Monday, November 25, 2013

New products!

I have not been blogging much this fall.  Work is getting crazy!  I don't know how all of you with 100+ caseloads do it.

I have 2 new activities for articulation and language for mixed groups and RTI.

Each contains:
One page of language activities including: WH questions, basic concept comprehesion, describing/comparing, sentence comprehension and conversation questions.
One page of themed articulation words sorted by speech sound.
Two pages of quick game cards that can be used with the provided materials or separately.

The packs are (linked to TPT):

Winter Themed

 and Christmas Themed.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Carryover Linky

I put up a previously planned blog post earlier today, but this morning is a double as I found the Carryover Linky from Crazy Speech World and got very excited.

Carry over is HUGE. If my students don't use their speech sounds outside the room, we are really not making good use of their time at school.

I start talking about carry over at the initial IEP meeting.  I show parents blank copies of speech homework and talk about what it is and what it is for.   I did a previous post for my homework sheets in words, sentences and a homework sheet tied to Rory's Story Cubes (links are to Google Docs).  For first grade students I usually do modified homework sheets where they only have to practice 2 times, or say their words 5 times.  It depends on the student.

My general spiel for parents about home work is:
"Homework is about giving your child more chances to practice the correct way to say (their sound).  When I send homework it is for something your child can do 90 to 100 percent of the time at home.  The homework gives your child a chance to practice their speech sounds in somewhere other than in the speech room.  It makes your child think that you are listening to their speech sounds.  If you notice on the sheet, the homework takes about 5 minutes and you should do it 3 times.  Speech homework is about doing a quick practice and then you can move on to the other things your family needs to do."

As students move through therapy I make the homework more complex.  I'll even photocopy some pages out of some of my non-fiction books to highlight all the S, R or TH (or whichever) sounds that is on the page.  I'll draw a line on the page and write signed by it.  I try to make homework relevant to the student's level in therapy. 

If you clicked the links, you notice that my homework sheets are blank, and each word needs to be written in.  This allows for my students to pick different words every week for their homework.  When we first start picking words, I encourage my students to pick words that are meaningful and they need to be able to say.  I've had names of brothers and sisters, friends, pets, favorite toys - talk about words we need to say!

Once I get to a point where I'm expecting students to be using their sounds in the classroom, I put a reminder on their desk.  I usually put superman symbols on the desks of my S students and bought some really cute robot clip art for my R students.  The first use of the reminders is a visual for students to see and remember their sounds.  I cannot be in classrooms as much as I want to - I'm in a huge building with 6-8 classrooms in every grade level, and students in all but 2 classrooms in 1st-5th grade.  My second use of the reminders is related to this.  I have the classroom teachers, silently, touch the desk symbol when they notice error sounds.  This teaches my students that their sounds are also important to their teachers and not just to me.  

Make sure you check out  Crazy Speech World for the rest of the blog posts about carry over.  I'm really excited to read them and see what works for other people!

Left Right Activity and Facebook Freebie

Much like everyone else, I spend tons of my time teaching basic concepts and thinking about teaching basic concepts.  This week, I made up a (reasonably) fun activity to practice left and right.

 The student is given directions to roll a dice with either their left or right hand to practice.  This student has small post-its with left and right written on them on the table to help keep track.  When the dice is rolled, we keep track of how many points each hand gets.  I used one of my big foam dice because most of my students think that they are more fun.
It is a super simple activity that gets students to think about which hand they are using.  I did it with two students yesterday and they both really enjoyed it!

I also have put a Thanksgiving Themed Freebie up on Facebook.  Like me on Facebook to access it!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Language and Articulation Mixed units!

Inspiration has finally struck, and I managed 3 new units in a little over 24 hours!  These new activities look at targeting language and articulation in the same groups, but can also be used with language only students or articulation only student.

The Picture to talk about is slightly different than the coversheet and may contain more items to talk about

Each unit has:
1 page picture to talk about
1 page of language questions targeting: WH questions, basic concept comprehension, divergent naming, convergent naming, describing, comparing, listening comprehension and conversation questions.
1 page of articulation words
2 pages of game cards (can be used with the included activities or separately).

