Articulation, Free Downloads, Language, Resources, Technology

President’s Day in the Speech Room

Well, Valentine’s Day was a hit in the speech room; now it’s time to move to the next theme-based holiday, President’s Day! (Does anyone else think the year is just flying??) Each year, I am surprised to hear how little my students know about the Presidents. Today I asked a group of students, “What does the President do?” Aside from saying generic statements like, “He’s the boss” or “He is in charge of things,” the students had great difficulty telling me more specifically what the President does, or even who he is ” bossing around.”  As I prompted them with WH questions to elicit more details, the students responded with comments like, “He is in charge of Maryland” and “He is the boss of the whole world.” Granted, these students are language-delayed and have difficulty retaining information, but  the conversation made me realize that I need a way to help them visualize the organization of our world. I plan on using this idea to give them a concrete representation of where they live (and who the President is in charge of bossing!):

I also plan on using some fun, educational vidoes in my ActivInspire flipcharts to give students some background knowledge of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and related vocabulary. Here are some that I like:

George Washington:

Abraham Lincoln:

A President’s Day Song:

 And this video I’ve included about the 50 Nifty United States, mostly because it’s a really cool song that my oldest son learned and performed years ago when he was in Elementary school. He practiced it so often that our entire family learned to sing with him and can now list all the states in alphabetical order!

Along with the flipcharts and embedded videos, I have some materials prepared that can be inserted into the flipcharts and also printed to send home with students or to document their ideas and annotations. These activities can be used to elicit basic communication and higher-level language skills, as well as to practice articulation skills. Click to download if you liek them!

 

This open-ended game board can be used to target virtually any speech-language skill. Check out this post for a glimpse at how I used a similar open-ended board on the ActivPanel:

I am looking forward to exploring vocabulary, discovering facts and having some genuine conversations with students about the President’s Day theme, incorporating these fun materials. Hope you enjoy them too! Leave a comment to let me know if/how you used the materials. Thanks!

~Lisa

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Thoughts and Inspirations

Feeling the Love

Happy Valentine’s Day from LiveSpeakLove! I am feeling the love today. Not only did I get valentines, candy, hugs and smiles from amazing students on my caseload, but I got some blog-love today from people I have never even met. PediaStaff, a national pediatric-based company for therapists, found my blog and Pinterest Speech Therapy Board, and added me to their database of resources. With over 12,000 Pedistaff followers, some of my speech-language ideas and materials are spreading across Pinterest pretty quickly, generating an amazing amount of blog hits. I am getting emails and messages from other therapists, educators and parents, thanking me for sharing my ideas and resources. A nice treat for me in the form of inspiration — what better tribute to this special day???

Here is a snapshot I’ll share with you of a Valentine’s Day activity in my therapy room…two of my older students using my open-ended Valentine Game board on the ActivPanel smartboard. I first took a screenshot of my Boardmaker file and saved it as an image, then inserted the picture into a desktop flipchart. Then, I “locked” the image into position for use as a game board. We used the shape tools to create colored icons to use as game pieces, which could be moved around the game board as they took turns rolling the die. Ta-da…instant, interactive, virtual game board that we paired with articulation cards to target /s/ blends in sentences and sentence formulation skills. The girls loved the game format, and told me they, “can’t wait” to use the board again.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, and thanks for spreading the love!

~Lisa

Articulation, Free Downloads, Language, Resources

Achoo!

Yes, it’s that time of year. I have been liberally doused with a sluice of sneezes, and my tissue supply is precipitously dwindling. My own family has been sick off and on for the past few weeks, including myself, an annual affliction that makes me yearn for spring’s fresh air and sunshine. I know, not yet.

While I am waiting for Spring, I often choose the month of February to remind students of important healthy habits. I’ve included a few favorite resources to share. If you like what you see, feel free to download — just click on the images and leave a comment under the post below to let me know. Thanks!

Given the popularity of the recent posting of my Valentine Bingo Boards, I thought I would share my ACHOO! Bingo boards as well, loaded with concept and theme-based vocabulary. I often spend time discussing the vocabulary words, and the steps necessary to maintain a healthy body. Extension activities include listing/sorting items in given categories (e.g., healthy foods vs. unhealthy foods, types of exercise, signs of being healthy vs. signs of being sick) asking and answering wh questions about vocabulary, “turn and talk” time with peers to discuss how being sick feels, etc. The Bingo boards are merely an entryway for language-rich activities and discussion. Enjoy!

