A Gift to a Character!

‘Tis the season! No matter what one’s religious beliefs are, the holiday season involves giving, and this is a context that is ripe for critical thinking, description, perspective-taking, and social scripts. It can be quite difficult to engineer learning situations in which children are giving each other actual gifts, what with the need for stores, money, and the fine-motor aspects of wrapping.  However, technology can cut through some of that sticky tape for us and provide us with a virtual-gift-giving activity!

I first learned of the Gift Wrap App (FREE for iPad) on The Speech Guy, Jeremy Legaspi’s great blog (be sure to follow it on its own or as part of your use of the SLP Blogs Bundle).  Jeremy is a whiz at describing how to “app-dapt” certain gems in the app store, and he mentioned this app, which allows you to overlay rippable “wrapping paper” over an imaged “gift,” as a means to “target language, articulation, or pretty much anything!” Indeed, any app that allows kids to interact with imagery has pretty much limitless contexts and therapy applications.

In that line of thinking, I knew it could be used in conjunction with Mindwing’s tools such as the Braidy, the Story Braid or Story Grammar Marker Character Maps.  Your lesson could look like this:

First, have your students interview each other using the Character Map as a guide. Character attributes such as appearance (what someone often wears, for example) and especially likes/dislikes can lay the groundwork for an inference about what he or she might like for a gift.  If it is difficult to split kids up to do this in secret, you could also think about giving a virtual gift to a book character or a teacher.

Next, show your students how to save an image to the camera roll using Google Images (click here to see how).  This easy process is what makes any “creation” app virtually limitless. 

After that, using Gift Wrap App, tap Add a Gift Image, Allow the app to access your photos, and the saved image will be on your Camera Roll. Have the student select an image, swipe to pick a holiday wrapping paper style, then tap Wrap.

Finally, you are ready to have kids “exchange” gifts.  This provides a good opportunity to work on scripts for the exchange (even what to say if one secretly does not like a gift)!

As a variation of this lesson, you can have kids give each other absurd gifts to work on causal/descriptive language, or use this app throughout the year at birthday or other holiday times...You can also consider having kids gift something as a response to a Six-Second Story, taking advantage of the listening skills and inferential thinking opportunities within that task.

Happy Gifting!


Sean Sweeney
Sean Sweeney

Author

Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, MA, and consults to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie (www.speechtechie.com), looks at technology “through a language lens.” Contact him at sean@speechtechie.com.



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