Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Marshmallow Fun

So I was cruising Pinterest last night as I always do, and found this cute pick for a game that makes a fun treat for the speech room:
The site that described the game can be found here.

I plan to "speechify" it by doing the following:
Take a piece of regular copy paper and draw the circles inside of a temple of an oval that when cut out looks like a mouth.  Feed pink construction paper through the copier and copy the template to it and then cut out the mouth so it looks like the one in the picture.

When students come in for speech, I will have them practice their speech sounds 20-25 times before they can add the marshmallows to the circles for their "teeth".  Then, we will play the game as follows:  after practice of their goals, they roll a dice and remove that many marshmallows off of their gameboards and into their mouths!  The first person to get all of their teeth off first wins. 

This will be great for my language groups as well since we can read one of the following books from my stash to practice our language goals before we roll:

I bet your school library has many choices of fun books to choose from!  What did I ever do before Pinterest?????

Friday, May 16, 2014

Feeling Beachy

Three more weeks until I really get to go to the beach with my family....but in the meantime, I have 53 kids to get data on for progress reports and tons of meetings to attend-  not to mention IEPs to write!  All of this with daily schedule changes thanks to field days, grade level music programs, field trips, etc...... 

So, this frazzled SLP brought the beach to the speech room this week!

We started with a story (one of three standbys:  Pout Pout Fish or a Rainbow Fish Adventure)-
Followed by a fish coloring activity (using shiny, sparkly smiley face stickers as fins thanks to seeing this idea on Pinterest)
And throw in either the game Jolly Octopus, or a Fishing game, and our Speech Beach Week is complete!
What fun activities and books do you use for beach theme?  I can't wait to print and laminate by Beach Grammar packet from Jenn Alcorn at Crazy Speech World (available at Teachers Pay Teachers), but just did not have enough energy or time to get it ready in time for this past week!

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Huge Organizational Feat!

First, let me start this post by stating that state testing is finally over (I have read tests aloud four days in a row for some of our students who have this accommodation, and I've only seen four of my speech groups total in the past three school days-  yikes!-  but that is the way it happens when you are a test administrator for small group testing)!

Second, let me be honest and say I am getting older, I'm always tired, and I can't remember half the time what I own, what I still want, or what is in my therapy room.

Any-hoo, I started thinking yesterday about what I wanted to do with my students next week when we are back to a somewhat regular schedule, and I just couldn't picture if I had a certain book in my library.  My Type-A, perfectionistic self decided I was going to stay after school and bite the bullet on organizing all of my books because I just can't take the mess that is my book collection anymore. 

So, I started with my picture books!  Here is a sample of my titles in a visual format:
Now, I don't know about you, but I have tried many ways to organize my books in the past from a spreadsheet in Excel to a fancy app on the iPhone that reads ISBN codes and organizes your library.  The problem with these are:
1)  I am visual and like to see the covers, and
2)  The storage for the app ate up memory and I had to look up pictures for some of the books and ISBN numbers that wouldn't be read correctly so I quit that after ten minutes.

Instead, I grabbed a handful of my books from the shelf, went to, and began entering the title in their search engine.  The great thing about Amazon is it begins to fill in titles for you so most of the time, you don't have to enter the whole title in there-  check out what I mean below:
So while I am typing out scaredy, titles begin to appear and then I just go down and click on the book "Scaredy Squirrel".  That picture comes up and I right click on the picture and then chose "Save as Picture".  I then type in the title of the book, and save it in a folder I have on my travel drive labeled "Picture Book Pics". 

In order to see the picture and title in that folder, I simply open the folder up, and then right click anywhere inside it until the option for "view" comes up like below:
Then I click on large icons, and there is my library-  in a visual format I can see even without my reading glasses!  Now I am able to quickly scroll through and see just which "There Was An Old Lady Who...." and "Night Before..." books I have and which ones I need.  I can also hit print screen and paste the screen pictures into a word document or Publisher file and print it out to have a paper copy as well.  I also added the file to my dropbox account so if I am out and about shopping, I can open it up and see if I need a book or if I already own it.  Seriously, I am really bad about remembering which "Old Lady" books I still need!

Why didn't I do this before???  It is so easy, and Amazon found a picture of every book in my library- and I had some really out of print books.  Now I can group them by category or holiday as well.  So over the moon with this project.  In all honesty, this took me just under two hours by myself to catalogue almost four hundred books.  Not too bad!

So I started doing the same thing with my games!
Again, Amazon was my go to place for this.  They also carry many of the Super Duper products I use, and some LinguiSystem ones.  Now I have the beginning of a game inventory as well!  I have also created folders for pictures of my Super Duper products (I went to their site and entered product names for the things I already own):
I have made picture files for TPT Purchases (just look under the "My Purchases" tab and you can right click to "Save as picture" for each thing you have purchased), LinguiSystem items, Speech Corner items, and various speech materials. 

