Cabin fever has set in at my house after we survived ice and snow for a few days in the deep South, so I am getting a little crazy and posting a mini-blog between Saturdays! Here’s an idea that came from a conversation with a smart and enthusiastic CF I am supervising at one of my schools. We were brainstorming on visual support for conversational turn taking and topic maintenance (I know you fellow SLPs are giddy at the thought LOL!). I love using Connect Four as a visual representation. And yes, there is even an app for that for you high tech folks. I prefer the click of the chips and the crash of them spilling out with the real game, but to each his own!
I give each child their own color chip and I either put a sticker on my chips or spray paint them if I have
forethought energy to prepare ahead of time. We have a pile of topic cards and take turns drawing one to start the conversation. If your students are at a higher level and can generate a topic on their own, fantastic! As someone comments, they put in their chip, then the next makes a connecting comment. I switch things up by changing the topic and if the kids can maintain the conversation until the board is filled, they win a prize (chocolate or Marvel superhero tattoos are a big deal in my room). I like the buy in that the kids have to work together to get the prize 🙂
BUT, if they don’t maintain the new topic, the bottom slides out (via me) and we have to start all over again… NOOOOOOOOOO! Caveat: if your kids are not able to handle the frustration level of this activity, don’t do it. The point isn’t to frustrate them needlessly,it’s just to give them a visual representation/fun way to see what conversation looks like in a structured situation. Have fun and let me know if you try this out. Oh, and think spring!