Oral Expression Exercises

Tell how to ...My ESL students are always telling me “We need more practice speaking English!”

Here are some printable worksheets for oral expression telling how to do common activities.   Each page has 4 simple prompts like “Tell how to make a sandwich…”  I give the worksheet first and allow the students to write their answer, then we talk about it.  Skills worked on with these exercises are:  reading, writing, oral expression, spelling, vocabulary, long term memory and sequencing.

Tell how to…. A

Tell how to…. B

Tell how to…. C

Tell how to…. D

 

Tongue Thrust Exercises 3

tongue thrust exercises #3This is a new post on more exercises we do in the clinic for kids who are coming to speech therapy for tongue thrust.  See my earlier posts on tongue thrust exercise here and here.

Tongue thrust  (also known as Myofunctional Disorder) is the forward movement of the tongue (often through the teeth) for swallowing.  It’s a natural posture for babies (it serves as a protection from choking).  Most children outgrow it, but a number of children still “tongue thrust” at age 7 or 8 and often need therapy to correct it.  Some adults have tongue thrust.  Children or adults who lisp (for example use TH for S) probably have a tongue thrust and can benefit from speech therapy.  Remember when we talk about “the spot” we meant the alvealor ridge, or bumpy spot right behind the upper front teeth.

Exercises to help tongue placement –

  • Peanut butter rub – I tell students to imagine they have peanut butter on the roof of their mouth and their job is to use their tongue tip to “lick” it off.  They should put their tongue tip to “the spot” and lick pushing the tongue up and back into the mouth.
  • Slurp apple sauce or puree.  Slurping moves the tongue blade back.
  • K swallow.  I like to use a chopstick for this, but you can use a clean pencil. Have your student bite down on the chopstick biting with the left and right teeth. Place the tongue on top of the chopstick. Say “kah” “kah” “kah”, then practice a swallow.  You can use water (a spray bottle is good) or no water. The tongue must move back for the swallow (since the chopstick prevents it from “fronting”)  This can also be done with the student lying down on his/her back.  Then gravity helps too!

Excercises to help lip strength

  • OO-EE helps to round the lips, then give your student a list of words with /w/.  This will support lip rounding.  Words like what, when, where, why, wet, win, way, wink, owing, going, snowing, showing, knowing, away, stoy away, milky way, etc..

Exercises for jaw grading

  • Chewing gum actually strengthens jaws, lips and tongue.  You can use gum-chewing for strengthening the masseter muscle, which moves the jaw.  For asymmetrical weakness, have your student chew more on the weak side.  Teach your student to wrap the gum in a paper towel or tissue, and throw it in the trash can when finished.  (Avoid gum if clients have TMJ problems.)

 

 

 

Prepositions For Early Learners

Prepositions for Early LearnersBy age 3 children should be using early prepositions.  Most children understand and use “in”, “on” and “under” at 3.  By 4 children should know more prepositions, usually “over”, “in front of” and “in back of” or “behind”.

Here’s a free printable for beginning propositions.

Sometimes I’ll use playdoh to teach prepositions.  I roll a  ball of playdoh and use the playdoh “can”.  I place the ball in different places around the can and ask my student “Where is the playdoh?” If they need a model I tell them, “ON the can”, “IN the can” or “UNDER” the can”, etc.  They they get a chance to place the playdoh.  I tell them “Put the Playdoh IN.”  or “Put the Playdoh ON”.

Early prepositions include in, on, under, over, next to, in back of, in front of or behind, and between (the two cans).

Book Review “Tucker the Tongue Finds his Spot”

Tucker the Tongue Finds his SpotIf you’re working with kids who tongue thrust, you’ll enjoy this charming book about Tucker the Tongue, who goes looking for a place to be happy, his own special “spot”. This book introduces the idea of the tongue having a favorite spot to be.

This books allows for an easy entrance into the discussion about where a tongue should be, without making a child feels bad that he’s doing it wrong.

Written by two myofunctional therapists, specializing in treatment of tongue thrust and associated disorders, the information in this book is helpful as well as engaging.

Find the book for sale on Amazon here. I make no proceeds off the sale.  I just enjoy the book and recommend it to therapists.

 

Winter Olympics Lesson

Winter Olympics LessonHow much can you teach about Winter Olympics without pictures?  I found it pretty hard last week with my ESL students.  So I put together an easy printable worksheet to launch our discussion of the Winter Olympics.  (I do not own the photos. I just searched online for “Olympic winter sports”).  With pictures/photos, the discussions can be easy or complex.  Find out what sports your students have tried.  Relating the topic to the lives of the students personally is always a good idea.

Good luck and have fun teaching English!

Patriotic Songs for ESL

Patriotic Songs for ESLOne of our favorite activities to do with ESL students is sing patriotic songs.  We sing songs like

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

God Bless America

God Bless America,
Land that I  love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

You’re a Grand Old Flag

You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Every heart beats true
‘neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

and our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Sometimes if the words or phrase meanings are difficult, we’ll explain them or illustrate them first.  Students always enjoy singing along and can do well if they have a lyrics sheet with the words.  We also say the Pledge of Allegiance.  We pass out flags to students and they enjoy waving them.  This activity can be done in February for Presidents Day, May for Memorial Day or July 4 for Independence day.

 

Pronouncing Heart

Pronouncing HeartHeart is pretty tricky. It is the only word in English that is pronounced like “-art” but spelled like “-eart”. Other –art words include:

  • art
  • cart
  • dart
  • part
  • mart
  • tart
  • apart
  • smart
  • start
  • chart
  • depart
  • impart
  • Cuisinart
  • upstart

If you know words and word meanings, but not how to pronounce them, you need more time listening to, and speaking English.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart!

 

Understanding “can” & “can’t”

Understanding Can & Can'tDo you understand English speakers when they say “I can see you after class.” vs.  “I can’t see you after class.”

“She can tell you the directions.” vs. “She can’t tell you the directions.”

“He can go to the store.” vs. “He can’t go to the store.”

Can and can’t sound very similar in conversational speech, but there is a way to tell the difference.  It is normal for both words to sound reduced, like “kin’ or “ken” (the vowel has a more central placement in the mouth, rather than a low placement that you see in words like man and hand.) One way to tell the difference between can and can’t is to listen for the /t/.  But even the /t/ might be so reduced that you miss it.  So the best way to tell the difference  between can and can’t is to listen for the vowel length. The vowel sound in can’t is longer.

Good job speaking English.  Keep up the good work!

 

Songs for ESL

I recently taught songs to my ESL students and since they were older songs, we needed to spend time talking about the vocabulary.  Included in this post are printables I made for my students.  Click on the title in the parenthesis to get to the printable.  The song lyrics are listed too.  The songs are easy to locate on the internet.  Singing is a great way to engage the memory for language learning.

CryDownMyRainBarrellSay Say O Playmate (Cry down my rain barrel illustrations)

Say, say, O playmate, come out and play with me

and bring your dollies three, climb up my apple tree

cry down my rain barrel, slide down my cellar door

and we’ll be jolly friends forever more.

 

TakeMeOutToTheBallgameTake Me Out To The Ballgame (TakeMeOutToTheBallGame illustrations)

Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the park

Buy me some peanuts and CrackerJack, I don’t care if I ever go back

‘Cause it’s root, root, root for the home team, if they don’t win it’s a shame

For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game.

More Tongue Thrust Exercises

More Tongue Thrust ExercisesToday I’m writing about more exercises we do in the clinic for kids who are coming to speech therapy for tongue thrust.  See my other posts on tongue thrust exercises here and here.

Tongue thrust  (also known as Myofunctional Disorder) is the forward movement of the tongue (often through the teeth) for swallowing.  It’s a natural posture for babies (it serves as a protection from choking).  Most children outgrow it, but a number of children still “tongue thrust” at age 7 or 8 and often need therapy to correct it.  Some adults have tongue thrust.  Children or adults who lisp (for example use TH for S) probably have a tongue thrust and can benefit from speech therapy.

Exercises to help tongue placement –

  • lift tongue to the “spot”, this is the bumpy spot behind the upper front teeth (tongue elevation with mouth open)
  • lizard tongue (point tongue out of the mouth and down – stretches the lingual frenum)
  • waggle ton (move tongue side to side, touching the inside cormer of the lips)
  • molar tap – reach the tongue tip back and “tap” each molar  in succession –  lower left, upper left, upper right and lower right, and go again)
  • ABC trace – pretend the tongue tip is a pencil and “trace” the alphabet on the roof of the mouth

Excercises to help lip strength

  • fish face pops – make a kissing sound

Exercises for jaw grading

  • chewy tubes – jaw strength can be improved by biting on a chewy tube (designed especially for this).  Tubes come in different levels of firmness.  Some are easier to bite down on, and some are harder. I like the red tubes from Talk Tools®.