Work hard; play hard!

Work hard; play hard!
Consulting in Maui!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

MLU Racers- Encouraging more complex sentences

MLU Race Cars!
I have one student who continues to talk in 1-2 word sentences…because he can. :-) It serves his purposes. People have gotten used to it and therefore don't expect more from him. He is capable of creating sentences that are more complex, but it does take more effort for him. He is also a student who LOVES competition. So one day I said his sentences were like a racecar, and he needed to get to the end of the race. He could get there faster if he made more complex sentences. He needed to race to the MLU finish. So the next day I created this chart to give him a more visual race to the finish. You can put a dot in the box marking the MLU and then draw the line through to the next dot so that he can see how far each sentence brought him along the race. This way you can use it for a data sheet also. 

Click here to get a copy of the MLU race car sheet.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Bounce Off- With a different bounce!

My students have always loved the game of Bounce Off. This fall, quite by accident, I discovered another way to play the game. I have a complete set of poker chips with my articulation and language words on them. The green chips may be focused on the R sounds, the red might be focused on the TH sounds, the black may be the MULTIPLE MEANING WORDS, etc. 
For this game the students have their color of choice or color of chip that matches their IEP objectives. They have to give two definitions of the word or produce a word/sentence with their sound in it. Then they get to bounce the poker chip into the Bounce Off grid. The first person or team that gets four in a row either diagonally, horizontally or vertically is the winner. The other person or team can block them or even bounce in and cover one of their chips stealing that space. 
My students have really enjoyed the new game and it has started the year out with a bang or a bounce! :-). 
I have to give credit where credit is due. My new student DASH was the one who accidentally bounced one of the chips into the grid. There it was.....a new game waiting to happen! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Smash Mats- Expanding Sentences

Now I clearly did not invent this or come up with this idea, but when I saw it I HAD to make my own! I work with a student that seeks sensory stimulation out by pounding the table AND he likes to talk in one word sentences. 
Guess what? It worked! 
I made a variety of sheets. 
He is _______________________.
She is ________________________.
They are _______________________.
The _________ is _________________.
What ____________________________?
Who ____________________________?
Why ____________________________?

Most of the smash sheets I saw had pictures on them. I decided to leave mine blank so I could use the tons of cards a speechie loves to collect in her career. I put the sheets into protective cover sheets and slip the pictures right in them. That way the playdough doesn't ruin them either. 
So thank you fellow speechies for this SMASHING idea! 
We love crushing the playdough and making better sentences. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Present Progressive Sentences- Verbs

What does one do with extra cups that they have in their office? Make present progressive sentence cups, of course! I just cut a slit down the center of the bottom of the cup so I could slide the verb picture cards in them. Then the students got to ask for what color they wanted to have turned around. Then they made the sentences. This was a fun little twist on the present progressive sentence patterns. The kids enjoyed choosing the cup and having it turned around to see what picture they chose. 
I know....simple idea, but I still thought it was worth a share! :-)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Expanding Expression Kit- it has arrived!

Well, my week just got better! 
I took a chance and put in a late purchase order to my director of special ed. Fingers and toes crossed and hoping she would forget about the budgetary restrictions that were both spoken and unspoken.....waiting by my door for the UPS person.......waiting.....the door cracks open....a student clerk enters....and what is she holding????? She is holding a glorious box! 

My director must've been in a good mood because I GOT IT! My lovely colleague Kelly told me that this was one of the best items that she had purchased! So, that being said, I just had to have my very own! 

Now I just got it this week, but I have already used it with several of my groups. I have used it with some of my students from the DCD programs (lower cognitive skills). I have also used it with my language and articulation groups. 
I am still figuring it all out, but I am thrilled to have a new tool in my therapy setting. 

I just got off of the phone with the owner of the company, and she was helpful and pleasant to talk with. 

Let the exploring and creative juices begin....I HAVE A NEW TOY! Oh that's right, it is supposed to be about my students. I always know though that when I am working with a new approach my enthusiasm spills over to them and therefore the learning increases. 

I will keep you posted. 

Let the fun begin. Still a speech geek after 30 years! 
I wouldn't want it any other way though. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Zones of Regulation- using stackable cups

We have been working with the Zones of Regulation in our social skills classroom for the last few weeks. This week we had the kids work with our homemade Zone Cups. We have done a few things with them. First, we used them as another visual approach to teach the kids what the different zones mean. Next, we had the kids use them to show the group what Zone they were in currently and maybe what Zone they had been in previously in the days. We had the students go around and tell what Zone they were in and why they were in that particular Zone. After that, we went through some of the tools we use to pull ourselves back into the Green Zone so that we can all be ready to learn again. We completed some of the worksheets that go along with the Zones of Regulation program. From this, we identified what were some specific tools that they could use for each Zone. Finally, we wrote those tools directly onto the cup that correlated with that Zone color. For instance, we put "Square Breathing" on the Red Zone cup or "Talk to Someone" on the Blue Zone cup. 
Today we used our Zone Hula Hoops (see previous posting) and our Zone Cups! We chose one student to go and stand in the Green Zone hula hoop. Then we told them about a situation that changed their Zone to another colored Zone. The student then moved to the other colored Zone. Then the group offered up some tools for that person to move from the one Zone back into the Green Zone. The student in the hula hoop had to act out the reason they moved to the other zone, had to show the emotion correlated with the zones they were standing in, and they also had to actually act out the specific tool that was chosen by the group. They had to show using the tool for thirty seconds and then move back to the Green Zone. 
The kids seemed to enjoy the activity and understand that there are many tools that they can use; they just have to figure out which ones are best for them. 

March Communications Game Board

I change this every month. Since I am getting up there in years, I put this up on my blog so I don't have to re-invent the wheel next year. This board has been a lot of fun this year. Every month there is a different incentive. This month, they get to pick an Easter egg (Yes, I know....not the most politically correct choice of prizes.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hula Hoops and Zone of Regulation

Today, thanks to my PE Department, we worked with the Zones of Regulation and hula hoops. Fun was had by all! The dean of students even stopped by and we had to have him stand in the yellow zone because he was singing and acting a little silly. 
We started off by standing in the hula hoop that represented the zone that they were in. The good news was they were all in the green and 
Then they had to move to the zone that they were in today, other than green. They had to talk about why they may have been in the blue or yellow zones earlier in the day and how they moved from these zones to the green zone so that they were ready to learn. We did have a couple of them in the yellow and one in the blue zone earlier in the day. 
Next, we read situation cards representing different zones. The students then had to throw the bean bags into the zone that represented the situation being read.
Then we talked about how it could be different responses or zones dependent on the student. Next we talked about how we could use our tools to move from one zone to another. 
Hula Hooping Zones was enjoyed by everyone! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

If you can't beat em', join em! Cell phone speech therapy carryover!

All of my students have cell phones. I have even taken away a few in my teaching career. 
This month though I am encouraging, shall I say even demanding (okay, asking), them to use their cell phones to practice their speech at home. I ask them to record themselves saying either words or sentences with their sounds in them and video tape themselves. Then listen back and determine how many they said correctly or incorrectly. If they are produced incorrectly, I ask them to re-record them. 
"I don't have time," some of them say.
I respond, "Does your mom or dad drive you to practice?"
"Yes," they quickly reply, before they know I have snared them in my time trap conundrum. 
"Then pull your phone out and have them give you a word with your sound in it and make those sentences!" I suggest.
I have also informed parents that this is my expectation for the shortest month of the year. 
YAY! Some are doing it and noticing a difference in their ability to hear themselves and judge their productions. 
Let's celebrate an educational reason to have phones, besides the incredible gaming that they do. :-)
We do practice it in speech so they understand what I am after. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My favorite activity idea of this year! Communication White Board Game

Well we are half way into the year and I have to say...this is one of my favorite therapy ideas that I came up with this year! The kids still have not gotten sick of playing this and watching to see what the new month brings them. This is my February game board. This month there is one Valentine present that is wrapped and in the Valentine mailbox ($3 at Target). There are only two spots to earn tickets for the end of the month prize. 
As you can see, I have put items on there for my language, pragmatic, and articulation students. I always think that my fluency and voice kids can work on their skills with all of the above. 
All middle school speechies in my district are using this communication board now and have found that their students are just as motivated with it. We did take January off from this activity just so that they would miss it a bit more. 
Plus, January was Pyramid Challenge Month! See previous post for my articulation/language pyramids. This took most of the month to finish these. 
Games are proven to be great for the brain AND the motivation for speech! Some of my students have been in speech for years so I have to keep it interesting. I figure if my students aren't enjoying speech therapy then I am doing something wrong. Life is too short not to have fun in speech therapy! 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Figurative Language

I love these call out dialogue magnets that I found at Target and use them all of the time on my white board. This month they are demonstrating different styles of figurative language. The students need to figure out which type of figurative language is being demonstrated in each dialogue box. 
Sometimes simple is better. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Follow Up Statements and Follow Up Questions- Social Skills

We have been working hard on continuing our conversation skills with others by using follow up questions and follow up statements. The students really understood and picked up on the follow up questions. We did find that it was more difficult to get them to understand that everything didn't have to be a question though; they could just comment to keep the conversation going. One day I was trying to use the visual of the two different hands, but then I just decided to grab an old pair of socks and just write directly on them. There is nothing pretty about these socks, but it did get them to visually see what I was asking of them. At times, I just would have them do one of the socks. Other times, I would have them do a random combination of the socks. Now we are having our social skills class bring in their own conversational socks. 
You know what they say about the "necessity being the mother of invention"! :-)