Saturday, March 30, 2013

How about a giveaway!?

Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful weekend! 
It's a wonderful 77 degrees here in Louisiana and I'm relishing the last of 3 days of Spring Break! 

It makes me wanna go shop for flip flops!! In fact, I did squeeze a little retail therapy into my weekend- 

I hit some great sales & managed to buy some cropped pants and a few short sleeved shirts- spring is on its way! 

I thought I'd share in the shopping fun and throw my own sale-
all Easter items in my TPT store are 15% off through tomorrow.... 

....but what's even better than a sale?!?  A GIVEAWAY!

I hope you read my previous blog post about my "Thomas" themed activities for phonemic awareness, early literacy and speech therapy. 
If not, check it out, because I'm giving away 3 copies of 
If you think this is something your students could use or would love, 
You can enter to win it here ....right there on the right panel --------->>>>>

I'll announce the winners on Friday Morning! (April 5) 
Good luck!!
-Mia



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Just me & Thomas- working over spring break...

Yesssss, it's spring break and I'm officially OFF of work for 10 days!  
Well, sort of.  

In addition to my full-time job, I also do private therapy.  I treat children in their homes, or their parents bring them to my home for therapy.  
Going to see a child in their home really gives you the big picture of that child's life.  
It's always funny to me to see how different families communicate. 

It also allows their parents to see what I do in therapy firsthand and to see how they can help their kids when I'm not around 
(and they usually do practice with their kids during the week by imitating what I do-I'm very thankful for that!) 
They're like honorary SLPs! 

Although I try to remain professional- I usually get very attached to the kids and families I work with and it's hard to say goodbye after going to see a child in their home for years. 
The bad thing about doing private therapy is that if you're good at it, you're constantly putting yourself out of business!

So one little guy I went to see this week is obsessed with TWO things- 
Angry Birds and Thomas & Friends.  
I make this poor little guy work HARD during the time I have with him so I try to bring activities multiple activities that will hold his attention since he is young and active

That's where these guys come in....

Today I'm just going to write about Thomas 
(I mean, don't you think Angry Birds deserve their own post?) 
Angry Birds are like...taking over the world!
 I didn't want to jump on board but my kids will do aNYTHIng for those flying feathered phenoms! 
{more on that next time}

My little guy needs articulation drill but he also needs help with literacy.  
His school is mentioning that he isn't ready for 1st grade so Mom has asked me to become part SLP/part kindergarten tutor.  
Ok, I can do that. 

Before I move on to Thomas, let me tell you that I taught him the letter sounds he had not mastered using Phonics Faces
Kiddos with severe articulation disorders are usually NOT auditory learners-I love Phonics Faces because they're visual tools for learning letter sounds.


If you haven't heard about Phonics Faces... YOU MUST!!
Phonics Faces is a program for teaching letter/sound and alphabet skills developed by Dr. Jan Norris.  

She was one of my professors and supervisors at LSU and if you're an SLP, you probably know her name.  

She is an ASHA fellow and has won the ASHA Clinical Achievement Award twice. 

Straight up- Dr. Norris is a genius.

She developed an extensive line of products for phonemic awareness, reading, etc when she found her own grandchildren struggling to learn to read.

You can see her stuff at http://elementory.com and you can see Dr. Norris in action using it HERE

It seriously helps kids learn to read. 



Now that he was familiar with letters and their sounds, it was time to play with words and strengthen his phonemic awareness so he could begin to read and write.  

That's where Thomas came in- Thomas was my secret weapon to start working on fundamental phonemic awareness skills like rhyming, listening for beginning sounds and ending sounds-and later- those tricky middle sounds.  If fact I made a whole packet all about Thomas and his friends just for this little guy- and now it's for sale in my TPT store.  You can see it HERE



I started by using the "Thomas cards" - the rhyming cards- they're set up so that we could play memory but before that, I used them one card at a time- just to talk about what could rhyme (and not rhyme) with the picture on the card. 

We used it as a card game (if you can rhyme it, you get to keep it "I bet I can get more than you!" scenario).  Somehow he beat me :)


Then we played matching and finally, we used the cards to play the board game - worked like a charm. 



Next we will do the same with the beginning and ending sound cards. 


The Percy cards (the green cards) have 18 pairs of pictures with the same beginning sounds. 

The James Cards (the red cards) have 18 pairs of pictures with the same ending sounds.  

Just as I did with the rhyming cards, I plan the use the cards for teaching & then for practice. I even printed a set for his Mom to work with him while I'm not around (the game, too!!) 


