I don’t know about you, but I have a thing for cats. And it’s not just me. The whole Internet seems to have a thing for cats, as evidenced by the never-ending collection of hilarious cat pictures that live online. I just can’t get enough of those. In fact, whenever I’m feline (er, feeling) blue, silly cat pictures have a magical way of turning my frown upside-down.
If you adore cats and speech therapy, ya gotta check out this website!
I’m excited to tell you about a purr-fect (er, perfect) website that I recently started showing my students. It’s called stuffonmycat.com and it’s jam-packed with hundreds and hundreds of hilarious cat pictures. In short, this online destination is a digital community of cat owners who do one thing: put stuff on their cat. They then snap a photo of what they’ve done to their kitty and submit the snapshot to stuffonmycat.com. It’s all very genius and entertaining.
Did you know that funny cat pictures can be awesome speech therapy materials?
If you have any students on your speech therapy caseload that are working towards increasing their ability to answer WH questions (specifically WHY questions), stuffonmycat.com is ideal. For example, look at this terrific picture of a sleeping cute cat with a bunch of socks all over it. That kitty sure looks comfortable, huh? Well, I showed that picture to a bunch of my 4th and 5th grade students and I encouraged them to describe WHY they thought the cat was comfortable. Most of my students couldn’t verbally communicate WHY. Most said a single word. That word was because. Nothing after it. Because.
Details, please. More details about the picture!
In an effort to get my students more in the habit of noticing details in a picture and then using those details to trigger other insights, I pointed out to them the dryer that the cat was laying on top of and the socks that were on top of the cat. Then, with some prompts and cues, I asked them to make a connection between the socks and the dryer to help with the WHY. Like clockwork, my students started hypothesizing how the socks on the cat were probably super warm because they just came out of that dryer. Maybe that’s the reason WHY the cat was so comfy?
Nice! Good start! Let’s keep on hypothesizing to see what else we come up with!
Then, with some more prompts and cues, they mentioned how it was probably not the warm socks that have that cat so relaxed, it was probably the dryer itself. They started to describe how the dryer might be on and while it’s on, it might be shaking or vibrating, thus, giving the cat a type of massage as it napped on top of it.
Great! I like the rationale! Let’s keep going deeper!
A couple of other students commented on the pipes in the background of the picture and said that they believed the dryer was in the basement of a house, because exposed pipes like that are usually found in basements. They then went on to explain that basements are usually dim and quiet, thus, the dim and quiet environment was actually the thing that caused the cat to feel so relaxed. (I was in awe of all the conversation that was brewing; all because of a random picture of a random cat with some random socks on top of it. So marvelous!)
WHY questions are pretty tough.
Thinking about WHY questions requires children to think about details that relate to a given scenario. Students must offer conclusions and relate their answers to their own knowledge of the world. That might come naturally to you and I, but to those who have various communication difficulties, it takes practice. That’s why I love the funny cat pictures that are all over stuffonmycat.com. Each picture is detailed and students get the chance to provide explanations for the shown situations. WHY does this cat have toys all over him? WHY does this cat have origami all over her? WHY does this cat have building blocks all over him? Let’s look at the pictures to see if there are any details that could steer us in the right direction. Let’s also think about any past knowledge we might be able to pull from that might relate to the picture in question. All of that, mixed with a bit of imagination and some prompts and cues, can get us where we want to be!
In closing . . .
WHY questions require higher order thinking skills. Students need to be exposed to stimuli that’s both exciting and rich with details so that they can pick out certain clues that can help them towards drawing conclusions. That’s the reason I love stuffonmycat.com. It’s filled with exciting and detailed pictures that children seem to naturally gravitate towards. I’m telling you, the paw-ssibilities are endless with this paw-sitively cool website. Please do check out all of the website’s funny cat pictures and let me know how you’re using them within your speech therapy sessions!