Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Adapted Play Plans

I've had to postpone painting my kitchen for a few days since it is SO hot here!  So I've had a bit of time to go through some things I intend to take in to school to begin using with some of the children.  I found these adapted play plans and decided I needed to pull them out to use in the classroom again!   
This is the outside of the play plan.
Play Plans are NOT an idea I developed, but rather adapted from what is being used in many of the larger group classrooms in our program (I believe it originally comes from the Early Reading First initiative).  Basically, the children are encouraged to use invented spelling, pre-writing or whatever writing stage they are at, to write out a plan of something they would like to do during center time (they always start with a sentence stem).  They are also shown how to trace or sketch the item or items they may use during this time (example:  tracing around a block if they want to play with the blocks). 

In my classroom, we are simply not at the point where we can sit still long enough to complete this or have enough meaning behind it- not to mention the fine motor skills that are involved with this activity!  So, I basically adapted this to use with some of my children who are ready and able to understand this. 

The child can work with an adult who labels the items that are choices (we generally start with only two choices to choose from and work up from there). After the child makes a choice by pointing to the picture, through eye gaze, pulling the picture off or pulling the picture off and handing it to the adult, the adult then helps the child place the item on the Velcro and helps him/her "read" the sentence.  

The adult then helps the child find the item they have chosen and play with it for a few minutes. If the child is interested, the play can continue, but if the child is clearly not interested any more then the toy is put away.  After this the child is allowed to move about the classroom and chose various toys as he/she wishes.  

In this case, the idea behind this isn't that the child has to stay in one area for any length of time.  It basically is that:
  1. the child learns that the picture represents the object.
  2. the child learns to make a true choice with pictures.
  3. the child begins to recognize that the words on the folder have meaning.
Even if the adult is doing all of this except for choosing a picture, the child will benefit from the repetition of the activity.  For children with language and communication delays,  I have found that it often takes many times for a child to begin associating the fact that the picture represents the actual object.  And it takes repetition for a child to understand that he/she is making a choice of what to play with!  You'll usually know when a child truly understands! 

On another note, did you notice the naked baby doll?  Yes, this is how the baby dolls in our classroom look 99% of the time...someone is always right there to pull the clothes OFF the baby...but there's no interest in actually putting them back ON the baby!

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