Listening Stations

Happy Friday…and a long weekend to boot! I am super excited to share today’s post! After struggling to make the transition from EzEdMed to EzTrac, Melissa Powell has implemented a system that helps her keep her notes up to date as well as having some unintended benefits as well! Today, she is sharing her method!

Don’t you wish that you could suspend time to get just an extra 4 or 5 minutes to write therapy notes after each session? Just a few quiet minutes where you aren’t transporting kids to/from, dealing with behavior or feeling guilty over using therapy time to log? I’ve piloted something this year that, for me, has been the magic bullet. Rarely do I stay late logging or playing catch-up over the weekend…and to that, I say “Halleluiah!” In a brainstorming session on a visit from Kinsey Chambers, we came up with an idea that has allowed me to keep Medicaid logs up to date while keeping my kids engaged in a language activity.

It may or may not work for your situation, but here’s what’s working for me…

I’ve gone back to a bit of “old school” technology and am using a literacy listening center. During a session, I log my data (+/-) on paper, then take those kids back to class. When I pick up a group for the next session, the first thing they do when they come into my room is put on headsets and listen to a 3-5 minute literacy-based story. While the kids are listening, I log the notes from the previous group. I have a paper copy of the book, so that as soon as the story ends, we engage in a brief question/answer session about the book and use the pictures as cues. I can incorporate wh-questions, basic concepts (position/description/sequence), speech sounds, inferencing, comprehension, etc. The kids LOVE it! Even without watching a video or looking at the book, they sit quietly, entranced almost. I get 4-5 minutes to log, they start the session in a quiet, calm mood and we use this to jump into language based conversation around the literature. I’ve found that I don’t need any “speech” games at all during our “speech work” time. They haven’t missed them and are happy to jump right into work time. I feel my time is actually better utilized since I’m not using reinforcer activities. WIN-WIN-WIN!!

What has amazed me is the depth of student engagement. I thought it wouldn’t work as well with my pre-K or self-contained kiddos. Wrong! They love it just as much. I will say, I did a good bit of “training” on what this should look like and am very careful to keep those standards strict during every session. I was also lucky enough to find several unused listening centers in the library AV storage room and even found a hanging rack for the headphones to keep everything neat and organized. One challenge was finding stories that are 3-5 minutes in length, are engaging and “make sense” even if they can’t see the pictures while they hear it. Many children’s books are so picture dependent that you can’t use your imagination to picture what is happening. I stumbled upon Robert Munsch books. He’s written a TON of them, they are all 3-6 minutes long, and on his website he reads all of them in a very dramatic and engaging voice. The bonus is that the kids have really engaged with him as an author and have made connections between books. I found about 20 different Robert Munsch books in our school resources/library. I plan to access some PTA funds to buy additional titles to use. I use 2 books a week, as most groups see me twice. Even when we’ve repeated them, the kids don’t mind.

On days I’m running late and I suggest we skip the book time and go right into our work, the cries of “NOOO! We want a story!” ring out and convince me this is a good thing. Kids love having a story read to them and many rarely have that chance. Logs done…check! Kids engaged…check! Language skills reinforced…check! Works for me 🙂 I’m happy to answer any questions about the equipment or methods via email

–Melissa

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