The language and articulation lists are in black and white to save color ink.  An added bonus is you have a choice to laminate to save paper, or print in black and white to save laminate! Not laminating could also allow you to take data on the sheets.

I also love that the therapy stimulus items are separate from the game cards because many of my children find having both together to be pretty distracting.

All are available on TPT!
Farm Language and Articulation
Outer Space Language and Articulation
Thanksgiving Language and Articulation

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Spooktacular Sale!

On October 13th and 14th, I and many other SLP TPT sellers will be having a sale!  All items in my TPT store will be 20% off.  Use the promo code FB100K for an extra 10% off!

I've been using lots of things I've made as well as other grabs off TPT this fall and this is a great chance to pick up some more things.

My students have been LOVING using my Halloweentown Inferences set this week, which is targeted at both articulation and language students.  I'm loving seeing the many different ways my students organize their towns.

Get your wishlists ready!  I know I'm thinking about mine!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dollar Store Dash Linky Party

I tried to do the Dollar Store Dash Linky party as true to the directions as possible.  I completely failed with the only spend 5 dollars part of the challenge.  This is probably why I don't spend more time in dollar stores.

I will limit my activity creation to only $5 worth of products, but will admit what else I bought.

I bought 3 things for the 5 dollar part of the challenge. (6 dollars worth of things are pictured, but the you can only count $5 and use manipulables you already have or buy less cones or only one box set).

The stuff:
1. Frogs - 8 pack
2. Two sets of 2 googly-eyed monster boxes
3. Three colored traffic cones ($1) each.

The activities:
1. Use frogs with the traffic cones to work on concepts such as between, under, left and right.
2. Use frogs with the boxes to work on concepts in, out, on, off and big and small using the boxes.  For older kids I might start to introduce things such as "both."
3. Cut a slit in the top of one or both of the bigger monster boxes and use them as card eaters.
4. Use the traffic cones as visuals to work on slowing down kids who have fast rates of speech.
 5. What did the Mummy/Frankenstein eat? Activity: Hide other items in my speech room inside the boxes.  Either show one student what it is and have other students guess, or describe it myself and have all of the students guess.

Other things I managed to collect:
Prize box items (princess rings, glow in the dark snakes & scorpions)
Tootsie Roll pops (to live at my desk)
A bunch of National Geographic kids books that are great for working on articulation generalization and connecting to classroom units.  I'm particularly intrigued by the "Book of Why" and the possibility of using it to address why questions.

Click to see the rest of the Linky Party and the post that started it all at Teach Speech 365

Monday, October 7, 2013

Basic Emotions Activity

I have a few kids on my caseload with understanding emotions goals and needed something else to use with them.  One day last spring, I was talking to my ASD teacher friend and she told me about a training she went to.  One key thing was that for kids who don't understand emotions very well, focus should be on a few basic emotions rather than shades of difference between afraid/nervous, happy/excited/thrilled, sad/despair ect.  This made so much sense to me.  I have so many students who have so much trouble telling the difference between happy and sad for characters in a book.  I needed somewhere to go before using more complex emotions activities.  I'm seeing this as a great tool for my students with EBD and ASD labels as well as those who we suspect have Fetal Alcohol Effect.

It's on TPT!
Picture cards for targeted emotions are included.

I created an identifying emotions activity focusing on four basic emotions: happy, mad, sad and scared.Thinking further about the kinds of students that I will use this activity with I decided to leave the stimulus cards in simple text format with game cards completely separate. 

There are two levels of stimulus cards.  Level one has identifying emotions in other people, and Level two has identifying personal emotions (how would you feel if...).  There are 36 stimulus cards at each level, 9 for each targeted emotion.

I have a simple game attached to the unit.  It can be used with these stimulus cards or as a quick game for other therapy targets.  This makes your purchase more flexible, gives you non-distracting stimulus cards and allows you to use the same game when addressing a variety of therapy targets in the same group.  Game play is very simple to take focus off the game: students draw a card on their turn.  Warm Fuzzy cards are worth one point.  Cold Prickly cards are worth no points.

