Work hard; play hard!

Work hard; play hard!
Consulting in Maui!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Let's Focus- Social Skills and Group Skills

  1. meaningless talk or activity, often designed to draw attention away from and disguise what is actually happening.

So it made sense to me to use this as a starter phrase to regain the attention of the students in my social skills group. 

I say, "Hocus pocus", and they 

respond, "Let's refocus."

Graphic by

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A tennis ball and articulation......fetching idea!

Hot Potato Articulation or Language....or just another form of Silent Ball!

This week is full of paperwork and conferences so I pulled out a can of tennis balls and told the kids we were playing Speech Ball. I told them that they were competing with other groups to see how many turns they could throw the ball to one another in group without dropping it. Every time that they caught the ball I would "toss" a word to them with their sound in it or with their vocabulary skill and they would have to respond before they could throw the ball to the next person. It was easy to differentiate and all of them seemed to enjoy this easy therapy idea! Another form is to set a timer for an undisclosed amount of time. When the timer goes off, the student that is holding the ball is out of the game. The last one standing (or sitting) is the winner. 

Again....easy therapy, but effective.

Orange you glad you are making progress? Articulation!

I found these data tracking sheets on Pinterest (free on TPT) made by Simply Speech. (

I had each of my articulation students fill out these sheets during midterm, fall quarter. This helped solidify their knowledge of:
  1. what they were working on 
  2. where they were at in conversation with that sound
  3. what they wanted to be their goal for the year, and 
  4. what it takes to be considered for dismissal of services in speech
We then put it up on the wall so that they can be reminded of these things every time that they leave my room. They are tracking their own progress every quarter using these sheets. 

Sometimes it's the simple ideas that I forget. 
Thanks.....Simply Speech!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Shutting Down

Today, in social skills, we continued our lesson on Shelly Shutdown. We first started out reviewing the lesson that was taught on Friday (see previous blog entry). Then we talked again about whether Shelly Shutdown is practicing her "whole body listening" when she is in shut down mode. 
  • Is she listening with her ears open? We talked about how sometimes Shelly Shutdown is listening even though she doesn't look like it. 
  • Is she  listening with her eyes? Usually Shelly Shutdown's eyes on not on the speaker.
  • Is she listening with her body in the group? Shelly Shutdown's body does not look like it is with the group. Sometimes isn't even close to the group.
  • Is she listening with her mouth quiet? Usually Shelly Shutdown is quiet, but sometimes she can be talking to herself. 
  • Is is she asking follow up questions or making follow up statements? Shelly Shutdown is not doing these two skills. 
So then we talked about how Shelly Shutdown has hit a red light and is stopped from participating. We talked about needing to move from red light to green light so we are ready to go again. 

We brainstormed on situations that might lead to a shut down. Then we talked about what you could do instead of shutting down. 

Click here for a set of classroom tools that were developed to help our class. Included you will find items that you could put up on a bulletin board, reasons people may shut down, ideas to help people do instead of shutting down, and some red light/green light cards. We will be using these cards to hand to our kids when they are having a shut down. These will serve as a visual reminder of the need to move from red to green behaviors and avoid Shelly Shutdown. Once the student is ready to process they can turn the card over to the green light or hold it up so an adult can see that they are ready to process. 
The adult will then ask them why they shut down and what was something that they could have done differently. If they do not have the skill to answer these questions, they can be reminded that they can ask for help. An adult can guide them through the answers by giving them choices or asking yes/no questions. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Shelly Shut Down- Social Skills

Shelly Shutdown has been appearing a lot in social skills lately. Now we do welcome everyone wherever they may be on their journey into social skills, but Shelly tends to bring some things to a screeching halt when she appears in class or on the peripherals of class. Although the group moves on usually so that Shelly doesn't get all of the attention, we still need to figure out how to help Shelly Shutdown move from the STUCK position to one that would allow her to get unstuck.
We first had to teach the group what Shelly Shutdown looks like so that we could recognize her when she came to the group. This was our introduction page to Shelly Shutdown. This was our introduction page to our reoccurring guest, Shelly Shutdown.   Click here for a link to this page.

* Please see the next blog entry for the "Moving From Red To Green" to find teaching tools that we are using to help Shelly become an active member of the group by pulling out of her shut downs.

Here is a sneak peak....

Slow....proceed with caution sign!

My student is not going to be happy that I cut her face out of the picture. 
She wanted to be a part of my blog. :-)
This is a clearance rug that I found at Target for $3!~ 
Can you believe it!? I couldn't pass it up for that price! 
We use it during social skills to let the kids know that they are right on the edge of making below the line social choices and that they need to Proceed With Caution or better yet....take a different road. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Describing using our senses.

I am doing quite a bit more teaming in our developmentally delayed classroom this year. The teacher and I were talking about wanting to get the kids to use more descriptive words so I created this interactive white board activity. As you can see, we printed a picture of the word we wanted them to describe. Then as a class, we went through the five senses and came up with description words that would work with that picture. After that the class chose two words that we wanted to make sure were in our sentence. They chose "big" and "growling". Then we wrote a sentence as a class. You can easily differentiate this for the level of student that you are working with by the word choices.

I used the creative work (Click here for Danielle's freebie on Pinterest.)  for the five SENSORY pictures. She also has a blog.