I have a 10 year old son (actually he just turned 11 a few days ago, but I’m in denial about that so I am saying he’s 10 for just a little longer!) so LEGOS® are abundant in our home! I’ve saved every last one of them, after all, LEGOS® are pretty expensive and I know I will continue to find uses for them, with my speech students, once my son outgrows them. So when Kelly at Speech2U decided to do a LEGO® themed linky party this month, I knew I had to jump in and share my ideas. The majority of my caseload is currently comprised of middle and high school students. But don’t think for a minute that these guys are too big to play with toys. They love it–they are still kids after all! So here are a few ways to incorporate LEGOS® into your therapy sessions with the older crowd:
1–LEGO® Movie Maker
I love this totally FREE app–(available in the iTunes store) It’s user-friendly and simple enough for upper elementary, middle or high school students to navigate on their own and create an amazing LEGO® story. Here is a sample story that my own kiddo made a while back. (He was obsessed with this app for quite some time.) Use LEGO® pieces or characters, add in a few extra props if you choose–as he did in this segment.
I use this app in my therapy sessions as a fantastic way to address so many language skills:
1–Organizing your thoughts to sequence a story with a clear beginning, middle and ending.
2–Using good sentence structure to explain what is happening with each LEGO® scene.
3–Using descriptive language while narrating the details of your story. You can also insert short sentences within the app to describe what is happening in each scene.
If you have older artic or fluency students on your caseload, this would be a great activity to use with them as well, especially if they are in the carry-over phase of therapy.
Check out Joseph’s LEGO® video here as “Lego Dudes Fight Robo-Man” in a fight to the finish!!
2–LEGO® Barrier Games
This activity is the ultimate in direction following and direction giving! It is definitely a game that would be appropriate for older students, but of course you could scale it down by using less LEGOS® depending on the age/ability level of the students.
Set up two piles of LEGOS® that have exactly the same amount, color and size of LEGOS® in each set. If you have two square LEGO® grids, that would be the easiest way to play. The grid will keep the pieces from falling or slipping.
Each player gets a grid. A barrier should be placed between the players.
Player 1 first sets up the grid using the LEGO® blocks in any design or creation that they wish (they can do this in advance of playing or at the same time that the second player is adding their blocks to their grid), however they must be prepared to describe step-by-step to player 2 how they made their final product. For example, “Start by placing a small square blue Lego® (with four holes) on the right side of a long skinny Lego® (with five holes).” This game is quite challenging and requires very detailed descriptions from player 1, a lot of focus and good listening from player 2 and is a great example of the importance of good communication between a speaker and listener. It’s also an effective way to ask good “WH” questions when directions are unclear, too lengthy or confusing.
In the end, take away the divider and see if player 1 and 2 have the same creation! Tricky, challenging and fun!!
3–LEGO® creations and explanations:
Working on vocabulary? comprehension? fluency? Whatever the skill may be, use LEGOS® as a positive reinforcer for correct responses. Place LEGOS® in a container and allow students to pull one, two or three blocks out. You can decide how many blocks to award based on the level of difficulty of the responses. You can also require students to put back pieces for incorrect answers. At the end of the session, give students the last few minutes to use all their pieces to create something. They can guess what the other students in their group have made or give clues about what they built and have the others take guesses. The first one to guess the LEGO® creation is the winner.
Hope you can use some of these ideas the next time you are working with your older students…remember to use games and fun challenges in your therapy sessions with them, just as you do for your younger kiddos, to keep them motivated and on task! Find more LEGO® ideas from other SLP’s at the LEGO® linky party!