Monday, May 25, 2015

Looking towards summer....

This school year, more than any other that I've experienced thus far, has been challenging. So many changes come with getting a new superintendent and principle than I realized or noticed during my student days. 

I am grateful for the challenges, the changes, and the growing that both my students and I faced this year. It has made all of us stronger. 

I am grateful for the ideas rolling around in my head for next year. 

I am grateful for other SLPs continuing to visit this blog. It keeps me inspired to find new ideas and make new materials. 

And, I am grateful for summer being right around the corner. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

To everything there is a season....

It's hard to believe that it's May 11th and the end of school is just around the corner. I've been busy with kindergarten screenings and the teachers are just starting the end of year district benchmark assessments. It is a little bit different than our previous benchmarks as the entire school schedule has been shifted. 

The change and working on cause & effect with one of my inclusion groups inspired me to try my hand at making a foldable activity. 

Students have to tell me a possible consequence (effect) of the written action. Then, they get to pick a number and do whatever is hidden.

The actions range from making a silly face to describing an object and even to play-acting what they would do/say in the situation.

You can grab your copy of Consequences here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lessons from Kindergarten Screening

We are currently in the middle of Kindergarten Screening. It has really snuck up on me this year. My mother and grandmother are certainly right in saying that time has a way of passing you by before you even notice it. So here are my reflections on this year's screening.

  1. The test developers REALLY need to consult with a Speech-Language Pathologist before creating future articulation tasks. They also need to consult us on the horrid "I Spy" task too. 
  2. I hate tweezers. 
  3. The language section seems to take 10 times longer than any other section. (The only exception to the rule is when you have someone taking a really long time to score.)
  4. The screening goes much more smoothly when everyone pays attention to what sections a child has/has not completed and brings them to X area for a needed section. 
  5. Blocks should not be used in the children's waiting area. It makes it very difficult for other children to pass the hearing screening.
  6. You will always have a least one kid who pitches a fit at the sight of the headphones & audiometer. Unfortunately, some are easier to reassure than others. 
  7. You will always have someone show up late when its about time to leave.
  8. Never say "will you"....without expecting someone to eventually refuse.
  9. The rhyming task is a nightmare. Always has been and always will be. 
  10. You will be ridiculously tired the next day for no reason at all. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015

My Second NCSHLA Spring Convention

For my regular readers, I do apologize for not posting on Monday like usual. The end of April and beginning of May is a crazy time this year. I have three weeks worth of kindergarten screenings (because we go to one school each week for either 1-2 days), EC meetings, IEPs (almost done with all of them!), and the state conference. I may look like a train wreck on May 12th, but my life will calm down considerably as the End of Grade testing fever picks up for everyone else.

The 2015 NCSHLA Spring Convention was another really good professional development experience. I love that it offers a good variety of topics without the overwhelming feeling that the national conferences can create. This year, I felt like the conference was much more geared towards the medical side to make up for last year being more school-centric.  

So I'm going to focus more on a few of the neat things I happened to see in the exhibit hall. (Please note that I am not being paid or otherwise compensated to talk about any of these things. I just thought they were cool.)

1) The Dolores One: Medical Speech-Language Pathologists will want to pay attention to this one. It's basically a machine that helps amplify a client's voice by being placed on the patient's neck near the vocal folds. This means that it doesn't interfere with respiratory care equipment. Yet, it still allows you to hear what the patient is saying. The demonstration with CPAP mask was really incredible. I love to see how technology and ingenuity can come together to solve very distressing problems.

2) Discovery Toys interactive books: Ahoy, Pirate Pete and Once Upon a Time

According to the vendor, these books have recently returned to print after a several year hiatus. I absolutely love the idea of letting students pick the direction of the story. It can be as silly or as normal as they want. Plus, the graphics just pop.
The only thing I didn't love about these books were the price tag. $19 was a little steep for something that I can see being damaged in overzealous argument between two or three competitive students. These are going on my "watch" list. 

3) Super Duper's Pirates and Pals Preposition card deck: I have the biggest weakness for pirate stuff. I have no idea why. I ran up to the display copy of these cards the minute I saw them. They would be really motivating for young pirate fans. 

4) Literacy Speaks!: I think I must have been living under a rock or in graduate school when this program came out. My favorite part of the kits are the little books that you can print out from the CD. However, it is one of the more pricey items I saw. I know that the cost of materials continues to grow problematic as more districts are having to cut funds. This one is probably just going into the "dream" files as I cannot imagine my district buying this over our testing materials.

And my secret to not ending up broke after visiting the booths at convention: 
Only bring enough money for food!

Monday, April 13, 2015

We're going bananas for multiple meaning words

The warmer weather has me thinking of tropical places and the Disney version of the "Day-O" song. My students are all focusing on plant and environmental themes this six weeks in science so I thought I would make a game-based activity that featured a fun animal. 

The layout of this game is pretty simple. Students pull out cards from the pile that will either have a word, a monkey (lose a turn or take another turn), or a banana (word challenge). Whoever has the biggest pile at the end of the game wins. 

When students get a banana card, they complete the pyramid chart for one of the words in their pile. I like to let my students pick the words unless their is a specific word that I know they need some additional practice with. They complete the pyramid by writing the two different meanings and drawing a picture for each. My older students (4-5th) also get to write a sentence for one of the meanings on the bottom of the paper.

Here is an example of what it might look like completed:

Grab your copy of the Great Ape Escape here!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Changing the routine

What do you do when you have students who get tired of your articulation drills? 

Turn it into something that resembles a game! In this case, I had to really sit down and ponder how to re-vamp the good old "S" slide (as we call it). The idea of using Chutes and Ladders didn't hit me until I pulled out my board game one day after school. I modified it to include some of the reminders that I use during my sessions as well as giving ample practice with our sound slide. 

So far, it has helped to break up the routine.

Grab your copy of Slides and Ladders for Lateral /s/ here.