Monday, December 30, 2013

The Heart of an SLP

So I have been really surprised by how well-received my "Brain of an SLP" has been since I posted it on my blog months ago.  It was recently featured on PediaStaff as well, and I am again, so flattered.

After I started to see how much people liked the graphic, I decided to follow my husband's idea for creating a graphic for the heart of an SLP.

Let me back up a second---  before I went in to this field, I spent seventeen years as a school counselor.  It was a very stressful time because I had this advanced graduate degree and wanted to help children who were hurting, but unfortunately, most people in education wanted me to do testing and classroom guidance and were oblivious to the fact that I was a trained mental health professional (and had a brain and could do so much more).  I was lucky that I was in a school where the principal let me create a school counseling program based on student needs and my training, and therefore, I was able to run twenty small groups a week for children with social skill deficits, anger issues, behavioral concerns, self-esteem needs, dealing with divorce and loss, etc.  However, it was still a constant battle to be seen as a professional who could handle all types of emotional, social, and behavioral issues.   Early in my career I became very close friends with the school SLP, and after we ate lunch most days, I would go back to my office thinking about how speech language pathology was just a better fit for me-  I could still help children, but also be creative and expand my professional knowledge base every day.  It seemed like the perfect way to use my brains to follow what my heart told me was my calling.

So I went back to school and got another Master degree.  But I found that what I got when I went back was so much more.  There is something really special about SLPs.  I haven't met one yet who wasn't incredibly smart, inventive, creative, or generous.  I spent more time reading Speech Room News my last two years of graduate school then some of my college textbooks!  I just couldn't believe how many wonderful blogs were out there with such inspirational people in our field.  It makes me so proud of what we do and who we are.

So, back on track, I just wanted to share this new graphic about the heart of an SLP.  I hope it makes you smile the way I smile when I think of what we do and how we help others.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rudolph Operation and Holiday Parties

Today is our last day of school before the Winter Break, and this tired SLP is READY!

Here is a peek at what we did the last two days since most of my students were:
A) Having a holiday party in their class
B) In puberty classes if they were fifth graders!
C) Making a special ornament for mom and dad
D) Performing a special play for parents

WHEW!  Busy kids make it very hard to get students for therapy.  If I was lucky to get a group, most of them only stayed for fifteen to twenty minutes.  Thus, it was time to either eat, or play a little Rudolph Operation-  or both!
My students in grades 2-5 really liked this game (the Humble Bumble grumbles if the tweezers touch the side of the object you are trying to retrieve and can scare the younger ones, so it is a little harder for smaller kids who do not have good fine motor skills).  I love it for the older crowd because they can practice their skills and then try for an object on the game card to earn money.  Plus, the game is like classic Operation, it is full of idioms and figurative language that you can discuss with your students!
Of course, few things excite my kids more than a good old-fashioned speech party. 
We enjoyed treats while we discussed what our favorite games were in speech this year.  I let the kids list their top choices and then we voted on which one we would play when we get back from break.  I think I got more language today then I ever have before!

Hope everyone had a fun end to their work week before break!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Read My Lips, I Mustache Ask You about Pronouns

The holiday break is getting closer, and I am getting a little loopy, but I wanted to share a quick pinspiration I found and modified to work on pronouns with my students!
I have seen lots of posts of mustache and lip clipart mixed in with Christmas themed props on Pinterest for people to use in taking Christmas card pictures.  I decided to google mustaches and lip clipart until I found a few I liked.  I printed it out on cardstock, and I used red glitter glue for my lips to make them sparkly.  I taped them to large popsicle sticks and viola, we have a fun tool to help kids visualize when to use he vs. she during our stories and drill practice.
"Who is digging?"  He is digging.  (Complete with a mustache which the kids find hilarious).
"Who is laughing?"  She is laughing.
I also like to use the props with puppets and books so it is done outside of drill with cards:
The idea is simple, but having a visual reminder is so helpful for cementing the concept (as well as the word being written on the stick).  I am going to make some sticks for him/her and his/hers as well, and just take the lips and mustache from one stick to another when I need it.  What ideas do you use to help students learn pronouns?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Penguins Aplenty!

What is black and white and loads of fun? PENGUINS!

I have always had a soft spot for these waddling, fascinating animals, and it is always one of my popular themes in speech each year.  I am amazed at the stuff I have found this past year to add to my penguin fun, and I thought I would share them with you since winter is a great time to do a penguin theme (either in place of holidays or after holiday break).