The pack includes a dice and spinner and Mom already made it for them to use.  
Gotta love moms who do "speech homework!" 
Now don't forget, I still have to do articulation drill with this little guy! 
So in addition to being able to use the board game for that, I made a set of open ended cards to play matching with - so that he can hunt for a match after he says 5 target sounds.  


When he's ready, we will move on to listening for sounds in ALL positions of words, to writing the corresponding letters, and to writing words!  
My goal is to get him there by summer!

And I made 180 word family flash cards for his Mom to practice with him at home when the time comes- she can use those with the board game, too, (read 5 words then get a turn at the board game) to keep him from protesting!


I can't wait to get him reading! I wish I could take a picture of his wild eyed, happy face everytime I pull a Thomas activity out of my bag- it is priceless!!
(but I do try to respect this family's privacy) 

If you want to grab the whole pack for your Thomas lovin' kids, you can find it HERE




I'm not a teacher.  I hear a lot of speech-pathologists say that, and I agree; I didn't go to college to become a teacher.  However, I do know a thing or two about phonemes, about sounds, about auditory processing and comprehension.  As SLPs, we all do.  

I'm happy to have a part in teaching kids to learn to read.  
There's nothing like the look on their face when... IT CLICKS....they read a word for the first time that they didn't think they could read......and it's a complete surprise to them 
(to both of us to be honest!)

Have you seen that look?  
It's a beautiful thing. 

-Mia

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's all about the POCKING

So I'm officially on spring break now {woohoo!!}  but I 've been wanting to sit down and write about what went on in my "speech room" before we left on our long awaited break.....

Dozens and dozens of hard boiled eggs met their fate all in the name of a little Easter fun and the spreading of a tradition {that totally smelled up my room and nearly the whole school in the process}.  


My partners in crime (i.e. the 2 speech pathologists I work with and our graduate student from LSU) and I hauled every one of our students through my room the week before our break to engage in some serious egg dying, some Easter word games and the pièce de résistance- POCKING EGGS.  
(more on that in a minute:)        

 I mean, were we brave, or what?!! 

Now I know what you're wondering and the answer is YES, there were several eggs that cracked approximately 3 seconds after being told. "Now you only get one egg so be very, very careful with it, ok?"      

That's ok.  The cracked ones got dyed, too.  



Despite the fact that there was some bickering over the coveted pink and blue dye cups, all of the eggs eventually got dyed to everyone's liking.  We were surprised to find that many of the children had never dyed eggs before.  We also didn't anticipate the number of children who wanted to keep their egg to smuggle home in their backpack.  {insert images of parents discovering rotten eggs in backpacks all around this suburb of Baton Rouge over spring break}  Ohhhh no...no sneaking or smuggling of the egg was allowed.   If you didn't eat the egg  it went straight in the garbage.   Unfortunately, 99% of the kiddos elected to eat the egg - or peel the egg and then for some inexplicable reason, crumble it to bits- resulting in thousands of pieces of egg shell shrewn around the room......but I digress...

             
Now that the eggs were dyed,  it was time to POCK!    
                            
I'm going to refer to it as "pocking" even though "pock" should actually be "pâcques"
(the French word for Easter).  I've recently learned that pocking eggs is a tradition done in parts of the Europe and the Middle East, but to me, I've always just known it as something we do down in Cajun country. My students and I had been reading about and learning about  about Easter Traditions Around the World for over a week and I wanted to share this tradition with them. 

Growing up in Mamou, LA, this was something we did every Easter as far back as I can remember.  If you were old enough to hold an Easter egg, you pocked. After Easter Sunday mass, Cajun families gather in large bunches at the home of whomever volunteered to cook that year. Cajun accents chat over feasts of slow cooked meats, barbeque, ham, turkey, rice dressing, potato salad, or if you were very lucky, cardboard platters of steaming boiled crawfish.  Everyone brings a basket of Easter eggs. Aunts, uncles, Maw Maws, Paw Paws, cousins, nieces and nephews, "Parrains" and Godmothers gather around the kitchen or the porch with their baskets to pock eggs. 


{Here is my great niece, Abigail, pocking eggs with her mom last Easter in my brother's backyard.}


It's a simple little game.  With eggs in hand, two people have an egg battle. One person holds their egg firmly in their fist with the small tip up while the other person holds their egg with its small tip down.  The person doing the pocking gently tap, tap, taps on the bottom egg until one egg finally succombs and cracks. Whoever has the egg that remains intact is the winner and gets to take the loser's egg.  And so I told this story to my students in my speech room -105 miles from my hometown of Mamou- and we tried it, pair by pair.  Pock. Pock. Pock.                       

Even though I live and work in South Louisiana, the traditions of Cajun country are a world apart and often unknown to those in other parts of Louisiana.  This seems to be the case with pocking eggs! Growing up, I thought that everyone pocked eggs. I didn't find out differently until the first Easter I spent away at college- just 180 miles north of my hometown. When I mentioned pocking eggs I got some very baffled looks. {yikes!}   



At school, the sound of laughter & commotion (and possibly the smell of eggs) coming from my speech room brought quite a few spectators. Even our assistant principal, originally from New Orleans, came to watch the egg pocking and commented that she'd never seen or heard of such a thing!
                                                                                                                                                                                       
The kids had loads of fun with the pocking, and a grand champion egg was named for each group. The winner won a prize that every child craves- candy!

Only a handful of precious little first graders melted into tears when their egg was cracked. 
(oops, another thing I didn't anticipate)

Now we kept it nice and friendly in my speech room but back in Mamou it is hardcore competitive.  I imagine the tradition stemmed from the old days when Cajuns were largely poor and really wanted to win their competitors' eggs in order to provide a few days worth of meals for their family.     


At our house, if one egg starts to win too often the accusations start flying about it being a guinea, quail or duck egg (or even a wooden egg) instead of a plain ole chicken egg .
{I wouldn't know where to get any of those strange varieties!} 
There are even strategies that people swear by to make their eggs stronger: buying certain types or sizes of eggs, boiling them pointing up, etc. etc.  In the end, it's all about  fun and tradition. 



I hope this Easter activity will be one my students remember.  Maybe some of my students will tell their families about pocking eggs.   Maybe they'll even try it at home.  

I left work that day exhausted... but with a happy heart...
like I had a small part in keeping this little Cajun tradition alive.  

Do you have a unique Easter tradition? I'd love to hear about it.  
I might even add it to my bestselling Easter Around the World activity on TPT
(you can check it out here:)

Happy Easter, y'all
-Mia

Intrigued?  




Let's link up!

I stumbled upon a fabulous blog while browsing on Pinterest called  
Even at first click all I could think was, this blog speaks my language!! 
It features 3 things I adore.....Speech therapy, DISNEY, and pinterest!
Don't even get me started on Disney- we will be here ALL day!! 

Laura, over at Oh, How Pintearesting! is hosting an SLP link up so I decided to participate!
Meeting other speech-pathologists from all over the country (via the good ole internet) has been one of the best things about starting this blog so I'm hoping to link up with more! 

If you'd like to link up with us, go to Oh, How Pintearesting! to find out how.  

So here I go...
Here is the graphic Laura posted, with graphics from Scrappin Doodles and Teaching in a Small Town.  The font is from The First grade Parade:
(If you want to participate, now's the time to take a screen shot of it)
and here is my response.....


1) STATE of MIND = Excited!
     There's so much to be excited about! First of all, it's spring break, and the world is my oyster!  I see   
     a day trip to New Orleans in the cards for this week:))  Then to top it off, Friday, {i.e. Good 
     Friday} will bring a big family gathering with some good cajun seafood and even better company  
     (including my parents coming to town for a visit!)  Hey, and let's not forget, the Easter Bunny is on 
     his way! 

2) LOVING....Pic Monkey and this weather!!
     I could have a long list here but right now, at the moment. I'm loving PicMonkey.  If you haven't  
     heard of it or tried it, head over to their site asap.  It's a dream for editing images- so much fun!
     Below is just a drop in the bucket of some of the things you can do.....



     
  
             

     I'm also loving THIS WEATHER!  It will be 100 degrees here at my house before we know it! 
     It's 43 degrees as I type this and the high is only 59 today!! People around here are really
     complaining about this weather, but I am LOVIN' IT!  This girl does NOT like to sweat!

3) PREPPING  my Very Hungry Caterpillar Pack and Spring Would you Rather
    When I return to school it's time to dive into the spring activities- no matter what Mother Nature has
    going on with this Louisiana weather!! It's time for BUGS and one of my favorite books, Eric    
    Carle's, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I still read the board book version I bought for my son 22 
    years ago (he's graduating from college this May and I'm still clinging to his little board book).  I'm    
    so proud of  the Very Hungry Caterpillar Speech and Language Companion Pack that I created, and 
    I think my students will have lots of fun and learning with it. If you want a peek, you can see it 
    HERE

     I'm also prepping Word to the Wise's Spring Would you Rather cards.  I've printed them and now  
     it's time to laminate them and cut! These are great cards to use for fluency and articulation carryover. 
     I have my students read these hilarious cards and talk about which "choice" they would rather. 
     Sometimes, they don't want to choose one of the choices but I MAKE THEM!! haha it's part of the 
     rules!  The dilemma over having to choose and explain their choice, makes them "forget" about 
     their speech and it shows me what their true, spontaneous speech sounds like. The biggest challenge 
     I have in speech therapy is getting the students to use their best speech EVEN when they're just    
     clowning around and having silly conversations with friends.  When they can do that I know they 
     don't need me anymore (ahhhh, bittersweet). 

I hope you enjoyed this link up!! If you want to join, there's one more step to join the linky party.  Click on the Add your Link button at the bottom of Laura's post .  Share the URL for your blog.  Then, comment on 4 blogs total- the two before your entry and the two after.  

Here are the rules: 
1) Keep it clean and friendly
2) You can mention your own items, but it you do that please put in an item from someone else (like I 
    did). The purpose is networking. 
3) Give credit where credit is due- fonts, link to original ideas, TPT/Teachers Notebook 
    stores, Pinterest, etc. 
4) After submitting your blog, visit 4 more blogs and make comments. 

Have fun linking up! 

-Mia

     








Sunday, March 24, 2013

THE WINNERS ARE CHOSEN!

Thank you to everyone who played along with our SLP Spring Fever Blog Hop!! 
The winners have been chosen- Congrats to them!! 
I hope you all had fun discovering new blogs 
(I'm so excited that some of you found your way to MY blog through the hop!!) and downloading our freebies!!

Here are the winners....Your prizes are already coming your way! 


Sarah Erhart is the Grand Prize Winner!  Sarah, it's your lucky day! You may wanna buy a little lottery ticket while you're out and about today! 

I met so many great fellow speech pathologists through the hop
and even made some new friends! Feeling the comradery and support from the SLP blogging community has definitely been the best part of starting this little blog.  
(Please don't ever shy away from leaving me a comment- I'd love to hear what you have to say, too :)

And now I'm OFFICIALLY on Spring Break!! woohoooo!!
At the moment, I have a pool full of teenagers in my backyard so I can't type much more ...
but I can't wait to share with you what my students and I did to celebrate Easter before we left on our break and what I'm working on next....  
There's so much to talk about!
Be back soon! (wish me luck with the pool party!) {yikes!}
-Mia


Sunday, March 17, 2013

a DOZEN FREEbies and a big GIVEAWAY :)

I'm so excited to have you visit my blog today!
If this is your first time, WELCOME!! I hope it won't be your last :)
I'm been lucky to be able to team up with 11 other fabulous Speech-Language Pathologists for an exciting giveaway and contest so here we gooooo......

Welcome to the SLP Spring Fever Blog Hop!!!

You will get the chance the download FREEBIES and win prizes by touring 12 fantasic blogs!
Here is the lineup: 


In addition to all the freebies you get to download, 12 WINNERS will receive a goodie basket of 12 Spring themed activities from EACH participating blog owner in the blog hop! 

This happens to be the Spring themed activity you would win from Me......:)
You can check it out HERE
It's 21 pages (condensed not to waste paper) of activities all about that 
Very Hungry Caterpillar! 


A GRAND PRIZE WINNER will also receive the following: 
* Codes for 3 Hamaguchi apps (see Figuratively Speeching SLP's app reviews
* a code for a Mobile Education Store App
* 4 songs from Music Therapy Tunes

The RULES of the contest are simple. You must decode a secret message. 
In order to complete this task you will need to visit each of the 12 blogs and download their freebie.  The freebie will contain a word that is part of the secret message. 
When you know the secret message, enter the code through GIVEAWAY TOOLS on Figuratively Speeching SLP's blog

Have fun and enjoy blog hopping with us! 
The contest will run from Sunday, March 17, 2013 through Saturday, March 23, 2013. 
Enjoy reading through the blogs, downloading the freebies, and participating in our blog hop!


And here's MY freeBEEEEEE..... (free only during the hop)
A game for addressing listening and following 2-part (or more) directions




Of course I threw in a game board for some extra fun and motivation (or just use it alone this spring with your articulation students!) 

This is free for a limited time only so look for it and grab it at my TPT store while you can.
If you do grab it, I'd LOVE to hear how it worked for you and your busy bees!!
Happy Hopping and Good Luck!

CLICK on the frog to hop to the next blog!!



-Mia












Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rainbows on a Cloudy Day....

This post has been on my Pinterest Feed everyday for weeks....


A very cute St. Patty's tissue art project!! I decided to try my own version in my room today.  

It was an early dismissal day and I was determined to squeeze in aLOT of students in a short period of time- I had my articulation students practice their target sounds very quickly and for every 20-25 correct words they said,  they got to glue on one "color" (row) of the rainbow. 


It's all about ROYGBIV

...except I don't have violet and indigo- so we just roll with plain ole purple :)



I'm really kinda bummed that St. Patrick's Day is on a Saturday. We won't be able to share it with the kiddos.  It's always fun to hear them try to explain what obscure item they're wearing that's green and why we shouldn't pinch them.  

One year our kindergarten teachers recruited us speech therapists to go play "tricks" in their classrooms while the children were at lunch and recess.  Oh the good ole days before kindergarteners were allowed to have fun rather than learn to write complete sentences and perform other non-developmentally appropriate tasks (oops, that's a topic for another time perhaps). 


In any case, this quick tissue art activity got in lots of articulation drill and the kids were tickled pink with their end products. 

(This little guy just happens to be my personal ray of sunshine)


If you want to try this in your room this week, all you need is a sheet of white paper, glue, some tissue paper cut in squares, and the little pot of gold.  I just happen to have that for you RIGHT HERE
It's a free download at my TPT store just so you can do this activity, too! 

The students (or YOU if you're in a hurry like I was) just cut out the pot of gold and glue it right at the end of the rainbow! Who doesn't love a rainbow!? Oh and Heck, who doesn't want a pot of gold!? 

Happy St. Patrick's Day, y'all! 
-Mia




Saturday, March 9, 2013

Easter In my room & around the WORLD!

Happy Weekend everyone!! Whew, what an action packed week it was!

Earlier this week I shared my Easter Stamp-a-Story.  It is a freebie- I hope you were able to grab it! If not, it's not too late.  

It caused quite a bit of chaos in my speech room this week!! 
Apparently there's a serious case of Spring Fever spreading around my school and the kiddos were a bit on the wild side!!!  

 One poor little guy ended up with ink all over his face doing this activity (he didn't really do too well following my hardcore rules for rubber stamp usage:). 

 I couldn't post a picture of THAT but here is just a glimpse of the action my kidney table saw this week!






We also got in tons and tons of articulation drill this week! I have LOTS of IEPS due in March, and it's our final push to achieve those IEP goals!! 




The best $1 (yep, one buck) I ever spent was on this little game called Tower of Bunnies I found at Walmart one year in the holiday aisle (you know the aisle of cheapo basket stuffers).  I see it year after year. Be sure and look for it- It's a great game for articulation or fluency drill.  
I build the tower of bunnies and students take turns rolling the dice to see which color bunny they have to carefully remove (or yank!) from the tower.  Of course, they don't get a turn until I've made them say plenty of target sounds!)  Whoever knocks down the tower loses the game. It also makes all the kids sit very still at my table because they don't want to accidentally knock it down. (a great added bonus:)


Now after school, I do private speech therapy for a Polish family.  Every holiday I get to experience some of their Polish traditions and it has been so much fun being exposed to that culture- it's not something we see much in south Louisiana.  It made me start to wonder how people in other countries celebrate Easter.....I thought it was all egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, spiral hams and Easter mass! Boy, was I wrong! 


That led me to do some researching which then led me to my my newest literacy and language activity for Easter.  I can't wait to use with my 4th grade inclusion class and the 3rd and 4th grade language impaired students that I service.  

I had a blast making it- normally I make activities so that my students can learn but in this case, (and I know it sounds corny) I learned just as much!  People around the world do some weird, outrageous, off-the-wall things for Easter!! 
They really have us beat with our ordinary Easter egg hunts and dyed eggs!!

So anyway, the result was this packet.... 22 short non-fiction passages with critical thinking questions (and other fun stuff) about Easter Around the World.....


The sweet Polish mom that I work for shared with me the Polish tradition of Smingus-Dyngus...

And there are many more! Including our Cajun tradition of using Easter eggs to "pacque."
 
Who knew Australia had an Easter Bilby instead of an Easter Bunny!? 


And that Germans filled their trees with Easter eggs!


People in Norway read crime novels and watch crime series on TV!! 
What ?! 



Besides the 22 passages & questions, the packet includes a writing prompt, a venn diagram to compare/contrast traditions, and 2 board games (with instructions on how to incorporate them with the passages).
...and here's my favorite part- I don't know about your school- but we just don't have enough editing and grammar in our curriculum anymore!! It drives me nuts!! 

So the pack also includes a cute Easter coloring sheet that is "color by editing." 
Students must find errors in capitalization, punctuation, noun/verb agreement, or mistakes like run-ons & fragments (or no errors!) in order to color in the sheet. 


If you want to bring a little culture to your classroom 
You can grab the download HERE 
and if you're already on Spring break instead, I'm jealous :)

Until next time, and may Spring Fever stay away from YOUR classroom, 
-Mia





Jasper Roberts Consulting - Widget