Friday, October 9, 2015

Pin of the Week: DIY Dry Erase Boards

Ahhh, happy Friday! Life is crazy these days. Weeks fly by and I feel like I can barely keep up with what day it is. I love to be organized but sometimes it's hard. Real hard. Lately, the best way for me to stay organized and not forget things, is to keep lists. Between to-do lists, grocery lists, and reminders, I have pieces of paper all over my house. I needed a better way. So of course, I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration. I found these super simple and very cute "do it yourself" dry erase boards!
 Here is what you need:
- A picture frame Any size will work… pick one that will fit your needs the best.
- Scrapbook paper You can find some pretty colors or patterns that will match your decor! I found some cute paper that looked like handwriting paper from school that I thought would be perfect for to-do lists!
- Dry erase markers
- Magnets These are optional but work really well on the back of the frame if you want to stick it to your fridge. Just make sure you buy strong, large magnets if you do this.
Here is what you do:
1. Take the back off the frame.
2. Remove the paper/sample photos from the inside of the frame.
3. Insert your scrapbook paper. You may have to trim it down depending on the size of the frame.
4. Put the back of the frame back on and BOOM you have a dry erase board!

Told you it was simple. If you look on Pinterest, there are so many different ideas and options for creating a unique board. Some other ideas I liked was using burlap instead of scrapbook paper or even paint chips for a very colorful effect.
The two pictured above are the ones I use at home. The black frame I keep by my desk. It's usually filled with to-do's and reminders. The smaller white frame I keep in the kitchen for meal planning. I found the Menu template here.  I loved this idea so much that I used it for my 3rd segment on Gayle's Guide to Pinterest! You can view the segment below :) Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Teaching Pronouns

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. 
Little ones seem to mix up pronouns pretty frequently. It's very common to have pronoun goals on my students' plan of care when they are young. With my daughter, everyone was a "she." It's something we worked on on a regular basis. Luckily with her, I was able to correct her he's, she's, and him's enough times that it finally stuck. But for some kids they need a little more. I often have parents ask me how they can work on using pronouns properly with their kids because they just aren't "getting it."
My answer: visuals. I love using visuals, manipulatives, and anything they can put their little hands on to understand the difference between a him and a her.
Before you can jump into working on pronouns, you need to make sure your child understands the difference between boys and girls. This seems like such a simple concept, but for some it's not. One of the easiest ways you can do this is by rounding up a bunch of dolls and action figures… whatever is in your toy box. (If you don't have any of these, use photos or cut out pictures of people from magazines) My daughter is obsessed with the Magic Clip Disney Princess dolls so I always have those handy. Have your child sort them into two piles, one for boys and one for girls. Once they have mastered sorting them, I like to use a sentence strip and have them produce the sentence, "____ is a girl" or "_____ is a boy." This works great with family photos!
Once you know they have mastered the boys vs. girls concept, you can introduce pronoun usage. One of my favorite toys to use with this is Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head 
Pull out two potato bodies and decide which one with be the boy and which one will be the girl. Take turns giving directions for dressing the spuds. For example, "He wants the blue hat." "She wants pink lips." or "Give the mustache to him." You can also use picture cards and have your child give them to him or her. Everyone loves the potato family so it's a fun way to work on this skill!
Once your child has mastered pronouns receptively, it's time to move on to expressive pronouns. This skill can be worked on with picture cards, toys, books, apps… anything with a picture of a person. Have your child describe what the person is doing in the picture, "He is playing in the park." "She is shopping." I like to use verb or emotion flash card apps with this skill.
There are so many ways to target pronouns, why not make it fun?!

Check out my Teacher Pay Teachers store here for tons of pronoun activities!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pin of the Week: Crockpot Cheeseburgers!

Who is a fan of quick and easy dinners? When I am cruising Pinterest for a new dinner idea, I usually put the word "easy" into the search box. Of course it goes without saying that it has to be yummy, too! A few months ago I can across this pin for Crockpot Cheeseburgers. The first time I made them was for one of our weekly Sunday-Funday Family dinners. We were hosting that week and I had just come across the pin a few days before, so I thought I would use my family as Guinea pigs. They were super easy, amazingly delicious, and had everyone asking me for the recipe before they left. 
According to the original recipe by Mostly Homemade Mom, here's what you need:
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 6-8 Vlasic Farmer's Garden Zesty Garlic Chips, chopped
  • 8 oz Velveeta cheese
  •  rolls and burger toppings

