Friday, July 22, 2016

Finding my way back....


These last three months have been some of the hardest in my life since my sophomore year in college when my father nearly died in a car accident. I feel like I've been through hell and back.

But.....I am stronger for it.....

With the love of my life supporting me (can't believe we've been married a year now)
With our dogs to keep me busy as always 
With my family's help 
With a new diet to undo the damage of the last three months (got in trouble with my cholesterol)
With a new job far away from the cause of all of this

All I can say is that I am not meant for a life of permanent upheaval. I also think all those websites that claim to have tips for family members of people struggling with mental illnesses do not fully grasp just how bad it can be. It is not a world of sunshine and rainbows. It is a very lonely and scary place. A place that I will no longer be trapped in. 

 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Buzzing with Analogies

Summer is finally here! I'm so excited for the much needed break. This past school year has been one of the biggest challenges thus far in my career. I moved, got married, started a new job, and got three puppies all in one fell swoop. Yet, I managed to survive all of these changes and learned that I'm able to cope better than I thought I could. 

Looking back on the school year made me want to make a product with yellow jackets. It's the school mascot of the elementary school. I'm thankful for all the things I learned this year and what better way to say "thank you." So Buzzing with Analogies was born.....

This activity is a simple set of cards for analogy practice. Your students simply fill in the missing word. 


You can grab your copy of Buzzing with Analogies here.


Have a great summer!

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.