Friday, May 31, 2013

I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty, I've got whozits and whatzits galore.....

This is the story of my life! I am in the process of prepping my speech room for the summer (a little sooner than planned thanks to EOGs). It's really hard to tell which part of my space looks more pitiful: the therapy room or the overloaded closet.



The fruit of my efforts. The empty room always makes me feel a little sad. We're not even going to begin talking about the mess of book bins & games currently sitting in my parents' carport. Hehe....

On a happier note, I wanted to share a craft that I made right before my first camera died in April. I bought these coasters at the Dollar Tree. They come in packs of nine so it's a pretty good deal. I made four wh- sandwiches that I can use for sentence formulation or answering questions. I have 4 additional blank sandwiches that I use for articulation reinforcement or following directions. You could use them in other ways by adding pictures to the front or back.


All it takes is a sharpie and the coasters to make this activity. The possibilities are endless. :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I just want to feel this moment.....

The final IEP is FINISHED! I'm so excited that there's no more paperwork or meetings looming over my head.


I went on a walk to celebrate being finished. I couldn't resist taking a picture of the beautiful daisies.

I can't forget my walking buddy. This was the only time he didn't try to pull my arm off.
In other happy news, I survived my first year of being an EOG administrator. I'm not quite sure that I've ever had two more boring days at work. The only good thing that came out of being bored out of my mind were the thoughts of preparing for next year.


Here's my latest creation, Sentences in my Backpack. The students have to put the sentences into order. They can also create their own with the black and white frames.



Sunday, May 26, 2013

Two more weeks to go.

There are two more weeks in the school year for students. The Memorial day holiday and EOG testing means that I really only get to see students for two days this coming week. I'm a little nervous about helping with the EOGs as I didn't have to do it last year. The final week of school will see many classroom celebrations. 

My plan for therapy in the next few days is pretty simple: reviewing the EET (which I use these handy die-cut circles for) for older students and a following directions craft for the younger ones. 

 The best thing about these little laminated circles is taking them outside and "hopping" through the words. My students also love to write on the table so either situation is a win-win for me. Lately, I've been using the EET to help my students make comparisons about objects.
 The little ones get to make 1 of three items with this kit I picked up from the Paper Factory for .50 cents. I love these foam stickers because they are pretty easy for them to manipulate.

Friday, May 24, 2013

TGIF...because I need to get started on this whole RtI planning thing

Response to Intervention (RtI) is a gigantic puzzle that I am trying to slowly work through as part of an SLP "task force". My hope is to find solutions for the following:

1. Teachers don't know how to write Personalized Education Programs (PEPs) for articulation, fluency, voice, etc...
2. Time length for the different levels of intervention. 
3. Data tracking. 
 The district bought the 5 Minute Kids Articulation program at the beginning of this school year. I've tried to look through it several times without much success due to writing IEPs & Medicaid billing. The end of the year has finally opened up a little time to get started with all of the celebrations going on.

I copied all of the baseline forms and envelope games today. The baseline forms are now in little packs as you see in the above picture.
I also spent about an hour making up sheets for the earlier developing sounds baselines that aren't addressed in the program. My goal is to create coordinating picture sheets at some point next week.

The highlight of my day was discovering new work room freebies. I gained some new workbooks for writing sentences, a word ladders notebook, and these adorable number strips. I plan on letting my students use these to track their speech production with me. 
You could easily making something similar using die cuts and construction paper provided by your school. 




Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hakuna Matata

Whenever life gets hectic, I try to go back to the one thing that makes me remember to slow down. More often than not, I come back to my old climbing tree. It has been my good friend ever since I can remember. The branches held me aloft in my safe princess & mermaid fantasies as a child. I practiced my gymnastics and ballet beside this tree. It also protected me from the harsh light of the sun. I still love to sit on the lowest branch every now and then to remind myself of our time together as silly as it sounds. 
 This is one of the craft projects I made during the great camera FAIL of 2013. I bought several packages of these little colored cups from the Dollar Tree's Hawaiian themed section. The colors just pop and that's definitely a motivator. However, I suggest putting a large piece of felt under these cups as they are less forgiving of accidents than the waxed kind.

