Live Speak Love, LLC

Lisa M. Geary, MS CCC-SLP lisa@livespeaklove.com

Reflection & Review January 7, 2013

slp

Welcome to my Year in Review Post! 2012 was an exciting year for me…the creation, evolution and launch of LiveSpeakLove, new writing opportunities, new friends and fellow SLPs from around the world, and a new job at Towson University! I can hardly believe the whirlwind year I have had, full of opportunity and blessings. Last week I received a 2012 Year in Review email from WordPress, and I read the email in pure amazement that I am privileged to have found such a labor of love that people enjoy. I though I would share a few website stats and highlights as part of this reflection post:

Visitors:  According to WordPress, about 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 170,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 3 years for that many people to see it. My website had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Top Posts: Here are the Top 5 Posts for LiveSpeakLove in 2012 – wow, each of these posts had 8-10 THOUSAND hits!:

  1.  Visual Supports for Behavior, February 2012
  2.  Top Five Ways to Encourage Spontaneous Language , April 2012
  3. Question-able Material , February 2012
  4. Not-So-Super!, March 2012

Global Reach:  LiveSpeakLove was accessed in over 154 countries in 2012! United States of America and Canada were the top two countries, followed closely by Australia, United Kingdom, Phillipines and New Zealand. Hello and THANK YOU to all my supporters around the world!

Referrals:   It may come as no surprise that the Top Two Referring Sites were Pinterest and Facebook! Pinterest has evolved into a goldmine of resources for creative SLPs who know the value in sharing a good thing.  Many of my referrals came from other SLPs who searched my LiveSpeakLove Pinterest Board and other boards like the shared SLP Blog Post Board for ideas. Big thanks to all who repinned my posts or shared my materials on Facebook!

Features:  I am beyond thrilled to have been featured on some amazing websites this past year. I actually lost track of all of you who mentioned LiveSpeakLove on your own blogs and websites. If I’ve missed you, feel free to post a comment with the link and I will add you to my blogroll. The features below are from websites (the ones I know about) where I was featured as an award winner or special contributor.

  1.  ASHASphere - the official blog of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. On their site, I was featured in the following articles: The Best Speech-Language Blogs A-Z, Better Hearing and Speech Month Roundup, and Making the Most of Summer Fun: Language-based Activities for Children and Their Families. Thanks, ASHA!
  2. PediaStaff - A National Pediatric Therapy Company who runs one of the TOP resources sites for SLPs and other service providers. Heidi Kay, social media extraordinaire contacted me early in 2012 and featured me on their site several times: SLP Corner: Earth Day Activities by Lisa Geary of LiveSpeakLove, Pinterest Pin of the Week: Encouraging Spontaneous Communication from Lisa Geary of LiveSpeakLove, and The SLP Professor’s Corner:  Project Showcase – /fæbjuləs fənɛtɪks/. Heidi has already asked me to write more articles in 2013 to be featured in PediaStaff’s new “SLP Professor’s Corner,” inspired by the post I wrote about my students’ phonetics projects. Of course, Heidi!
  3. Future Speech-Language Pathologists - a fabulous site created and owned by Jourdan Saunders, MS, CCC-SLP. Her site is filled with information and resources for aspiring (or current!) SLPs. Jourdan featured LiveSpeakLove on her site: LiveSpeakLove – A Wealth of Resources Just For You
  4. OnlineSpeechPathologyPrograms.net - this site is an all-in-one resource with information about the SLP Profession, Apps, and more. I am very proud to have been named on of the Best 100 Web Sites for Speech Pathologists! Check out the Teaching Tips Section of this Top 100 article. Thank you!
  5. Presence Learning - a site dedicated to telepractice and current therapy trends. LiveSpeakLove was featured in their 12 Days of Christmas Series.

What an amazing year! I am beyond thrilled to be working at Towson University, educating the next generation of SLPs — and sharing a little bit of my SLP life here. Thank you to all who have supported this site from its genesis, and offered encouragement and kudos to me throughout 2012. I look forward to another great year in the months ahead. To give you a glimpse at just how blessed and happy I am right now with my work, I will share with you this reflective Teaching Statement I submitted recently as part of my first year faculty review:

Walking into a classroom filled with thirty-eight young adults this past August was not easy. I knew that each student was anxious to meet me, to hear what I had to say and to quickly assess their upcoming semester. New to Towson University and to the position of Clinical Assistant Professor, I remember feeling a bit intimidated as I looked around the room. I also remember silently acknowledging that the crowded classroom was exactly where I wanted to be. I knew this fact before I entered the room, but I savored the thought as I introduced myself to everyone…exactly where I wanted to be. Somehow, I had earned the perfect opportunity to use my personal strengths and talents to do something that I truly enjoyed…help people learn. In that moment, I realized that my core beliefs about teaching would shape the success of those thirty-eight students who sat in front of me.

 As a speech-language pathologist, I have learned that good teaching should inspire students in meaningful ways. This semester, I wanted to inspire my students to learn course material and to have fun while they learned. But I also wanted to inspire each student to become a life-long learner, and to feel excited about the idea of becoming a speech-language pathologist. I wanted students to know why they were learning something, and to understand its value. Each class this semester, I worked to make sure that students could connect with what they were learning, and know that what they were learning was important. I incorporated stories from various clinical experiences to help them understand the application of their learning. I believe that I was, in fact, very successful in this endeavor. Many students thanked me in person and through email for a wonderful semester, admitting that I had helped to solidify their commitment to the profession.

 I also know that good teaching should engage students in their learning. Engaging thirty-eight students in a classroom at one time is not an easy task. I did learn some new techniques through suggestions following a Peer Evaluation, and through my own experimentation. I worked hard to incorporate Universal Design for Learning Standards, offering multiple means of presentation and responses throughout my assignments and instruction. I used Prezi presentation software in addition to the standard PowerPoint lecture format. I also incorporated videos, group break-out sessions and hands-on activities as much as possible. In addition, I realized that I needed to quickly learn everyone’s names (again, no easy feat in a class of thirty-eight students, especially in back-to-back sections.) Learning names helped me to include more students in class discussions, and to validate their responses and participation in a personal way. Connecting with students in personal ways also allowed me to better assess their personalities and learning styles.  I noted that in the future, I would like to get to know students individually much sooner in the semester.

Finally, I know that good teaching should include intentional excellence. To effectively engage and inspire students in intentionally excellent ways, one must be prepared and organized. Organization is not exactly my strength, but I did work hard this semester to walk into each class with a specific plan and a designated purpose. I spent long hours and many late nights making sure each activity, assignment or video clip aligned well with my learning objectives, and that the selected tools would inspire and engage students. I wanted each and every class meeting to specifically increase the knowledge and expertise of all the students in my classroom. I periodically sought feedback from students regarding quizzes, assignments and assessments, reflecting on whether each course component was useful and relevant. I also collected feedback to assess whether I was meeting the learning needs of individual students. I did recognize changes that should be made in future classes, and I recorded those suggestions in a personal teaching log. 

I feel fortunate to have had this opportunity to educate young adults in ways that reflect my core beliefs. I want to continue learning new ways to inspire and engage learners, while effectively preparing them for graduate school and future careers. I know that I have come a long way since I walked into that university classroom five months ago, with thirty-eight young adults eagerly waiting for me to teach. Reflecting on that first day and on the rest of the semester, I feel very successful despite some mistakes.  I feel encouraged by what I have learned, grateful for the experiences I have had, and still confident in knowing that I am exactly where I want to be.

Thanks to all, and have a Happy 2013!

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Revist: Encouraging Spontaneous Communication October 25, 2012

As I’ve been working with graduate students and guiding them to incorporate strategies to increase their client’s spontaneous communication during therapy sessions, I’ve been covering some of the basics like:

  1. Ask open-ended questions, avoiding questions that can be answered with a simple yes/no or other one word answer
  2. Provide choices as much as possible, encouraging statements of preference
  3. Try not to anticipate the needs of a child – allow them time to formulate their wants and ideas into their own verbal attempts
  4. Set up the environment purposefully with preferred items out of reach
  5. Use visual supports to increase communication independence
  6. Provide modeling and expansion of a produced utterance– reinforce verbalizations and show them how to take it one step further

Beyond these basics, there are a few strategies I have blogged about in the past that people seem to particularly appreciate. My post on Communication Temptations is a steady favorite, along with my handouts for encouraging speech and language skills in the classroom and home settings. One particular blog post has been making the rounds again on Pinterest and Facebook — my Top Five Ways to Encourage Spontaneous Language. I do like this post quite a bit, not just because I still stand behind the content but also because it pretty much captures who I am.  Reading the post gives you a glimpse at my therapy style (and my general personality, I believe,) and highlights what I feel is a real desire to connect with children in the moment. The techniques I recommend in the post are not necessarily natural for many people, especially new therapists, but I am encouraging the graduate student clinicians I supervise to give these five tricks (and many others) a try as they discover their own therapy styles.

