Happy Thanksgiving!

The Kindergarten Classes at one of my schools did a "Turkeys in Disguise" craft.  Below are just a few of the "turkeys":

Which one is your favorite?

Wednesday Waff

I only have one today, but it may take a while for me to tell it!
Yesterday, we had a tornado drill.  My Tuesday school is built into a hill and has 2 stories, so everybody had to go downstairs.  In my 6 years of being at that school, I don't think I've ever been there for a tornado drill, so I had no idea where to go;  I just followed a 1st grade class into a 3rd grade classroom.  I saw one of the 3rd grade teachers go into her room (which is on the side of the building that faces the outside), but didn't think anything about it. It seemed like there were a lot of kids in the classroom I was in, but again, I didn't think anything about it.  At one point, the principal came in and asked if a 3rd grade class was in there. (Apparently the teacher had lost her class.) Nobody said anything, so he left.  A little while later, the secretary came onto the intercom and said for those students to return to their classroom immediately.  At that point, a whole class of kids stood up.  Yep, they were in the room where I was the whole time!  The teacher had even come into the room and didn't see her kids.  I guess from that angle, it's hard to tell who the kids are!
The teacher said that she gave the instruction for the kids to go in the room across the hall, and they must have misunderstood because they went into Mrs. Hall's room.
It's never a dull moment at that school!

Tuesday Therapy Review

Since today is the last day before the Thanksgiving weekend, and my intern planned yesterday's therapy, I thought I'd just share today's activities.
But first...
Just in case you don't follow me on Instagram, I'll catch you up.  I had a placement meeting this morning at 7:15, and the mom was nice enough to bring some muffins for the IEP Team Members!  In 29 years, no one has ever done that!  When I emailed her to thank her, she said, " I can't believe  that no one has every done that.  Well, I believe that a little bit of kindness can really change a persons day."

My 4th graders answered questions about Thanksgiving passages and played a game (Pilgrims!  Listening for Details by Taylor Rodgers).
I also used "Developing Auditory Processing and Short Term Memory Recall-Thanksgiving Theme" from Speech for ME.  In the above picture, it is the sheet next to the iPad that has "Happy Thanksgiving" on it.  If you're looking for a good recall activity for Thanksgiving, this is it!  All of the  passages are situations that the students can relate to.  The passages were the perfect length that held their attention, but wasn't so short that they didn't have to think about the passage to answer.  (Does that even make sense?)
With my artic kids, I keep track of whose turn it is to go first by making an asterisk on their label, but since this group doesn't play a game every session, I have to decide who is going to go first.  So, I use "Tap Roulette" to see who goes first.  They always want to do "best out of 3" (or 4 or 5!)!  Thanks, Speech Room News for turning me on to this!

Most of my groups played "Get to Granny's", which is a "Troll in a Bowl" game.  (Sadly, after doing a bit of research, these games aren't available anymore, which is really too bad!)  This game is a "non-competitive" game, so either everybody wins or loses.  The goal of this game is to get Red Riding Hood to Grandma's before the wolf gets there.  If they picked a wolf, a piece of the wolf goes on Grandma; the wolf knocking on a pig's door (there are 3 of those cards for each of the 3 little pigs) means a piece of the wolf gets taken off, and if they get Red Riding Hood, they move her the number of spaces indicated on the card.
For the groups that finished that game before time was up, they got to play a bonus game!  This game came from Speaking of Speech, specifically under "Therapy Games".  If you haven't considered any of these activities, check them out!
One of the students used "Mayflower Inferences" by Communication Station, in which he read the 4 words on the card, and determined "who", "what", or "where" it is.  When he finished that, we used the cards from "What Am I?  Thanksgiving Edition (a Describing Game)" by Queen's Speech.  He looked at the picture and told me 3 things about each one.

That was my Tuesday, which also happened to be our "Friday"!  I almost hate to put my Thanksgiving activities away...there were a few new ones that I didn't get to.  I guess I'll have to save them for next year!

