Using Die Cuts in Therapy

One of the often overlooked resources in a school work room are the die cuts. Usually there is a stack of letters, and then a few random pictures to complete the set. I’ve never walked into a school that didn’t have some die cuts. (I did, however, walk into a building that had an entire room dedicated to their die cuts…I was in heaven!)

Thanks to die cuts, I’ve had pumpkins visit my room for Halloween, turkeys for Thanksgiving, even bunnies for the spring.

Dies can be cut quickly, multiple sheets at a time, and multiple items on a sheet. Prep doesn’t take a lot of time, and therapy is automatically themed toward your holiday/season.

This Halloween, for example, all of my students made jack-o-lanterns on pumpkins. Some students followed directions to make them, some told me a story about their pumpkins, some sequenced how to make a jack-o-lantern. We even had discussions about emotions based on the expressions on each pumpkin’s face.

By far the favorite activity after making the jack-o-lanterns was letting students hide them around the room. We used this activity for prepositions, following directions, and pronouns. Students had to state who (a boy, girl, or multiple pumpkins) was hiding and where they were. Sometimes students had to hide their pumpkins in specific ways, like behind or under an item.

To work on categories or attributes, I wrote the name of an item (can be thematic if you desire) on several pumpkins. Students then had to describe the item to me before they could pick it up.

To work on pronouns, we labeled some pumpkins girls, and some boys. To work on present progressive (is/are +verb-ing), we decided where the pumpkins were, or had fun stating he/she/they is/are hiding….

Not only did my students love it, while one student searched the room, it gave me one on one time with another student to spend time on his/her goals.

For articulation students, I had them write words or sentences on their pumpkins to describe Halloween or their pumpkins that had their target sound. (When we did turkeys, each word became a feather.)

For my young articulation students, I ran off strips of words for their sounds. After we said the words, the students colored in the pictures, and then we threaded the pictures through the jack-o-lantern’s mouth, so he could eat the words.

There is almost no end to the activities you could do with a simple die cut that might be tucked away and almost forgotten in the corner of your work room.