Thrifty Therapy Thursday #1

 

 

Thrifty Therapy Thursday starts TODAY!!! (Even thought its Friday! :))

I wanted to go ahead and post these items, as they are timely:
(I will even deliver them personally so that you don’t have to wait for them to come in the PONY!)

***See the previous post for details and don’t forget to post ideas by EOD Monday!!***

 

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Thrifty Therapy Thursday

Therapy materials are expensive! Sometimes it takes a little creativity a lot of creativity to plan interesting and engaging sessions without spending a fortune on materials! Because of this, many SLPs have become masters of “making something out of nothing.” The idea of “making something out of nothing” inspired this blog’s newest series of posts: Thrifty Therapy Thursday!! (I have to confess, I tried this once before and didn’t get much response– but I thought I’d give it another go now that the blog is more established…) Here is how it will work:

• On Thursday morning (the second Thursday of the month), there will be a post containing a picture and desription of an item found at a thrift store, on clearance or “salvaged.”
• Once it is posted, you will have the opportunity to comment with what you would do with the item to transform it into a useful therapy tool.
• The deadline for comments/ideas will be 10am the following Monday morning.
• A winner will be announced by Tuesday morning. The prize for posting the best idea will be the actual item, which will be sent to the winner via pony mail.

Hopefully, this will be a fun way to create a little friendly competition that results in someone walking away with a prize! The only caveat is that it only works if YOU participate!! The first item will be posted NEXT THURSDAY! If you have any questions, comment below! GOOD LUCK!!

Collaborative Teaming and Role Release

COLLABORATIVE TEAMING IN TRANSITIONING COMMUNICATION SERVICES

Today, we wanted to share with you this presentation that we gave at the ARC of Kentucky conference last month. According to their website, the ARC of Kentucky is a group that works toward advocacy and education of all children and adults with intellectual disabilities and their families. This power point is focused toward parent education, but it may be useful to you as well. A couple of highlights that may be helpful when talking with parents are:

The “5 questions to ask” — these are all important points that should be addressed with parents during ARC meetings.

and

This graphic— this may be useful when talking with parents about the eventual role release of communication services to other professionals.

As professionals, we need to be educating parents about this topic. How do you convey this message?

Earth Day

Having a “theme” in the speech room is an easy way to keep your lessons fun and different. It also creates a link between “speech” activities and the outside world. About a week ago, Super Duper sent out an email promoting these Earth Day Language Cards, which prompted me to take a look back at some of my favorite materials related to Earth Day.

April 22 is Earth Day. There are a whole host of materials that allow you to incorporate ideas associated with Earth Day into your speech sessions. A good place to start when you begin planning themed units is News-2-You. News-2-You is a great resource to use with a wide range of kiddos. You can find current events articles as well as holiday specific articles. They offer the “holiday” articles on two levels and the current events articles on four levels. The current events articles are nice because they offer a communication board with related symbols and a supplementary power point. These articles are useful to introduce the topic. You can also easily pull vocabulary and articulation words from the text. Because making comparisons is sometimes an area that is targeted in speech, you could also use a newspaper article or an online article like this one to practice comparing and contrasting. Additional areas that could be targeted using this article and other non-fiction texts include identifying the main idea and key details, retelling information, and answering inferential and recall questions. News-2-You also offers an IPad app which is convenient and saves paper if you have an IPad or if you have a kiddo who uses one for communication. This free video on natural resources from BrainPOP junior may be a useful resource as well. A subscription is required to view most of the brainPOP topics, but this one happens to be free! It includes a matching game, a science activity, a vocabulary word wall, lesson ideas, conversation starters, two quizzes, a joke, and a short comic strip.

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is is another great resource to use during an Earth Day unit. With this book, you can practice many language skills including identifying the main idea, comparing and contrasting, answering inferential and recall questions, sequencing (If you print this front and back on cardstock you can cut them out and use them as cards to sequence), describing, retelling information and vocabulary. Dr. Seuss books can also be used to practice context clues. Because many of the words in Dr. Seuss books are made up, students are forced to use the context to derive meaning. This is an example of a worksheet that could be used to practice using context clues.

The Lorax Project is an initiative inspired by The Lorax that is aimed at engaging “individuals of all ages to do their part to conserve the places and species that are critical to the future of our planet.” The website includes an interactive matching game, information about various endangered animals and at risk forests, and a “Lorax Locator.” These resources could be used as an incentive or you could allow students to access the site for research purposes. When introducing the book, it could also be useful to include either the trailer or a short clip from the movie version of The Lorax. There is an older movie version here and a book based video here as well. Sometimes presenting information in a different format is engaging for students. This also allows you to incorporate more comparing and contrasting. If you have middle schoolers who participate in the alternate assessment, you may be able to work with the teacher to allow the students to watch the entire movie, as one of their standards relates to comparing and contrasting two formats of the same story.

This simple book could be used in a variety of ways. It can be used for practice with answering wh recall questions (by either asking the question after each page or asking questions at the end of the book for a longer time delay), answering inferential questions (for example: Why would we talk about recycling related to Earth Day?), and basic vocabulary practice. This social problem solving activity can be used as a conversation starter for articulation and fluency practice in addition to the intended purpose of targeting social problem solving skills. The creator of these cards has a great TPT store and a fantastic blog as well.

There are also several activities available within this freebie packet. It includes materials for practice with vocabulary, conjunctions, word associations, and comparing and contrasting.

Do you have themes or units in your speech room? What are some of your favorites? How are you celebrating Earth Day?

 

Should They Stay or Should They Go?

Today’s Post was prepared for you by Terri Bowles. She offers some suggestions and information about students who are transitioning to middle and high school. This post is accompanied by the “Transition Checklists” created by the middle/high PLC. Thanks to all of you for your work on these documents!

Which of my speech students should I send on to middle or high school?

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In an effort to find a way to help in the understanding of the complex differences between speech language services at elementary vs. middle/high, the Middle/High School PLC has spent some time putting together two “Checklists” and some tips/facts to help Elementary and Middle School SLPs work together when making decisions about some of those transitioning students they might have on their caseloads. We hope they help!

Middle and High School Speech Language Services;  The Big Picture;

  • Most middle and high schools have 6-7 periods lasting from 45 to 55 minutes each. Teachers want the students to be there for the first 5 minutes of class to get the assignment and then release them.
  • LRE should be just like in elementary—no restrictions. Indicate special education:  speech language services OR Co teaching: speech language services.
  • Consider holding a transition meeting prior to the end of the 5th grade school year and amend the IEP to reflect speech/language time compatible with the Middle/High school schedules (i.e. 1 x 30 , 1 x 45, 1×50 if they are moving on with speech. The receiving SLP would love a call prior to the meeting to ask them how they schedule their students.
  • If you are sending students, make sure they have appropriate goals that warrant specific, direct service and that there are a manageable number to collect data.   Seventeen benchmarks are difficult on both the SLP and the student.
  • If you see there is a duplication in services with ECE services, the question needs to be, “Where is the adverse impact—communication or their main area of eligibility”?
  • Data for every goal is so important. This allows you to make sure the student is making adequate progress, been at a plateau level for an extended period of time or already met a goal or benchmark.
  • Contemplate releasing students who have reached 75% out of 80% accuracy.
  • It is most helpful as middle/high SLPs if we have a current KY Consent form with parent permission for a Type A reevaluation.

 

The Articulation and Language Checklists can be used, if you so choose, prior to scheduling the IEP meetings in the 5th and 8th grade years.  As Middle/High SLPs we have used them ourselves with our own caseload.  It was eye opening to see students from a different perspective.  We hope they are helpful and will be a great resource for you when thinking about students transitioning from one level to another.

Final Draft Articulation (PDF)

Final Language Checklist copy PDF

It’s All Fun and Games

We all play games all day long, right? I can’t tell you how many times I have asked a group of kiddos what they did in speech last year (with another therapist) and the response is: “We played games.” While we do have to be deliberate in sharing the PURPOSE of the game with our students, games can be a great way to target speech and language goals. Many skills can be targeted in a way that is engaging and motivating for students. So, today I want to share with you my top three favorite games to use in therapy.

1. HedBanz
The traditional instructions are as follows: After dealing one card and three chips to each player, take your card and place it in your adjustable headband without peeking. When your turn arrives, ask each player a question about who, or what, you are (“Am I a food?”). If you get stuck, the sample questions card offers tips on the types of questions you might ask.

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This game allows students to use linguistic reasoning skills, ask and answer questions, and practice fluency and articulation skills in conversation and/or single sentences. There are some alterations that can be made to make the game a little easier, as this may be above the skill level of many of some students. You can always allow students to use the card containing the sample questions or create sample question prompts of your own, depending on the students’ abilities. Another option would be to use articulation cards. This is a good option, not only because you can elicit specific sounds, but also because each card has a duplicate. Students can be presented with several options including the card that matches the one on his or her head.

During therapy sessions, I usually skip the chips and simply allow students to keep the cards that they guess correctly. Generally, this is a fun and engaging activity for kids, if you can keep their peers from shouting out the answer! 🙂

2. Hot Potato

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This electronic version of the well-known game, hot potato, can be a fun way to work on speech and language goals. Students can play the traditional way, but with a specific skill added in. If you have students who are working on articulation, they would be required to produce a word or sentence containing their target sound before they can pass it on. If students are working on categories, they must name something in a given category before passing the potato on to the next person. Students who are working on formulating sentences can produce a sentence using a target word. The possibilities are endless! Not only does this add a little bit of competition and fun into a session, it also puts extra demands on the students’ thinking, as they are attempting to produce the target quickly.

3. Ned’s Head

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Ned’s Head is another game that is very versatile in terms of the skills that can be targeted. If you choose to play the traditional way (each player attempts to find a match to the card they are dealt through feel only) students will be working on inferencing skills. Students could also practice comparing and contrasting their card with the item pulled from Ned’s head by telling why they chose the item they chose (comparing) and what is different about the two items (contrasting). They could also use describing skills to tell about each item. You could also choose to use only the “head” portion of the game and add either your own small items that target specific speech sounds or articulation cards.

An even less traditional use of this game would be to target pragmatic skills. You can print out these thought bubbles and have students decide if it is something that should stay in Ned’s head (something that isn’t appropriate to say) or if it was something that should be shared (something that is appropriate to say).

Do you use games in therapy? What games are your favorite? How do you use these games in a different way?

Call Me Speech Teacher One More Time…

Happy Friday!!

Speech Teacher

As speech therapists working within the public school system, we walk a fine line. We are not teachers. However, as a part of the school based team, we have an obligation to help students access the curriculum. Likewise, as schools become increasingly focused on test scores, we want to be aware of how our unique services are supporting growth within the curriculum. Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the common core standards. In fact, many of us are very cognizant of these standards when writing goals for our students. Others of us may not be quite as tuned into incorporating these standards into student goals. Today, I would like to share a piece of a document with you that will *hopefully* be helpful in your quest to merge specific student needs with the standards for each grade. This document takes goals we commonly use as SLPs and relates them back to the common core standards.

Kinder

You should note, this is not necessarily a goal bank, but a list of examples. The entire document will be introduced and distributed during our PD sessions on 11/3.

Do you consider common core standards when writing student goals? How? What are some other ways you incorporate content area material into your therapy sessions to boost student achievement?