Saturday, September 29, 2012

$10 TPT Giveaway!

Speech Peeps got a face-lift! After waiting patiently and searching for the perfect template, I finally found one at Dreamlike Magic. Alicia was amazing to work with and very fast!
Dreamlike Magic Designs
I still consider myself new to the blogging world. The other day I realized I now have over 50 followers! What? 50! I so appreciate every one of you. You comment, share, encourage, and give me ideas. You also challenge me to keep coming up with more creative, better ways of teaching our students. So thank you :)

To celebrate, I am giving away a $10 TPT card (teacherspayteachers). It's September and if you're like me, you're already out scouting new materials as it relates to our students. So....go shopping! My treat :)

You have 3 chances to win:

1. Follow my blog and post a comment about anything you want! If you are
already a follower, leave me a comment telling me you follow.

2. Follow my TeachersPayTeachers store and post a comment about following.

3. Grab my button and post it on your blog or add my blog to your blog roll and post a comment telling that you did.

For each comment you leave, you have a chance to win (so, you have up to 3 chances)! Make sure to leave your email so I can send you the gift certificate! :)
I will announce the winner next Saturday, October 6.  
*winners will be chosen through Random Generator.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Classroom Management for Older Students

I have good kids. I even dare to say I’ve never come across one I couldn’t motivate with something. However, this year, my kiddos are jumping jellybeans! I’ve never had a group this rambunctious and, although they are a blast, I know kids learn best when there are guidelines and expectations. Here are some ideas that I’ve done to keep those behaviors at bay-and the kids actually like them!

For my elementary kiddos, I have implemented the behavior system from [simply speech.] (Thank you!). I love this clip system because, unlike others, it doesn't just concentrate on punishing the bad behaviors but rewards the students who are working hard. After just a few weeks, my students know to come in, grab their clip and place it on the “green-ready to learn” box. Travel on over to [simply speech.] and implement your own version!

However, I cannot see my middle-schoolers and high-schoolers being thrilled about grabbing a clip. Instead, I use Class DoJo. This is a completely FREE behavior system that my district has implemented but that I just use with my older students.
I have to say, it’s amazing and here’s how it works:
First, each student is assigned a unique avatar (little monster).

Then, as the therapist or teacher, you can assign points to the avatars based on hard work, participation, or by creating your own good behavior. You can also deduct points from their avatar for disruption, disrespect, off task, etc.

I have told my students that they need to earn 10 points in order to receive a prize or candy. My middle school/high school prizes consist of more “cool” items such as “Angry Bird gummies,” school supplies, or a free lunch (I buy them pizza).

The best part about this program is that it gets students involved! Students are given a code once you assign them and they are able to go online and track their behavior, change their avatar and even buy things for their avatar with points. So far, many of my students have gone online and changed their avatar and are actually excited about it!

What really appeals to me is that the therapist or teacher can print off reports and track student's behavior or email it to parents. I use it on my iPad with the iPad app.

This is definitely a cool program and it's free. Check it out HERE.

How are you motivating those "hard to motivate" students? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Safari Phonological Awareness Activity Pack (one that is actually fun!)

It’s finally here! After teaching these skills my first 2 years, I have created a packet that addresses tons of phonological awareness skills. The best part? The kids have a blast! In this Safari-themed packet, students identify initial sounds, blends and digraphs using BINGO, hide-and-seek, and then reinforcement worksheets.

After so much blogging about classroom lessons, I have included enough materials to make this an entire classroom lesson. Wouldn't this be a great whole group lesson for kindergartners or first graders? In this 60-page activity pack, you receive:
*28 BINGO beginning sound (lowercase) boards
*60 BINGO beginning sound word cards
*28 BINGO blends/digraph boards
*78 BINGO blends/digraph word cards
*18 blank BINGO word cards
*12 Safari Word Hunt endings
*144 Safari Word Hunt words
*2 Reinforcement Worksheets

Who doesn’t love BINGO? The kids will have a blast going on a safari sound hunt for initial sounds, or play hunting for blends and digraphs.

In the game “Safari Word Hunt,” I hide words in my therapy room or classroom. Then I read a word ending. Students must hunt for the words with the corresponding ending. If they find a different word, they must put it back in it’s hiding place.

Two reinforcement worksheets are also included. Grab your safari hats and start searching for sounds! You can find this enormous activity pack at my TPT store HERE.

Thank you for letting me share my newest creation with you!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Using Brown Bear to Teach ER and EST

I woke up two days ago with my first cold of the year. Ugh! It's bound to happen working with so many kiddos. However, speaking all day with tissues covering my face is not conducive to clear speech therapy. On top of this, it's Wednesday, and I have my two kindergarten classrooms to teach in. Oh well, it's all downhill from here :)
Using "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" to teach ER and EST in a classroom lesson:

Read the famous "Brown Bear, Brown Bear." I always have the kids finish the lines (they can usually do this after the first page). I have the book where you open the tabs and the kids love it! Ooo and Ahhh about how they are all such great readers-Hey, they need to hear it even if it is memorized!

Next, explain the difference between ER and EST by using a visual. I've included a quick one that I've made. I tell them that when I'm comparing two things, I use ER but when I'm comparing a bunch of things (more than two), I use EST. Then we have fun comparing my size to a student's "Who is biggER, Mrs. Allison or Johnny?" "What is the smallEST: a chalkboard, an eraser or a marker?"

Okay, this is where it can get a little crazy. I have the students work in groups of 4-5. They are usually sitting at tables so I just have them go to their table. According to the teachers, today was the first time the kindergarteners had ever worked in groups and we had to solve a few problems but I think it's so important that they learn this skill early! I gave each table pictures of the animals in the story. Their job is to work in teams (yes, teams) to sort the animals biggest to smallest. They will need help so it's great if you and the teacher can walk around and help them. Expect one student to hoard all the pictures and some yelling from the other students but I promise, you will get through it!

Here are the pictures I made and the visual. Have fun!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The First of the Year Classroom Language Lesson

Yesterday I asked for ideas for language lessons. I will definitely be needing them since I scheduled 2 whole-group kindergarten classes weekly in my schedule so please keep them coming.
Today was my first whole group lesson this year and I combined some of the ideas I received-which were great! Since I'm doing these on a regular basis, I thought I would periodically blog about classroom language lessons. If you haven't noticed by now, I am a big believer in whole group lessons-trust me, they are fun! It's a way for us to:
1. Get a perspective of what is expected for students in their classrooms and
2. Demonstrate to teachers what we do.
I'll admit, I was nervous last year when I first started, but I actually look forward to them now! They become easier every week. If you don't currently do classroom lessons, but are thinking of starting, here are some tips on getting the ball rolling:
1. Pick a familiar topic that you enjoy doing with your speech students. Chances are, if your speech students like it, other students will! Then, start thinking of ideas on how to incorporate it for a large group. I loved the suggestion of the Expanding Expression Tool (EET). I just received mine in the mail last week and will definitely be using it in the classrooms!

2. If you're having trouble coming up with a topic, just ask the teachers. They are usually more than willing to share what their particular class is having difficulty with. At teacher suggestions,  I've come in for quick lessons on the difference between /f/ and /th/ sounds (or /l/ and /w/ sounds) and taught the entire class because multiple students were having difficulty with them. It could also be a simple following-directions lesson, building vocabulary, phonological awareness lesson-anything!
2. Start with a teacher that you are comfortable with (perhaps a friend) and ask to do a language lesson in that class. Tell them it would only be 20-30 minutes long.
3. Play games! As speech therapists, we are experts in incorporating games into learning. Kids love this, and will look forward to you coming. I usually divide my classes up into teams based on tables or rows. Games are also a great way to incorporate social skills and topics such as "being a good sport," "how to encourage a friend," and "turn-taking."

