both positive and negative ways and affect our students' academic work. So, clinicians could choose to be reactive, and launch some instruction based on what s/he is hearing in pragmatics groups, or proactively, our high-functioning teen students could probably use at least a few lessons in these areas. Parent involvement is key with these topics, and the "expected and unexpected behaviors" (concept, of course, from Michele Garcia Winner's work) or Hidden Curriculum (Brenda Smith Myles) should be shared in consultation with parents to promote their discussions with their kids, and parent permission might even be a good thing to obtain.

What do you think? Have you conducted any instruction in social networking etiquette with your students? Comments and thoughts welcome as always.

Yeah, I don't know what half of these sites are either- but often the rules are the same!

You can read a portion of Brenda Smith Myles' Hidden Curriculum at Google Books. I would encourage anyone to buy the whole thing or one of her Page-a-Day Calendars.

In case you didn't see it, here is our little Google Docs presentation on the topic, also posted yesterday:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Google Docs as a collaborative tool

This weekend, my friend and colleague Katy Fleming, CCC-SLP and I were asked to lead a discussion on the topic of "Special Issues of the Cyber World for Children with Autism." The circumstances were such that we didn't have a lot of lead time to prepare a presentation, and we didn't have a pre-built one. I find that Google Docs can be a key tool in these situations- although it lacks some of the features of PowerPoint, you can easily use the Google Doc presentation tool to create a series of slides for such occasions. The great thing about Google Docs is that multiple people can work on a presentation at the same time, while only one version is saved in your account. This eliminates the need to email versions back and forth, compile your work and cross-check changes. Although we of course spent some time chatting about the content and logistics of our presentation, Google Docs allowed us to minimize the synchronous time we needed to get together to build the presentation. SLPs are often asked to share our expertise with our own or other departments; using Google Docs presentations can cut back on the labor and time spent getting those talks together.

Here's a portion of our presentation- more on the content of our talk tomorrow...

Technical Notes:
It is very easy to access Google Docs by creating or using an existing Google (gmail, etc.) account. In Gmail, simply click on the Documents link at the top of the page. You can get started with a presentation by simply clicking on Create New>Presentation. The interface works much like PowerPoint.
From your main Google Docs page, you can check the box next to your document, then select Share and invite collaborators via email.
Your presentation, while open, can be downloaded under the File menu as a PowerPoint file if you would like to add more advanced features such as transitions and animations.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Looking after the Dog

Interactive Whiteboards in classrooms are a popular tool nowadays, and many of the resources available to support their use are wonderful for students with speech and language issues.  Looking after the Dog is a nice interactive featured on a whiteboard resource site from the UK--I think I will be revisiting the site to explore further.  The activity can be a little repetitive (and alarming--this dog frequently needs to go to the vet to get a big shot!) but I have tried it with kids and they loved it.

Language Lens:
  • The activity is a perfect context for sentence construction with when and because- We know the dog is thirsty because he is drooling!
  • This would lend itself to open-ended questions before the activity to elicit language (What do we know about dogs?  How do we take care of dogs?) and some dramatic play with a stuffed animal dog after the activity.
  • Social thinking instruction on the theme of "guessing someone's plan" would go well with this activity- we need to read the dog's body language to respond appropriately.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

BMW and the seasons

Happy 1st day of Spring! Cute gems like Be Safe All Year Round are sometimes found in unexpected places, such as BMW's educational site. In this interactive, driving hazards are sorted by season, shedding light (no pun intended) on seasonal characteristics.

Language Lens:
  • Use of this activity targets sorting and categorization skills, in an especially challenging and abstract topic for our students: the 4 seasons.
  • Temporal sentence structures will abound as kids discuss what can happen when it is Spring, after it gets cold, etc.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Monster Milktruck

Monster Milktruck is a great "game" that operates using the Google Earth plugin. This plug-in allows your web browser to display aspects of Google Earth right in the browser window, leading to some fantastic interactive content. Monster Milktruck allows you to use your arrow keys to drive a milktruck over various 3-D landscapes (you can enter any location and it will "teleport" there). It's totally uncrashable, leading to a frustration-free experience. This resource could simply be used as a reward for work well-done, or to target some specific concepts.

