Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thanksgiving Activities

Is it time to talk about Thanksgiving already? I'll take that as a "yes" since I've already spotted Christmas decor in stores!
I have been busy making a new resource-and it's jammed-packed! In my Thanksgiving Language and Literacy Activities, you will be busy celebrating Thanksgiving for quite a few days. Here are some things that are included (sorry, I know it's long but I wanted to include a lot of pictures): Compare and Contrast Worksheets
A Thanksgiving Story (that I wrote:-)) and a follow-up worksheet using context clues to determine word meanings from the story.
A fun writing/drawing activity.
"Set the Thanksgiving Table" by following prepositional directions!
"When to Say Please and Thank You" Worksheet as well as Making Inference worksheet. After breaking the wishbone, family members have a wish list with three clues. See if you can guess what they are wishing for based on the clues!
And...last but not least: Thanksgiving-themed cards teaching irregular past tense verbs and future tense verbs.
You can find this activity HERE in my TPT store or HERE in my Teachers Notebook store for only $4. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Vocabulary Strategies and Give Away!

Thoughts and prayers for everyone on the East Coast tonight! Keep warm and safe!

My good friend Christina over at SugarandSpice has been attending some amazing professional development seminars and sharing the wealth of information with me!

Currently, one of the big topics being discussed is vocabulary development. The state tests for our little kiddos are changing and becoming increasingly difficult. As a speech-language therapist, it is important for me to stay up on what's required on my little ones.  In order to help them, I need to know what's required of them.

For the new assessments, students are no longer being asked, "What does ______ mean?" Instead, students as young as third grade are being required to read text, search for information, make inferences AND cite references! Wow! Looking at some of the examples, I'm not sure how well I would do answering some of those questions :)

Vocabulary plays a huge part in this as well. State test questions are requiring students to use context to determine unknown word meanings. Research also supports this. Giving our students strategies (such as using context clues) is proven to be more successful than trying to teach individual words (see below).

*Apthorp, H. S., (2006). Effects of a supplemental vocabulary program in third-grade reading/language Journal of Educational Research, 100(2), 67-79.
*Baumann, J. F., Edwards, E. C., Boland, E. M., Olejnik, S., & Kame'enui, E. J., (2003). Vocabulary tricks: Effects of instruction in morphology and context on fifth-grade students' ability to derive and infer word American Educational Research Journal, 40, 447-494
*Clay, K., Zorfass, J., Brann, A., Kotula, A., & Smolkowski, K., (2009). Deepening content understanding in social studies using digital text and embedded vocabulary, Journal of Special Education Technology, 24(4), 1-16
*Harris, M. L., (2007). The effects of strategic morphological analysis instruction on the vocabulary performance of secondary students with and without Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol 68(4-A)

In response to this, I went straight to my computer and made a packet of activities to address these skills. :)

When creating this packet, I chose over 50 words geared for students in grades 1-3 and over 50 words geared for students in grades 4-8.
How did I choose the words? The emphasis in the packet is on Tier Two words. What does this mean? Below, I have broken down tier vocabulary (Beck and McKeown (1985) created a three-tiered system for selecting target words.).

*Tier 1 consists of the most basic words. These words rarely require direct instruction. Sight words, nouns, verbs, adjectives, and early reading words occur at this level. Examples of tier 1 words are: book, girl, sad, run, dog, and orange. There about 8,000 word families in English included in tier 1.
*Tier 2 consists of high frequency words that occur across a variety of domains. That is, these words occur often in mature language situations such as adult conversations and literature, and therefore strongly influence speaking and reading. Tier 2 words are the most important words for direct instruction because they are good indicators of a student’s progress through school. Examples of tier 2 words are: masterpiece, fortunate, industrious, measure, and benevolent. There are about 7,000 word families in English (or 700 per year) in tier 2.
*Tier3 consists of low-frequency words that occur in specific domains. Domains include subjects in school, hobbies, occupations, geographic regions, technology, weather, etc. We usually learn these words when a specific need arises, such as learning amino acid during a chemistry lesson. Examples of tier three words are: economics, isotope, asphalt, Revolutionary War, and, crepe. The remaining 400,000 words in English fall in this tier.
For more information on Tier Vocabulary, please click HERE.

