Elementary School, Language, Middle School

Teaching Object Function with Visuals

I’ve switched around jobs a couple of times since graduation. I’ve worked with a variety of ages and levels, however I always seem to be targeting object function in one way or another.  All of my students do better, learn faster, and grasp concepts more thoroughly when I use visuals. I wanted to share a quick, easy visual system for teaching object function AND using that skill to create sentences (and answer WH questions if you want).

Note: All of the printables shown in this blog post are part of my Basic Describing and Categorizing packet on TpT.

To begin, I start by teaching basic object function matching. I use the worksheets shown below.

teaching object function

In order to use visuals when teaching object function, we work on matching a function to an item using pictures. Given 5 pictures of basic items, can you students match them to a prompt/function? This is a great activity to work on “why” questions as well. Why do we have beds? Why do we have cookies? Why do we have pencils?

After my students are comfortable doing this, I make sure they can identify functions without picture choices. Could they do the worksheet above without interactive pieces and a closed set of answer choices?

Then, I move onto sentence formulation and more WH questions! We talk about who uses certain objects and what actions they do with them. We sort people vs objects vs verbs. We write information on sticky notes (as shown below).

The entire time we are doing this, I use this triangle visual.

I teach my students to start sentence with who/a person while drawing the first line for the triangle downwards. As they make the line across the bottom, they name the action and as they draw the connecting line upwards, they name the item. This creates a complete sentence (My teacher writes with a pencil, I eat cookies, You sleep in a bed). My students often omit transition words (or “little words”) so we go back and add them and make sure the sentence makes sense. Please note that my stickies are in the wrong order in the pictures above. 🙂 I’d usually put the blue (does what) one in the middle and the orange (with what) on the right side as shown below.

Now that my students have this down, I LOVE being able to prompt them to make complete sentences with all 3 parts by drawing a triangle. I can even draw triangles on their homework or classroom assignments and I’ve seen carryover with sentence formulation. Some of my students use this visual for sentence formulation beyond just identifying object functions! You can switch up the parts but keep the same 3-part layout. You could do person+action+place (I walked to the store) but keep that 3 part triangle cue.

Hope that helps give you some new ideas for therapy! I know I’m always looking for new and different ideas to help increase my student’s success and carryover into the classroom!

{thanks for reading}

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4 Comment

  1. Reply
    March 9, 2017 at 10:37 AM

    Hi Shannon! I bought and downloaded the early describing and categorizing packet but did not find the function pages in the packet. I’d love to utilize the triangle visual with my students. Can you help?

    1. Reply
      March 11, 2017 at 10:36 AM

      I’m so sorry to hear that! When I download the packet, the pages are there. Please email me at speechymusings@gmail.com if you redownload the packet and can’t find the pages! If you purchased the product as part of a bundle, I’m working on updating that today! Thanks for reaching out!

  2. Reply
    Linda Kelly
    March 10, 2017 at 4:26 PM

    I purchased the early describing and categorizing bundle before the function piece was added. I use it regularly!! I’m wondering if there is a possiblity of purchasing the function piece separately. Thanks for all the great tools you’re creating!

    1. Reply
      March 11, 2017 at 10:34 AM

      Absolutely!! You should be able to redownload the product from TpT and get all of the updates for free! 🙂 Feel free to email me at speechymusings@gmail.com if something doesn’t look right or the pages are missing. They were added onto the end of the packet. Thanks for reaching out!

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