Are your kids good verbal communicators of their ideas? Do you and your spouse have strong communications skills? Would you like to help your family improve the way you communicate with others? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then check out the Color My Conversation kit from Northern Speech Services.
I was excited to learn there is a fun and useful program available for families to use at home that can help improve communication skills.
Color My Conversation
Instruction Manual & Music CD’s
12 Stepping Stones
50 Game Tokens
100 Picture / Emotion Cards
50 Dry Erasable Wall Display Cards
2 Dry Erase Markers
Printable Worksheets & Activities
Online Training Videos & Support
PARENTS & PROPS
The parent is the “Conversation COACH” and an essential part of using this program. You will use the manual, songs and props in your kit, and the online training videos to accomplish your role as coach. Before you begin there are a few things for the Parent / Conversation Coach to familiarize yourself with.
Online Training Videos
Props & Music CD
The first thing to do when you get your kit is to read through the MANUAL on the CD. You can print the Manual and put it into a binder so you have it handy at all times.
Next spend some time watching the online TRAINING VIDEOS. There are several short videos on the website for each level of the program. These are an invaluable resource in demonstrating how the program works and help you to feel confident teaching and demonstrating each concept to your kids.
The next step is to familiarize yourself with items you will use with your kids. Look over the PROPS that came in the kit and the 12 SONGS on the music CD. These are sung with younger children and spoken with older children.
There is an Assessment Tool you can use to gage where your kids are at and where to begin if desired, or you can just start at the beginning. This program is meant to be used in 30 minute segments and take as few as 14-16 weeks or it can be used as educational curriculum to last for an entire school year. It is up to you and your family as to how fast you choose to progress.
There are 4 Levels. There are also “Adaptations” and additional “Supplements” for each level for kids with varying skills and needs. You can move through the different levels as your kids progress in their skills.
- Beginner: Conversation Path (ages 5-12)
- Intermediate: Take It To the Table (ages 5-12)
- Advanced: Game Board Sessions (ages 8-12)
- Expert: Customized Topics (age varies)
ALL LEVELS: Disability Adaptations To the Lessons Are Provided! Also some simple sign language gestures are taught. With the adaptations, and using a few supplements such as colored beads offered on the website, children with wide ranging abilities and learning levels can participate in this program.
Beginner Level: Conversation Path (ages 5-12)
~ 5 Weeks
In the “Conversation Path”, involves movement and color. You will use floor pads that are colorful “conversation stones” to guide the conversation. Children will step on the stone path as they walk through the conversation. These pads can be written on with the included dry erasable markers.
At each stage (stone) of the conversation, the ball will be tossed back and forth to represent taking turns during the conversation. This also helps to give pause and establish good eye contact and everyone knows to listen to the person holding the ball.
Using the Conversation Path, students learn about simple greetings, and farewells. They practice body language and nonverbal communication skills too. They are given opportunities to practice short conversations and longer conversations.
The beginnings of a Wall Display will be used to represent the Conversation Path in the next less physically active levels. The Wall Display should remain up as a visual support for the children. There are also activities for using the Ribbon prop.
Intermediate Level: Take It To The Table (Ages 5-12 years)
“Take It To The Table” kids will learn to hold conversations at the table. They will continue to walk the Conversation Path learned in the previous level. A visual Wall Display will help children practice the new conversational features being introduced.
In Take It To The Table, kids will learn about “WH” questions, Yes! No! Maybe So! questions, they learn to make important meaningful comments, learn how to change topics, and how to speak clearly to be understood.
Table props are used including worksheets, crafts, artwork, drill work and game activities are provided for each lesson. Kids will gain increased ability to have conversations on a wider array of topics!
Advanced Level: Game Board Sessions (8-12 years)
“Game Board Sessions” is a multi-activity conversation game. Kids will have the role of either active play or observation and comment on those who are playing the game.
The Game Board Sessions focus on improving a child’s ability to initiate, maintain, and close topics. They learn to use appropriate topic transitions. They also learn to take turns and use strategies taught on a 2-sided multi-activity game board.
While working through the strategies taught in this level, kids will continue to gain confidence as they practice taking on the role of the primary listener or the primary speaker.
Expert Level – Customized (variable ages)
~time to complete varies.
This lesson is intended for all ages. The purpose of this level is to identify the conversation skills that each child has and is capable of using and helping them transfer them from practice into a natural setting.
This level helps kids practice conversations in the “real world.”
You can also hold specific customized conversations that have not been addressed. This level helps with further skill development. Customized conversations can be taught at any point after the Beginner Level.
I want my family to be able to communicate well. We worked on the Beginner Level with my children for this review. I found the program to be very helpful in teaching them when it is their turn to talk (when they are holding the ball) and to be better listeners when it is someone else’s turn. I am looking forward to advancing into the next levels in the weeks ahead and help the kids share their thoughts and ideas with effective strategies that work for kids from all walks of life and all skill levels.
Our kit arrived in a nice sturdy box that can be used for storing and it fits right on the shelf with our other family games and puzzles. I was very pleased to see the variety and quality of the props included in this kit. They have been well made and will last a long time if taken care of.
The process of using this kit is simple and straight forward. It was easy to implement after I watched about 10 minutes of online introductory training videos. There is also a 2-10 minute training video before starting each new lesson. You can print the manual and lessons and keep them in a binder. Each lesson has a Parent Letter, a Lesson Overview, the Lesson, Teaching Overview, and Hands On Suggestions.
I liked the step by step instructions in the lessons for both myself and the kids to follow. The kids learned how to start and end a conversation. They learned how to ask simple questions and discussed easy topics such as their day, the weather, etc. They had a lot of fun playing with the ball and being the one who has the right to speak without being interrupted. These activities provided a great hands on way for them to understand how a conversation works.
One of the best ways I can tell you about this program is to share a short video demonstration with you. This one is my favorite because it shows how easy it is to engage the kids and follow the steps. This 4 minute video is from Lesson 3: The Long Conversation. It is really interesting to see how to start a coversation, move along the path of the conversation (stones), and close the coversation around a specific topic of interest. They use the ball to symbolize who is responsible for carrying that portion of the conversation and it makes a person think “who has the ball?” “or “who has the floor?” before speaking.
FREE SAMPLE of Lesson 1 and the Lesson 1 Video.
On the website, Color My Conversations offers Lesson 1 for FREE! It is a downloadable PDF. Read it right from your computer or print it out. Give it a try with your kids.
Color My Conversation is flexible and can be used in a variety of settings as curriculum for any family in their homes, classrooms, tutors, clubs or community programs, or can be used by professional speech therapists. You don’t have to have specialized training to implement this program.
All of the lesson planning is done. Just follow the step by step progression of lessons to successfully reach new communication goals. This program has everything you need to jump in and go.
NO matter what your level of training working with kids, this program will help you and your kids (and other adults), become better communicators of the goals and relationships you are working on. This program has a wide range of application and is recommended to be implemented by a Home School Parent, All kinds of classroom Teachers, Special Education Teacher, Teacher for the Hearing Impaired, Teacher for the English Language Learner, Counselor, Behavioral Consultant, or Speech Language Pathologist.
Check out Color My Conversation and Northern Speech Services on their social media links:
Facebook (company): www.facebook.com/northernspeech
Facebook (product): www.facebook.com/colormyconversation/
Homeschool Review Crew
Be sure to check out what other families on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using Northern Speech Services with their kids.