Monday, November 24, 2014

Visions of sugar plums danced in their heads....

Today, I want to introduce you to one of my new favorite holiday materials for following directions. I found these little gingerbread people at the Goodwill Outlet this summer and feel in love with their happy little faces. They are slightly chunky and bendable which makes them perfect for kindergarten students. 

I did a little bit of digging via Google to find out who actually made this nifty little guys. Is it any surprise that they are from Learning Resources? They really do come up with some of the cutest stuff.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's all about pacing....

Rushing. It's a familiar experience to all of us. We are always in a hurry to go here and here and here. We have to move quickly to get to the next big thing. In the process, we often lose sight of what's most important. It is my Thanksgiving wish that each of you finds time to enjoy something small. Maybe it's the joy of a handwritten letter or taking a picture with your family. Just don't forget to stop and smell the roses in the mad dash to get gifts (and taking care of December IEPs) as the holiday season looms ever closer.

Children, of course, imitate our sense of urgency with their own desire to have everything NOW. They want to grow up. They want to graduate. They just want to go to recess. I remember feeling like everything took forever. So it should really not come to any surprise that sometimes they also rush through their conversational speech. Enter an SLP's best friend: the pacing board. 

Initially, my homemade pacing boards are met with dubious looks. I admit that pacing boards, even ones that are made with snazzy graphics, don't look like much. Yet, it's the simplicity that often makes them work so well with students who are distracted by everything. They just have to point to stickers and work on their target. I mostly use the boards to help my "fast talkers" to slow down. It works much like having to use their finger to point to each word as they read from their sight word books. They have to spend more time thinking about what comes next, which is usually just the trick to getting them to use a more natural pace. You can also use pacing boards to help segment and blend sounds. I have even found that they are very helpful for bringing fricative sounds in the initial position from isolation to word level.

In the spirit of the holiday season, I decided it was finally time to spruce up my boards to include more than just smiley faces and star stickers. In this packet of pacing boards, you will find boards for 3-6 targets. I also included some blank pages just in case you have some shiny holiday stickers on hand.

You can grab your copy of Holly Jolly Pacing Boards here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

My top 10 reasons for why every school-based SLP needs a group dinner night.

Do you ever get together with your fellow SLPs? Here are some reasons why I think an SLP dinner night is a great thing:

10. The great food. 
9. Discussing all the lovely germs that have infested your building and how you are trying to avoid them.
8. Discussing what you liked/didn't like about a recent CEU without having to feel guilty.
7. Talking about the latest ASHA Leader or ADVANCED for SLPs.
6. Giving each other tips to try out for difficult cases.
5. Complaining about the lack of toys at Goodwill recently. 
4. Talking about new places in town.
3. Catching up on personal life happenings.
2. Getting rid of the isolation feeling.
1. Celebrating success stories!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thinking ahead to jingle bells....

I posted recently about working with several of my students on facts versus opinions. It has been an interesting experience to uncover just how hard it is for students to differentiate between the two. I decided that we needed another activity to help us go in more depth with opinions with a topic that they are already getting excited about: Christmas.  

A Bow of Approval is geared towards upper elementary and middle school students. They are given the option between two items and select the one that they prefer. In a large group, you may want to have them physically choose sides to make this activity more engaging. They can turn and talk to their partner(s) about their answer before telling the rest of why group why they picked that side. If you don't have the space, you can simply have each student share their reasons at the table.

To grab your copy of A Bow of Approval click here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Saying goodbye is never easy....

On Saturday, I lost my grandfather to bone cancer.
I hope those of you who have found my free materials to be useful will consider donating a small amount of money to your local Hospice in memory of someone you love for all that they do to help the dying pass with dignity.

Until next week....

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Inclusion Files: Letters from 4th Grade

Writing. Writer's block. Overcoming the block and writing some more. It's a vicious cycle that plagues all of us at one time or another. Even as an SLP blogger, I can still get hit by the same wave of writer's block that drove me to tears of frustration on several occasions during college.  

One of the interesting things I have learned recently from inclusion is the 4th grade writing cycle. They focus on one type of writing each six weeks. The first six weeks focused on personal narratives. Each student wrote about an experience that was important to them (be it something that scared them or something that was one of the best moments in their life.) My favorite moment happened when the classroom teacher asked them to practice describing objects/places without coming right out with the actual name at first.
This would make a great little reminder for writing notebooks.
This six weeks, the students are learning how to write opinion papers. It is very interesting to see the look on students' faces when they are told that they get to write about their opinion on a topic of their choosing (out of 3 options). It is almost like Christmas for some of them and some of them need a little encouragement to realize that its okay to have your own opinion (particularly not having to like what your friend likes). My latest little freebie is for those students who are not quite as sure of the difference between a fact and an opinion. Students must read the cards and sort them into piles. They also get to make up their own cards for their peers to sort to really give them some hands on practice. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I'm all ears!

Ears, ears, we're all ears in speech! Thank you, pinterest, for literally throwing one of the easiest crafts ever my way!

I'm using these Listening Ears for my beginning articulation groups. It is a great little visual cue for my younger students to remember to listen closely as we work on their sounds. You can find a copy of them on pinterest by searching for Listening Ears.