Love It & List It! Articulation Apps

I'm linking up with Speech Room News for this month's "Love it & List it" Linky party!  Every month Jenna gives a topic.  Choose 3-5 things to share, blog (or put it on Facebook if you're not a blogger!), and link back up.  Don't forget to check out everybody else's posts!
On my iPad for Articulation:

1)  I have to admit:  I don't use an articulation app regularly during therapy.  Right after I got Articulate It! I used it a bunch.  Then, one day, I left my iPad at my other school and pulled the cards back out.  The kids may have done some cheering when I brought the cards back out.  Since then, I haven't used it very much.  In fact, I mostly use it as a listening station for my 5 minute days.  One thing I don't like about using it during therapy, is that if I want to use another app, I can't pop up the other app, then switch back to where I was in Articulate It!.  I like the changes that have been made to the app since I first got it.  They continue to make it better with every update!

2)  Another artic app I use for 5 minute days is Speech2Go.  This is a free app that opens up in iBook.  It will allow the student to record his production and replay to analyze it.   It doesn't take data, but I've learned not to rely on data from apps anyway.  It seems that every time I have relied on the app, either the app has shut down, or (and more than likely) I have touched the wrong button and messed up the data.

3)  This technically isn't an "artic app", but Quick Voice gets quite a bit of use in my therapy room, especially during evaluations.  Need an intelligibility sample? Have the iPad set up so that it's facing you, turn the "record" button on and the student never knows that you're recording him!  Then, you can listen to the sample at your convenience and analyze the student's speech and intelligibility.  This app is free as well!

Don't forget to go over to Speech Room News to see what other SLPs are doing in their therapy!

Wednesday Waffs

When reviewing "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie", a student said, "What kind of girl eats a whole salad without dressing?"

From Lynda, one of the SLPs in my school system:
Today I was working with a young man on naming items in a category.  The category was 'things in your refrigerator'.  He was having trouble so I asked him to think about what he had in his refrigerator at home. He gave me a quizzical look and I said does Mom let you go into the refrigerator?  He said, 'no, it's too cold in there!'

My new principal has set a reading goal for the school.  To keep track of minutes, a couple of the teachers set this up in the front entrance: 

Um...yeah.  I think there are about 3 too many zeroes on that number!  Apparently, the wheel replaced a thermometer that had the 5th grade boys snickering.  (Use your imagination!)

Artic Old School

You've administered an articulation test and have decided which sounds to work on.  Now what? I mentioned before that I'm very "Van Riperish" when it comes to articulation therapy.   I am a firm believer in the student being able to produce the sound in isolation before working on the target sound in words.  Sometimes it's pretty simple and the student is very stimulable for it.  Other times:  not so much.  
Through the years, I've tweaked my artic therapy to progress the student a little faster through the hierarchy so that they will correct their sound faster.  In a nutshell, here's my hierarchy:
1) Isolation
2) Syllables
3) Words
     a) following my model
     b) spontaneously
4) Sentences 
    a) Making up his own sentences
    b) Repeating "tongue twisters" after me
5)  Conversation
I will pair sounds together:  for example, /k/ and /g/ are worked on together, as are /s, z/.  I generally don't separate the sounds into the different positions; I will mix up initial, medial, and final positions and work with them at the same time.  There are exceptions, however.  From time to time, I will have preschool students who have major problems with their sound in one or two positions, but will have some success with the other position.   In that case, I will separate the sound into positions, until I think he's ready to have them mixed up. 
The only time I do oral motor exercises is for the /r/, or if the student isn't stimulable for the sound at all.  The latter very rarely happens, but when it does, it's usually with the /k, g/.  
Most of my students must achieve 80% accuracy for 2 consecutive data collection sessions for the isolation and syllable levels, and 90% accuracy for 2 consecutive data collection sessions for the remaining levels.
Materials:  At one of my schools, I use the Super Duper Fun Decks.  At my other school, I use some cards that I made when I first started working.   I had 2 of the Dr. Seuss Dictionaries, so I cut the pictures out, mounted them on index cards, and laminated them.  Over 25 years later, and they're still in fairly good shape.  I have the Articulate It! app on my iPad, and when I first got it I used it quite a bit.  I forgot my iPad at home one day, and the kids were ecstatic to get to use cards again.  Since then, I mainly use the cards.
For reinforcement, we play a lot of games.  Every now and then, I'll mix it up and we'll do something a little different, like pick out their sounds while we read a book.  The student will usually say 3 cards (or his sound 3 times, or 3 syllables) before taking a turn.  While one student takes his turn, I'm listening to the next student, so the sessions flows pretty well.  I make sure they know that they're in there to work on their sound, and that it's not about who wins the game, it's about having fun while we're working on their sounds.  If a student gloats, I will remind them to be a good winner.  If they continue, I will threaten them with not being able to play a game next time.  That usually takes care of the gloating! 
How does this compare with how you conduct artic therapy?  

TpT Tips

As a fairly newbie to TpT, I'm still learning tips to get the full benefit from TpT.  Here are a few things I've learned:

1)  There are some items that can be downloaded onto the iPad so you don't have to print out every item.  This saves on paper, ink, and laminating film.

2)  If you see an error, contact the seller and let him/her know.  If you catch something, some of the sellers will reward you.  Not all, but some of them will.

3)  Not happy with your purchase?  Contact the seller through email and let them know.  I learned this one through experience:  I was a little disappointed with some aspects of a purchase, and put it on the review.  Needless to say, the seller wasn't happy with my review, and, after some amicable back & forth emails, I understood:  the sellers want you to continue to buy their products.  If someone sees a less than perfect review, they may be hesitant to purchase from that seller.
I felt absolutely horrible for my less than perfect review, but, unfortunately you can't go back and edit (or delete) your review.  Also, there's no way to reply to the seller after she replies to you.

4)   WRITE REVIEWS after you use the product.  This is just my opinion, but I think that if you wait until after you use the product, you can write a more "educated" review.  You'll be able to tell the seller how you used the product, what worked, how you modified it, and what you would do differently next time you use it. That will give the seller a good idea of how to revise the product, and will help her out with future products.

5)  Don't share your downloads.  Even if the item was free, share the link, not the download.  The sellers want people to visit their store.

Do you have any tips?  If so, please share!

Therapy Week in Review 11/15/2013

Since my intern is handling Mondays and Wednesdays for just a few more weeks, I'll be discussing Tuesdays and  Thursdays.
On Tuesday, I had a student come to speech for the first time, so part of the session was spent reviewing procedures.  Then, we played a little "Super Turkey" from SLP Gone Wild.  This group now has 3 students on Tuesdays:  2 are artic, and one is artic & language.  One of his objectives is to make complete, grammatically correct sentences using classroom vocabulary, so when the other 2 students were taking their turn, he was suppose to scan the QR code (the code was one of his vocabulary words) and have a sentence ready.

I started off with reading "Bear Says Thanks" by Karma Wilson.  As I read the book, every time the student heard his/her sound, he/she put a chip on the page, "Bear Paw Prowl" by SLP Gone Wild.  I did this activity with a first grade group, a third grade student, and a fourth grade student.  I was a bit surprised at how much trouble some of the students had with this.  I'll definitely be doing more of this in the future.

My preschool student used "Bear Paw Prowl" a different way:  After he said his /f/ sound in syllables and words a few times, he rolled the dice and put that number of chips on the board.

 One of my students worked extremely hard on Tuesday.  We read the book and did the comprehension questions.  When he answered incorrectly, we went back and checked his answers in the book.  We started with the "easy" comprehension questions (with cues), then did the more difficult set.
 My 4th grade language group worked on Inferencing, using an activity by SLP For ME.  I downloaded the activity onto my iPad and we talked about the "posters" that help teach how to inference.  I printed out the cards, although I don't think I really needed to.  This activity was Thanksgiving Themed, and the students could relate to the inferencing situations.  
 Another language student played this board game that I took from "Turkey Tidbits:  A Reading for Meaning Activity Pack" by Andrea Crawford.  We also used the describing cards from "What Am I" from Queen's Speech.  

 When I walked out of my school on Tuesday, it was pretty gloomy.  I looked off into the distance and saw a spot were the sun was hitting the mountain.  I absolutely love the setting of this school!  It is just beautiful!
We continued using the "Bear Says Thanks" companion packet.  This time, my artic groups played the open ended game that was included:
I found the image of the turkey on google images from http://www.aldiko.com/blog/happy-thanksgiving.  The Make Dice app has the option to put in a background image, so I switched it up a bit from the boring 1 color background to make it a bit more festive.
In the picture above, one of my students worked on deciding if the verb said in the sentence used the past, present, or future tense.  He really had a hard time with this; looking back, I would have covered up the "future" and just used past & present since he is working on past tense.