Technical Notes:
Monster Milktruck requires the Google Earth plug-in to be installed, and it only works in certain operating systems and browsers:

Microsoft Windows (2000, XP, and Vista)
  • Google Chrome 1.0+
  • Internet Explorer 6+
  • Firefox 2.0+
  • Flock 1.0+
Apple Mac OS X 10.4 and higher (Intel and PowerPC)
  • Safari 3.1+
  • Firefox 3.0+

Language Lens:
  • In addition to being a great reinforcer, time spent with Monster Milktruck could target a variety of spatial concepts (left/right, through/around, etc), geographic categories, description of landscapes or "what's in a town?"
  • This resource could also be used to build schema around past and present, with an eye to how people used to get milk and how they get it now...perhaps in conjunction with a book like Pilkey's The Paperboy.
  • Monster Milktruck would be a motivating visual way to explore and describe any location relevant to the curriculum (e.g. U.S. Capitals) and compare/contrast the experience.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Secret Garden

I was so happy today to finally see some spring flowers poking up in Massachusetts.  Were you? Check out My Secret Garden, an activity for younger or developmentally younger students in which you can choose a number of garden elements and watch them grow!  I used this as a cooperative activity with three 1st and 2nd grade students today and they were more than happy to take turns and make suggestions to each other, then asked for the link so they could use it at home!

Language Lens:
  • Just a few of the concepts and categories targeted contextually in My Secret Garden: animals, seasons, color, right/left, short/tall, front/back, before/after, near/ well as comparing and contrasting the different kinds of gardens the site allows you to make. Have kids describe or write about their garden after it is created!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green home building

This being St. Patrick's Day, it is of course appropriate to talk about being "green." MyAdobo is a very engaging and cute site you can use to create a home. Different home elements (car, bathroom, garden) can be designed from a simple interface, given 3 choices in each category so the process is not too involved and time-consuming. Graphics and text give you feedback on the environmental impact of your choices. Maybe I should have saved this one for Earth Day?

Language Lens:
  • The site focuses on the schema of house design, thus building descriptive and categorical skills.
  • Cause-effect structures are clearly built into the experience, providing a great context for modeling and scaffolding of complex language.  Additionally, the structure of problem-solution is relevant here.
  • Temporal language can also be targeted- in the picture above, the man appeared and began to pump insulation into the house after I clicked to repair a hole.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Limericks (Clean)

St. Paddy's Day and thereabouts would be a good time to explore limericks with your students. I always liked Edward Lear's nonsensical writings and drawings when I was a kid- I bet many kids still would. On the other hand, they may not find them funny at all. While I think his habit of "rhyming" a word with itself was sort of cheating, it's still clever stuff. You can access some of his limericks at The Edward Lear Home Page.

Language Lens
  • Explore the absurdity in Lear's poetry with your students, eliciting causal statements about what makes it "nonsense."
  • The drawings could be used as a model before reading his poems aloud without pictures, asking students to make their own sketches (thus practicing a visualization strategy). Kids would enjoy comparing and contrasting the results with Lear's!
  • Phonemic awareness could be targeted by identifying and generating alternate rhymes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Leprechaun Experiments

I'm guessing your students' eyes will be smiling when they see these kids' scientific cute, and what great role models for academic curiosity! Not that we here in the flooded Northeast want to do any more mixing of St. Patrick's day and WATER, as is shown in these experiments.

Thanks to Steve Spangler at Making Science Fun for this video clip.

Language Lens
  • This video would be a great complement to an experiment of your own, such as this one. Experiments are a perfect context to practice listing materials and using temporal and causal language.
  • Try the "Who Wants to be a Millionare" sentence game- kids earn increasing amounts of "money" as they create a sentence (in this case, about the video) using and, or, but, when, because, so...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Yeah, I don't understand Daylight Savings Time either...

...but this cool interactive site helped a lot! This activity from WebExhibits (describing themselves as an interactive online museum) is set up as a series of "nodes"--little category clouds that, when clicked, lead you to subcategories. It's full-on text, though relatively minimal, so it would probably be best used with older students.

Language Lens
  • This site seems like it was designed for SLPs, with an overall schema-based organization and clear sense of categories. Try picking one topic (e.g. "Reasons why we have DST") and using a graphic organizer to map it as a list. Mindwing's Thememaker product is one way to do this.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

TED inspirations

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a great source of "talks"- 5-15 minute interactive, visual presentations by experts in all sorts of fields. The videos are taped during TED conferences, which cost an enormous amount of money and influence to attend. However, all the talks are made available online for us little folks to watch. I find they are really inspirational, illuminate how many fields of knowledge are related, and show that it's all really about language. TED actually has an iPhone app, and you can often see geeks like me watching TED videos if you end up next to me on the elliptical at the gym.

Temple Grandin's wonderful recent talk has obvious implications for our practice, and reminds me how important it is to visually support our students' learning, especially those on the autism spectrum. I also appreciate her advocacy for using technology as a context to encourage different kinds of learners--I find that if I bring my laptop into a social skills group, it can often bring the kids together socially:

" ... there is all kinds of great stuff on the internet, to get these kids turned on. Because I'm seeing a lot of these geeky nerdy kids, and the teachers out in the midwest, and the other parts of the country, when you get away from these tech areas, they don't know what to do with these kids. And they are not going down the right path."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Interactives

These great interactives from Sheppard Software will let you welcome in Spring with your students! The site features "Paint and Makes," matching games and "Seek and Finds," all with cool animations.

