Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pre-K in Publix!

Last week, I had the opportunity to go with the 4 year-old Pre-K class on their field trip to Publix. (Went great with their "My Community" theme currently going on!) I've been on field trips to Publix before, but this one by far took the cake (pun intended!) Here are the highlights from our trip:

 After visiting the coolers, the kids got to see where they package the meat in the meat department.

  The fruit department was awesome! They had examples of tropical fruits (FL is tropical) for the kids to touch, smell, and taste! Even the adults hadn't heard of some of them. From left to right is the Kiwi, Star Fruit, Asian Pear, and Cactus Pear.

  After everyone put on hairnets for cleanliness, they walked us through the deli and bread sections. The students got to taste the popcorn chicken. The bread smelled sooo yummy!

 Next came my favorite part...the bakery! The head cake-decorator, Mary, did an amazing job teaching the students how to decorate a cake. I took about 20 pictures of each step, and the students loved sequencing them in the correct order as a follow-up activity in the days after our trip!

 First, she added a banner with our school name and year.

 Next, she showed the students how to make roses, and told them roses need 12 petals. The students loved counting along with her each time.

 The roses turned out so pretty! 

 Then, she added green leaves, borders, and lots and lots of streamers.

 She then added balloons and fairy dust. The students were so excited to take the cake back to school with us and try a piece!

 Then, the students got to help scan and bag the groceries. Much thanks to the patient shoppers who were so kind!!!

 The students got to see the lobsters (and talk about which parts of the lobster you eat!) haha

 As we were leaving, the students got a cookie! 

Finally, Publix sent each student home with a gift bag including popcorn, a banana, snack bars, and a Publix coloring book!

The staff at Publix were so sweet and organized. The students had a wonderful time, and it was such a great opportunity to get all kinds of language therapy in with practicing questions, sequencing, manners, predicting, and so much more. Thank you so much, Publix!!!

Do you ever go on field trips with your students? Where do you go? How do you incorporate language lessons into your trips?

Enjoy your Sunday!

The Weekly Wrap-Up: Veterans' Day, Publix, Thanksgiving, and more!

Happy Sunday!

Here's a look at what we were up to in our speech room last week:

 On Monday, we celebrated Veteran's Day. We read patriotic books, learned American symbols, and discussed those men and women who have been sacrificing from the very beginning to make and keep America free. (We also talked briefly about the Pilgrims and how eventually, they had to fight to free themselves from the King's rule. This was a great lead-in to my History of Thanksgiving packet!)

 On Tuesday, I went with my 4 year-old Pre-K class on a field trip to Publix. Check back for an entire post devoted to our Publix trip! 

  On Wednesday, we used my History of Thanksgiving packet to learn about the Pilgrims, Native Americans, and the first Thanksgiving. You can find my History of Thanksgiving packet here: 

 We also used one of my favorite games, Apples to Apples Junior Edition, in my social group on Wednesday. Before we played the game, we used my "Rules for Winning & Losing" to remind the students about appropriate responses and actions when you win or if you lose. You can find my rules here:

I have one student in particular who has a very difficult time with losing. Despite knowing (and understanding) all the rules, he has a terrible time controlling his actions "in the moment." On this particular day, his actions cost him his sticker. Losing his sticker brought on a full-fledged meltdown, which I knew it would. I dismissed the other students from group when it was over and asked him to stay. He also has a hard time letting things go, and I knew it would affect his behavior for the rest of the day if we didn't work on getting past it. We wrote what happened down on a piece of paper (Today in social group, I lost my sticker.) Then I had him ball it up and physically throw the paper in the trash. We talked about how it was over, in the past, in the trash, and needed to stay there. I wasn't mad. I loved him still. And he needed to leave what happened in the trash forever, instead of carrying it with him all day. Miraculously, the visual task worked, and he was able to go back to class a happy little camper! (Whew!) Guess we'll be using that one more often!

 On Thursday, I used these foam shapes (Target Dollar-bin last year), to work on prepositions, basic concepts, naming shapes, and comparisons with my Kindergarten kiddos. I used the data I got on their specific needs from Smarty Ears' Basic Concepts Skills Screener to know exactly which concepts to target. They loved it, and based on the results of the screener, we'll be working with these a lot this year. :/

And on Friday, Matt & Molly made another appearance with my self-contained ASD classrooms, and they brought their hungry turkey friend! I love these quick stories for working on comprehension questions, yes/no questions, and sequencing. The best part-the kids love these characters, too!

