If you work with preschool age students, you know that it’s hard to get a group of children to sit at a table for more than a few minutes at a time. Here is a gross motor activity to get kids moving, practicing grammar, and having fun. We call it “Jump Break.”
Possible Target Goals:
Student will use third person pronouns correctly in sentences.
Student will use will + verb in future tense.
Student will create sentences with auxiliary verb (is/are) agreement in present tense.
Student will use past tense –ed marker on regular verbs.
Student will use common irregular verbs in past tense sentences.
10 action pictures that match your grammar targets (e.g. regular or irregular past tense verbs, pronouns).
Put the cards face down in a pile, and have all the students sit on the floor in a circle. One student selects a card from the pile, and labels the action in the picture.
The SLP then asks the student “what will we do?” If the student does not provide a complete sentence, the SLP asks the student to say the “whole thing." The SLP can model the grammar target as needed.
After a complete sentence is given, all students perform the action.
While the students are performing the action, the SLP asks the students “what are we doing?” All students can answer together, in a sing-song like response. For example, “we ARE jumping. We ARE jumping. We ARE jumping.”
To complete the action and move to the next turn, create a sing-song conclusion-routine. For example, the SLP says “we are ALL done” using inflection and paired with a ASL. It may help to teach this routine before beginning the activity.
Once the students are sitting, ask the student “what did we do?” The student should formulate a complete sentence describing the action completed.
- At the end of jump break, go through 5-10 cards again. Ask the student(s) to make up one sentence for each picture. Provide the needed level of cueing to take the data.
- Immediate Model: SLP says the sentence, student repeats.
- Verbal Prompt: SLP provides vocabulary word or a reminder to use correct pronoun.
- Unprompted: Student creates sentence with no cues.
Include adverbs: Ask the student, "Do you want to jump high or low? Should we stomp loudly or quietly?"
Where questions: Ask a where question before performing the action (e.g. “where should we swim?”). Then, model the entire sentence (e.g. “We are swimming in the pool!”)
Prepositional phrases: Have a second deck of cards that shows location prepositions (e.g. under, between, next to, behind). For each turn, have the student create a sentence using the verb + preposition (e.g. “we are swimming around the duck”).
Evidence Based Practice Support:
"Preschoolers with SLI, compared to typically developing children on task performance of past progressive, present progressive, third person singular, and modal use of the article “can,” were observed to use the forms “is/are, was/were,” and “can” with significantly lower percentages, and the word final “-ing” was not used as an unmarked present tense in many cases." (Leonard, et. All 2003)
“By specifically focusing on the known morphological deficits in tense/agreement morphemes initially,and then transition into intervention in a narrative structure, clinicians may develop interventions to children with SLI produce grammatical morphemes such as third-person, 14 singular –s, is and are, and past –ed (Leonard et al., 2004, p. 1364).”
Leonard, L., Camarata, S., Brown, B., & Camarata, M., (2004). Tense and agreement in the speech of children with specific language impairment: patterns of generalization through intervention. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 1363-1379.
Leonard, L., Deevy, P., Miller, C., Charest, M., Kurtz, R., Rauf, L., (2003) The use of grammatical morphemes reflecting aspect and modality by children with specific language impairment. Journal of Child Language(30), 769-795.