Interested in my Top 5 Ideas? Here is the link to my original post:

 

Creating Multi-media Videos Using Pinterest Images April 14, 2012

I wanted to share a successful activity that I used with a group of students. We have been working on the  formulation of sentences using correct verb forms. I posted previously about how to quickly extract Pinterest images  from PediaStaff Pinboards to create activities for my interactive smartboard. We have all enjoyed the use of technology in our sessions, and students especially the sound files that are played as they interact with the images. Here is a snapshot of the activity I previously posted:

I have also posted previously about using Animoto to create multi-media videos using images I select.  Students have really seemed to love the videos I have used so far. I decided to have a group of students help me create a video as part of their speech-language therapy, using images I extracted from the PediaStaff Action Verb Photo Library on Pinterest. To start, we reviewed the folder of images I extracted from the photo library, stored on the computer. Students took turns choosing which pictures they wanted to include in the video, and produced a sentence with their targeted verb form (e.g., “The lion is roaring.” or “The boy was crying because he was tired.”) As they took turns, I copied their selected images into a newly created folder to use for our Animoto video. After all the images were selected, we easily and quickly made our Animoto video. To make the video, we uploaded an mp3 file I bought for 99 cents from Amazon, and then we uploaded the images students just selected. We added a couple of text slides (as we reviewed the concept of Action Words, and the different verb forms each student was currently working on as their objective.) Ta-da!! Our video was created. After a couple of minutes to discuss each student’s progress, our video was ready to view. Students were amazed that the work they just completed was instantly transformed into their very own music video! This activity reinforced their work in such a dynamic, rewarding way. Students were excited, beaming and abuzz with chatter about how they had just made their own video — definitely a success!! I plan on using this technology tool again very soon. For your viewing pleasure, here is the video that my students created:

Interested in trying Animoto for yourself? Click here: Animoto

 

Extracting Images from Pinterest Websites March 16, 2012

I’ve been racking my brain all week, trying to think of a way to use the idea Jenna posted this week on her blog, Speech Room News. She is using the app Tapikeo to quickly download images and pair them with voice audio, creating a fun, multi-media activity for students.  

Without an iPad, I do not have a way to use the Tapikeo app, a wonderful program that makes saving pictures into a program and adding audio a breeze. I did contact the app’s creator, Jean-Eudes Lepelletier, a busy dad of two who designs apps for iTunes in his free time. He very kindly responded with partially good news. While Tapikeo is not currently available on Android devices, his newest upgrade will include an export feature that allows photo grids to be shared with others via HTML. I am hoping that those creative SLPs with iPads out there will be sharing their photo grids very soon!

In the meantime, I did discover a relatively easy way to quickly download PediaStaff’s images and import them into an interactive smartboard program with audio. The process is actually fast and simple, but it does involve a few steps:

  • Install Nitro PDF (this FREE downloadable program easily converts any file or selection to a PDF file, even from the web. Just choose “Nitro PDF” as your printer when you go to print. By the way, this program is a wonderful tool to convert those Boardmaker files to PDFs for easy sharing.)
  • Next, go to PediaStaff on Pinterest and scroll down to your Photo Library of choice — they now have many different photo boards, filled with theme-specific images to target a variety of skills.
  • Once you are in the photo library, simply PRINT the webpage (Don’t forget to change your printer to Nitro PDF!)

 

  • NOW comes the fun part! After you have a Pediastaff photo library converted to a PDF, you then just need to select “Extract Images.”

Clicking this powerful, little EXTRACT IMAGES  button will instantaneously save each image to your computer!! No need to” right click and save as” on every image on the Pinterest board…just extract and you have each file saved separately in the same folder as your original PDF.

Here is a snapshot of my end result:

Once the images are saved (instantly!) to your computer, you can then create a fun, interactive activity with audio using PowerPoint or an interactive smartboard program (I use ActivInspire, which does not require a smartboard — use this program right on your computer with a mouse!) Below is a snapshot of the activity I created using action verb pictures  paired with audio (as Jenna did in her initial example.) Students circled, highlighted and wrote text on this flipchart page, and when they clicked an image the audio was activated. I embedded audio using simple, present progressive verb sentences (e.g, “The boy is yawning.”) as well as past tense verbs (e.g., “Yesterday the boy screamed.”) We also practiced higher level skills with each trial…these images are perfect for incorporating “I wonder” statements like, “I wonder why the boy screamed?”  to elicit inferences. I love using “I wonder…”  sentences to promote those critical thinking skills along with the lower-level objectives.

So, even though the Tapikeo program is not an option for me right now, I can still very quickly and easily create activities by instantly downloading libraries of images through a PDF conversion and extraction. Perhaps this is an example of collaboration at its finest…Pediastaff, Tapikeo, Speech Room News and LiveSpeakLove all working together to create ideas for wonderful speech-language activities! I’m thankful for the inspiration…hopefully you will feel the same.

Thanks for visiting LiveSpeakLove!

~Lisa

 

 
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