I always start the week with Tacky, the Penguin by Helen Lester. 

Using my camera on my iPhone, I took pictures of pages from the book, printed them out, and have the kids retell the story using the photos.  I also like to use nonfiction when possible!  The We Give Books site allows members (it is free to join) access to many nonfiction texts, and I use this site to read the book "See How They Grow-  Penguins" about penguins. 
The site has other nonfiction books about Emperor Penguins and arctic animals that tie in nicely with the theme!  Click here to see:
We add in additional fun with an array of games!  Here are some that we have used:
Penguin Popper (practice your goal, get two chances to pop the popper into a bucket)
Don't Rock The Boat (my kids are obsessed with this game and ask for it all year).  Simply balance penguins on a boat without any falling off.
Penguin Panic (Jenga with ice bricks)
Penguin Land (a new game I got at a Tuesday Morning store where you get to spin a snowball as fast as you can to knock down your opponents penguins).

And what theme isn't complete without a craftivity?
This time, we use a black plastic cup to make our own penguins.  I like to make a Tacky, but sometimes we just make a plain Penguin too!
Students can use white crayons to write words on the black cup used for the penguin that have their sounds in them.   Or you can use this template from Live, Love, Laugh to make a paper copy where your students can write down words from the book with their sounds in them on the penguin.

Have fun!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter Holiday Koosh Ball Game for SmartBoard

I finally made a winter holiday themed Koosh ball game for the SmartBoard like I promised back in this post for the one I made at Thanksgiving:

It is played the same way as the one I detailed in the link above, but with a winter holiday theme.  Hope you can use it in your speech room!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Are You Grumpy Santa?

I can’t believe anyone would be grumpy this time of year (I Just LOVE the holiday season), but I have to share a fun Christmas book that my students always enjoy reading each year that I have not seen mentioned on other blog posts!

Are You Grumpy, Santa? is a favorite in my speech room.  It is a rhyming tale of how lots of little things (like a stubbed toe, an itchy suit, a freezing shower, and a snoring Mrs. Claus) put Santa in a grumpy mood.  I love this book because it allows you to be really expressive when reading it, silly, and it introduces some great social language concepts like being grumpy versus mad and how you deal with bad days/frustrations!  It also lends itself to good inferencing questions, wh? questions, making predictions, and determining cause and effect.

In the book, a simple act of kindness cheers up Santa (cookies and milk and a sweet little note).  I love to run with this and have the kids think of creative ways they would cheer up Santa Claus if he was grumpy.  I have heard great answers over the past few years including feeding his reindeer for him, making him a pizza, taking him to the mall, getting him a new beard trimmer, etc.  We share our kindness ideas while taking turns tossing an ornament in to a dollar store stocking.  (Share an idea for cheering up Santa, and you get two shots to get the ornament in the stocking).  If they make it, they get a point.  Most points at the end wins, but most importantly, they are thinking about how you cheer up others and practicing their good speech sounds at the same time!  Just make sure you use non-breakable ornaments! J

I found the book at Barnes and Noble, but it is also available at Amazon:

This little book will cheer up anyone!  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Linky Party: Favorite TPT Purchases and What's In My Cart

Jenna at Speech Room News has a fabulous linky party right now for favorite TPT purchases, as well as what is currently in your TPT cart!  A great sell is coming soon, so here is what I have in my cart, and what I have purchased recently!

I currently have this in my cart:

I really need more of these types of activities, and I bought her  Curriculum Based Language Assessments for Grades K-5 Aligned with Standards and LOVE IT!  They are great one page screeners to use when I look at whether to do full evaluations for students or when trying to write new goals for annual IEPs.
I also purchased some great activities from the Buckeye Speech Path this summer including:
Grammar Dice and Pronoun Popup and Language Dice:  Black and White Language Games

Both of these products save on ink!  Simply print a sheet for each student and pair with a die to roll and let them practice the language or grammar skill needed.  I printed the whole packs and slip them in clear sleeves that students can use a Vis-à-vis to mark on so they can be used over and over.

