Sunday, February 7, 2016

Use Your Connect 4 Game During Articulation Therapy

At my school, we have 'speech lab' for those kids who don't qualify for an IEP but still have a single sound disorder that impacts their education.  For many of those students, it's 'R'.  My speech lab students generally are smart and cooperative, and also like to have fun.  To accomplish the 'fun' goal along with the 'R' goal, I've developed "R Sound Drop-In".  Use with a standard Connect 4 game that you or a fellow teacher may have handy.  This activity has saved me a lot of time, it gives the kids lots of practice, and they like it.  I hope your students like it too!

Here's the description:  This is an articulation game for the 'R' sound.  It is meant to be used with a Connect 4 game.  You must provide your own Connect 4 game.

1. pick the sheet for the sound you want to target (one for each child). For more than two children, play in teams. Set it up as shown in the picture on the cover. There are 15 words per sheet for each target sound.
2. Cover each picture with a disk from the game.
3. Play the game according to the standard Connect 4 directions.  As the child picks up a circle, have him say the name of the picture underneath. To get more practice, he can say it multiple times or use the word in a sentence.  Play the game several times since it can go fast.

 Clipart by Smarty Symbols © 2016
 Enclosed (all sheets are both in color and black/white):
Initial R color page 3
Medial R color page 4
OR words color page 5
EAR words color page 6
IRE words color page 7
AR words color page 8
ER words color page 9
AIR words color page 10
Initial R Black/white page 11
Medial R Black/white page 12
OR words Black/white page 13
EAR words Black/white page 14
IRE words Black/white page 15
AR words Black/white page 16
ER words Black/white page 17
AIR words Black/white page 18
2 blank sheets pages 19-20
Data recording sheets pages 21-24


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Gerald's Story

I have been avoiding posting stories about people with disabilities who have somehow overcome obstacles in life to become 'inspirational'.

This story is different, though.  It is about a team of people coming together to enable a man living in a group home to communicate, marry, and have a job outside of the group home.

This story is special to me because my daughter ( back from the Peace Corps) is now part of this man's team, and when I went to ASHA this year, I met Gerald at the group home where he lives.   Andorra (my daughter) recently shared this video with me and described him as "one of the coolest guys I know."  Please watch!   This is why I love what I do.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

"Pout-Pout Fish" Companion Pack--great for EC/SLP collaboration

I like to develop units around a good book, and a friend of mine enlightened me to "The Pout-Pout Fish"!
I loved it for the rhyme, the characters, the central theme of feelings, and the humor.  Your kids will love it too! 

My kids need extra visual supports and extension activities to supplement mainstream books, so I have developed some and listed on TPT for a modest price.

Here's the description:
This is an literacy/activity companion pack to the book, “The Pout-Pout Fish”. The Pout-Pout Fish book is not included—you will need to get that separately. This pack meant for the more linguistically challenged students and is perfect for speech/OT or speech/special ed collaboration. This is nice for integrating literacy and hand-on activities. You are purchasing visuals and questions for the “Pout-Pout Fish”, an interactive book and a craftivity with an assortment of visual supports for all. Most clipart by Smarty Symbols copyright 2016.
Visuals for the “Pout Pout Fish” book—icons, sentence frame, wh-questions, and a sequencing worksheet (3-8)
Everyone is a Pout-Pout’ interactive book with simple text and icons and sentence frames for matching and building simple sentences. Special emphasis on simple feelings. (page 9-21)
Step by step booklet and templates for making a Feelings Fish(23-33)
Communication board for the craft  (Page 34)
Yes/No and Wh-questions to go with the Feelings Fish craft  (page 35)
Sequence worksheet for Feelings Fish craft (page 36)

I looked on YouTube (which seems to have everything) and discovered this book is set to music in two distinct styles---rap and folk!  Check them out with your students! Take a vote--which did they like best?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Using a Cute Short Film to Help Teach Body Language

I love shorts (short films, that is)!  And, I found one I can use posted originally by another blogger.  The other blogger has an awesome website "Film English" and actually provides lesson plans for using short films to teach English to non-English speakers. His focus is different than mine, but many of the films he highlights can be used for a variety of purposes.

 The film he highlighted recently involved an animated short---boy meets girl, both are taking photos, and they go off together.  There is no dialogue---the whole scene is conveyed through body language, actions, eye gaze, and facial expressions.  The animation art work was amazing, and he captured subtle gestures, eye gaze direction, and facial expressions.  Kids sometimes attend to this style of film better than real life (as in Thomas videos!).  I would probably use this with older elementary, and middle school students.

There are lots ways to go with this.  Here are just a few ideas.

1. Have your students act out the scenes without words.  Can they catch the subtle gestures for things like "Wait a minute", or "Copy me"?

Wait a minute!
2. Have your students tell you what each character is thinking in different scenes based on eye gaze. You can stop the video at different spots for this.
What are they thinking about?
3. Have the students retell the story with words.  A graphic organizer or cue cards for characters, setting, first event, problem, and solution might help.

4. Since nothing is actually said in this film, it's great for inferences.   Questions can be simple like "What time of year is this?"  "Where do you think this story takes place?"  "What do you think went wrong with the camera?" "How do you think the girl got to the other side of the canal?" but since there is no text or dialogue, the kids have to figure out the answers from the video.  With older kids, it might be a great way to actually teach them what the word 'inference' means.

Have fun with this!


Saturday, January 2, 2016

What Child Doesn't Love a Train?

When I was a kid, my dad would scoop me up and dash to a train crossing when one came.  We would count the cars, and wait for the caboose.  Back in the early 60s, we sometimes rode a train from where we lived in Washington DC to Lexington KY.  We then moved to High Bridge KY which hosted an impressive bridge over the Kentucky River.  At the time, it was possible to climb onto the bridge and cross the river.  (Forget about safety rules!)
      I still love trains, and our family has taken some great trips across the country on Amtrak. Recently my husband and I traveled across Java, Indonesia among volcanoes and rice paddies by train.

Yes, I'm on this train as it goes around a curve in Java. This shot was taken from the window.

Without actually looking dangerous, trains are a nice springboard for use in a speech therapy session or an EC classroom.  Many kids have an interest in them, and there are myriad therapy materials available which use trains (e.g. Thomas) as the subject.   I've jumped into the fray with my own set of materials here.  You can use this in a small group, and then take off with it.  Bring in some big cardboard boxes and set up a pretend train in the classroom!   Kids will love it!

Here's the description:

This is an literacy/activity pack for the thematic unit of trains. 
 This pack meant for the more linguistically challenged students and is perfect for speech/OT or speech/special ed collaboration. This is nice for integrating literacy and hand-on activities.

 You are purchasing two interactive books and a craftivity with an assortment of visual supports for all. Most clipart by Smarty Symbols copyright 2016. The special train clipart is from Charlotte’s Clips.
Lots of Trains” real photo interactive book with manipulative icons and sentence frame (3-14)
Where is the Train Going?  interactive book with simple text and icons and sentence frames for matching and building simple sentences. Special emphasis on prepositions. (page 15-27)
9 page step by step booklet for making a Name Train(28-36)
Communication board for the craft  (Page 37)
Yes/No and Wh-questions to go with the Name Train craft  (page 38)
Sequence worksheet for Name Train craft (page 39)
Number sequencing worksheet (page 40) 
There you have it!    You can purchase this at a modest price at TPT.  Enjoy!  I will!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Three Wintry Products

I hope everyone had a nice holiday!  Here in North Carolina, we celebrated with record warmth. People had their air conditioners running, restaurants used their outdoor patios, and confused flowers blossomed. 

I'm hoping the weather will normalize by January, so I wanted to advertise here that I do have three winter products in my small TPT store listed at modest prices.  All of these are great for SLP/EC collaboration and perfect for your more language-challenged children.  Check them out!  I reduced the price of the Snowman Packet from last year.

The first is a Snowman Packet---which has "Snowman, Snowman, What do you See?"
     "Snowman Colors Bingo" and "5 Little Snowmen" interactive poem.  Price on this is reduced.

The second product is perfect for winter, and kids love the book that goes along with this!
"Bear Snores On" is a companion packet and activity packet which is loads of fun.

This last product is a companion/activity packet to go with "There was a Cold Lady who Swallowed some Snow"Again, perfect for our more linguistically challenged children, and lots of fun.

Have a fun week off if you have it.  Vacations can be rejuvenating, and I'm feeling ready to tackle the second half of the school year with enthusiasm.  I hope you are too!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

What do You Think of the Unexpected! Using Improv Everywhere Videos in Social Thinking Groups

A very popular website is Improv Everywhere.  I've been following them for years, and essentially, in NYC, people gang up and doing very unexpected things, garnering attention and laughter from those who are not part of the prank. 

Some of these are great for illustrating what 'unexpected' means, and then using screen shots of videos to capture people's reactions.   It's awesome for having kids try to determine both how the unsuspecting people are feeling, and then determining what they might be thinking.

Here are a couple of examples:


Year after year, the gang from Improv Everywhere invades a beach wearing formal clothing.

Ask your students what the man in the yellow trunks is thinking.  I'm sure there will be other discussion points made her, such as what were the unexpected behaviors on the beach.  Why do people react to these behaviors?


We use expected behaviors everywhere.  What happens when you see something wild at the usually boring crosswalk? 

 Take a look at the above screenshot.  Have your students determine how the ladies on the right are feeling.  What are they thinking when they see unexpected behavior? 
What are expected behaviors at a busy crosswalk? 
When people do expected behaviors there, how do others feel?

Of course, Improv Everywhere is all in fun.  Using expected behaviors in school, though, is serious. You will need to bring the discussion back to where you all are at the moment.
The next step is to apply this vocabulary (expected and unexpected) to different places in your school.  It's easy to make your own videos, and then talk about expected and unexpected behaviors.  Using the Social Thinking curriculum is awesome because you go a few steps further, mapping out social behaviors, determining how others feel when they see both positive and negative behaviors, and then bringing it back to the individual (consequences and how it affects his or her own feelings about himself). 

I'm sure I'll be posting more on this subject.  That's all for now, though. I hope everyone is having a nice December!  I love my job, but winter break is always a welcome perk.