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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Why I love the BIG GREEN MONSTER

I just adore Halloween. Not sure why. Maybe because I'm really just a giant child. The excitement is palpable around school these days and its not hard to engage my students in conversation; They are more than willing chat about what costume they plan on wearing and what candy they hope to receive. So as an SLP I'm naturally taking full advantage of the language opportunities:)

One of my favorite preschool themes this time of year is Monsters! And the book I find myself returning to year after year is:



For those not familiar with this one, Go Away Big Green Monster is a picture book on which each page a piece of a monster's face is creatively added, from his "two big yellow eyes" to his "scraggly purple hair." When the monster is complete, it is determined "You don't scare me!" and page by page each body part disappears with an emphatic "Go Away!" 

I make this book interactive with free visuals from KizClub which I laminate and attach with velcro to a felt board. 


Before diving into the story, I first introduce the vocabulary by taking out each item and setting it on the table (e.g., This is the monster's long blue nose, These are the monster's little squiggly ears. . .) As we read the story, each child then has the opportunity to place each body part on the monster's face (after requesting of course:) At the climax there's a third opportunity to practice the vocabulary as each body part is taken off and thrown down with an energetic "Go Away!" This part's a hit. Every. Single. Time. 

Go Away Big Green Monster is short, simple but still effective in targeting:
  • Body parts
  • S-blends (Scraggly, Squiggly, Scare, Monster)
  • Emotion words (Scared, Brave)
  • Comparative words (We talk about the monster getting "scarier" as each body part is added)
  • Negation (You don't scare me!)

But I think my #1 favorite thing about monsters is the opportunity to build understanding and use of:

    ATTRIBUTES 

Big, Little, Long, Short, Tall, Scary, Mean, Silly, Round, Sharp, Bumpy, Smooth, Fat, Skinny . . . 

These concepts are easy to reinforce. All you need is some play-doh and a few Mr. Potato Head pieces and you're got . . .  MONSTERS!



Instead of giving my students free access to the pieces, I lay them out and require them to request. If they ask for a nose, I show them their options (e.g., I have a big orange nose or a small red nose) and prompt them to use an attribute to describe which one they want (e.g., I want the big orange nose.) I always love how the play-doh monsters turn out - each one so cute and different!

And of course when we're ready to clean up, each piece gets put back with a "Go Away!"

If you're a music fan like me, this app puts the book to music with great visuals and an extremely catchy song (Although be warned - This song will be in your head ALL day.)  But if you've got an iPad and your students respond to this story as much as mine have, I've found it's been well worth it as just one more way to reinforce the language and concepts.



These are a few of the ways we stayed fired up. Have you used Big Green Monster in speech therapy before? Leave me a comment - I'd love to hear how!

Thanks so much for checking out my blog!