Sunday, November 8, 2015

Frenzied SLPs Thankful & Grateful Blog Hop

It's that time again...
the time of year when we all tend to stop and reflect about what we are most thankful for. (Sorry about ending a sentence with a preposition; I'm feeling rebellious today).  Honestly, I try to reflect on that year 'round - daily even- but thank goodness for November. Right on cue, November sweeps in after the candy binge of Halloween to make us focus on gratitude. 

On that note, I'm really grateful to have found this online tribe- the Frenzied SLPs. Today we are bringing our readers a little scavenger hunt (in which you can win prizes!) and sharing our stories about what makes our hearts swell with gratitude. 
Please join the fun! 
Three readers will win $10 TpT gift cards as well as $10 Starbucks cards.  
TpT and coffee makes our jobs easier :) 

Here is what you need to do:
  1. 1.  Read each thankful post from The Frenzied SLPs!
  2. 2.  Collect (and jot down) the character at the bottom of each post. You will need them to figure out the secret phrase. 
    3.  Enter the secret phrase into the Rafflecopter at the end of any post.
    4.  Visit The Frenzied SLPs Facebook Page for an extra entry.
    5.  Three winners will be chosen after the rafflecopter closes on 11/13/2015. 

All mommas are thankful for their children.  Of course, I'm thankful for my job. my home, and my parents. I'm especially blessed to have my parents who are 79 and 88.  The list could go on for days. When I dig down deep, though, the gratitude that always comes bubbling up is husband.  
It's long overdue that I hop down from the pedastal my husband puts me on and haul his butt up there instead. 

Shannon and I grew up as neighbors -"catty corner" neighbors to be exact.  Our parents are still neighbors.  Along with his sister, we played in the street (yes -gasp- we sure did) and did all the things that neighborhood kids did before there was technology.  Little did we know that location, location, location would later make it very convenient for running out to the corner for one more goodnight.  

In 5th grade we were both at a "boy-girl dance party" and we kissed.  I know, I know, I would have strangled my children had they been sneaking kisses in 5th grade, but hey, it was a really small town with really nothing to do. 

Shannon is inherently shy, and I am inherently not. The kiss never turned into anything....well, except me occasionally using my dad's binoculars to spy on him down the street....until 6 years later. 

My junior year of high school we had a whirlwind romance.  I asked him out, and he showed up.  He wouldn't even kiss me, but after that date, I told my best friend, "I'm going to marry him." 
He was just so genuinely good (not to mention so cute and super smart)
 We've now been married almost 26 years, but it still feels like we are having first dates. 
~ Sappy and annoying, but true ~

To make a slightly long and scandalous story short, we graduated high school as Mr. and Mrs. 
Yes, married!! 
Good grief (shaking my head).

We insisted that our unexpected-baby-on-the-way grow up in a traditional family, and we didn't want our parents to have to raise him.  We were (usually) good kids, but thinking back I feel so very sorry for my Mom and Dad.  They should have beaten me over the head with a club, but they supported us wholeheartedly instead, and have mercy, they adore that baby boy who is now 25.  
To this day I still cannot believe the hospital personnel let us take that baby home. 
We were so young.  What were they thinking? LOL

Shannon was the hometown quarterback and a local pitching prodigy headed for the college baseball scene.  I was the cheerleader/class president voted "most likely to succeed" with dreams of traipsing off to a big shot university to become a writer.  Instead, we became the talk of our small town. 

Our identities changed and I am so grateful that it did.  It helped me to get my priorities straight. Personal ambitions were set aside, and we focused on being a family.  Shannon knew he couldn't have major league ambitions and be the husband and dad he wanted to be, and I started searching the college catalogs for a more practical career. 

We went to homecoming and prom as husband and wife, and we graduated as salutatorian and valedictorian with the little love of our lives, Ferris, watching from the front row.  We earned full academic scholarships, and we moved (far) away to college- just the 3 of us.  We didn't know a soul and we didn't have a clue, but we were mature and determined. Being our scholarly selves..... we read all the "how-to" books :)  Thinking back, surely the soundtrack playing somewhere in the background of our life was Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer
 It was the 90s after all (hence the name Ferris).

I'm sure our parents were just praying that we would keep their grandson (and ourselves) alive and safe.  We were confident and optimistic...and naive... although I would not have admitted that then. 

