Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Story about Gratitude (and some freebies!)

Soooooo... I have spent much of the day procrastinating starting preparations for our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow.  I'm mostly putting it off because my kitchen is so wonderfully clean and I really want it to stay that way just a tad longer.  Since I'm avoiding food prep,  I decided it was the perfect time I link up with my friends, the Frenzied SLPs to yap about holiday goodies. 

At the very end of the this post, you can click on their logos to read about more holiday goodies- everything from holiday lessons, craftivities, therapy ideas and recipes! 

I always say November is good for the soul.  I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my blessings, prioritizing spending my time with people instead of things and telling those that mean so much to me exactly how grateful I am to have them in my life.  You should know I'm grateful for you, too.  Yes, you, you reading this :) 

One of the things I'm thankful for these days is my sweet and talented graduate student who has spent this semester with me.  The week after Thanksgiving is her last week, and the students and I will miss her so much.  I'm so impressed with her and feel sure she will make a great SLP.  Before we left for Thanksgiving break, I broke out every Christmas goody I had in my arsenal and let her have at it. 

By the way, in the bucket below you'll spy:  1) Christmas sticker scenes from Oriental trading, which I love for the little ones 2) some snowflake foam beads great for making winter necklaces and reinforcing any skill 3)  Gingerbread themed board games for articulation perfect for your Gingerbread Man units 4) Reindeer games for articulation 5) and Christmas themed lists of word for drill by phoneme which come with my Christmas quick drill games

She planned for her last week of therapy and I planned for the dreaded next week when I will be back in the trenches without her.  Here are some things we have on tap: Santa's Naughty and Nice Lists for articulation.  I love these list so much because nothing all year long makes my kids giggle like these do.  Here are the Naughty and Nice Artic Lists below along with my Suit Up Santa open ended game (also sure to produce giggles). 

My grad student zoned in on these Christmas Barrier Games for my kids with receptive language goals, 

I love having my students with expressive goals tell us where to place the objects for the barrier game as well! 

I even use these for my articulation students who need to address carryover of sound productions into conversational speech. 

After Christmas, the barrier games continue ... The Winter barrier games are ready to go! 

My students with language goals will also be listening and following directions with this Listen and Color page from my Christmas Fun Pack.  It's not as easy as they all think it will be! 

We will also be using EETchy to write about all sorts of Christmas topics (also from my Christmas Fun Pack - which really has enough activites to last all of December!)

 My older students and I will be reading about Christmas Traditions Around the World (and so will my entire inclusion class, actually).  These are so fascinating!! I learned as much making them as my students do reading them!  Did you know that in Japan, it's tradition to eat Fried Chicken on Christmas- especially KFC!?!  They take orders in advance!! 

I have student who is working on learning "emotion words" and interpreting facial expressions, and this will be a fun addition to his therapy one day I think :) 

By the way, this is a FREEBIE in my TpT store! It's a fun way to address emotions and  articulation and fluency in connected speech as well because the packet includes lots of questions the students have to answer about Santa's mood or what may have happened to the Gingerbread Man so make him feel this way.  

Celebrating Hanukkah?  I wouldn't leave you out!! 
My Happy Hanukkah Quick Drill game just makes me smile! 

My articulation students will also be making some cut and paste Speech Snowglobes. After I hang them up and show them off for a couple of days, they'll also be taking them home as the dreaded homework.  Do your kids complain about speech homework, too? 
I mean, come on, it only takes a few minutes! 

We will also be doing some Snowglobe Quick Drill (and the varieties of Christmas quick drills in my TpT store!)  I love that sometimes my students want to "trade" cards after we play.  
They're very protective of their favorites. 

With my little bitty ones, we always decorate Christmas trees.  You can use tree template or cut out along with sequins or these great peel and stick gems that I buy on Amazon, LakeShore Learning or Oriental Trading. I use them as reinforcers for any skill.  After students perform a skill, I let them stick a gem or two.  As you can see below, we also always make reindeer food for Rudolph and his hungry deer friends, too!

Hot off the press (just yesterday) I finally finished and posted my Christmas Dot Art for  ALL Sounds- mostly because these are on our plans for next week!! Previously I only had /r/, vocalic r and /s/ dot art pages for Christmas.  Now I have the whole shabang - 69 pages in all!! There's a Christmas tree scene, a Santa scene as shown below, and a Christmas stocking.  OH, and it includes open ended pages, too, which is what is shown here.  Since my little guy was just learning /s/ in isolation in this day, I just wrote a simple "s" on each circle and he dotted them as he said them correctly.  Then he filled in the whole page to make Santa's suit complete. This Santa was rocking the green sleeves and britches. LOL 

You can grab a sample of the Christmas Dot Art featuring Vocalic R only HERE.  Hooray! 

My kids will also be doing some scratch art which is an ideal way to keep groups busy while rotating old fashioned artic drill with students.  I buy mine at Oriental Trading. They double as ornaments! 

Do you want some real goodies this Christmastime? Last year, we made both of these goodies in my speech room: 

Oreo Reindeer Snacks 
All you need is one big, broken pretzel for antlers, 1 oreo taken apart and put back together,  2 mini M&M eyes, and 1 big red Rudolph nose M&M. It makes for a great sequencing activity! 

Snowman Cookies!

I give each student a sugar cookie and have them spread white icing on it (no licking the plastic knife!). Then they add Twizzler strips for the ear muff headband and smile, mini M&Ms for his eyes, and an orange TicTac for his nose.  Finally, the kids cover those hypothetical snowman ears with 2 big Lifesaver Gummy ear muffs!! This is a fun activity for following directions, discussing winter and winter gear, chatting about building snowmen, sequencing, emotions (we can make frowns, too) or just discussing the irony of a snowman wearing ear muffs!! It's a tasty follow up activity for any snowman book, too :) 

I guess it's time for me to stop procrastinating and go chop veggies for tomorrow's stuffing (here in Louisiana we call it dressing).  I can't wait to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while I get my cooking on in the morning!! If you're so inclined, say a prayer for everyone gathered there in Manhattan tomorrow for that big event.  With Paris on my mind, we must keep praying that kindness and peace may permeate the hearts of those who hate and for the safety of our fellowman. 

After lunch, it's tree trimming time!! My family is already complaining. YIKES.  
Happy Holidays from Louisiana!" title="click to view in an external page.">An InLinkz Link-up

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! 

Jasper Roberts Consulting - Widget