What were you guys up to last week? I'd love to hear!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up: Screenings, Turkey Trouble, & /r/ Flip Books!

Can you tell the baby is napping, and I'm finally getting a chance to do some major catch-up?!?!

This is what we were up to in therapy this week:

My SLP counter-part and I did LOTS of screenings in Kindergarten this week. Most of them were for articulation, and most of the kids we checked needed speech. Yay for job security, and yay for the teachers making good referrals! Our county doesn't do Language screenings anymore because we have the teachers refer them for RtI. But the SLPs at my school do language "checks," where we give our opinion on interventions to implement in the gen ed classrooms for those students going through MTSS (RtI).  We used Smarty Ears' app Basic Concepts Skills Screener for Kindergarten. You can read my past review of that app HERE. 

 We used my Turkey Trouble Comprehension Packet to answer comprehension questions, sequence the events, explain idioms, and retell the story with help from my Story Map. It worked great for students all the way from Pre-K to 5th grade! You can find my Turkey Trouble Packet in my TPT Store HERE!

 Almost every one of my kiddos I see for speech are working on /r/. We used Super Duper's R Flip Book and Magnetic Vocalic R Sort to get over 200 responses in a 30-minute session!

And lastly, my little Lovie has mastered the whole "sitting in the Bumbo" seat thing. At this point, she much prefers to sit up than lay down so she can see everything! She'll be 11 weeks tomorrow. Here, she is infatuated with Sesame Street (they were learning her letter, H!) She's growing waaaayyy too fast!

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend and a great week!

Smarty Ears' Language Empires: {An App Review}

Happy Sunday!

You all know how much I appreciate Smarty Ears apps since they make my therapy life so much easier (I no longer have to haul heavy bags of therapy materials all over the school!). Anyway, I'm so super thankful for this app...Language Empires! You can target so many different skills all in one super cool app. Smarty Ears provided me with the app in order to complete my review, but no other compensation was provided. Read my review of the app below:

When you open the app, you have several options. As with all Smarty Ears apps, you can always view a Tutorial or contact Smarty Ears for support.

When you enter Language Empires, you can choose to play the full game or choose the quick start option. When you enter the city, you drag the player(s) to the area you want to target. You can choose between How Questions, Figurative Language, Vocabulary, Inferencing, Predicting, Which Questions, Sequencing, & Why Questions.
Here, the student chooses which explanation best matches the idiom given.

If the student chooses the wrong answer, that answer choice disappears. You can change this option under the Settings tab if you wish.

When the student answers correctly, they get a "Well Done" message!
This is an example of a question under the Predicting category.

You can choose between three different difficulty levels in the Sequencing category. This is an example of a question from level one.

There are two different levels of difficulty under the Which category.

You can track student data and progress under the Report tab. A breakdown of which category was practiced on each date is printed off to the side. The data can be opened in TRC, printed, or sent via email! This is an example of data from a "Quick Play" game, so the student name is not listed. Quick Play games are also great for screenings!

In the Settings tab, you can choose whether to display written questions, whether to remove an item or buzz an incorrect answer, and whether to turn the audio on or off.

The directions before each category are very cute and kid-friendly!

At the end of each game, the students can earn trophies and treasures, which can also be seen under the Report tab

When you click on the Report tab, you can choose to see Trophies that have been earned or a detailed report with data and progress.

In the Trophy Room, the trophies and treasures the students can earn are shown!

Here is an example of a report generated under a student name.

If you choose to play a full game, you can add students and the students actual photos, or choose avatar photos for each student. Up to 5 students can play at a time!

If you answer a sequencing question incorrectly, you get a "try again" prompt.
Pros: I love that many of the most common goals my students need to work on are included in this app. The quick start option is great for screenings. The reports to track student progress are an easy and detailed way to keep data!

Cons: Although the questions are read aloud to students, the answer choices aren't read aloud. For many of my students, this means I need to read them, which keeps me from being able to use the app in a Speech Center because I have to be right there.

Overall though, I love this app and would recommend it to other school-based SLPs, teachers, and parents wanting extra practice for their kiddos at home!

Smarty Ears is available in iTunes for $24.99! You can find it here:

Have any of you used Language Empires? If so, let me know what you think!