November 30, 2014

TPT Cyber Monday Sale December 1st-2nd

Don't miss out on this year's TPT sitewide Cyber Monday Sale! The sale will go from December 1st - December 2nd and you will get additional savings if you enter the promo code TPTCYBER at checkout. 

Of course I am participating, as well, along with thousands of other sellers! Please come visit my store, you never know when the next big sale date will be.

November 24, 2014

Autumn Tree Craftivity

I have been swamped with IEPs and assessments over the last few weeks, so I did not have any time to come up with any involved Thanksgiving projects for my students. I did however celebrate the advent of fall with some of my articulation groups by making some autumn trees using the good ol' Q-tip trick. I used some free clipart that I found on TPT to create the tree template and had students practice a word with their sound before placing a leaf on their paper. This might make a good last minute fall project for those of you who are working this week. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 8, 2014

Building Speech & Language Skills in the Kitchen don't really have a lot of educational posts for parents on here, so I thought it may be high time to write one!

With Thanksgiving coming up, I have been encouraging my students' parents to involve their children in the cooking and meal preparation process. There are so many great opportunities to work on speech and language targets while slaving away in the kitchen, in addition to opportunities for teaching children some useful and necessary life skills. This post has some ideas and is separated into sections based on the therapy focus. Feel free to share this information with your own students' parents. I have compiled this information in a (FREE!) downloadable handout that is available here.

  • Vocabulary: Cooking provides multiple exposures to novel ingredients and utensils. Vocabulary like grater, zest, sage, baste, whisk (etc.) is not commonly used in every day conversation, so you will be able to introduce your child to these new concepts by having them help you out while preparing Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Following Directions: This skill automatically gets targeted when following a recipe.
  • Sequencing: Following a recipe provides an opportunity to work on sequencing skills. Talk to your child about what to do first / next / last.
  • Describing: Exposure to a large variety of ingredients and dishes will allow you to work on describing them. You can talk about textures, smells, tastes, as well as physical appearance of a specific food item.
  • Categorizing: You can practice categorization skills by grouping the ingredients for a particular recipe by food group: dairy, meat, vegetable, etc. For younger children, you can have them sort by size or color.
  • Answering Questions: You can work on targeting simple Wh-questions during and after the meal preparation process. What ingredients do we need? Who helped you? Why did we need to measure? How many eggs do we need? When do we need to take the turkey out of the oven? Where is the oil? etc.
  • Listening Comprehension: You can read the recipe to your child and have them tell you what they remember.
  • Narrating Personal Events / Recall: Have your child explain to someone how they helped out in the kitchen and / or how they prepared a particular dish.
  • Problem-Solving: Throughout the cooking process, ask your child questions that will stimulate their critical thinking skills. How can we keep the lemon seeds from falling into the juice? How can we separate egg yolk from egg white? How can we make a triangle out of this square cheese slice?
  • Word level: Have the child find ingredients that have their speech sounds and have them practice saying it out loud.
  • Sentence level: If the child is a reader: have them read the recipe to you while paying attention to their speech sounds.
  • Conversation level: Encourage the child to use their best speech sounds while having a Thanksgiving dinner conversation.
  • Taking Turns: Practice taking turns during dinner preparation.
  • Perspective Taking: Have your child help set the table -- have them think about who is coming to dinner and how many plates will be needed.
  • Conversation Skills: Thanksgiving dinner is a great opportunity to practice working on conversation skills (eye contact, turn-taking, topic maintenance).
  • Manners / Etiquette: Thanksgiving dinner also lends itself for targeting manners -- frontload your child prior to dinner by talking to them about etiquette: chewing with their mouth closed, not taking the last food item without asking, etc.

Of course these ideas are applicable year-round. If you have any ideas to add, feel free to leave a comment!

November 6, 2014

Getting to Know My Social Skills Group

For the past few weeks the students in my social skills groups and I have been doing activities to get to know each other better. There are tons of ice breaker activities out there, but one of my favorite ones is my "Jelly Bean Get-to-Know-You" game, which is also part of my Jelly Bean language activities on TPT.

The lesson / discussion itself revolves around the fact that we usually choose the people we want to be friends with based on their interests. We tend to choose people who are most similar to us. Since we don't know much information about an individual just by looking at them, we need to get to know them better by asking questions and sharing information about ourselves.

For the activity, I prepare a little snack baggy with about 10 different colored jelly beans (they have to be Jelly Belly) for each student -- I handpick the beans prior to the activity, so that there is equal color representation. Each student receives one of these baggies in addition to a Jelly Bean "Get-to-Know-You Chart". Each color jelly bean has a little cloze statement next to it, such as, "My favorite movie is ___." We go through the chart and for each color the students have to check their bags for a match. If they have the color in their bag, they get to share the little tidbit of information about themselves. At the end of the activity, you could ask the group questions like, "Who remembers something about (Student)?" You could even hand out bonus jelly beans to those students who were truly listening to their peers and remember the most information. You can also have students compare themselves to the other kids and ask questions such as, "Who in this group are you most similar too?"

The kids love this activity because it involves candy. Thankfully, Jelly Bellys are peanut free!

November 2, 2014

Educational Insights Game Review: The Riddle Show

Get it here!
Note: This post contains affiliate links.

If your caseload is anything like mine, you will have tons of kids who have difficulty understanding humor and/or inferences. This is why I was really excited about "The Riddle Show" by Educational Insights. "The Riddle Show" is an electronic toy shaped like a microphone that tells a variety of riddles, jokes, and tongue twisters at the push of a button. Perfect for an SLP's caseload! And of course, because it is quite different from the usual picture cards, the kids loved it!

The microphone essentially has four buttons that serve the following functions: (1) Tell a riddle, (2) Tell a riddle joke or tongue twister, (3) Answer, and (4) Repeat.

The riddles are a set of clues that students have to guess a "mystery item" for. An example might be, "I eat bugs. I have 8 legs, and I spin a web. What am I?" To check the answer, students press the answer button. On the other hand, the riddle jokes are something along the line of "What do frogs do with paper?" - "Rip-it, rip-it, rip-it" (again, students press the answer button to check). At random intervals, the joke button will also yield a short tongue twister (e.g., Jolly jugglers juggle jacks). If you need the item repeated, you simply press the repeat button. Overall, the microphone plays a variety of 145 of these.

As a bonus, the microphone actually works (think along the lines of the toy microphones you can purchase at the dollar store that make your voice echo)! It also lights up and has some silly sound effects. "The Riddle Show" runs on 3 AAA batteries, which are included in the initial purchase and is recommended for ages 6 and up.

My students really liked this, and even though they didn't get the jokes, they couldn't get enough! One drawback was that the volume was somewhat soft (even at the "high" setting). However, I used this to my advantage, as it really forced my students to listen closely.

This is a great toy to pull out once in a while to work on these targets!