Sunday, December 30, 2012

Goodbye 2012....

Before the year ends, I want to share one last item that I recently made for therapy.

I love using hedbanz in therapy for language groups and decided to adapt it for my articulation groups. I hope to make versions for other sounds as time allows. Here is your copy. I suggest printing it out on card stock or taping them to note cards (what I usually do). 

As 2012 comes to pass, I just want to say thank you for reading my blog. My discovery and unexpected journey into this field has been full of blessings and trials. I hope that 2013 is a year filled with joy and happiness for everyone.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas break is flying by too fast.

I am looking forward to seeing all of my students soon. They will have lots to tell me about their breaks and I can't wait to hear all about their adventures with Santa Claus.

I am sad; however, that Christmas break has flown by so quickly. The optimistic side of me thought that I was going to accomplish rocket science over the week. I've only managed to tackle one of the IEPs I wanted to complete and billing. There are now two more reading goal banks up for Common Core (1st Grade and 2nd Grade). I did make two wonderful pronoun notebooks and start on another project for articulation (I will post about it once it's complete). I also made another pinterest inspired craft for teaching shapes.

My camera batteries died so I can't show you my version today. Check them out here.
I love this idea as it works well with my students in the Letterland inclusion group. Shapes are part of their curriculum vocabulary and we've tried a variety of things to help them. They have watched LeapFrog videos, read the Greedy Triangle, listened to shape songs on Youtube, and made hand-drawn Christmas trees (mostly tracing over shapes) as part of a following 2-step directions activity. I love that the sticks include the number of sides that each shape has as it is something we are emphasizing to the inclusion group.

All you need are some different colored craft sticks (mine came from Dollar Tree) and a sharpie. It took a grand total of 5 minutes to make all of the shapes.

Break was also a great way to catch up on watching Nashville and Grey's Anatomy.

                                                                    Love this song.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Got pronouns?

My Christmas break project was to find a better way to teach the concept of pronouns to my younger students. It's such a hard concept for them to understand with the Pronoun Parade cards and using pictures from books (even though I love those strategies for my older groups.) My solution was to use the sales catalogs I have stock piled since Thanksgiving for therapy activities to make pronoun books.

Here's what the finished product looks like....(7 hours later)

This is the second of my pronoun books. The first one is for he, she, and they.
I tell what each word is used for twice with a single image. Then, I let them look at two pages with single images and examples of sentences they could say. The next step is for them to make up sentences on their own.
Walmart, Target, and ToysRUs had the best ads. I also used pictures from Belk, JC Penny, and Kmart.
The key to the book is to have just enough pictures on each page to avoid sensory overload.
What this project takes:
3-ring binder
15 sheet protectors (you can do more or less)
Basic copier paper or construction paper.
1 Sharpie
Lots of sales ads (I had a month's worth)
Lots of free time

Monday, December 24, 2012


I'm going to let you in on a two little secrets that I use to teach pronouns as a sort of Christmas present....

1) For she/he: I usually tell my students that "hers" and "his" are dead...not an option....not a choice. It is a little bit harsh, but I have found that my students will always use these two words if I don't place heavy emphasis on not using those words. 

2) I use the Pronoun Parade deck from Super Duper to drill my older students. We've turned it into a competition of sorts....whoever says the correct pronoun the fastest and in a complete sentence earns the card. They obviously want to earn the most cards so it's a great motivating tool. It usually takes about three minutes for us to go through all of the cards. 

I love this card deck as it's a versatile tool. I use it for describing images, who questions, and formulating sentences. 

Now, I have another idea for teaching pronouns that I will share with you in my next post. 

Merry Christmas

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sometimes, all you need is a rubber band....

Learning to make do with what you's a lesson that my parents stressed to me since I was in preschool. (Perhaps, this is why I started out playing dolls with little wooden blocks that I drew faces on???)

Last year, I worked with lots of students on /s/, /sh/, and /ch/. I use your typical sound associations most of the time with my articulation groups. /s/- make a snake sound, /sh/- make a quiet sound, and /ch/- make a choo-choo sound. It's a great way of giving students a connection to the sound. However, there are quite a few kids that need more than just that auditory or visual cue. For these students, I suggest a simple solution:

Rubber Bands

They come in all colors and sizes.
I use rubber bands to teach the /s/ and the /sh/ sounds as they are a great tactile cue (I've also tried it with s blends). My students learn to stretch out the rubber band as they say the sound (at whatever level we are working on). The /ch/ on the other hand makes a short chopping sound so we act like we are chopping up a carrot. After a few sessions, I take the rubber band away and have them simply do the motion with their hand as they say the target. This slowly weans them away from the tactile cue but continues to aid in the visualization process. It works well for students who like to rush through drills too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Let's have a fiesta!

Life has a funny way of teaching you lessons. When I was growing up, I assumed that everyone had the same things and same types of people in their lives that I had in mine. I remember hearing about those starving children in Africa who wished they could eat my broccoli and thinking that they were welcome to take as much as they wanted. College helped me grow up in many ways, but life as a school-based SLP continues to throw invaluable lessons my way.

The biggest thing being an SLP has taught me is to look at the world through fresh eyes and a different perspective. 

My goal is to make therapy sessions both fun and functional. I have to be able to put myself in my clients shoes even if they happen to be a lot smaller than my own. What do they really need from me and what will be a good way to get us there? Almost any object can be used for therapy whether it be an old magazine, store catalogs, restaurant menus, figurines, games, planting flowers, etc. It just takes a little imagination. 

Here is an example: pictured below is a snack tray that has seen plenty of celebrations in its lifetime. It showed up at Goodwill for $2 looking for a new lease on life. I couldn't resist buying it to use in my therapy room even though it is a bit scratched up. 

The hat can hold manipulative objects or drilling cards. However, I have been on the search to make sentences and plurals more fun for my older kids. My solution is to have a fiesta as there's not many things in life that are more fun than a party. It's a great way to get students to talk about their own experiences with birthday parties, Christmas celebrations, etc...and I love to hear their experiences.

 If you would like a copy of the fiesta document it includes the following:

Taco Sentences- Which ones are correct?
Mariachi Fill-Ins- Fill in the blank to complete the sentence (most target verbs)
Fiesta Chica- Plural nouns
WH Sombreros- Basic questions
Taco Articulation- /t/ production
Pronouns- He/She

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pinterest Project #2

Pinterest and I have a one-sided relationship. I pin all of these great ideas that I plan on doing and they never get done. I think this is largely due to my impatience with crafts that take a long time to complete.

Multiple Meaning Word Cards (aka..the project that almost didn't happen)


30-40 paint chip samples from your local hardware stores. I prefer the Valspar type that has the nifty holes.
1 Sharpie maker. Make sure it will show up on dark and light colors.
1 binder ring for storage.

The hardest thing was finding a list of appropriate multiple meaning words. I used a sheet from graduate school and several websites to come up with my deck. I have made a list to share with all of you here. You can also use the list featured on SLP lesson plans. All in all it took about an hour and a half to do with the list searching. It took only 20-30 minutes to write all the words.

Once the project is completed, you can let the students write the two meanings on the cards with expo markers (extra practice for writing skills). You can also have them just go through the deck and say the meanings aloud.

Why do you call it the project that almost didn't happen?

I don't have a house/condo/independent dwelling as of yet. This means I had zero experience with home reno stores until I saw the idea to use leftover paint chips for therapy. I was terrified that a worker would come up and talk to me as I tried to grab as many paint chips as I could without looking too weird. This resulted in a haul of 10 per two visits. My grandmother brought me about 35 from her hardware store visit. Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out how she pulled it off without getting any questions. I swear she has some sort of magical air about her that makes people look the other way. She can get away with so much stuff that I wouldn't even dare to try (unless I was a kid again).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quick Craft #1

I am trying to tackle a few of my pinterest inspired crafts. This one came from all of those eye sticks that teachers are posting for reading. 

The alphabet stick project is useful in a couple of ways:
    1) Sound-letter correspondence
    2) Simple CVC words (though I don't have any duplicate letters)
    3) Most importantly naming tasks. Tell me all of the things you can think of that start with A, B, C, etc....
    4) Sorting tasks with articulation sounds for sound discrimination.  

All of my materials came from the dollar store with a total cost of $2. I just had to peel and stick the letters to the foam sticks. It took a grand total of 5 minutes to accomplish this project.

P.S. I just watched the documentary below and found it to be fascinating. It's all about perspective no matter what the delay/disorder happens to be.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

“Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” ― Dr. Seuss

Greetings world! Blue W and Strong R are pleased to meet you. 
I love tricks that come to me at the spur of the moment, particularly ones for articulation. I love articulation therapy. It's a challenge that never gets old as kids can do some pretty funky stuff with their sound errors. 

Challenger= /r/ initial placement with two kiddos in the same group.

Normally, I have a peer in the group model the correct production of /r/ for them to start off. We use the mini mighty mouth to talk about how our tongue gets ready for the sound (I have found that putting playdoh on the roof of the mouth helps them understand just how far back their tongue is supposed to be when it touches the roof of their mouth) and the mirror. This has helped, but I am getting sick and tired of the old "talk like a pirate" example when the productions aren't good. So, I came up with the brilliant idea  of telling them that the /r/ sound is heavy. Like really, super-duper, awful heavy...They have to be strong "muscle men" to lift the /r/ with their tongues. It started with me "attempting" to lift the table while I said the /r/ in isolation. I lifted it up just a touch when I said the correct production and struggled when I said a /w/ instead. It surprised them to start with, but the words "muscle" and "strong" quickly invoked some sort of manly competition. 

Make that /r/ strong!!! You can do it!
P.S. "Mouthy" is a .25 cent find from Goodwill that I let the kids share while I use my mouth puppet 
I had them practice their "strong" /r/'s by lifting random things in the room while phonating. Glue bottles and tape dispensers seem to work fairly well. When they are ready to attempt the task without the tactile cue, you can just visually cue them by pretending to lift something heavy or pointing between your designated "strong" and "weak" production symbols. I use the action figures but you can easily use pictures. It has worked like a charm so far.

P.S. I totally told my kids that Santa watches them from the cameras in the hallways today. It seems like every group has been fighting over whether Santa is real or not except for my kindergarten groups. The Santa cameras cured the problem real quick. Yay for being able to focus on speech again! (Though I do feel somewhat bad for

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A blast from grad school past..Language Acquisition charts

I'm looking back at my old graduate school work right now. I was so proud of compiling all of these charts when I first started.  

Preschool Phonology Chart- Syllabic Structure Processes

Preschool Phonology Chart- Phonological Processes

Preschool Phonology Chart- Sound Acquisition Chart

Preschool Morphology- Brown's 14 Morphemes

Preschool Morphology- Brown's Stages

Preschool Morphology- Additional Features

Preschool Semantics Chart- Semantic Roles

Preschool Semantics Chart- Acquisition Strategies

Preschool Pronouns Chart- Strategies for Acquisition

Preschool Syntax Chart- Embedding

Preschool Syntax Chart- Sentence Development

Preschool Pragmatics Chart- Vocabulary Development

Preschool Pragmatics Chart- Conversational Skills

Preschool Pragmatics- Narrative Skills

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What's for lunch?

One of the issues that I struggle with as an SLP (and a less active person in general) is trying to eat healthy. I usually have about 15 minutes to each lunch when all is said and done. This was an epic fail last year as I turned to leftover pizza and calorie laden snack foods.

