Halloween Ideas

We have some pretty awesome SLPs in our school system!  They have graciously shared some of their activities with me so that I can share them with you.
First, some spider activities from Lynda:
(I think this one is self-explanatory!)
(I'm not sure why this picture is sideways.  I saved it right-side-up!)
Lynda said she also has a blank web that the students can write their own words on.  The students say a word, spin a spinner, and then put that number of spiders on the web.  (From Perkilou)
Megan provided these next 2 activities.  She found the big pumpkins at the Dollar Tree.  Her students worked together to paint the pumpkin and worked on their objectives while they were busy painting it.
 For the "Monster Hands", she is going to have her students trace their hands.  The fingernails are foam, and the "warts" are dried beans and pumkin seeds.  For every "wart", the students will roll the dice/spin a spinner and say their words that number of times.  She cuts out strips of paper with Halloween words on it using their target, and pull it out of a bowl.
I usually do this activity with my preschoolers every Halloween.  It's very simple, and they seem to enjoy it.  I have the bats and the pictures already cut out.  We review the pictures, and the kids pick out 4 pictures related to their objective to glue on the wings.  I manage to slip a book in the session, too!
I bought some stretchy skeletons a few years ago, but I have no idea where I got them from.  There are 4 skeletons in 4 different colors (for a total of 16 skeletons).  I put a plastic jack-o-lantern on the floor, and put a piece of yarn in a line on the floor.  The student stands behind the line, and tries to get his skeleton in the jack-o-lantern.  I did this with my preschool group, and they had to tell me where the skeleton landed (working on concepts).

Wednesday Waff

Before I get to this week's chuckle, we had a bit of excitement at one of my schools yesterday.  A bus dropped off a load of students, and some of them went running in the office to tell the secretary that they had a "field trip" on the way to school:  They saw a bear walking through someone's backyard!  They were so excited!  

I only have one thing to share this week, but I think it's a doozy!  This "video" (it's really just an audio) is of a student that I happened to record on my iPad using the "Quick Voice" app.  We had just finished playing "Whooo Is It"  (Thank you, Crazy Speech World- a.k.a. SLP Gone Wild!).  

He was picking up his cards and started singing this:

The only way I could figure out how to get it on blogger was to put something over my webcam and record it as a video, using the iPad recording, so I apologize for the poor quality!

Phonological Awareness?

In a publication by my state, the following Q&A is presented:

"If a child has a deficit in phonological awareness can s/he be identified as language
Yes, as long as s/he meets standards in an area of language such as auditory
perception; however, if that is the only problem identified in a language assessment, it  would be best practice to refer the child for a psychological evaluation to investigate the  possibility of a Specific Learning Disability in phonological processing manifested in the  area of reading."  (Tennessee Resource Packet for Speech/Language Impairments General Assessment)

Phonological Awareness is not something we regularly assess or treat in my school system.  We are lucky enough to have Literacy Leaders (LL) who take the reigns in that area.  And, to be perfectly honest, I feel that it is out of my scope of practice since I'm not reading certified.  That is not to say that I don't slip things in during therapy, as in what sound a letter makes, rhyming words, or "chunking" letters together to figure out what a word is.  I just don't assess or write specific objectives for it.  My philosophy is that my objective is to give them the language basics that he needs in order to achieve those skills.

I have worked with one of my LLs, and I think we have an important role with consulting with them.  We have the skills that appear to be common sense (to us, anyway) since we have been extensively trained in how sounds are made.  When my LL is having difficulty with a student understanding (for example) that a "ch" makes a /ᵗᶴ/ , and how to make that sound.  It's something we take for granted that the LL may have difficulty with.

After working for a few years, phonological awareness became the "big thing".  Then, it seemed to "go away", and now it's back.  My intern & I have had a couple of big discussions about our role with Phonological Awareness in the schools.  In fact, she administered the PLS-4 to a student the other day, and we were discussing if she needed to do another test with him since he scored greater than 1.5 standard deviations below the mean.  She said that if she were in the university clinic, she would administer a Phonological Awareness Test.  I reminded her that she wasn't in the clinic, and that the state requires a supportive measure.  On top of that, there really wasn't anything to indicate that the Phonological Awareness (PA) Test was warranted.  If she had given the PA test, that wouldn't be a basis for the supporting measure.

