Wow, what an overwhelming response I received after being featured as a guest contributor on PediaStaff, sharing some of my Earth Day activities! I decided to share a few more ideas for those of you looking to plan your week with Green therapy, technology and activities that incorporate UDL strategies. Please feel free to click, download and share any of these resources. Enjoy!
Here is a lively video teaching kids to Reuse, Reduce Waste, Recycle. It will get everyone up, dancing and moving as they learn about the 3Rs of helping the world:
Are you looking for even more visuals/activities to address goals with Earth Day vocabulary? Here are a couple of creations for you — Free downloads!
Looking for some Earth Day Books to share with your students? Check out some of my favorite theme-based books that will reinforce the concepts you review in therapy sessions. Many of these books are available in e-reader and audio versions as well as print:
Also, I previously posted about a site that offers free online versions of books. For every book read, they make a donation to literacy campaigns around the world. What better way to help your students feel good about working to make the world a better place?? If you are not yet convinced, please watch this video that gives you an overview of the Pearson Foundation inititative. It is well worth a couple of minutes of your time:
So get reading! Use your computer, laptop or smartboard to create a multi-media, interactive story time that will also make you and your students feel good about helping others. Here are a few Earth Day selections (by the way, this post is not a solicited review of their site or program…I simply think it is a wonderful idea for many, many reasons!):
I hope you enjoy these ideas designed to offer engaging activities with multiple modes of presentation. The more I learn about what works in speech-language therapy, the more passionate I become about incorporating technology into my sessions. I would love to hear from those of you who are using similar technologies with your students. Thank you for visiting LiveSpeakLove!
I’ve been racking my brain all week, trying to think of a way to use the idea Jenna posted this week on her blog, Speech Room News. She is using the app Tapikeo to quickly download images and pair them with voice audio, creating a fun, multi-media activity for students.
Without an iPad, I do not have a way to use the Tapikeo app, a wonderful program that makes saving pictures into a program and adding audio a breeze. I did contact the app’s creator, Jean-Eudes Lepelletier, a busy dad of two who designs apps for iTunes in his free time. He very kindly responded with partially good news. While Tapikeo is not currently available on Android devices, his newest upgrade will include an export feature that allows photo grids to be shared with others via HTML. I am hoping that those creative SLPs with iPads out there will be sharing their photo grids very soon!
In the meantime, I did discover a relatively easy way to quickly download PediaStaff’s images and import them into an interactive smartboard program with audio. The process is actually fast and simple, but it does involve a few steps:
Install Nitro PDF (this FREE downloadable program easily converts any file or selection to a PDF file, even from the web. Just choose “Nitro PDF” as your printer when you go to print. By the way, this program is a wonderful tool to convert those Boardmaker files to PDFs for easy sharing.)
Next, go to PediaStaff on Pinterest and scroll down to your Photo Library of choice — they now have many different photo boards, filled with theme-specific images to target a variety of skills.
Once you are in the photo library, simply PRINT the webpage (Don’t forget to change your printer to Nitro PDF!)
NOW comes the fun part! After you have a Pediastaff photo library converted to a PDF, you then just need to select “Extract Images.”
Clicking this powerful, little EXTRACT IMAGES button will instantaneously save each image to your computer!! No need to” right click and save as” on every image on the Pinterest board…just extract and you have each file saved separately in the same folder as your original PDF.
Here is a snapshot of my end result:
Once the images are saved (instantly!) to your computer, you can then create a fun, interactive activity with audio using PowerPoint or an interactive smartboard program (I use ActivInspire, which does not require a smartboard — use this program right on your computer with a mouse!) Below is a snapshot of the activity I created using action verb pictures paired with audio (as Jenna did in her initial example.) Students circled, highlighted and wrote text on this flipchart page, and when they clicked an image the audio was activated. I embedded audio using simple, present progressive verb sentences (e.g, “The boy is yawning.”) as well as past tense verbs (e.g., “Yesterday the boy screamed.”) We also practiced higher level skills with each trial…these images are perfect for incorporating “I wonder” statements like, “I wonder why the boy screamed?” to elicit inferences. I love using “I wonder…” sentences to promote those critical thinking skills along with the lower-level objectives.
So, even though the Tapikeo program is not an option for me right now, I can still very quickly and easily create activities by instantly downloading libraries of images through a PDF conversion and extraction. Perhaps this is an example of collaboration at its finest…Pediastaff, Tapikeo, Speech Room News and LiveSpeakLove all working together to create ideas for wonderful speech-language activities! I’m thankful for the inspiration…hopefully you will feel the same.
