Articulation, Free Downloads, Language, Resources, Technology

President’s Day in the Speech Room

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

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

George Washington:

Abraham Lincoln:

A President’s Day Song:

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

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

 

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

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

~Lisa

Articulation, Free Downloads, Language, Resources

Achoo!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

~Lisa

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

Valentine’s Day Activities

I stopped at the store today to buy goodies and cards for my own kids to give their friends on Valentine’s Day. Our home is now equipped with pre-made cards and card-making supplies (for one child with a bit of artistic ambition,) treat bags and several kinds of candy doused with liberal amounts of pink and red. We are just days away from the holiday, and almost all of my kids are getting pretty excited. (Did you know that middle schoolers are now “too cool” for Valentine exchanges, even casual ones under the pretense of spontaneous candy-sharing?? Hmmmph.)

I am not necessarily a huge Valentine’s Day fan, but I do enjoy the chance to mark the swiftly passing days with entertaining, theme-related activities and the chance to celebrate with the people around me. I have a few favorite Valentine’s Day activities to share.

Valentine Bingo Boards – The term “Bingo” is used loosely, due to the fact that I use games like this to target almost every speech or language skill possible before we actually get to any of the “Bingo.” During a typical game, each student’s goals are addressed through differentiated activities involving speech production, identifying vocabulary given verbal descriptions, sentence formulation to respond to wh questions about vocabulary, or following simple and multi-step directions using unique ways to mark the square (no Bingo chips or dotters in my groups…we usually mark our squares by following directions like, “Draw a blue square next to the valentine card.”) We also use related vocabulary to highlight critical attributes and identify similarities and differences. Children often spontaneously share background experiences with the theme-related vocabulary and we take a few minutes to “turn and talk” to relate a past event or experience to a peer or peer group. What might look like a simple “game” to the casual observer is unquestionably a language-rich, engaging experience with opportunities for differentiated instruction tailored to meet multiple learning styles. Made with Boardmaker software, Bingo Boards are cinch to replicate for multiple versions using the “shuffle button” tool. Enjoy these free downloads, and feel free to let me know how you used them.

Valentine Bingo Boards, created using Boardmaker software
 
Free Download Links:
 
Low-Tech Picture Boards: Another activity I’ve used with success is this simple language activity targeting WHO questions using low-tech picture boards as stimuli. Descriptive words (heart shape, color words) are highlighted at the sentence level, while categorical labeling skills are also featured. Extension activities can be created to target related skills such as comprehension of embedded clauses, asking wh questions, using color words in sentences to describe pictures, etc. I use this document (created in Boardmaker) on my ActivPanel smartboard with the “annotate desktop” feature that will allow students to circle, draw lines, manipulate objects and add text to supplement the pictures. Animal sounds inserted as mulit-media files next to each animal (easy to do if you have smartboard software like ActivInpire )complete this fun, engaging activity that my students love!

Another Valentine’s Day activity that could be adapted to meet any therapy objective — this open-ended Valentine’s Day game board. I pair boards like this with picture stimuli, articulation cards, pragmatic question cards, sequence cards…ANYTHING than can be used to elicit a response as students take turns to make their way to the “mailbox” in time to deliver their Valentine’s Day card. This game board was created in Boardmaker on a legal size grid and then converted to PDF. Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting, and Happy Valentine’s Day to you from LiveSpeakLove. ❤

Articulation, Free Downloads, Language, Resources, Therapy Tools, Thoughts and Inspirations

The Power of Paint Chips

Most teachers, SLPs and parents know that the internet is packed with creative ideas for turning regular, ordinary items into useful tools and treasures. If you have spent any time on Pinterest, you may have a sense for just how crafty people can be in their DIY endeavors. Something I recently discovered. more than just clever or cute in its purpose–with aesthetically pleasing qualities, combining with elements of function and organization to create an invaluable visual aid– paint chips. The power of paint chips is pretty exciting to a visually programmed SLP like myself, with a love for all things crafty and colorful.