The concept is very similar to the "artic towers" found on pinterest. I just added my own little twist by making every cup have two related words. My students have to describe how the objects are similar and different in order to earn the cup. This is a great way for them to practice sounds at both word and sentence level. You can find two of my word lists in these older posts: http://thethriftyslp.blogspot.com/2013/05/another-1st-experience-carson-dellosa.html and http://thethriftyslp.blogspot.com/2013/04/under-weather-blues.html 
My other idea from Dollar Tree is geared towards categorization. I know that the large serving trays have been a huge hit on pinterest. They are really handy for most groups. However, I have some students that are overwhelmed by that many sections. My solution is to buy the three sectioned trays. It reduces the amount of options, but they also give extra space to toss in a few more items. You could also use these trays as a way of self-tracking. The students can have a "good" and "bad" (sounds, speech, behavior, etc) compartment. The markers go in the additional slot so there's no chance of them falling on the floor. 
Summer is almost here with two more IEPs to go! Hakuna Matata! 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bargain shopping

I'm always on the hunt for new places to shop for bargains. This weekend I randomly stopped in at a bargain outlet while visiting with another good friend.


Ollie's is a bargain outlet store that sells closeouts and excess inventory (the excess is a little excessive in the some of the isles, particularly the book section). I wouldn't necessarily define their prices as terrific on all of the items. However, I don't think this store should be counted out of my thrifty shopping spots either. The children's books range from $1-6. It's no worse than if I decided to order something off of Amazon. Plus, I actually get to handle the items and personally pick out the one that's in the best shape.

I picked up Annie & the Wild Animals by Jan Brett for $4 which is about what I would pay at a used bookstore. They also have a variety of toys and games that range from .50 cents and up. I managed to find a set of "goes together" pocket chart cards for $5, opposites cards for .50, and Disney's story smash-ups for $5. I cannot wait to use these new materials with my students next year.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Planning for the return of the pirate theme

I seem to be an SLP on a mission....the mission to find sea themed decor for next year. I really enjoyed decorating my room in one theme for the year. It makes my life easier when I don't have to spend extra energy in making my room look cute for each season. This year was detectives so next year will either be under the sea or robots. I haven't made up my mind yet. However, Dollar Tree has helped me out quite a bit with both ideas.

The best part is that one decor item has sparked an idea in my mind already.

I picked up one of these nets with the intention of letting my students stick notes in it that will create sentences. 

The superstar sentences will be held by alligator clips which I also purchased at Dollar Tree. (They make me think of Peter Pan for some reason.) I can change the sentences on a regular basis to make a little friendly competition and recognition for each student.

The clips are also something that I can see using for positional activities. They are a great combination of small size and vibrant colors that my visual learners love.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Friends are the best medicine

As the end of the school year quickly approaches (June 11th!), I find myself slowly trying to give my brain a slight break from all things SLP. It's harder to untangle myself from work than I ever could have imagined in graduate school. The thing about life is that it's not healthy to be focused in on one thing all the time. It's the easiest way to burn yourself out. My students are an excellent reminder of this fact. They are so unbelievably stressed out about EOGs in the upper grades and the little ones are just antsy. I swear that they can pick up on the stress of the older ones. It's really exhausting. 

I took a much needed break from working on any new materials this weekend to spend some quality time with one of my dearest friends. We have an annual tradition of going up to see our alma mater and attending a Celtic Festival. I love all things related to the United Kingdom even though I have very little knowledge of my family's heritage. The bagpipe parade is one of the highlights for me.

I'm also taking a break from materials to research digital cameras. Technology really isn't my strongest interest. It's taking me forever to figure out what types of cameras are good and which ones to stay away from. I'm leaning towards a Cannon, but recommendations are awesome. 

This is the one I'm leaning towards but I still feel confused.....
It really is driving me crazy that I can't share my craft ideas with you. It's just that some of them are pretty hard to explain without actual pictures. Ugh. 

I'm disappointed that Smash got the ax for next season. It was one of my favorite shows. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sticky notes save lives....

One of the most dreaded things in school systems has finally hit.....SUMMER FEVER. My students have been nothing short of wild this week which is a great way to start my first "full" therapy week back after a month of kindergarten screenings. I've been hit with balls, hair tugged, had my ears assaulted with articulation screaming drills (pointing at the red portion of my volume meter didn't do any good...nor did taking away stickers), and had to help with groups when meltdowns occurred in the EC classroom. It's been a totally amazing week back into the good ol' swing of things.

All of this leading me up to the point of saying that Sticky notes save lives. There's few things better than sending a bunch of hyped up and summer-dazed children on a scavenger hunt.
I salute you, 3M, for saving my sanity. 
My walls and shelves were covered in these little pieces of heavenly paper after Monday's rough start. My students had to find wh- question words and match them up to a corresponding note that defined the meaning. You can pretty much have them search for everything under the sun with Sticky notes: articulation targets, opposites, CVC words, sight words, directions, vocabulary words, etc....I could probably go on forever about how much I love using them as a review strategy. It's also a great way to make do with a supply that schools generally give out to staff. 

