Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Blog Nominations!

Today, I'm working from Shoney's in Franklin, North Carolina. I'm on vacation in the mountains with my family, but wanted to get a little work done while I'm here. (Thank goodness for free Wifi!) Anyway, I wanted to share with you that my blog has been nominated for two blogger awards. Kristin over at [simply speech.] nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award and the Versatile Blogger Award! Thanks so much, Kristin!

For the One Lovely Blog Award, I have to:
1. Follow the person who gave me the award
2. Link back to the blog that nominated me: Kristin @ [simply speech.]
3. Pass the award to 15 bloggers and let them know that they have received the award.

For the Versatile Blogger Award, I have to:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated me 
2. Include a link to their blog - [simply speech.]
3. Include the award image in my post
4. Give 7 random facts about myself 
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award
6. When nominating, include a link to the blog
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated

Here are my 7 facts:
1. I am so obsessed with having everything "just so" and organized, that my friends and colleagues refer to me as Whitney Smith, M.Ed CCC-OCD/SLP.
2. I have been married for a year, and my husband and I have two miniature schnauzers, Maia & Maggie. The pups are good practice for future kiddos.
3. My favorite place to go in the world is Disney.
4. I love cows, and was raised on a Purebred Black Angus Farm. I grew up showing cows and pigs.
5. I originally started college as a Pre-Med major, but eventually chose speech path so I could have the best of both worlds (clinic-centered work and time for a family)
6. During the school year (who am I kidding, over the summer too), I survive off of Coca Cola & Blueberry muffins from the 7-11.
7. I nannied for about 20 kids throughout college, and all of those kids and our little cousins were the flower girls and ring-bearers in our wedding (about 25 kids total!)

The 15 Blogs I am nominating are:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: Dollar Spots & Dollar Tree!

Hi, Friends!

For weeks now, I've been waiting for stores to put their back-to-school things out. I finally got to start my scavenging a couple of weeks ago. In addition to their regular school supplies sections, Target's Dollar Spot has great classroom items, such as bulletin board decor, great labeling magnets, workbooks, flashcards, and dry-erase activities like the one in the picture below. I have several students with Autism who are learning to write their names and letters. One little boy in particular is obsessed with spelling anything you ask of him. Its not often that you catch him without a dry erase marker! I found this dry-erase activity book for working on writing letters, your name, and simple sight words. It was in the Dollar Spot at Target! These would also be great for riding in the car for those of you with kiddos! Besides Target, Dollar Tree also has a great teacher's section, Michaels has a Dollar Spot, Joann's has great teacher bins, and Lakeshore Learning also has a great sale going on now through September for teachers. Be sure to check them out! Have you found any great items for your classroom yet?

Be sure to check the blog tomorrow for pictures of my therapy room. Several of you have asked about how I have organized and arranged my room, so I'll address it tomorrow!


Monday, July 23, 2012

The Berenstain Bears!

Who loves The Berenstain Bears?!?!

As an SLP who does LOTS of work on literacy and language, I'm obsessed with character sets of books. Some of my favorite characters are The Berenstain Bears. There are tons of BB books on every topic you could possibly think of. I use them to teach all kinds of lessons, from doing homework, to telling the truth, to being a good sport, and many more. They are also wonderful for teaching holiday vocabulary and go great with Story Grammar Marker lessons. There are several school-related BB books that I use throughout the school year. I included an Amazon affiliate link to The Berenstein Bears Go To School below. These books have great pictures, awesome vocabulary, and wonderful lessons at the end. For the little ones, I just simplify the text down to their level. There are also great activities that go along with the characters on the Berenstain Bears webpage. In addition, there are BB activities on the PBS page as well. Following are the school-related books I use throughout the year. You can print out a full list of all Berenstain Bear books from the official BB site. As teachable moments surface during the year (a student tells a fib, someone is bullied, homework starts slacking, etc., I pull out the coinciding book and we see what lesson the cubs (or the parents) learned on the topic! Do you have any favorite Berenstain Bear books?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Donor's Choose

Happy Saturday!

With budget cuts getting worse and worse each school year, Donors Choose is a great way to help teachers help their students. If you are a teacher, consider starting a project for materials you really need for your classroom.  You can also look at other projects and donate to teachers needing help. I've successfully had 3 different projects completed for books, classroom supplies, speech materials, and a student computer! You can check out my page here:  Mrs. Smith's Speechies

Have you used Donors Choose for your classroom?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thrifty Therapy Thursday-Chalk Talk Speech

Happy Thrifty Thursday again!

