Friday, September 28, 2012

Articulation in Reading

 Finding books to engage kids for Articulation Practice in reading can be very difficult. I've attempted to have kids bring something they are reading in the classroom - either for fun or as an assignment, but it typically get's forgotten.  Then I have to choose - do I have the kids run back to their classroom to get their reading and lose precious therapy time or to grab one of my books.  I've been choosing to do my own books and my kids are usually very excited to read for me, and not in the classroom.  I've also used these books for reading in fluency therapy.  As an added bonus - a quick run to the copy room ends up in instant homework!
I continue to struggle with connection to the curriculum in my reading in the therapy room, but always worry when kids are bringing things at their reading level from the classroom.  I want my kids to focus on their speech sounds, not challenge the reading level.  Because I usually pick science-related books, my kids are learning during their session and I try to balance what I need them to practice and educational relevance.  

I've reviewing some of my favorite book series below.  Most of these are from school book fairs, with few picked up on Amazon looking for a specific series.  I've got other books I use, but these are definitely my, and my student's favorites! I have a pretty hard rule when kids are choosing books to read in therapy - once they pick a book no switching for today.  If they decide they want something different then they can choose it on another day.  When kids start switching books back and forth, it takes forever to choose something to read for a turn and there's usually a small amount of arguing.  I don't have time for any of this and one book per kid per day seems to be the best solution.

Scholastic True False Books

Scholastic True False is an entire series of books - I only have five, but there are more available (and I want them...).  These are about a third grade reading level (if your school does STEP testing kids in 11-12 and above can easily read them with a little help on unfamiliar/technical/science words).  The books are interesting enough that my fourth, fifth and sixth graders also really enjoy reading them!  The books are structured with a true false question on the front of the page, and the answer with a paragraph about it on the next.  The format of the books engages all children in the group, not just the one or two who are reading.  The single paragraph nature of the second page is also a great length for a speech turn.

101 Animal Secrets and 101 Freaky Animals

These two books are about the same reading level as the true false books. Each page has one animal or animal secret with a paragraph about it.  I used these last year for S and R.  I copied about a bunch of pages and had kids highlight their speech sounds.  They really enjoyed doing these books and the pages copied well.  I have some extra fun, since two of my best friends have an unusual pet collection and they have two animals in the first 10 of the 101 Freaky Animals books (Legless Lizard and Bearded Dragon).  I make my student's guess which ones I've held, usually recently. 

 101 Most __________

These are an absolute favorite with my middle/high school aged students.  The reading level is about 5th or 6th grade, I've had a few high fourth graders that can read them, but even interested younger students get quickly frustrated.  Even though the reading level is early middle school, my older students get into the content of the books.  These have a lot more text than the previous two book series.  There are 4-6 paragraphs on each page.  I have kids read 1-2 paragraphs per turn and then they can select to continue reading the same page on the next page or switch pages.  I've heard all of the 101 Most Disgusting items several times by now, but my kids LOVE trying to gross me out and really get into it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Legos Game

I saw this idea on Pinterest and after 20 minutes or so of trying was unable to find the original link.  I loved this idea so much that I just had to make one for myself.  I love Legos, my students love Legos and who couldn't love a Lego game?

The picture on Pinterest didn't come with rules, so here are the rules that I've made up:
Every student starts with a Lego person.  The roll a dice (either a standard 1-6 dice and a 1-3 Super Duper dice work great) and see how many Legos they can collect as they move through the game board.  Once every student finishes the game, or we run out of time, they count to see who has the most Legos to see who wins the game!

My students have been having so much fun with this one!  They love seeing how tall their Lego towers can get and using the Lego people as game pieces.  I love it because it's a great way to work in some basic math skills (you had two Legos and picked three, how many do you have now?) and fine motor skills of (connecting and separating Legos) into what we are doing.   An added bonus is that it's been loved by 1st through 6th grade students, allowing me to leave the same activity on my table all day long.

Believe it or not the hardest part of getting this game together was convincing my mother to part with a small amount of my childhood Legos!  I have three Lego people, and 35 blocks (4x2 bumps on top) for stacking.  I have yet to run out even in groups of three.

The Google Doc is Here! Comment if you grab it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sorry for Asking Questions

This free material was inspired by a post at Sublime Speech.  I fell in love her her Sorry cards for Synonyms and Antonyms, and I have a particular student who is even more in love with the game Sorry.  Unfortunately Synonyms and Antonyms are not a good fit for his goals.  After a few minutes of thinking through his needs Sorry for Asking Questions was born.

The cards are meant to be played with the typical game of Sorry with kids using the prompts on the cards to ask each other questions throughout.

I'm always looking for more materials for asking questions and ways to make the speech activity itself into the game.  I am super excited to try this not only with the specific student I created it for but also with several other of my groups.  His best-ever therapy session was on Monday while playing Candy Land for Language as found on Speech Room News, and on some of the worst ever we went running outside (my room is really close to the door...).  I'm really hopeful that with some new creativity this year we can keep the good momentum flowing, especially since I enjoy happy smiling students!

Print and Laminate and Enjoy!  I'm unable to print in color on cards stock at work so I usually back my cards with construction paper to prevent "peeking."

The Google Doc is Here

Comment if you grab it and let me know what you think!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Back to School Challenge!

I saw something similar on another blog a while back, and would give credit, but I honestly don't remember where it was...  I've been meaning to have my students do a similar challenge for some time, and thought that back to school is a perfect time to get them back into the swing of things.  I'm really hoping that my challenging my students to skip past the sticker system and get a prize immediately we can get back where we were at last spring as fast as possible.

I'm going to challenge my articulation students to say their sound correctly 150 times during a speech session and reward them with a trip to the prize box when they meet the challenge.  I'm planning on giving my students several opportunities to get 150 correct productions in a single session.  During a typcial speech session, each my my articulation students has 200-250 total productions, so I'm hoping this is a reasonable goal for most of my older students.

 But, for some of my younger students and students who qualified for services at the end of last year, 150 isn't a realistic goal.  Thus, I give you the 80 correct production challenge.  As many of my students do know each other, I am going to introduce the half sheet with the challenge on it at the beginning of the school year to my new students, and then have them let me know when they are ready to attempt the challenge.

Now, I'm not going to leave my language and fluency students out.  I'm going to challenge my language students to tell me five things they did this summer and one thing they are excited about for the school year.  My school is focusing on literacy and writing, so my sheet does have fill in the blanks on it.  I usually expect my students to write 1-3 words, and of course spelling doesn't count.  The real challenge won't be in what I'm expecting them to be able to put on the paper, I'm hoping to be able to get some information about responding to questions, story telling, vocabulary use, grammar and all of that good stuff.  I'm hoping that by offering a price by completing the sheet to *my* satisfaction, I can engage some of my more reluctant students (and reward the ones that were always going to tell me!).
As of now I'm planning on doing the Language Challenge with my fluency students.  I've thought about having them tell me what they remember about stuttering from last year for the challenge, but then I remembered that I have several students who qualified last year and haven't yet started therapy...  As I've said above, my students all seem to know each other (even in a 1200 kid elementary school and across grade levels) so I'm planning on keeping things as fair as possible.  By doing the things this summer with my fluency students I hope to continue to build rapport and the safe space all of my fluency students will either be new to speech or in new groups this year.

The google docs are here:
Articulation - 150 Sound Challenge
Articulation - 80 Sound Challenge
Language Challenge

What is everyone else doing to get their kids back into therapy?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Organizational System for a New School Year!

I've been really getting ready for this school year and have been neglecting my blog for the past few weeks, but here is the organizational system I've been planning and hinted about in a previous post. 

I've been making my own therapy materials since graduate school, and been printing and using all the wonderful things available online to use too.  One thing I've always struggled with is how to organize them.  This year I decided to get pencil boxes.  Lots of pencil boxes.  I labeled them according to skill and put a sticky label on the outside edge. 

 When starting to sort, l labeled all the boxes with post-its and reorganized as needed. 

As planned, the boxes fit perfectly on the bookshelf in my room!

Now if only the rest of my space was this organized....