By being absolutely relentless, we scored an apartment in government housing.  Ferris only got his head stuck in our apartment railing one time :) We got on welfare and applied for every little scholarship we could find.  Whatever Shannon's job didn't cover- like daycare and car insurance - my parents made happen.  Shannon's goal was always to not be a burden to anyone. He worked tirelessly at various jobs while we both took 21 hours per semester- 18 hours in the summers- to hurry and finish college early.  Between working and studying and taking turns parenting, we rarely saw each other for 3 years, but he became my hero.     
After four years of survival mode, he had a pharmacist job, and I finished my masters degree. 
We said au revoir to welfare; we had beaten the odds. 
I talk about it like it was easy but... NO WAY!  For a while I could have sworn I had a little Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from it, but good things come to those who wait work hard.  

Truly though, when people ask how we did it, I give all the credit to my husband.  
He stayed even though it was really hard.  Moms do what they have to do for their babies, but men often find a way out.  He persevered and was never less than father of the year and my own personal cheerleader.  

He still is.  I thank God for him everyday. 
He is still just genuinely good in every way; I aspire to live like him. 
He walks through life selflessly and puts others before him always.  
In fact, he will hate the fact that I wrote this. 
He even cooks and cleans and does the grocery shopping, y'all!  We are a unstoppable team! 
 Since we finished growing up together,  I joke and say I raised him that way.  

With an empty nest just months away, I'm so thankful for a relationship that can stand on its own even after our kids have flown the coop. 

Know what else? He lets me talk about boring speech stuff and SLP problems.
When I opened my TpT store, I'm pretty sure he thought I'd never even get my $60 start up fee back. Still, he cheered me on.  He cleans the kitchen or runs the errands when I need to blog or work on products.  He accompanied me to the TpT conference this summer and was just as enthusiastic about it as I was.  He even brags about me to anyone who will listen. How lucky am I? 
That's why I figured it was time to do brag about him for a change.  

It's a great time of year to tell the people we are so grateful for how we feel.  When I drop my son off at school I like to tell him, "If a nice thought pops into your head today, you should make it come out of your mouth, too.  Spread some goodness."  

We all need to know we are appreciated.  
In fact, I appreciate YOU!  Yes, you! 

Now that I have completely gushed and you are completely gagging,  I think it's time to get on with the scavenger hunt.  

My letter is.... L

Now hop to the next blogger (my friend in-real-life, Tracy)
or feel free to hop to the FIRST blogger to start from the beginning
Good luck & thanks for reading! Go forth and be thankful :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It's Halloween in My Speech Room!

This week my fellow Frenzied SLPs and I are blogging about Halloween-themed language activities.  
Let's get real, Halloween week at school is ROUGH.  
To top it off, we have a full moon and  Hurricane Patricia dumping torrential rains on us here in Louisiana.  Here are some ideas from me to you that might help keep things calm and productive in your speech room! 

I love love love the book The Biggest Leaf Pile by Steve Metzger.  It's not Halloween themed, but it is fall themed and it's spurred lots of learning in my therapy room this month. 
I love that it addresses friendship and character. 

We read the book and made our own leaf piles with silk and paper leaves. 

We also created the characters from the book.  On this day, my students both chose to make Yellow Hickory who is just one of the 4 main characters.  You can grab this leaf template along with instructions on how to use them with the book HERE. It's only available to my blog readers :)

We have also been working on concepts (many, few, 2, only, round, pointed, happy, shapes, etc)
using my Halloween Cariboo freebie!  I've even used it to work on where, what and who questions...What can we eat? Who has a tail? Where can you live? Where do bats and birds live? Who has a cape?  Who has triangle eyes? Who is sleeping? Who is smiling? What has whiskers? What can we wear? What has legs? 

We've been reading plenty of Halloween books. 

We have worn out The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything along with hand motions, wiggling, shaking, clapping and clomping.  My non-verbal and limited verbal kids were able to participate, too, because my graduate student and I used my FAVORITE handy, dandy free app, Sounding Board.  Read more about how to use Sounding Board at this blog post.

Later this week, we will be reading Five Little Pumpkins....

...along with 5 real little pumpkins.

My upper elementary students and I have been reading non-fiction fall passages from Nicole Allison and playing some seasonal themed board games as reinforcement for answering questions correctly. I was able to address soooooo many ELA skills with these passages! 

We've also been reading the Young Observer book on vampire bats. I highly recommend the Young Observer books by Phillip Steele. 

We've been working on answering all kinds of wh-questions (and how to answer them while restating the question) using my Halloween trivia and games. This is also perfect for getting a true picture of  articulation and fluency carryover.  If you have two kids (or teams compete) by ringing in first to see who can correctly answer the question, the time pressure is a great test of how strong and automated their artic and fluency skills really are. Plus, my kids BEG for this.  

