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March 27, 2016

Zombie In Love Book Companion

Fellow speechies, I've been working on something exciting!  I have finally created my official Teacher Pay Teacher page to share my self-made resources with other professionals.  I have recently finished my very first project, a book companion to the short story Zombie in Love. 


It contains story mats for retelling/visuals, AAC sentence strips and vocabulary, an interactive book, antonym/synonym matching cards, venn diagrams for comparing/contrasting, a board game for fun, yes/no questions, -WH questions, body parts labeling, pronouns, and much more!  

If you do download either set, I hope you enjoy the resources I put together and be on the lookout for more book companions and other materials very soon!

Happy Easter!

This year for Easter we got to decorate eggs again and I decided to try a new approach. After scouring Pinterest for some time, I saw that it was possible to dye eggs using rice and food coloring for a (potentially) water/mess-free activity. I was game! 

I purchased some "fake" eggs (not sure what they are made of but they sure felt like the texture and consistency of a real, empty egg!), some food coloring, a 5 lb bag of rice, some disposable containers, and a few extras. I also snagged a cute book: Happy Easter Mouse! by Laura Numeroff (author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie). 

We decided the classrooms into two tables/sections.  One table would decorate eggs with stickers and decals with my graduate SLP student clinician, Julie.  The other would decorate eggs with me using the rice/dye method.  

When I begin to approach any kind of activity with my special forces, special-needs classrooms, I try to think of using or making as many visuals as possible.  My tool of choice is Smarty Symbols. I have a monthly subscription that allows me to make whatever I need. You can download images and they also have templates to make a variety of materials.  LessonPix is also a great and similar tool that has similar features as well. 

It was a success! I loved it and they seemed to love it, too!  I hope to expand on this activity for next year and try to dye eggs with silk ties.  I had seen a tutorial on Pinterest about how to do it but didn't own any ties I minded cutting up.  Now I have a whole year to thrift store find some fun ties and try that project for next year.  

Happy Easter, speechies!

March 24, 2016

Activity of the Week: 3/21/16

 We came back from spring break refreshed and excited to get back to our goals! My allergies got the better of me and I had to take a personal day this week to get back on my feet. Here are some snapshots of some of the activities we did this week:

Our theme was Easter! Some of the students in my self-contained classrooms got to read the adorable story about Easter themed items titled There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed An Egg. Some groups got to follow simple or multi-step directions to make their very own baby chick, like in our story!

Here is one student who was working on answering -WH questions, sequencing the story, and typing phrases and sentences (AAC apps) about the labeled items. 

For other groups, we did some inferencing and predicting with an old-fashioned Easter egg hunt within my classroom! Once they found an egg they had to describe where they found it (prepositional locations) and then guess what was inside using -WH questions.

Some of my students with language needs struggle with knowing what kind of questions to ask to figure out their surprise so we used the EET language kit to assist with describing and asking questions.

Each color represents a question that can be asked or answered about a topic or item

What fun we had together this week! Here's a preview of an upcoming Easter craftivity I have planned for my special forces students:

March 16, 2016

Activity of the Week: 3/7/16

Hurrah, this was the last week before spring break and it was an exciting week of targeting a variety of skills before having some time off.  First, we did a fun pizza activity with my wooden pizza kit (was a gift, but can be found here) and read the book The Pizza That We Made. We targeted sequencing, actions (cutting, plating, cooking, eating, and sharing), turn-taking, requesting, and labeling in this very enjoyable activity. Success!  

If I were to go back and re-do this activity, I would really make sure that the students had more of a hands-on approach to the visuals.  I always try to do a clinical self-reflection after new therapy activities that I've not tried before and when we did this play-based therapy approach, I was too much of a "coordinator," handling the pizza cutter and doling out slices... when I should have modeled the actions first and allowed a student to take over and see if they could do it themselves!  Next time, definitely will offer more of the actions to my students to practice on their own.  

We also addressed cause/effect and emotions this week. I have one student who works on identifying how he is feeling and why, so we used these fun sentence strips that I made that target "I feel ______."  Eventually, I want the ability to work on stating: "I feel _____ because _______." such as in the following example, "I feel angry because I have to work." This day, my student felt excited to play MineCraft on the iPad after he completed his work. 

