Monday, September 30, 2013

Vocabulary is going to the leaves.....

All the leaves are falling down
Falling down, falling down.
All the leaves are falling down,
It is fall time.
They are yellow, red and brown,
Red and brown, red and brown.
They are yellow, red and brown.
It is fall time.
Take the leaves and crunch them up,
Crunch them up, crunch them up.
Take the leaves and crunch them up.
It is fall time.

One bag of fabric leaves from the dollar store, one black sharpie, and Googling fall vocabulary words.

Deciding which words are Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III
Write on the leaves with paper underneath in case of ink bleeding through the thin fabric.

Wrap them up and pick some books.
Use them with the Expanding Expression Tool.

These are the ones I'm leaning towards this year:
Fall Book List
1. Mouse's First Fall (PreK-1st)
2. Let it Fall (PreK-1st)
3. It's Fall (PreK-1st)
4. Leaf Man (PreK-3rd)
5. Fall Mixed Up (PreK-?)

1. The Littlest Pilgrim (PreK-2nd)
2. Ten Fat Turkeys (PreK-1st)
3. I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie (PreK-2nd)
4. Thanksgiving Is... (2nd-5th)
5. If You Were At the First Thanksgiving (2nd-5th)
6. If You Sailed on the Mayflower (2nd-5th)

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's smashing time!

I like to believe that there is a little hidden superhero in all of us. Mankind is able to overcome some terrible stuff --plagues, wars, discrimination-- and we are able to eventually celebrate our victory over the adversity in our lives. Children are no less concerned with "good" and "evil/bad" than adults even though they typically have a much less cynical view of the world around them. 

So, I am embracing the tiny speech superheros in my life as they struggle (and succeed) in overcoming the challenges of articulation and language delays. 

One new superhero story picked up on a recent Goodwill shopping trip for .75 cents. 
The alphabet isn't going to miss out on the superhero action either. We're going to learn about everything superhero style. (Amazon has a pretty good selection of superhero books.)
Hulk hands for superhero sound smashing fun....
We're also smashing objects that don't belong in a category. My older kids will soon be smashing the parts of speech too. There are just so many fun things to smash in our language laboratory this year. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An ode to chipper chats....

I have been slowly amassing Super Duper's Chipper Chat series every time they have a 50% off sale. I thought I would share a few of my thoughts on them...
 I was a little disappointed with the Auditory Processing Chipper Chat. It comes with a book & CD that have all the task cards rather than the pre-made laminated cards we're all used to. As a school-based therapist, it is not exactly the most convenient thing in the world to make & laminate cards for a store bought material. I had to back all of my cards with poster paper and try to make them evenly cut. Not cool, Super Duper, just not cool. I still haven't managed to get all of the cards made and it's almost October. However, I do have to say that the cards do have some good activities even if they have been a pain in the behind. My favorite are the recalling sentences and paragraphs as you can tie those into wh-questions.
 The Social Skills Chipper Chat comes with various picture scenes and little paragraphs in its handy-dandy manual. I printed out copies of the little stories and have adhered them to poster board as well. Once they are laminated, I plan on hooking them to a key ring for easy use. I do like the targets with this product and the bright visuals. I plan on using it to supplement my social skills lessons so the kids don't get sick of coloring books.
 The Wh- Questions Chipper Chat. Honestly, I haven't looked at this one yet because I've been trying to make cards for the other two. It comes with a manual instead of target cards as well. I think by this point, I may as well admit that I read more about what each product targets than the fine print that talks about the cards being something you have to fix on your own. Part of me really just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. I know it has gotten outstanding reviews on their site as well as by other bloggers. I'm just going to trust their opinions and my own positive experience with my district's copy of Wh- bingo (I LOVE that game).
 The Vocabulary Chipper Chat.....How many ways can I say how much I love this product? Probably not enough. I don't use any of my Chipper Chats on a regular basis as I like maintaining their novelty and I just prefer book based therapy. However, the Vocabulary one has terrific cards that can be used for multiple targets. I like the category cards as I use those to talk about similarities and differences too. The context clue one is a little too hard for my students right now, but hopefully we'll work our way up to it this year.
 The Artic Chipper Chat is the most used out of all of my collection. I've had it for about a year now and love using it for phrase and sentence level practice. My articulation groups are always very competitive. I don't know if that's because I have them keep tallies with me or if it's just that entertaining. Whatever the case, I love using this as a motivator when drills get to be too much.

The best part about the Chipper Chats are the magnetic chips and the wand. Super Duper even sales them separately so you could make your own boards if you want.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

An exercise in field trip confusion...

I have a student who shouts field trip whenever a bus is around. It doesn't make much sense since that grade hasn't gone on a field trip yet. They aren't even planning one in the near future. Chalk it up to just being one of those odd "teachable moments" that thankfully comes with a co-teacher. We're both researching field trip activities and how to differentiate it from the regular school day. 

First off, I made a coloring book about a zoo field trip. The last three pages are movable pieces that you can color and glue to craft sticks. It is available for free on the Miss Thrifty SLP facebook page for fans-- just look for the fan freebie tab. (It's just an experiment to see if I can actually get the app to work.)

Secondly, I've been browsing the internet to find picture books about field trips.

Versus bus books

1. School bus

Here is a helpful A-Z handout on Adaptive Books. I found a book on Tar Heel Reader about going to the Zoo and How do you get to school? I really like taking actual photographs and turning them into books. I can't do that for this lesson so Tar Heel Reader helps make up for that. 

P.S. For those of you working on Medicaid, I also have another paperwork freebie for you. Grab your copy of Medicaid Checklist here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Love it and list it: Vocabulary Edition

When I think of working on vocabulary goals, I always try to reflect on ways I learned new words as a child. Did I always enjoy sitting through a book? No. There were times when I just wanted to go outside and play with the kindling stack in the garage. 

I admit that I am a huge fan of books to target most language goals. There are not many sessions where I don't pull out a book to target a goal in some manner. They are my number one go-to with my two DIY crafts coming in tied for second place: Story Rope and EET circles. However, I also love to watch my younger students come out of their shells through play. It's an opportunity for me to really see the things that have stuck and things that might need some help. Also, I have several students that will simply shut down because they feel intimidated by adults. My solution to targeting a versatile range of vocabulary for K-1st graders is Dollar Tree figurines (and yard sale knick-knacks). It's just a much more laid back approach that they simply can't resist.  
Beginning of 2012-2013 school year with my one little container.
My collection has grown considerably with every dollar store 
As far as my favorite purchased material, I would have to say that Super Duper's Vocabulary Chipper Chat is my favorite for my 2nd-4th graders. I splurged and bought several of their items while they were on sale. I like the Vocabulary Chipper Chat the best out of what I have now. The cards are organized by target and the magnetic chips are a great motivation for those competitive kids. I end up using the cards for multiple concepts and pull in my EET circles when needed. I think it puts a little more organization into days when nothing seems to go right.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Conversation junction, what's your function?

It's always fun when you have to figure out how to combine teaching two seemingly unrelated things to a group. My brain may as well be permanently set on School House Rock. I'm teaching grammar and social skills in one thirty minute block. It's not the hardest thing to combine, but I always end up wondering if there is a more efficient way of teaching both at once. My chief concern is that my students are going to get lost in the sea of rules that govern both topics. The best way I know how to address the two areas with equal focus is to make all of my social skills activities based on writing tasks. 

Conversation Junction is similar in format to the My Feelings Diary that I recently made. I wanted to keep them complimentary so my students will be familiar with the style even though this one is more geared towards upper elementary. It's one less thing on their cognitive load if they already have an idea of my expectations.

Grab a copy of Conversation Junction here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Pin"-spired speech therapy

I love taking ideas meant for teachers and throwing in my SLP twist. The original idea for this project came from a parenting blog, And Next Comes L, which has tons of neat ideas for learning activities. She created a shower curtain to use for practice with sight words. I really liked the idea as it's something I can take outside to work on therapy targets without the fear of it getting messed up. It's also fun for inside play too. 

So here is my category curtain....

My articulation groups will not be missing out on the fun either. I'm in the process of making a set for the most common articulation sounds that are on my caseload. The plan is to use the shower curtains for bean bag toss games rather than a writing activity as it was presented in the sight word post. If you have students that aren't afraid of the dark, you could also turn the lights out and use a flashlight to select the words. It took me about 30 minutes to write all of the categories on my $1 shower curtain (which is a much better deal than paying $27 dollars for a pre-made version). If you are worried about a shower curtain withstanding the test of time, you could also try a lined tablecloth. They work really well in therapy too and have more size options available.

Remember this activity from Halloween 2012? It was done with a tablecloth purchased from Goodwill.

Friday, September 13, 2013

When the going gets tough, the tough get going....

If the first week of therapy sessions with my students is any indication of what the rest of my year looks like, I will have a very social skill filled life. It is very unfortunate that I forgot to request any materials related to social skills. Next year's request form will have some Michelle Garcia Winner products on it if I have to sticky note every wall near my computer at home & work to remember. 

This year, I will just have to make the best of it by making things on my own and cruising Google for freebies. My first project is a Feelings Diary that I can use with my younger group. It's black and white due to the fact that I don't have access to a color printer. It's really annoying when you want to print out cute stuff and don't have the ability to print in color. Students can color the kids in whatever way floats their boats as long as the writing can still be seen. I plan on letting the ones that are able write their own statements. It will help them practice grammar, capitalization & punctuation, and work on some fine motor skills. The other ones will get to dictate to me and then trace over the yellow highlighter marks. 

Grab your copy of My Feelings Diary here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Admittedly confused

During my undergraduate program, I learned that it is better to admit confusion than to choose to silently suffer. So this post will be my confessional for the week....I am slightly frustrated and confused by ASHA due renewal. I got an email that made it seem like renewing is a just a breeze ONLINE. The problem is the fact that my district pays our due renewals (lucky, I know), which makes the wonderful online renewal process useless. ASHA's website has 2 lines and a mailing address for people who need to mail their form in.  Nothing in the question & answer section to elaborate. Zip. Zero. This is not good for someone who's never had to renew their membership. I realize I can call or email the action center. However, I emailed our lead SLP to find out how the process works first as I didn't want to call ASHA sounding like a complete idiot. I imagine someone at ASHA will probably still get a call from me just to double check and make sure that they still send out forms with all this online registration mumbo jumbo everywhere else. So to anyone else out there going through their first due renewal---you are definitely not alone if its got you stressing. 

All venting aside, I'm happy to finally be seeing my students again. Our mass hearing screenings took two weeks to complete so this has been my first real opportunity to interact with the ones on my caseload. I've gotten tons of hugs from my 1st graders, a few shy smiles from the 3rd graders, and plenty of gasps whenever I bring them into my room for the first time. Power Rangers are apparently popular again. I guess I won't have any trouble directing their attention towards my word wall as long as I keep my figurines on it. I would love to say that everyone transitioned back to the routine well, but a few of my friends need some social story reviews. My biggest accomplishment so far has been the fact that they remembered one of my favorite rules: don't say the word game until we've finished our work. I could hear them whisper, "don't say the g- word," to each other as they came into my room. Hehehe...I'm amazed at how long losing 1-2 games last year has stuck with them. 

This week we have enjoyed playing I-Spy. This is the first year that I've tried using any I-Spy games and that's something I now regret. I love I-Spy in common. It's a great way to target categorization through play. The cards are held in boards similar to a puzzle so it's fairly well contained and they can manage them easily. It has categories that are straightforward (colors, animals, vehicles) and then more complex categories (squirming, being made of metal, etc). Students really have NO idea that they are actually working. 
 It's definitely not bad for a .50 cent thrift store find. I look forward to trying out some of my other I-spy games in the near future.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I'm a data-driven girl

I think September is quickly becoming my month for creating forms. Perhaps it's something in the air or maybe just nerves about forgetting something important.....At any rate, I like to have a hard copy of important information by my desk rather than on my computer. (I don't have the best luck with school computers.)

In my district, we are expected to have students participate in their IEP meetings in some capacity if able. This usually means that I have them introduce me to their parents and vice versa. We have to turn this data in at the end of the year. I figured having a cute form to keep this data would be more of an incentive than just entering it into a plain old spreadsheet document. 

The second log is just another way of cementing important due dates in my mind. I wanted a reference sheet that I can just check off as I tackle important tasks. Typically, I rely on a) planner; b) sticky note on desk; c) sticky note beside therapy table; c) wall calendar; and d) email calendar. It gets really confusing to figure out which note has been checked off and which ones haven't. This saves me some time and energy. 

Here is the link for the Student Led IEP log.

Here is the link for the Important Dates log.

Also, don't forget about my Parent Contact log freebie too.

Hope these freebies will help all of you out as well!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

When you're in a pinch and want something free...