At the beginning of this school year, I made it my mission to find a healthier alternative so I can re-lose the weight that I have gained from the past three years. (I lost 40lbs back in college so I know it can be done with hard effort and limiting my favorite stress eating foods.)

Here are a few of the things I have tried:

Not a lot of tuna but decent.
Probably my favorite choice
My 2nd favorite

The key to frozen foods for me is to find ones with lower amounts of sodium. My family has a long history of heart disease and I don't want to be another number on the list. Healthy Choice has some of the better selections in that requirement. However, I get sick of eating them all of the time so I try Smart Ones to add a little variety.

I recently started back walking to get more exercise. I'm not the running type and am too embarrassed to drag myself into a gym at this point. It is really hard to get the motivation to do any kind of exercise after work, which has definitely been an unexpected struggle. Ah, life!

Anyone have any suggestions or stories of how they have found a healthy balance?

Monday, December 3, 2012

My thoughts on....the CASL versus the CELF-4

This post is inspired by all of the re-evaluations I have to do this year and the ones I have already gotten done.

At my school, I test the majority of the students with the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals- 4th Edition (CELF-4). It was the test that I used for the majority of graduate school and the only multi-topic one that I have on hand at my school. (I have to borrow everything else from the other SLPs). Needless to say, I have a pretty good relationship now with this test. I really loved this assessment tool when I first started out. It covers syntax, following directions, retell, and pragmatics to hit the high points. My feelings towards the test have dampened a little over time as I've come to realize how much of an emphasis it places on syntax. It is not easy for students from lower socio-economic statuses or English as a Second Language to do well on this assessment. Granted, the test isn't supposed to be easy per say...but it really makes some of the kids frustrated. The students I test are so stressed about every test they take and I feel really bad for them as the tasks get increasing harder. I usually give them "brain breaks" to help ease some of the tension.  

So, I decided to give the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language a try during my most recent re-evaluation.  
I really like the larger variety of subtests that it offers and the flexibility. It is still going to challenge students but I think the variety lessens some of the frustration. My student also seemed more confident than many of the ones who endure the CELF-4. The easy chart that tells you what to do for each age group is a life saver:

3-0 to
5-0 to
7-0 to
11-0 to
13-0 to
18-0 to
Comprehension of Basic ConceptsCS
Sentence CompletionSSSSSS
Idiomatic LanguageSSS
Syntax ConstructionCCCSSS
Paragraph Comprehension of SyntaxSCCS
Grammatical MorphemesSCSS
Sentence Comprehension of SyntaxCSS
Grammaticality JudgmentSSCC
Nonliteral LanguageCCCC
Meaning from ContextSCC
Ambiguous SentencesSSS
Pragmatic JudgmentCCCCCC

The hardest part of this test was figuring out the scoring manual. I got really confused with the layout of the scores and had to re-score it after consulting with the other SLPs in my district. That's definitely my biggest complaint with it.

I'm pretty sure I will be experimenting more with the CASL in the months to come. It's always good to open yourself to new tools.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Another post from the wonderful world of manipulatives

I feel like many of my posts are a reflection of how I am building up my "tool box" so why not just show the world the literal one. 
I absolutely love these 3 drawer containers. It was only $3 at Salvation Army and I have another one for paperwork from Goodwill. I taped construction paper to the  inside to hide the contents from little distracted  eyes. The kids NEVER notice it until I pull out a drawer.

These are the figurines that I use for associations. I try to keep the drawers based on their purpose so I don't have to search for specific things. The middle drawer contains items that are too large to fit into my phonics drawers. The top drawer currently houses Christmas stuff. I'll eventually have to use it for extra phonics pieces too.  

Phonics box from an old shop organizer. It's made of out some kind of really heavy metal so it doesn't tip over easily. 
I do actually have a reason for showing you all of these pictures. The figurines are useful in a TON of ways and I got the idea from a category box that the district purchased for one of the previous therapists. I noticed last year that they loved just holding the little objects and it made those items more concrete. The articulation decks and giant Webber book are great, but most of those items are things that my students cannot connect to on a personal basis. I want them to have something solid to connect words to. I started this project last year and it has really grown over the past 3 months. I buy most of my figurines from the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Party City, Paper Factory, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General. I recently picked up three things from Target too. 

