Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Parent Participation

I think parent involvement in a student's speech and language services is very important.  However, parents are busy like us and often don't always know how to best help their children when they are at home.  I started a parent blog to help parents with the ins and outs of particular sounds and language skills.  I pulled together all of the best resources I could find on-line, such as YouTube videos, handouts from Heard in Speech and Ms B the SLP, and advice from other SLPs to make a one-stop place for my students' parents to go.  I send this link to parents at the beginning of the year.  and maintain it on my school webpage for them to use as a resource.  It makes practicing at home much easier for parents, and gives them videos, handouts, and specific directions for how they can best help their child.  Check it out below:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

TPT Cyber Monday Sale

Oh how I love to shop, but oh how I hate crowds.  The older I get, the worst this gets for me, so there is nothing better for me than shopping on-line.  I have so many things on my TPT wish list that I am over the moon it is time for another great stock-up sale!  Jenna at Speech Room News is hosting a linky party to share what we have on our shopping lists!

Here is what I am looking to buy during Cyber Monday:

1)  The Hat Activity Pack by Little Red
I love Jan Brett books, and I always do The Mitten with my students after Christmas (Little Red has a packet for that book as well as The Gingerbread Baby).  This year, I want to do a different book and this print and go packet has lots of great activities for me to use with my students.  I used her Thanksgiving Around the World packets a few weeks ago, so I know her products are high quality!

2) No Print Snowman Language by The Speech Owl
I love no print materials I can load into Dropbox and then onto my iPad.  This packet has a great theme for after Christmas.  The pics feature adorable snowmen and can be used for expressive and language tasks.  So excited for this gem!

3)  Selfies for Language Expression by Mia MacDaniel
I have never participated in a big TPT sale without getting at least one product from Mia MacDaniel.  In fact, I have bought more of her prodcuts than anyone else's in the TPT store.  She never disappoints.  This product will meet multiple goals in one activity and I can't wait to get it and print it out.  I am also looking to purchase her Do You Wanna Build A Turkey Turkey reinforcer game so I can prep it over the summer for next Thanksgiving:
4)  The Friendly Sounds:  Articulation Visual Supports For Consonant Blends by Speech Sanity
I always love using visuals, especially for articulation  skills that can be difficult-  gotta love extra visual cues!  This product looks great and will be much used in my therapy room.

I could go on and on, as I have three pages worth of products saved on my wish list, but these are the first five I definitely want to purchase. 

What is on your must have list for Cyber Monday?

Why SLPS Need TPT...Linky Party

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I am linking up with Miss Speechie at Speech Time Fun to share why SLPs need TPT.
I could list a million reasons why TPT has been my go-to place for resources, but I will keep it simple with my top three reasons as well as my go-to people I follow for great resources!

1)  The variety of materials available is mind-blowing.  You can find anything-  articulation cards based on themes, open-ended games, resources for parents, SmartBoard games, book companion sets, resources for the SLP such as strategies for eliciting sounds or fluent speech, and so much more.  These resources are created by SLPs who know what we need and thankfully share their talents with us!

2)  The money-strapped SLP has a way to get affordable resources INSTANTLY!  It is such a relief when you run into a student who has a goal or need you are not sure how to address, or you can only find resources from the big companies that are way out of your price range.  A quick search of TPT always pulls up high quality resources that are so affordable and ready for immediate download.  *** Heavy sigh of appreciation here***

3)  Looking at TPT products is inspiring!  Sometimes I am looking for something for a specific student and find a product created that inspires me to try a new way of teaching a skill from the way I have done it before, or to use a technique I had not seen before.  It also causes me to start looking for even more new information.  It makes me so happy to be a SLP and inspires me to keep growing and creating and trying new things!

So, I could list many gems I have found on TPT, but I thought I would do something a little different and list my top people I follow on TPT to see what is added to their stores each day.

1)  I always buy things from Mia MacDaniel.  I have more of her products than anyone else.  Enter her name and start following her!  She has so many great, high interest products-  cute graphics, lots of open-ended games that can be used with all groups, and some really good specific skill sets as well.

2)  I also have really started to enjoy products from The Speech Owl.  Her print and go pack for There Was An Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything was a big hit in my therapy room and so I have started to follow her for more great companion packs.