Ok, all of you tech-savvy SLPs, educators and parents…here it is. The launching of a wonderfully convenient media tool that will surely increase your productivity, creativity and use of technology– Google Play.
Many of you know that I am an Android device kind of girl, and I have had great success using some of the Android-based featuresas case management tools to streamline paperwork and sync documents between my devices. I admit that I feel a bit left out of the iPad craze in speech-language therapy sessions, especially when people like SLP Jenna over at Speech Room Newspost fabulous ideas and resources for using the iPad to target therapy objectives. Take a peek at her latest:
I’ve been thinking that even though my school district currently does not approve the use of mobile or tablet devices with students, surely there is a way to use my android device to at least prepare similar resources that can be presented to students on a desktop or laptop computer (if you are asking yourself, “what’s the difference?” you are not alone. I have faith that my very large school system is working on a process to approve and integrate mobile/tablet devices for use with students. For now, we have wonderful resources to use like the ActivPanel and other interactive smartboards, student voting/response consoles, and interactive web-based software like ActivInspire, Edmodo and Voicethread. The mobile devices are coming, but developing empirically based best practice standards for these tools is a process. 🙂 )
In my ongoing search for tools to create dynamic, engaging therapy materials and productive work solutions, I am extremely pleased to see the anticipated launch of Google Play. Google Play is now integrated with the previously known Android Market, now providing a one-stop shop for app selection, purchase, storage, and back-up. In addition to the Android Apps, Google Play also offers the same options for all of your other media as well. Even if you do not own an Android device, you can still upload all of your music and other media to the Google Play “cloud” for storage and anytime access. Check out how Google Play now provides shop and share features, Cloud storage and instant syncing to all of your devices for ALL of your media:
While this may be a marketing move from Google to branch out into territory previously dominated by powerhouse media providers like iTunes, Netflix and Amazon’s Kindle, this move opens quite a few doors for a busy Android user like myself. I love that all of my apps, music, photos, videos, and books are integrated into a single point-of-entry design. Google Play also lends itself nicely to using other Google features like Google Reader, Google Docs, Gmail and Google Calendar (all applications that are also accessible on my Android.)
So while the iPad may be the sexy, trendy tool for most therapists, I find it very exciting to be an Android user and discover even more possibilities that can easily translate from mobile device to work desktop to laptop to home computer…instantly. I will continue researching to explore which apps will work with the current regulations of my school district, and develop more therapy tools using the technology we have available. Be sure to look for upcoming posts in the (hopefully) near future as I spend some time researching and creating with the apps I find. In the meantime, here are a few links to sites where people have obviously done quite a bit of Android research themselves:
If any of you are using Android device and apps as part of your clinical management, practice or therapy, let me know. I would love to hear the kinds of things people are using and if you find Google Play a useful media management tool.
Like many children, my own kids used to love the book, Goodnight Moon. Definitely a classic tale, with simple pictures and a lulling rhythm that soothed my little ones to sleep as we rocked in our rocking chair. I still love that book, even though my kids have outgrown it. Times have changed; the world has changed. My kids are growing, and for at least two of them, picture books have now been replaced by newer, shinier things like iPods and computers. In addition to realizing just how fast my kids have grown and just how fleeting the bittersweet days of Goodnight Moon in fact were, I’ve been recently rather amazed at how the world has changed due to technological advances. I’ve been working to incorporate more technology into my speech-language therapy sessions and even in my caseload management practices.
At the risk of sounding like an old lady, looking around at today’s multi-media world conjures up phrases I swore I’d never utter, like, “when I was your age…” I recall the long-gone days of papers written on my archaic typewriter, or the “state of the art” word processor I used in college (the kind shown in the picture on the left, with a window that showed one line of text at a time.) In graduate school, I finally advanced to a computer in the university library, but struggled with DOS commands and formatting floppy disks (and yes, they were the truly floppy, floppy disks.) It amazes me that my children are now growing up in a world filled with incredible, user-friendly technology and instant gratification — multi-media streaming in the classroom, interactive smartboards, on-demand videos and holiday specials…I admit to feeling a bit of sadness that my kids really don’t know what it’s like to anticipate once-a-year television specials that used to bring us all gathered in excitement around the T.V. after days (weeks) of waiting. Now, holiday specials, movies, games, schoolwork and even social relationships revolve around the use of instant technology.