My language group worked on Author's Purpose and Interpretation from SLP for ME.  I downloaded this activity onto my iPad, too, to save on printing and laminating.  Plus, even if it is just me reading the passages to them, they like working from the iPad.  Dana (the developer) was a little concerned that it would be too advanced for my students, so I went into the activity thinking I would have to modify it for them.  I was a bit surprised that I really didn't have to.  I did have to point out the hints to them, but they did pretty well with determining the purpose.

Friday is my "Breathe Day".  That is, when I don't have to participate in a Preschool Evaluation on Wednesdays.  Friday began with a group of 1st graders who played "Super Turkey".  After that, I had a walk-in preschooler.  He really likes the Bingo Dauber Art from DLTK.
Therapy on Fridays consist of only 1 group; everyone else is seen individually.  I have a couple of students working on AAC; in the afternoon I have 3 artic students who are all seen individually.  I got plenty of use out of "Super Turkey"!
This was my table as I got ready for the day:
It was cold (and Friday), so that could only mean 1 thing was necessary:  Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks!  It got my day off to a good start!
How was your week?  Did you find that you had to modify materials for your students?  Do you try to use the same materials for all of your students?

Wednesday Waffs

I have no idea what's going on with my students:  they just aren't providing me with blog material for Wednesdays!  Thank goodness for Facebook!

From  The Buckeye Speech Path
I went to pick up my kindergarteners this afternoon and one says "I knew today was 

speech, I saw the trash truck at my house and I knew that means speech day!" So glad the 

trash truck reminds you of me!!

From   Megan, one of the SLPs in my school system:
One of my Pre-K students came up to me this morning and said he wanted to show me his pet.  He said "Look!  My pet woggy (froggy)!"  It was a dead frog!  I had to take it away from him and wash his hands.  Yuck!  He thought the frog was just really quiet!  :)

From  The Busy Speech Path:
I attempted to do my progress reports last night. I got as far as turning on my laptop 

before my 5 year old 

startled me by saying, "Ooooooooh! Mama, sleeping on the job!".

Kreative in Kinder shared this:

How many can relate?  I know I certainly can!

This one doesn't have anything to do with Speech, but how many of you get this picture that George Takai put on Facebook:

Where Graduate Programs are Lacking

*Disclaimer:  Some of the tests mentioned may not be the most current edition.  My school system is doing its best to maintain the quality of education on a limited budget.
*Another disclaimer:  My current intern was not the inspiration for this post!

As I work with grad students from a nearby university, I'm a little frustrated that there are some aspects of their program that seem to be lacking.  It may just be this one university (you young girls chime in and let me know if this is true of your program!), or it may be that I'm "old school" and the things I think are important aren't that important to our field any more.

1)  Copyright laws:  My undergrad program covered this, and I'm fairly certain it was brought up in my grad program as well.  You can't just pull things off of the internet and share them with people, even if it's someone within our field.  For example:  TpT items are not to be shared, even if the item is free.  You can share the link to the item, but not the actual item.  The sellers want people to visit their store; that's how they generate their business.  Another example:  copying the cds from a book (such as an instructional book from Super Duper) onto a thumbdrive is a HUGE no-no.  They include the cds for the buyer's convenience, not so that it can be shared.  The excuse that you're a "poor grad student" is not an excuse.

2)  Auditory discrimination of correct/incorrect production of a phoneme:   This one just floors me!  When I was in undergrad school, we had a "phonetics lab" where we listened to a tape (yes, it was a tape...I'm old, remember?) and had to transcribe what we heard, whether the production was correct or incorrect.  I'm guessing programs aren't doing that any longer, and it's a real shame.  How can you correct an error if you don't hear it?  As SLPs, we should be trained to hear the incorrect error, as well as how to correct it.  

3)  Articulation Therapy:  What happened to good ol' Van Riper style of therapy?  Has that completely gone out the window?  It's worked for me for 29 years (a modified Van Riper), and I'll continue to do it until it doesn't work any longer.  I worked with one SLP about 15 years ago who was just out of grad school.  Her style of artic therapy was to read a book and pick out words that contained the target sound.  That's well and good, but what if the student can't even make the target sound to begin with?  Why are these girls/ladies coming to their school placement without knowing that they have to open their mouth so that the student can see the correct tongue placement?  Better yet, why are they coming to us not knowing how to teach the students how to make the correct sound?  

4)  Language Therapy:  Those of us already in the field know that there's a "hierarchy" of giving cues.  You know what I'm talking about:  First, you see if the student can answer on his own.  Then, you give an open-ended cue, followed by multiple choice, then a visual or even phonemic cue.  Apparently that's not being taught, either.  And, neither is problem solving.  When a student just isn't "getting it", we know we have to modify and make it simpler.  

5)  Fluency and Voice:  Should I even venture into these 2 areas?  My guess is that there is very little (if any) experience in these areas before coming to a School Placement.  It sure would be nice if an intern would have a little bit of knowledge in techniques in these areas.

6)  Testing:  Coming to your school placement with only administering 1 language test is not acceptable.  When I rattle off various articulation/language tests, I expect the intern to at least have heard of the tests.  The Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articualtion-2 is not the only articulation test out there.  It may be the one I use 99.5% of the time, but it's not the only one.  Likewise, the PLS-4 and CELF-4 aren't the only language tests out there, either.  And, throw that PPVT (whatever the latest edition is) away!  Honestly.  I don't even want to hear those letters in my therapy room!
a)  Administration:  While I understand that the administration of a test may be limited, it would be nice if there was some knowledge of how to give a test.  You don't help the child on an item (unless that item indicates that a prompt may be used), you don't put the stimulus items off to the side so you  can see it, and you don't speak so quickly that the student has no chance of processing what you're asking him to do.  You should also have all of the materials you are going to need within reach.  Oh, and one more thing:  if you start a subtest, you are supposed to finish it:  you can't just stop in the middle of it because you've run out of time.  Read the manual before you administer a test!
b)  Calculating the chronological age:  REALLY???  This is another one that floors me.  If you can't figure it out in your head, then there are free apps that can calculate them for you.  If you can do basic math, you should be able to figure it out.  I'll be the  first to admit that math is definitely not my strong point, but I can borrow, add, and subtract!
c)  Interpreting the Test Results:  Before you can interpret a test, you have to know how to score it.  That means being able to look at the correct table to find the scores.  (Hint:  some protocols even have the table referenced!  This should be a no-brainer.)  This leads to writing good objectives; the kind that aren't "teaching to the test".  (Speech2U had a wonderful post about this topic!) In order to do this, you have to have some knowledge of the steps it takes to get to the stimulus item. For example:  "Which one doesn't belong" (PLS-4)  The student has to be able to categorize before they can figure out which item doesn't belong.  That would be a good place to start.  

7)  Knowledge of the State Guidelines:  It would only make sense that a public school intern would be taking (or have taken) a class to prepare for the public schools.  And, it would only make sense that this class would include the guidelines.  Which should include:  How do you determine if a student is a candidate for speech/language therapy in the schools?   How does a student qualify for services in the public school?  What paperwork has to be completed?  Does the classroom teacher have any involvement?  What does an IEP look like?  When are progress reports completed?  When is a student ready for dismissal?  When are Re-evaluations completed?  What is necessary for a re-evaluation?  

8)  Courage:  If you're scared of children with autism, children who drool, or even hearing impaired children, you don't belong in this field.  However, if you like a good challenge and realize that all children should have a chance at being able to communicate, then this is the field for you.  I realize not everyone is comfortable with children who are disabled, but as a School SLP, you never know what's going to come your way.  You can't "pick and choose" who you're going to work with.  It takes a lot of hours researching and asking for help to give the student quality speech/language therapy.  This is something that can't be taught; it's more of an "experience" thing, but grad students need to know that this is our field.  You're not always going to get the little cute Kindergartener with an articulation deficit.  You're going to get the child in a wheelchair who drools, or a child who has "out of control" behavior because of communication deficits.  You need to know that those are the most rewarding children because, while their milestones will be few and far between, those are the ones you'll celebrate the most.