Here's what you do:
1. Brown the ground beef and drain it.
2. Transfer the ground beef to the crockpot. (The first thing I always do when using the crockpot is put in a crockpot liner. You can buy them at the grocery store and it seriously saves you major scrubbing time later!)
3. Add the onion, garlic, mustard and pickles. I personally don't add the pickles to the crockpot, I just put them out as a topping for the burgers once they are ready to be served. 
4. Cook on low for 2 hours! It comes out like a melty, cheesy sloppy joe!
These are so good! I promise you, you will be glad you tried these. We don't have a grill at our  house yet so this is my solution to still having a burger every once in a while. I loved this recipe so much that I chose to feature it on my second segment of Gayle's Guide to Pinterest! You can check out the video below!
Happy Pinning!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In My APPinion: Multi-Syllabic Word Party & GIVEAWAY!

Appy Wednesday! Raise your hand if you love a party! Me too! Recently, Luke from Home Speech Home contacted me about his new app, Multi-Syllabic Word Party! My Multisyllabic Circus activity in TpT is a big seller, so I know I am not the only one working with students on multisyllabic words. This is an easy to navigate app that will help your students understand multisyllabic words as well as give them some extra exposure and practice to these words.
I was provided with a copy of this app, however, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.
When you first open the app, you will see the screen pictured above. There are 4 activities to choose from: Tap Tap, Outline, Remember, and Say & Slice. If you choose Tap Tap, you will be prompted with pictures similar to the one below. Students are to tap each circle below the picture (one for each syllable in the word) then say they entire word. 
If you choose the Outline activity, you will see a screen like the one below. Your student is to tap and drag the pictures from the bottom of the screen into the it's matching outline (kind of like a puzzle)
After you drag the correct piece into the outline, you are prompted to tap and say the syllables in the word. 
If you choose Remember, you get to play a memory game with multisyllabic words.
Last but not least, Say & Slice! With this activity, student have to slice the letters that are different colors (for different syllables) and say it. After the letters fall off, drag them up and lock them back in.
This is a fun app that is easy enough to navigate without much direction, although directions are given before each activity is started. The app is very colorful and has engaging pictures for the kids. I really like that you have the option to choose how many syllables you want to target so it can be appropriate for each student you use it with. There isn't an option for data collection, but I don't think it's necessary for this app. The idea is more of a fun, playful way to work with multisyllabic words. This is a great app to use with students learning about multisyllabic words, articulation students, as well as students working on the phonological process of syllable deletion. 
You can learn more about this app and download a copy in the iTunes store here!
**Make sure you follow me on Instagram @simply_speech for a chance to win a copy of this app!**

Monday, September 28, 2015

Learning on the Go! Glow Draw

Grocery shopping, soccer practice, dance class, play dates, target runs… seems like we spend half of our days in the car. When you're on the go so much, how do you have time to sit down with your child and work on academic and language skills? Truth is, being in the car can provide some incredible opportunities! First and foremost, it can provide some quiet quality time, away from the TV, with your little one. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Look for the letter "M" on street signs. Play "I Spy" with colors. There are so many opportunities out there when we take the time to forget how rushed we are to get our to-do lists completed and just talk to our sweeties.
A few days ago, Kevin, Kenzie, and I were on the way to look at tile for our new bathroom. (Did I tell you we are re-doing our master bathroom? Long story short, we thought we had a mold problem… we don't. But after a complete demolition job to find the source, we now get a new bathroom :) While on the way to the store, Kenzie and I started playing a game with an app I had on my phone called, Glow Draw. This is a simple app that lets you draw with your finger, but there is so much you can do with this. I was drawing shapes, letters, and numbers on the phone and Kenzie was telling me what they were. Simple, right? Incredible simple, but Kenzie loved it. And now she asks to do this every time we are in the car. My favorite part was when she took the phone and started quizzing me. Every letter looked like a number 1, but I loved that she was trying.
Of course, if you are the one driving, this isn's a safe game, so please don't try it. But it's perfect for road trips with the family or you could have an older sibling to use it. I know growing up, I always loved being the teacher for my little sister. Learning opportunities are everywhere, take advantage. Your kids will appreciate the time and attention you give them during your busy day.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pin of the Week: How to Make a Burlap Wreath!

Last month, I helped film a news segment at my favorite place, Aerie Lane! If you aren't local to me, Aerie Lane is an adorable craft bar where you can take classes to learn how to make those adorable crafts you have been eyeing on Pinterest and Etsy. And yes, you can even have a a glass of wine with your best friends while you do this. The news segment featured that oh so popular burlap wreath you see on so many festive doors these days. After I created mine, I shared a picture of it on Instagram. I had so many of you request a tutorial, so here it is!
 You all weren't the only ones requesting a wreath tutorial. My friends and I often host Pinterest Parties (this is the perfect way for me to still see my friends and hang out with two babies at home!) A Pinterest Party consists of each of us bringing a yummy dish we have been eyeing, drinking some wine, and making a craft together. After my friends saw the picture of the wreath, they decided that would be our next craft. So all of these pictures are from me teaching them how to make one. It's actually very easy once you get started. I hope I can explain well enough on here, if not, check out YouTube for some video tutorials. Here we go!

What you need:
- 1 metal wreath frame (any size you want, I used 16")
- 2-3 rolls of 5" burlap ribbon  (It just depends on how full you want your wreath)
- 1 pipe cleaner cut in half
- Ribbon, a wood letter, flowers or anything you want to personalize your wreath
First step, turn the wreath frame over and tightly loop the burlap around the middle wire. Some people prefer to tie it in a knot, I like to use a pipe cleaner to secure the burlap to the frame. This won't be seen so it doesn't have to be pretty. Then, pull a few inches of the burlap ribbon through the top row of the frame. Keep it loose like in the picture above. Hold it with your thumb and index finger while you loop the burlap through the second row of the frame. It should now look like the picture below. 
Do the same thing for the bottom row of the frame. At this point, your wreath should look like the picture below. 
After you have your 3 rows of burlap loops, slide it all the way over to the right so the burlap scrunches and looks fluffy! 
See how the frame is divided into sections? You will complete these steps twice in each section. Then, do just a single loop through the middle before moving on to the next section of the wreath. Does that make sense? So you will have a row of 3 loops, a second row of 3 loops, a row of 1 loop in each section of the wreath frame. 
If my directions were clear enough, your wreath should start to look like the one pictured above. You want to try to make sure the back isn't super fluffy- it will make the wreath harder to hang. 
Once you are finished, secure the end of the burlap to the frame with another pipe cleaner. Then, decorate your wreath! I had some help with my bow, but here is a tutorial I found on Pinterest. 
Check out my adorable friends and their fun wreaths! I am super excited because 3 of these ladies are expecting little girls in the next few months so I see lots more Pinterest Parties in our future (probably with more tutus and bows!) 
Below is the video of the WFLA news segment we filmed for Gayle's Guide to Pinterest on burlap wreaths. 
Happy crafting!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

How I Use Articulation Activity Notebooks!

We all know that articulation therapy can get a little dull. There are only so many times you can practice your sound before you play Pop the Pig. I am always on Pinterest searching for fun, new ways to make articulation therapy more fun. Interactive notebooks have been super popular lately.  I am in love with the idea of each student having their own notebook for so many reasons. Kids loving having their own notebook. They take ownership and pride in their notebook, so they really do their best work (most of the time!) It also is like a running record of the students' progress. You can see as the notebook goes on through the year how they have moved from simply practicing sounds, to words, and now phrases. It's great for sharing with parents and teachers. It also helps when it comes time to write up new goals, IEPs, or plans of care.
So, needless to say, I joined the fun and created some interactive activity notebooks for my students. Here is how I use them:  I usually pull the notebook out once a week. Before the session starts, I will print off an activity from the packet and have it ready for the kids. The nice thing about all of these notebooks, is that each and every sound packet has the same activities in them. So, if you are working with a group of students that are each working on different sounds, they can all complete the candy jar activity, just with their own target sounds on their page!
Some examples of activities included are: Rainbow Writing, Tic-Tac-Toe, Word Searches, Color by Word, word sorting, Arctic 4-Square, and lots of cut, color, and glue activities. My students have really enjoyed using these notebooks. It's a great change of pace from skill and drill therapy, but still targets their speech goals!
It's a work in progress, I don't have all the sounds finished yet… but they are coming! Those of you that have already purchased some of the notebook activities from my store, thank you! I see your requests for more sounds and I promise, as soon as the baby gives me a good nap, I'll crank a few more out! Please leave a comment letting me know what sounds you would like to see a notebook for! Check out the notebooks that are already in the store here!