Monday, December 15, 2014

On my sick day...the FedEx Santa brought to me....

I'm sad to say that some nasty cold plague has hit my school pretty hard. It took out half of our EC team and quite a few students (from what I learned in my brief time at work). It's been quite some time since I've spent two days laid out on the couch until the late evening. However, sometimes you do get small glimmers of goodness out of bad things....

Such as my Christmas present to myself.

It's an Ogee clock, which was a style popular in 19th Century America. My grandmother had a similar one that belonged to her mother. From my understanding, it was the only thing that she inherited from her parents as a child from a larger family. I spent many years admiring that clock as a child and have spent the past four years looking for a clock that could compare to my grandma's. I think she's proof that patience pays off. 

My new mission is to create a whole bunch of scrambled sentence activities to use with several of my language groups. I managed to make a small activity on Friday before the sickness really set in using some song lyrics that my students can't seem to "let go" of at the moment. I don't own any of these lyrics and looked them up through an online website so they may not be perfect. 

Grab your copy of Lyrical Scrambled Sentences here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Some not so subtle gift ideas for friends and family members of SLPs...

It's that time of year when everyone asks that one dreaded question: "What do you want for Christmas?" 

Honestly, I think it is pretty tough to come up with a Christmas wishlist as an adult. I either feel like I'm being selfish in asking or wasting money on things that I could really do without in order to avoid asking for things I can actually use at work. 

1. Mary's Poppin's magic bag for travel therapy. I'm pretty sure it's probably indestructible in addition to all that space.
Just imagine the kind of responses you could get from students with all the crazy things you could pull out.
2. Coffee gift cards (or a cute mug for us hot chocolate drinkers).

3. A personal secretary to keep up with all of the meetings we go to. However, a cute planner will do in a pinch.

In all seriousness, I would suggest giving your loved one an item that they are hesitant to splurge on. Some of my favorite items are: a personal laminator with additional laminating pouches; the Expanding Expression Tool; the Total Teddy Talker Package; J. Moncure's entire A-Z book series (yes, they are older but I haven't found anything that compares); and a TeachersPayTeachers gift card. Puppets, books, and games are always appreciated too. If you have a crafty SLP who likes making her/his own materials, you might want to donate several packs of construction paper and glue sticks to the cause.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Get ready to color!

 We've had too many grey skies around my town lately so I decided to create a simple craft that would add a bright spot of color to the any grey day: articulation coloring pages.

As you can see from the picture below, the coloring pages I created are in a sense open-ended. You can have your students copy down words from your articulation deck or worksheets in whatever position they need. This gives them extra practice using those fine motor skills before they get to enjoy the coloring aspect. Students who are at more advanced levels can make up phrases or sentences for each word that they write on an attached sheet of paper, for example.

P.S. If you have coloring perfectionists, I sometimes play a familiar song (Do you want to build a snowman?) as a way to give them an idea of how much time they have to color. I give them a warning in the last 30 and 15 seconds. It doesn't help for all kids, but it's another trick to keep in your toolbox.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pinterest game gold

Right before Thanksgiving break I stumbled across a little piece of pinterest gold that I have to share with all of you. It's called Ho, Ho, Ho or a Lump of Coal. (I just call it the Santa game.) The principle of it is very simple: if you get a Ho, Ho, Ho card and take an extra turn. Coal cards mean that you have to return all your cards back to the stack.

The teacher who came up with the idea used it for sight word practice. I, on the other hand, decided to write Christmas related words that my students either have to describe or use in a sentence. You can easily make articulation versions too (or just take the lazy way out like me and tape the special cards to several of your articulation cards).

It has been a huge hit in my room this week with all of my grade levels. I highly recommend making your own set before the holiday season is over. If you can't use the holiday version, I created a simple winter themed-version that you can grab here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Merry Sentences to You!

In honor of the short work week and Thanksgiving holiday, I am going to share my latest activity just a little bit earlier than I originally planned. 

Happy Holiday Sentences contains three different activities to help students practice formulating grammatically correct sentences.

The first activity is scrambled sentences. I love using these with my students because it allows them to physically manipulate the sentence. It usually goes faster than I expect because they really enjoy this activity.

The second activity is a set of vocabulary cards that students can use to create their own scrambled sentences (or regular sentences). You might also decide to use them with the Expanding Expression Tool or print two for a matching game.

The third activity targets pronouns. Students have to pick the correct pronoun based on the person beside the Christmas tree.

As always, grab your copy of Happy Holiday Sentences here.

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.