Saturday, March 2, 2013

March Madness {and I'm not talking about basketball!)

March is upon us!! 

Dang, how did that happen so quickly!?   

After the work week I've had, I've decided that March Madness is also upon us.  

Nope, I'm not referring to basketball.  
I'm referring to the the manic month of March in the world of education
 (and especially my world of special education!) 

.....Gearing up for state testing

wrapping up that crucial 3rd quarter (freaking out when you realize who may pass or fail)

a new surge of parents requesting their children be screened for language and learning disabilities 

evaluations wrapping up

and the IEP frenzy in full swing! 

Whew! Put on your seatbelts because it's going to be a wild ride from now until May!

So after a hard day of work on the first day of March, what did I do?  I loaded my family up for a little road trip to our hometown to visit our family and enjoy some of south Louisiana's finest...

Oh yeah, that's right.  A little family and good food is just what I needed at the end of this crazy week!

and how many of you are still waiting to get your formal observations behind you this school year?  
I'm so happy that this past week I had my second mandatory observation by my principal.  It was unannounced so she just popped in and watched an articulation therapy group of second graders- a few of my sweetest and smartest kids.  

I think it went great (haven't been given the results yet), and I'm glad to have that behind me.  I could tell the kids were a little weirded out by their quick, tense glances in the principal's direction but for the most part we just "did our thing.

So what's happening in my speech room for the month of March?  
From now until spring break we are all about St. Patrick's Day & Easter! 
I love doing therapy using a theme- you can teach ANYTHING with a good theme!!

I've created 2 barrier games for my students that will help me work on articulation and language.  My co-worker SLP, Robyn, uses them for fluency practice.  

They require kids to listen & follow directions, organize their thoughts to give clear, concise directions, show their understanding of all sorts of concepts and practice their articulation and fluency strategies in spontaneous speech. 

It gives ME a true picture of their real communication, and it's fun, too! 

Speaking and Listening are a big part of the Common Core Standards and I think that most educators think those are the "easy" skills.  I think if you really dig deep, many people would be shocked to find out how difficult these skills are for many kids! 

These barrier games put them to the test in those areas. There are a couple of ways to "play" depending on whether you want to focus more on speaking or more on listening. For either, each student should be given the colorful background scene and a barrier should be set up between them so they can't see each others' boards. 

They also each need a set of the themed items shown on the page below (they must be cut out). These are the items they will place on the scene where they are instructed (either by other students or by the therapist). They will have to find the exact item described to them and place it exactly where they're instructed to in the scene.                    This can be very eye-opening!! 

Since I know what it's like to have a million things on your mind or to have a little "brainfog" some days (hope I'm not the only one?), I did the thinking ahead of time.  There are 2 sets of directions included for you that use up all of the themed items, require kids to really think, and target a variety of concepts.  I love making them strain their brain!! 

and take a peek at the Easter version......

I had the most fun making these.  Easter stuff just makes me smile :) The premise is exactly the same. Use the 4 page download and follow the instructions included to play the barrier games and get the communication flowing! 

The kids really have to pay attention to details
 in the scene. I like to be tricky. 

It's always fun to pick up the barriers at the end and see if everyone's scenes look the same.  Sometimes there are some major OOPSIES- which we can laugh about, talk about and learn from.  

Just like the St. Patty's version, this set also includes 1) instructions for play 2) an Easter scene 3) a page of items to place in the scene with instructions  4) 2 sets of prewritten directions that did the thinking for you and use all items in the scene.                                                                                     You can grab this Easter barrier game HERE

Stay tuned for more Easter fun very soon!!  What's going on in your speech room during March Madness? 


1 comment:

  1. Cute! I love barrier games!

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