On Wednesday and Thursday, we will be making these spider snacks as one of our therapy activities!! This is just great for sequencing, following directions and lots of discussion about spiders. 
Besides, who doesn't love to eat in therapy? HELLOOOOOOO no one! 

Happy Halloween, y'all!! 

Be sure to click on all go my friend's logos below to read about what's going on in their speech room! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Eyeballs Have Taken Over My Speech Room

This is such a weird thing to say...
but the fact of the matter is that I've been inspired by eyeballs lately. 

If you don't know this yet, I am a Target junkie.  
There's even a rumor that a Target might be built on the empty 6 acre commercial pasture next to my house.  Our neighbors are freaking out at the possibility, but all I can think is...
I wonder if they'll build me a little I can actually walk there and back.
Ahhhh a girl can dream.

But anyway...I made my usual stop at the Target dollar spot and grabbed some goodies that I can use as prizes and such for my students.  Then when I brought my bag of goodies to work and started unpacking my loot,  I decided to just keep the eyeball bouncy balls for ME! 

Everybody loves a bouncy ball!! Eyeballs one take it to a whole new level. 
Later that week I even found eyeball ping pong balls at the Dollar Tree!
Instead of giving them away I decided to use them to my advantage...
to help me get my wiggly boys and busy preschoolers to do some work! 

I made some circular artic cards and dropped them in a muffin pan.  I started by just having my students bounce the ping pong eyeball into the pan and then say word in the spot where it landed. 
For kids working at the phrase or sentence level, I gave them a carrier phrase or asked them to make sentences with the word.

Some kids were "more skilled" with the ping pong ball than others. LOL

 For kids who couldn't do it, I had them toss paper clips and pennies instead! This coming week we will be tossing sticky spiders in the pan! 

Then last week I got a big package from Amazon and used the big box to put a twist on this activity....

I put the muffin pan in the big box and let my (most hyper) students bounce the bouncy eyeballs into the box.  They got to stand and bounce something (and of course say their words) and they weren't tortured by sitting at my table. 

Likewise, I was pain free as well ;)  

After doing this a couple of days, we made the activity a competition!! So the kids rolled dice before bouncing the ball.  My rule was that they had to say the word their ball landed on the number of times they rolled.  If they could do it, they earned that many points, and we kept score!  That was a big hit! 

When my older kids saw this out in my room, they wanted to try it, too!! 
Check out one of my 5th graders in action: 


Now I've made muffin pan articulation cards for every sound (and blends)  
 so none of my students have to be left out of the fun.  The best part is that I've already used the round  artic cards for other things.  We have fed them to the "Old Lady" who swallowed a fly as well as all the puppets in my room.  We played memory, and we even went fishing for them.  I just put a paper clip on each one and used a little magnetic fishing pole for my preschoolers to go fishing for their words (the oldest trick in the book). 

You can find Muffin Pan Articulation HERE

If that wasn't enough eyeball fun, we have also been smushing eyeballs!
I made some really weird eyeball scenes.  They make my little ones squeal!! 
At first, I had them just make an eye ball out of  playdoh after practicing their artic or phonology skill.  For groups, it kept their little hands busy while they waited their turn to drill.  At the end they had a mat full of round eyeballs.  Then I remembered my crazy eye bouncy balls so I also let them smush the bouncy eyeball into the playdoh eyebalball.
  {Lots of squishy fun and more squeals of course!}

For my first graders, we rolled a die to see how many eyeballs they could squish on each turn. Whoever smushed all of the eyeballs first was the winner.  
Can you tell I love a little friendly competition? 

 Wanna try it? 
My Eyeball Smush activity is a FREEBIE that you can download HERE
There's 4 scenes for your little people to smush. 
After downloading, be sure to read about all the ways you can use it.  Oh, and if you could please take a second to leave feedback in my store I would really appreciate it!

Happy Halloween to you and yours and may some eyeballs bring some fun and learning to your speech room, too! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall Articulation Fun!

I'm loving fall, y'all!  Even if it is still in the 90s here in south Louisiana. 
It doesn't feel like fall but who cares... because I'm on FALL BREAK 
(a glorious 4 day weekend). 

I'm linking up with the fabulous Frenzied SLPs to bring you articulation ideas for fall! 

Here's what I've been doing this fall in articulation therapy....

We started out fall with some apple articulation dot art along with many other apple activities! 

We also created some autumn art by adding leaves on the bare tree below - fingerprint style!! After saying X number of artic targets correctly, my students got to squash their little fingertips onto a washable stamp pad and then smush 3 fingerprint leaves on their tree (and in a leaf pile and in the air). We repeated and repeated this until their masterpieces were complete.  
Oh, and moms love this little project :) It's very fridge worthy. 

Even can snag it free here if you haven't already stumbled across it.  

We've squeezed in lots of articulation drill with my Articulation Cans and activities from my Fall Fun Pack. One of them includes my students finding the items hidden in the leaf pile that contain their sound. Who doesn't love a leaf pile!?  Then they bring it home for homework and get a reward if they return it signed. 

We've been using my fall words for drill while playing one of my all-time favoriate games, EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS THE SNEAKY SNACKY SQUIRREL GAME as well as my Fall Game Boards. I know some people don't feel the need to use games, but I like the positive reinforcement they provide. I always remind my students that the most important thing to focus on is their speech - not the game- and if they start to focus only on the game we can't continue to play it. They know I mean business, and using a game has proven to work for me.  

You can find my fall themed words for drill in my Happy Fall Quick Drill which is always a hit in articulation. We put all of the quick drill cards facedown on the table or in a container.  On this particular day (below), we put them in the tree shaped box from the Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game.  My kids said their target sound, words, phrases or sentences 3-5 times before being able to pick a card.  The object of the game is to collect the most adorable Happy Fall acorn cards, but the wild cards always shake up the game.  It's the simplest little game ever but gets lots of productions along with lots of laughs and interaction from the students. 

Now if you know me you know we have been doing dot art! 

This is how I use it: 

 SAY-AND-DOT ONE AT A TIME: Students are given bingo paint daubers and allowed to “dot” the pictures in each little circle after saying the name of the picture 1, 2, 3, 5, or however many times I assign. Do this with each and every picture on the page. 

 HUNT, DOT and SAY: Have students find every giraffe (for example) on the page, dot each one and then say “giraffe” 1 time for each giraffe they found. 

 ADAPT TO STUDENT LEVELS: If a student is working at the phrase or sentence level, have him/her make a phrase (if the student cannot produce a phrase quickly, assign a carrier phrase like “I like _____” or “ I see a _____” or “I ate a ______”) or sentence with each little picture. You can also have your students make a sentence with feather (for example) and then find and dot every feather on the page while you address the next student.

CHIPPER CHAT STYLE: If you prefer (or if you don’t have paint daubers), you can use chipper chat style tokens to cover the circles instead. 

I SPY: Use it to play I Spy -tell or describe the picture the students needs to find, say and dot. 

Once it dries, send home for homework, and when they return it signed, we hang them up proudly for the world to see. 

For my preschool artic girls, we have been making fall necklaces which they adore. After they say their target sounds, words, etc., to my liking, they get to string  a fall themed foam bead to make a necklace.  
I used these necklace forms shown below (I sadly can't remember where I bought them) but in the past I've also used sturdy,  and it works great. Always a hit! 

For my older students or those who need to practice their sounds in reading or conversation, we always stamp stories.  It's something I try to do for every season and holiday.  We read the story a line at a time, and they use my handy dandy rubber stamps to fill in the story. (Of course, they try to make it as hilarious or weird as possible). After all the blanks are filled in, each student reads it in front of the group. If they make errors, I have them highlight every one of their sounds in the story so that next time they have a visual cue.  Then they bring it home to read it to someone in their family for homework! Mostly we applaud :) 

If you don't have rubber stamps (mine were purchased from Lakeshore Learning but they are not longer available), you can use stickers. I buy the little booklets of seasonal stickers from the Dollar Spot at Target, and last year we stamped this story for articulation carryover the Monday after Halloween...

You can grab this Hallowen Stamp Story freebie here. 

Ohhhh and it would not be fall in my speech room without my two favorite games that work like a charm to facilitate lots of articulation drill.  


Since Halloween is coming, I've packed away the Happy Fall Quick Drill and we have moved on to the Wacky Pumpkins Quick Drill...

and we're now doing Halloween Dot Art

For my preschool crowd, we made spooky masks that I found at Target. They earned pieces to put on their mask by saying their sounds correctly. 

On tap for next week ------ Magic Potion Madness ------ Always a crowd pleaser! 

Maybe we'll even do some ghost bowling.  It was a big hit last October! 

If these aren't enough, click on all of my friends' links below to find even more fun artic fall activites, and please come back soon to read about what language activities are going down in my speech room this fall. 

May your fall be lovely." title="click to view in an external page.">An InLinkz Link-up

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