Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thrifty Linky

Jenna at Speech Room News is hosting a linky about best finds at thrift stores.  I did a post about this last year-  check it out here.

If you read that post, it gives some tips for thrift store shopping.  I have found some of my most-played, best-loved games at these stores, including:
Piranha Panic-  Good game for modifying for all goals.  Each child picks a color of fish and try to get theirs upstream first.  A lever is plunged if a piranha is rolled on the dice causing piranhas to pop up and eat the fish, which means you have to start again.  The kids love this game.
Hyperdash-  Great, quick reinforcer game that takes less than 20-30 seconds for each student to play in between skill practice.

Little People Playsets-  Grabbed a farm set last year with animals and the farmer.  Ohh, the language practice opportunities!

What are your favorite thrift store finds?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Conjunction Junction What's Your Function?

This video is unfortunately a clue to my age, but growing up, I loved SchoolHouse Rock and this song has always been a fave.  It is the perfect video to share an idea I got from one of my teachers-  and it can be blasted on my SmartBoard for my students who have conjunctions as a speech goal!
Each conjunction is printed on cardstock and then using a hole punch, a matching color large paper-clip is looped through.  Students are given two pieces of a sentence and they place them in the correct conjunction that makes sense for the sentence. 

This is a great teaching tool, or independent center for students to complete on their own while you are working with another student.  A word of advice, I would write the number for each sentence on the front or back so the kids now which two pieces go together and can worry about using the right conjunction instead of which parts go together (for example-  the sentence in the picture above-  write the number one on "We can go the movies" and the number one on "We can wait and go tomorrow" so they know these are the two parts of sentence number one.  Then do number two, number three, and so on in the file I've attached.

You can grab a copy of the sentences and conjunction cards here for free!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How Is This NOT Professional Development?

So, I bet my dinette table looks like a lot of yours out there:
Here is my before picture with stacks of TPT purchases I finally printed and spent hours cutting out so it could then be....Laminated!
Love my Scotch laminator I ordered from Amazon last year.  It was only $25 dollars and the pouches produce a nice hard, slick, durable laminated product that is much sturdier than the flimsier one from our school laminator.

On the right side was what was done, and on the left is still to go.  Love the final product, but still takes a while to do.
Here are the ten products at the end of the process.  Not bad for three days work.  However, I have nineteen products on my "to print summer 2014" file on my laptop:
Despite only getting 10 out of 19 done, the hours to get it all done should count as CEUs or professional development or comp time or something!  :-)  Here is the manpower hours it requires to get these 10 done:

Printing-  1 hour
Cutting-  3 hours
Preparing to laminate (I have to tape in some of the small cards because they shift when putting the sheets in the laminator if I don't):  1 hour
Laminating:  1 1/2 hours
Cutting laminated products:  3 1/2 hours

Ten hours!  Whew-  that is a lot. 

Totally worth it to have these great products, but dreading having to do the next set!  The thought that went in to selecting the materials, preparing them all, and planning ahead to which students will benefit from the items is some of the best professional development I do all year!  Thank goodness for the summer because I couldn't do all of this during the school year!

What items are you busy prepping for next year?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bath/Utility Carts for Card Organization

I decided one Saturday to hit my local Goodwill, and I saw a lady carrying out a metal three tier cart that made my heart sink because I knew it would be perfect for my speech room, and I knew there would be no more like it inside for the few dollars she most likely paid.
A few years ago I nabbed a four pack of the Super Duper card deck garages on special for a really great price.
I keep them connected together on the floor behind my therapy table so I can grab all of my favorite Super Duper card decks.  The two on the left side contain my artic cards, and the two on the right contain my language cards.

The problem was I had a lot of card decks from other companies such as  the Speech Corner Double Deck cards and Linguisystem cards that are wonderful but come in a big box. 
I also wanted to have these cards within reach, so I was so excited to see that cart being carried out by the Goodwill shopper because I knew those big boxes would fit neatly underneath my white board against the wall behind my therapy table where I could just swing behind me and grab the card decks I needed.

Here are my carts:
I got mine from the bathroom section at my local Target, and I did pay twenty for each.  But they come with wheels so I can easily move the carts, and they are worth it for me to be able to easily access my materials. 

What are some of your favorite organizational tools?

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Ever get a gift card from a student and not sure what to spend it on?  Several of my students gave me cards for Teacher Appreciation Week, and one was a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble.  I absolutely adore B & N, but the possibilities for purchases were just too many!  I ended up getting the game TAPPLE.
What is TAPPLE?  Here is a much more concise description from Amazon than I could put into words myself:
"Choose a category card and start the timer on the TAPPLE wheel. In just 10 seconds, name a word matching the category, press the first letter of that word on the wheel, tap the button to reset the timer, and pass it along. Letters already pressed may not be used again, so the pressure mounts! Can’t think of a word in time, you’re out for the round. The player that collects the most cards wins!"

I brought it out for my third through fifth grade students for the last few days of school.  It gets harder and harder to find engaging games for my older students, and this did a great job of meeting many language goals for my students while also being a quick and fun reinforcer for my students who would practice their goals a set number of times and then we played a round of TAPPLE.  It is really easy to explain the game to students, there is basically nothing to set it up, and you don't have to keep score-  just add up the cards collected at the end to determine a winner.

I would not typically get a game with a bookstore gift card, but I knew I could use it for a lot of groups and in more ways than a hardcover book.  My biggest compliant with brick and mortar stores is that the majority of books they carry are hardcover and really expensive!  I always look for getting the most use for the money I spend, and sometimes that means a game instead of a book. 

What are some of your favorite go-to games?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Book Linky

Deanna Jump is hosting a linky party for favorite books each Tuesday this summer that bloggers love.

Oh, how I LOVE children's picture books!  I secretly wish I could be a children's author, but in the meantime, I get to enjoy reading them.  I posted before about my love of Kevin Henkes books, and one I really enjoy using for therapy is Chrysanthemum. 

This is such a great book for conquering the Common Core "shades of meaning" goals-  or in my speech world-  CONTEXT CLUES!
Check out this sample of a page from the book.  On one page alone we get great juicy vocabulary words like "scarcely", "precious", "priceless", "fascinating", and "winsome".  Such lovely synonyms!  I think this is one of the reasons why I love Kevin Henkes book-  he sprinkles such wonderful words in his books-  he never talks down to children. 
This book is frequently recommended as a beginning of the year book in classrooms, and I echo that idea.  It would be great in speech therapy as well.  Give each student a name tag to decorate their name and look up in a baby name book what their name means and where it comes from-  starts great conversation!  The tags can then be placed on their speech folders for the year. 
There are also book companion packets for this gem of a book on TPT, as well as tons of free activities and lesson plans on the web.  The book easily fills a 30 minute therapy session with plenty of language and articulation practice, as well as a great story about respecting individuality, and handling teasing (which some of our students face when they have trouble saying the sounds in their names).

It truly is precious and priceless and fascinating and winsome!


Whew!  I can't believe I survived the final weeks of school, and already had my beach vacay! 

Unfortunately, the craziness of the past few weeks kept me from posting!  I hope I don't slack off again this summer!

So I told one of my grad school friends that I planned to spend at least one week this summer doing absolutely nothing speech related.  Oh, my, the hubris of the frazzled!  During vacation I had to read all of my SLP peep blogs while I was at the beach.  Plus, all Facebook related forums-  and I couldn't help buying more supplies for the next year.  I bought a game from the Salvation Army at Pawley's Island:
And two games from the cutest toy store in Litchfield Beach called The Toy Isle:

The Pizza Party game is a dice game where you roll toppings  (dice) to add to your pizza slice (each slice is different), and the popper game is just to do something different for next year when I do my beach theme.  I already have a penguin popper and Easter bunny popper, but this guy was just too cute!

I do not think I will be able to go a whole week without doing something speech-related since I found out the afternoon before our final day of work that I was switching rooms.  EEEKKKK!  Thank goodness the next day was a work day and my resource team helped me put twenty years of materials onto carts to go from one hall to another in a day!  Now I get to redo my room since I will have a whole new color scheme ..... like my weeks of printing out all of my TPT purchases from the last big sale wasn't enough to keep me busy!

What are your plans for the summer break?