Interested in some new therapy supplies? Take advantage of Teachers Pay Teachers HUGE Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale! Every single LiveSpeaklove product will be on SALE for 28% off! Now is your chance to stock up on all of the LiveSpeakLove goodies you need. Holidays are our specialty– and we have LOTS of holiday-themed goodies that will give you a December to remember. Keep your prep work to a minimum and target a variety of speech and language goals using my theme-based activities. Fun, engaging activities that allow for differentiation and are aligned to the CCSS…take advantage of this HUGE event and you will have the best, easiest holiday season ever! Don’t forget to check out my FREEBIES!!
Happy November from LiveSpeakLove! As we polish off the last of the Halloween candy, many of us are gearing up for the next big holiday…Thanksgiving! November is typically a blur for me with the ASHA convention, American Education Week and anticipation of the ever popular Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa holiday season. But I always make it a point to very purposefully and carefully appreciate the moment that we have for Thanksgiving. I hope you do, too! To help get you get ready for Thanksgiving in the speech-language therapy room, here are a collection of Thanksgiving activities I made targeting comprehensive skill sets from the CCSS. These activity sets allow for differentiated instruction in individual, small group or whole class settings. Everything you need for this month in one spot…Enjoy!!
The end of summer…the beginning of a new season, a brand new school year…anyone else just LOVE that fresh, back-to-school feeling that makes you just want to get ORGANIZED and ready for Fall? Back to School season is one of my absolute favoritetimes of the year. Buses rolling through the streets again, children skipping along with back packs and book orders, with visions of soccer games and Halloween costumes not far behind them. Soon we will be ushering in brisk nights filled with pumpkins, scarecrows, hoodies, colorful leaves and homework at kitchen tables as the dusk falls early around our homes. Such a wonderful time of year, filled with promise and the forgiveness of a new beginning. Maybe I am a little sappy and cliche about the back to school season, but to me, this season is the beginning of what life is really all about. Are you ready to start on the right foot??? LiveSpeakLove is here to help! I’ve just posted one of my favorite back-to-school activity sets! This original set is the perfect activity for the Back to School season as classroom routines are formed and baseline data is collected. Use the materials in this set to introduce Back to School vocabulary and the Back to School theme unit. Print duplicate pages to create memory games, take-home practice pages, learning center activities and more! Target receptive and expressive communication skills with wh questions, sentence formulation activities, describing object attributes…these materials can be adapted to meet ANY articulation or language objective. Aligned with Common Core Speaking and Listening standards for multiple grade levels, this set is GREAT for differentied groups!! Hurry, on sale now in my TPT Store!!
Many of you read the recent postfeaturing Gretchen Hines and her poignant story of being Mom to a child with apraxia. Gretchen’s story of a mother’s love, sadness, frustration and eventual success touched many hearts (including mine) and inspired us as parents, therapists, educators and advocates. I am pleased to report that Gretchen’s story is featured in PediaStaff’s Parent’s Corner this week! Special thanks to social media extraordinaire, Heidi Kay, for picking up the story and spreading the word.
SLPs, educators, parents, and anyone needing a bit of inspiration in life today — please join me in welcoming featured contributor, Gretchen Hines. Gretchen graciously agreed to share this very personal, heartfelt account of her journey as a mother of a child with apraxia. Perhaps you are on a similar journey with your own loved one, or perhaps you are working to make a difference in the lives of families like Gretchen’s. Whatever your story, I hope that you will find inspiration in this mother’s words. I know I did. ~Lisa, LiveSpeakLove
The following post originally appeared on Gretchen Hines’ personal blog, MommyCircus. Head on over to her site and let her know how you liked her story!
It has been a few months since I have posted, but September came, school and sports started and my time became sparse. But, I’m back! Hoping to catch up on and continue to post about the happy happenings of our large household.
What got me started tonight has been weighing heavy on my mind for a few weeks and I thought it best to make a post, in hopes that it may change, if only one persons perspective on what I am about to approach.
Sixteen years ago this past October, we were blessed with our first born son, Tyler. As any first time parent would do we carefully marked milestones…first smile, sitting, crawling, walking, first word… Tyler made all of those milestones mostly right on time. right around a year or so old he spoke “mama” and “dada” for the first time. His brother Ben was born when he was 13 months old and Tyler called him “kitty” because of the his large amount of brown hair. But, his words were few and far between. When he turned two I found out I was expecting a third baby, and right about that time fourteen years ago, our beautiful little red haired 2 year old boy stopped speaking at all. Instead, he mumbled as though he had a mouth full of food. We took him to the pediatrician, who referred us to the local children’s hospital for evaluation. We were told initially that he might be autistic. I was devastated. I felt guilty that I was pregnant again while my precious little boy would need so much help. I had no idea what the future would hold for him… We went to lots of appointments and testing and finally ended up in the speech therapy department at CHKD. They explained to us that he was not autistic, however he displayed the high intelligence that a lot of autistic children display. What he had was a condition they termed apraxia. The connection between his brain and his tongue had a malfunction within it, thus making it very difficult for him to form words. The diagnosis they gave stated that they were ” cautiously optimistic” that he would ever be able to speak.
We quickly began daily speech therapy and were told it would be best if we learn sign language to communicate with him. Our precious two year old boy learned to sign to us to let us know what he needed. I desperately wanted to hear my son speak as I watched his tiny hands sign things to me. I became his mouth. I spoke for him everywhere we went. I watched in utter sadness as he would try to play with other children, only to have them walk away because he could not speak to them . On the playground kids would ask why he wouldn’t talk to them. Children wanted to know what was “wrong” with him. So, I kept him to myself. I kept him away from other children. He was always a curious little fellow and dearly loved to scavenge around the yard for worms and lizards. He loved exploring, and we would often explore the woods behind our house, just me and him and his brothers. His younger brother Ben, who at this point was 2 years old and speaking enough for both of them was quick to understand that his older brother could not speak. This, was not going to work for him. Determined to have his brother speak to him, Ben would talk at him, often forcefully “talk to me” he would say. And he would talk and explain to Tyler all day long. To this day, and forever, I owe a debt of gratitude to my little son Ben for his part in helping Tyler speak. He was persistent and forceful and often arrogant, and I believe that he still feels a bit of responsibility towards Tyler that he will never understand.
Many, many months of speech therapy later and one very persistent little brother…. my first born son at the age of 4, began to speak in sentences. And every word he has spoken since then has been a miracle. At this point, our therapy benefits had long since expired and it seemed as though our son had gone about as far as he could with speech therapy. His therapist agreed that he had progressed far beyond their expectations and it was probably best to discontinue his therapy. He did still have some difficulty with certain sounds, but we were satisfied that he could speak, and a slight speech impediment would not be the end of the world. At this point we decided to enroll him in pre school to help him learn to socialize with other children. I was scared to death. I wouldnt be able to be there if he needed help or if someone didn’t understand him. But, in true Tyler fashion, he was so excited to go to school. He went the first day and loved it, couldn’t wait to go back. He had such a good time at school and really seemed to be interacting well and making friends. And then came March of that school year. March is when the school holds parent conferences to discuss your child’s progress and determine a plan for the following year. My husband and I went for our conference on a March afternoon that I will never forget… A very misguided pre school teacher sat us down, and in not so many words told us that our son was “dumb” because she couldn’t understand him. She told us that he would never be able to succeed in a regular classroom and that she really didn’t feel that he should go on to kindergarten. Once again, that feeling of devastation set in. I cried the rest of the day and declared that I was removing him from that school. However, my level headed husband explained that it would not be fair to our son to take his school away from him because he loved it so much. That we would not let that teacher get the best of us. We would push forward, knowing that our son WAS capable of anything.
We enrolled him in private kindergarten the following year, and he thrived. His teacher was kind and understood him. She took the time to know him and she was able to see that beyond his speech, he was a very special, smart little boy. Feeling great about his year in kindergarten, we decided to enroll him in public school for first grade. Again, I was scared to death, but he was so excited. And, once agin in true Tyler fashion, he approached each day with such enthusiasm. I felt really good about our decision to put him in public school. And then, once again, a very misguided teacher decided that since she couldn’t understand him all of the time that he needed to be placed in special reading groups. But, not only could he read, he could read chapter books! I quickly had this situation remedied, however I had to agree to place him in speech therapy through the school so that she could better understand him. Come second grade, a year into public school speech therapy, little progress in improving his “horrible” speech impediment, he is placed into a second grade class for students with special needs. Once again dismayed at the treatment of my son by the public school, I am told that he was placed in this class under the recommendation of his first grade teacher. Determined to push forward, we kept him in the class, and actually found out that he had one of the most wonderful teachers we have had to date. She was kind and understanding, and agreed that he did not belong in that class. She took him under her wing and truly bonded with him. She let him speak in front of the class and give directions and be in charge. It was a wonderful year for him. He ended that year with so much confidence.We also found out this year that Tyler has a beautiful ability to look past others handicaps and differences and see that there is something good in everyone. He would tell me about the little girl in a wheelchair who was his friend and he never once mentioned that she was in a wheelchair. He went on to third grade and was placed in a high level third grade class. Again, he had a wonderful teacher, who saw his potential. He thrived that year and was actually placed in the gifted program. Fourth grade came, and while he again had a very kind teacher, we found out that year that this is the age that children become cruel. Suddenly Tyler was the brunt of a lot of jokes because of the way that he spoke. He would tell kids that he was from another country, and that is why he spoke that way. It was soon found out that this was not the case and he was criticized for everything from his speech to his red hair. But, as I had found out two years previous, Tyler has an extremely kind heart. He never spoke ill of any of the children who teased him, he would tell me that they were his friends.
