As April rings in the end of the school year and the days start to get warmer, we have the opportunity to incorporate all things green and growing into our therapy units. This year Earth Day falls on Monday, April 22 and makes for the perfect kick-off to a week of sessions focusing on how to keep our amazing planet a beautiful place to live. Use these activities to start planning a “green week” for your students!
Story Book: Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel
Introduce your Earth Day week by reading the engaging tale of Michael Recycle, the boy superhero who saves the town of Aberdoo-Rimey where everything is...you guessed it, slimy. This story is ideal for elementary school aged students and introduces “green” vocabulary terms as well as the concept of recycling. After presenting it to your groups, you can target narrative language goals like comparing and contrasting characters and retelling the story.
Mini Garbage Cans: Category Sort and Articulation “Trash Talk” Game
I happened upon a mini recycling can and a mini garbage can recently and knew my students would love using them in therapy. You can search for them at Dollar Tree, Wal-Mart, and Amazon. I use them most often to teach spatial concepts, but they are also perfect for sorting items by category. This week you can use mini recycling or garbage cans to sort recyclable and non-recyclable items with your students. If you serve students who may still be learning basic vocabulary, use the cans to sort pictures or mini objects from simple categories, such as food and transportation.
Additionally, you can use the cans with your articulation students to turn everyday drill into a “trash talk” competition. Using a timer, have students take turns putting the articulation cards that they elicit correctly into the garbage can and the cards that they need to practice again into the recycling can. The student who produces the most sounds correctly and gets the most cards in the garbage can wins!
Set the scene for a “recycle hunt” in your therapy room, school building, or even around your school’s playground by hiding recyclable items like water bottles, plastic bags, aluminum cans, and cardboard throughout the area. Provide students with eco-totes to collect their items in and a checklist to ensure that each student collects 3-5 items each. Bring the students back into a group to describe the items they found using visual supports as needed. For example, pictures to describe a water bottle could include “smooth” and “clear”.
I hope that these ideas will inspire you to create an exciting celebration of Earth Day for your students!