Language Lens
  • These simple activities address a whole host of language-based concepts and skills: schema around seasons, weather, animals, colors, and any spatial concepts you need to target.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Race some HotWheels!

I am amazed with the creative ways the YouTube technology has evolved.  Clicking within videos and linking to other videos based on those decisions creates a kind of "choose-your-own-adventure" experience, a strong context for cause-effect language.  Check out The HotWheels Custom Motor Cup Challenge, a YouTube series that allows kids to choose cars, enhancements, then follow their race!  This could be useful for all kids, but would be especially motivating for difficult students.

Language Lens:
  • Watching and reviewing the races would be a great way to elicit temporal/sequential (recounting what happened) and causal (why it might have happened) language. 
  • A simple T-chart could serve as a graphic organizer- What we chose/Results- over multiple trials, and help students see the causal connections of their choices.

    St. Patrick's Day can develop comprehension?

    While sometimes St. Patrick's Day is associated with activities that reduce one's coherence and comprehension, using The History Channel's resources would make a fun and interesting activity with students. I always find myself skimping a little bit on auditory comprehension with older students, for various reasons. They can often get bored with the materials available for this type of work, not least of all. Presenting videos digitally for students is always a nice hook. You may want to preview and pick carefully to make sure you choose a video that isn't too religious for your comfort level-I suggest the Leprechauns or Irish Stew one to start.

    Language Lens
    • Presenting video (even as accompanied by visuals) can be a good context for working on comprehension activities and strategies- using a graphic organizer to map the information, generating key words, visualization activities such as sketching or cartooning a main idea (and explaining why it was a main idea), summarizing, previewing/reviewing vocabulary, etc.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Go Ask Alice

    Another current film that may be of interest to kids is Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Open Culture recently highlighted this first known filming of the Louis Carroll classic, and posted the 9 minutes that survive from this silent version.

    It would be worth comparing and contrasting with the trailer from the current release:

    Language Lens:
    • Working with the silent version would be somewhat like working with a wordless picture book in therapy activities, targeting narration, inference, and interpretation of nonverbal language ("thinking with your eyes") in Garcia-Winner parlance.
    • Looking at both clips would be a great opportunity to complete a compare-contrast organizer, with all the valuable complex language practice that ensues (Both have black-and-white pieces, but the new one has some brilliant color also...)

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Wimp Yourself

    The film version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid opens soon, and there is a cute promotional interactive our kids would love, in which you can create your own "wimpy" character. This series is pretty popular with kids, and (almost) anything that gets kids reading is good!

    Language Lens:
    • This site could be used to connect with and verbally discuss a passage from one of the books; a good chunk of text, in fact, is available here.
    • The "wimp" creation tool is schematic in terms of body parts, and also includes some facial expressions, always a good target for students with social-cognitive deficits.
    • The character you create is easily exportable, which might lend itself to a follow-up descriptive writing activity or perhaps a narrative about a time the student felt "wimpy."

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Yet more (Mad) grammar

    Kids, with their sophisticated humor, love the silliness of Mad Libs! This type of activity is yet another method for touching on categories and parts of speech.

    Funbrain's version is dynamic and good if you want to avoid (but still have the option of) typing.

    Wacky Web Tales
    is nothing new, but has more story forms and calls for kids to generate more category items such as plants, states, or liquids.

    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Grammar in Song

    Using the short music videos from Schoolhouse Rock is another motivating way to review grammatical categories with your students prior to their annual testing sessions. Kids' enjoy these, never having had the opportunity to see them every Saturday morning as we did. They are all up on YouTube!

    Language Lens:
    • These songs really get in one's head, and as we know, music uses a different side of the brain than language, resulting in a handy mnemonic.
    • Using printed lyrics of each song is a good follow-up activity, with kids being asked to identify examples of the parts of speech in each song.

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    That time of year...

    I am not huge on the idea of SLPs being responsible for teaching parts of speech...I think this grammatical content needs to be explicitly taught in the classroom, and has been deemphasized a bit, perhaps rightly, in favor of other things. However, they are abstract categories that our kids tend to struggle with, and we can assist in reviewing them during this high-stakes-testing time of year.

    One new interactive, part of Sheppard Software's set of cool visual pages, is the Grammar Tutorial. This series of games emphasizes identifying nouns, verbs and adjectives, a common type of question at least on the MCAS. You also can create a character on a stage using a noun, verb, and adjective--here is my green cloud laughing.