Using paint chips to create treasures is apparently as basic as scribing a single character with a magic marker, or as complex as combining mixed-media techniques to fashion an abstract expressionistic design. Etsy is filled with ideas for creating home decor, gifts and other designs using…yes, paint chips. Here are some of one crafter‘s clever projects:

PediaStaff explains the word family game that can be used in a variety of educational or therapeutic activities. Extending the idea they describe,articulation therapy tools could be created by changing the “word family” unit to target sounds in the initial or final positions of words (e.g., words that end in /k/ or words that start with /b/.)

Inspired by finds like these and others I’ve come across on the Internet, I decided to adapt helloliteracy‘s idea of using paint chips to increase vocabulary and word knowledge skills:

Teachers in my school have been reading and discussing a book, Donavan’s Word Jar, with students daily as part of a school-wide initiative to increase vocabulary use and comprehension. I have been working with many of the teachers by recommending developmentally appropriate words on which to focus, as they expose and incorporate higher-level synonyms into everyday classroom vocabulary. The paint chip idea clearly became the perfect tool to jump in on this initiative and reinforce word knowledge, word relationships, and synonym usage. I soon trekked eagerly to my nearest hardware store and made a slow, casual approach down their paint chip aisle. Seeing the spread before me, I wanted to grab handfuls of every luscious, vivid color. Unfortunately, frequent glances from the staff member at the paint counter, combined with the guilt I felt at the idea of taking items meant for customers actually buying paint…I chose only twelve strips and silently vowed to shop at that very store the next time I found myself in the market for paint.

Using the coveted, colorful strips and PECS symbols created with Boardmaker software, I created a visual display, a Synonym Word Wall which I titled, “Color Your Words With Shades of Meaning.” I hung the display outside my therapy room where students  frequently pass while traveling through the building. I’ve seen and heard many students already reading the word wall and commenting on how the colors and words “match” as they “change a little.” Students who come to me for therapy are excited to arrive and label the pictures they see, identify colors, or list synonyms for basic words.

Reflections on paint chips and their many applications randomly appear in my mind throughout the day and, admittedly, the night (isn’t that what all busy moms do — lie awake at night and make mental lists of everything that deserves more attention?) I envisioned paint chips used as pacing board activities, phoneme segmentation , multi-syllabic word production, formulation of 3-4 word utterances, topic boards, visual process charts, graphic organizers for sequencing and story retell….can you SEE why I am so excited about rows of gradient, colored squares??? I also wondered (possibly out loud) if there are ways to obtain paint chips without feeling like a shoplifter. Obviously, asking the stores for old paint chip samples could work, or possibly scouring yard sales and second-hand stores in hopes of finding old paint chip books. With neither option really fulfilling my desire to use these paint chips -RIGHT NOW- I decided to make my own. You could easily make your own too, in whatever shades you desire using one of the many graphic programs available. I quickly made a sample using Boardmaker software tools, and converted the file to a PDF.  You may download the sample for free and enjoy the technological advantage of digital paint chips. Add your own text, clipart, visual prompts, etc. to create the exact activity or tool you need:

Digital Paint Chips - FREE Download
 
Feel free to share your ideas for other ways to use this tool in your classroom, therapy room or home. I would love to hear how others are using re-purposed goods like paint chips. Thanks for checking out LiveSpeakLove!
 
Lisa, SLP obsessed with colorful, pretty things 🙂
Articulation, Caseload Management, Language, Organization, Resources, Thoughts and Inspirations

Pinterest Finds

Probably the best way to spread some SLP love is to introduce you to the wonderful resource known as Pinterest. For visual people like myself, Pinterest provides beautiful, engaging images of all things deemed clever, lovely and inspiring. I admit to being completely sucked in by the aesthetically and intellectually pleasing images, spending way too long on the computer “researching” things that I need/want/like/should remember for my house, wardrobe, dinner table or future holiday extravaganza. But did you know that Pinterest is a goldmine of speech therapy resources? Check out some of the resources I’ve discovered already: