Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What Do You Call It?

We all hit them sooner or later. With me, it's later.
I thought I was feeling burned out. I love my job, I really, really do. I can't imagine doing anything else. I love the students. I love that they make me laugh. I love that kids are still kids and can say the darnedest things.
I love the people with whom I work. I consider them my friends. 33 years is a long time to work in the same profession. It's actually quite amazing that I haven't had this feeling before, but I haven't. It's hard to pinpoint the feeling. 
And then, I found it while reading my Lenten Journal: Battle-weary. That's IT! Battle-weary & tired. 
For the past few years, I've been so caught up in TpT and social media, that I've strayed away from what I know is tried and true. I pulled out my "oldies but goodies" and took a break from all the cutesie materials that look fantastic, but really don't matter a whole lot to the students. Honestly, I look at some of the materials I purchased and wonder, "What was I thinking?" (I seem to have done that quite a bit over the past couple of years!)
So, here's a short list of what to do when you're battle-weary:

🚢 Get away from Social Media. Yep, I'm convinced social media is "da debil". 
I've reduced social media to only checking my notifications on Facebook. I scroll through Instagram every so often, but not nearly as much as I used to.

🚢 Look through materials in your room and use what you've neglected. I'm saving money by not buying a lot of things on TpT. That's not to say that if I'm looking for something specific I still won't jump on and see if I can find something, but for the most part, my time spent there has been dramatically reduced. 

🚢 Don't feel inadequate because you don't have a clue about Tailwind...I"m determined not to.  I'm also not going to jump on the video bandwagon with any of the social media outlets. 

🚢 Spend time with family. If you have little ones, enjoy them instead of getting sucked in to social media or TpT. If you don't have little ones, spend time with your husband or significant other. Better yet, take care of yourself. 

It may be because both of my parents are gone, but I'm realizing that there's so much more to life than being an SLP. Our profession shouldn't define who we are. For the past 33 years, when asked who I am, being an SLP would be near the top of the list, if not the top. How much have I missed? I'm just glad the whole TpT craze is happening at this point in my life and not earlier. I'm glad I had the time with my boys that I did. 
I'm looking forward to describing myself in other ways, and saying, "Oh, yeah. I'm also an SLP" as an afterthought. I still have around 10 years before I will probably be able to retire. I vow to be the best SLP I can, but it will not define who I am any longer. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

{Looking Ahead} From Dragons to Bears & Hares

Picture courtesy of Pixabay
I didn't do very well posting my therapy activities for last week. I'm not going to bore you with what I did, but you can find all of the activities here
This week's planning wasn't as time consuming as last week, because Sparklle SLP has a book companion for Tops and Bottoms (Janet Stevens).

5 Minute Day
Once again, Sparklle comes to the rescue with a great activity for the independent station during 5 Minute Day: homework and an activity! Using the list she has provided with words from the story, the students write words with their target sound in the radishes. They will take it home for homework. (Only 2 more times to give out homework for the school year!)

Game Day 
I made this game to go along with the book. The first person to have their garden finished is the winner! The book isn't necessary for the game, but it is highly encouraged. You can find the game here

Preschool
My preschool walk-ins will be playing this game from Speech Room News. It's part of her companion packet for the book. Since I don't start 5 Minute Days until halfway through Kindergarten year, I try to have a game or craftivity for the little ones.

Language
1 of the things I like about Sparklle's companion packets is that she always seems to have what I need for my language students!
Sequencing:
Following Directions:
And Comprehension in a really neat format:
My school system is finishing up state testing this week, so that means therapy is hit or miss for my older students. It's all downhill after that!
What are some activities you'll be doing in your room this week?

Friday, April 7, 2017

{Looking Ahead} Hopping into Easter

Easter is here already! That means only 5 more weeks of school after this week! (Not that I'm counting or anything.) We don't have school on Friday so I won't be giving my students homework.

5 Minute Day
The great thing about team games is that they can be used for an independent center. This is my Jelly Bean Bunny Game from Spring 4 in 1 Games. From the instructions: The bunny loves jelly beans! He took Amy's jelly beans, but some are falling out as he is hopping. Get the fallen jelly beans in the jar before he makes it to the hole.

