Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Because I am always amazed.....

I am someone who absolutely loves to learn for the sake of learning. I want to grow and I was not disappointed by the experiences I had at this year's NCSHLA's spring conference. It was wonderful. 


What did I attend?
  • Visual Immersion System: Communication Enhancement for Autism Spectrum Disorders by Howard Shane
  • School-Aged Stuttering: A Practical Approach by J. Scott Yaruss
  • Don't Worry, Be App-y by Kimberly Lewis
  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech: A Multi-Sensory Approach to Achieving Speech Outcomes by David Hammer
  • How to Make a Cold Retelling Hot with Story Grammar Marker by Maryellen Rooney Moreau 
One of the best tips I learned came from Mr. Hammer's session. It's so simple that it makes you want to take a step back and say "well, duh!" or "Why didn't I think of that sooner?". He told us that he uses a piece of string (ribbon or shoelaces work well too) with a bead on the end to help students working on final consonant deletion. It gives them a multi-sensory reminder to put that sound on the end. They hold out the vowel as they slide their hand down to the bead/final consonant. I've been using this trick and it has made a real difference for my students.

I was also very impressed with Dr. Shane's idea of video modeling clips for students. He shows his clients little video clips of what he wants them to do with little manipulatives (like a little doll going up a ladder) instead of relying on live clinician models. Some students really respond better to this. While I don't have any students that I can try this with right now, I am definitely going to save this idea for my bag of tricks. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

It's a peacock invasion

I'm not quite sure why, but for some reason I always seem to end up getting several new girls on my caseload at the end of every year. The Peacock Princess activity is a mixture of several different targets that adds much needed variety to all of the more masculine-themed products. It includes alphabet matching (upper & lower case letters with diagraphs included)/phonemic awareness if you chose to print out more than one set of the letters; past & present tense verb agreement; pronouns with a sorting mat; naming; and a few cards for articulation review. 


I love that this is still one of my go-to materials even though I created it several years ago. You just never know what will stick around and what you'll find doesn't work as well as you hoped.



You can grab your copy here.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Think Green!

April is one of my favorite months of the year. There are tiny little wildflowers hiding in the grass and the sweet songs of birds float through the air. It's the perfect time to remember that we have so much beauty surrounding us if we just take the time to notice the small things. It's also a beauty that we must protect. 

So beauty, inspiration, music.......It all led me to create a simple mobile craft activity for Earth Day. I recommend watching a brief video on recycling before you start this craft. My current favorite is a clip from Reading Rainbow that shows what happens to recyclables once they reach the recycling plant. There are quite a few good ones out there though.  


Once you have watched your video, it's time to talk about the "Three R's". Students get to write about what they can do to reduce, reuse, and recycle on one side. The other side is blank so you can have them draw a picture of what the action looks like once they cut the shape out.


The top and bottom of the mobile have small recycling related pictures for them to color as they would like.

Grab your copy of this Earth Day craft here

Monday, March 28, 2016

Conversational Skills Superheroes

If it hasn't become obvious by now, I am really loving Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking materials this year. My students love it too! 

I've recently started adding in some conversational skills activities into several of my groups. I wanted to tie Superflex into this so the students have a constant reminder to use their social toolbox. Even though we have really taken our time with the basics, I think it is always helpful to have a reminder when you are branching out. As you can see, the activity we ended up doing took a little bit of time and creativity on my part.


I made four posters featuring Aiden, We have an expected and unexpected poster for both conversational roles. The unexpected listener is frowning because he's really not sure what is going on. The unexpected speaker is so busy talking about HIS interests that he forgets all about his listener. The expected speaker and listener are both happy to be participating in the conversation.


I wrote down different expected and unexpected behaviors for my students to put on the posters. The hardest part was getting them to pay attention to the key words (listener/speaker).


The sort took us about 15 minutes to go through.


Next time, I need to make more cards for the listener. I really felt like I had more made until we finished the sort.


My follow up activities are pretty simple. We'll review the post-it posters and design our own mini posters on construction paper. I chose the red and green to contrast the expected vs. unexpected roles of each person. I drew Aiden on the bottom of my posters and my students will draw their own version on the bottom of their posters.

Once they have made their posters, I will have my students come up with their own expected vs. unexpected behavior sort using the green and "red" (pink) post-its. We'll sort these out on the big posters again.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Here's a Blast from the Past

Now that I am finally getting to start Superflex Takes on Rock Brain & the Unthinkables, I am also dusting off one of my favorite creations from the past, Conversation Junction. Why? I think it correlates pretty well with several of the Unthinkables and the continuation of expected vs. unexpected behaviors. I'm starting with what's expected and then we will work on more scenarios, videos, and role-plays of conversation skills. They will have their book to help them remember the expected behaviors through all of these activities. While this activity is more geared towards upper elementary, it can be modified for first and second grades if needed. 


In this booklet, students write about what a conversation is and the role of a speaker/listener. They learn the parts of being a good speaker and listener. They also learn about personal space as it relates to conversations. 

Grab your copy of Conversation Junction here.

P.S. I wish all of you the best during IEP overload season! Summer is coming, I promise, it is closer than you think.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Social Skills Round 2

While my husband enjoyed the Superbowl (sort of--his team lost), the dogs and I thought up new ideas for my social skills group. We decided that football games are a good time to reminisce about the good old days when I did inclusion groups last year. Some memories were good and some were not quite as great....

But what a great way to to talk about what we are expected to do in the classroom! Students see things like these actions all the time in classrooms and they leave a HUGE impression. I imagine some may see worse and some may see better depending on the make-up of the classroom. 



I hope you will find these scenarios to be another helpful addition to your social skills toolbox!

You can grab your copy of Classroom Social Skills here.

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.