Let’s Break the Ice!

lets break the ice 5x5

Winter is here in the South, even if all the plants were tricked into thinking it was Spring last month! We are bundled up and stuck inside with each other a LOT for the next few months.  Conversation is what’s on the agenda in speech right now and I wanted to share a new spin on an oldie but a goodie!!  My Don’t Break the Ice Game is sturdy, inexpensive and washable, all a plus in my line of work.  And who doesn’t enjoy smacking the ice cubes out of the frame mercilessly once the bear falls down?

For my kiddos who are learning about the concept of asking and answering questions and making comments conversationally, I love using visual cues (Example: colored construction paper on the board as a key:  yellow- initiating topic   red-question   blue-connecting comment and so on….). Michelle Garcia Winner uses a color coding idea with this Conversation Tree in her book, “Thinking About You, Thinking About Me”.  There is another great teaching tool that uses color coding for in depth teaching of all kinds of conversation skills called “Color My Conversation“.  Check it out if you have any PTA money to spend on some social skills materials! One other idea I really like is from Liz’s Speech Therapy Ideas blog on using craft sticks for conversation prompts HERE

I have been playing my Don’t Break the Ice game using these “All About You, All About Me” cards from Super Duper as prompts but you can use pictures, make a Pinterest board of conversational topics that appeal to your specific students (make it a private board and share this suggestion with the families too so they can practice at home!) or let your kids brainstorm their own conversation topics too.  We all have more conversational buy in when we get to talk about our area of interest!  Just remember we can’t always talk about what we want to talk about 🙂

We turn take and build on the conversation while playing the game.  Instead of putting the bear in the middle, I put a small velcro button on an ice cube and attach a laminated picture of the topic.  You can laminate a blank piece of tag board cut to fit the ice cube and then write topics for readers (or draw a representational picture) with dry erase markers too. Once my students get the hang of how to have a conversation, I draw a question mark on the laminated square and put it on the middle cube. Two of us playing the game know the conversational topic, but a third person has to try and guess the topic based on what they hear in the conversation.

What are some fun ways that you work on conversation in speech?










2 thoughts on “Let’s Break the Ice!

  1. When I start my social language groups I give out between 5-7 paper clips to each student. I remind them that the 2 ways to join in a conversation are by questioning and commenting. Then I get a topic started. Any time a student says something they put a paper clip in the middle. We have to keep it going until everyone has used up all of their paper clips.

    For a more advanced level, use 2 different color paper clips. Encourage students to use 3 comments and 3 questions in the conversation.

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