Maybe this is where my "Old School" comes in.  I've seen PA come and go, and come back again.  I'm just very thankful that my school system sees the need for Literacy Leaders; otherwise students wouldn't get the help that they need since very few of those students qualify for language services.

What does your state's regulations say about Phonological Awareness?  Do you also have Literacy Leaders in your school?

Therapy Review for Week of 10/21

Monday, my intern read "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything" to the preschool class.  She brought in a pretty elaborate story board:
When the students broke out into their centers, she worked with one of the students with some activities from The Speech Bucket's Companion Pack:
On Tuesday, my students played a "blackout" game.  I'd love to give credit to the person who made these boards, but I have no idea where I found it!  The credits weren't on the gameboards.  If this is yours, please let me know!
For my 5 minute group on Tuesday, I made QR codes with their classroom vocabulary words for the week.  When it wasn't his turn with me, the student scanned the code.  If the code had his sound in it, he wrote it on the circle that is on my table.
My language groups reviewed "Bear Feels Scared" (we read it last week and discussed vocabulary) and described the animals using a sheet from the companion packet (Crazy Speech World/SLP Gone Wild).
My intern was out with a sick child on Wednesday, so I got to play with my students!  On Wednesday & Thursday, we read "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything", stressing the target sounds for my artic kids.  Then, we played the open-ended game that was included in theThe Speech Bucket's Companion Pack.
(The student in the picture is working on her /r/.  For my procedure, click here.)  The kids really liked this game.  It was a little different in that if they landed on a picture that wasn't a piece of clothing, they had to go back 2 spaces.  If they landed on a crow, they had to go back to start.

My preschool language group worked on yes/no questions to work on comprehension of the book(courtesy of Speech Language Pirates):
We also worked on concepts using a monster box and a jack-o-lantern box & some halloween erasers (all from the Dollar Tree):
At the end of the session, I had them put an eraser in the box, then answer the question "Where is the ____?"  One of the students understood pretty quickly that I wanted him to say "in the box"; it took the other one a little longer!  Then, to make it interesting, I would tell him to put the eraser in the big/little box and ask him where the _____ is.  It's great when I'm on the same wavelength as the teacher:  she said that she is getting ready to work on the same thing with them!
Yesterday, my language groups worked on sequencing and retelling the story.  Neither group had difficulty sequencing, but retelling was a whole different story!  I definitely need to incorporate more of that into my sessions.
(Sequencing activity is from the companion pack by The Speech Bucket.)

Any suggestions or ideas are greatly appreciated!

Love it and List it Linky: Language Apps

On the 3rd Friday of every month, Jenna at Speech Room News hosts a linky.  She gives the topic, and the participants post a few of our favorites, then go back and link up.  It's a great way to get some awesome ideas, and see what everybody else is doing.

~  I have a couple of "go to" language apps.  The one I use the most is "QuestionIt".  ($24.99)  I use this mainly to work on asking questions.  The lower levels are color-coded, so I explain to the student that the answer is the same color as the question word, so that's the word they will leave out when asking the question.
The front page:

The sentence level using the color coding:
Level 3 of sentences without the color coding:
And the paragraph level:
~  An app that I use a lot with my preschoolers is "Injini". ($29.99)  There are different activities for the students to complete, and it gives a lot of opportunities to expand language and to just get the students talking!
~  Another app that my preschoolers enjoy is "My Little Suitcase". (FREE!)  First, the student turns over all of the "cards" to match up which items are needed in the suitcase.
After the items are found, the student decides where they are going.
~  My older students enjoy the McGraw Hill App:  Grammar Wonderland Elementary. ($2.99)  They fly the airplane through the air finding the correct cloud avoiding other items flying in the air:
If they are too slow with their answer, a big puff of wind will blow them backwards.