My other recommended products come from Mia McDaniel.  She has TONS of super cute quick and easy open-ended games that can be used for quick drills or for a whole session with students who have different types of goals.  Here are the two I bought recently:

Of course this list is not complete without mentioning that of my twenty-three purchases, over half have been Jenna Rayburn products!  If you are not following her on TPT, make sure you do!  I can say all of her stuff is fabulous.  My favorite purchases of hers are her Newspaper Companion Packet and her holiday themed cards such as:
I just love cards to match holidays!  Seriously, you can not go wrong with a purchase of anything from Jenna.  I can't wait to get her new Polar Express Pack!
I can't wait to read what everyone else is purchasing from TPT!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pinterest + Thanksgiving Break + Dollar Store= Christmas Therapy Planning

Today is the first day of Thanksgiving Break, and I am using my five days off to enjoy family, friends, shopping, and planning for the holiday season in my speech room after this break is over.  I have been pinning ideas from Pinterest like crazy this past month, and here are my three projects I am tackling to get a jump on December activities:

1)  Putting together my What's In the Stocking game (modeled after Ned's Head):

I will be hitting my local Dollar Store/local Target Dollar Spot (after I look through all of my Christmas boxes in my garage) to find holiday themed items (bow, jingle bell, ornament, candy cane, snowman, angel, etc.) to add to a stocking for a good all-grade level, any skill reinforce game.  I plan to use my iPad camera to take pictures of each item individually and the kids can go through the camera roll to see what item they have to feel for in the stocking (I need a break from laminating more cards!  The camera roll feature makes it easy to have each item one at a time on the screen instead of in a pile of cards on the table!).

2)  Gingerbread Cookie Matching
My kindergarten and first grade students are going to read The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett our first week
Following the book, we are going to do the gingerbread matching game after answering questions from the story.   I saw the idea on Pinterest, and I am going to make my men look the same on the outside, and the students will use the spatula to flip the men on the baking sheet where I will have a Christmas sticker (hello Dollar Store) and they need to match the two with the same Christmas sticker to remove the pair from the cookie sheet.
3)  Silver Bells
For my older students in second and third grade, we are reading There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bell:

We are going to retell the story, sequence the story, and practice our good sounds in the story while playing a fun little game where Hershey kisses with matching stickers are placed on the table and students get to try to find a match after practicing their speech or language goals:
Happy Planning, everyone!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Linky Party: Articulation Apps

Jenna at Speech Room News has a great linky party happening right now about favorite articulation apps.  She already listed my favorite:

1)  Articulation Station
It is bright and colorful and divided by sounds.  Students can score themselves (including approximations).  Sounds can be done in words (flashcards or matching), sentences, or stories, and it keeps data for you!

2)  Word Vault

I love this app!  It has lists for all sounds and you can open up multiple windows at the same time and easily navigate between the lists for quick drill.  It is no frills and only the words, but great when you need a selection of words with a particular sound on hand with large groups of kids with multiple goals!   You can also have lists open for language students at the same time!  Check it out:
3)  Speech Tutor

Sometimes no matter how I say it or how I show the way a sound should be made on my Mighty Mouth puppet, my students still can't picture it.  In comes this great little app for showing them how the sound is made.  They love this app!  Read more about it at:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Turkey Day Books

So Turkey Day is getting closer, and here is a look at what we are doing the next week and a half in my speech room. 

First, we are reading one of the Thanksgiving books pictured below:
The one with the glare has been used the most-  Thanks for Thanksgiving.  It has simple rhyming text, and lots happening in each richly drawn illustration that allows for lots of speech practice!

Depending on the group, we have done one of the following a read aloud.

1)  StoryMaker app on the iPad (Super Duper app) for grades k-1:
Using StoryMaker, we have made our own book for what we are thankful for, and after creating our own page, we narrate it and the book plays for us.  Below is my example page (notice how big the coffee pic is!  Super Duper needs to add a Starbucks symbol to the possible items in the food category!):
And here is one from my students (who is thankful for his home and wanted it to be the candyhouse):
2)  We are making turkey puppets or coffee filter turkeys in grades 2-3 with artic pictures for their sounds added in:
4)  Turkey sign sheet for grades 4-5: 

We read Turk and Runt for this grade level to get them in a frame of mind for what a turkey might say to keep from being eaten.  I use the cows from Chick-Fil-A as a reference as well (the whole eat more chicken idea).  Students have written lots of cute ideas such as "Lose Weight-  Eat Veggies" and "Turkeys Have Feelings, too!".

Use the link below if you would like a copy of the sheet!

Happy Thanksgiving Speech Days Ahead!