Game Day

Funny Bunny is a must right before Easter. The kids especially love it when I play and my bunnies fall down the hole. Before choosing a card, the student says his/her target 3 times. The first person to the top wins, but if their bunnies fall into the hole: Bye, bye, bunny! They have to start all over with a new bunny. If all 4 end up down the hole, they're out of the game (but that almost never happens!). 

Preschool Craftivity
I used this a couple of years ago and decided it was time to bring back for my preschoolers. In order to get a piece of the bunny, they will have to say 2 of their target cards. After the bunny is put together, they will say more words with their target as they glue the pictures on the tummy to take home for more practice. You can find the freebie here.
Before the craftivity, we'll take a few minutes to see if we can find the bunny:
Other Language Activities

I've used following directions for the past couple of weeks with some of my students. This freebie has worked out well. I started out using the Level 1 and have been able to move on to Level 2 and the 2-step directions.
Another freebie that's been great is Spring WH Questions. I've had to pull some of the cards out that were too difficult for my students, but was able to use the majority of them. I used these cards in conjunction with the games we've played; both of them together are great to use when you have students who are in "mixed" groups, or with students who need to work on turn-taking in addition to "wh?".

I'm blown away that the school year is winding down. It's been a hectic, busy year, but I'm so ready for Summer Break!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

{Looking Ahead} Spring has Sprung!

Spring has sprung here in East Tennessee...at least for now! I suspect we'll get 1 more cold snap;; we usually do!
It was fun planning for this week; actually I was able to plan for the next 2 weeks rather quickly.

5 Minute Day
Roll and Count Easter Eggs by 3 Dinosaurs. During the independent center, the students will produce their target, then roll the dice provided. They'll take a chip and place it on the corresponding picture on the board to see which one "wins". The other independent center (for my groups with 3 students) will be a listening station.

Game Day
Bunny Hop is an open-ended game that is great for using with mixed-groups. This is part of a freebie by Sweet Integrations that also includes a couple of roll and cover games. When we play this at the end of the week, the students will earn a jelly bean every time they land on a jelly bean square, and will take them home in a little snack bag. I don't allow students to eat anything in my room due to the increase of food allergies. (For more on this subject, click here.)

Preschool Walk-Ins
My little ones love smash strips! It's hilarious to watch them smash the playdough...it's almost like they're getting all of their frustrations out on that little ball! We'll start the session with 1 of 2 books...I'll let each one decide which book we'll read. Then, using Articulation Station by LittleBeeSpeech, the child will produce his/her target in 3 words, then smash the ball on the last word. Sparklle SLP has Smash Strips: Spring-Themed Reinforcement that are very colorful and very Spring-oriented. And, they're only $1!

Homework
While waiting for their turn during game day, the students will complete their pages for homework. Speech is Sweet is helping me out big-time this week with homework! Students working on later developing sounds will glue pictures containing their target around a picture from Spring Articulation Activities: Later Developing Sounds. She also has a version for the early sounds, but I don't have it yet. For my students with earlier developing sounds (and language students), I've pulled pages from A Dab of Speech and Language For the YearI have a couple of students who are working on sounds that aren't included in either, so I improvised. I'll use the picture from the artic activities, and I used lessonpix to print pictures of words that have been missed over previous sessions. For those students, I use Articulate It! from Smarty Ears during therapy, so I was able to look back to see what words had been missed from previous sessions.
I 💗 this new feature that they have included...it keeps me from writing down the words during therapy, and it helps to know what words they need to practice at home.

Now that we're in the last 9 weeks of the school year (only 7 more Mondays!), I feel like I finally have time to breathe! How is it going with you?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

{Looking Ahead} It's Going to be a Mad, Mad Week!

Just to recap last week (since I didn't get it in gear to do a Looking Ahead post!):
This is what my table looked like last Wednesday. Since we're never in school for St. Patrick's Day, I miss out on all of the fun activities that I see a lot of you doing in your speech rooms. So, I extended St. Patrick's Day! We had a P.D. on Monday, so on Wed. my students either glued pictures on or wrote words on a shamrock to take home for homework. (Thanks to Bright Ideas SLP for this freebie!) That kept them busy when it wasn't their turn as we played St. Patty's Cakes from Putting Words in Your Mouth. The students had a great time trying to be the first one to have all 5 of their cupcakes on their table. When they put a cupcake on their table, I had them put a chip on the corresponding cupcake on their key card to help them see what they still needed. It was a hit!