3)  I could list many more and why, but I am going to include the others I follow together here so you can see my list of great stores (plus once you click follow, you automatically get updates of what new products have been added):  Speech Is Sweet, Speech Therapy Games, Miss Speechie, The Speechstress, Natalie Snyder, Jenna Rayburn, and Nicole Allison.

Check out why other bloggers need TPT, and enjoy exploring this great site if you have never been there before. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New Therapy Games to Snag During Black Friday Sales

Well, my Christmas tree is up and I'm ready to tackle the two school days before Thanksgiving Break with the game my students love the most in my therapy room-  Pop the Pig.
Why this game?  Well, we have spent the entire month of November talking about Thanksgiving Around the World, reading Turkey Trouble, making turkey puppets, and playing turkey-themed games.  This game is perfect for all of my groups and for all age levels.  Many of my groups may not even happen as many classrooms do special family lunches and plays, etc.  Plus, it is no prep and easy to set up.  Pair any card deck with it and it is an instant therapy activity that focuses on one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions-  eating til you POP!

So, looking ahead, I spent this Sunday leafing through the circulars that came with the Sunday paper, and now I am already thinking ahead to Black Friday deals.  It is a great time of year to pick up some great games for reinforcers in therapy.  I wrote about two new favorites Gooey Louie and Phil Up Chuck here.
I also love the following fun finds:
Jumping Jack will be great at Easter this year instead of always playing Funny Bunny.  It will be on sale at Target.
Moustache Smash is on sale at many stores including Target and Toys R Us this Black Friday.  Students smack the picture card that matches the mustache they have on a stick in front of their face for a fun reinforcer.  Plus, my kids like to adopt a funny voice as they wear the mustaches and say their words for artic practice.  I even record them on the iPad and we watch them saying their words as a group.
Dino Meal is another great new toy that will be part of the Target and Toys R Us sales.  I plan to use this during our dinosaur theme week in the Spring when I break out my Descripto Dinos pack from Super Duper.  The point of the game is to use the tweezers to grab eggs from under the leaves before the Dino growls at you.  May be a tad scary for some of my younger kids, but second grade and up should like it.  Keep in mind any students with fine motor issues could benefit from practice with the tweezers.

I'm also doing a zoo theme in the Spring, and this game that is similar to HoneyBee Tree but with more levels and uses monkeys instead of bees, will be a great game that can be used with all ages and groups.  This game is normally 25 bucks, but will be on sale at Kohls for Black Friday for only 11.99. 

What games are you looking forward to getting, or do you recommend, we look out for during the Black Friday deals?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

SLP Bucket List

For some reason, since my youngest daughter started middle school last year, she has had several teachers give assignments that have to do with bucket lists-  things you want to accomplish in your life before you kick the bucket.  This got me to thinking about what would be on my bucket list for my career as an SLP.  Honestly, I hate the term bucket list, and I prefer the idea of a vision board where you collage together photos, words, and ideas that inspire you towards a goal, but I don't have the time to make a collage at the moment, and I can easily find cute bucket clipart on Google to illustrate my goals.  Since I have at least twenty more years to go before I can retire, here is what I would put on my career bucket list:

What would you put on your career bucket list?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

To Craft or Not To Craft? - That Is The Question!

If you have read my blog, it is obvious I am a fan of games-  especially ones that can be adapted for any goal, age, and topic.  However, I like to mix things up and use books, worksheets, and crafts when possible.

Here are the pumpkins I made with one group-  all artic only first graders a few weeks ago that is super cute for Halloween or Thanksgiving:
I had seen versions of it on Pinterest and thought what a cute craftivity.  Just cut 2 inch strips of orange construction paper (8 for each student) and hole punch at the bottom of the strips and the top so after they glue on pictures with their sounds (which I printed from the Articulation Notebooks Value Bundle from Speech Therapy Games) a brad can be put in the top hole and one in the bottom.  Fan out the strips once the brads are in, and you get a bouncy pumpkin.

So, here is where my confession comes in.  It was cute, and now they have a great homework practice tool.  But I was SLAP WORN OUT after doing this with just one group.  This craftivity takes prep time and planning that I don't usually have a lot of time for...and it was a lot to manage because by the time it is explained, assembled, and the actual speech practice thrown in, the 30 minute session was over and we were still assembling as we walked down the hall back to class.