This ridiculing continued through fifth grade. My worst fear realized, and I could not go to school and fix it for him. I had to stand back and sob. Which I did everyday that year. It broke my heart to watch my precious, beautiful son ridiculed, laughed at, singled out. Why, because he was different. He did not speak the same as everyone else. This year I pulled him out of speech therapy at school as this was a point of some of the ridiculing. Progress had not been made as the school system had hoped. But, I was happy with him as he was. My hands were tied. I tried to fight for him from afar, but this could only go so far. I asked him if he wanted to be home schooled, but he always told me no. Despite the treatment he received at school, he still loved it, and wanted to be a part of it. The bullying continued into middle school, and I watched as my once happy go lucky little boy became quiet, angry. He had had enough, but wasn’t willing to give up. He continued on alone at school.He had some good, understanding teachers, but we were still met with those that just could not get past his speech. He made good grades and was happy at home. He would not give up. I think that he knew somewhere, somehow there was a light at the end of the tunnel… That light finally came the end of his eighth grade year.
In the spring of eighth grade we had to make his schedule for high school. I was once again scared to death. How was he going to make it in high school? He came to me with his scheduling paper for me to sign so that he could participate in ROTC. I was very skeptical about this decision. How on earth with the problems he has had with communication would he make it in ROTC. I agreed to it, and this… became the light…. He entered ninth grade alone, and I think afraid. But, he was met with some very understanding teachers. Teachers that saw past his speech, in fact I said something to one of his teachers, and she replied ” I didn’t know he had a speech problem”. But, by far, his involvement in the ROTC program was a God send. That year, he attended boot camp in the fall. He was awarded numerous merits and by the end of his ninth grade year he was ranked as a Petty Officer 1st Class in his unit. Something very few freshmen had done.He had new friends. He was finally my son again. For the first time in several years he was smiling again. Those cruel children from the past seemed to have dissipated amongst the rest of the school. He was finally able to be himself again, though I believe that through those past years we had lost a bit of who he once was. The outgoing little boy who once would stop and dance for no good reason, or sing out loud was gone, taken by cruelty and misguided expectations.
Last week my little boy, the one who would never succeed was named as Chief Officer in his ROTC unit. His commanding officer asked him which unit he would like to be in charge of next year. Why, because of his ability to communicate with other cadets. Because of his ability to lead and be a leader. This evening that same little boy, my precious red haired boy will walk across the stage at Gloucester High School as he is inducted into the National Honor Society. Succeed… he did! There is a small part of me deep in my heart that wishes those teachers who labeled him “dumb” because of his speech would all be sitting in that auditorium tonight. Would they know my son? Succeed he did… and he will. He will be great things!
So, the point I am trying to make here is this… Please don’t judge. Never label child. All of our children are beautiful blessings from God! They all have a beautiful purpose, whether they can speak or not, whether they are in a wheelchair, whether they look the way that society would have them look. They are all important and great, and can do great things if we just allow them to do so. If you see a child who needs a little extra help… see them, hear them, help them, understand them… And to all of those teachers and friends who did understand… Thank You!
About Gretchen:I am Mom to nine beautiful children. I am a nurse by trade, and worked as a critical care nurse for a few years before becoming a home health nurse. Home health nursing is where I met my best friend and soul mate who is a home health physical therapist. We were married a year after our first date and shortly thereafter began having children… lots of them. I quit working as a nurse after our third child was born to become a full time Mom and to focus my attention on the needs of our first child. I thoroughly enjoy homeschooling my younger children, and dedicate a large portion of my time to their education. In my spare time these days I am a photographer and writer. Being a mom to nine children has been my biggest challenge and my most amazing blessing. At times it can be an uphill battle…but, at the end of the day we are blessed beyond belief and I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. Gretchen Hines, MommyCircus
Time for a celebration! In honor of the once in a lifetime date anomaly 12-12-12, I am offering a FREE GIVEAWAY of my most popular Holiday/Seasonal Activity! How about a FREE Holiday Bingo & Activity Set for your classroom or therapy room (or just to have at home for fun???) This MUST-HAVE comprehensive activity set targets language skills through seasonal vocabulary that can be adjusted to meet the needs of any student. Seasonal vocabulary from Christmas, Hanukkah (Chanukah) and Kwanzaa are used in these open-ended games, perfect for differentiation and inclusive education. Work on Common Core standards using these games can be tailored to meet individual academic or speech-language therapy goals–perfect for small or large groups, learning centers and push-in therapy sessions! Skills addressed in this packet include: seasonal vocabulary use and comprehension, use and comprehension of descriptive words, comprehension of wh questions, oral communication, knowledge of word classes/attributes…and more! Check out how to win this FREE RESOURCE below.
To win this free resource, HURRY and visit the LiveSpeakLove Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/livespeaklove and follow the directions in the Giveaway post. You will need to 1) SHARE the facebook post; and 2)Comment on the post on the livespeaklove page. That’s it!! A random winner will be picked at 12:00 midnight, so hurry and share!! Thank you for visiting LiveSpeakLove and have a happy 12-12-12!!
The season has really just begun…despite what retailers have been telling us since before Halloween! While there are more fun activities yet to come, I know many of you are planning out your entire month as we speak. To help with your planning and to add some holiday fun, I have compiled my Holiday Speech-Language Activities into one Roundup Post! I am thrilled with all the support and feedback I have received so far, and am so feeling the love over at my TPT store. THANK YOU, and keep it coming! Here is my HOLIDAY ROUNDUP for you..enjoy!!
Activities for you include the following Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa theme activities:
If there is anything else you would like to see, please let me know. I have lots of resources that I will continually post throughout the season, but I also take requests! Please leave a comment and let me know what would help you in your classrooms and therapy rooms this month. Thank you for visiting LiveSpeakLove!
Do you know about PACING BOARDS? Pacing Boards are a MUST for any therapy room. I usually keep a stash of pacing boards, with varying shapes and colors in different length sets–stored in a pocket chart or hung from a magnetic clip so I can grab them quickly when I need them. They are easily accessed during a therapy session and are useful in almost any therapy activity. My gift to you on this Giving Tuesday is a holiday themed printable containing two pacing boards. Use these festive pacing boards to give students visual/tactile/kinesthetic input for reducing rate of speech, increasing fluency, sequencing sounds/syllables in multisyllabic words, increasing mean length of utterance, formulating sentences, marking grammatical structures in a sentence, increasing conversational reciprocity and more!! These pacing boards can be essential tools to increase student independence as they practice skills — perfect for students to use at home, too — just print onto cardstock or durable paper and/or laminate. You can print multiple sets and then cut the boards to include only two or three shapes — perfect for targeting formulation of two and three word utterances. These boards can also be used as game score cards, schedule cards, token reinforcement cards, pattern sets or sorting cards!! Hope you enjoy this freebie, and put it to good use…I’d love to hear how you use this resource, so leave a comment to let me know! Thanks for visiting LiveSpeakLove!
Here is a resource I have for you to help put you in the LiveSpeakLove holiday spirit! Target /s/ in all positions of words with this cute printable activity I created. Santa’s hat contains practice words with /s/ in the initial position of CV and CVCV words. His beard contains /s/ in the initial, medial and final positions of one and two syllable words. This worksheet is perfect for speech therapy homework, practice folders, data collection probes, RTI and more.
Very excited to be moving into the festive holiday season…ready to decorate the LiveSpeakLove headquarters with my little (and not so little) ones! I love how memories flow as we unpack beloved ornaments, and blend them with new traditions. Wishing you all a wonderful start to your holiday season, and hope that you will enjoy some activities I have for you:
Target word class skills using this colorful holiday theme. Students will be delighted with this activity as they label categories, list items in a given category, sort picture vocabulary into categories, highlight critical attributes of given items, explore similarities and differences of related items, describe given picture vocabulary and more! Santa Claus Categories is a defnite must for your therapy room…great for literacy centers, too!
