Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Crafty Raft- Using "trash" in a whole new way!

Hi! It's Rachel of Queen's Speech!  
 I want to share a fantastic place for DIY inspiration with you! 

Do you know any teacher that enjoys spending their own money on materials? I don't!  Which is why this fabulous place called the Resource Area For Teachers (RAFT) was created.

What is RAFT? A non-profit organization started in 1994 whose, "main focus is to inspire, engage and educate children through the power of hands-on teaching". They provide products (Activity Kits & Idea Sheets), services (enrichment classes) and low-cost teaching materials. All products in the place have been donated by local companies! The perfect place for DIY projects and inspiration!

You may be asking "Why don't I have access to this place!?" Well right now they are only located in California and Colorado. The one where I live is located in Silicon Valley and has all kinds of products donated by Yahoo, Google, medical supply companies, tech companies, and so on! Since I do not live in the area anymore, I only go when I am home visiting my parents! If you ever find yourself in the area, visit! It is worth it!

Here is a little tour of why this place is so awesome and so DIY friendly....
The game center! Home to game pieces, homemade board games (right), many varieties of dice!

They sell prepackaged games using donated items that would otherwise be thrown away (packing foam, blank CDs, pieces of tile, straws, beads etc).

They sell items by the bagful! I bought a whole bag of bottle caps to make a game out of (think Lids and Lizards, but your own version!) They also sell laptop bags, lap tops, printers, paper, office supplies and random donated items.

Here is my all time favorite area! Surplus (or slightly "off") Mrs. Grossman's stickers for 25 cents a sheet, some are even 10 cents! I have hoards of these sitckers stored in a big binder. I use them for everyday rewards and special art projects!

Uh-oh! Barrel diving for stickers!
The surrounding walls are covered with names of the companies who have donated! My dad works for Lockheed Martin :) Had to post a picture!

Okay can I get a drum roll??? Next up, the GREEN ROOM!! 
Die cut machines! A whole entire room devoted to paper cutting and creativity! This is my mom making gingerbread cutouts for "The Gingerbread Baby" book.
My sister cutting out gold foil poster board for decor for her kids.
It's like a teacher's version of heaven.......
Cutting out trees at Christmas
Working away!

If you are not a particularly crafty person, they provide ideas with instructions for items to make in the green room! 

It gets busy in the green room! Best part is meeting new teachers and asking what they are making! We found out you can die cut sticker paper, felt and fabric!
I use the die cuts and stickers the most. One of my favorite projects was die cutting huge coffee filter butterflies and my students water colored them!  I also have different dice (WH dice, feelings dice, animal dice) and game pieces I use all the time with gameboards.

Best part is looking at all the materials (foam, material, old posters, pieces of medical equipment, wires, lids, cases, odds and ends) and thinking about them in a new way! Best of all they are using materials that would otherwise be thrown away and are being GREEN doing it!

What have you used in your therapy sessions that is considered recycled? If you don't live in California or Colorado, maybe you could contact local companies to see what they have to donate? Interested in starting a RAFT in your area? Click here! 

I will update with some crafts I have made using materials from here, next month! 
~Rachel of Queen's Speech

Friday, January 17, 2014

Emotion Cards

Hello everyone! It's Miss Thrifty SLP with a simple DIY project to work on following directions as well as social skills.  

Step One: Grab some magazines, newspapers, or catalogs with lots of people pictures. Cut out the ones that speak to you. I love using Super Duper catalogs for many of my crafting projects as their models show a variety of expressions.
Step Two: Make sure the pictures are cut to size. I like to leave just a slight edge around mine.
Step Three: Tape the pictures to strips of construction paper. I always cut out one long rectangle strip to use as my sizing guide to keep them fairly consistent. It's handy to keep a large stack of these blank strips ready for spur of the moment projects.
Step Four: Laminate.
It took me roughly 40 minutes to do this project. It may take a little bit less or more time depending on how picky you are with crafting. The total cost was $0.

Students can point to or label the emotions that they see on each strip. 

P.S. You can make a similar project with stickers for following directions. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mini Story Rope

It's Miss Thrifty again! I'm back with one of my favorite craft projects. I truly enjoy working with students on answering & asking wh- questions. It makes me happy to watch them learn the meaning behind the words and start using them spontaneously. I have written about my story rope craft in the past. It is something that I use on a daily basis in nearly all of my therapy sessions.

Wh Word Chant (The colors are meant to tie into to Colorful Semantics)
•Who is for people like you and me (kid picture/orange)
•Where is for places like a school or a hospital (house picture/blue)
•What is for things like a ball or a toy (broken rope picture/brown)
•When is for time just look at a clock (red, yellow, green like a stoplight)
•How is for an answer just like an equals mark (purple ribbon)
•Why is for a reason, we use the word because (pink question mark)

You can make a story rope with some construction paper, Sharpies, and yarn (or pipe cleaners). I drew my pictures by hand except for the cabbage patch kids picture. It took about 20 minutes to make the rope and a day to wait on laminating. They didn't scan too well since they are on construction paper so I can't post them here for you. However, I made a smaller version of this material to go on student desks that you can grab here. I give these out to the teachers to keep on my student's desk. One teacher decided to make a set for her entire class.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cinnamon ornaments

Hi! Jess from Figuratively Speeching SLP here. Excited to share my first post here on this amazing blog!