As I said in the first paragraph, maybe I'm just "old school" and haven't kept up with the times.  Maybe it's just the university that I've had contact with over the past few years.  Whether or not the universities are stressing the educational side of our field, the above points should be applicable to the clinical and educational sides.  As a supervisor who is also responsible for 60+ students on my caseload, I shouldn't have to teach a grad student how to do therapy.  Even if the student comes to me thinking they have a good clinical background, she needs to realize that the school setting is completely different than the clinic or hospital setting.  You have to learn to juggle 3 things at once:  speech/language targets, data collection, and behavior.  You have to train  yourself to deal with 2+ children in a group at one time.  

What is your opinion?  You young ladies who have just started in the field:  Do you feel that your grad program properly prepared you for your School Placement?  I'd love to hear from you!

Therapy Week in Review for 11/08/2013

Another week has gone by!  It actually felt good to work a whole week.  My intern took the reigns on Monday.  She didn't have "5 Minute Day" since the week before was crazy with her being out on Monday, and then I was out Wed.-Fri.  On Monday & Tuesday (since I'm at different schools those days), we extended Halloween just a little bit by playing "The Eyeball Game".  I saw this idea last year from Speech Room News.  The kids liked it so much, we had to play it again this year!
For my 4th grade language group, we used "Four In The Fall".  (I'm not sure where I got it from, and I can't find it on TpT, so if this is yours, please let me know so I can give you credit!)  We played on teams, and, since there are only 3 students in that group, I played on a team.  We read the clues on the cards, and then found the answer on the board.  If we put the chip on the wrong word, the card went to the bottom of the pile and the chip was taken off of the board.  The first team to get 4 chips in a row was the winner.  It was a close game, but my team lost (which the other team thought was hilarious!).

On Wednesday, my intern brought in this game for the students to play:
I had never heard of this game; she said she picked it up at a yard sale.  The kids absolutely loved it!  They rolled a color dice, and then had to look for items in a category, or find the picture on the tiles that matched the picture on the card.  During "game days", I try to get at least 28 responses.  With this game, she only got around 10, so we problem solved on how to modify the game to get more responses.  (fewer tiles or having each student say their target and then letting one person have a turn)
One activity she did with the preschoolers was "Thanksgiving Following Directions" from Let's Talk Speech Language Pathology".  It hit their vocabulary, following directions, and spatial concepts objectives.
For added reinforcement, the student got to feed the animal.  So what if they got a little silly and didn't match the food to the animal?
On Thursday, I did a Veteran's Day activity with my school-age students.  For the artic students, following production of their target, they turned over a word and decided which column that word belonged.  Their choices were "are", "can", and "have".  They then wrote the word in the appropriate column.

At least, that's how I started the day.  I wised up (a little) after those first 2 groups, and ended up making copies of the words and cutting them out so the students could glue the words in the appropriate column.
But then I wised up even more and reduced the words so they would fit into the boxes better:
BINGO!  That worked out GREAT!  The only constructive criticism I have about this activity is that the font that was used was a bit difficult for my students to read.

My 4th grade language group read a passage about the history of Veteran's Day and underlined the important words/phrases.  Following that, they answered questions about the passage.  This is a group that really struggles with pretty much all facets of reading, but they did real well with remembering (without me reminding them) to look back in the passage at the underlined words to find the answers.

I've seen a few posts on Facebook about "Pirate Talk", so I decided to pull it out for my walk-in preschooler to play:
For some reason, when I played this game before I didn't care for it.  I thought it took too long for the spinner to stop, but it didn't seem that way this time.  One of the good things about the spinner is that you can turn the sound off, so it's not quite as annoying!

Friday morning, I had a small group of 2 walk-in preschoolers.  One is working on /k,g/, and the other is working on bilabials and using "my".  "My Hungry Turkey" by Expressively Speaking fit the bill!
After we went through the book, I let one color while I targeted the other's objective.  PERFECT!
With my other Friday students, I repeated the Veteran's Day activity.  It was something different, but I think the students enjoyed it!

What did  you do this week?
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