Friday, August 19, 2016

Plan Ahead for Thanksgiving---Review of an Awesome Children's Book, and Free Companion Activities

I love children's books, and especially love those with beautiful illustrations, clear language, and simple messages.  Today I was given a new book entitled Thanksgiving Weekend, and fell in love. The author and illustrator, Shannon Moore Fitzgerald, is local to our area, and you can check out her art, musings, and books at www.boldmovesstudio.com. She is a former elementary school teacher, author, artist, quilter, and lifelong lover of learning.

In this delightful book about Thanksgiving, the concepts including gratitude, fun, family, sharing, and love are each given their own page, with gorgeous illustrations, and lovely prose.  Each page is a work of art-- a combination of cloth applique and other media, simple enough to convey the main idea but offering enough visual support to provide a springboard for reinforcing vocabulary.

Whenever I find a new book, I always think of our children with language difficulties who need more visual supports, so I developed a set of visuals as an interactive aid for comprehension.  The visuals include icons to match with each page's concept, and a step-by-step set of instructions to make a 'Thankful Turkey' project.  You can download this for free at the end of this post.  The author has also provided nice suggestions at the end of the book for enrichment activities including suggestions for developing a 'gratitude graph', 'gratitude letters', and an Acrostic poem.  Although these didn't come with visual aids, it wouldn't be too difficult to scaffold some of these ideas visually for our EC population.
icons to add an interactive component
Thankful Turkey activity
















An Amazon reader wrote about this book: As a special educator and a parent of young children, I am always searching for great holiday and thematic books to read with my kids. I have found Thanksgiving books on turkeys and the history of Thanksgiving, but could never find a book that focuses on GRATITUDE and GIVING THANKS that was also appropriate for young children -- until now!!! I especially love how Fitzgerald's poetic words and beautiful illustrations highlight Thanksgiving vocabulary on each page, like GRATEFUL, SHARING, and BLESSINGS. This book will make you smile and warm your heart, no matter your age. I can't wait to read this at home and in my classroom!

Plan ahead for Thanksgiving!  It'll be here before you know it and this book will work great with your younger learners.


Click here to download the supplementary materials.



disclaimer:  I was given a copy of this book to review but otherwise, gain nothing financially.  This blog contains a link to Amazon.  


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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Back to School---Awesome SLP materials! TPT storewide sale!



It's back to school time (almost) and so TPT is throwing a sale!  All of my items are 20% off and then TPT is adding an extra amount off if you use the promotion code BestYear !  You can't go wrong.

I have several awesome items perfect for the more language-challenged children on your caseload. These also work if you are a special education teacher and want to emphasize language/literacy in your classroom centered around themes.

Check out my Apple Literacy Packet with interactive books, a craft, visuals, and nature scavenger hunt.  Kids love it!



A new item is a Friendship Packet.  Kids learn places in the school, learn verbs of friendship, and make a customized friendship booklet.


Finally there's a cute Back to School packet.  This also has interactive booklets, a craft with communication board and sequencing activities and vocabulary bingo.
















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In addition to selling items on TPT, I also purchase my teaching supplies from some very gifted SLPs.  I have a couple of recommendations for materials that I use all the time.








Super Power Speech has developed an awesome social skills packet with games, posters, and social stories centered around a super hero theme.  Check out Super Social Skills!









Nicole Allison has developed a large pack of articulation carryover materials.  Once I bought this, it was in constant use for those kids who have mastered specific sounds at a word level but need help with self monitoring and carryover.
Check out Articulation for Reading and Conversation!










I hope everyone has a great start to the new school year!  I know I will!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pokémon is Everywhere---Free printable interactive book

I hope everyone is having a good summer!   I am!   After a trip to Yellowstone, I'm a lady of leisure--no summer school work for me this year!

The past two weeks, I've suddenly become aware of Pokemon Go.  I downloaded the app into my phone and stumbled around a park a bit, finding three of them, before deleting the whole thing.  It made me look more like a zombie than I wanted, ha ha.  However, I do recognize that lots of people are really enjoying this, so I perused some public domain photos and created an interactive book for the kids.  Go play Pokemon Go outside with your students, then come back and read a book together! This is a free download.  Picture symbols are from Smarty Symbols---I do have a professional license for using these.  Please don't reuse them on another product. Photo credits are provided in the pdf document where needed.



 Click here to download this free book.  Have fun!
Smarty Symbols



Yellowstone was great, by the way.  We put over 5000 miles on the car and visited or drove through 18 states.  Have to go again.



Monday, July 4, 2016

AAC Device Implementation Form---Free Download

By Ruth Morgan, M.S. CCC-SLP and Ashley Robinson, M.S. CCC-SLP

About a month ago, an esteemed colleague of mine, Ashley Robinson, and I published a model for AAC device implementation.  We stated that the high tech device often recommended for a student was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of developing successful communication in a natural environment. Many factors need to be in place.

Since that time, many of you have viewed this post.  As with many blogs, ideas are presented but here there needed to be a more tangible document to accompany these stellar thoughts, so Ashley and I have developed a handy form to go with this iceberg model.  It is basically a set of yes/no questions, with space for a short action plan to go with each 'no' answer.  Helpful links are embedded in the form itself.  Questions follow the same categories as those presented in the iceberg model.  We have envisioned that the child's IEP team (with an AT professional) would meet and discuss these points, one by one, and problem-solve, assigning team members for different actions.  The actual form is three pages. You can download it free at the link below.

screenshot--one of three pages

The key is teamwork.  No one person can successfully implement AAC whether that person is a parent, an SLP, or teacher.  This form will help to guide a team to think about different parameters in AAC implementation and use.  Please let us know if we need to add or edit questions.  I'm sure we will be revising as time goes on with your help.





Author Bios:

Ruth Morgan is a full-time speech language pathologist at Ephesus Elementary school and author of Chapel Hill Snippets. You can find her materials on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Ashley Robinson splits her time between providing speech language pathology services at the secondary level and working as part of the district Assistive Technology team. She is the author of everydayaac.com.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

I'm Back!

Hi Friends,

I've been traveling on a long road trip to Yellowstone and back, seeing lots in between.
(I never knew that Kansas had so much wheat, or that the Badlands originated from volcanic ash)
Now, no ESY this year, just a much needed summer off!  I'll be posting new materials and speech thoughts soon.

18 states
22 days
5500 miles

Awesome!


Sunday, June 5, 2016

AAC Devices: Merely the Tip of the Iceberg-- There’s More to Good AAC Implementation Than Meets the Eye

By Ruth Morgan M.S. CCC-SLP  and Ashley Robinson M.S. CCC-SLP, ATP


As an SLP, how often have you heard this?:  “I saw XYZ new device and I think it would be great for my student,” or “Last night I saw XYZ device on tv and it was a miracle!”


High tech AAC devices are just the tip of the iceberg of things that need to be in place to make students successful communicators. Here are 10 other key components.

Image by Ruth Morgan; Use but please credit
  1. Systematically organized core and fringe vocabulary. Here are some examples:
  2. Peer language models. This doesn’t even have to be other device users. Kids need to see other kids using language.
  3. Opportunities for functional communication (including commenting, asking questions, greetings/salutations, requesting, and rejecting). Not just making choices
    • The Communication Matrix is one of many tools that allows you to see a range of communicative functions
  4. Data collection methods
  5. Lite Tech backups should always be in place for high tech devices. Batteries tend to die at the most inopportune times.
  6. Room for growth. Students need to be able to combine symbols to make more complex language. Always be thinking ahead.
  7. IEPs with SMART goals
The ASHA Leader Blog has a nice post with Tricks to Take the Pain out of Writing Treatment Goals
  1. Training and planning time for staff. This is crucial!!!
  2. Adult modeling of AAC use. PrAACtical AAC has a collection of posts describing the importance of aided language input
  3. Stakeholder support (including parents and administration) for funding of devices and implementation of all of the above!


If teams focus solely on the device (the tip of the iceberg), then you may very well end up with a really expensive bookend or fancy choice board.  What’s underneath the surface is vital to successful implementation.

Author Bios:

Ruth Morgan is a full-time speech language pathologist at Ephesus Elementary school and author of Chapel Hill Snippets. You can find her materials on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Ashley Robinson splits her time between providing speech language pathology services at the secondary level and working as part of the district Assistive Technology team. She is the author of everydayaac.com.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Musings from Washington DC

My husband and I took a weekend jaunt to the capitol on Memorial Day.  Even though I have been to DC many times, I had never been to Arlington Cemetery, and also hadn't seen the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial near the mall area.  As I get older, I am realizing the supreme sacrifice so many of our young men and women have made.   The young soldier's grave in the photo below showed he was awarded the Medal of Honor.  You can look all Medal of Honor recipients up on the internet.  This soldier died in Korea.


Then we walked by this---Robert Kennedy's grave.  I realize most of you who are reading this don't know much about RFK, but I acutely remember the morning before school that my mother turned on the TV to the news of his shooting, and then death.  He had just won the California Democratic primary.  Who knows how his assassination changed the course of history.    (He has the most simple grave marker in the cemetery.)


Lastly, I wish that people on both sides (Republican and Democrat) would hold this as one of their guiding principals as they campaign for office. This was a Franklin Roosevelt quote engraved in granite at his memorial.
  Enough said.








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