I wanted a crafty project that would incorporate some cooking for my life skills class, since they need to practice, not only cooking, but sequencing, following directions, asking questions, social language, and more. Cinnamon ornaments seemed easy enough, and I had made them a long time ago when I worked in a special education preschool.

Ingredients and materials needed:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 to 1 cup applesauce
(Recipe for 10 to 12 ornaments)

Assorted cookie cutters
Plastic wrap
Measuring cups and spoons
Mixing bowl
Cookie sheet
Puffy paint or other decorations
Straw (to poke holes in ornament)

Pour cinnamon and applesauce into bowl and mix. You can use a spoon, but to make sure it is incorporated (and for a great sensory experience), you may need to use your hands. You know it is mixed when you can form a large ball with the dough. If it is too crumbly add a little more applesauce to it.

Place a piece of plastic wrap on table. Place a quarter of the dough on wrap, and another piece of wrap on top. Using rolling pin, flatten dough to about a quarter inch thick. You can make them thicker, but it will take longer to dry out. If you are like me and don't have a rolling pin, wrap a can of soup, or another object in plastic wrap to use to roll out dough.

Use your cookie cutters to cut out shapes. I used a Christmas tree, a gingerbread man, and a snowflake. Place shapes on cookie sheet. Poke a hole in each shape using a straw. If you have an oven at your disposal, you will bake at 200 degrees for about 1 and a half to 2 hours, depending on thickness.  **If you do n ot have an oven, you can let them dry on a rack overn ight.**

When they are dry and cool, decorate any way you like. Here are some examples from me and my kids!  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Seasonal Emotion Sticks

Hey everyone, it's Miss Thrifty SLP again. I am back with another social skills crafty that coordinates with one of my latest freebies (feelings all over my face) and my previous social skills craft. This is an idea I came up with after seeing an idea on pinterest using a diaper wipe box. I don't know anyone with a bunch of diaper wipe boxes sitting around so I keep modifying the idea to the supplies I have at hand. The first led to the creation of an emotions poster and this time the end result is a collection of seasonal emotion sticks.

 Step 1: Find seasonal die cuts and pick out construction paper. We have several nice seasonal die-cut shapes in our workroom that I am always finding new ways to use. I used the pumpkin, star, Christmas tree, and apple shapes for this project.
Step 2: Add faces. I just took my trusty black Sharpie and drew faces on each shape. I tried to make mine match up to the Emotion Faces freebie from Teacher's Treasures. I use this worksheet with the majority of my social skills groups and wanted to have all of the emotions represented on my seasonal sticks.
Step 3: Back the construction paper before laminating. I use white poster board to give some extra support to most things that I laminate. You can skip this step if you'd like.
Step 4. Cut out the excess lamination and adhere to craft sticks. I used super glue at first, but it didn't work too well. I ended up taping the shapes to the sticks. (P.S. The EC teachers have tried hot glue for similar projects and had issues with it not wanting to maintain the hold too.)

Total Time: 30 minutes to make asides from the lamination aspect (which took 3 days for me using the school laminator).

How to use these in your speech room:

I will be using these to talk about how my students feel and practicing the different facial expressions in the mirror. If you decide to write emotion words on plain sticks, you can turn these sticks into a matching game for young readers. Older students can identify how a character is feeling by raising up the sticks as they notice a change in the way the character is behaving. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Social Skills Character Match-Up

Hi everyone! It's Miss Thrifty SLP here with a quick craft for social skills. I recently shared a new tab for social skill resources on my blog as it's something I've done a ton of research on lately. One of the products that kept appearing in my search was the Social Thinking curriculum. I know there is a team of bloggers writing about these products and they can do a much better job at explaining them. My district doesn't have the program and probably won't be getting it soon due to the budget cuts. However, I can still make some coordinating materials in the hope that things will change next year. All it took for this DIY was a little inventiveness and the discovery of Jill Kuzma's character description freebie.

I printed out three copies of the character descriptions. Two of them were cut up for DIY projects and the third visited the laminator immediately upon printing. 

 The first DIY project is a file folder matching game.
-Take two vanilla folders and glue them together. You need to make sure that you can still close the folder up before you glue them.
-Character descriptions, which should be glued directly to the folder.
-Laminate the folder and separate character pictures (you may want to print these on cardstock or glue to poster board for added strength)
-Attach Velcro to the folder and the character pictures.
-Stick the character picture above the correct description

The project took me 3 days due to our lamination policy. If you have access to your own machine, it doesn't take long at all.

To check out the my second DIY project, head on over to my blog.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Welcome to DIY Speech (aka...Do It Yourself Speech). This is a new collaborative blog by Speech-Language Pathologists that will specialize in crafty ideas and projects for therapy.