Check it out on TPT!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Back to Blogging

I did it!! On Friday, I finally, officially have saw all of my students!  I got pneumonia, already, in September.  Yuck.  I missed a huge 6 days of work and finally have managed to get all of my students.  Next week was supposed to be my 1 in the 3:1 model, but I'll be making up most of the missed sessions.  I'm still coughing, but am feeling much better and even am working on new materials.

Starting therapy this year has been interesting.  The past two years I've had primarily upper elementary (2nd - 6th)  and a mix of upper elementary and middle/high school (I had younger students if they were in the EBD, DCD or ASD programs.  This year there were some structural changes and 6th grade has moved out of the building, leaving me with 1st through 5th grades.

I'm going through a bit of transitional shock as I'm working with my first graders.  It seems like, in the past 2 years, I've forgotten the difference between 1st and 2nd grade.  1st graders are squirrelly!  Wow.  I'm definitely switching up my therapy style for a few of my groups for them.  I am extra happy that I always offer kids the choice to stand or sit in my room, and discussing the option is part of the first day speech rules talk.  I've never had more standers.

I introduced some of them to Chipper Chat today, which as usual was a resounding success.  I find it great for behaviors.  I give kids chips on everyone's turn.  They get 1-2 chips on their turn for doing their best work, and a chip on their friends turns for being respectful.  I do want them paying attention, so if they have something to share, or want to help if someone is stuck, my students are encouraged to raise their hands.  They do love that magic wand, and love it more with my magic trick!

Three chips will stick together when directly above the magic wand.  With two chips you can get about 2 feet apart in every direction, but you need to start above the wand.  I especially love this for my kids who are screaming magnet. 

My super-good news of the fall is that I wrote, and got a grant through my school district.  $600 of new therapy materials divided among me and the 2 therapists I work with.  The last of the boxes came yesterday.  I was laughing Friday morning because the back-ordered Linguisystems item came before any of the Super Duper products did. (Both arrived completely a week from when I ordered).  After school on Friday, I had given up hope on FexEx arriving before I left for the weekend.  As I was standing in the office, waiting for our (amazing) interpreter to translate a form, the truck arrived. It was perfect timing, and the FedEx guy was a little surprised to have the person with the name on the box waiting in the front office.

I didn't take a picture of all of the contents of the boxes, some of it it's for birth-5 and the high school so as happy for my friends as I am, those aren't going to be the things I'm using.  I *might* have even given Turtle Talk a little hug I was so excited it was finally here.

We also got some great things from Linguisytems that aren't pictured.

Anyone else ready to admit to hugging new SLP materials?  Or have a particularly interesting start to the school year?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

This Year in My Speech Room

Wow, it's been a while since I've written anything on here.  I've been so busy with the start of my school year, getting ready to see my students and enjoying my last few weeks of nice weather!  It really has been a whirlwind.  I've been in classrooms, and once again, have proved that I shouldn't be able to interact with regular education students.  I'm going into the 3rd week of school with 5 referrals and got interventions out for 4 of them last week.  I somehow managed to get a schedule with no major conflicts out and was approved by teachers on the first try.  I said it on my facebook, but I'm not sure if I should be thrilled or, afraid, very afraid. 

All of that being said, I think today is a good time for a peek into my therapy room!  I finally finished getting things together yesterday, and believe I am ready to start seeing kids.

One of my goals for the year is to be more visibly organized.  I say visibly because I am one of those people who lives in a state of organized chaos.  It looks disorganized to anyone else, but I regularly shock people by knowing knowing exactly what weird place something is in.  All of the pictures show me before starting my schedule, so let's just all be hopeful about maintenance!

Word Wall
I only have students in 1st through 5th grade this year.
Let's start with the thing I'm most excited for this year.  My IB Word Wall.  I don't know how many other therapist are working in IB (International Baccalaureate) Schools.  Brief background: In IB schools science and social studies are taught in 6 themes which rotate throughout the year.  All grade levels have a unit in each area so what students learn one year is directly connected with what happens the next year.  As a part of IB, we are all expected to connect to the units in the therapy room.  This year I'm focusing on vocabulary used in each unit.  I'm planning on focusing on 2-3 words for each unit.  Some of my kids could handle more words, but for others life will be good if they learn 2 or 3 words per unit. 

