• Story Apron Instructional Ideas

    apron with 5 pockets

    miniature objects/available at craft, toy and cake decorating supply stores


    Additional Materials/optional

    attributes/descriptive word chart

    question chart

    VV: Visualization/Verbalization chart (Lindamood-Bell)

    word wall

    talking stick

    magnetic fishing pole, oak tag shapes with large paper clips attached to each shape


    General procedure:  Students select item(s) from pocket(s). Use a “no peeking rule.”  All items should be held back and recycled at the end of a class period in order to minimize common themes.



    1)    Story Telling:  verbal or written

    Have the student select 3-5 items from the story apron.  They may order the objects either in the order selected or by individual choice.  The student must construct a story that uses each object in the order selected.  Additional characters may be added to the story as needed and appropriate.  All stories should demonstrate appropriate story sequence.  Appropriate grammar and syntax should also be modeled and directed as appropriate given the intent of the activity and the story-teller’s expressive language ability level.  Stories may be created with varying degrees of independence.  Younger or more language-impaired students may need to start with three objects and tell stories with a model or using closure techniques.  Older students or students with higher level language skills levels may need less modeling and guided story telling support.  In addition to oral story telling, whole groups may use the apron to create written stories with all students using the same objects or with individual selection. 


    Additional story-telling ideas:

    1)     Group stories can be created with each student selecting one item from different pockets. The teacher then sequences the items as selected or in a selected order.  The teacher begins the story with the first object.  Each student adds to the story including the next object in round robin fashion.  The last student or the teacher may conclude the story. 

    2)     Students may be allowed to tell a story to completion with independence.  The teacher may then choose to retell the story, “cleaning it up” with appropriate grammar, syntax and sequence.  This rephrasing should be done in a positive manner so as to affirm the student’s story telling effort.

    3)     Stories may be centered around a season or theme such as Halloween etc.

    4)    Written stories can be edited at a later date as appropriate based on student instructional needs.

    5)     Other students in the group can be allowed to share their own story ideas given a presented set of objects.  Each student typically has their own vision for a story once presented with a sequence of objects.  The students can also do this task either maintaining the object order or re-ordering the objects.

    6)    Students can modify stories through story retell while substituting antonyms and synonyms for words within the story.

    2)    Similar versus Different:

         Students select two items from the pockets.  The students individually or as a group must determine   

         2 or more ways the objects are similar and 2 or more ways the objects are different.  Creativity and out

         of the box thinking is a must with this activity.


    3)    Target Item + Non-Noun Word Sentence Development:

         Students select one object from the apron.  The teacher then gives the student a non-

         noun word such as an adjective, adverb, verb, etc. that must be used, along with the    

         target object word appropriately in a sentence.  Ex. The student selects a “car” from the

         pocket.  The teacher then provides the student with the word “each.”  The student must

         then create and state a sentence that contains both the words “car and each.”


    4)   Target + Question Word:

        Use the same technique as described in idea #3, but substitute a question word

        for the non-noun word.


    5)    Attributes:

         Students select an object from a pocket and then must describe it using a variety of  

         attributes.  The Attributes/Descriptive Word Chart may be provided as a guide.  This

         can also be done round robin style.


         Whole Attribute Chart Review:

         A student selects an object from the apron and then must describe it using each  

         category in the Attributes/Descriptive Word Chart.  The student may do this with the

         apron object in full view or it may be done with the object hidden and the other students

         then must guess what the object is following a comprehensive review of the object using   

         the Attributes/Descriptive Word Chart.  The student must be allowed to provide descriptive information

        for each category before the other students are allowed to guess what the object might be. This can also

        be done round robin style.


    6)    Round Robin Describing:

         A student selects an object from a pocket.  Then each student in the group sequentially provides a

         descriptive word or piece of information.  The teacher keeps track of each detail.  Once all details have

         been provided, the teacher can provide additional details as appropriate.  In the second round, a student

         selects another object from the apron and the same activity is completed to its conclusion.  As a reward

         the group can be encourage to beat each response number, winning an additional “sticker” for each

         time they beat the previous response number.


    7)   What Doesn’t Belong and Why:

         The teacher intentionally selects 3-4 items from the pockets and then students have to

         determine which item does not belong in the group and state why it does not belong. 

         This activity can be modified so that students have to identify a feature that is

         common to all of the objects within the group.


     8)    Timed Talks:

         The student selects one object from the apron, they must then describe the item as

         completely as possible in a 30 second or one minute time frame.  Following the timed

         period, the group may be asked to provide additional descriptive details that were not

         previously presented.  This activity is a great way to build word-finding skills in

         terms of speed and describing fluency.  It is also a great way to tease out whether a speech

        student is demonstrating independent and consistent use of speech strategies in

        spontaneous conversation.


    9)     Walk and Describe:

         A student selects an object from the apron.  The student then stands directly behind a masking tape

         line on the floor.  The student then provides descriptive words, taking one heel to toe step with each

         description.  The students mark their final stopping point with masking tape or a chalk line.  The  

         goal is to beat themselves or challenge classmate distances.


         This activity can also be done in a classroom by having one student do the walking and teams of  

         students providing the descriptive words for that student.  A timed element can also be added to this



    10)  Poems:

         Students select 5 or more items from the story apron and then create a verbal or written poem that

         contains the apron object words.  The object words can be scattered throughout the poem or only one

         object word may be used per line within the poem.


    11) Math Word Problems:

         Students select apron objects and then write a math word problem that contains the object words.


    12)   Holiday/Theme Sentences:

         Students select apron objects and then given a theme or holiday, the student states

        a sentence that contains that object  word.     


    13)  Fish for Numbers:

    The student selects an object from the apron.  They then use the fishing pole to catch a “fish.”  After catching a fish the student turns the fish over and has to describe the story apron object in a variety of ways:

        *provide that number of similarities and differences

        *describe the object using that number of descriptive words within broad or specific Categories


    14) Vocabulary/Spelling Word Practice:

    Given a weekly classroom vocabulary/spelling word list, students select apron objects and then state or write sentences that contain each vocabulary/spelling word and the apron object word.  The same object can be used for all vocabulary/spelling words or a different object can be selected for each vocabulary/spelling word.


         This task can also be done with the vocabulary/spelling word list and story apron objects at a story    

         development level.  The story can be developed as a verbal, written or round robin verbal activity.


    15) Missing Information Stories:

    3-5 objects are selected from the story apron.  The objects can be arranged in the order selected or rearranged by choice.  The storyteller then tells a basic story, omitting detailed information from the story.  The students then may ask the storyteller probing questions regarding missing information.  Following the questioning period, the story teller will then retell the story, including information from the questions asked by the group.  Detail information can be recorded for easy recall.



    A student selects an object from the story apron but does not let the other students see what they have selected.  They then state or write three clues that would appropriately describe the selected object.  The other students have to guess what the hidden object might be.  If the initial three clues do not allow for accurate guessing, the student with the apron object can add additional clues to the mix.  Students should be encouraged to initially develop discrete clues, working towards more obvious clues as needed.