What you get:
18 pages total with text AND visuals for each category and item
Direction Page 12 Category Cards 36 Categorical Objects
Use “Santa Claus Categories” to support students in a variety of receptive and expressive language skills. This set can be used a stand-alone activity, or can be used as a “launchpad” for higher level skills. Simply remove visual choices or require students to provide additional examples to extend or differentiate the tasks.
Help students get in the holiday spirit as they practice later developing sounds in the initial, medial and final positions of words. The colorful
theme-based stimuli cards can be used with limitless activities…many suggestions are included in this resource set.
What you get:
17 pages total (6 target sounds stimulus card sets, duplicated for easy printing to created card pairs)
– Stimulus cards for consonant clusters, /s/, /s/ blends, /r/, /l/, “sh”, “ch” and “j”
– Instruction and idea page
-Cover Page – perfect for student notebooks or RTI packet covers
This activity is the perfect way to target Pragmatic/Social Communication Skills in small, large or whole classroom groups! The holiday “present” theme highlights the unique challenges associated with gift-giving, holiday shopping, seasonal celebrations and more. Discuss social commnunication strategies, themes of friendship, diversity and general safety in public situations with thought-provoking questions that will get students TALKING! Highlights general holiday giving, Christmas, Chanukah (Hannukah) and Kwanzaa.
What you get:
11 Pages Total
Cover Page (perfect for RTI packets, File Folder Covers, etc.)
32 orginal Pragmatic Presents questions
If you want to create your own resources to use, share or sell, my original Holiday clipart set is just what you need! You get 35 PNG files containing various images and colors (see above preview for a look at what is included.) Perfect for creating holiday activities using ActivInspire or other Smartboard program; or for creating interactive bulletin boards, file folder activities, literacy center activites, worksheets and more. This clipart is acceptable for educational, personal or commercial use (this last statement is VERY important if you want to create activities without any copyright violations! Trust me, you want to comply with copyright laws. To do so, you must use clipart and/or graphics that are ok to use —especially if you want to sell.)
Have you been thinking about creating your own activities, and possibly posting them in your own TeachersPayTeachers store? (If you haven’t ventured over to TeachersPayTeachers, I highly recommend it — an INCREDBLE resource for you…entire unit plans, lesson plans, literacy center activity sets, thematic units and MORE…all created by the people who KNOW about teaching children. I cannot express to you what a goldmine of credible, effective and affordable resources this site is! Want to find out more about sharing your own resources? GO HERE.
She compiled a list of over 50 SLPs who are now sharing resources on TpT. I love how Jenna comments that most of the reosurces “cost less than a cup 0f coffee!” Take a look at her list, complete with links to each SLP’s TpT store:
Finally, to spread some holiday cheer, I will be participating in TpT’s CYBER MONDAY and BONUS TUESDAY sale!! ALL LiveSpeakLove Resources will be 20% off! You can also enjoy an additional 10% TpT discount using the following code, for a total savings of up to 28%!! Take advantage of this holiday kick-off event:
THANK YOU for your support, and for visiting LiveSpeakLove!
Anyone else wondering just WHAT is going on with Mother Nature? A recent earthquake, a hurricane, a blizzard? Here in Maryland, it seems a bit odd and armageddon-ish to be seeing forecasts for both a massive hurricane and a stormy blizzard. I’ve been hosting a slumber party in my living room for the little people who live here — all of us excited to be home from school and work obligations, but still rather in awe of the storm’s potential and what the night may bring. Here is a glimpse of our Storm Headquarters, a camp that has evolved a bit throughout the day:
Children love to talk about the weather phenomena that we experience each year. With weather events opening the door for incredible conversations relating to science, social issues and language themes, I have used many weather-related games and activities to address a variety of skills in speech-language therapy. And so, as I wait for the modern-day privileges of electricity and the internet to end, I am sharing my year-round favorite — Weather Bingo. Here is a glimpse at the set I have created:
Use the picture vocabulary to increase knowledge of specific vocabulary, then target a variety of language skills as you play the Bingo game in small or large groups. Picture vocabulary can be used to target wh question comprehension, use and comprehension of descriptive vocabulary, visual discrimination skills,
formulation of phrases and sentences and more! What you get: 6 unique Bingo boards, all containing the same picture vocabulary; 1 page Bingo stimulus cards (can be printed twice to create instant memory/matching game!) I hope you enjoy using this activity to support important structured and conversational learning that can take place using a timely, relevant theme.