My creativity the past week has started to wane. Fall allergy season is upon me and any type of medicine seems to have the wonderful affect of knocking me out. It's really hard to make cute activities when all you want to do is sleep. However, I have enjoyed exploring Teachers Pay Teachers for freebies to make up for my lack of energy. 
Here are my top 10 freebie picks for the weekend:

10) My Mouth is a Volcano. This freebie is a great writing activity for a social skills group as you read the book, My Mouth is a Volcano. I love Julia Cook's books. 
9) Fun with Idioms. This is a booklet you can make with students to go over 26 commonly heard idioms. I think it would be great to draw the meanings on the pages, but there are a few that would be difficult to illustrate. 
 8) Popsicle Prefixes Uno. I love using Uno in therapy. This would be a great activity for upper elementary, middle, & high school students. 
7) Sight Word Watches. I love the flexibility of this freebie. You can write articulation targets, categories, question words, vocabulary words, etc on them. It downloads as an image though which is not my favorite format.
6) Crayon Word Sort. This targets vowel sounds. I've run into students who have trouble articulating vowel sounds so it can happen. I like this as a back to school review. It's black and white so you can choose whatever color crayons you want. I also like this little glue bottle activity to go along with the crayons.
5) Word Work Vocabulary Notebook. I like this graphic organizer for my older students as it has a great layout. I think they will be seeing a lot of these sheets.
4) Wizard of Oz: Parts of Speech. I love the layout of these worksheets. Each one targets a different part of speech. It's not overtly girly either. 
3) Fly Words 1 and 2. Get your fly swatter ready and go to town learning sight words with this freebie. 

2) Synonyms: Connect Four. It's a powerpoint version of one of my favorite games. It would be really cool to throw this up on a SmartBoard if you have access to one.
1) Pass the Prize. This is a cute game to do for following directions. It has the added incentive of the last person winning a small prize (I'm thinking pencils).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September Link-Up

Once again, I am linking up with All Y'all Need's monthly SLP link up. 

Schooling: We have 15 new staff members at my school. This is a nightmare for me. I am horrible at learning new names even though I'm pretty good at remembering faces.

Excited: I'm really excited for fall. We have a big fall festival in my town and there are several smaller craft shows that I am hoping to go to with my mother. There are also several spooky events coming up in October that I'm hoping to try out this year. I'm sort of a chicken when it comes to haunted houses so we'll see if those stay in the plans or not.

Prepping: I am a pretty old school kind of person so the next one is preparing for the long-term future. My hope chest. I've recently tasked myself with the challenge of finding several duplicates or near matches to things I didn't inherit from my deceased grandparents. The majority of it is depression glass. There's no real rhyme or reason as to why I set myself on this new mission. I just felt like starting this new mission since my grandma's no longer there to keep adding more of her beautiful handmade quilts. I didn't realize how many types and colors of depression glass there are out there. It's been an interesting education these past few weeks.

Trying: I am guilty of trying to be superwoman. I am trying to remind myself to take a step back and avoid getting too caught up in work. I did that my first year and made myself sick. I don't want to get to that point again. I feel like this year, the perfectionist in me is coming out more than it did last year. So this is me saying that I don't have to be superwoman everyday or even every week. I will pick one day a month to be superwoman. The rest of the time, I am just going to be me and put my health first.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Welcome to the language laboratory!

Today, I am linking up with the Dabbling Speechie's decor linky party to show off the language laboratory.
Pictures can say 1,000 words so let's just let them handle most of the conversation today.
Dr. Speech
The view as you enter. Darth Vader is keeping an eye out on my manipulative toys. 
Wolverine wanted to hide in the shadows. 
P.S. You can see the giant poster I use for scheduling on the table. It's now covered in sticky notes.
The view of the therapy table from the door. I don't have letters up yet for my word wall.
The angled-wall side of the table with my language and phonemic awareness "zone." I also store craft supplies for my students on this side of the room so they can grab what they need. You can see my latest DIY project for the EET beside of my story rope. I bought some magnetic picture frames at Goodwill for .49 cents. I just cut out construction paper to size and drew an eyeball on one white sheet. They are taped to my wall but you could also glue them to a long ribbon and hang them from the wall too. 
Speech Rules, learning robot, and feelings poster. 
I decided to put sticker charts on the back of my door this year to open up more wall space. 
The other side of the table is dedicated to testing materials, small toys, and articulation (white drawers & brown basket).
The long wall of the closet which was my major source of grief. It looks 10,000 times better now and I've even reclaimed some space this year from the EC teachers. I have two out of the three walls of shelving now asides from the Math Trail blazers. (I couldn't imagine buying all of this stuff new in a store. 95% of my materials come from thrift shops, yard sales, and dollar stores. The other 5% are purchased only when they are put on clearance from Walmart, Target, and Super Duper.)