Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sequencing Anyone?

Tonight, I thought I would talk a little bit about a product I purchased at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year.

Photo from Ebay
This large 4-step sequencing kit by Lauri Toys has been a great addition to my speech room. I use it with my younger students (kindergarten and first grade) who have sequencing goals, but I have also used it to for sentence/"story" formulation with an older autistic student. 

1. The first few cards provide two pictures and the students have to find the two missing pictures. This is a great way to introduce the kit.
2. All of the missing pictures are made of a soft foam material which makes them harder to lose than a little cardboard/laminated piece. They are also more fun to play with than sequencing cards, which I also use.
3. The majority of the pictures are fairly obvious so the kids do feel successful (sometimes my kindergartners will fly through the activity and mess up--great opportunity for cuing and talking about taking our time when we work.)
4. Fun illustrations that won't overstimulate visually sensitive students. 
5. It's also a way to talk about vocabulary items for younger students (seasons, activities, clothing items...)
6. Price-- It's $22.51 on Amazon

                                                       Photo from  PatchToys

1. The pieces get mixed up very easily in the drawer. I finally gave up and used rubber bands to keep each set together so I wouldn't waste therapy time searching for the pieces I wanted. 
2. The foam pieces smell kinda funny at first so I left the drawer open everyday at the end of work for a week to air them out. 

As far as using this item for sentence formulation, I had my student look at each tile and develop a basic sentence..."The boy wants a cookie." "The cookie jar is on the refrigerator." "The cookie jar is up too high for him to reach." "The boy knocks the cookie jar down!" "The cookie jar fell on the floor." "Now, the cookie jar is broken." What should the boy do next? "The boy cleans up the floor." 

Monday, June 25, 2012

She's the eraser queen

This is going to be a short post. I'm rather worn out and not feeling too great. 

I've mentioned in a previous post that I am trying to gather up enough toys to make a phonics box. The key ingredient has come in a rather unexpected but welcome form.........erasers. 

I got food erasers from Dollar General. 4 for $1
I got these truck erasers from Walmart. 4 for $1
As well as zoo animal erasers like these from Walmart. 4 for .50 cents (Love clearance sales!)

Things I love about these erasers:
1. They are realistic
2. They are small and will easily fit into the tiny drawers of the metal shelving unit I bought at Goodwill (for $5--re-purposing an old toolkit.)
3. They come in a package so I get more than one item (vs. buying nick-nacks at yard sales & thrift stores as I can find them).

The erasers are designed to come apart. This helps keep the kids from breaking them, but it also means that the pieces will be easy to loose. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I took the road less traveled by.....

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(Frost, R. "The Road Not Taken.")

Today, I thought I would share a little bit about my experience of entering into the SLP profession. It's important for students and individuals looking for a different career to understand that there is no single path to anything in life. Sure, it's great to get an undergraduate degree in the field and enter into it without ever having any doubts. It's not; however, a realistic way of thinking as there are many people who have no clue what they want to do in college. People also change their minds after experiencing the workforce and realizing that they job they thought they loved might not be so great after all.

Also, be forewarned that this is the short version of the story and is in bullet format.

Before starting my undergraduate career, I dreamed of being a librarian working in a quiet little public library in the middle of nowhere.

Undergraduate College

-I went to a small liberal arts college for women. It was definitely the road less traveled, but it was also one of the best experiences in my life.
----Double-majored in English and History

-Family member was in a major car accident my sophomore year. One of the repercussions of the accident (or of pulling the intubation tube out multiple times) was a voice disorder. We were told that it would take an operation to correct. However, it was put off to focus on recovering from other major emergency surgeries (knee, hip...etc) and did speech therapy instead. Voice came back through therapy alone. Sparked my interest (which was at that point torn between physical therapy, library, teacher......basically I had NO CLUE what I wanted to do.)
-Junior year: My school requires at least 1 internship-- contacted local hospital to see if I could shadow an SLP for a month. They agreed to let me observe and I was hooked.
-Senior year: honors independent study (history of medicine) with a shadowing component. Observed SLP in school setting. Again, loved the experience and the setting.

Application Process (Please note that this gets harder every year as more people learn about the field).
- I decided to apply without a background in SLP and no pre-reqs (there are plenty of places that offer them though.)
-Took GRE in August before starting senior year (reduced amount of stress)
-I researched programs that were more accepting of "out of fielders" and decided to try to stay in my home state.
-Asked for letters of recommendation from English & History professor as well as one of the SLPs I shadowed. Sent them a copy of my letter of intent.
-Completed and submitted applications to 3 schools. One with a well-developed program for "out of fielders" and two without.
-Got accepted 2/3 programs with a high GPA (3.7, lower GRE scores,
-Decided to go to school with the set program for "out of fielders"

In my time as graduate student, I never felt like my undergraduate background hurt my ability to understand the field. I was already trained to be a versatile writer, critical thinker, and leader. It didn't make learning anatomy easier, but you can't ask for everything.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

SORRY! Articulation style

Yesterday, I picked up the SORRY! Sliders game at the Salvation Army Store for $3. I've been in the mental process of figuring out ways to use this game.

If you aren't familiar with the game, the idea is to slide these larger game pieces w/metal balls inside down the board to earn points. You use the little game pieces to keep track of your score on a coordinating score card.

I am thinking of trying to get my students to "slide" across different articulation cards. I can just have them say the word or turn multiple words into silly phrases. 
This would also work well for vocabulary words and having my students come up with a simple sentence/similar object/opposite word/etc....

What would you do?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Levels of Cueing

I mentioned a post about levels of cueing....well, here it is!

This document was created by one of my graduate school supervisors. I had a paper copy that I hung up beside my desk this year, but this digital copy will be a great addition to my flash drive of therapy materials.

This is the first time I've used googledocs so I hope the link will work like it should. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Follow the directions

Yesterday, I posted about finding association cards. I thought I would show you a computerized sample of the cards I made using stickers at the beginning of the year. (I don't have a digital camera or I would take pictures of the actual cards)

What I do with these cards are two fold:

1. Follow directions. 
Examples: Point to the first and last star. Point to all of the pink stars. Point to all of the stars except the pink one. Don't point to the circle unless I point to the pink star. 

2. Associations.
Point to the one that doesn't belong.
Point to the two that match. 

I also use these strips sometimes for positional words. I will give them a foam block and ask them to put the block on, under, and above a certain sticker. 

I used zoo, school, bugs, and shape stickers to make my cards. There are so many kinds of stickers out there that it can be hard to choose. I recommend picking familiar objects or things that they will see in the curriculum. 

I'm working on creating a document for the levels of cuing. I hope to post it sometime this week. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thrift Stores with a Purpose

Today, I talked my mom into going to a thrift store that we rarely visit. It's a church based store that supports our local food pantry as well as a medical assistance program (for people who can't afford their prescription medications).  I don't like going to this particular thrift store because their prices are normally through the roof. (5 bucks for used clothing??? Don't even get me started on pottery & things they think are antiques...) I mostly go to see if they have vintage flower pins, which is something that I enjoy collecting.

                                                             (I love the cheerful colors.)

Anyways, I hit the mega jackpot on games today folks!

1. Vintage Taskmaster sentence creation kit. ($2) It's the exact thing I used during my prison placement to help with sentence formulation. It should work well for my older kids who are struggling with parts of speech.  is the only thing I could find that sounds similar.

2. DLM Teaching Resources Moving Up in Grammar with Adjectives & Adverbs. ($2) I can't find this item online anywhere. Suffice it to say that this kit is focused on adjectives & adverbs. What are they and how do we use them in sentences? Again, this is a great resources for students struggling with grammar.

3. Mr. Potato Head w/one complete "outfit" ($1). He makes #3, which means no more fighting over who gets to play with the potato head first.

4. Cranium Cariboo ($2). It's missing the key and three of the balls, but I've read that it's easy to find replacements. If you follow Speech Room News, you've seen that this is a great game to adapt for articulation (read post here: as there's no way I could write a post near as good and I love love love this blog).

5. Wheels on the Bus! Game ($2). It's missing a few game pieces, but they are easy enough to make & laminate. I think this will be a great game for my younger students. We can read/sing the song and then play the game for sequencing. It's not a particularly hard game to win with just four pieces so it's not going to take up a ton of Tx time.

6. DLM association cards ($1). Which one doesn't belong? This is also a great tool for following directions. I have made something similar using stickers on strips of construction paper and use it ALL the time in therapy.

I also snagged some cute books for .50 cents (a miracle considering they like to charge $3 usually).

In summary, I hope that today's post will show you that persistence can pay off even with stores that usually disappoint.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Garden of Your Mind

I just had to share this video. I love it! I'll probably play it on the first day of therapy for all of my groups next year.

In other news, I found an Eric Carle game today at a yard sale for .50 . The reviews of the game itself are rather horrible (didn't know this until afterwords) due to vague directions. However, I'm planning to use it more in line with story sequence (have the kids point to which food came first or pick out the card that matches the page in the book) rather than confuse my younger students. The cards are a good size for little hands and the illustrations are stunning. It's for the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

There's a Moose in the House!! Oh no!

Today, wasn't a great day in the world of thrift store shopping. Sure, I found two brand new ties for my father. (He's constantly ruining ties by spilling food or ink on them.) I didn't have much luck in the way of therapy materials though. It happens...a lot. There can be weeks where there seems to be nothing in sight. It's very frustrating for me as I know my kids enjoy new toys. (However, they always return to old favorites.)

I did manage to find one game today: There's a Moose in the House for .99. I won't get to use this game until next year, but I like that the kids can learn around the house vocabulary with this activity. It also looks like it will encourage cooperation and being a good winner/loser. (Maybe we can try using prepositions with this game too?)

In the meantime, here are some old favorites of my students:

Piranha Panic Game 

This game is great for cooperation, following directions (move up two in a straight line or move to the spot beside the green fish), and can be used as a reward for articulation drills. My kids constantly ask for this game and they LOVE pulling the lever. (great vocabulary word btw) I bought this game for $1 at a charity thrift store. 

Tomy Pop-Up Pirate Game

Always a favorite in my room. It's great for drills, a reward for language activities...etc. 

Green Eggs and Ham Speedy Diner Game

This one is great for following directions. The kids go wild trying to "quickly" feed the animals without realizing that they are learning at the same time.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Door Hanger Paradise

I'm hoping to use the concept of culture for a year-long theme next year. I want to introduce my students to a different country/culture each month. I haven't figured out all the places I want to work on just yet.

September- USA: build on their vocabulary (city, state, country)
November-Native American
January- Chinese
March- Ireland/UK
May-Mexico (most of my students are ESL) or another South American country
June-Wrap ups

In the meantime, I went to one of my favorite hot spots-- The Mighty Dollar-- and found the perfect craft for an Asian theme. It's a panda door hanger from the Oriental Trading Company. It was a steal at $1 for 10-12 (hard to tell because of the packaging) This will be excellent for following directions and sequencing steps. I couldn't find the exact project on their website, but the link will take you to their door hanger crafts.

What are some crafts you like to do?