~  McGraw Hill has another app for younger students:  Word Wonderland Primary. ($1.99)  The student helps the frog hop to the end lily pad, finding the appropriate lily pad to fill in the holes.
Last, but certainly not least, is "Splingo".  ($2.99)   It's a great app to use for following directions.  When it first came out, you didn't have a choice as to what voice it would give directions, so I had to do a lot of repeating because my little mountain students had no idea what it was saying since it was in a British accent.  They have since updated it so you can pick what kind of voice you hear.  The kids love building the spaceship and then traveling to outer space.

There are so many wonderful apps out there!  Don't forget to go back to Jenna's to visit other participants and get some ideas!

Wednesday "Waffs"

I only managed to catch a couple of funnies this past week, and they were from the same student.

Me:  Did you practice last week?
Student:  "No.  Hey, I've been places!"
(How can you argue with that?)

Student:  Everybody knows that.  It's a no-thinker!

This one doesn't really have anything to do with Speech, but then again, it does because a friend of mine (who is a Speech Pathologist) shared this on Facebook:
This picture (my daughter) drew at school today was titled My Mommy. Awesome.

Keep laughing and you'll enjoy your job!

Therapy Week in Review

This was a really short week for me:  Administration Day on Monday, and I'm taking a Personal Day today.
On Monday, one of the 2nd Grade Teachers taught me how to use the "comb binder".  You would think in my 29 years of being an SLP, I would've learned how to do this!  It took me a couple of tries to get it, but here it is:

 This booklet is from Chapel Hill Snippets, specifically from this post.  She has a bunch of free downloads!

Tuesday was "5-Minute Day".  At my Tuesday/Thursday School, I actually only have 1 group who does 5 minutes, so I just use whatever I use the independent activity for group/individual activities.  This week, I use the "Skeleton Game" from Activity Village.
My room at this school is really small, so I will have the 5 minute student at one end of the table, and the other student doing the independent activity at the other end of the table.  I used the "Make Dice" app for the dice since I could turn the sound off.  The student uses the pvc pipe to whisper their words into so they can hear how they are saying them.  The 5 minute student in the above picture had to say each word 4 times each, so he had 4 pumpkins in front of him that he touched as he said each word.
For the rest of the students, we just played the skeleton game as a reinforcement activity.  I have a few copies of the skeletons, and laminated them so that they can be reused.
With a 2nd grader, we played "Back Pocket Monsters:  Inference Freebie" by Jenna Rayburn.  This activity worked out great with this student!

I was kind of bummed on Wednesday, because my intern was responsible for choosing the activity for the day.  I didn't get to use my new materials that I made over Fall Break.  Also, I have no pictures since she's now taking over on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Yesterday, I read "Bears Feel Scared" by Karma Wilson to all of my groups. Every. Single. One.  Even my 4th Graders.
With one of my 1st Graders, we read the book, then played "Bear Search", which was part of the companion pack by SLP Gone Wild (a.k.a. Crazy Speech World).  I made QR codes for some of his classroom vocabulary words.  He used those words in sentences that had to do with the book.  We also used the cards that had questions about the book.
My language groups spent so much time talking about the vocabulary, we only had time to read the book. I wasn't sure how my 4th graders would feel about reading the book, but they actually enjoyed it.  I think taking the time to talk about the vocabulary helped.

That was my week in a nutshell:  short & sweet!

Wednesday Waffs

Since I'm off for Fall Break this week, I'm going to share things that I saw on Facebook that made me chuckle:

(This one is a "leftover" from last week.  I forgot to use it!)
A First Grader said she was going to the high school on a field trip.  She said that her uncle goes to school there.  When asked how old he is, she said, "I think he's 30."

Smart Apps for Kids shared this cartoon, but it actually came from short arm guy:

Speech Language Pirates shared this on Facebook:
A preschooler looking at the picture on my badge (taken 3 years ago): Is that you?
Me: Yup, that's me!
Preschooler: When you were young, right?

 From Chatterbox Speech:
Quote of the day by a 5th grade boy:

Me: Guess the word--fill in the blank. Ready? A person who sings is a singer, a person who dances is...

Him: An idiot. 

Bahaha!! Mmmkay.

 If you have any funnies to share, chime in!

Dollar Store Dash Linky

Have I mentioned before how much I enjoy Linky Parties?  Teach Speech 365 is hosting a party and the rules are easy:  Just spend $5 at the Dollar Store and come up with 3-5 therapy activities to share.  Then, go back and link up.
I got a couple of these packs of 2 boxes.  I saw this idea on Liz's Speech Therapy Ideas, but she used Target Brand tissue boxes.  I plan on cutting out the mouths, and the students can let the jack-o-lantern and monster "eat" their cards.
I have some preschoolers who are going to love this one!  After saying a few of their targets, they can let the bean "jump" and roll from the top to the bottom.  One of my preschoolers is just beginning to use "My First AAC", so this will used to have him ask to see it.
I'm kind of cheating on this one, because I already have one set of these stamps.  I bought another one so I don't have to worry about taking them to my other school.  These can be used for the students to make a picture and then describe it; it can be used as a barrier game, where 1 student uses them to make a picture, then has another student make the same picture.  For the preschoolers, they can work on basic concepts or following directions.  For my artic students, they can use this during their 5 minute independent activity; I'm thinking something like this idea that one of my coworkers came up with.
Those items equaled $4, since I got 2 sets of the boxes.  They also had a mummy set, but I didn't get that one.
These aren't going to be used in therapy, but I also picked up these:
 Skeleton rings to put in my Halloween Prize Bucket.
Zipper pouches to put cards in.  I saw this idea somewhere (sorry I don't remember where!):  If you have an activity that uses cards along with a board game, you put the board game in a sheet protector, then put the cards in a pencil pouch.  These were pretty cool:  they have 2 separate spaces:  one big and one smaller; both are see-through.
Can't wait to see what everybody else found!

Week in Review: Week of 09/30

For the independent center for "5 Minute Day" on Monday/Tuesday, the students did the Fall Board from the Holiday & Seasonal Chipper Chat (Super Duper, Inc.).  The Chipper Chat Boards are great for any age group.  I used it with a preschooler last week; the 3rd graders enjoy playing it as their "independent center".  For my small groups who didn't do "5 Minute Day", it was used as a game.
On Tuesday, my preschooler (who is working on the /f/ sound) used the Bingo Dauber Art from DLTK's Crafts for Kids.  We read "Clifford's First Autumn" by Norman Bridwell, then did the activity.  He reminded me about using the iPad timer so he would know when it was time to go. 
Wednesday/Thursday the groups played "Fall Bingo" (Print 'N Play---Mayer Johnson).  
One of my First Grade Students read the class' story of the week:  "Little Red Hen".  On Tuesday (when he comes to speech with another student), he made up sentences using the classroom vocabulary as it pertained to the story.  They played "Fall Bingo".
On Thursday, this student used the "Questionit?" app for asking "wh" questions, and played "All About Fall" by The TLC Shop.  He had to use the verb in it's past tense in a sentence.

 My 4th grade language group completed the 'Pirate Themed Following Directions Freebie!" by Kathy Babineau.  (I meant to do this during Pirate Week, but it was on my desk-buried underneath some papers)  The students read each direction silently, then followed the direction.  After they completed the item, we looked back at the direction and they found the key words.  At the beginning, they struggled, but they had it by the end!
Friday was a "light" day:  I only saw 1 group of 3 students, and saw one student individually.  We had about half of the students absent since the buses didn't run (budget cuts).  My day ended with a long IEP meeting.

 Next week is Fall Break, so I hope to get my house clean, clear out some closets, and get some October Materials made!

If Ever I Needed a Reminder...

If I ever needed reminders that I'm in the right profession, some of my students provided that this past week.

  Not 1, but two of my 4th grade students started making the /ɝ/ sound!  One of them got it by using the starter /i/, and the other with the /a/.  There was a lot of dancing going on in the Speech Room!

  One of my students who uses an AAC app (Sono Flex by Tobii)  got in trouble for blurting out in class the other day!  She was in a classroom and another student asked her a question.  She said "Yes" and the volume was on kind of loud.  The teacher told her to stop blurting out!  This teacher also pulled her name to answer a question in class, and she answered correctly...without the assistant's help.  Yay to the teacher!!!  (I see a Starbucks card in his future!)

  One of my students who has autism misbehaved in Guidance class.  His ancillary told me about it (he comes to Speech right after Guidance), and I told him that he needed to tell her that he was sorry.  Right about that time the Guidance Teacher came out of the classroom, and he went to her and told her he was sorry.  She asked him what he was sorry about, and he told her what he did.  Not only that, but his bottom lip started to tremble and tears got into his eyes.  It broke my heart, but it was quite a major breakthrough! 

I almost don't want Fall Break to come, my kids are doing so well!  (I said "almost"!!!)

Wednesday Waffs

  One of my students finally was able to make an /r/ using /i/ as a starter!  We've been working on it since the beginning of last school year.  I sang ,"I'm so excited" and did some "Raise the roofs".  She said, "That's how I feel with a sleepover!"

The day that the above student said the /r/, she said, "I don't know what's happening, but I like it!"

One of the first grade class students were writing word on their dry erase boards that their teacher called out.  As I was walking in the class, the teacher said "Hey!" and a couple of the kids asked, "The word is hay?"

On Facebook:
From The Buckeye Speech Path:
Quote of the day, as I'm walking down the hall today. A second grader asked her teacher "Can you help me with my hair?" 
Teacher: "I have a bobby pin, will that work?"
Girl: "Yes, but do you have head lice? My mom says I should always ask before I use other people's things in my hair."
Teacher: "No and if you get lice, please tell your mom it wasn't from me."

Sublime Speech shared this yesterday:

Speech2U posted this on Facebook:
 One of my kids was talking about mustache's today-and he said, "ladies don't have mustaches." and then he looked at me and said, "Well you just have a little mustache..."

Those Pesky /r/s!

Oh, those /r/s.  When do you work on them?  HOW do you work on them?  The "when" is pretty simple:  I wait until their 7th birthday, and then I snag them.  Earlier than that, and you may be putting someone in speech therapy who may get it on their own.  In other words, it may be developmental.  If you wait until they're 8 years old, you may have waited too long.  (This is just my experience, anyway.)  When I look at my screening list, I would say 90% of those students who misarticulate /r/ in Kindergarten will self-correct by the time they're 7.  This is just an estimate; I haven't actually taken data on this.

The hard part is the "how".  My tools are a NUK® Trainer Massage Brush, straws & cotton balls, mirrors, and a 90° pvc pipe.
~  Years ago, I attended a session at the SCSHA convention; Char Boshart was the speaker.  She was dynamic, enthusiastic, and had practical techniques.  She claimed that her procedure was fool-proof.  I have to say, for those students with whom I started their /r/'s, I don't think there have been any who didn't eventually correct it.  I had the opportunity to see Char again a few years ago, and she said that #1 was not part of her procedure, so I don't know where I got that from!  It works for me, though!
Here's the procedure:
1)  Have the student brush the back of the tongue (the part that goes up for the /r/ sound) with the NUK® Brush.  He brushes the tongue 5 times, for 5 times.  In an ideal situation, the SLP would go by the student's room and watch him do it every day.  In my world, I'm not at the same school every day, so this is part of his homework.  I have the procedure on a sheet for him to take home and have his parent initial every day.   The student is instructed to use his toothbrush (upside down) to complete the exercises. I will demonstrate for the student, then let him/her do it while they look in the mirror.  For those students with a hyper-gag reflex, you may have to let them go as far back as they can without gagging, then desensitize the reflex by working your way back with the brush.
When I'm confident that the student has been doing this on a regular basis, I'll go to #2.

2)  With the NUK® Brush, palpitate the same part of the tongue that was brushed.  Again, do it 5 times for 5 times.   Follow the same homework procedure as outlined above.

3)  (I rarely get to this step; the students are usually saying their /r/ by this point.)  Hold a dentaswab on the roof of the mouth, where the tongue will meet the palate for the /r/ sound.  The student brings his tongue up and squeezes the swab until I count to 5.  He does this 5 times.  I'll send some dentaswabs home for him to complete the exercise at home.

4)  This step is the same as #3, except this time they say "ah", then squeeze their tongue up.

~  Now for the straws.  I started doing this technique after I drank a thick milkshake and the back of my tongue hurt.  The lightbulb went off, and I thought that would be a perfect way to strengthen the back of the tongue.  I begin with a long straw (longer than the "regular" straw) and a cotton ball.  With the student sitting tall, he gently sucks the cotton ball onto the straw and holds until I count to 5.  Once he can do that with 90% accuracy over 2 sessions, he moves on to a regular straw.  After he does that with 90% accuracy over 2 consecutive sessions, he goes to a coffee stirrer.  One of the things that I see my students doing is sucking the straw hard and running out of breath.  I explain to them that it should be "gentle" or "light".  They also should not be biting on the straw.

~  And now for the hard part, and the most frustrating part for the students:  We go over the 3 things they have to do to make a good /r/.
1.  Move your tongue slowly and smoothly
2.  Don't let your mouth move
3.  Hold onto your "e" (followed up with the chant "The 'E' is the key")

I have him make an /i/.  Then, I have him do it again and hold it, paying attention to where the back of his tongue is when he says it.  I demonstrate with my hands, explaining that one hand is the back of the tongue, and the other is the front.  I bunch one hand up and demonstrate the /i/, then start curling the fingers in my other hand up to demonstrate their tongue curling up.  Like this:

I stress to him to not worry about making the /r/, I just want to see if he can hold the /i/ while his tongue is moving.  If he jerks the tongue back, you'll hear the back of the tongue drop, and will hear a quick "uh".  I count (with my fingers) to 5 to help him pace how quickly his tongue should go back.  I'll use the 90° pvc pipe for him to hear if he's holding the /i/ or if he's losing it.  At times, I will say it while the student says it.  I've been able to get a good /r/ this way from time to time.
If he has trouble getting his tongue to curl back, you can get a coffee stirrer and have him put it in horizontally in his mouth.  Then, with his mouth open, curl the tip of the tongue back.  If he closes his mouth or raises the wrong part of his tongue, the coffee stirrer will bend.  Since 5 appears to be the magic number for the /r/, I have him hold it until I count to 5, and do that for 5 times. 
There are times when I have to go back and just work on the student getting tongue control.  To do this, I'll have him put the tip of his tongue behind his upper front incisors, and hold /i/ until I count to (yep, you guessed it!) 5.  Once he can competently do that, I'll have him start sliding his tongue back while holding /i/.

~So...now the student can say "e-er"...what now?  Some students may be able to pretend they're saying "e" and curl their tongue up to the 'er'.  If they can't, I will have them say "e-er...er" (putting a definite pause in between the 'er' that's been slid in to, and the 'er' that is separated.)  That's actually a bit more difficult because the student's tendency is to drop the back of the tongue after the 'e-er'.  I try to get him to pretend he's saying "e" and have him slide his tongue up for the /r/.  The student can usually do it then.

~  I'm a perfectionist when it comes to the /r/.  My motto is: "If I have to think about whether it's right, it's not."  The /r/ has a very definite fine line between correct and almost correct.  I honestly think this is where my music training comes in, because when it's correct I can hear a definite "lilt" to the voice.  

~  My therapy session for the /r/ is in this order:
    1.  Stimulation with the NUK® brush
    2.  Straw exercises
    3.  Production work

~  One more thing:  As soon as the student can make the /r/, even if we haven't gone through all of the steps, I'll drop the exercises and work on production.

From there, mastering the /r/ is a piece of cake!

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