Moving on to next week: We all know what happens in March, even if you're not a big sports person. If you live near a college who happens to have a decent basketball team, then you're probably more into the madness than others. I've never done a basketball themed week before, so I'm a little excited about doing this with my students!

5 Minute Day/Homework
Sparklle SLP has a brand-spanking new book companion for Salt in His Shoes (Delores Jordan, Roslyn Jordan).  (Let me take just a second here to reiterate how much I love her book companions! I love that she includes homework and a game: 2 required components for a book companion that I'm going to use!) For the independent station, the students will use the word list that Sparklle has graciously provided and will write words with their targets in the basketballs. And, their homework will be done and ready to take home at the end of the week!

For 1 of my "mixed" groups, I'm going to have a student who is working on retelling stories listen to a reading of the book Salt in His Shoes while I'm working with an artic student. This will actually give me close to 10 minutes with each student. When the artic student is writing the target words in the basketball, the student working on retell will use this from Sparklle's companion packet:
As you can tell, I use different terms than she does, so I just marked out her terms and wrote the ones that the student is used to using. (I use the Weber Story Builder from Super Duper) This student will take the flip book home, retell the story, and I'll have the parent sign a sheet in the homework folder that it was completed.

Younger students
This is yet another activity from Sparklle's companion. The students, after saying 3 target words, will glue a basketball around the hoop. Since all of my younger students are on the modelling phase on the word level, I'll write words on the basketballs of words they had trouble with during the session so they can take that home and work on it with their parents.

Language

Before we do anything, I'll show the students this Youtube video to help them grasp the basketball vocabulary. All Y'all Need also has several new packets centered around basketball. From Basketball for Speech & Language Therapy- Younger Elementary I'll be using:
Categories
And vocabulary
Laura has been busy; she also made a Wh? game! With a couple of my students who are in mixed groups, I will use the question cards as we play a group game (see "Games" below).

From Basketball for Speech & Language- Upper Elementary, some of my students will be using:
Basketball Text Passages
In her companion packet, Sparklle included an activity for identifying emotions:
Game Day
Again from Sparklle's companion packet, my students will actually have 2 different games to choose from:

An open-ended game,
Or a game to see who will have the most points at the end. 

Have a look to see what else is included in all of the materials I've linked. I only printed out and prepared those activities that are pertinent to my caseload.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

{Looking Ahead} One Last Winter Hoorah

I missed doing a post last week. Eh, it happens. It's hard to know what to plan when it feels like Spring, but it's still Winter. So, I winged it. That means for game day, I opened my cabinet and let each group decide what they wanted to do. Since most of my materials are at 1 school, my mountain school kids didn't have the luxury of choosing their activity, so I took Hi Ho! Cherry O! with me; and they loved it!
This is the week before Spring Break, even though it's technically still Winter. We're out for St. Patrick's Day (as always), so I decided to give Winter one last "hoorah". I'm centering this week's activities around the book Snowmen All Year. Speech Made Simple has a packet that has me covered for the whole week.

5 Minute Day
The students produce their target "x" amount of times, then roll the dice. After that, they can use the cute winter stamps that a friend sent me to stamp that number of snowmen.

Concepts
This little activity is great for basic concepts: following direction and expressive concepts. Just have the students put the winter item (so what if some are Christmas items? I have a feeling they aren't going to care!) in a certain place on the picture (beside, on, under, over...you get the idea!). After he has created his picture, ask him where certain items are. I don't let my students get away with saying, "Right there." When they say that, I usually tell them that I don't know where "right there" is, so he needs to use his words. 

Game Day
The companion packet has me covered for game day! Speech Made Simple included an open-ended game. Students produce their targets "x" number of times, spin the spinner, then move the game piece. The 1st one to the snowman is the winner.

Additional Activities
Last week, I pulled out some "oldies but goodies". I have a few students working on following directions using paper and crayon/pencil, and they have really been struggling with Listening for Basic Concepts All Year 'Round. So, I grabbed a couple of books I've had for a while:
 This one uses concepts, so it really fits my needs well.
I had one student read the directions and follow them. The directions are a bit easier, but the activities increase in difficulty later in the book.
The above is a page out of Easy Stories for Grammar and Basic Concepts by Academic Communication Associates. I completely forgot I had this, but it worked well with my students. It has a short story followed by questions for the student to answer to work on grammar and basic concepts, as well as answering questions following a short story. 
Good ol' Matt & Molly! Another good one for answer yes/no questions and "wh" questions after a short story is read. I downloaded the free apps, but my students went through those fairly quickly, especially the "wh" questions since there are choices. I'm not sure if the paid app gives the options of no choices. An SLP who was at the school before me had quite a few of the stories, so I made sure those weren't thrown away when I cleaned up the first time I was at this certain school. They are coming in very handy!
Another book I forgot about! Not only is this one good for answering questions, but it's also great for teaching students to read visual cues. I can't believe I forgot about this one! My students who are working on beginning inferences have started working with this book. What a treasure! The student has to look at the big picture and answer questions about it. Then,they color part of the picture according to your very simple description. (Example: The grass and the plant leaves are the same color as the trees. What color will you use?)
Then, there are 2 smaller pictures. The student looks at both of them and answers questions about how they are the same/different. 

Is there a Spring Break in your future? 

Monday, February 20, 2017

{Looking Ahead} A Presidential Week (Plus a Freebie!)

I have another short week since Presidents' Day is Monday. Most of my students had no idea why we don't have school; isn't that a sad thought? Here's what I have planned to do my part.

5 Minute Day
We'll start off the week with numero uno: George Washington. For the independent station, the students will use this sheet to color the cherries after they say their target, then roll the die:
For this freebie, click here.
Game
As I was looking through my materials to decide what game I was going to use, I came across February Bingo. I haven't used a Bingo game in a while, so I pulled it out.
This game is perfect for talking about everything that happens in February. I put the cards in an empty tissue box, and, following production of the target, the student pulls out a card. He/she then tells what the picture is, and everyone looks to see if they have it on their own card. This keeps the students paying attention: I don't let them help each other so they have to pay attention and listen. After the card is drawn, we briefly discuss what it has to do with February. My hope is that something will stick in their little minds!

Homework
Continuing with the Lincoln theme, my students' homework will be to say the 10 words (in the phase they are working on) that are on their page.
The homework can be found here.

I have some nonfiction passages that I will be using to introduce Washington and Lincoln before we start with the game. Those passages will also be used for answering "wh" questions and inferencing. 

I know some people have the day as a Professional Development Day. My school system has "Banking Days" where we can bank some PD hours and get the day off, which is what Presidents' Day is for us. Do you have Presidents' Day off? 

Friday, February 10, 2017

{Looking Ahead} A Sweetheart of a Week

Picture courtesy of kaboompics
If you're keeping up with my Looking Ahead series, you didn't miss a week. I took the week off from blogging to deal with some family matters. And, since I still have a lot of things going on, I was even more thankful for my Frenzied SLP friends' Sharing Kindness blog hop. I ended up with a whole week's worth of activities for free! It's not too late to get in on it! Click here to get started.

5 Minute Day:
Mia from Putting Words in Your Mouth made these adorable mats to use with chips & magnetic wands; perfect for an independent activity during a 5 minute day. The students will produce their target a certain amount of times, roll the dice, then cover the hearts with magnetic chips.

Game:
My contribution is a team game. I've said this many, many times: my kids adore these games! In this game, the students have to put the heart together before the pictures from the party are in the frames.

Homework:
I 💖 that Sparklle SLP & I are on the same page with giving our students homework. She is giving us something appropriate for younger kids (top page) as well as something for older kids (lower page).
AND, she even has something for those students on the carry-over phase. The students draw/write ways they can share kindness and put the booklet together, then take the booklet home & review with a helper. This can also be used for the independent activity during a 5 minute day so therapy time isn't used to complete the booklet.
Language:
Laura from All Y'all Need has this cute activity to work on pronouns, prepositions, and possessives.
Abby from Schoolhouse Talk gave a concept interactive book that can also be used for following directions.
Kristen from Talkin' With Twang made this cute story to use for comprehension and sequencing.
Need something for students working on social skills? Lisette from Speech Sprouts has this sweet activity to work on kindness.
WHEW! That's a lot of free activities that will cover just about every student on your caseload. If you download, please be kind and leave feedback. 
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