Saturday, February 25, 2012

Round and Sparkly!

Last week, I had a group of kindergarteners in speech, discussing animals. It’s a good subject for learning about categories and building vocabulary. When I asked them if they had any pets, the youngest student in the group said, “I have a snake.”

I asked, “What does it look like?”

“It’s round and sparkly,” she said.

Before I could probe further, the other students were blurting out their response. I heard about the usual cats, dogs, and hamsters but I was still wondering what kind of snake is round and sparkly, maybe a stuffed toy.

During the first few months of school, the child with the snake wouldn’t speak at all in her classroom. That’s why she was referred to me - her teacher thought she was nonverbal. It didn’t take long for her to open up in a small speech group. But it soon became apparent she had significant language delays. I wasn’t about to make her uncomfortable that morning by putting her on the spot but I wanted more information about that snake. I was getting ready to ask when she spoke again, “I have a dog.”

“Oh,” I said, “tell me about it.”

“It’s round and sparkly.”

Adjectives! They must be working on descriptive language in her classroom. Now they just need to be fine-tuned a bit. It was easy to take the adjective, “sparkly,” and apply it to her shoes; they were glittering with pink and silver sequins, which reminded me of the perfect book to demonstrate more descriptive language – Shoes for Me! by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Mike Laughead. It is full of vibrant illustrations, vivid word pictures and rhymes.

“Girls shoes, boys shoes, flowers, stars. 
Jewels and glitter, trucks and cars.”

Shoes clattered and clopped, zipped and hopped and generally entertained my students while they listened to this story. By the end of it, the kids were bubbling with adjectives and they wanted to show off their own shoes so I took some pictures. Take a look:

Our group will return to the topic of animals in a week or two and I’ve asked them to bring in photos of their pets so we’ll have more information to go on. I can’t wait to see the round and sparkly snake and its twin – the dog.


  1. Love this post, it's round and sparkly!

  2. Great post! As a former K-1 teacher who did not have access to such help, it is interesting to peek into the inner workings of a speech therapy session in today's world.

  3. Kids are so full of wonderful sayings. Of course snakes are round and sparkly! Thanks for sharing.