Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April OT Tip of the Month {Just Right Desk}

Happy Wednesday!

Here's the April OT Tip of the Month. This one is on teaching student to keep their desks and work organized!

One of the most frequent complaints I hear from teachers is  “ their desk is a mess!”
One of the most frequent things I hear students say when asked to locate an item in their desk is  “ I don’t know where it is.”
What do these 2 statements have in common? They are both the product of having too many items to manage and not enough space in the desk to neatly arrange them. In addition, for students who struggle with organizational skills and visual memory, cleaning out their desk and expecting them to remember just sometimes isn’t enough help.
A couple of my favorite recommendations that I have seen implemented this school year are a classroom depot where all crayons, glue sticks, scissors, markers, rulers, and reading guides are kept, as well as  a plastic tote that is placed on the floor next to the students desk.  Not only are these great ways to decrease desk clutter, they both provide a much needed movement break when a student goes to gather their items.
A great strategy to increase students self- awareness and responsibility in maintaining an organized and neat desk space is to use a visual support which I call the “Just Right Desk.”  Students love taking pictures,  so I begin by having them take a picture of their desk. This will be the “before” picture. After organizing the desk space with the student, I have the student take another picture of the finished product.  This is the “after picture.” It is very important to do this with the student for 2 reasons. First, if they are part of the process they will be invested in maintaining the final product. Second,  they will be able to provide feedback as to how efficient it is to access the materials and what preferences they may have.  I then have the student look at the 2 pictures and determine which picture looks more organized and easier to find items in. The pictures are a great tool in assisting students in recognizing the difference and when they state the “after” picture is the neater and more organized of the 2 desks,  I refer to that desk as  the “Just Right Desk.” I then laminate the picture and either secure it to the side of the desk, or in a place in the classroom where it can be easily obtained such as on a side of a magnetic file cabinet or the white board with magnetic tape or a magnetic clip. The visual is then used to assist the student in maintaining a neat desk area as they can look at their desk and compare it to the picture. If they do not look the same, they can refer to the picture and organize it so they match.
The feedback I have received from students has been that the picture really helps! Classroom  teachers have also shared that not only are students are taking pride in maintaining a neat desk space, they are able to locate items much faster. So, if your objective is to assist your student in improving organizational skills as well as maintain a neater desk space, give the “Just Right Desk” a try!
Michele L. Frommer, OTR/L

Thanks for sharing, Michele!

Whitney :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

iName It! {An App Review and Giveaway}

Happy Wednesday, friends!

I hope you all are having a great week! I'm super busy trying to catch up on my "to-do" list!

I'm back today with another great app from Smarty Ears. iName it was created by an SLP to target adults with Aphasia. However, just like all of the Smarty Ears apps, this one can be used for multiple targets across all settings and ages!

Disclaimer: Smarty Ears provided me a copy of this app for review, but all opinions expressed below are mine alone. No other compensation was provided. 

This app is available in three different languages. While most of my kiddos speak only English, I do have several students who also speak Spanish. So having the different options is neat!

As with all Smarty Ears apps, support and tutorials are provided should you ever need any help. I've had to utilize their support system before, and they were great about helping me out!

Users are very easy to add. You can import a real picture or choose from the app's Avatars. This app is only designed for one user at a time.

This app targets expressive naming of objects in rooms around the house. There are five different rooms to choose from.
 When you choose a room, the room lights up. The target objects are shown on the bottom of the screen.

When you touch an object, the rest of the room goes gray and the object itself lights up. If the person names the item correctly, you simply touch "Got it."

Four different cueing options are also provided if the person is having difficulty. The first is represented by a pencil and gives the first sound of the target word.

 The second cue is represented by a book, and gives the definition of the target word.

 The third cue is represented by a rectangle. This cue provides a fill-in-the-blank sentence option.

The last cue is represented by a word bubble with phonetic spelling. This cue gives the person the complete target word.
Keeping data with this app is very easy! I love how the results are broken down into accuracy with and without cues, and tells you which cues the person was most successful with. This is great when identifying which type of cueing is most helpful to the person!

Overall, this is another wonderful app by Smarty Ears. I love that it is simple and easy to use, and the data collection is great. I also love how the graphics are realistic and targeted towards older students/patients. (Sometimes I don't use certain apps with older patients because the graphics are too child-like.) I also believe this app could be easily used with other targets as well (wh questions, object function, identifying receptively, categories, life-skills, vocabulary, and even speech!

iName it sells in the iTunes app store for $14.99. You can find it by clicking the link below:

Or, you can enter to win a copy of the app below:

Good luck, and have a great day!

Whitney :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

It's Easter, Little Critter! {A Book Companion}

Hi Friends!

I had a good, but very hectic week off for Spring Break! We spent the week in GA with family, and now I'm scrambling trying to catch up on everything I procrastinated on last week!

I'm a little behind posting my April Book Club Bundle, but over the next few days the four individual book companions as well as the April Bundle will be up and running. Here's the first book in the bundle: It's Easter, Little Critter, by Mercer Mayer. See the highlights below:

 12 Character/Vocabulary Cards

 12 Sequencing Cards with Pictures

 12 Comprehension questions (with and without answer choices)

 18 Basic Concepts Practice Cards

 2 Pages of "Which One is Different?" Picture Strips

 Syllable Sort
 18 syllable word cards (1-4 syllables related to the story/Easter)

 2 Sentence Repetition pages with check boxes for visuals

 3 Character Description pages and a blank page

An open-ended board game


You can find the It's Easter, Little Critter Book Companion by clicking the link below:

Click the Amazon affiliate link below to order your copy!

Whitney :) 

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Weekly Wrap-Up!

Hi Friends!

I'll admit upfront...this weekly wrap-up is MUCH shorter than last week's...because I spent A LOT of time this week in eligibility meetings (hey, it's job security, right?!?!) Anyway, take a look at what we were up to this week:

Of course, we had to start the week celebrating Saint Patrick's Day!

 My younger students used Simply Speech's Old Lady Swallowed a Clover book companion to work on 'wh' questions and sequencing!

My older students used my History of Saint Patrick's Day companion to learn the history of the holiday and work on comprehension questions and holiday vocabulary!

Other groups used my Lucky Tucker book companion to work on sequencing, 'wh' questions, and writing!

Now for a few personal pictures:

Halle Jane spent her first day at the beach. Just so you know, she is not asleep here. She rather enjoys placing things over her head, including but not limited to, blankets, stuffed animals, clothes, and apparently hats. She really enjoyed "laying out", soaking up some rays (she was coated in sunscreen), and relaxing!

Finally, as earlier stated, I spent a lot of time in meetings this week, getting ready for meetings after Spring Break, and writing eval/reeval reports. Unfortunately, I don't "just get to play with kids all day," as my husband likes to tease me about! 

 AND...I ended the week attending a training on Common Core for Florida!

Now, we're off to GA for a week for Spring Break! I can't wait to sleep in (yeah right with the baby), enjoy being outside, and catch up on making TPT products. April's Book Club Bundle is coming soon!

Have a great weekend!

Whitney :)