Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Buyer Beware

Don't you just love it when something breaks after the 30 day return policy? I know that I sure do.....

I bought an extra EET strand from Northern Speech Services during their Christmas sale. I have used it all of three times since I bought it on 12/18 and the plastic balls are crumbling. I haven't let my students touch it. I haven't banged it on any tables or dropped it on the floor. Yet, I can see little white lines on every single plastic ball.....and today the "where" ball split at the top. So out comes the hot glue to put it back together as well as secure the little end piece that fell off yesterday. 

I think I am justified in warning all of you readers considering I put the one at my previous school through the works without any damage. Either Northern Speech gets all of the crappy extras or the company selling the EET has started using a cheaper materials. Buyer Beware.

If I could send this $30-some dollar piece of crap back, I would do it in a heartbeat. This is exactly why I am very picky about the materials I buy in the first place. It has to be able to stand up to children. You can't even look at this thing without it falling to pieces. 

Clearly my students are going to love playing with the dried glue more than listening to me now.
The first one to go....but not the last.
You can see the white line on the Pink Parts ball is at the bottom. I'm going to assume it too will break soon.
I kept falling off during the middle of a session.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade because sometimes the situation just is what it least that has been my motto to some degree this year. Not because of my job--- my job is often the cure for the craziness that is family (mostly on one side). It's my refuge during the day and my little puppy family is my refuge at night. So I apologize to you for not being consistent in blogging. I don't like to get very personal on here so all I will say is that we are starting to look for a house or an apartment to give me a buffer from some very unneeded stress. We've also booked our one-year anniversary trip back to Disney! I cannot wait to get back to the Magic Kingdom and enjoy some carefree time. 

In the meantime, I thought I would share some pictures of things around my room that I love. Things that make me smile when no one else is around. 

My weekly EETchy bulletin board. We haven't gone through all of the strands yet, but I think it's important for them to see how it's going to eventually progress. Each session, we do one card together on my whiteboard and we put Thursday's card on display.

One of my fall thrift store finds. This desk divider was $20 at a local thrift shop that funds programs for men recovering from substance abuse. I walked away from it until I saw that they're over $100 on Amazon. I have word lists for all of my most frequently taught sounds and then I taped some names that I can use for phrases or sentences. The word lists are all free on TPT:

1. Articulation Word Lists for 15 Sounds
2.Free Phoneme Word Lists
3.Vocalic R Word List

Lastly, one of my summer thrift store finds. My best guess is that it's supposed to be a purse organizer. It has some little loops to hook on to something. I bought it knowing that it looked like something I could put homemade cards or craft supplies in. I ended up using it for phrase strips, calendar pieces, and a few of my hand-made social skills materials.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Seeing hearts?

As the weather turns colder (and snow finally decides to hit), I am looking towards the end of winter. I think this time of the year is hard in a way that can come as a surprise. IEPs are manageable and the assessment frenzy is still a little bit off in the distance. It's just the thinking process that starts now. The knowing that in a few months I will be sending students off to middle school or elementary school with goals that someone else has to use. Will they understand why I did things the way I did? Or will they think that my goals are terrible? I know that I was certainly guilty of not liking the way things were written by one of the SLPs who left my school last year. 

It brings me back to my social skills groups. Thinking about how other people perceive you is hard. Yet, we have to do it all the time. So why not get a head start on one of the trickiest holidays of all?

Take Heart! is a simple social skills activity to identify which action is an expected/unexpected behavior. When they pull out an unexpected behavior, students can use their predicting skills to come up with possible outcomes. They can also tell you a way to fix the unexpected behavior.

You can grab your free copy of Take Heart here!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

It's a new year and that brings new adventures....

One thing that I have done differently this school year, is to work more on basic social skills in the cafeteria. I will be the first to admit that I was a little naive when I started out with my lunch bunch. I had never needed to do one at my previous school. However, going in there has really opened my eyes to how my students function outside of my speech room. Sometimes it is a really rewarding experience and other times I realize how little of a week's lesson actually paid off. 

For the first freebie of 2016, I thought I would share a little social story that I had to create recently to address some unpleasant habits that occur because of the reactions they get. 

The challenge in sharing this activity is the pictures. You will need to use your own images as I used a combination of magazine pictures and google images. However, you don't have to write the story! 

The story targets the following:
- Eating with a closed mouth
- Spitting out food
-Following the class routine 

Grab your copy of Don't Be a Yucky Eater here

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Expect the unexpected...

As 2015 heads closer and closer to Christmas, I am reminded of all of my blessings and the lessons I have learned this year. In my personal life, I have the blessings of my new husband, three healthy puppies, and the continued support of my wonderful family. In my work life, I have a job with a decent commute, friendly coworkers, and sweet students. 

I have also had many lessons since starting in my new position. The adjustment from one district to another. It sounds like it would be easy, but it is honestly one of the hardest things to do if you leaving a place where you felt safe and comfortable. I'm happy at my new school but I have pangs of homesickness once a week. The biggest challenge, I think, is getting adjusted to preschool part of my caseload. It's one piece of the puzzle, but I feel like I am almost like a CFY again with that paperwork and finding materials. The other is simply missing having that close-knit group of SLP coworkers that I could always count on. That sense of closeness is noticeably vacant now.  

One thing that I have really learned to embrace this year is Social Thinking. I've never had the opportunity to use it before now and I can say that I have really missed out.
So far, I have been using a copy of You're a Social Detective that our part-time SLP loaned me. We are about part-way through the book now and I love it. We've made our own "smarts" posters and a list of expected/unexpected behaviors for various locations at school. 

I found this orange cone puppet at Goodwill amidst the Halloween headgear back in October. He is part of some vacation Bible school program according to his packaging. At $5.50, he is a considerable splurge for a puppet but I figure it would be hard to come across another one of these little guys. He is the perfect accessory for social skills lessons on Expected and Unexpected behaviors. Whenever we come across something "Unexpected", he pops up as a visual cue for my students to pay attention and use their social skills toolbox.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Looking ahead to 2016.....

While I know it's just December, I decided to make my next product focus on New Year's so I can rest just a little bit easier during Christmas break. I'm looking forward to being able to walk back into the building after New Year's and know that I have an activity ready for my toughest group---the fifth graders. 
This Would You Rather? activity is designed for practicing articulation sounds at the carryover level. It's a nice break from reading passages, but it is also a great way to practice reasoning skills. I always make my students explain the reason why they would pick X and not Y.  

I created this activity on simple sentence strips that can be placed into many different types of containers. I'm going to use a pringles can decorated like a top hat, but some of you might use an actual hat if you have one.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Thankful for pronouns

November always seems to rush by in a blur of IEP meetings, regular staff meetings, special activities, and holiday gathering. It is no small wonder why I have been looking for a few quick activities to pair with fall themed books for my language groups. This activity was actually inspired my old pronoun book creation. I pulled it out a few weeks ago and decided that we still needed more structured practice. So here is a Thanksgiving creation from my speech room to yours....Hope you enjoy!

Included in this activity are four sheets for structured pronoun practice. Students have to label the person using either he or she and then decide which item that person might be thankful for during the fall. Most of the pictures are related to fall and can be used to target fall vocabulary. 

I have also included a page with a boy and girl pilgrim to be used as a magazine sorting activity. In similar fashion to the structured pages, students should tell you sentences as they make a thankful collage.

You can grab your copy of Giving our Thanks here.