In this packet, I also provide two worksheets of Context Clues to use as a documenting progress of skills (I always like to have student work to document progress).
I am excited about this new product and I think you will be too! You can find it in my TPT store HERE or my Teachers Notebook store HERE.
What strategies do you use to teach vocabulary? Have you heard of Tier Vocabulary? The first 3 people to comment will receive this packet for free! Please comment and leave your email :).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Social Butterfly

Hello there!
How is everyone doing out there? I just spent last night working on progress reports until I couldn't see straight. At my school district, I'm required to write progress reports for all of my students every 5 weeks-yes, you heard right-every 5 weeks! It keeps me pretty busy :)

I'm a little behind on this but wanted to let you know about a new product listed on my TPT store.
It's titled "Social Butterfly" and it's designed for those social groups I know a lot of us are doing.

In this adorable game, you receive:
*1 set (12 cards) of How Would You Feel Questions.
Example: The UPS truck came with a large package having your name on it. How would you feel?
*1 set (12 cards) of How Would They Feel Questions
Example: The police station hired 10 new police officers. How would a thief feel?

*1 set (12 cards) of Show Me How You Would Feel (Must demonstrate emotion)
Example: Show me how you would feel if you had to give a speech to the class that you didn't practice.
*1 set (12 cards) of Identifying Social Problems and Solutions
Example: A friend asked you to help teach his cat some new tricks. You've worked with the cat for a month and he still can't do a trick. You think it's a waste of time. What's the problem? What's a solution?
*1 set (12 cards) of What does this Idiom/Proverb mean?
Example: At the school dance, Chris says "I want to ask Lauren to dance but I have two left feet!" What does he mean?
*1 set (12 cards) of You’ve been Caught!-give a card back

You can find this activity HERE at my TPT store or HERE at my Teachers Notebook store.

 I can never get enough social group activities because it seems that once I use one, the kiddos already know the answer and I must come up with something new to present to them.

I got together with some other Speechies out there and found some more social group activities. I thought I would share them with you :) I personally have all of these and have used them on my students so I know they are good!

Social Candy Monsters over at SLP Gone Wild

Fall Pragmatics Pack from Denise Polley

Social Aliens from Danielle Reed

Happy "Socializing!"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Teacher Evaluation....Appropriate?

Tomorrow night is my small town's Trick or Treating. I am so excited! The entire community gets together and enjoys free hot dogs and hot chocolate. It's sort of a big deal around here :)
Working with kiddos, I should have learned this earlier, but I didn't.
Last year,  I was a nice person and let the kids pick out of a bowl which candy they wanted. I had a few boogers grab handfuls and run.  This year, I will learn my lesson and be that stingy person who hands each child a piece of candy. Hopefully, my candy will last a little longer!

Anyways, I am curious as to what other speech therapists are thinking about this new teacher evaluation. Here in the state of Ohio, we are adopting a new evaluation for teachers that has a performance-based component (at least 10% must be based on how the student achieves on state tests).  My district is throwing around the idea of how to evaluate me and if I (as a speech therapist) should be evaluated on this system along with the teachers.

I know you didn't ask, but here is my opinion on the matter :)
  • My first point (and I might be hated for saying this) is I agree that some aspect of our jobs should actually be performance-based. Our students should be making progress. Even my oldest kiddos with the most severe of disabilities should make progress in a year's time. If not, I'm not doing my job. My friends who went to work in the medical setting understand this. If they don't show documentation of progress, Medicaid does not reimburse for therapy time.

  • The part that I am having difficulty with is the actual tool used to measure progress. If my students are evaluated on their progress to make sounds, improve their phonological awareness, have a broader vocabulary, deepen their listening comprehension, increase their fluency, or improve their vocal quality....then by all means-evaluate me! I want and need to make sure I'm doing what I need to be doing! However, if you're evaluating my effectiveness as a speech therapist based on how a student performs on a state test....then I'm not sure how well of a tool is being used.

  • The last piece I will add is the fact that I am not a teacher. I love teachers. They do want I cannot not. However, I'm not one.  I did not take a single education course when I went to college. I don't want the convenience of lumping me in with teachers because no one knows how else to evaluate me be my only option. 

So....I started researching this option. I discovered that ASHA has come out with a statement about this topic and actually provides school districts with an evaluation option for SLPs. Here is the entire link if anyone is interested in looking into this more.

I want to know your opinion. Have you heard anything about teacher evaluation systems and how do you feel about it?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Recipe Sequencing Cards Freebie

Sorry it's taken me this long to post the winner-I have been busy at our Ohio professional conference all day learning some amazing new ideas for therapy!

Congrats to Kathy who will be winning a free CD donated by Susan Sexton containing over 80 games to work on articulation skills! Yay!

Thank you to everyone who commented-I love to see how others are tackling this new and sometimes overwhelming process of RTI.

As a thank-you, I like to offer a consolation prize whenever I have a give-away to show my appreciation for those who commented.
Today I am offering these 3-step sequencing recipe cards as a freebie.
I saw this adorable clipart by Melonheadz and adapted it for my students.
It will be sure to have your little "chefs" smiling about sequencing!

In this freebie, you receive 16 recipe cards in color....

AND 16 recipe cards in black and white (for those of us who need to save on ink!)

You can find this freebie at my TPT store HERE.
Yum! My stomach is growling already!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5-Minute Articulation Product for RTI and Give Away!

Last year I purchased 5-Minute Kids Program created by Susan Sexton (introduced to me by my good friend Emily). Have you heard of this program? If not, please keep reading!
I contacted Sue and she has graciously agreed to provide a free give-away of a CD containing more than 80 games for speech and language to one lucky reader!

I can sum up why I use 5-Minute Kids Articulation Program with 3 simple words:
Intervention (RTI)

By now, I know you’ve heard of this new way of “doing education.” If not though, please see  RTI can be extremely confusing, especially for speech language therapists who must first provide services to our students identified as having a disability. However, as speech language therapists working in the schools, we must also:
1. identify students needing intervention
2. determine the level and intensity of intervention
3. provide evidence-based intervention based on individual needs.

5-Minute Kids has made it extremely easy for me to implement an Articulation RTI Program at my district.

Here is the overview of this program:
       “5 Minute Kids is a program for delivering services to students with speech sound disorders by scheduling short, individual drill sessions. This program requires little planning for the professional and minimal time out of the classroom for the student. The child receives therapy in the hallway or a nearby available location for designated number of 5 to 10 minute sessions, based on therapy needs. Over the last 10 years, data has shown that this model is more effective than traditional group therapy in achieving speech and language goals.” (

Okay, just a few points to make sure we are all on the same page.
·         We understand that all students with articulation disorders do not need an Individual Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is designed for students whose disability or disorder is so severe that it impacts their education, requiring them to receive specially designed instruction.
·         Students having just one or two articulation errors may not require an IEP. This does not mean we cannot provide intervention for them! With RTI, we must provide intervention through a multi-leveled system.
·         Student needs must be looked at individually. This is why there are 3 tiers (or levels) to RTI. A student who has difficulty saying /r/ will have a different level of intervention than a student who has a severe articulation or phonological delay.

Okay, so how do I use the 5 Minute Kids Program for RTI? I have created this chart to explain:

Key Components of Response to Intervention (RTI)
5 Minute Kids Articulation Program
District-wide screening to identify those students who require intervention.
Although 5 Minute Kids does not provide a screening, I do my own for all new kindergartners. All students entering kindergarten are screened for articulation errors. Then, I go back and mark students for whom there are concerns and require intervention. This is done at the beginning of the year.
Evidence-Based Intervention
Students requiring articulation intervention are then scheduled to receive the 5 Minute Program (which IS an evidence-based intervention). See research article:
Multi-level Intervention
It is extremely easy to set up tiers within the 5 Minute Articulation Program. Initially, the students that were identified during screening are sent a permission slip (download mine HERE) and scheduled for “Tier 2” intervention which I set up as two 5 Minute individual sessions out in the hall with the student (10 minutes per week). If, after 8 weeks, they are making limited progress, I move them to “Tier 3” and schedule two more sessions (a total of 20 minutes per week).
Progress Monitoring
5 Minute Kids makes it super easy to progress monitor. Lists of target words come with spaces for data collection. I usually see progress within the first couple of weeks.

Here are my favorite components of this program:
·         Huge time saver! Instead of trying to schedule my articulation kiddos in groups (and yes, I’ve been guilty of even sneaking a few in a language group for scheduling purposes), I now see them only 10-20 minutes per week.
·         Less time out of the classroom. I see my articulation intervention kiddos right out in the hall. This cuts back on the time it takes to travel to my room and back. Teachers appreciate this because students are missing minimal classroom instruction.
·         Individual therapy provides more intensive therapy. I’ve seen dramatic results because I am working with my students individually. For these types of students, there are no games-and no, there haven’t been any complaints. The students expect to get straight to work and I usually can get about 50-75 productions of sounds in that 5 minutes. Then, they go right back to class. They come to know and expect the routine.
·         Tons of opportunities to progress monitor! The 5 Minute Program provides pages upon pages of target sounds in initial, medial and final positions of words and at the phrase and sentence level. Each page provides ample space for collecting data. Here are some examples:

The entire 6 volume set sells for $99 and can be found HERE.
However, Susan is generously offering a free CD (different than the entire volume) to one lucky viewer (retails for $30)! This exciting NEW CD-rom features a collection of MORE THAN 80 GAMES available to print in full color. Perfect for work in small groups or for individual play, these games are simple but FUN and each takes just a few minutes to play. They pair perfectly for implementing an RTI approach to articulation therapy.

To enter, simple comment below with the following information:
1.    Your email (I will be contacting you for a shipping address)
2.    A comment stating if you have used the 5 Minute Kids Program
A comment on how you currently implement RTI at your district

*Winner will be chosen on Monday, October 22 through Random Generator.
Thanks for letting me share!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Superhero Common Core Posters

I just wanted to let you know about a new product I think you're really going to like: Superhero Common Core Posters and Flashcards! These adorable superhero "I Can" and "I Will" statements are exclusively made for Speech Language Pathologists and address over 45 Common Core Standards! 

 This huge pack contains all 6 colorfully displayed Common Core titles:
1. Reading Standards for Literature
2. Reading Standards for Informational Text
3. Reading Standards: Foundational Skills
4. Writing Standards
5. Speaking and Listening
6. Language

These adorable posters contain over 48 "I Can" and "I Will" Statements all relating the the Common Core.  

Why use “I Can/I Will” statements?
*Aligned with Common Core Standards
*Students have a better understanding of their goals and why they are important
*States objectives clearly
*Makes lessons meaningful to students
This amazing packet includes:
*6 Superhero Posters for each English Language Arts Common Core Standard
*48 “I Can” Superhero Posters relating to Speech and Language topics addressed in the Common Core
*48 “I Can” Superhero Flashcards relating to Speech and Language topics addressed in the Common Core
*48 "I Will" Superhero Posters relating to Speech and Language topics addressed in the Common Core
*48 "I Will" Superhero Flashcards relating to Speech and Language topics addressed in the Common Core

Use as a bulletin board to display or as flashcards for the student to say before each activity! I know you're going to love it. Grab this product on my TPT store or my Teacher's Notebook store. Thanks for allowing me to share!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall Trees for Speech

Have you noticed all the amazing blogs out there? I sure have and am gleaning some wonderful fall ideas from them!

I saw this one on A Teeny Tiny Teacher (thanks Kathy). If you haven't headed on over, make sure to check it out-she is hilarious!

This idea came from Pinterest. I love adapting other's ideas and making them useful for speech. My kindergartners created these fabulous trees today using Q-tips and finger paint.

First, I printed a "Speech Tree." I drew a circle around the branches so that they would know where to put the leaves (click above to download the tree I created).

Then, I had the Q-tips ready! For each dot (or at least the majority), I had them practice a sound. Talk about a lot of speech practice!

What did these Fall Trees accomplish?
  • The kids had fun
  • Lots of sound practice was achieved
  • Using the Q-tips made the activity clean (only one student got paint in his hair!)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ned's Head

“Do you sleep in there?”

One of my first graders looks up at me. My office has two doors –the main one leading from the hallway and another leading to the library.

Apparently, this little guy just noticed the back door and came to the conclusion that teachers must live at the school. And…we all pull out our cots every night and go to sleep in the library! A scary thought but one I’ve entertained on those long nights that I’m still working.

I love the things my kiddos come up with!

Today my blog is all about the game “Ned’s Head.” Have you played this game? I found it on Amazon for under $25 here. It was left here by the previous therapist and my kiddos ask to play it almost every session. It is only used in my room on very, very special occasions. However, it’s great to use around Halloween because it contains some pretty gross items (ant, spider, lost lunch, worm). The kids love it!
The basic way to play is:
1.       A student draws a card
2.       The student reaches his/her hand in Ned’s head and feels around for the object.
3.       The student with the most objects at the end, wins!
Here are a few ways I've incorporate during sessions:
1.       For Halloween, take all the items from the box (and throw in a few of your own) and instead, place them in a pumpkin basket. Have younger students look in a find categories of items. “Find an insect….find an animal….”
2.   I also use the Expanding Expression Toolkit (EET) with Ned. I’ll draw a card and go through the color questions. I have a type of animal…it eats cheese….it looks bigger than a mouse…. The student who guesses “rat” would then get to reach in Ned’s head and try to feel around for it. Once they become good a guessing, I have them describe it using the EET.
3.       Create your own items to use with Ned’s head and work on articulation!
For example, if working on /r/, you could place objects such as a rat, car, truck, rag, rotten egg, and rainbow in Ned’s head and have them find the objects.
What about you? Have you used Ned’s Head for therapy? If so, I’d love to hear!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

TPT Winner!

Congrats to the $10 TPT winner: Jenn from over at Crazy Speech World! She was lucky number 14. Thank you to all to participated!

For those that did not win, I am giving away a Halloween Grammar Pack for free over at my TPT store or check it out at my new Teacher's Notebook Store. This pack addresses:
1. Personal pronouns
2. Word Order
3. Irregular plurals
4. Noun-verb agreement
5. Irregular past tense
Please leave feedback if you liked it. Have a great weekend enjoying some of this fall weather!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vocab, Vocab, Vocab!

So on Saturday I ran my first half-marathon.
Scratch that.
On Saturday I ran the most I've ever run in my life-ever.
I didn't tell many people just in case the slow bus had to come and get me. Then I would have had to tell them that I didn't finish. But these legs surprised me. I finished and ran the entire time! Today is the first day I could finally walk again without looking like I couldn't bend my knees. Here's a picture. I'm smiling. I look like I'm not in pain. Don't let me fool you. Oh, and yes, I did fist-pump when I crossed that finish line.
Okay, now onto important matters. Vocabulary takes center stage in today's post. In my district, vocabulary is a big deal. I have kiddos that come to kindergarten having no idea what a banana or horse is. I teach in a very rural area so I know there's a problem when a student doesn't know what a horse is.
With that said, I've been busy creating and posting some new products that target vocabulary I think you will like. 
First, I made a freebie math vocabulary visual. "What?!" You say?...."With all that is on our plate, now speech therapists are supposed to teach math?" With vocabulary...Yes! My language kiddos struggle across all of their curriculum. If they don't know that "difference" or "deduct" means to subtract, they've already missed the problem even before they attempt the operation.
So, I created a visual that lists the operation and then other possible key words that mean the same thing. When I'm teaching this to my students, I have them highlight the key word in the math story problem and then tell me what operation they are supposed to do. I've included flashcard-size as well as poster-sized. I hope you enjoy! Please let me know if you have any visuals or tricks you use to teach vocabulary across the curriculum! Grab it for FREE in my TPT store HERE.
My other product I wanted to share with you is "Sweet Synonyms and Antonyms-Leveled." I practice synonyms and antonyms a lot with my kiddos to improve vocabulary. However, I always found it difficult to practice these skills across my grade levels having only with one set. Some word pairs were way too difficult for my younger kiddos and likewise, others were super easy for my older kids. That's why I've created this leveled set of synonyms and antonyms. In this pack, Level 1 Synonyms and Antonyms are designed for grades K-2. Level 2 Synonyms and Antonyms are designed for grades 3-5.

And....because all the followers on this blog are so "sweet" (get it?-with my candy shop theme?), I am offering this pack for FREE as well only to my followers on this blog. All I ask is that you spread the love by being really, really nice to a fellow co-worker tomorrow :).  Enjoy! Grab it HERE.