Thanks for checking it out!
~Lisa, reporting to you love from Hurricane Headquarters 🙂
I’m so glad people are enjoying my resources and taking advantage of my new, lower prices and the Pre-Halloween Sale. Being new to the TPT scene, it is hard to gauge what price is reasonable for the work behind the product, and the potential the product has in terms of its application in your classrooms/therapy rooms. Thank you for being patient while I made some initial adjustments! Keep looking for more resources — seasonal favorites as well as practice management/clinical tools. Also, don’t forget that my Pre-Halloween Sale ends TOMORROW!!! Don’t forget to take advantage of my FREE downloads, too. Thank you for your support!
It’s definitely that time of year! Hallways are filled with the hustle and bustle of end-of-the-school year excitement. In between closing sessions with students, team meetings, wrapping up special projects, prepping for summer private therapy and more, I have also been busy putting together summer speech-language packets for my public school students and their families.
The packets cover a variety of speech-language skills, incorporating theme-related content and activities that can be adapted for individual students. I included many of the popular activities found in my previous Summer Fun post. In addition, I also included information and tips/tricks for parents found in these handouts and in my previous Communication Temptations post. These speech-language Summer Fun packets are for both kids andtheir parents.
I have received a number of requests to post additional summer-themed activities. As always, I am happy to spread a little speech-language love and share resources I have developed. So, here you go! Additional activities straight from my Summer Fun Speech-Language Activity Packet…free for you to download for educational and/or personal use. Let me know if you are using them; I would love to hear your feedback!
Summer Speech/Language Activity Pages:
Stay tuned for more posts this summer including book, product and iPad app reviews. More free downloads for your summer themes in store as well. Thank you for visiting Live Speak Love, LLC…have a wonderful summer!
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! In the LiveSpeakLove spirit of sharing resources, I have created some FREE printable information pages for you to distribute to parents, teachers and other educators. Please feel free to share with others for educational and/or personal use. Enjoy!
Find out more about Speech-Language Therapy and Better Speech and Hearing Month with the following resources:
Spring is definitely in full swing! Our Spring Break is now over, but there is certainly no shortage of seasonal fun for the speech-language therapy room. I have been asked by Heidi Kay of PediaStaff to write a post highlighting activities that could be used for Earth Day. Heidi has pinned many of my activities on Pediastaff’s incredible collection of Pinterest Pinboards, and she also recently wrote an article for ASHASphere highlighting this Live Speak Love blog as one of the “Best Speech-Language Blogs A-Z.“ Wow! I am both honored and excited to present to you this Earth Daypost that is featured on the PediaStaff blog.
Earth Day, in my opinion, is a wonderful opportunity to educate children of all ability levels about the importance of taking care of our world. As children develop an understanding of the vocabulary, themes and issues, there are many teachable moments and life-changing conversations that can develop as a result. Earth Day is a universal cause, and it often sparks something in the minds of young learners. My own children have shown particular interest in the Earth Day theme, causing me to make changes in our family’s recycling habits. Children of all ages and ability levels can begin learning what it means to “Go Green” and care for the world in which we live.
These fun activities can be used to target almost any speech-language goal or objective. In the past, I have used Earth Day activities during individual and small group sessions, and also during co-treatment sessions with classroom teachers, the occupational therapist and/or the school social worker.
Here is a printable social story mini-book (four pages total to be cut into quadrants) you can use to introduce what it means to “Go Green.” Students will learn how they can conserve energy and protect the environment. You can even print an Earth Day Certificate for each student who pledges to do their part. Just click on the images to download:
Earth Day Bingo Boards are another great way to introduce the Earth Day theme and relevant vocabulary. During your Bingo Game, you can target myriad speech-language objectives like answering wh questions, formulating sentences using target vocabulary, labeling objects or using descriptive words in phrases and/or sentences. I often give “Mystery Clues” about a Bingo Picture, and students individually locate the target words from the given verbal descriptions. There are six different boards I made for you to download:
To teach about Recycling, I have used a few different sorting activities. These activities can be used to target word class, categorization, picture identification or labeling, answering simple wh questions, expressive language and more. Probably the most popular activity I have tried is actually taking a group of students outside for a “walk” where we discover an area littered with trash (pre-planted by me, of course.) After some discussion, students pick up the trash and decide what to do with it. Put it in the trash can? Recycle? Or (perfect critical thinking opportunity here) could it be saved to use again or perhaps re-purposed? This real-world, action-oriented activity really hits home with my students, causing many of them to search for trash (or treasures) on the school grounds or in their neighborhoods. Students love to come and tell me what they have found, and the action that they took. To do this activity with any sized-group, all you need is a pile of carefully selected “litter.”