My goal with activities like this is that I can get some table time to work with students individually while the others are busy on the craft.  Instead, I was having to try to help one find his pictures that kept sliding under the table and answer the other one for what he needed to do next while also trying to do individual drill with another.    Maybe it would be better with older students, but they really don't like doing crafts.  My hook for this with my younger boys in the group I completed this with was the idea they could toss these bouncy pumpkins to one another and say the word their thumb landed on five times in a row.  Anytime they can throw something they are happy.

My hat is tipped to those wonderful therapists and bloggers who can do creative crafts with their caseloads.  I will still try them out every so often, but they just are not my specialty.  How often do you use crafts in your speech room?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Free TPT Halloween Games

I can't express how appreciative I am of the many talented, dedicated individuals who make products for TPT.  I have spent a small fortune buying products to print, cut, and laminate.  Part of my daily ritual is to check what is new each day for speech therapy, as well as to check the most recent free downloads.  I found several free games for SmartBoards that could also be played on your computer or iPad if you have the app that lets you run PowerPoint games.

Sounds Like Fun has posted this cute reinforcer game you can find here.
As soon as a student does their skill practice, they roll the dice on the board and get to add the number of ghosts rolled to the haunted house that is theirs.  You could pair this with a book and have students answer questions from it in order to earn ghosts to haunt their house.  I love to use books in therapy, but sometimes there ends up being a few minutes left and this reinforcer helps provide fun practice.

The second game is a generic Halloween themed board game that can stand on its own or be paired with a book and can be found here.  It can be played on the SmartBoard or printed out to play.
Tech n Talk also has a SUPER cute board, too:

Just love that these can be opened on my iPad or SmartBoard and I don't have to print or prep anything for my session.

The fourth game is another interactive game for the SmartBoard or PowerPoint programs from 123 teach:

The shot is fuzzy, but there are twenty-five pumpkins you can record words to be said, or skills to be practiced or just put different amounts of points under each and after the student practices his/her skill using a card deck, they can click a pumpkin (or even better-  throw a stuffed soft pumpkin at the board to hit one of the pumpkins for the points underneath).  The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
The last game is from Sweet Integrations.
Sorry for another fuzzy shot, but students pick a number and once they click on it, a question you want them to answer pops up:
I also inserted a text box and typed in some points and turned it into a game where we keep up with who gets the most points.  I am thinking of adding clip art of candy corn and when they find a question with candy corn on it they get candy corn.  I have created two different sets of questions to go with the book Creepy Carrots I wrote about in my last post.
A big thank you to those who share their creative talents and hard work with all of us as we work together to help our students succeed!  :-)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Creepy Carrots

Last Halloween, I fell in love with the book Room on the Broom.  This Halloween, I am in love with carrots-  Creepy Carrots!

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds is one of those hardcover picture books that is worth paying hardcover prices for!

First, the illustrations are gorgeous (reminds me of my post about the book the Magic Rabbit-  read about this book here).  The illustrations are in black and white with strategic use of color-  in this case-  a lovely carroty orange to highlight important items:

Great illustrations can really encourage discussion in a picture book-  which is what we always want when working with students on their articulation and language goals.  I mean come on-  let's talk about the picture above as an example- we can target prepositions-  what is between the duck and towel?  What items are on top of the side of the tub?  The carrots are hiding where?-  behind the shower curtain.  We can target categories-  use the pictures to name three things you find in a bathroom.  Associations-  what goes with toothbrush?  Soap and ...?  Antonyms- the opposite of scared is ....?  Grammar-  The bunny is ..... his teeth?  Yesterday, he ______ his teeth.  One carrot, lots of _____?  Oh, the possibilities from just this one page spread!

Second, this story is downright adorable!  Essentially, Jasper Rabbit loves to eat carrots from Crackenhopper Field.  But he starts to feel like the carrots are out to get him.  Just when he thinks he sees creepy carrots, he discovers they are actually ordinary objects you would see anywhere (what an opportunity to do object function goals for every object that Jasper discovers when he really looks-  what do you use clippers for like in the picture below?  What do you do with shampoo in the picture above?):
This is also a great book for predicting.  Is Jasper paranoid, or are the carrots really following him?  When he thinks he sees them lurking, what do you predict will happen?   After the reader discovers the first time that the carrots are really ordinary objects, what do you predict he will think the carrots are the next time he thinks he sees the carrots-  use the location to make a good prediction-  i.e. if the objects are in the shed, what kind of things could they be based on what is kept in a shed?