You can also pull out this game for their 2-3 minute "play reward" to let them get out some of the excessive energy. It's a great way to target listening skills and following directions. If you are worried that your students might have more fun smacking each other with the mallets, make them use their hands to play this game.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Components of Summer Language Homework

I've started working on summer packets for my students. It's a rather daunting task as I try my best to select materials that parents & children will enjoy completing together. Everyone has a different style of summer packets so here is my 2013 recipe (P.S. It's all free):

One file folder per student, sides are stapled together to form a pocket and a label is glued to the front with the student's name.

My folders ended looking something similar to this one on Kinder Trips minus the tape.

Language Delays
-Calendar for younger students (Spanish version)
-Calendar for older students part 1, 2, 3, 4
- Summer Coloring Sheets
-Summer Compare and Contrast
-Summer word finds 1,  2, 3

Articulation
-Ocean Themed Articulation sheets
-Calendar for older students
- Sound "books" made of construction & copier paper. The kids get to glue pictures containing their words into these little mini books. It's basically a take-home version of my articulation book crafts that I used in therapy this year.
-Pages from the Webber Articulation & Phonology Books based on the individual targets of the students
-Summer Coloring Pages

You may also like Speaking of Speech's therapy homework page.

I cannot get enough of Lego videos on youtube right now and this is from my favorite movie.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Another 1st Experience: the Carson-Dellosa Warehouse Sale

Today, I had another adventure into the wonderful world of hunting for discounts. I went to the Carson-Dellosa Warehouse Sale. The warehouse opens its doors twice a year for a major discount sale and it's somewhat of a teacher's paradise. I learned about it through the EC teachers at my school back in the fall. The sale sounded intriguing even  though I figured it might not be as useful to me as an SLP. 

Lessons learned: 
1. Take a rolling cart. They have about 4 for everyone to use. The chances of just 4 teachers being there is slim to none. I dragged around two overloaded Super Duper bags.
2. Bring a friend/helper. 
3. Use your GPS to find the warehouse. It's in the middle of nowhere. 
4. You have to add up your purchases via a handy sheet as they really don't have a cash register.
5. Be prepared to dig through a ton of boxes. There are massive boxes of books, cards, posters, and more books. It's not really set up in any particular order. 
6. On the last day, everything is an additional 50% off (Kiddos to me for having good timing!)

The majority of the products are geared towards teachers. I don't really like using workbooks so I concentrated on digging for flashcards. I managed to find several nice decks of flashcards to use, a felt puppet, a puzzle, a game, and some more cut-outs to use for future language/articulation decks. Everything ended up being about $1 an item. 

I'm pretty excited about using my new treasures next year. Hopefully, I will be able to go to many more Warehouse sales to come in the future. It's really too bad that Super Duper doesn't offer one. 

In the meantime, here's another go together activity for articulation carryover. This activity targets /r/ and is a power point file for flexibility. You can grab it here.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

When recovering from 3 weeks of kindergarten screening.....

You may find yourself a drawing a blank on therapy ideas after three weeks of screening preschoolers at 4 different elementary schools. I have yet to pinpoint why I find testing preschoolers so exhausting, especially screening. We didn't have too many melt-downs/separation issues this year asides from one who tried to make himself vomit  after refusing to participate. 

I pulled out one activity that I haven't used with students yet to incorporate with my book of the week, Chicks and Salsa. I bought this at Goodwill at some point last year for $1.99 and sat it on my therapy shelf. It's pretty sad to admit that sometimes it takes me a year to pull out a new material to try. (Surely, I'm not the only one out there who has a set of materials that get used on a daily basis?) The kids were intrigued when they saw the box. Who wouldn't be, really, when you see pictures of kids flying on books? 

Trhyme Junior is the child-friendly version of Trhyme. The game revolves around figuring out a set of three rhyming words based on clues. I modified the rules of the game for my students to make it more of a naming activity based on descriptive clues. 
 The game comes with a ton of clue cards. I bundled up the ones that wouldn't work with my caseload with a rubber band. I can always add them back to the deck as my caseload changes. This helps increase the speed of game play and ensures that they won't get frustrated with the tasks. My groups averaged about 15 minutes of play for a winner using my modifications.
This is definitely an activity that I plan on using more with my students.