I hope these tips help! I challenge you to make a goal of teaching a classroom lesson at least once per month. Please keep me updated on how they go!

Language Lesson #1
Now....onto my language lesson I did with my two kindergarten classes today :)
Topic: Emotions, Social Skills
First, I introduced myself and talked about what a speech therapist does. In a (*cozy) circle around me, we discussed the word "emotion." Then, I used these amazing Super Duper Cards to explain what feelings/emotions are. The kids were able to in to interpret the emotion (sad, happy, scared, angry) and then identify the clues that told them (squinted eyes, smiling, frown, etc.)

Next, we went around and demonstrated what each emotion looked like and when we feel that emotion (a friend asking us to play, a compliment from the teacher makes us happy, etc.) Kids love doing this, especially if you have a mirror or iPad to take pictures so that they can see their own faces demonstrating each emotion.
After that, I moved onto the book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" If you do not have this book, I strongly recommend getting it (or borrowing it like I did). I first heard about it from teachers who implement the "bucket filling system" in their classroom. You may want to check prior to the lesson to see if it is already being implemented.
The book provides a great visual on how each person carries around an invisible bucket. When we say or do kind things, we fill each other's bucket, when we say or do mean things, we dip into each other's buckets. We are either "bucket-fillers" or "bucket-dippers."

There are so many resources and activities that go along with this book. I went ahead and searched TPT for you and found these amazing resources (many of them free!) Pinterest also has super cute ideas to use with this book. During the reading, I of course had to stop and pause to explain vocabulary words such as "purpose, filling, emptying, dipping, etc." I guess that's the speech therapist in me!
Next, I had students sit in a circle. If you have a bucket, great-use it! If you're like me, just have them "pretend" and hold up their imaginary bucket. We went around and each student complimented the student to the left and in doing so, "filled their bucket."
Last, I had printed off certificates from and had the students pledge that they would be bucket-fillers. 

They were so eager to become bucket-fillers!

Does your school implement the bucket-filling system? Let me know!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Classroom Ideas Anyone? and...Free Giveaway!

When I first took my job, three years ago, my caseload consisted of pull-out therapy. Last year, I decided I wanted to incorporate some whole-group classroom lessons for 2 reasons.
1. Classroom lessons are a way to reach more students. As speech therapists, we have specialized training in this area and can model strategies for language development and collaborate with the classroom teacher.
2. Classroom lessons benefit my own students. Now, I'm not just the "creepy speech lady" who takes kids into her office and never comes out. Kids can see me and be taught by me. Usually, by the end of the lesson, the class is crying "Can we come to speech too?"

I decided it best to focus on the younger grades since this is where most of my caseload is. This way, I could also incorporate phonological awareness lessons. I have recruited 2 kindergarten classes once per week for 30 minute language lessons.
Last year, I loved my two classes. However, only doing classroom lessons once per week, I need all the ideas I can get! I have so much respect for teachers every Wednesday after my lesson. Trying to maintain control of 27 students AND still have fun can be a challenge. So....I was wondering, does anyone have any amazing language lessons they do with whole-group classes? I would love to get your ideas! I will be giving away my Halloween Figurative Language Activity Pack (see below) to the first 3 three people who comment. Please include a language lesson idea and your email :)

In other news, I know it is super early to be thinking about Halloween activities, but I wanted to get these out there. This is my NEW Halloween Figurative Language Activity Pack. It's loaded with simile, metaphor and idiom candy cards appropriate for grades 2-5. I have three pumpkins marked "Simile, Metaphor, Idiom." In order to receive the card, the student must:
1. Interpret the literal meaning of the candy card
2. Place the candy on the corresponding pumpkin

This also includes 2 reinforcement worksheets where students complete similes, describe using similes and complete metaphors!
Students who struggles with figurative language concepts often have difficulty with reading and writing. This activity supports Common Core L5.

Best of all, it's only $2 during the month of September! (If you wait until October, it becomes $3.)

Happy "early" Halloween!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

House Stuff

This afternoon I am taking a small break from talking about speech therapy and would like to invite you over to my other blog (youngloveoldbeams). It centers around my other passion in life (besides speech therapy) and welcomes you into our messy but fun house renovation :). A year ago, my husband and I sold our 5 year-old house and bought a 125 year-old house at an auction (a crazy story). This past year we have worked day and night renovating it. We took a break this summer and went to Ireland (a much needed vacation!) but now are starting back to work on it.
Our next phase of the renovation includes renovating our only full bathroom, turning it into a master suite and then adding a full bathroom upstairs (scary-we are not experts on this stuff!) We thought it would be fun to get on the show "Renovation Realities" so we just filmed our application video this afternoon. I'll keep you posted if we get on the show!
If you love houses and renovating as much me, take a break on this Sunday afternoon and come into "my house." Tell me, what are your side projects away from work?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Free Give-Away! Making Inferences and Problem-Solving Activity Pack

Hello there!
I've finally posted my newest creation-"Inferential and Problem-Solving Language Activity Pack." I've always struggled teaching in this area. In the district that I teach, so many of my students have trouble with these skills and practicing them during a 30 minute session of speech is difficult. Sooo... I've been hard at work for weeks on this newest activity to help in this area and finally posted it to my TPT store! Hope you will find it as helpful as I did! I will be giving this activity pack away for FREE, yes that's right-free to the first 5 people who comment and let me know 1. how they teach inferencing skills to their kiddos and 2. include your email where I can send it. I can't wait to hear your ideas!

This huge unit is 30 pages and contains 4 different sets of cards, 1 set of "Busted" cards, and 5 worksheets to work on making inferences and solving problems.

Contains 1 set (24 cards) of "Take off the Disguise!" cards. Student is read a quote and must make an inference as to who would say it. Example: "Bring your dog back in three days" would be “veterinarian.”

Contains 1 set (24 cards) of "Take the Next Step" cards. Student is read a card stating a situation and must predict what would happen next. Also great for cause and effect goals! Example: "You spend time with a friend who has a cold." A possible outcome would be that you would get sick as well.

Contains 1 set (12 cards) of "Uncover the Mystery" cards. Student is read a multiple-choice riddle and must use humor and multiple-meaning words to figure it out. Example: "What does a dog do that boys wear? -pants, walks, shirt (pants would be the correct answer).

1 set (30 cards) of "Who Can Answer the Fastest?" cards. A fun version of the game "20 questions." Students are given 3 clues about a person, place or thing and must answer first to receive the card. For example "thing, bubble, sweet" would be "gum."

5 "Look for the Difference" worksheets. Students compare and answer inferential questions about objects.

This unit has it all! Best of all, it can be played multiple ways and will have your kiddos laughing and having fun while using their brains! Please feel free to contact me with any questions!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

New Products to Collect Data in a Hurry

I hope everyone is enjoying their labor day holiday! This is it for me until Thanksgiving break :( so I will definitely be making use of tomorrow (playing games with family :-))

I just wanted to let everyone know that I've been keeping busy posting new products on my TPT store. I know how busy you are-especially during the start of school- and these products are designed with your time in mind!
My "Quick Cards" collection is designed to be a grab-and-go quick screening to see how students produce consonants, phonological processes and the 7 types of /r/. It contains over 750 words altogether! You can grab them individually or look for the bundle package to save even more time and money. Grab the bundle pack (all three cards for $3) at my TPT store. I laminate them and use dry-erase markers to make use of again and again!

My next product focuses on language ability. These quick curriculum-based language measures provide information on a student's strengths and weaknesses. They are made for Kindergarten through 5th Grade. These are not norm-referenced assessments-rather they give a picture of what a student knows and what they don't know based on the standards taught in that grade level. I created them to get a sense of my students' ability during our first week of therapy (after summer break) or before I write a student's IEP. I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful! Find all 6 assessments (K-5th grade) for $5 at my TPT store!