I also take time to discuss proper hand washing to prevent germs from spreading. A website with lots of ideas for teaching K-3 kids about germs can be found here. I also like to use a handwashing picture sequence to illustrate our discussions. The images can be used as picture cues for students needing step-by-step prompting, and older students can place individual pictures onto a story board using the correct sequence. Sentence formulation skills can be addressed as students retell the picture sequence using ordinal and sequential vocabulary.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, so I often use this month as an opportunity to review dental hygiene themes and vocabulary. Kids love to make paint designs using toothbrushes, and I sometimes will co-teach with the occupational therapist in my school to create toothbrush crafts that target fine motor skills (snipping edges of paper to make toothbrush “bristles,” etc.) The American Dental Association has a database of resources to educate children about good dental habits, including downloadable worksheets and posters in English and Spanish.

 

Here is a picture vocabulary page I made to supplement lessons and discussions on dental health:

One of my favorite ideas is to use the book How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen to create  literacy-based activities using the “Staying Healthy” theme. The rhythm and rhyme of this endearing story target phonemic awareness and decoding skills. The themes of the book allow for discussion of content vocabulary and social skills like making good choices. Here is a picture vocabulary page I made using real images from Google Image search and Picture This photo software in Boardmaker: 

To promote student engagement and active listening during the story presentation, I use pinch cards to target the “happy choices” vs. “sad choices” that the dinosaurs make (quick side note –I prefer the terms “happy” choice vs. “sad” choice because I just don’t like using the word “bad” with my students. Even if I am clear about saying it is the choice that is “bad,” I personally prefer not to highlight the negativity that many students hear all too often…and using happy/sad terminology focuses on how they might feel versus other people’s perceptions of who they are or what they do.) Using the happy/sad choice pinch cards, student can respond to “I wonder” statements and WH questions as the story events are revealed (e.g., “I wonder if the doctor thinks the dinosaur made a happy choice or a sad choice?” or “Oh no! The dinosaur is making a big mess! What kind of choice do you think he is making?”) Students “pinch” the correct picture and hold it up in the air…every student has a way of responding and answering the question at the same time using the basic concept vocabulary.

Thanks for checking out LiveSpeakLove! I am enjoying this format to share some things that have inspired me, and I appreciate the feedback from those who feel inspired as well. Stay Healthy!

~Lisa

Assistive Technology, Language, Resources, Technology, Therapy Tools, Thoughts and Inspirations

“SMART” Speech-Language Therapy

I am fortunate to work in a Title 1 school with supplemental funding to provide rich, technological experiences for the developing minds of our children. ELMOS, document cameras, mobile computer labs, and interactive whiteboards are familiar terms to teachers and students throughout my building. Today’s generation of children are ostensibly at a disadvantage if their education does not incorporate technology on a regular basis…a sign of the times. I’ve heard students in my school ask questions that make  me chuckle, like, “What’s an overhead?” or “Can we just Google it and find the answer?” I also had a student recently point to a picture of JFK on the wall in the hallway and remark, “Hey, I know him! He’s in my Black Ops game!” Ahhh yes, sign of the times.
  

Children today are surrounded by multi-media sensory input; instant gratification in the form of video games, cell phone apps, texts, on-demand video streaming, internet search engines and multi-media lifestyles. As a young, hip SLP (just go with it…I’m making a point here 🙂 ) I prefer to reach students where they are and provide therapy activities  incorporating technological resources, whenever possible. Feeling a bit passionate about the idea of addressing multiple learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile) and building brain connections through  a multi-modal approach to instruction, I even began a technology initiative for the SLPs in my school district this year. A Technology Committe was formed with interested participants, and we have been meeting periodically to develop systems for  creating and sharing technological resources. We hope that other SLPs in our county will take advantage of opportunities to incorporate technology into their therapy sessions. Our work is to be “unveiled” at a professional development next month, and preparing for the presentation is getting me even more excited about the work we have done.

In the LiveSpeakLove spirit of sharing resources, I thought I would post some of my favorite ways of incorporating technology into therapy sessions. My county has a strict policy for the use and approval of technology, so all the ideas I have here are limited to what is currently approved for my school distrcit (i.e., no iPad, iTouch or related technology; web-based applications and sites have been approved through our filter process.)

ActivInspire Flipcharts – My school system uses the ActivInspire software program as one way to create “flipcharts” or lessons to be used on interactive smartboards. I now have a desktop version of the classroom-sized whiteboard in my therapy room, so I am using ActivInpire Flipcharts for individual, small and classroom-sized groups. I really do not work for Promethean or ActivInspire, but this technology has changed the way I provide therapy. Check out this video for a quick overview:

You can create your own flipcharts using the program’s resource libraries merged with your own content, or find unlimited resources to download and adapt at the following sites:

Online Games/Activities – The internet is filled with language-rich games and activities that will engage learners and provide instant reinforcement for task completion. Not to take the place of traditional speech-language therapy with individualized instruction and feedback provided in a monitored, systematic format, online games are a unique supplement to the personal interactions we create in therapy. Some of my favorite sites are:

TinyEye Online Therapy – I found this wonderful, internet-based company several years ago when I worked for them providing online speech-language therapy (via Skype and the ingenious online therapy system they have created) with a school in China. Taking advantage of the time difference, I logged on several times a week after my own children were in bed and provided instruction and feedback to students in China (who were assisted by their teachers during our sessions.) This service delivery model is perhaps the REAL wave of the future. With critical shortages of SLPs throughout our world, companies like TinyEye have devised a way to use technology to meet students’ needs in an efficient, global model for services. Even if you have no desire to Skype with China during your normal snoozing hours (perhaps not for sleep-deprived souls with crazy lives, but I would do it again if a mutually-agreeable contract became available,) you can still take advantage of their online therapy games–FREE for school-based SLPs. Just register with them to receive access to games addressing myriad goals, objectives, skills and targets. Games can be added to online “backpacks” with access even given to students for homework practice. Here is just a sampling of the abundant online resources they offer:

Online "Backpack" of games to target individual students

Farm Game - students click to answer WH qestions involving concept vocabulary
Animated Mermaid Matching game to target articulation skills through matching words or minimal pairs

PBS Kids Online Games – online games linked to curricular content, featuring characters from the PBS shows.

Nick Jr. Online Games – More online games featuring kids’ favorite characters. All of the games feature educational content linked to curriular vocabulary.

SMART Exchange – Images and smartboard lessons that are directly linked to State Curriculum Standards. Simply click on your state, identify the standard, grade level and subject area, and VOILA!! Instant resources available to you that address those standards. Here is a glimpse of a search I did for third grade language arts activities using the Maryland Core Standards:

Online Multi-media resources – Images and videos can be directly inserted into flipcharts, smartboard lessons, or PowerPoint presentations to increase student engagement through visual stimuli, sounds and animation. I frequently search for images to use in Boardmaker documents, to target  populations that comprehend and store vocabulary labels significantly better when real images are used (see this article for a brief rationale.) I also use sound effects and videos frequently in computer or smartboard-based lessons. Children in today’s world — a world filled to the brim with t.v. shows, video games, computer games, cell phone games and so on and so on and so on — love the power in clicking an icon or button to create instant visual or auditory feedback. Here are my favorite tools for creating multi-media delight in therapy activities:

  • Google – Wow, images and animations galore, many of them free! (just make sure you have an antivirus program installed before you click on links you find.) You can search for gif animations, videos, and even use their image search feature to locate the exact image to insert into your lesson.
Snapshot of Google Image search results for "bears"
  • YouTube – Not just for watching Ellen’s Favorite Videos or  the latest Adele performance  — there are amazing, inumerable educational resources found on youtube. Read this entry to see an example of one video I used in a language lesson for young students. My seventh grade son reviews algebra concepts each night by watching youtube videos from KhanAcademy. You can even learn how to increase your use of technology in therapy by watching podcasts from one resourceful SLP!
  • Watch Know Learn – free, organized database of educational videos covering all subjects and grade levels.
  • Self-made video clips – my school purchased several flip cams that many of us use. With these cameras, students can be video-taped (abiding by confidentiality requirements) and inserted into presentations. Therapy sessions can include self-assessment and monitoring pieces with this tool, and provide documentation for acquisition of skills. Plus, kids just like it.
  • Video Montage Programs – Pictures and video clips can be set to music and preserved using slide show programs like Animoto or Windows Movie Maker . I often use programs like these outside of therapy as well (e.g., to document accomplishnents during school-wide assemblies, or to document my own family photos in a creative way.)

This is just a quick overview of some of the tools I routinely use to increase student engagement and give them multiple ways of processing and responding during our sessions. For even more ideas, check out suggestions from the National Center on Universal Design for Learning (UDL.) In addition to technology ideas, their list of suggestions includes ways to adapt materials for various disabilities and activate background knowledge in students across populations. A fantastically huge database of web-based resources is presented as it relates to UDL checkpoints.

Feel free to let me know what types of technology you are using and how your students or children respond. We live in a dynamic, fast-paced world where “smart therapy” means more than just keeping up with the latest reseatch. To be truly “smart,” we now need to step out of our comfort zones a bit and embrace the technology that surrounds us.