Friday, April 25, 2014

The Weekly Wrap-Up: Articulation, Screenings, Jimmy's Boa, and Social Skills

Hi Friends!

I'm literally hours away from the weekend....and I'm sooo excited! Though I have a lot of work to do at home this weekend, I'm also going to take some time to relax on the beach (weather permitting), and spend some time with family!

Anyway, I haven't done a Weekly Wrap-Up in a few weeks, as our scheduled have been a little off with State testing among other things. So this is what we've been up to the past few weeks in therapy:

 I have a little Kindergarten speech kid who is infatuated with any type of vehicle. He doesn't like to practice his speech sounds at home, so we made him a place-mat to keep with his words, so he can practice them before dinner. Mom reports it's working so far!

I have one student in particular who is having a very hard time with playing games with peers. He attends one of my social groups. He used to loathe Apples to Apples card edition until we introduced Apples to Apples dice edition. Now he loathes the dice, and asks to play the card version. However, the other students in the group are enjoying the dice game, so we're using this as a teachable moment to teach the importance of compromise, talking out solutions instead of tantruming, winning and losing graciously, etc. Some days are good, others not so much. But he'll get there eventually. Until then, we keep on playing....

Before we play a game (always an educational one, might I add), we review the acceptable and unacceptable ways to win and lose. You can find these in my TPT store HERE.

 I spent some time this week planning for Summer suggestions, too. I used this homework calendar from Sublime Speech last year and my parents loved it! You can find a very similar one she made HERE.

I also spent time this week doing a few screenings on Kindergarten students. I used Speechy Musing's Kindergarten Screener from her HUGE CCSS Reference Binder for the first time, and LOVED it! You can find her awesome packet HERE.

We used Speech Time Fun's Noun/Verb Agreement activity on the iPad for a wonderful no-print option! You can find this cute and quick FREEBIE HERE.

 I tried to use the iPad as much as possible this week and last, as the majority of the school was in "Quiet Zones" because of State testing. I often saw my kiddos right outside of their classrooms instead of bringing them all the way back to my room for speech. Teach Speech 365's adorable no-print book, Carl's Crazy Day was perfect for reading comprehension! (And my students ADORED it!) You can find it HERE.

 For the majority of my language groups, we read the story The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash and used my new companion packet to target all kinds of skills such as basic concepts, comprehension questions, sequencing, writing, prepositions, cause/effect, and much more! You can find this companion packet HERE.

In one of my kindergarten speech groups, we worked on the /sh/ sound. I have one working on the initial position and another working on the final position. These FREE worksheets by Talking With Rebecca were great to target both sounds at the same time! You can fine these HERE. (P.S. Please tell me that you, too, have one of those students who insists on coloring everything in rainbow colors, so that it takes forever and he/she never finishes!)

And finally, I took a few of my kiddos on nature walks in celebration of Earth Day. We talked about our 5 senses, vocabulary of things we saw and heard, and then came back to make adorable nature walk books by The Dabbling Speechie. You can find this adorable book HERE. We talked about the importance of taking care of our Earth as we made the books for them to take home. Though I did not tell the kid, this one was definitely my favorite:

In case you can't read it, then sentences go like this. His answers are in red. Don't you just love it when you feel as if your lessons make a difference?!?!?!

I went on a nature walk.
I saw ___ grass
I found ____ a stick.
I felt ______ hot.
I discovered _______ I don't like nature walks. (The End.)

Have a great weekend, friends!


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!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Smarty Ears' 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!