We’ve been having a fun-filled, colorful time in speech-language therapy! Out of all the Spring activities I’ve tried, students have been most enthusiastic about using the colored, plastic eggs I purchased for a few dollars at my local craft store.
I’ve paired the eggs with other technology-based activities, like the virtual game-boardI featured in my last post. I used this activity in my therapy room, and also in the classroom setting as a co-treatment with the social worker. We used previously-posted pragmatic questionsinserts for the eggs, and each team got to pick an egg and answer the question when it was their turn. Because the pragmatic questions were a BIG hit out in blog-land (as judged by Pinterest pins and downloads,) and because I found I needed some lower-level questions for those students needing more concrete stimuli, I also created an additional set of pragmatic inserts for you to download:
I also co-treated with the occupational therapist in an adaptive classroom setting. We filled the eggs with these “Following Direction” inserts and “hid” the eggs around the room. Students got to hunt for eggs, then we answered the questions or followed the directions that were in the eggs. We did many of the directions as a whole group, and each student got to come to the front to demonstrate to the class when it was their turn. For directions requiring drawing, we used the classroom smartboard, but you could also use a chalkboard, dry erase board or easel.
Another fun activity I’ve used in large and small groups working on simple descriptive vocabulary is to pair the eggs with colored pom poms and colored objects. Students can pick a color/colored object, and then hunt for an egg that is the same color. Sentence formulation, use of color words in descriptive phrases, matching and answering simple what and where questions are all targeted in this active game.
I used the following visual for language support with students who needed the visual input to assist with formulation of sentences using the concepts:
I also paired the colored eggs with pacing board activities as an extra motivation for students working on length of utterance, fluency strategies and/or sequencing of sounds for multi-syllabic words. Students “stamped” on the pacing board with the egg, or tapped the top of each egg as they spoke to mark the sounds or syllables. The same materials could be used as a token reinforcement system where students earn each color for the trials they produce. Students working on matching activities could also use these tools.
I’ve recently been describedas often posting activities with a “seasonal bent,” and I’d say that is definitely true. I just can’t resist all of the holiday fun! Some of my best childhood memories revolve around the holidays, even seemingly insignificant ones.I like to think I am creating memorable experiences for students, using motivating activities that target goals and keep kids moving and smiling while they work.
So many people have given me positive feedback about the Spring resources available for download in my Spring Egg-stravaganza post. One of the resources I posted was an open-ended game board — both a printable version and an ActivInspire flipchart version. For those of you who do not have ActivInspire, you can download it for free HERE. Check out this video for an overview of the kinds of things students can do with this program:
Obviously, if you have a smartboard, there are limitless possibilities for engaging students in multi-media therapy activities. I feel very fortunate to work in a school that had available funds and generous administrators. Earlier this year, my school purchased a desktop version of a smartboard for my therapy room. I have been using this technology to create a variety of lessons using pictures, audio, video and interactive design features that all my students love. Some of the files I create are complex, time-intensive and include pre/post assessment data collection where students respond using wireless ActiVotes. Some, however, like my Spring/Garden game board are really quite simple. To make this game I just imported the image of the game board (an image I actually used ActivInspire to create, but you could use any image — even a snapshot of a real game board,) then I added circle shapes to use as game pieces, and inserted the dice tool. Suddenly an ordinary game (with a dash of technology added) became a highly engaging therapy tool to target any objective needed. My students love the online game boards so much more than any “real” game. Here is a picture I previously posted of a couple of students interacting and playing a game using my desktop smartboard:
But what if you do not have a smartboard? Not to worry, you can still use these interactive files on your computer. You just need to use a mouse instead of the stylus (unless you have a touchscreen.) An adaptive mouse can help those with fine motor difficulties access this technology. You will just need to pair the game with stimulus materials or verbal prompts to elicit/train a skill, and your students will love playing the interactive, virtual game in their speech-language sessions.
If you want to download this file, just make sure you have ActivInspire installed on yourcomputer, then click on the image below.
By the way, I have no affiliation with Promethean or ActivInspire, and this post is not a solicited review. I really just love using this program, and I think you will too.