Other students worked on choosing their favorite colors, animals, foods, and other various items/objects in this AAC basic binder by ____. I am in love with these visuals! This is a great tool to introduce to students who are needed a visual boost or a primer in AAC low-tech options. 

We also targeted green things in this great interactive vocabulary book by Speech Room News in order to get ready for St. Patrick's Day.

Speaking of St. Patrick's Day, we did a blarney stone hunt with our special forces students! The teacher approached me earlier in the week and told me of her fun idea, to hide "blarney stones" around our common area like Easter eggs (I found a whole bag of smooth, large stones at my local home improvement store in the gardening section and painted them various colors), allowing students to find them and target prepositional locations such as: inside, below, above, next to, on top of, underneath, in front of, and behind (to name a few). (commercial account)

We also put clues on the bottom of each stone that helped students locate the "hidden pot of treasure" that we placed in the cafeteria.  Clues included the following: "This is a BIG room!" and "Students eat in here," and "There are many tables and chairs."

Follow the glittery shamrock confetti!

Our students were so excited to see the "end of the rainbow" and really enjoyed the treasure pot.  Each student had the opportunity to choose a few treats from the treasure (including some glow sticks, temporary tattoos, stickers, pencils, and other various St. Patrick's Day themed goodies). They loved it and we all had a great time with this activity!

March 3, 2016

Crafty Speechie

My graduate student celebrated her birthday this week and I wanted to make her something special and personalized so I decided to make her a Smarty Symbol charm bracelet!  I got the bracelet details from Hobby Lobby and then printed the symbols from SmartySymbols (I have a commercial subscription account with them, highly recommended!). 

Here is what I came up with:

I think she liked it! I hope to make more of these in the future for some of my coworkers and speechie friends.  The only tweak I would make would be to get the symbol pictures made with photography photo paper.  Here, I laminated the symbols but the sealant seeped into the corners of the pictures and I think photo stock would handle this process in a better way. Otherwise, I was pleased with the outcome. Yay for being a crafty speechie!

Activity of the Week: 2/29/16

This week was another doozie, with lots of engaging activities being used to target various goals and teaching elements.  For most of my regular students, we mainly engaged in a homework packet activity.  I typically offer homework once a month in 4 page or more packets (so, about the same if I were to give 1 homework, weekly) because it is just too time consuming for me to offer homework every single week.  We usually review the homework together when they see me in class and then it becomes their responsibility to get the homework signed by adults/guardians/tutors/etc. for credit. I use these great sleeves to practice the homework together and once we finish, they remove their homework and it becomes a clean slate again to practice at home. 

Here are some highlights of a few of the resources I used this week when offering articulation, fluency, or language assignments:

In my self-contained student sessions, we utilized a few different activities.  First, for some of my students with apraxic-like speech production, we practiced various CV and VC combinations with this awesome product from Mia McDaniel on TPT: Tackling Apraxia.  We even had a real life prop/toy that serendipitously matched up one of the practice boards we were using.  My students really love these pages with various cartoons and motivating images they recognize.  

Since I have a graduate clinician, I've been trying to show her a variety of therapy techniques and I typically gravitate towards really structured activities; however, this week I wanted to show her how to use games and toys to approach therapy with more of a play-based approach.  We use the game Operation: Head to target (but not limited to!) the following skills: yes/no questions, body parts, matching, labeling, sorting, following directions, turn-taking (and other social skills), scripted routines and speech interactions, -WH questions, and many more! They loved this game. 

The game can get quite loud when you use the "head" to narrate the amount of time left to find the matching game piece for many of my students on the autism spectrum or other sensory integrated deficits.  If the game sound becomes an issue then I turn it off and narrate all directions myself to alleviate some of the stress of the other sounds.

Last, here's a sneak peek of some materials that I've been making to help students recognize what specific goals they are working on. They are called "I Can" sliders and I am making sets for articulation, fluency, social, and expressive/receptive language skills.  These are great and made by Speech to the Core: Speech and Language Goal Sliders.