Monday, January 26, 2015

Adventures in language sampling

Language samples. It must be THAT time of the year again! Yes, folks, I have just started wading in the waters of evaluation season.

We all know that standardized assessments are only one piece of the puzzle. Information has to be gathered in other ways through interviews with parents, teacher rating scales, work samples, academic grades, etc......Even at the school-aged level, one of the best informal measures of a student's language and articulation skills is a language sample. I thought I would share some free resources that I use for language samples today.

1. Language Sample Record Sheet for 100 Utterances. 
2. Language Sample Checklist Part 1 (This targets preschool, but I use it for lower elementary too)
3. Language Sample Checklist Part 2
4. Language Sample Checklist for 20 Utterances
5. Free Language Sample Prompts  (Prompts for students who don't need pictures)
6. No-Words Freebie: Build A Snowman. (You can also use wordless picture books from the library.)
7. Free Internet Coloring Pages - just make sure you get one that contains a scene. I decided to print out some options from Frozen, but you could also use popular cartoon shows.

I have to say that using the Frozen pictures for language sampling has made my life so much easier.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Getting ready for Valentine's Day

My students really loved the Ho, Ho, Ho and a Lump of Coal game that I found on Pinterest. My smooth skating game for winter words has also gone over better than I expected. (Frankly, I am still surprised by how much they love this simple card game.) So, I am back with another version of this vocabulary card game for Valentine's Day.  

Hearts! is played in the same way as the other two games. Students have to describe the vocabulary word written on the heart in order to keep the card. You might also want them to make a sentence using the word for additional practice. If they get a Cupid card, they must return all of their cards to the pile. The fairy card means that they get an extra turn.

You can grab your copy of the Hearts! game here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Dream Craft

We are getting a *slightly* early start on Martin Luther King, Jr. activities this week in my groups since there is a teacher workday next week. I am kicking my little mini-celebration off with a new craft activity that can be adapted for skill/grade level. 

To start off this lesson, I talk to my students about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his famous "I Have a Dream" speech with a little bit of help from BrainPopJr. The majority of my students really enjoy watching these small videos and the little quiz. The only time I have ever had one complain is when I left the lights on instead of turning them off like their teachers. 

 For the "My dream" craft, I asked them to think of something they would like to do that could help other people. I gave my younger students one medium-sized cloud to draw a picture of their dream. Then we used the larger "I dream that...." cloud to write about the picture. My older students got two clouds, like in my example above, so we could draw a cause and effect dream.

 I gave them the example of how I wanted to be a singer when I was younger. I always thought that if I became famous, I would buy thousands of copies of favorite books to share with other children. We then made predictions about what might happen if each other's dream were to come true. Once all of my groups get finished with their final touches, I will be sharing the pictures with other groups to practice making more predictions and even some inferencing.

My one tip for the craft is to have your female students add some extra hair to the picture of the sleeping child. I could only find an image of a little boy so we just used our colored pencils to solve that problem.

You can grab a copy of the "My Dream" craft here

Monday, January 5, 2015

DIY Board Game

Have you ever looked at the bulletin board displays that some teachers/SLPs make and wish that you had enough talent to make one? I certainly feel that way every time I see one of the giant board game ones. Unfortunately, I don't have a) access to a bulletin board b) the time to tackle such a complicated project and c) the guts to take on a such a publicly displayed craft project. 

I do; however, have the time and energy to create smaller game board endeavors. The best part is that this one is extremely simple and students go crazy for it. 

- A picture for the center. I used Teddy Talker (from the handy Teach Together Toolkit) because he is such an important part of my sessions with the younger grade levels. You might want a picture of a soccer player or robots. It doesn't really matter as long as it is something that excites your students.
- Sticky-notes in a fun shape. I won a pack of star-shaped sticky notes from a weekly contest at work (we hand out little reward slips to students who are showing good behavior in the common areas). 
- Poster board.
- Game pawns and dice. I borrow mine from other games that I usually have on hand for my older groups. 

As you can see, I don't really have a designated "finish" line on this board. I use it for articulation/phonology groups and wanted it to be more about how many times they could go around the board. You can certainly have a clearly defined "start" and "finish" if that better suites your needs. 

All in all, it took me about 10-15 minutes to make this board. It's not pinterest-perfect, but it is certainly a well-loved addition to my room. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Scrambled Sentence Fun

Right now, most of my time in the evenings has been consumed with figuring out teacher friendly materials for students in the Response to Intervention Process. It is the challenge that always keeps on giving! I've learned to be mindful of the fact that each teacher has their style that must be considered in addition to the student's specific needs. It just takes time and practice to uncover what works. However, all of them want you to pick out activities that will only take a few minutes each day.

I managed to get two parts of my latest "monster" project for grammar concerns completed over the holiday break.

As you can tell, this is one giant packet of scrambled sentence cards with a seasonal theme. I've tried to highlight most major holidays and include several sentences for each month. My idea is that the student is given just a few (3-4) sentences each day that they practice.

It always amazes me to see how much or little my students pay attention to things like punctuation and capitalization.