I don't like staying inside on pretty days, and my kids love chalk. Put those two together, and we came up with Chalk Talk Speech Days! On Chalk Talk Speech Days, we go outside, the kids find a spot, and they can draw anything they want (that's appropriate!) AS LONG AS it has their target sound. We also do this with language groups who are working on vocabulary/categories, etc. It gets me outside in the warm sunshine, the kids work on their speech by telling me what they are drawing using their good speech sounds, and most of all, they think its fun! Added bonus: Chalk is Cheap! Do you guys use chalk in your classrooms?

I love Crayola's box of 48 pieces of chalk in great colors. Here's the Amazon affiliate link!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back to School Spatial Directions-FREEBIE

Happy Tuesday, Peeps!

I managed to get into my classroom yesterday to start working. I spent 3 un-interrupted hours organizing, sorting, and decorating! After all that, I'm even more excited about starting school! Many of my students need help working on spatial directions. They get tired of the whole "put the block on top of the bucket" routine, so I created a spatial directions matching game with school supplies to hopefully spice things up!

You can use this in different ways. You can have the students turn the cards over and play a matching game, show the students one of the pictures and if they can name the opposite direction, they get the match, use the pictures to discuss vocabulary, or use the pictures to test their knowledge of directions (i.e. put the pencil card next to the paper card.) I will also grab real objects from the classroom, and have the students use the object to do what's on the card (hold a pencil up, put a notebook in front of the door, etc.)

How do you work on spatial vocab?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Wall of Feelings

Many of my kiddos are working on social language skills. For lots of these students, expressing their feelings appropriately is a challenge. Some of these lovies have been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), some with EBD (Emotional-Behavior Disorder), and some just need a little extra help in the "feelings" department. Regardless of their diagnosis or lack-there-of, we work on using words to express how we are feeling instead of lashing out through tantrums or other inappropriate behaviors. To help these kiddos, I created a "feelings wall" in my classroom.  We started with the 6 universal feelings: happy, sad, mad, scared, disgusted, and surprised, and branched out with synonyms for each of these feelings. In addition, we also added several other feelings categories. The wall has grown from 6 feelings to over 50! The kids love looking up at the wall and using a different word other than the basic "happy" or "sad." They are thrilled when they come up with a new word to add. They are learning new vocabulary words and how to express themselves at the same time. We talk about the different feelings, what they mean, what they look like, why you feel that way, and how you should act when you are experiencing that feeling.

 How do you teach feeling words?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Therapy In A Box!

Any last-minute therapy planners out there?

As much as I would LOVE to tell you that I have each and every therapy session thoroughly planned and thought out weeks in advance, that would simply not be the truth. While I make sure that each therapy session is tailored to the students' needs and goals, I don't always have some new and brilliant plan way ahead of time.

In graduate school, I worked with a Pre-K student who had a significant language impairment, characterized primarily by extremely delayed vocabulary. My graduate clinician supervisor suggested I work with "themes" to expose him to language and vocabulary. She gave me a list of themes to start with, including animals, food, bugs, transportation, etc. Since I was just starting out, I had to find a lot of those materials on my own. Thank goodness for Target's Dollar Spot! Throughout that semester, I created the "therapy-in-a-box" concept, which I still use today.

The Pre-K classrooms at my school use a theme-based curriculum as well, so they are perfect for introducing the theme with vocabulary and manipulatives. My themes have grown over the past few years...I currently have 26 boxes, and am always looking for new ideas! Some examples are food, colors, shapes, animals, ocean animals, letters, numbers, time & money, music, doctor's kit/medical, transportation, and bugs. In each theme-related box, I have books, manipulatives, and of course, stickers! Many of my boxes also have toys, flashcards, games, puzzles, and craft items related to that theme. I use the boxes for various things, including introducing new units, focusing on individual IEP goals, play-based therapy, and Pre-K evaluations. They are great when you are "in a bind" and need a quick lesson. Everything is right there!

You can see my "animal" themed box below. My students love the plastic animals and bugs (most of them from the Dollar Spot), stickers, animal movement flashcards, and farm animal puzzle. They also love the fence, which works great for practicing prepositions!

Do you work with themes? What are your favorites? Any great ones I missed???