Winter Sports Themed Lesson Plan Activities For Teletherapy
One of the beauties of telepractice is that we can (digitally) take our speech therapy students anywhere, so I look forward to doing winter sports themed activities every year. Activities about action-packed sports such as skiing, hockey, ice skating, and snowboarding always spark the interest of my students in January and February.
You might be thinking...
But my students don't live in a place with snowy winters.
That's okay, not all of mine do either! My warm climate-dwelling students are even more drawn in to learning about these activities they've seen in books, movies... or the Olympics! Even I, as I sit here writing this post with 12 inches of snow outside my house, am realizing that I've only ever participated in a winter sport a handful of times. I guess my point is a great majority of us are lacking the snow and/or mountains to be active participants in winter sports, but we can all relate to it on some level and benefit from learning more about these worldwide pastimes.
There are so many awesome things about winter sports, such as the history, vocabulary (sporting and safety equipment, climates) and concepts (temperature, speed, order/place) that surround it. And on years when The Winter Olympics take place, be prepared for your students to join your next session and excitedly tell you how they saw something on T.V. that they had learned about in speech the week before.
So here we go... a round up of activities that you can use to bring winter sports to life in your teletherapy sessions.
VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP
Since many students may not have firsthand experience with winter sports, there are several ways to kick off the theme and introduce the vocabulary. I like to use this PDF as a virtual field trip to look at big, real photographs of the sports in action. The pictures elicit a lot of language in and of themselves, but I can also use the built-in prompts on each page to target any number of goals.
For younger students, this interactive PDF is a great way to dig deeper into the theme and hone in on speech and language goals. Using the clickable buttons, fillable text fields, and "checkable" boxes, we can work on anything from description and vocabulary, to verbs, negation, plural nouns, and even articulation!
If you use Epic (free for educators), there are endless possibilities! Seriously, just type any winter sport into the search bar. You'll instantly have tons of non-fiction books at your fingertips, including this one about skiing, this one on snowboarding, and this one on sled dog racing.
Epic also has many fictional stories for a variety of ages. Here are just a few:
Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen (suggested age 4-8)
Kamik Joins the Pack by Darryl Baker (suggested age 5-7) is a story about sled dogs.
Winter Willpower by Bill Yu (suggested age 7-9) is written in a comic book format.
Mice on Ice by Eleanor May (suggested age 3-7) is a cute story about mice going ice skating.
Goodnight Hockey Fans by Andrew Larsen (suggested age 3-7) is about a boy that dreams about hockey.
This video 1.5 minute long video has few words, but shows short video clips of several popular winter sports.
Your students can learn about the history of The Winter Olympics in this 3.5 minute-long video.
This video shows still photos as it lists the sports included in The Winter Olympics.
This video (on Epic) introduces a 10-year-old snowboarder.....and shows his impressive talents!
Games & Activities
This Highlights Hidden Picture shows penguins ice skating and is a great way to fill a few minutes at the end of a session.
This 8-pair memory game matches words with pictures while this 17-pair memory game covers many wintertime experiences in Switzerland, including many sporting activities. FYI- you can modify the games to have less matches!
Activities for Older Students
This interactive PDF uses real photos paired with informational text and corresponding activities to target any number of speech and language goals, including comparing and contrasting, formulating sentences using theme vocabulary, using a variety of verb tenses, identifying synonyms and antonyms, using conjunctions, and articulation. It's perfect to pair with YouTube videos of the sports in action, as well as the Winter Olympics website!
This article on ReadWorks discusses how to exercise outside despite the colder temperatures in winter months. It also discusses the multiple benefits of being outside and active in the winter.
This Newsela article shares an Olympic bobsledder's initiative to bring diversity and inclusion to The Winter Olympics, and winter sports in general.
This Newsela passage may be short, but is also very relevant with the topic of safety of winter sports during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Regardless of how much snow is (or isn't) on the ground where you live during the winter, your students will love this theme! Forget a week's worth of lesson plans, these activities might have you covered for the whole month! But if not, check out more lesson plans on this FREE Google spreadsheet, or these other themed lesson plan blog posts!