Recently, I discovered a new use for my figurines (outside of articulation, categorization, wh- questions, describing activities, and utterance expansions). I am teaching regular and irregular plurals to a bunch of very unimpressed kids. *insert McKayla Maroney faces here*  I could probably try teaching plurals while hanging upside down from a trapeze without success. The only they enjoyed was writing with expo markers which I learned from my plurals activity. I accidentally left the figurines out on my table this week and they wanted to look at them. Well, they aren't going to get to look at them without doing something so I grabbed an Expo and quickly started a sorting activity. They had to tell me whether the item's plural form was a "quiet" s, "noisy" es, or other. I also had them write out the new word. They were laughing and commenting on how many of the items ended up in the -s column by the end of the session. 

A sample of my most recent purchases from Dollar Tree and Target. 

I love random moments of quick inspiration. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's in your prize box??

The prize box....

The one item in my room that can bring screams of joy or tears of unhappiness (when they watch a group member get to go and it's not their day).

But, but, but....I want to get a prize too!!!
Apparently, the kids aren't the only ones who stress out over the prize box. The subject of the actual prizes has come up in several discussions among the SLPs in my district. What is appropriate? Is candy better than toys? How often should they get prizes? Where should I get the prizes from?

Here is what I do:
  1. Look for discounted items at local party supply stores (namely, the Paper Factory and Party City)
  2. Shop the party section of Dollar Tree so I can get larger packs of items
  3. Shop the party section of Walmart for discounted items
  4. Buy a few hot wheels cars when they are on special at Walmart or Walgreens
  5. Buy still packaged McDonald's toys from Goodwill/Salvation Army for .50 cents
My most recent purchases for my prize box. Playdoh, hot wheels, rings, watch, party packs, and mini purses.
Some stuff that I've held back for a month. I don't like to put everything in there at one so there is always a mix of things.
Here you can see crowns, lockets, a craft kit, frame, and jump rope. 
I am terrified of buying candy for my prize box due to the unknown. There is just too much of a risk of giving a child with allergies the very thing that they aren't supposed to have or they get mad when their friend picks out something they can't eat. I don't want or need that kind of drama in my life. The only candy I will give my students are Smarties as reinforcers for kindergartners. The older kids just get sticker charts.  

My students have to earn twenty stickers to visit the prize box. They have the opportunity to earn two per session (basically 15 minutes of good behavior towards each). This roughly equates to one trip per six weeks with the exception of Christmas when they all get a free trip. They also have the opportunity to earn an extra day via my "Kiss your brain" jar. They have to work together to fill the jar with 400 pom pom balls. Most of the other SLPs in my district have a 5 sticker policy. I guess I'm just stingy but I don't want my students to become so dependent on the prize box. It shouldn't be their sole motivation (neither should the games and that is a battle that I fight constantly as is). 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Winter books that I love

Here is a short list of winter books that I like to use..

  1. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
  2. Dream Snow
  3. The Polar Express
  4. Santa's stuck
  5. If you take a mouse to the movies
  6. The Mitten (and anything else by Jan Brett)
  7. Snowmen at Night (or any of this series)
  8. Snowflake Bentley 
  9. The Snowy Day
  10. The Biggest Best Snowman

I also wanted to share two of my favorite Christmas memories growing up....

It wasn't Christmas until my mom read me this story and I watched my old VHS Rudolph tape.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I love teacher workdays even if I don't get everything done.

I love teacher workdays or any day when there is an assembly (usually I'm the last person to know about them) or field trips (again, last person to know). Why?

