Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Legos and heading back to middle school

This week sees the start of two new journeys for me. Firstly, we have started a very large after school club initiative at my school. I'm really glad that the students have the opportunity to learn about so many different fun topics that can't be covered during the school day. I'll just name a few of their new options: Service, Chinese, Robotics, Cooking, and Running Club. Membership to particular clubs is determined on grade level since some things, like Service Club, just aren't as appropriate for the younger grades.

I am a proud member of the Lego Club! We are using the Legos as a form of math enrichment for a group of eight kindergarten and first graders. However, it is also a great opportunity to tie in some language. We started by making our own Lego characters and talked about our creation.

I wish I had a picture of my little Disney World tourist Lego, but my phone takes horrible pictures. The majority of the students made Lego Batmen so I would say that Batman has now overtaken Hulk as the best superhero.
Grab this fun worksheet from Whimsy Workshop Teaching at Minds in Bloom's Time Saving Tips page.
Once we finished our coloring sheets and snack, the group headed on over to the carpet to build their names with Legos. It was certainly an interesting challenge for the students with longer names. We ended up running out of Legos! In the end, though, we managed to find a way to complete our name builder worksheet for our club bulletin board. I am really looking forward to our future club meetings.

In other news, I am heading back to middle school! One part of working in a small school district that people don't tell you about as a graduate student is the fact that you may have to help take over part of a caseload for another SLP. I am helping out one of my coworkers who's caseload has gotten too high according to NC standards (our state cap is 50). Scheduling changes aside, I'm really excited to see if having this addition to my caseload will help spark some creativity back into my system.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Just a spoon full of sugar....

Although it is just March, many of you know that May will be here before you know it. I wanted to share an idea that my coworkers and I used last year before the Kindergarten screening frenzy begins. 

We decided at our district speech meeting that we wanted to do something different last year. Something that would actually catch the attention of our teachers where our attempts at little pamphlets had failed. The perfect solution.......SUGAR. We would attach a little fact about speech to a piece of candy. This way the teachers could talk among themselves about the fact they received. 

The first step in the process is to find out how much candy you'll actually need. We were lucky enough to convince our EC director to find out how many staff worked at each school. She also bought us a large bag of Dum-Dums and asked the Life Skills students to cut out all of the little fact cards. They were even nice enough to attached the cards with the ribbon our lead SLP supplied. Once the Dum-Dums were distributed out to the schools, we each got to take on the role of the "Candy Fairy SLP". It was a pretty big hit at my school.

So if you are looking for a simple way to remind your teachers that we do more than just articulation, I suggest adding just a touch of something sweet.

You can grab your copy of the Better Speech & Hearing Month Dum-Dums here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

There is never a dull moment.....

I am sorry to those of you who really love Mondays. I am not a huge Monday fan because it always seems like something strange happens on them. Today, may just win the Oscar for Weirdest event. Why?

My morning walk to the office for sign-in was disturbed by our lead janitor staring up at a corner with a look of sheer terror on his face. Nestled ever so snugly into the corner was a tiny black bat. He had no clue how it got in the building, or better yet, how to get the bat out of the building before the students arrived. I guess Mr. Bat didn't get the memo about Halloween being in October or he is just as sick of the ice as the rest of us. 

I'm not sure who they called or how they got the bat out, but it was gone when I went down the hallway later this morning. 

Has anyone else had a little critter break into their building?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Luck of the Freebies

It's President's Day! I am taking advantage of my day off by searching for new St. Patrick's day goodies to use next month. Hopefully, you will also find one or two of these packets to be useful.

  1. The Lucky Leaping Leprechaun- Adapted Book with wh-questions
  2. Luck Leprechaun's Listening Comprehension
  3. The Old Lady who Swallowed a Clover- activities you can use with the book

Monday, February 9, 2015

Go for the gold.

I know that it's a little early to be talking about March, but somehow I just couldn't wait any longer to share one of my favorite crafts for St. Patrick's Day. 

The top hat can be used for pretty much any goal that you need to work on with your students. I initially used this craft to focus on parts of speech. My example contains adjectives for MacKenzie O'Shamrock from The Luckiest Leprechaun story. If you notice, I left off his actual name so my paper so that my students would have to guess who my card was about. 

For my older students, I had them write their adjectives into sentences that described their object.

You could also adapt the craft into a mobile by hanging the gold pieces on pieces of thread rather than placing everything on a sheet of construction paper.

I also included a tiny bonus to this craft packet--- idiom cards and a short vocabulary game!

Grab your copy of the Irish Hat Craft here.

Monday, February 2, 2015

While everyone else is seeing hearts......

I am working on the differences between facts and opinions with my younger crowd. We have spent the past week working on the basic definitions of a fact and an opinion. We've sampled popcorn, looked at Frozen pictures, and even stuffed animals to help us understand the difference between the two words. (The popcorn, while fun, was not the most effective teaching tool.)

We are slowly moving towards sorting and writing activities. Since I seem to have an abundance of Frozen experts, I am kicking off the sorting activities with a quick activity that focuses on Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. 

Next, comes the fun of making sure that we can carry our new-found skills over to something that is not covered in pretty snowflakes.

The sorting pages give several examples to help remind students of what they are looking for in each statement.

I also kept the statements on these cards shorter than my previous Fall and Christmas editions since this activity is aimed at lower grade levels.

You can grab your copy of Fact or Opinion: Boot Camp here.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Adventures in language sampling

Language samples. It must be THAT time of the year again! Yes, folks, I have just started wading in the waters of evaluation season.

We all know that standardized assessments are only one piece of the puzzle. Information has to be gathered in other ways through interviews with parents, teacher rating scales, work samples, academic grades, etc......Even at the school-aged level, one of the best informal measures of a student's language and articulation skills is a language sample. I thought I would share some free resources that I use for language samples today.

1. Language Sample Record Sheet for 100 Utterances. 
2. Language Sample Checklist Part 1 (This targets preschool, but I use it for lower elementary too)
3. Language Sample Checklist Part 2
4. Language Sample Checklist for 20 Utterances
5. Free Language Sample Prompts  (Prompts for students who don't need pictures)
6. No-Words Freebie: Build A Snowman. (You can also use wordless picture books from the library.)
7. Free Internet Coloring Pages - just make sure you get one that contains a scene. I decided to print out some options from Frozen, but you could also use popular cartoon shows.

I have to say that using the Frozen pictures for language sampling has made my life so much easier.