There are also opportunities for students to narrate part of the story in the section where Jasper hatches a plan (and yes, I use that saying in the story to discuss what that lovely example of figurative language means-  and there are more in there along with words to practice using context clues, too!):

The illustrations above are the perfect way for students to also practice sequencing (after you have them predict first what Jasper is building!).  Wh-  questions are easy to practice with this book, as is summarizing and story retell.  Take photos of the pages with your phone and print them out for students to order and use as visual cues as they retell the story.

I don't want to spoil the surprise of how the story ends, so check it out for yourself and see why this book is such a gem for your therapy room.  Few books really give me an opportunity to hit so many language goals in one session like this one does, and it is truly entertaining to boot.  I have had this book sitting on a plate display right by the door to leave the therapy room all of last week, and over half of my kids have asked when we are going to read that cool looking book!  Already hooked, and they haven't even read it yet! 

What is your favorite Halloween book this year?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Target Finds

If you are like me, you can spend hours in Target!  It is just so easy to find lots of little things for every aspect of your life at pretty decent prices.  I was in the Halloween section looking for crazy hair for one of our spirit days next week (can you guess what day?  Yep-  crazy hair day), and I found two cute games that are perfect for the weeks before Halloween.  No printing, no laminating, and they can be used with any book or goal practice.

I absolutely LOVE the book Room on the Broom, and this witches' hat ring toss game is perfect for kids to play after reading the book while you ask them questions from the book:
Sorry it is on the blurry side-  my daughter was holding it and my coffee at the same time (Starbucks in Target equals one broke SLP).  I did not get this game because it is ten dollars right now and it will be half off the day after Halloween when I will send my hubby out to snag one 50% off, but definitely something to grab this year to play next year!

I did buy this cute Tic-Tac-Toe set for $5:
Love, love, love things that can be used all day for all groups to fill those last few minutes after reading one of our favorite books in therapy.  Be sure to look through the posts from last year in October to see what I have done in the past for Halloween therapy themes if you are new to the site, and stay tuned.....I will be showing some of my activities for this year in the next week. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Linky Party: Our Speech Room Staples: TPT Products You NEED in Your Speech Room

Speechy Musings is hosting a linky party to share products SLPs need in their speech room that you can find at Teachers Pay Teachers.  I don't know what I would do without TPT-  so many creative, affordable products ready for immediate download.  It is truly a lifesaver for the busy SLP, and below is my list of must haves from TPT.

1)  Comparing and Contrasting Speech Pad by Miss Speechie
I use this for all of my students who work on comparing and contrasting.  I LOVE the way it is broken down by skill (comparing by looks, comparing by function, comparing by location, etc.)  I think it really breaks down a complex skill into easier steps and provides lots of practice to make sure the students really understand the concept.  Plus, my kids love the "speech pad" graphic.  A definite must-have!

2)  Context Clues Packets for Tier Vocabulary by Nicole Allison

I love to work on context clues with my older language students and I use this product several times every week.  I like that it uses tier 2 vocabulary words at two different levels (one with four possible multiple choice answers-  which I sometimes use two of the choices when I first start with the students, then three, and then four as they become more skilled at using context clues), and open-ended examples.  It is so hard to find good context clue prompts/cards- this pack is a gem!

3)  Possessives Speech Therapy Unit by Liz Haider
Possessives is one of those things several of my grammar students really struggle with, but this deck of cards makes learning this skill so easy.  It has cute graphics, and I like how it starts by introducing the person on the card (i.e. This is Katie), and then says "This is ______ balloon" with a picture of the balloons on the same card.  Students can fill it in as "Katie's", or with the pronoun "her".  I use these cards every week.  They are the best ones I have found for possessives and pronouns work.

There are many more great products I use, but these are the three that have made their way to my therapy table every week this school year.  I also love Speechy Musings WH Questions Binder (read about it on her linky main page here.   What is your favorite must-have TPT product?