I actually manage to get quite a bit of paperwork done and organize my room a bit. I spend roughly an hour and a half getting therapy materials straightened, re-organized, and cleaned on workdays. I use the rest of the day to listen to children's music as I try to get through as much Medicaid billing as possible. When I was doing my school placement, I really didn't get the opportunity to do much of the paperwork beyond writing the daily session notes. The amount of time it takes to bill Medicaid, write the various IEP/evaluation paperwork, update SOAP note forms, update Plans of Care, and review the upcoming due dates is still astounding to me. You could probably have a full time job just doing the paperwork alone as sad as it is to say. If you are still a student, enjoy this time wisely as it will pass all too soon and you will learn the realities of being a "grown-up" CCC-SLP quickly. 

Today, I managed to get the majority of my Medicaid billing done (yay! Only 4 more students to go over Thanksgiving). I also updated all of my SOAP note forms, changed Plans of Care to reflect 3 new IEPs, wrote an evaluation report, doubled checked a DEC 3 (evaluation form for a meeting), and wrote up a new IEP. My manipulatives are happily sorted out again and my closet looks in much better shape. I consider all of this to be easily worth a victory dance considering how badly my room was looking pre-workday and post-ASHA. It really doesn't sound like much in a list, but that is how life goes sometimes in the schools. I'm quite thankful for the rare opportunities I have to catch up on some of this stuff. 

I decided to try another recent EC teacher inspiration and write down all of my upcoming IEP dates on a laminated file folder. I labeled sticky notes with the months and simply wrote down names under the month they are due. It's a great and easy way to get organized if you don't have the tendency to stress out. 
Coming this April/May 2013 courtesy of  16 IEPs.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! My thoughts go out to everyone traveling or unable to spend the holiday with their loved ones. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My convention purchase (and new wishlist items lol)

As someone who enjoys articulation therapy, I have wanted a decent visual of the mouth that no mirror can truly provide for some time now. Brilliant ideas of making one out of felt have crossed my mind multiple times over the past year and a half. I'm afraid the results would probably be a disaster so I decided to wait until I could find something on ebay or on sale. 

Super Duper offered a 20% off discount at ASHA. I'm still a little irked about the 50% sales decreasing to 30% off sales. However, I found a mini version of the Mighty Mouth that was within my $10 and under budget.  (It actually ended up being cheaper than the knock-off versions on eBay.) 

I practiced with it after school hours today just to get used to the different hand positions I'll need to use during sessions. The great thing about this product is that it is small. I can easily transport it in my cart and it fits my hand well. You also receive instructions on how to position your hand in the puppet for different sounds. The positions are a little awkward so I did end up using it more like a model than a puppet towards the end. It really didn't matter much to the students. They found it immensely fascinating and couldn't wait to touch it. In a perfect world, I would probably have the Mega Mighty Mouth version and use this for my inclusion groups. However, this puppet can easily stand alone. Thank you, Super Duper!

Another cool thing I saw at the Convention is a product by Creative Speech Products. It's called Teddy Talker. It basically is a felt board of a bear with different mouth pieces that you can use to show how our mouths look when we make sounds. You can also get mouth position cards and reinforcement rhymes. I loved the concept and think it's perfect for the preschool population. It also aligns with kindergarten Common Core standards according to the website. Again, it was way out of my budget but I enjoyed the demonstration.

P.S. I pretty much drooled over Super Duper's new Ring Bling game. It looks great, but I was terrified that I would run out of money for food in Atlanta. (Did I mention that they charge for everything?) It may just be the jewelry geek in me but I think my students would really love that game. The colors are very vibrant and the tasks that I read are fun things that my frazzled brain can't figure out. Here's to hoping that Super Duper will offer it on special in the near future. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The ASHA experience

Hello everyone!

I'm happily back from my "once in a lifetime experience" (depending on the district's future budgets) in Atlanta. I thought I would take a break from playing with my sulky cats to share some of my thoughts on the event.

We stayed at the Marriott Marquis

Outside though I never really got to see it from this perspective. 
Inside looking down at the lobbies. (Yes, multiple lobbies which was confusing)
General Observations about Atlanta:
1) Almost every street in downtown seemed to have Peachtree in the name.
2) It's very easy to get lost in downtown even with a GPS and directions from the hotel.
3) There are lots of homeless people. Didn't appreciate two of them calling after us with the following "Hey, you think you're Sex in the City...." Ugh. Always walk with a group of people.
4) It's really pretty at night but rather ugly in the day.
5) It's REALLY expensive.

The Convention

I hate to say it, but I was really disappointed on the first day of the convention. The courses that I went to were more like sales pitches than useful information. Products are not the reason why I wanted to go to the convention. I want information that can help me as a practitioner, particularly as a young clinician. I wasn't the only one in the group to feel that way either. I guess next time I know to avoid the classes that aren't packed full of people. The best part of that day was going to the exhibit hall with our contract CF and grabbing lots of freebies. The majority of the things we collected were bags (I will probably never need another bag in my life) and pens. We got a thumball from one booth that I can't wait to use in therapy for adjectives and these stretchy yo-yo things that will be good for the calm down kit.

The strangest thing I saw at the exhibit hall. You can tear along the perforation to give your nose room. It's clearly geared towards the medical crowd but I thought I would share. You can see all sorts of things at the Convention. 
The second day was much better and I did feel like I learned useful information. I particularly enjoyed the course on pediatric voice disorders as that is something that I don't have much knowledge about. It is rare to run across those students in the schools but having more knowledge about strategies makes me a happier person. I also loved the Building Better Readers course with Shari Robertson. It was chalked full of awesome ideas and makes me feel better about loving books so much for all of my groups. I found a link to handouts here that are similar to what she shared at the convention.

We had the opportunity to talk to another North Carolinian at dinner on Friday. It was her 4th convention and she shared some helpful advice. Go to sessions on things you know nothing about to avoid being disappointed. I wish I had known this sooner, but it's definitely advice I plan to use in the future. My biggest piece of advice is to bring plenty of Germ-X and some cold medicine as germs are rampant (and I definitely have a sore throat now). Go to the classes that are full and avoid the ones that aren't like the plague. 

P.S. The boxed lunches at ASHA were kind of weird. I definitely would not have picked that food given a choice. In fact, I would suggest buying something else for lunch as that gives you freedom even though it might take away some of the convenience.    

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Away to ASHA she goes....

I'll be gone for ASHA the rest of the week. Before I leave, I wanted to share some of the recent goodies I picked up at the Dollar Tree....

1) First up, fake cell phones to work on social skills and articulation. I envision my groups using these to "phone a friend" and practice either their sounds or greetings/closures/information gathering. My students enjoy role play and I love the fact that these phones look somewhat realistic versus my Disney princess phone (the boys usually make a fuss when I pull it out lol). They have two types in several different colors (black, purple, and bright pink). My only suggestion is to tape the tie cord in the back rather than pulling it out as the sounds they make are annoying. I learned the hard way with the first one I opened.

2) Pirate figurines. I figured these will be good for pirate social stories for my older students. (You could also do superhero social stories, which I hope to do once I gather up enough of those.) Pirates have to find ways to get along on those long journeys in between raiding ships after all. The fact that they all look angry is a bonus...well, guys Interrupting Issac bothered the Captain while he was busy giving orders for the next raid. Captains are very busy and do not like being interrupted.

3) Bendy puzzle for my calm down box.

4) Disney Princess figurines which will go into the phonics box collection. (I sense that figurines have become my latest "toolbox" obsession. They can be used to describe similarities and differences if the student is familiar with the stories.

5) Magnetic words/letters/numbers. I plan on using these on the school's MagneTalk board.

They also have echo mics in stock if you are on the hunt. I picked up a spare pink one to end the perpetual fighting among the girls.

Walmart has hedbandz on sale for those of you who haven't seen the sales ad yet. I scooped up that along with the fibber game at my local Walmart.

It's a bit more than my preferred price of $2-4 dollars, but I couldn't pass up the chance to buy them new for under $10 a piece. (Plus, my local goodwill has decided to up the price of their games to $5 a piece which means I won't be buying as many.)

Can't seem to get this song out of my head. However, I did have Chicka Chicka Boom Boom stuck on replay last week so I guess my tastes have at least reverted back to adult. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012


The thankful statuses are trending on Facebook once again...I decided I would just post mine to the blog.

1) I'm thankful to have a job when so many other people are struggling to find one and make ends meet in the meantime.
2) I'm thankful to have a job that I enjoy (asides from billing Medicaid).
3) I'm thankful for my college & graduate school education.
4) I'm thankful for my parents who have suffered through the good times & the bad. They have gone above and beyond to make sure I managed to find my footing in this world with a good head on my shoulders.
5) I'm thankful for good friends who bring me out of my work-driven mindset and inspire me with their aspirations.
6) I'm thankful for my cats, particular my best kitty buddy, who take my mind off of work.
7) I'm thankful for my blog. It's nice to be able to record my experiences and track my growth. I also love the fact that I get to interact with other SLPs.
8)  I'm thankful for the veterans and soldiers who have put their lives on the line for this country.
9)  I'm thankful for electricity.
10)  I'm thankful for cookbooks with lots of yummy recipes (though not so thankful for their ability to increase my pant size)
11)  I'm thankful for doctors.
12)  I'm thankful for teachers.
13)  I'm thankful for enabling me to dream about my future house (whenever I actually manage to earn enough money to buy a house)
14)  I'm thankful for books.
15)  I'm thankful for libraries.
16)  I'm thankful for music (with the exception of rap & country music)
17)  I'm thankful for HGTV. You helped me survive graduate school.
18)  I'm thankful for vintage costume jewelry.
19)  I'm thankful for national landmarks & historic sites like the Blue Ridge Parkway and Old Salem
20)  I'm thankful that I live in North Carolina where the beach and mountains are never far away.
21)  I'm thankful for getting the chance to go to the ASHA convention
22)  I'm thankful for thrift stores.
23)  I'm thankful for construction paper and washable markers.
24)  I'm thankful for glasses even though I hate wearing them.
25)  I'm thankful for good and bad experiences alike as both teach important lessons.
26)  I'm thankful for having something to believe in that is greater than me.
27)  I'm thankful for the right to vote no matter the outcome.
28)  I'm thankful for Grey's anatomy.
29)  I'm thankful for fleece p.j.s
30)  I'm thankful for Blistex.

My beautiful alma mater in the heart of Old Salem.

One of my all-time favorite movies that I watch to relieve the stress.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Crazy for cupcakes

For those of you who may not have noticed, I don't really talk much about my facebook page even though one does exist. It's just not high on my priority list unlike most bloggers. I prefer to focus my attention on the blog and my pinterest page. Recently, I reached the 600 follower mark on pinterest and decided that a celebration was in order. What's more perfect than cupcakes that will just so happen to go along with the wonderful "If you give a cat a cupcake" book?

star cupcakes for categories
white cupcakes for multiple meaning words
cherry cupcakes for wh- questions
red cupcakes for /k/ articulation tasks using pictures.

These cards look perfect in my latest Goodwill find....

 It's a cake from Edible Arrangements. I'm not sure what treats were originally stored in the container, but I could not resist the 1.99 price tag. What kid doesn't love cake? (Perfect to hold manipulative objects for all of my friends learning to produce the /k/ sound or categorization.)

I have quite a few students who love animals of all kinds. It is so funny to see their little faces light up when I pull out animal books, puppets, & figurines. Motivation= success.
You can buy a copy of the book at Amazon or look for it at a thrift store like me.

P.S. I just have to share this hilarious site.