I  now have a visual library of my materials I can access from anywhere, and I have these pictures available for me when I start making visual lesson plans like the ones posted by Jenna Rayburn and Super Power Speech using the materials I own. 

Hope this idea might help you as well!  Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Mouth With a Mind of Its Own- New Therapy Book

One of the biggest challenges I have is when a new student starts speech therapy.  Depending on their age, it can be a little tricky explaining why they need to come for  therapy.  Even the most self-aware child can feel sensitive about the way they talk, and the last thing I ever want to do is to make them feel negatively about themselves.  Pat Mervine at Speaking of Speech has written a great new book:  The Mouth With a Mind of Its Own.  I was able to preview a copy of the book, and I am sharing my thoughts of this book with you!
The basic premise of the book is as follows:  Matthew has trouble getting his mouth to say what he is thinking.  He just can't seem to tame his mouth.  Thanks to his new SLP, Mrs. Hicks, Matthew learns how to take control and effectively communicate with others around him. 
I liked this book for many reasons, and the main reason is that Matthew reminds me of students I have worked with- especially when others, including me, can not understand the child when they say their own name.  Another positive is that the book gives readers a look inside the world of speech therapy by illustrating the various tasks one would do to be a better commnicator including auditory bombardment, learning about speech helpers, and the work/steps involved in articulation therapy.  I like that it accurately captures the speech therapist role and speech therapy process from rubber mouth puppets, tongue depressors, and mirrors to the need for daily practice and the amount of time required to learn so many different sounds. The metaphor of "taming my mouth" is a great idea (it  even shows Matthew's idea of what he thinks it means and then what it really means where you start with the lips and move on to the teeth, jaw, and then the tongue).
A huge bonus point goes to the inclusion of the following fact-  speech therapy is a work in progress-  it takes time and practice both inside the speech room and out!  And kudoos to the author for making Mrs. Hicks an encouraging therapist always ready to support Matthew throughout the whole process.

The illustrations are colorful and I like how the sounds Matthew needs to work on and what he says is in a bright yellow to emphasize the book is about his speech sound improvement.  Overall, the book uses light humor well to reassure children with speech sound issues that they will improve with therapy while also providing validation of their feelings that it is frustrating and difficult to tame one's mouth.  I think this book would be a welcome addition to any therapist's shelf. 

Check it out at Pat's site, or by cliking the book title link above!

Friday, May 2, 2014

TPT Linky Party: What's In My Cart

Jenna at Speech Room News is holding a Linky Party about the upcoming Teachers Pay Teachers Sale for Teacher Appreciation Week.  Most TpT Sellers will put their store on sale on Tuesday and Wednesday (May 6-7th), plus you will have an extra code to use in order to take an additional percent off of all materials on the site! I am so excited about this sale, and I'm listing my top choices on my LLLOOOOONNNNGGGG wish list below:

1)  Comparing and Contrasting SpeechPads
So many students with this goal, and can always use new ways of teaching it.
Cute graphics, great pack with good end-of-the-year theme
Ton of students with this goal and can always use more context clues materials
I don't think I ever buy from a big TPT sale without getting at least one product made by Mia McDaniel.  Love the graphics and always need grammar materials.  My boys will love this!

These posters from Jenna Rayburn are terrific and much needed.
I can't wait to read what is in everyone's cart!  I always end up with new products I missed.  Happy shopping!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Parrot Pile-Up

Ahhh, May is here, and state testing is next week.  We have been doing a pirate theme this past week, and you know that includes all of the regular standbys such as the book "Pirates Go To School":
Pop-Up Pirate:

Pirate Talk:
Pesky Pirates:
And, now, my latest find- Parrot Pile-Up.
If you have read this blog before, you know I am all about finding games and activities that cover multiple goals.  Winner, winner, chicken (parrot) dinner-  this little game can do it!
Each player gets a beach scene card, and they load one piece of their cargo on the raft with the parrot and "drive" it from their beach card to the other player's beach card without losing any cargo along the way (or while they are stacking it on the raft).  I love that this game is a reinforcer for any skill you practice using your handy flashcards or iPad apps, and it has a ton of words and vocabulary built-in as well. 
My /r/, vocalic /r/, and r-blends students had plenty of words to practice by naming the items that are a part of the game-  parrot, raft, red, barrel, crate, triangle, rectangle, and fruit.  

Now I love me some Pop-up Pirates, but my older kids think it is a little young for them.  This game was enjoyed by all ages and all groups (and they kept saying the pieces reminded them of Angry Birds-  more /r/ practice).  Gotta love a game like this!  I found mine for eight dollars at Tuesday Morning (hope you have one in your area).  It is also available at Amazon (link above) for just a few bucks more. 

Thanks for "flying" by!