Planning? Research? Interactions? Today’s children really do not know what it is like to complete these tasks without instant results. They Google, they text, they Facebook, and–POOF! The plans are made without even a phone call. School projects, though still filled with rigor and preparation, do not take the weeks or months that they once did (“when I was their age.”). My middle/high school research endeavors (hours upon hours spent at the public library with me searching through the card catalog or poring over blurry microfilm transparencies on the giant machines) now seem ridiculous and ancient. Probably because they really were ridiculous and ancient, but hey, that’s all we had back then! Yes, I know, Old Lady Talk. Does it help if I admit that I am totally on the technology bandwagon, and that I now often have at least two internet-capable devices within my reach? I fully support the technological advances that bring so much to our lives (it’s kind of nice being able to play movies that my kids love when we want to, or being able to Google the formula to that 7th grade algebra problem that I’ve long forgotten!) But I do feel nostalgic when I think of things like cassette tapes, mimeograph machines (can you still smell the ink?) carbon paper (yes we wrote IEPs on such paper not that long ago!) or handwritten letters to friends and family. Now…signs of the times….we live in a bright, flashy, instantaneous, visually stimulating world full of modern convenience. I don’t deny that I love it and certainly benefit from the conveniences, but I am still amazed.
With these thoughts in mind, I thoroughly chuckled this week when I came across this fabulous sitefor reading books online. The site itself is pretty amazing…hundreds of popular children’s books available to read instantly and for free. They also donate books to various literacy campaigns, matching donations with the number of books you read. These online versions of books are perfect for smartboard presentation/group reading in a classroom setting. The chuckle I experienced came as I read this book:
It’s a parody of the classic Goodnight Moonbook I read to my kids and still adore. It’s a bit updated. Yes, it is a parody, but perhaps a pretty accurate description of today’s kids and what life is really like for many. If you want to chuckle and/or feel like an Old Lady (or Old Man) as you reminisce about days gone by, you can read the book online here: Goodnight iPad.
Enjoy! If you like it, don’t forget to email/blog/facebook/tweet/text/pin to let me know. 🙂 LOL. L8R.
Today I received a new present for my therapy room — a desktop version of a smartboard made by Promethean technologies. Information about this particular model can be found here. This piece of hardware is a smaller, desktop version of the classroom-sized interactive whiteboards that many schools are using. I requested this piece of equipment for use in my small therapy room, to work with small groups and individual students. With the trend in education moving swiftly in the direction of incorporating technology and meeting Universal Design for Learning standards (in addition to enjoying benefits we savvy SLPs have already discovered about the application of technology in the therapy setting,) my somewhat lavish request for the ActivPanel was granted. Today, it arrived! Feeling a bit like a five year old on Christmas morning, I eagerly worked through my lunch and planning period to unpack, set up and install my new geeked-out therapy tool. Here is a picture I snapped with my phone:
Are any other therapists out there using equipment like this? I am interested to know. Prior to this wonderful purchase, I often used smartboards as a resource in classrooms when teaching whole-class lessons. Now this same resource can be applied to small groups in my therapy room. I am excited at the possibilities I now have for technology-based multi-modal therapy sessions, beyond what a touch-screen PC or iPad might offer. It’s quite energizing to think about incredible advances in the tools we use for therapy. As I ponder the immeasurable impact of technological advancement on our world in general and specifically on the field of S/L therapy (visions of graduate school and hours spent cutting pictures out of magazines or photocopied workbook pages to create therapy games flash in my memory,) I end my day with renewed enthusiasm. Yes, it is an exciting time to be an SLP!
Did you know youtube is a wonderful resource for educational videos that can be used in speech-language therapy? I am fortunate enough to work in a school with interactive white boards in most of the classrooms. Often, I will create a lesson with a youtube video embedded into the flipchart. The students love the multi-media presentation! This video below worked especially well to increase attention and engage students in the lesson. I used this video to target receptive/expressive language tasks for lower level students working on descriptive concepts and sentence formulation. The visual stimuli paired with the repetitive, scripted sentences served as a wonderful model to elicit imitation and spontaneous language from the students. As a follow-up to the video, we “re-enacted” the story using our own colored paper hearts placed around the room. Students chose a colored heart and then formulated their sentence using the model from the video. Lower level students filled in with the name of the color or produced/ imitated a two word phrase, e.g., “red heart.” The students also practiced receptive language skills as they placed their heart in a special bag when their color was named. Here is the video that built the foundation for this interactive, holiday-themed lesson: