Free Downloads, Language, Resources, Thoughts and Inspirations

Not-So-Super!

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 supports I’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:

Advertisements
Resources, Technology, Therapy Tools

Technology News – Google Play Now Available

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 features as 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 News post 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.

Thoughts and Inspirations

The World-Wide Web

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!

Resources, Technology, Thoughts and Inspirations

Signs of the Times

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 site for 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 Moon book 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.

Articulation, Free Downloads, Holiday Theme, Language, Resources, Technology

More St. Patty’s Day Fun

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 (see this post for 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!

~Lisa

Free Downloads, Resources

Creature Feature –All About Owls!!

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:

How about some Owl images for your theme unit? You could use Google images, or check out this site for a database of images by owl species – The Owl Pages.

I hope you have fun with this owl theme! Let me know what ideas you use and how things worked for you and your students. Enjoy!