Fall Fig Streusel {with Go “FIG”ure game for figurative language}

go figure

Many  Americans have never eaten a fresh fig—(blame fig newtons and dried figs)— those are NOTHING compared to a fresh fig.  A fresh fig tastes like a mix between  a peach and a strawberry.   This September I found a great use for my fresh figs that are growing like crazy on the Celeste fig tree in my backyard.  Figs can be eaten straight from the tree or used in a variety of appetizers, main courses and desserts.  Today I’m sharing a recipe for homemade fig streusel that will leave you wanting for more!      And if you would like to check out a great recipe that uses dried figs, read my post on Fig Bars from last September—and some great ways to incorporate the /f/ sound while cooking with your kids.   I give full credit to my Italian ancestry for my interest in growing fig trees.  I blogged about this a while back  and thought I’d share my cultural story with you here again.

This week’s therapy idea is a continuation of the “Listening theme” from my last post.   I created figurative language bingo cards (inspired by my fig recipe, the game is called Go “FIG”ure) that can be used to teach idioms associated with listening and communication.  I found pictures that represent the idioms in a very  literal and humorous way.

GO “FIG”ure Game Rules:

1–Each player gets  a bingo card (there are three layouts).  Grab them here.

2–Copy the bingo index/hat draw cards  included in the download—make three copies and cut out all cards.  Place cards into a pile or container.

3– Draw a card and cover the spot on your bingo sheet.  You can make this game “four corners”, “t-shape” , “full card”  or traditional— vertical, horizontal, diagonal.

4–When the card is draw, ask the student to read the idiom on the bingo sheet.  Explain the idiom by DEFINING/DESCRIBING IT, USING IT IN A SENTENCE and/or RECALLING A REAL-LIFE application of the expression— Ask your kiddos to try giving their own sentence for the idiom—This is a good way to apply their comprehension of the idiom in a practical way.    See my idioms sentence examples for use with this activity.








PLEASE NOTE:  the images used for this bingo game are not the property of LessonPix.  Permission to share this Bingo template has been granted by LessonPix.



Fig Streusel

***Remember to use the photos included in the recipe portion as a sequencing activity AFTER you have finished making the recipe—-print them out and have your kids practice putting them in the correct order and recalling the details—a great way to work on comprehension and memory skills!!!


3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/3 cup All-purpose flour
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
 3 tablespoons softened butter
 3 cups quartered fresh figs*YOU CAN FIND FRESH FIGS IN THE PRODUCE SECTION OF SUPERMARKETS AND SPECIALTY MARKETS (such as Whole Foods and Italian markets)
1/2 teaspoon, ground cinnamon
1/4 cup skim milk
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coat a Pyrex pie plate with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F



Combine  oats, flour and brown sugar in a bowl. Add butter and blend them well.





Take the coated pie plate and press half of the mixture into it.


Place the quartered figs in pie plate and sprinkle with cinnamon


Combine  milk, eggs and vanilla and mix them well. Pour over the figs.

Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top.


Bake for around 40 minutes until golden brown in color.

Let cool to room temperature. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh fig on top!



Super Summer Soup Series Part III: {Squash Soup and S.Q.U.A.S.H. Listening Game}


Late summer and early fall are squash season.  You’ll find them thriving in gardens and plentiful in supermarkets.  Varieties including butternut, acorn, spaghetti and yellow squash are curious looking and often appear intimidating to prepare, however they are all actually quite simple to cook and well worth the effort!  This week, I took the beautiful orange-yellow butternut squash that was growing in my mother’s garden and turned it into a thick, rich soup.  Although I am sad that summer will soon be a memory,  the squash soup was a pleasant reminder of late summer days and crisp fall evenings that are just around the corner.

As the school year begins, many of us who work with children know the importance of teaching good listening skills.  Without utilizing strategies for being a better listener in the classroom, vital information will be forgotten.  I have created a game for teaching listening strategies—inspired by squash soup!!  I call them SQUASH Listening Strategies and have provided acronyms that will assist  your students in remembering important key phrases that will help them be better listeners.  Acronyms are very successful ways of helping us remember key phrases and important facts.  Check out my SQUASH strategies and cut out the game cards included here.    While working on these strategies you can also educate your kiddos about several varieties of squash.  Bring in a few real squash to compare and contrast the differences while letting the kids see and feel them.  Can you think of your own acronym for SQUASH that will help improve good listening skills??

Game Rules:   Each student gets a SQUASH strategies sheet.  Cut apart all game cards and place in a pile or in a basket.  Take turns drawing cards.  If the card matches the letter and type of squash on your game sheet, cover the space.  If it doesn’t match, put it back in the pile.  Go again or lose a turn if you draw that card.  The first person to cover their game sheet first is the winner.  Practice repeating the listening strategies with your students.  Here are the SQUASH acronyms and what they stand for. Explain the meanings of the strategies as part of your lesson on good listening and review them often in your session!

SAVE YOUR QUESTIONS UNTIL ALL SPEAKERS HAVE FINISHED:  Explain the importance of listening to the entire message before interjecting comments or questions.  It is important to take in all the details of a speakers message to gain full understanding before asking questions or responding.


SPEND TIME QUIETLY LISTENING UNTIL THE DIRECTIONS ARE FINISHED, START TO REPEAT HOW MUCH YOU HEARD :  Reauditorize in your head or repeating directions quietly to yourself or aloud is an effective way to process and remember information.  It is  important to patiently listening before verbalizing the message.


SMART STUDENTS QUICKLY LEARN THAT USING YOUR 5 SENSES AND CONCENTRATING ON A SITUATION  WILL HELP YOU LISTEN FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION :  When you listen with your five senses you take in information in many ways—you listen with your eyes (look at the speaker and observe his/her cues and body language) with your ears (to take in auditory input) with your whole body (by writing notes, touching any tools or instruments that a speaker may be explaining how to use) If you use your senses of touch and sight along with your sense of hearing, you will remember information longer!   


 Butternut Squash Soup 


1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 onion

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 cups chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste


brown sugar

1/2 cup milk










Peel the tough outer skin of the squash–I use a carrot/potato peeler, scoop out the inner seeds and cube the squash














Place the cubed squash on a large cookie sheet and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for approx 20 min.










In a large pot, melt the butter.  Add the onion and  saute until translucent, about 8 minutes.










Add 5 cups of chicken or vegetable broth to the pot with onions and bring to a simmer.










Place roasted squash into a blender in small batches.  Add some of the broth from the soup pot.  Blend until smooth.









Add 1/2 cup milk and and 4 tablespoons of brown sugar to the mixture you are blending










Pour all blended ingredients back into pot.  Add a sprinkle of nutmeg salt and pepper to taste.  Let simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.









Enjoy a warm bowl of squash soup with some crusty bread.











Summer Soup Series Part II: Gazpacho Soup {with SpeechSnacks for “Idi-Yummy Idioms” card game}

idiom pixs

If you have more tomatoes growing in your garden than you know what to do with, then check out this week’s post—Part II of our Super Summer Soup Series!!  Nothing shouts of late summer more than the taste of fresh garden tomatoes.  This soup is meant to be consumed when cold—something that many of us may not be accustomed to, however once you have a taste of cold gazpacho soup, you’ll be sold on the fresh and refreshing change of pace and delicious summer flavors!  And what a great way to get the kids to experience so many different veggies all in one dish!  **If your kids have issues with textures, you can puree the ingredients instead of chopping to create a smoother soup. This week, I’ve added a card game for learning idioms—you know, those silly expressions,( also known as figurative language) that make our language colorful and fun.  They don’t actually translate literally, but stand for something else.  Hope you enjoy “Idi-Yummy Idioms,” inspired by various veggies.  I chose idioms that contained the names of vegetables.  Each idiom card has a matching definition card to go with it.  Play as a “GO FISH” card game or MATCHING game…get creative,  let the kiddos help decide how to use them!


Summer Gazpacho Soup









I’ve create sequencing cards using my Custom Boards app for the kiddos to practice verbal expression and organizing thoughts with FIRST, NEXT, LAST .  You can print out a copy (with larger print) here. 

This sequence is a “how-to” process for blanching and peeling tomatoes before using them in the soup.  I prefer to remove the skin from tomatoes for soups and sometimes salads to improve the texture.

















5 large ripe tomatoes (blanched and peeled)

1 large cucumber, diced—I prefer English cucumbers which contain no seeds

1 large green bell pepper, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 medium zucchini, diced

1/4 teaspoon chopped basil

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cups LOW SODIUM tomato juice (I prefer to add salt to taste—-regular tomato juice is VERY high in sodium so watch out if you are looking to avoid the extra salt!)

dash hot pepper

salt and pepper to taste

chopped parsley









In a large bowl, combine all vegetables. Stir in vinegar and olive oil. Add tomato juice and hot pepper. Blend well. Add salt and pepper to taste.









Chill for several hours before serving!




Speech Snacks Super Summer Soup Series! Part I : Garden Veggie Soup–{with “Soup’s On!” /s/ matching game}

soups on pix

This is PART I of a three part series in which I will be featuring soups that are great to make during the warm weather months.  Each post also contains speech and language games created by me!

Summer Garden Vegetable Soup

Just because the weather outside is hot and steamy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a bowl of warm soup!  In the summertime many of us grow a bumper crop of  fresh veggies in our gardens yet find ourselves searching for ways to use them once they are ready to pick.  Supermarkets and farmers markets are brimming with many delicious, seasonal veggies as well.  One of the easiest ways to prepare all those  great garden goodies is by making a pot of homemade summer soup.   As  a share-holder at a local farm,  I am fortunate enough to receive an abundance of fresh, quality veggies on a regular basis.   This summer soup is one of the most satisfying and nutritious go-to recipes in my repertoire all season long!!    

I have included a fun game to address the /s/ sound in words, phrases and sentences (page down to bottom of post to see complete game info).  Get the kiddos helping in the kitchen as you identify and describe the veggies and sequence the steps in making the soup.  Print out the photos and have them recall the directions.  Enjoy the many great benefits of this healthy recipe while addressing speech and language skills with your kids.