I have the central idea for each unit posted with the grade level.  The grades are written on the stomachs of the owls.  I know that the idea for most word walls is to keep vocabulary that is learned up on the wall for students to view.  This would be very distracting for some of my students.  So, I put a library pocket up for each grade level.  It will keep the words on the wall so we can review them, but it keeps the focus on the current words.  Right now I'm still missing the vocabulary, but hope to hear back and get it up next week.

Next up!  My therapy table.

As a general rule, I like to keep most of my supplies within arms reach from my table.  I take out individual materials and games out as I use them and put them back when I'm done, but I have found it useful to have different things I can quickly grab in case what I originally planned isn't working for my students.  Above the white board, you can see the principals used in IB.  I like some decoration, but tend to keep things pretty plain for my students who would be distracted by too much visual stimuli. 

Under the whiteboard!  My favorite place to keep lots of different things.

Some supplies rotate in and out of this area throughout the year as needed for my students.  The TPT activity file is new this year, so I'm excited to have things more organize, rather than having all things that are not card decks in the same upright magazine file.  You can't see the file cabinet to the right, but it stores extra therapy data sheets, scheduling things, preferred toys for one of my ASD students (since he can't open the drawer) in the top drawer.  The bottom drawer is my "paper drawer" and has copies of following directions sheets, articulation sheets and many other activities. 

Quick peek at things that are on and below the table on the right side.  On the table, are student folders, kleenex/hand sanitizer and a pencil bucket.  I keep my sticker sheets in front of the folders.  Below the table are chlorox wipes, the prize box and pencil boxes for student supplies: pencils/highlighters, markers, crayons and colored pencils.

Storage for those pesky, ever multiplying and wonderful TPT cards.

Both of the white containers are (not quite) full of TPT cards.  They aren't full because I did want some room to grow without having to reorganize everything (for the umteenth time).  I have them organized by goal area in each of the drawers.  The top 3-drawer unit was a goodwill find, and the bottom ones came from Joann Fabrics.  The green one, has miscellaneous stuff in it:  mirrors, glass wipes, index cards, toobaloos and more.  The middle drawer has SuperDuper cards that I own, and the bottom one has TPT cards for grammar.  Hopefully, this will help me find TPT cards as I'm moving from making them as I go, to using ones I have.  I keep holiday/season themed TPT cards in Photo boxes on my bookshelves.  Those will probably end up under the whiteboard as it's appropriate to use them.

Storage Shelves (even I'm beginning to wonder how there's more to write about!)

Inside the Word Wall Cabinet

This is where the games live.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I don't mind giving students a choice in what we do sometimes, but I prefer them to choose from two games, not infinity (or whatever, number I'm up to.  For a complete list of my games see a complete list in google docs.  The bottom shelf of games, is school owned and not included on my list unless there are duplicates. 

The middle two shelves have some supplies on them.  These shelves are most representative of my organizational system when I really let things go.  Last year, I shared the room with a therapist who has similar skills so things are pretty mixed up (we probably would have driven anyone else nuts, so wish me luck with my new office mate!).  I really wanted to share the messy shelves, because I have to believe that there are others out there who, while impressed with all the super-organized rooms posted about, really just won't get there (like me). 

The bookshelves!  My favorites.  The keeper of the book.  There are 4 shelves this big across the front wall of my speech room.  This shelf, and the top 2 shelves of the one next to it contain things that belong to me personally and not the school (I also have somethings stacked on top of the bookshelves.  There are more books on the other side that are separate.  I did try to organize the books this year.  You'd think after all of my years working in bookstores during college, this wouldn't have been so daunting a task.  I eventaully decided to go with theme (holidays ect), a section with 'my personal favorites,' series are separate and together, and the books I use for articulation practice are also separate.  (as a side note, I picked up A Little Book of Slime at a Scholastic warehouse sale, and can't wait for some of my S kids to give it a shot!)

Whew!  This got long.  As I was rereading, I got a little laugh about my IB word wall, and how most of the post falls under the IB them "how we organize ourselves."

I hope everyone is having a great time with their students, or is excited to get started as I am!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Zombie Inference Cards

I don't know were everyone else falls on the subject, but I love making my kids make inferences and love zombies almost as much as they do!  Last May, one of my second graders, couldn't think up the word "alien" but called it a "zombie" and did the cutest face with gestures and zombie moans and everything!  It was was adorable and was one of those "me without my video camera" moments.  I knew then that I had to make a Zombie unit.  I've actually been working on this one on and off for most of the summer (I got distracted by my Halloweentown unit) and finished to get this up for the back to school sale.

40 inference cards are included.  Some of the inferences have more than one "right" answer to promote flexible thinking skills.  Game cards are included.

Check it out on TPT!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Candy Corn Synonyms & Back to School Sale

As I was browsing TPT and double checking my wishlist for the upcoming sale, I found this great clip art and remembered the activity I was planning on making.  This is an incredibly simple activity based on all of the pinterest inspired paint strip activities.  It's meant to be a quick and easy, low planning therapy activity, because we really all do need more of those!

Candy Corn Synonyms 
(link to TPT)

A word is written on the top of a piece of candy corn.  Students either independently or using the word bank write two synonyms for each word on the card.  If you laminate the cards and use dry erase markers you can do the activity over and over again.  A total of 18 synonym triplets are included.

As mentioned above, the big back to school sale is happening this week!  Check out my store on TPT and get your wishlists ready!  All of my items are 20% off and don't forget to enter the promo code for the extra 8%.  If your wishlist is looking anything like mine, that 8% really can add up!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Understanding Sentences with Jewel Collection Game

I'm always looking for more simple ways to work on simple auditory comprehension and responding to questions about verbally given information since it's such a critical skill for classroom participation and comprehension of classroom materials.

I did something a little different with this unit, I kept the therapy stimulus materials completely separate from the game materials.  I did this because I wanted both the game and the therapy materials to be as flexible as possible and also because I wanted to save peoples color ink by not doing color on every page.  

Check it out on TPT!

A total of 90 therapy cards are included (game cards are not counted).  Each card has three questions so you can pick and choose to target specific question types or you can ask each student in a group one question about the same sentence.  I really like asking multiple students questions about the same sentence because it engages students in the entire session and they think about each question for an opportunity to help a friend.  I also vary the order I ask questions in to continuously engage students.

All question types are not pictured here.
Questions include:
Who, What, When, Where, Why, How Many, choice questions and sequential questions.  

Once again, I've included a list of sample Common Core and Minnesota State standards that this unit addresses.

The jewel game is pretty simple to play and requires no reading.  All jewel cards are face down on the table.  Students attempt to collect as many jewels as possible.   If they get an X card they don't put it in their treasure chest.  The student with the most jewels at the end of the game wins!

Each shape of jewel is in all 5 colors.

I'm really excited for this game in particular, collected jewels are in the treasure chests.  The jewels are out of sight and you can limit the counting of jewels every turn, yet the treasure chest gives your fidgeting kiddos something to hang onto. 
Directions for folding and laminating to have open treasure chests are included in the unit.
If this is something you can use, head over to TPT and grab it!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Halloween Articulation Inferences Activity

I know it seems early for Halloween, but if any of you are like me it might take some time to get everything printed and ready to go for the holiday, and I'm planning on a back to school sale at some point so you can pick them up for a deal!  As one of my previewers for the unit said - Halloween seems to come really fast after the school year starts!

I, as many of us do, have students working on both articulation and language goals or groups that are mixed with the two goals.  Articulation is self explanatory, but language you can do inference and word retrieval skills.  I am always looking for activities to meet both areas because it means we spend more time in the session working and less time shuffling materials.  My students in mixed groups also enjoy all being able to do the same thing and I also like it because there is always one student who wants to do anyone's work but their own.  This activity is designed to use for either or both need areas.

I have made three separate Halloween Articulation Inferences activities. (Linked to my TPT store)
Set 1 has K, G, L and vocalic L
Set 2 has TH, SH, CH and J sounds
Set 3 has S, Z, R and vocalic L
The Complete Set has all sounds listed above, but is a bundle price for 20% off the price of all three.

Each sound has 32 question cards, most cards have inference questions but there are a few holiday trivia questions.  That means each set has 128 therapy cards plus game cards!  The complete set has 384 therapy cards.

The level of difficulty of the inferences varies within each unit so word banks are included so you can vary the level of difficulty as needed for your students.  Blank word banks are also included so you can mix and match cards for your language students.  Each card is labeled by phoneme so you can quickly resort the cards.  The vowel sounds are labeled as VR and VL.

Two types of cards have therapy questions on them - House cards and green and orange tree cards.  16 of each type of card are in each articulation set.

This unit marks the start of something new I'm doing - including a list of standards addressed with the unit.  The list of standards is an example of what standards might be addressed, but please keep in mind that others may be addressed.  You should use your expertise and clinical judgment about the needs and goals of your students.  My intention is to provide a jumping off point and a quick reference for all the busy therapists out there!  I included Common Core Standards because that is what most people use and the Minnesota State Standards (since I am in MN and I look them up anyway). 

Of course there is a simple game included to enhance student interest.  The play is fairly simple: each student is trying to get the most different cards to make up their town, they can count each kind of house and tree only one time.  The student with the biggest town at the end wins!  Street strips are included for your students to put their houses on.  Special cards are lose a house and take an extra turn.  The extra turn cards can be added to the town.
 Halloween is my favorite holiday and one of the few holidays that seems universal for my multicultural, multilingual student population (who doesn't like free candy, anyway!).  Out of my 55 kids last year, only one didn't celebrate Halloween.  I'm super excited to start using this and to break out my Halloween stickers!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dr. Seuss DIY Activity

 New game DIY idea!  It has all of my favorite attributes of good speech games: cheap, easy, flexible and has cute pictures.  Really, what else are we looking for?

When I went to Target today, I was distracted by the dollar spot (as usual).  I found the cutest Dr. Seuss border.  Since one of my students with an ASD would probably spend most of the therapy session staring at the bulletin board (or tearing it down in excitement), using it as intended isn't a realistic plan for me.  My next idea was to cut it up and make a game out of it. 

Next I laminated all of the pieces and cut them out (again). 

I like fairly small edges on my lamination so I typically send my cards through the laminator again to reseal the edges.  It's also a great trick if after some student loving your edges open back up.  Pop it through and you're good to go.  I do this all the time and my laminator is fine.  Since the laminating sheet is stuck to your card, the plastic won't wrap around the wheel and destroy your laminator.  That's what happens when you put a page in backwards or cut the pouch first.  I killed one laminator that way and am not ever planning on repeating that activity.

I cut of 3 individual borders in the pack for 24 cards.

Finally, you have cards with cute Dr. Seuss pictures on one side and blank on the back.  I am planning on using these by writing on the backs with dry erase markers. 

I have so many ideas about how to use these cards:
1. Points games - write numbers 0-5 on the backs and see who ends up with the most points at the end of the session
2. Gotcha games - student collect as many Dr. Seuss cards as they can but if they get one with a star (sad face ect) on the back they don't get a card that turn and see who can get the most.
3. Articulation Word practice
4. Language activities with plurals and past tense verbs
5. Reusable reinforcer - students collect 5 or so pictures and then get to play a game or pick something from the prize box
6. Behavior visual, students start with three pictures and can earn and lose pictures throughout the session depending on their ability to follow rules

Dry erase markers make the possibilities are endless!  
If you don't want endless possibilities use a sharpie on a few games - you get enough border in one pack for 80 cards and still have only spent a dollar.

Of course the secondary thrill is in having plenty of Dr. Seuss cards left over to give to my one student as motivators/stims. 

How would you use these cards?

This is one of my favorite back to school finds.  Has anyone else found anything they're particularly excited about?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August 2013 SLP Link Up


Wow has summer flown by!!  I can't believe that it's August already!  As of now I have one more week of ESY services.  5.5 hours of student contact plus progress notes and data entry.  (I may or may not be counting down).  Then I have two beautiful weeks off before I officially go back on the 26th. 

I was very excited to see the August Link-UP on All Y'all Need.  I love reading about other things going on the the lives of my fellow bloggers, especially since I think we all need an occasional reminder that non-speech related things might actually happen.  I also am excited to share mine with you.

So here are my big three things for August!

The dead elliptical, the plastic needs to be removed so we can scrap the metal bits.
Buying: I am buying two big things, a new (to me) elliptical trainer since mine has finally run out of it's nine lives.  To give you some perspective on it's age - I remember it from middle school and adopted it out of my parents house.  Today my dad confirmed that the part we had welded back together last time failed again and Monday there will be shopping!  Now if only I had the money to replace the orange carpet (of doom) that the elliptical trainer resides on.

My other big purchase is a new patio door.  I've had it sealed up since last fall and have missed being able to go out on my deck this spring and summer.  I'm excited since I am going to choose to assume that the new door won't lock me outside as the rotten bits change it's level.  I'm two years post the foreclosure purchase, so I'm hoping that I will finish up these things soon.

Trying: Tunisian Crochet, because I clearly need a new way to play with yarn...  Last weekend I was assisting one of my friends with a pretty ridiculous yarn purchase (and by assisting I clearly mean cheering her on and participating - those who play with yarn will understand.  In a stunning show of support, my mom suggested additional yarn storage today).  Anyway, while shopping we both impulsively bought Tunisian crochet hooks (double ended or long).  I am enjoying the mix of knitting and crochet that it provides and frequently doing and undoing rows in my confusion.  It's nice to have a new challenge.  Below is a picture of my first Tunisian project.

Not perfect, but definitely interesting.

And finally, Speeching! As I said above, I will have two weeks off in August, but at least one day will be spent organizing in the speech room.  I have been slowly carrying in my summer thrift store purchases and just today finished cutting out everything I currently have laminated. I need to figure out where to put all of my new stuff and sort through the things currently occupying my shelves.  I also have several TPT units in the works that I want to finish.  I have a massive articulation/inferencing unit designed to hit mixed needs groups/students that I've been working on and hope to finish soon.  I will also likely continue thrift store shopping (I have been on a ROLL lately with great finds) and checking back to school ads for good deals on back to school items.  I do have two weeks off and intend to have at least a few work-free days!

My big tip on back to school sales!  Office Max allows you to get 20 of the great sale items with teacher id and Office Depot allows 2/3 times the limit (it seems to depend on who's checking you out..)  You do have to join the free teacher clubs, but in my opinion it's been worth it.   Also double check before you pay since every item above the normal limit has to be manually changed, I have stood there for 10 minutes while the poor employee figured out how to refund and re-ring me for items at the correct prices.

The pile of things that have yet to make it too work.  The drawers were at goodwill and came with a bonus surprise of a couple yarn darning needles way up on the inside that I found when I was cleaning it off!
Do any of you have anything big happening this month?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Favorite Games Linky Party!

Jenna from Speech Room News is having a Linky Party for favorite speech therapy games.  I've probably mentioned my top few on my blog before, but now might be the time to get them in one place.

My number one game is:  Race to the Roof

As much as I love my therapy card collection, and covet many additions, I also enjoy doing games that require no additional props. In this game students move through the house and there are entertaining pictures throughout.  The rooms in the house are not attached to the board so the house changes and it can be a different game every time.  If students roll a 1 on the dice they get to pick a special card and have to find the object in the house.

I work on so many therapy targets with this one:
Articulation: There are a huge number of S and R things in the pictures in the house, meaning that I can have sentence level articulation students describe the room they land on or for word level they can find a word in their room to practice.

Fluency & Voice: My fluency and voice kiddos can label objects and describe pictures using good fluency and voice strategies.

Language:  The best part ever!  I love this game for my 1st and 2nd grade language students.  We talk about what's going on in the house.  I get so much language, and even my most uncooperative friends work with me since, from their perspective, all we're doing is playing a game today.  I love sneaking the therapy part in, and that's one of those things that tends to get harder with older students and more complex goals.

*I pictured the new and current version of the game because of how much I want it.  Currently, I have the older version, which I liberated from my parents pile of games that my sister and I had as kids.  I you are going to invest in this one, get the new one.  As we all know, updated pictures are everything.  Someday I will find this in a thrift store or a garage sale, and there *might* be dancing.

Game number two: Feed the Kitty

I know I mentioned this game in my Games, Games, Games post where I discussed easily portable games so I'll be brief about the good stuff.  Super quick turns with a dice roll to minimize game time and maximize therapy time.  My kiddos love it.  I've used it in K through 6th grades, in fact I used it in ESY services today!

This was the hardest to pick.  I have so many games that I love to do with my students that I could have put any of 5 or 6 games here.  Lower to upper elementary is such a wide range of ages and interests that it's tricky to choose! So I went with one that is a standard in my therapy room and that I've used with a variety of grade levels.

Game number three: Cariboo

I'll admit I am not particularly in love with this one.  I just really don't get it, but it is like magic for my students.  They love it, they ask for it, some would play it every day if I let them.  They loved it so much, I made my own cards.  Check out the link for my previous post for my musings on the game and the cards.  The name of the game links to amazon, where the actually have copies in various condition for under $20 if you're still looking for one.

Final note on games for today:
I'm a little bit of a nerd, and I hate to get doubles of things at thrift stores and garage sales, especially since they are non-refundable, so I do have a complete game list I can take with me.  Check it out in Google Docs here.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Targeted Tier II Vocabulary Words - TPT Unit

Well, for some reason, all of the ideas I've had since the end of the school year have decided to come pouring out of me this weekend, so I put in some good movies and decided not to fight it.  I'm most thrilled about finally figuring out a way to do a vocabulary unit!  I've been back and forth on what I wanted to do since March and finally figured it out.  It's on TPT, like right now!

I'm super excited to have a good resource to use with my students, especially since vocabulary is such a huge area.  Also, it's a critical skill for our kids to have.  I think we all know that despite our best efforts, many of our students may never be able use correct grammatical skills or speak/write in full sentences.  By focusing on vocabulary we can give them comprehension skills to help them understand the world around them. 

Word selection!  The source of endless frustration for every SLP attempting to address vocaublary.  Standards vary from state to state (MN has it's own version of the common core) and curriculum from district to district.  I picked the words I did because they fell on more than one list for vocabulary for the targeted grade level.  As we all know, different schools, programs and teachers choose to target different words at different times.  Use your judgment based on the needs of your students and school. Even though there was some consistently, the words may fall different grades on different list.

18 words are selected for each target grade level.  The different grade levels use different kinds of animals for easy differentiation, but can easily be mixed for student needs as needed. The animal picture used with each word is consistent for every animal to help with switching between grade levels.  This also allows for word/definition Match or Go Fish games.

The animals are as follows:
Grade 2 - Sea Creatures
Grade 3 - Farm Animals
Grade 4 - Forrest Animals*
Grade 5 - Wild Animals*
*Categorized the same way the clip art creator Pink Cat Studio did.

 Each animal is only used with two different vocabulary words to (hopefully) help with sorting and resorting, since I'm sure we all know how easily things get mixed up as we rush from one group to the next.

Four Types of Cards are in this unit:

Side note - but seriously, how cute is that alligator!

Four Types of Cards:
Word Cards (color and black and white)
- Vocabulary cards are in color and black and white (not pictured) so students can personalize and color a set to keep.
Definition Cards
Yes/No + Why Question Cards
 - Yes/No question prompts followed by a why question to help you see how your student is thinking.
Antonym/Synonym Question Cards
- Check for understanding of new vocabulary in context.

A word list is included for each grade level so you can find a specific word at a glance.

Writing pages are included for Word and Sentence levels since writing words can be critical to retention of new words.

If you are as excited about this one as I am, head over to TPT to get it now!

Make sure you like my Facebook page so you can say updated on flash freebies as well as new materials.