Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Goodwill finds of the week....

It's another Reading Foundations week for me. The training is a good review of grad school concepts, but I'm looking forward to being done with reading articles for homework. The 3am puppy wake-up calls have made me into quite the zombie. 

I thought I would share two neat thrift store finds in the meantime. The bear blocks are good for simple sorting tasks. It's designed for preschoolers but it's good for older students who are working on basic concepts too. I can have my students find the bears that only have hats or have on something red. The Goodwill in my hometown usually doesn't have games aimed at younger kids so I was very surprised.   
My second find is another Find It for 1.99 (which is a steal based on the Amazon price). This one is aimed at younger kids with it's collection of alphabet blocks and basic objects. My princess version taught me the importance of looking for "I spy" types of games. Students just love these toys and it's a great way to work on vocabulary. 
I also love to use these games in articulation groups. They help keep my students entertained while they are waiting for their turn. It's not particularly loud and there's no mess to worry about. I know that the wait time between students can be a challenge for SLPs who don't like to use crafts.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

More reflections on Summer Institute

This past week opened my eyes to a world of new possibilities.

The first is figuring out a way to help my district start attracting student interns. The second day of the internship course focused on items that can strengthen districts'/supervisors' relationships with different universities as well as with the students. The thing I really carried away from it was the need to develop our own internship manual. Universities provide them but schools often operate on a somewhat different system. Manuals set up clear expectations for students and their supervisors. I like the idea of taking the guess work out of the equation. The difficulty is just figuring out how to modify the information that universities give out to fit the school's standards. My belief is that this will be a rather time consuming task with an estimate of several months worth of contemplation. 

The second training I attended was Language-Literacy Evaluation and Treatment in a Digital Age. The speaker, Sandie Barrie Blackley, was by far one of the best presenters I have heard so far in my limited professional development career. I was completely blown away by the information we learned about dyslexia. It makes me want to change the way I conduct assessments so that I include more phonological awareness tasks. I guess it will be a challenge for myself in the upcoming school year. Mrs. Blackley emphasized using a systematic multi-sensory approach for intervention (think Orton-Gillingham or Lindamood Bell LiPS). She also has a computer-based program that families can use to practice at home to compliment face-to-face therapy program. It's called Lexercise. The clinician sets up the games based on what the student is learning in therapy to reduce frustration levels. I like that the program is very personalized, but I'm not sure that very many of my students would be able to access a computer-based program.

Overall, I think it was another very good experience. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork....the challenge of keeping data.

I think a common concern of many school-based SLPs is having an efficient data system. We ask each other at conferences, small workshops, district meetings, and online. How do you keep data? Do you like the way you keep data? More importantly, will you please share the forms that you use? That's why I wanted to join up with Crazy Speech World's data linky this week. 

My district started the process of creating uniform data sheets during my CFY. I think that this is really beneficial to the district and to our therapists. We have different writing styles, but we know where to find the things that we need should students switch from school to school. The district has a set form for our service notes, evaluation reports (which we give out in addition to what's on the IEP paperwork for evals. & re-evals.), and plan of cares. 

The form I love the most is our service note. It includes all the information I need to bill Medicaid electronically. I print double-sided sheets out for every student that last for 6 week periods. I like to arrange my notes into two binders. I have a binder for Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday. The binders contain tabs of 30 minute time slots. I stick the service notes into their time slot so it's easy to find the group/student that I need at the drop of a hat. 

My coworkers did an awesome job on the creation of these forms.
Here is a copy of our form with a blank for the name of your district. I've also created a new sheet similar to this one for my inclusion groups. One page has space for 3 students with abbreviated goals. I can print out these sheets and transfer the data to their normal service note after each session. It's a much needed solution after I discovered how hard it was to keep 6 sticky notes from falling off of my clipboard. The copy of that file can be found here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Institute 2013: Day One

It's that time again. I'm doing three days of training at NC's Summer Institute Program for the Exceptional Children's Division. The courses I took last year were awesome and today did not disappoint either. 

The first course I'm taking is a two day trans-disciplinary workshop with OT, PT, SLP, and School Psychologists on supervising graduate students. The information makes me appreciate all of my graduate school supervisors in a new light. As a student clinician I think it's easy to forget that supervisors have to manage both their caseloads, your training, and make time for their own lives as well. You are just mostly concerned with how you are doing and what your supervisor thinks of you. I know I was definitely a student who worried about her performance in the eyes of her supervisors due to my out of field background. It took me well into my CFY to truly feel comfortable using my outside experiences to amp up my therapy sessions.

Today, we mostly discussed the roles of Supervisor and Supervisee. What makes a good SLP supervisor? The answer varies from person to person but here are some key features:
  • Someone who teaches and is willing to be taught. Students are sent to you to learn something, but that doesn't mean that they can't also offer new knowledge to you. It's a mutually beneficial relationship that allows both of you to develop new skills or strengthen weaknesses.
  • Someone who communicates. This means providing frequent feedback and asking students open ended questions that help them reflect. Professors at colleges have open door policies for concerns. Why shouldn't a supervisor offer the same (with guidelines on when to call)? It's important to offer students multiple methods of communication such as emails or little notecards that they can use based on their comfort level with the particular question/concern. 
  •  Someone who is supportive. Students like to feel like you actually have a vested interest in their success. This is difficult given our hectic schedules in the schools. It's way too easy for students to fall under the impression that you don't want them there because you pay more attention to completing paperwork. It's nice to know that your supervisor wants you to do well. It could mean encouraging the student to look for resources on a certain topic or asking them to write down that awesome idea they just used in therapy. 
P.S. I don't have any students coming my way in the near future. I want several more years of experience (and training) under my belt. It's just an aspect of the field that I find intriguing after seeing so many Livejournal posts concerned with horrible supervisors. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Love it & List It: July

Disclaimer:  Amazon affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience.