If you do not have the opportunity to conduct this real-word exercise (or if you want to send a follow-up activity home for students to complete) I made this cut-and-paste version you could use:
For those of you with smartboards, you can use this virtual litter sorting game. Students will love dragging each item to its proper destination. If you have ActivInspire or a compatible program, just click on the link below to download the interactive flipchart I created:
Another great activity to use on a smartboard is this Going Green interactive game board. Just pair this game with any stimulus cards or questions that you wish to target. Students are always very enthusiastic about “rolling” the virtual dice and moving their game piece around the board. I have used similar game boards with both small and large groups. For larger groups, I place students on teams to increase interaction and decrease any wait time.
If you do not have a smartboard, or if you wish to insert the gameboard image to create your own file, here is a version you can import or print:
Working on those tricky /r/ sounds? Here are stimulus cards to target -er in all positions of words. Just print and cut to use with any open-ended activity (like the game boards above!) Or, print double copies to use in matching/memory games with the Earth Day theme:I’ve also used craft activities to incorporate fine motor skills, often in co-treatment sessions with the occupational therapist. Here is an activity in which students can follow sequential directions to create an “Earth.” Descriptive words, sequential and ordinal concepts, following directions and other language skills can be targeted in this “Go Green” project:
Whatever activities you choose, students will almost certainly appreciate learning how they can personally make a difference in our world. Doesn’t everyone want to feel that their actions have impact and meaning? So, Go Green this Earth Day, and enjoy teaching your students how to make our world a better place.
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.
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!
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!
It’s a nice , three-day weekend for most school-based SLPs! If you are like me, weekends (especially long ones) are a time to relax, yes, but also a time to plan lessons, catch up on paperwork and reflect on students’ progress. Looking forward to the month of March, I have many St. Patrick’s Day activities planned to target a variety of speech-language goals. Feel free to download the resources; just leave a comment if you can. Thank you!
First, I made a quick, introduction video using Animoto to educate students about St. Patrick’s Day and related vocabulary. Animoto is a wonderful resource to create dynamic videos set to music that will engage students in learning activities. I created this multi-media resource using my own mp3 file and Google images. This video will be used in various flipcharts I will develop for use on my therapy room smartboard (ActivPanel.)These flipcharts can target a variety of levels and skills using a fun, St. Patrick’s Day theme. (Pre-made smartboard resources using a St. Patty’s Day theme can also be found at Smart Exchange.) Here is the short video I made:
If you are interested in using Animoto for yourself, clickhere.
Other activities planned for various groups include four-leaf clover templates to target word knowledge, wh question comprehension and story elements. Here are some examples:
Template (use an idea below, or adapt for your own activity):
Here is an example of how I used the template for brainstorming object attributes (very important foundation skill for teaching students to compare and contrast.)
Here is the same template used as a graphic organizer for wh questions. This activity could be used to discuss objects and object functions, etc., or it could be applied to stories to teach identification of story elements.
Here is a vocabulary page for introducing/reviewing simple vocabulary words related to the St. Patrick’s Day theme. This page could be used as a low-tech board for St. Patty’s Day games, or as a visual word bank for worksheets and activities:
A fun game that my students always love is Memory. Just print out duplicate copies of the Memory Card page onto cardstock, laminate and you are ready for an open-ended game that could be used to target a variety of speech and language skills. On each turn, students can practice sentence formulation using the vocabulary words, or they can identify similarities and differences using the picture vocabulary. Students can also give their peers “mystery clues” about their chosen cards and see if the rest of the group can guess what the pictures are. You can adapt this game into differentiated activities to address just about any objective:
And, if you are not yet tired of Bingo Boards, feel free to download the set I made using Boardmaker. Take a look at a previous post for a summary about how I use these board to target a variety of skills:
For more ideas, check out these links for books, stories and crafts you could use in speech-language therapy sessions: