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The Kissing Hand.

23 Sep

Wow. So, long blog hiatus, eh?

I enjoyed my summer break (hello, Sweden & France and quite a few friends’ weddings!) and then started a new job. Life has been busy! I’m not claiming I’ll blog as regularly as I used to, but wanted to at least share a few things from the units we’ve done so far. Up first: The Kissing Hand.

What a nice story to kick off the year. Quite a few of our students have some difficulty separating from their parents, especially at the beginning of the year, so it’s a good pick. A few ideas:

-For following directions, I made a visual with a photo of a mother raccoon and a baby raccoon. I laminated/velcroed hearts and applied velcro to the raccoons’ hands, heads, tails, etc. The students were asked to give Chester a kiss on his hand, put a kiss on his mom’s tail, etc. They also got to put the hearts wherever they wanted, and tell us what they chose.

Question of the week: at the end of our unit, I copied three scenes from the story (Mom kissing Chester, Chester kissing Mom, Chester going to school) and—with laminated/magnet photos of each child—had them cast their vote for their favorite scene. Especially with a citizenship unit coming up, we want to get used to voting! Good for introducing concepts like most/least.

Parent communication: I sent home all the visuals from the story (which we used during quite a few readings of the book to listen/match/label) and visuals for questions the students answered from the story. Boardmakershare has more visuals for questions made by other users.

-iPad: I used “PeekaBoo Forest”, which has a lot of the animals from The Kissing Hand. Good for labeling forest animals and the changing seasons.

Also coming up: a review of Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech by Leslie Lindsay. I was thrilled to receive a copy!

I’ve had some requests via email to share some of my Google Docs. I believe all of them are open to anyone who follows a link from here or sees one elsewhere, so this shouldn’t be necessary. Please let me know if you’re having issues accessing anything!

A couple of projects from the arts/crafts center:

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Summer Break.

12 Jul

Just wanted to pop in and say “hi”!

I didn’t really plan to take a hiatus this summer, but that’s how it’s worked out! Did summer school this year, but that wrapped up last week and now I’m truly on summer break (off to Europe next week!). I actually just accepted a new job (still in early childhood), so am really excited to start the new school year and I’m sure will have lots to post.

Thought I’d post the books we used for summer school in our speech/OT/social work group to coordinate with our themes (+ a few ideas).

Ocean: The Pout Pout Fish (we followed directions—finding a fish or frog and crawling through a tunnel to hand it off to an adult, labeling it; sang this song (“Let’s Go Swimming”); sorted ocean vs. farm animals with Boardmaker visuals and beanie babies; identified animals with the Peek-a-Boo Ocean app).

Jungle/Bugs: The Very Hungry Caterpillar (sang 5 Green and Speckled Frogs, used a lot of the ideas mentioned in this post).

Zoo: 1,2,3, to the Zoo & Goodnight Gorilla (we matched zoo animal legos, identified plenty of zoo animals on the iPad, made a zoo of our own with beanie babies, made zoo animals with playdoh)

Vacation: Flip Flop (we packed a suitcase to go on vacation with lots of Miss Elena’s clothes, spread out beach towels/pretended to go to the beach, pretended to surf and spot ocean animals while dancing to to “Surfin’ USA”, made sandwiches for a beach picnic with this great kit).

Have a great rest of your summer!

Things That Go.

4 Jun

Working with 3-5-year-olds, vehicles tend to be a big favorite (okay, with the boys). Here are some Thomas the Tank Engine/basic concepts books I posted earlier, and here is a SMARTBoard activity I made to target labeling vehicles/categorizing them into land/sky (I just used it on my laptop). I printed out similar visuals and laminated the board/pieces to velcro onto it. Here’s a sentence strip visual for pairing color + vehicle (used with students requesting different toy vehicles).

Downloads I like from around the web: transportation unit over on Speech Lady Liz, Air vs. Land vehicles (printables), “count the syllables” vehicles (interactive), big vs. little vehicle visuals, sentence strips with vehicle + location. Favorite related iPad app is Peek a Boo Vehicles. There are some nice interactive Thomas puzzles and stories out there on iTunes, too.

Bonus: Summer BINGO boards my co-worker, Jordan, made. Enjoy! (Version 1, 2, 3, 4)

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

16 Apr

This week’s book: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. There are a lot of materials and ideas out there, but wanted to share a few that our program made this week/some tools we loved having for our hour-long speech/motor/social work group. Click above for the SMARTBoard activity my co-worker Kristin and I made. We put a little more effort into this one—hope you enjoy! Focuses on vocabulary from the book and following directions (can make as simple/challenging as you want). Click above also for a sequencing visual (helpful for preK kids starting to retell stories/working on slow, smooth speech/artic targets during less structured tasks). Here are the visuals from the story (part Ipart II).

Some photos from our large group activities are below. We read the story and then split into three groups. One group went with our social worker and used the Toca Tea Party App. Another worked with our occupational therapist, rolling out play doh and using cookie cutters. My group used the Cookie Maker app, which is free! I’d highly recommend it. Awesome for following directions and sequencing. The visuals are great—can really see the dough getting mixed and flattening as you roll it, etc. There’s a donut version that looks even better/more complicated (to use with If You Give a Dog a Donut?). Once the kids had all been through each station, we had snack. Was it a healthy snack? Um, no. They each got an oreo cookie and a chocolate chip one…and then—after a taste test—got to pick one more of whichever was their favorite (hey, calories for the sake of answering wh- questions ;-D). After snack we played “Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar” (always a favorite, no matter what version…chicken nugget from the Happy Meal, syrup from the pancake stack…).

I love all the Laura Numeroff/Felicia Bond books, but the original does the cause-effect relationship the best! Great story for preK.

Spring Has Sprung!

4 Apr

Well, the “snowman” materials have finally been put away. This week I’ve been about all-things-Spring! Will share a few simple things I’ve made so far along with some of my favorite materials from around the web.

You can click on the pictures below to download a pronoun/expanding utterance worksheet I made up along with the visuals to go in the blank spaces (He wants four bunnies! They want six Easter eggs). Also thought I’d share a Boardmaker activity I made last year (sorry, for this one you’d need the program as it’s interactive)—lets the kids make their own silly spring/garden story up on the SMARTboard (or on the computer).

Last night I downloaded a bunch of the Easter/Spring apps that Jenna recommended over on Speech Room News. I let some of my artic kids take a shot at “whack-an-egg” after practicing their target words (it was a hit!). I used this “bunnies everywhere” book from Chapel Hill Snippets earlier this week and will probably use it again tomorrow with one of my kids working on basic concepts/expanding utterances. I think I’ll have to use this “Very Hungry Bunny” book from Playing With Words 365, too!

I think I borrowed it from the school’s library for most of last year (oops), but finally put in an order for my favorite spring book: Muncha, Muncha, Muncha by Candace Fleming. Will have to do a post on it soon, but for now I’ll just highly recommend it (for fruits/veggies, making predictions, sequencing events, etc)! What are your favorite “spring” children’s books?

Sending It Home.

22 Mar

I’ve loved seeing how other school SLPs communicate with parents (see Speech Room News, Speech Lady Liz’s take-home programs) . I work with a few different groups of students. For my itinerant speech PreK students, their parents bring them to all sessions. We typically get to chat at least briefly after each session, so—along with word list/activities from sessions that get sent home in their “speech folders”—I think they’re kept pretty informed of what’s going on in our sessions. For my students in our preK classrooms, I’ve at least committed to sending home a handout weekly after our large speech/language group. I typically take a visual we used together in the group and add a little written summary of what we’ve been working on/how they could reinforce this at home. This takes only a few minutes to write/print/xerox, and I distribute it at the end of our group along with a rhyming activity (“If your name sounds like Melena, come get your paper!”). Students I work with in small groups/individually throughout the week will also occasionally have artic/language worksheets to put in their backpacks.

At my K-8 school, I don’t always have access to printing. Sometimes the take-home will just be a xeroxed cover of the book we read, along with a quick note on which words were our targets. Other times I make a quick handout regarding the “book of the day” (if applicable) and which sounds we targeted. Some days I send home a note on an iPad app we used in speech therapy. It all varies a bit, but, sure, the overall key is: keep the door to communication open and let parents know what’s happening in speech! Give them word lists/ language activities so that they at least have easy access to continuing practice at home. Does every family utilize these? No. But I still think it’s worth it to try and encourage carryover!

Here are some Word documents and photos of things I’ve sent home, in case you need inspiration. How do you promote carryover?

Does Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? (medial “th”); “Articulation Station”; Pigs Make Me Sneeze (s-blends); Turkey Day (medial /k/); Toby and the Snowflakes (s-blends)

Articulation: Stories.

9 Mar

One thing I struggle with is eliciting target speech sounds during less structured activities—-that step when you want more than single words or phrases…but know that errors creep back in in conversation (well, and eliciting them in conversation can also be challenging to do/tricky to keep accurate data on). Play-based activities can be great (e.g. playing with a toy farm to elicit many opportunities to produce initial /f/, legos for medial /g/, having child request different cars for /k/,  constructing a snowman for s-blends, etc.), but sometimes I really like to get in more practice!

One way to do this is to a) have a child try to retell a story you’ve read together (another reason I love using picture books during therapy) or b) to use stories specifically made with your artic target in mind. I started making some stories of my own after finding Heidi Hanks’s (of Mommy Speech Therapy) so helpful. She has free downloads for the word, sentence, and story level for most sounds, and her app (Articulation Station) is structured the same way. The app also has “Level 2” stories for older students who don’t need the visual aids (and both levels have a few comprehension questions after each story).

Below are some of the “stories” I’ve made up using Boardmaker. With primarily pre-K students, my kids aren’t reading, so having visual aids helps them to retell the story (I usually read it first). I hope they’re helpful! Will have to make up some new ones soon…

/f/ initial story

/t/ final story

/v/ initial and medial story

/z/ initial story

s-blends: st- initialsw- initial, sk- initial Scooby Doo, sk- Scaredy Squirrel,  -st final