September 15, 2017

Welcome back! 2017-2018

HELLO! School year 2017-2018 HERE WE GO!!

So the start of this 2017-18 school year has been a whirlwind of excitement, anticipation, nerves, joy, frustration, and everything else in-between.  So far we've celebrated a really cool solar eclipse (here's my celebration outfit:)

The most exciting news is that this semester I have an amazing graduate SLP student, Olivia K!  She is actually an online student of the program I graduated from at WKU and it has been an absolute joy to have her in my classroom.  Here she is, basically being awesome:

I don't know if I am wanting to continue my weekly series of "Activity of the Week" like I have done in the past.  I will often use the same therapy materials but change up the routine or focus of a lesson and so I think doing multiple years of this will end in me just repeating myself.  

Instead, I'd like to just showcase or sample some snapshots of things we've worked on instead. It will give a nice, round, broad overview of what many students will do in my sessions when they work with me.  Keep in mind some sessions are speech, some are language, and some are basic skills-focused.  

I used Nicole Allison's Data Collection kit to get beginning of the year baselines and performance data right off the bat... Love this product and I don't have to reinvent the wheel!

We started off the year by making our EET "color caterpillar" crafts that I do at the beginning of every school year. This is a research-based approach to organizing your thoughts in order to describe or sequence components and it results in significant language expansion/expression. 

Some students who were working on speech skills got to practice their targeted sounds while playing a good, old fashioned game of "Cootie."  This is a great way to keep students engaged and have something to do when their peers are taking their turns at speech practice.

Some students got to make some fall-themed homemade applesauce. We worked on sequencing, following directions, labeling, themes such as fall/weather, and more! It was a big hit and it tasted really yummy! I used Kristine Lamb's Cooking and Craft Visual Recipe set to give students visual supports and determine comprehension at the end of the lesson.

I will post more updates throughout the semester!  As we engage in more activities I will document our progress and share that on here, just not on a strict weekly basis.  That freedom will allow me to focus more on sharing excellent tried and tested SLP materials as well as showcase activities in a way that will show how diverse each and every session will be with my students. It is going to be a great year!

Happy speeching!

July 13, 2017

End of School Activities

Since the end of the school year ends in lots of chaos and hectic schedules, I figured instead of weekly recaps to show all of the fun things we got to do as our year wrapped up:

APRIL:  Ok, the month of April is basically state testing.  Seriously.  For, like, almost 3 weeks I am engaged in testing students and here in Alabama we administered the ACT ASPIRE test.  I assisted students in small groups, paper, pencil, extended time... you name it. I even administered or proctored exams for students that needed to do make ups.  It gets a little tedious and I miss seeing my regular caseload.  There's not much to post about April other than mention testing.  Do know, however, that all my students receive significant reminders, refreshers, and updates on test-taking (and more importantly) and compensatory strategies for this period of time. Most missed sessions are made up in some way via my awesome scheduling system (I'll try to post about that sometime in the future).

Some students got to celebrate Cinco De Mayo by making fun booklets (vocabulary) and red solo cup sombreros. :)

Aren't they cute? They turned out SO GOOD!

Other students worked on a fun story activity.  I used the book The Bear and the Piano and some awesome book analysis pages from the Speech Bubble's Any Book Companion kit.  They really enjoyed this story and we practiced inferencing, predicting, vocabulary, sequencing, -WH questions, and more!

We also had a celebration for our special forces students who are moving on to a new school next year! Sniff, sniff.... so sad to see them go but excited for their new adventures!

The end of the school year always brings fun events like the earned parties called Speech Fun Week and the Pinata Party! I forgot to take pictures from both, but students can earn these parties by completing homework as well as other activities that show me that they are proactive about their learning and home practice.  That's it for the school year!  I will do a recap of my summer's events really soon!  

We only have a few weeks left of summer to go and then we get to have more awesome adventures for the next school year!  Looking forward to it!

April 29, 2017

Spring Break and Surgery: 3/13/17 - 3/26/17

So this is an unusual post for me because it isn't the "activity of the week" but I felt like this post merited a special approach to it.

Spring break was bittersweet for us because we had the impending knowledge that our son, Lincoln would be having surgery to remove his tonsils, adenoids, and new tubes put into his ears.

It all began with this photo selfie taken at Christmas:

Normally, most people wouldn't notice a thing, but my speechie senses were tingling when I thought to myself "Now what on earth was Lincoln eating before we took this photo?!" after we got home from the event.  I kept pinching and zooming into Link's mouth area to get a closer look and I quickly realized those were his tonsils.  And they were getting HUGE!  Once I thought about this, I thought back to his recent status and realized he was exhibiting other unusual and concerning symptoms such as mouth breathing, sleep apnea and snoring, a regression of eating habits, and other things that only a mother/SLP can sense.  So, we headed straight back to the ENT who indeed confirmed all of my suspicions and recommended what I was expecting: surgery. 

So, our family prepared itsself and gathered strength for what we knew would be a stressful journey. Especially for a 16 month old.  Here is us before: 

Here are a few snapshots from the morning of (toddlers are REALLY hard to contain in a medical setting, just FYI...):

("I want to climb EVERYthing...")

 ("What adventure are we getting into?") ...Little did he know

 ("This is what I think of you telling me where I can go and what I can do!")

The surgery went well.  All was fine and dandy and we spent the evening at the hospital for monitoring to ensure Link was getting what he needed for immediate recovery.

At first, he acted like nothing had happened.  He didn't love the IV and oxygen lines he was attached to while he was at the hospital but he adapted well. We got him home and everything was GREAT!  He was eating, drinking, and acting normal.  The doctor warned us that he could do well in the beginning but might hit some rough patches once the scabs on his throat fell off/out.

Spring break was at and end and things were looking up. Then... well, my husband Phil had to go out of town for a business trip for a week and my parents had to go back home to remodel their kitchen.  School started back and that's when Lincoln's fine disposition began to.... waver.  No, really, it basically tanked and he turned into an angry, fussy, pained toddler who only wanted to be held and rocked and consoled.  So.... I took the whole week off. I had to. It was just me, no supports, and he was my priority.  At first it was very hard because all he wanted to do was cry:

Slowly he began to feel better and we had some great moments to bond.  He began to eat and walk more and was generally getting out of his funk and feeling like his old self:

And now he is back to his happy self and we are just taking things one day at a time and grateful that he didn't need anything more drastic in order to help him feel better.  He has been thriving and we only wish that we had considered the procedure sooner but it all worked out in the end.

Happy speeching!

Activity of the Week: 3/6/17

This is the last week of school before spring break.  Normally, that brings with it hectic schedules and everyone trying to squeeze in last minute learning before taking a nice step back from academics for a little while.

My students usually spend this week reviewing concepts that we have previously learned as well as graphing their goals.  I'd meant to get a picture of this process but forgot. :(

I did remember to take photos of the cool craftivity that everyone participated in.  I am in love with the EET kit (expanding expressions toolkit, I am NOT affiliated with this product in ANY way, I just bought it with my own money and use it extensively).  The visuals are easy to remember and so I had each student create their own bracelet or keychain to take with them to use this system in other settings.

Language students use this kit to engage and use more specific language when describing something and my articulation students use the kit to describe something with their target sound in it. Fluency students will use it to talk about something while using a targeted fluency strategy.  It's a WIN-WIN!

Also, it was our annual "vocabulary parade."

My chosen word was astronomy and I had a fun celestial skirt that lit up and you can't tell but my necklace is of the planets in our solar system. My bracelet also lit up and the students LOVED the theme!

Happy speeching!

Activity of the Week: 2/27/17

So this week I didn't take any pictures of sessions, mainly because we were doing a homework activity and I've recently posted lots of pictures of us practicing those concepts.  I DID take some photos, though, of some fun and engaging lessons with my self-contained special forces students!  We have been focusing on March themes since it was the month we were entering into, as well as St. Patrick's Day holiday emphasis.

We learned about St. Patrick's Day with Speech Room News' interactive vocabulary books:

Next, we did some multi-sensory crafts using marshmallows and green peppers to make shamrock stamps with paint.  Basically, you take a green pepper and cut it in half. It will usually produce a 3 or 4 leaved shamrock or clover shape when cut into.  You then take the inner half of the pepper and dip it in paint. You can then "stamp" pieces of paper (or whatever) to create a shamrock shaped stamp! For the marshmallows, you take it and stamp the page for how many leaves you want on your stem. They loved these activities.

Here I am teaching the concepts and showing the directions and introducing the vocabulary for the lesson:

These are crafts I discovered and learned to love when I was once a toddler teacher at a local daycare.  I always tried to find crafts that engaged multiple concepts of learning.  Here we targeted the following skills: following multi-step directions, colors, shapes (basic concepts), texture, smells, counting, vocabulary related to the month and holiday, and many more!

Happy speeching!