Serves 6:


2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves chopped garlic

1 teaspoon chopped oregano

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

1 red or green bell pepper–seeded and chopped

3-4 medium carrots, sliced thinly 

1 quart low sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 can chopped tomatoes or 4 blanched and peeled fresh, chopped tomatoes

1 cup fresh okra

1 zucchini or yellow squash

3 scallions (green onions)

salt and pepper to taste    












These are the veggies picked fresh from our farm in beautiful Chesterfield NJ.  Buy local!!! Visit your local farm or farmer’s market during the summer months.











When buying fresh okra, look for young pods free of bruises, tender but not soft, and no more than 4 inches long. Okra may be stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel in a perforated plastic bag for 2 to 3 days, or it may be frozen for up to 12 months after blanching whole for 2 minutes. Cooked okra can be stored (tightly covered) in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.   Along with containing high amounts of fiber, okra also contains high amounts of vitamins A, C, and B6. Large amounts of calcium, zinc, riboflavin, folic acid, and iron are also present in this vegetable.











Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and oregano and cook just until garlic begins to sizzle.











Sitr in corn, peppers and carrots and cook until softened.  Add vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper.











Add okra and zucchini/squash.  Reduce heat and simmer until okra is tender.    Stir in green onions.  Serve soup with a side such as warm, crusty bread or how about some cheese quesadillas like the ones pictured in photo??!!











Download   “Soup’s On!” Memory Cards for /s/  here.  Glue them onto card stock and laminate for durability.  I tied in the actual ingredients used in the recipe when making the memory card pictures.

To Play:

Each player is given a soup pot.  Get your copy here.  Cut a slit in the inside of the pot and staple another sheet of paper behind it so that the matching pairs will fit in.  Leave the top  unstapled for easy retrieval of the pieces afterwards.


Have players take turns turning over cards as they try to find the matching pairs.

Every time a pair is found, cue the student to say:  “SOUP’S ON!”  This phrase addresses both initial and final /s/.  If the two cards do not match, have the student say: “STILL SIMMERING” (s-blends and initial /s/)

The matching pair is then placed in the soup pot and the student can now address the sound at the sentence level, saying, “Stir some (name the matching vegetable pair)  into the soup.” 

Continue playing until all the matching pairs have been found. 


An Olympic Bagel Breakfast—{with SpeechSnacks for “I SPY Ring Things!”}


I love the Olympics and all the excitement surrounding it—from the impressive and entertaining opening ceremonies to the edge of your seat performances and split second finishes that separate gold from bronze by a fraction of a point or hundredth of a second.  The spirit of competition and incredible background stories about athletes from around the world is truly inspiring!   The symbol of the games, the Olympic Rings, is an image we are all familiar with, no matter what country you hail from, however do you know what the rings stand for??  After doing a little research I found out the true meaning of the rings.  Read these facts to your students and asking them to recall the details.  So many great opportunities to practice asking and answering “WH” questions:

  • The  symbol of the Olympic Games is composed of five interlocking rings, colored  blue, yellow, black, green, and red on a white field.
  • The colors of the rings  represent the flags of the countries that participate in the Olympics.
  • Every  flag of a country participating in the Olympics includes one of those colors.
  • The five interlocking rings represent the five continents brought together by  the Olympic Movement, or the five main regions: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
  • As it says in the Olympic  Charter, the five-ringed symbol “represents the union of the five continents and  the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.”

How many rings make up the Olympic symbol?

What are the colors of the rings?

How do the rings relate to the flags of different nations?

What do the 5 rings represent?

Name some Winter Olympic events.

Where are the Olympics being held?

Now that you know what the rings symbolize…let’s get down to the business of turning this icon into a breakfast or snack fit to feed an Olympic athlete!!    Use this opportunity to discuss SEQUENCING (print out the pictures below and order them by FIRST, NEXT, THEN, LAST), VOCABULARY BUILDING and CATEGORIZATION for SHAPES (other things shaped like a ring), FRUITS (can you think of other fruits or toppings that can be substituted for the ones used?? ) COLORS (can you think of other red, green, yellow things??)


First, toast the bagels.











Then, spread on cream cheese











Next, cut up the fruits.   red=strawberries, blue=blueberries, green=green apples, yellow-bananas, black=black mission figs




olympic rings


Last, add sliced up fruit toppings to each bagel in the correct color pattern as the Olympic Rings.


Here are a few other foods I found in the aisles of the grocery store that are ring shaped (dried pineapple rings, cheerios,  onion ring snacks)—-what other ring-shaped foods can you think of??  Go on a food scavenger hunt with your kiddos the next time you are grocery shopping and see what you come up with!!










I SPY RING THINGS!–Print it out here!

One person can be the designated clue giver or take turns describing the ring-shaped items.  Use the carrier phrase “I spy something ring shaped that….”  and give a clue describing the item you want the other players to guess.













Can you guess the answer with just one clue??  Get awarded with a Gold Medal!  Need two clues?  You win Silver!  Three or more clues?  Take home the Bronze!



Print out multiple copies to play the game.  You will need more than three of each medal depending on how many clues it takes to guess the answer.












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