Hi everyone!  I'm linking up with Jenna's Love it & List it over at Speech Room News.

The link up is going to be a regular monthly feature.  This month, Jenna is asking us to share our favorite games with you.  Here are some of my favorites (because I have tons) in no particular order:

1. Cat in the Hat, I can do that! - This game is good for pre-K and kindergarten groups. It targets following directions in up to 3 steps. I also use it to teach turn taking. 
2. Monopoly Junior- My students love anything to do with money so I use this as motivation during reviews. 
3. Tumblin' Monkeys- It's another motivator. 
4. Highlights Hidden Pictures Game- It's a good way to work on vocabulary and language. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New baby

As facebook fans already know, I'm taking a little bit of time off on materials to spend time bonding with our new family puppy. 
(I've only managed to get pictures of her sleeping so far but this is one of the pictures that made me fall in love.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Crazy bones

I'm always amazed at how much I can learn about kids toys & games through thrift shopping. I found this little tin over the weekend. I had never heard of crazy bones but thought I would take a chance on the odd little figures. 
 The rules are fairly simple. You get points based on the way that the figures land.
How to Play
In my mind, I see these little guys as a great way to increase interest in drilling tasks. I plan on using the same scoring system to determine how many times my students have to attempt a target. They will totally think that they are getting out of doing all that work when really I'll just be adding in extra cards to the drill (hehe..I love being sneaky) for the ones that they get to skip.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I get by with a little help from my friends.....slp networking

I'm on pins and needles waiting to get the phone call saying my new glasses are finally in. It feels like I ordered them ages ago even though it's really only been a week. This is definitely one of those times when I realize that I devote 95% of my patience into work. My concentration for crafting and creating has disappeared in the excitement of getting something new for myself. 

The good thing is that I have a new place to burn off some of my excessive energy. One of my fellow bloggers, Jess at Figuratively Speeching SLP, started a new facebook group for school-based SLPs. (You can find the link on my facebook page.) I am beyond thrilled at the opportunity to interact with so many SLPs from across the United States. This little melting-pot of all things school-related even includes SLPs from other countries as well. 

Why devote a post to the facebook group? I feel like blogging about my ideas and experiences is almost like a journal. I am putting a tiny piece of my life on display in the hopes that it will connect with someone else. There's no reason for us to have to continually "re-invent the wheel" so to speak with good therapy activities. I may have an idea on here that helps someone else and makes life just a little bit easier. That's also why I read so many other SLP blogs. We all think differently and have our strong suites. I'm usually the person sitting in front of her computer going, "That's so simple. Why didn't I think of doing that?" The facebook group offers a chance to take this to another level by adding many more perspectives to the mix. It also speeds up the process too. 

                          I'm reliving my years as a 4-5 year old with the New Kids on The Block.

Monday, July 8, 2013

One day down, four to go.

My first day of Reading Foundations training is over. I'm exhausted, but I think it will be a great review of concepts from graduate school. It's amazing what you can forget in two years from lack of constant use (*cough6syllabletypescough*). I'll write a post about the experience once the training is complete in August. 

The nice part about going to district training sessions over the summer is seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones. 
The pencils and notebooks in my latest little review project just scream back to school. Here's a copy of Back to School Shopping for Positions for you.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Colorful Semantics cubes

So far bad luck this summer has a score of 3 to 0. This latest event does not involve any deaths thank goodness.  I just really want something good to happen. Maybe Super Duper will put all of their Chipper Chat products on sale this summer...that would definitely make a slight improvement in the good news category. My fingers are crossed for the Wh- set to go on sale sometime in the near future. The majority of my students could benefit from that one.
I consider these two to be my major splurge purchases of the summer. They were on clearance two weeks ago and will definitely be put to good use this coming school year. I plain to pair the vocabulary one with my EET lessons and the syntax game will help reinforce Colorful Semantics. I also made a quick little activity to help review Colorful Semantics with my older students using the same cube pattern. It includes colored blocks for whole concept review and white blocks for specific parts of speech targets. They can roll the block to come up with sentences.
Here's a copy for you

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Rainy days....

I'm looking forward to getting a phone call next week....this SLP gets a brand new pair of glasses. I am looking forward to having a set with anti-glare protection after several months of struggling to deal with sensitivity to computer screen glare. The only bad part was the machine that puffs air into your eyes. I was totally not expecting that and jumped about 5 feet out of the chair. Oops....

In the meantime, I am doing my best to prepare for the fall in slow spades. The EET was a big success for several of my students last year. I hope to find more ways to incorporate it into therapy sessions. Here's a very simple creation that I plan to use. It's missing the orange dot because there's really no place to put it. However, it shouldn't be too much of a big deal since that's something I usually try to ask them anyways.

You can grab your copy here.