    BBC Schools also has some nice interactives for review. One is embedded below, and the link is here. I always like visiting their site to see the interesting dialectal variations and slightly off-color (according to American standards) educational content--one of the animations below has a boy falling down the stairs...

    Language Lens:
    • Lessons in parts of speech and traditional grammar build metalinguistic and writing skills, as well as abstract categorization abilities.

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    That's Not Cool

    That's Not Cool is an interesting resource. I am noticing that a lot of the educational interactives (and ads like this one) about online safety and cyberbullying are taking a strikingly frank approach. This may challenge our own comfort levels as teachers and clinicians, but is likely to get through to kids. That's Not Cool is definitely for older students, and will have elements you may want to avoid, such as scripts for dating teens who are dealing with a boyfriend's request for nude pics (!). However, there are also great interactive videos dealing with lighter aspects of establishing boundaries, both virtual and real-world. The "Two-sided" videos present YouTube (therefore, not viewable at every school) clips side-by-side showing differing perspectives on a situation. Students can then click within the video window (That's So Cool) and choose a course of action and follow the story to its resulting conclusion. The "Text Monster" topic, particularly, would be appropriate for all students starting to explore dating relationships, especially those with language and social challenges.
    Yes, the stories are told using sock-puppet characters- here's one on an escalator!

    Language Lens
    • That's Not Cool's two-sided stories can be a great way to explore story grammar, with an emphasis on which plans lead to which consequences, particularly (but not only) for students on the autism spectrum. This could be a good context to use story maps or Story Grammar Marker.
    • For students with social cognitive deficits, these activities lend themselves to discussion of social thinking aspects such as expected and unexpected behaviors, a key concept in Michelle Garcia Winner's programming. I do find that my teen social skill group members often want to discuss dating challenges, and I have had at least one client enroll in group specifically "to learn how to talk to girls."

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Bookmahk Smaht!

    A pause to touch on productivity and planning. I have gained soooo much from transitioning to social bookmarking tools, as opposed to adding bookmarks within your browser. Social bookmarking, most notably through Diigo or Delicious, allows you to do the following:

    • Use a toolbar "bookmarklet" to seamlessly add and annotate a link, then return to the site of interest.
    • "Tag" sites with multiple category names (e.g. "interactive," "science," "textstructure," "grade4"), rather than the single category folder you can set up on your browser.
    • View your bookmarks in your web-based account from any browser or computer.
    • Find more sites by searching within your network or by tag (e.g. look for sites tagged by users as "interactive" and "plants" to find a site for 2nd graders studying plants)

    So try one of these social bookmarking sites and embrace your organized and categorical self, as all SLPs should. Don't fear the "social" aspect, it's not going to steal your time away. It's simply some limited networking that benefits you by viewing what others are bookmarking. Social bookmarking could be considered a consultation activity; you can identify and share sites with teachers or TAs that would be beneficial for your students to review outside of your sessions.

    Here are two demos of the most popular bookmarking sites. I started with delicious, so there I stay, primarily. Diigo has some more functionality in allowing you to highlight and annotate sites, receive email blasts if you belong to an interest group, and easily set up lists for sharing.

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Poorly designed rooms are funny!

    The Berenstain Bears' Silly Scenes could be a great activity for preschool-first grade (or developmentally similar) students. This simple interactive site presents a scene with a number of absurd elements to identify and click on.

    Language Lens:
    • The choices of scenes to explore correspond to a "rooms in a house" category, and also an be used as a generative naming activity before the student clicks through to the room. A key question: what do you usually see in the bathroom?
    • Discussion of absurd elements is a good context to model/elict causal or conditional structures:
      There shouldn't be a guitar in the wastebasket because...
      If the light were a goldfish bowl then maybe...

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Virtual Smoothies!

    The Smoothie Operator from Planet Science is a wonderful health and wellness activity that has instructional relevance for our students.

    The activity allows you to add ingredients from 6 different categories (see, categories! e.g. fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat (!), starches, etc) and then blend your virtual smoothie to perfection as you listen to the sounds of some catchy Island tunes. You are then given an assessment of the healthiness of the smoothie in "main idea" and chart form.

    Language Lens
    • The Smoothie Operator is a great way to teach/review food categories and subcategories.
    • Great causal and conditional sentence structures are triggered by what can happen if you don't close the lid of the blender, and of course by the results of the smoothie assessment- "It wasn't a great smoothie because you only added two ingredients."
    • With older students, this would be a good context to use a graphic organizer like the one seen here to track their choices.
    • Challenge students to make the healthiest or unhealthiest smoothie to work on those concepts and comparatives.
    • This could be a good context for procedural narrative writing, especially if followed by actual smoothie making if your district allows food sharing (mine didn't).