Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Category Game Bags- A Perfect Activity to Start the School Year

As many of us embark on a new, school year, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a fabulous, stress free speech life!  With that, I would like to share a quick and easy lesson plan for your classroom, small group, or individual sessions that will take you just minutes to put together. This game was my "go to" activity for classroom instruction at the beginning of the school year and it is sure to earn you the reputation as the "fun" professional while at the same time build vocabulary and speech skills with your clients.

I had the good fortune to work with some exceptional Speech-Language Pathologists early on in my career.  During one of my observations, I watched students play a lively, category game using just brown paper lunch bags and small sheets of paper.  This game can easily be adapted for students in 1st through 5th grade.  If your clients are younger and have a hard time reading, then you can always put pictures on the bags in place of words.

Before you begin, get at least 10 paper bags and write the names of various category groups on each one.  Then, make a list, using a small piece of paper or half of an index card, of 4-5 group members.  If you need to use pictures instead of words on the bags, you will need to create those and attach them to your bags.  You can make groups like Colors even more challenging for your upper elementary students by listing members such as African violet and Fuchsia instead of naming primary colors.

Here is how you play.  First, have students help open and set up lunch bags with the names or pictures of category titles on the bags facing students.  Next, students listen while you read a list of category members written on a small piece of paper.  Then, you can ask one student at a time to respond to a given word list by placing the paper in the correct bag.  At the end, I always go back and take a paper out of the bag and ask students to recall as many as they can that I just read.  You can make it into a game by giving a point for every correct placement for the word list and a point for each member he or she can recall from the list.

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