After what seems like barely even a winter (not one single snow day or even a school delay for my county!) spring has officially arrived. I realized yesterday that there is very little time left before spring break, and I quickly began gathering my materials for the spring kickoff season. Some of my favorite activities revolve around spring themes — Easter eggs, baby chicks and bunnies, the switch to warm-weather clothing and spending more time outside. I am very excited to share with you some of the resources I have developed and will be using with my students. Let me know how you like them!
First, Easter Eggs!! What better way to excite students and incorporate movement than with a good old-fashioned Easter egg hunt? Finding the eggs is a perfect way to target “where” questions, prepositional words and descriptive concepts like color and size vocabulary. I plan on filling my colorful, plastic eggs with articulation pictures and language concepts to use in sentences. I am also going to use the Easter eggs for a pragmatic language activity by inserting these pragmatic questions (click to download your own copy!)
In addition to the plastic eggs, I have these colorful Easter egg printables to design your own artic/language cards, or to use as tokens for motivation and reinforcement:
I also have a few fun crafts/recipes for students to create. I often use visual directions to accompany these crafts, opening the door for language-based questions involving ordinal and sequential terms, wh questions, language memory and curricular vocabulary. See below and click to download what you like.
How cute is this baby chick?? Students will love making their own little pet to take home. Click on the image below for your own copy of the direction page:
Many books for this time of year involve new little critters –chicks and bunnies as the main characters. These loveable creature crafts are perfect for recreating and retelling those spring stories. Below is a bunny craft for students to make. In the past, I’ve had students glue their bunnies onto jumbo craft sticks to make their own story puppets. Just print out the direction sheet below — use the template I prepared as well, or you create your own to use.
The topic of Spring leads to lessons about new plants as well — buds on trees blossoming into flowers, and people working in their yards to grow flowers and vegetables. My students have especially loved these next couple of activities…I hope yours do too!
The 20 oz bottles wotk best for this stamping craft. The bottoms of these bottles are shaped like a flower–really, it works perfectly!
How about a yummy treat to make and eat? Worms and Dirt is a crowd pleaser that students will remember for a very long time. You can use gummy worms, snakes, licorice or other creature-like confections to crawl in your “dirt.”
I also have an open-ended game board I will be using on my ActivPanel smartboard, paired with articulation or language stimuli to target individual student objectives. You can download the ActivInspire flipchart version to play on your own smartboard, or use the game board imageto creat your own smartboard file. Otherwise, just print the hard copy version below:
And of course I have Spring Bingo Boards (a set of 6 for you to download!) As always, I use Bingo Boards to target myriad articulation and language goals including language formulation, descriptive concepts, wh questions, location terms, categories, similarities and differences…and the list goes on! Click on the sample board below to get to the set.
Working on /s/ sounds? Here is a Boardmaker file I created to use as stimulus cards for games, Easter egg inserts and homework practice. Print double copies to use for a matching/memory game.
I hope you enjoy these ideas…I have many more, but there are only NINE days until our Spring Break, so time is limited! Yes, I have counted the days. 🙂 Hope you enjoy this wonderful season!
I was recently asked to offer some advice about correcting for those tricky sound errors — lateralized productions of the sibilants /s/, /z/, /sh/ and /ch/. If you are an SLP, you can probably detect a lateralized /s/ on every affected public speaker, casual acquaintance or celebrity you have ever had the pleasure to encounter. My husband makes fun of me for the way my ears perk up and how the expression on my face clearly changes whenever we are listening to someone with an /s/ distortion. I suddenly have the urge to offer these speakers nonverbal feedback as we interact. Sadly, I can’t help it; it’s an affliction. Even if you are not an SLP and have no desire to cure the world of lateralized airflow patterns, you may be able to detect that something is not quite right in the way a person says their /s/ and /z/ sounds— the words come out sounding “slushy,” “sloppy” or even “garbled.” I once had a teacher tell me that their student with a lateralized /s/ sounded like he was “pretending to be a ventriloquist.” This statement was actually not an off-target description.
Lateralized airflow sound distortions are unfortunately some of the hardest to correct. While I am an SLP, and therefore, an “expert,” I do not profess to have any secret knowledge or special talent in correcting these tricky sounds. I have struggled along with the rest of you in finding ways to train for correct sound production. I am happy, however, to share what has worked for me more often than not in the past fifteen years.
In my opinion, the issue of lateralized airflow distortions is two-fold, and requires training on both factors:
Students do not have a correct tongue position for these sounds (and often the tongue position at rest is incorrect as well.) These sounds must be produced with the tongue elevated to meet at the alveolar ridge or surrounding area.
Students do not have a correct frontal airflow stream (probably secondary to incorrect tongue position) . When the tongue is elevated at the alveolar ridge area, a slight groove is formed in which airflow is then directed in a stream out the front of the mouth. When the tongue remains low and flat, no slight groove in the center of the tongue is formed to direct the airflow out the front. The air escapes out the sides of the tongue and the distortion is produced.
Unfortunately, the tongue and airflow patterns are habitual and must be entirely retrained for correct sound production. Therapy on these sounds begins with ongoing student education for tongue position and airflow. I often begin with pure discussion and education using mouth diagrams, puppets, mirrors, and visuals. I then begin training with some oral motor tools or tricks like dots of icing on the alveolar ridge or other tactile feedback to elicit correct tongue placement. I have students practice in front of mirrors and watch me as well. My school recently purchased these mirrors for my therapy room so that each student has their own for practice (great for preventing “downtime” while I give individualized feedback to other students in the group):
Once the initial training and tactile feedback has been provided, I quickly move into practicing target sounds in isolation and then in syllables or words. I use a variety of methods including verbal, visual and tactile strategies to help students train for correct placement and airflow. I have visuals for each target sound that offer descriptions so students can more easily remember the placement and manner of the sounds. I usually start by targeting /s/ in isolation, though I do not believe that this sound is scientifically proven easier to produce than any of the others. I just personally find it easiest to elicit, especially when introduced as “the sneaky snake sound” and paired with different snake games/activities. Every therapy session I conduct is structured to include education, discrimination, direct training, and then practice (often using games or other motivating activities) to target sounds in isolation, syllables and words. These activities all include the following visuals (or similar.)
Below is a visual that introduces each sound and gives them all a “name” to represent sound attributes in some way. At the bottom of this visual is a three-step process chart that helps to elicit correct placement and airflow. I have had very good success using the cue “Teeth Together.” This cue is something much more concrete and outwardly visible than the more elusive “tongue elevation to the ‘bumpy spot’ behind the teeth.” For some reason, tongue placement seems to greatly improve and inhibit lateral airflow when the upper and lower central incisors meet in front (not in a smile, though, which tends to drop the tongue and foster lateral airflow. Think “show your teeth” in a Lady Gaga kind of way.) Students can see their teeth together; they can replicate it easily, and for whatever reason, it often works when it is done correctly. Students are also trained to hold their hand or finger in front of their lips and feel the airflow as they speak. Sometimes this trick is enough to elicit the frontal airflow pattern and progress is made quickly as the student has built-in cues and biofeedback wherever they go!
Another visual I like to use is this discrimination tool that can be used both with the student listening to modeled productions or when producing on their own. The clinician can provide the feedback using the visual, or the student can self-evaluate their own productions:
Students are encouraged to practice their sounds on their own using their hand as a self-cueing strategy for frontal airflow detection:
As we move into practice using syllables and words, I select the syllable or word targets to specifically shape and elicit correct tongue placement. I choose syllables and words using vowels that are produced higher in the mouth (usually /i/ and /u/) to move away from the low, flat tongue patterns used in /a/ or with a schwa. I also vary the position of the sound in the word or syllable:
Another way I elicit correct tongue position is to shape sounds across word boundaries using alveolar sounds that the student has already mastered. Here is a visual I use with students to shape the /s/ from /n/ across preceding and subsequent word boundaries:
As a student becomes more independent, the same pictures can be used to create sentences for practice at a higher level. My go-to games are often open-ended game boards, commercial games or interactive activities that can be paired with specific stimuli or picture cards using the currently targeted sound or sounds. I also use barrier games or student-led activities with a focus on peer feedback to encourage generalization to other settings. I often have peer partners that will develop their own nonverbal signal to prompt for correct placement or airflow.
Above all, a student needs to “buy in” to the training and practice their skills in other settings. This is why all of my speech therapy sessions incorporate the pieces of education, discrimination, targeted training and practice. If students are reluctant to practice or do not self-cue or self-monitor, then progress will likely be much slower. Systematic training in tongue placement, frontal airflow stream, how to self-cue and monitor, and how to practice are essential components of a treatment program for lateralized airflow sounds. The treatment program may seem endless some days as you train and educate, but eventually, most students “get it.” I consider my work with these students just as important as my work with nonverbal or language-delayed students and I applaud those of you who work tirelessly to improve communication skills on any level. Good luck with using these techniques, and I’d love to hear if there is something else that has worked for you. Please share — it’s exactly what I love about the internet!
Do you love Pinterest? I have to admit that Pinterest sparked my desire to start blogging…seeing so many great ideas in one spot, many of the ideas linking to the blogs of truly talented and creative people. I quickly jumped in and have found that Pinterest is a great way to generate blog traffic and share resources. In only a month, my humble little speech-language blog went from being non-existent to featured on high-traffic Pinterest boards like Pediastaff and on the ASHASphere website as one of the “Best Speech-Language Pathologist Blogs.” I’ve also been mentioned on other blogs like Speech Lady Liz, Jill Kuzma’s SLP Site, Sublime Speech, Playing with Words 365, and Let’s Talk.
Thanks for reading Live Speak Love, and Happy Pinning!
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.
What a difference a day makes! In addition to a much less stressful day at work, I received a very exciting email informing me of a little news…Live Speak Love is featured in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s latest blog article, The Best Speech-Language Pathologist Blogs from A-Z. Check out the article and the other speech-language blogs who made the list:
Also, look for Live Speak Love on the Pediastaff and ASHASphere blogs in the upcoming future! I’ve been asked to be a Guest Blogger/Contributor on both of these sites. What fun! Thanks for visiting Live Speak Love and for helping to spread the word.
It’s been a crazy week! My caseload seems to be at an all-time high, with some complicated and somewhat high-profile cases that keep my days (and nights) challenging. Paperwork, schedule changes, lesson plans, materials prep, preparing for presentations, meeting with parents and colleagues…and trying to stay afloat while still making time for things that keep me passionate about what I do. Some days I feel that it would be much easier to just “get by” and do things on a less complicated, less time-consuming level. But I believe it’s important to tackle all of the responsibilities I have with a touch of what makes me– ME. I prefer to be creative and thorough in my job and in my life, taking time to find inspiration for myself as I work to inspire others. It’s how I’m wired. Days that are filled with energy, accomplishments, enthusiasm and spark leave me feeling pretty super. I am probably known for accomplishing things “the hard way,” but somehow I tend to choose that route repeatedly. I prefer living life with inspiration, passion and enthusiasm.
My challenge lately has been to find ways to complete the tasks that keep me passionate about my work, while still accomplishing everything that leaves me, well…less than inspired. Attempting to find the balance lately leaves me feeling Not-So-Super. The days are not long enough to fit it all in, it seems. As a full-time SLP and busy mom to three spectacular kids, most of my waking (and should-be-sleeping-but-sadly-still-waking) hours are filled with redundant paperwork, laundry, chauffeuring, paperwork, cooking, laundry, dishes, paperwork, laundry, committee meetings, kids’ activities…did I say paperwork? Laundry?? Unfortunately, the daily commitments I face keep me from being and doing everything as perfectly pleasantly as I would like. Some days I realize I am Not-So-Super and that I just can’t do it all. Today is definitely one of those days! A long, cranky day where my middle-schooler missed the bus, lunches were packed in a mad, messy rush, lunch was missed in a frenzy of emails and paperwork, and my to-do list grew by at least 100%.
After a full day of work, I sat outside my daughter’s dance class (starving) where I opened my laptop without even an ounce of inspiration. I usually like to keep myself productive and write reports or create materials while I wait for my little ballerina (who, by the way, danced today in a wrinkled t-shirt, tights and a see-through frilly tutu because the Not-So-Super Mom here forgot the leotard that actually covers everything. *sigh*) Staring at my computer screen, I realized that writing or accomplishing anything work-related just wasn’t going to happen. I guzzled some caffeine to keep myself from keeling over in exhaustion, and I stared at my task list with all of its glaring, unchecked boxes. And I spent the rest of dance class in pretty much the same position…unchecked boxes, mothers chatting and children twirling all around me; me staring. Nothing accomplished today. I gave myself permission to just sit, and it was actually…pretty nice! Of course the frenzy resumed after dance with picking up the rest of my children—rush hour traffic, making dinner, starting laundry, sorting papers…you get the idea. But I have given myself permission to just sit again at some point tonight. Work is on hold, and I am going to bed early. This Not-So-Super-SLP-Mom needs a break!
Of course, I feel compelled to spread at least a little inspiration out into the world and call myself productive. People have been so wonderfully appreciative and kind in response to my post where I shared some visual supportsI’ve created. By request, here are a few more visuals I made and use quite often, free to download for your educational/personal use. Let me know how you like them…knowing I’ve helped other people in even small, non-super ways helps me find some of the inspiration that keeps me ticking! Here you go:
Visual for using color words to decribe objects or pictures:
Visual to help students provide verbal descriptions of objects or pictures:
Visual to help students offer compliments about their peers or use descriptive words about people:
Visual process strips to remind students of fluency-enhancing strategies:Visual reinforcement to increase homework/practice outside of the school setting. Can be signed/initialed by parent as documentation:
Visual cues and sentence starters/scripts for targeting similarities & differences:
Visual to help students working on final consonants:
Ok, all of you tech-savvy SLPs, educators and parents…here it is. The launching of a wonderfully convenient media tool that will surely increase your productivity, creativity and use of technology– Google Play.
Many of you know that I am an Android device kind of girl, and I have had great success using some of the Android-based featuresas case management tools to streamline paperwork and sync documents between my devices. I admit that I feel a bit left out of the iPad craze in speech-language therapy sessions, especially when people like SLP Jenna over at Speech Room Newspost fabulous ideas and resources for using the iPad to target therapy objectives. Take a peek at her latest:
I’ve been thinking that even though my school district currently does not approve the use of mobile or tablet devices with students, surely there is a way to use my android device to at least prepare similar resources that can be presented to students on a desktop or laptop computer (if you are asking yourself, “what’s the difference?” you are not alone. I have faith that my very large school system is working on a process to approve and integrate mobile/tablet devices for use with students. For now, we have wonderful resources to use like the ActivPanel and other interactive smartboards, student voting/response consoles, and interactive web-based software like ActivInspire, Edmodo and Voicethread. The mobile devices are coming, but developing empirically based best practice standards for these tools is a process. 🙂 )
In my ongoing search for tools to create dynamic, engaging therapy materials and productive work solutions, I am extremely pleased to see the anticipated launch of Google Play. Google Play is now integrated with the previously known Android Market, now providing a one-stop shop for app selection, purchase, storage, and back-up. In addition to the Android Apps, Google Play also offers the same options for all of your other media as well. Even if you do not own an Android device, you can still upload all of your music and other media to the Google Play “cloud” for storage and anytime access. Check out how Google Play now provides shop and share features, Cloud storage and instant syncing to all of your devices for ALL of your media:
While this may be a marketing move from Google to branch out into territory previously dominated by powerhouse media providers like iTunes, Netflix and Amazon’s Kindle, this move opens quite a few doors for a busy Android user like myself. I love that all of my apps, music, photos, videos, and books are integrated into a single point-of-entry design. Google Play also lends itself nicely to using other Google features like Google Reader, Google Docs, Gmail and Google Calendar (all applications that are also accessible on my Android.)
So while the iPad may be the sexy, trendy tool for most therapists, I find it very exciting to be an Android user and discover even more possibilities that can easily translate from mobile device to work desktop to laptop to home computer…instantly. I will continue researching to explore which apps will work with the current regulations of my school district, and develop more therapy tools using the technology we have available. Be sure to look for upcoming posts in the (hopefully) near future as I spend some time researching and creating with the apps I find. In the meantime, here are a few links to sites where people have obviously done quite a bit of Android research themselves:
If any of you are using Android device and apps as part of your clinical management, practice or therapy, let me know. I would love to hear the kinds of things people are using and if you find Google Play a useful media management tool.
Hello, world! As I am new to blogging, I recently discovered that I can see from what country people are accessing my blog. Imagine my surprise and delight to realize that Live Speak Love is reaching people in (so far) 56 different countries around the world??!
Live Speak Love is (I hope) helping other people in countries as far away as Australia, Korea, Czech Republic and South Africa. This idea simply amazes me…the idea that people from around the world can, in some sense, unite in their efforts to help other people learn and communicate, and that I can play some small part in leading this effort. I may be overinterpreting the information…perhaps my blog hits are nothing more than a random series of clicks that led someone to this site for nothing more than an instant. But just maybe there are people from around the world that find information here useful, and they are downloading the resources I’ve made to help a child in some way. I hope it’s the latter! Feel free to let me know either way with a comment or email. However you found this site, and no matter how long you visited… hello to all from Live Speak Love!
Like many children, my own kids used to love the book, Goodnight Moon. Definitely a classic tale, with simple pictures and a lulling rhythm that soothed my little ones to sleep as we rocked in our rocking chair. I still love that book, even though my kids have outgrown it. Times have changed; the world has changed. My kids are growing, and for at least two of them, picture books have now been replaced by newer, shinier things like iPods and computers. In addition to realizing just how fast my kids have grown and just how fleeting the bittersweet days of Goodnight Moon in fact were, I’ve been recently rather amazed at how the world has changed due to technological advances. I’ve been working to incorporate more technology into my speech-language therapy sessions and even in my caseload management practices.
At the risk of sounding like an old lady, looking around at today’s multi-media world conjures up phrases I swore I’d never utter, like, “when I was your age…” I recall the long-gone days of papers written on my archaic typewriter, or the “state of the art” word processor I used in college (the kind shown in the picture on the left, with a window that showed one line of text at a time.) In graduate school, I finally advanced to a computer in the university library, but struggled with DOS commands and formatting floppy disks (and yes, they were the truly floppy, floppy disks.) It amazes me that my children are now growing up in a world filled with incredible, user-friendly technology and instant gratification — multi-media streaming in the classroom, interactive smartboards, on-demand videos and holiday specials…I admit to feeling a bit of sadness that my kids really don’t know what it’s like to anticipate once-a-year television specials that used to bring us all gathered in excitement around the T.V. after days (weeks) of waiting. Now, holiday specials, movies, games, schoolwork and even social relationships revolve around the use of instant technology.
Planning? Research? Interactions? Today’s children really do not know what it is like to complete these tasks without instant results. They Google, they text, they Facebook, and–POOF! The plans are made without even a phone call. School projects, though still filled with rigor and preparation, do not take the weeks or months that they once did (“when I was their age.”). My middle/high school research endeavors (hours upon hours spent at the public library with me searching through the card catalog or poring over blurry microfilm transparencies on the giant machines) now seem ridiculous and ancient. Probably because they really were ridiculous and ancient, but hey, that’s all we had back then! Yes, I know, Old Lady Talk. Does it help if I admit that I am totally on the technology bandwagon, and that I now often have at least two internet-capable devices within my reach? I fully support the technological advances that bring so much to our lives (it’s kind of nice being able to play movies that my kids love when we want to, or being able to Google the formula to that 7th grade algebra problem that I’ve long forgotten!) But I do feel nostalgic when I think of things like cassette tapes, mimeograph machines (can you still smell the ink?) carbon paper (yes we wrote IEPs on such paper not that long ago!) or handwritten letters to friends and family. Now…signs of the times….we live in a bright, flashy, instantaneous, visually stimulating world full of modern convenience. I don’t deny that I love it and certainly benefit from the conveniences, but I am still amazed.
With these thoughts in mind, I thoroughly chuckled this week when I came across this fabulous sitefor reading books online. The site itself is pretty amazing…hundreds of popular children’s books available to read instantly and for free. They also donate books to various literacy campaigns, matching donations with the number of books you read. These online versions of books are perfect for smartboard presentation/group reading in a classroom setting. The chuckle I experienced came as I read this book:
It’s a parody of the classic Goodnight Moonbook I read to my kids and still adore. It’s a bit updated. Yes, it is a parody, but perhaps a pretty accurate description of today’s kids and what life is really like for many. If you want to chuckle and/or feel like an Old Lady (or Old Man) as you reminisce about days gone by, you can read the book online here: Goodnight iPad.
Enjoy! If you like it, don’t forget to email/blog/facebook/tweet/text/pin to let me know. 🙂 LOL. L8R.
Are you getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day yet? I’ve been working on introducing seasonal vocabulary as we target speech-language objectives. So far, my students are all loving the Animoto video I made to preview theme vocabulary, previously posted here. The bingo boards and four-leaf clover templates I posted previously seem to be a popular download, and people have asked if I have any more St. Patrick’s Day resources to share. Of course! Here are a few more goodies:
Here is a template to make your own cards — you can print the number of needed copies onto cardstock and add your own clip art and/or text to the back. The cards can be used for minimal pair articulation practice, or customized to target any grammatical structure or language content goals you need. The shamrocks can be used as token reinforcement coins as a motivator — kids love to collect the coins for each successful trial. Just click to download and print!
Here are a couple of open-ended game boards to use with any speech-language objective. The game can be paired with articulation cards, pragmatic question cards, pictures, or any stimuli you wish to use. Digital images of the boards can be used with interactive smartboards to incorporate technology into your game (seethis postfor an example of how I used another game board on my ActivPanel smartboard.)
For those people who liked the four-leaf clover templates I posted previously, here is another version that can be used to target story recall and sequential vocabulary. Students can have their own template to use as an individual storyboard, and a smartboard or enlarged template can be used as a follow-up during whole group review. Students can compare their individual versions to the whole-group storyboard to see if they match. The template can also simply be used as a graphic organizer for planning and organization assistance with students who struggle with the executive function component.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all — enjoy the downloads!
Whoo loves owls? We do! I just planned an owl-themed birthday party for my daughter, and had so much fun with all of the owl ideas. Many of the ideas I found would be great as part of an owl unit in your speech therapy room! I even have a few curricular-based activities and visuals to share. Read and click for tons of owl ideas, resources and activities!
Want to start your owl-theme with a book? Here are some Owl-themed tales that can be used in an owl unit or as a book study feature for a single lesson. Click on the image below to see a HUGE list of owl books available for children:
An owl craft activity can be a great follow-up to an owl-themed book. How about an owl-mask? Below are some pictures of the owl masks I made using brown cardstock and paper, and ribbon. I cut out circles using fancy scissors, and used a circle paper punch for the eye cut-outs (but you could trace a circle and cut out by hand, if you’d rather.) Then just use a hole punch and ribbon for the mask ties. I hand-drew my template, but there are lots of templates online here.
Here’s my birthday girl in her mask:
And here is the assortment, ready for her party:
We also had owl goodie bags — wouldn’t these be cute as gifts for students or to use as category or attribute sorting bags, parts-of-speech bags or (stuffed with tissue paper) used as story characters? Just add circle eyes, fold over top of brown or colored bags, and staple! I added text to the back of ours as a “thank you” message to guests, but you could customize the owl with your own text or writing. Click on the picture to download the template I made:
I often use “cooking” as an activity to reinforce a theme. How cute are these owl cupcakes? Just use oreos for the eyes (I replaced the creme filling in ours with pink fondant cutouts, which is very easy to do, but you could leave the oreo filling on yours if you wanted to keep things simple.) Add Junior Mint eyeballs, a triangle nose (mine are made from candy orange slices) and oreo wafer pieces for the eyebrows. You could make a visual recipe in Boardmaker, focusing on sequential directions and descriptive word concepts. And then students get to eat their creations!
We also made a fun, Mama Owl cake, inspired by this cupcake-only version. Our Mama Owl was cut out of a large 1/2 sheet cake, with the cut-out remnants used to create the nest below. We used oreos, fondant cutouts, peach rings and junior mints for the eyes, candy orange slices for the nose and toes, chocolate wafers, sprinkles and chocolate chips for the feathers and brown sugar and pretzel rods for the nesting materials. This cake could be used with a large group as a celebration of some sort or as an Owl Unit finale…too cute not to share!
Owls are fascinating creatures, really. An owl unit is the perfect way to study these animals and their unique attributes. Here is a vocabulary sheet to use for an owl unit introduction or as a word bank for worksheets or related activities. Just click on the link for a free, downloadable copy:Here are a few more links to help you plan your Creature Feature Unit starring Owls: