Krismasi Njema!

Monday, December 19, 2011
Just in case you aren't fluent in Swahili, that means Merry Christmas! I hope you all are enjoying your holiday break as much as I am!! I don't plan on posting too much over the break, but this one is important to me :) Last week I had my students write holiday cards to a student in Africa! I sponsor a little boy names Jackson through the Cheti Sponsorship program.
Meet Jackson!

The Cheti School is in Tanzania, Africa. I first learned about Jackson from a friend of mine that went to Africa to teach English. While she was there, she helped start up a sponsorship program with the school. This program helps pay for the students to be able to go to school to get a good education and learn English. This is the second year I have sponsored Jackson. I get pictures and report cards from him. My students love to hear about him and get excited learning about him.
My friend, Jessica, who taught English at Cheti with Jackson
Jackson with his classmates

I have done this with my students for the past 2 years. It is a great learning experience for them! Before we made the cards, we looked on a map and located where we live and where Jackson lives. At first, my kids didn't understand how far away Africa was from America. (One of my students asked if Africa was by Tampa!) This activity lets them be creative as well as works on their expressive written language. Each student wrote a little about themselves and asked Jackson questions about him. They got really into making these cards! One of my groups even had me look up how to say certain words in Swahili!

This program is really great and has helped the school grow. If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please contact me for more information, visit the website Sponsor Cheti or check out their Facebook page!


There Was an Old Lady...

Thursday, December 15, 2011
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.
Not that I am counting or anything but... there are only 2 days until Winter Break!! Which means only hours left of fun holiday activities to do with the kids. I *love* all of the Old Lady books! If you have not read them yet, they are a series of silly short stories where an old lady swallows lots of things she should not! There are books for just about every holiday or season, too. This week I used There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell!

 In my last post, I gave you a link to a website that had a printable to go along with this story. I used the printable with my preK kiddos. After we read the story, they created their own books so they could retell the story themselves. I had the pages out of order on the table. They had to put the pages in order to go along with the book (sequencing!). Here are some other ideas to do with this book:

1. Before you read, ask your students to think if they have every ate something they should not have. How did it taste?

2. Let the kids looks at the cover of the book and make predictions about what the Old Lady will swallow.

3. If you have read any of the other Old Lady books in the past, see if the students can recall what she swallowed in that story.

4. Compare and Contrast!! Use a venn diagram to compare and contrast There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell and There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow. If the students are young, use pictures instead of words. I will be doing this after the break!

Any other ideas... please share!!


Meet the Elves of Gulfport Elementary!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I was feeling a little like the Grinch this year without any Christmas decorations up and all around the speech room. I came up with an idea of creating the Elves of Gulfport as a fun and colorful activity for my students.
Our Gulfport Elves bulletin board

 To make the Elves, I cut out a circle for the face, a square for the body, a triangle for the hat, a oval for the fuzzy part of the hat, and rectangles for the arms and legs. This originally was going to be an activity for my preK and kindergarten students to help them learn colors and shapes. Then I got a little more creative and figured these Elves needef some personality!! I made a half sheet of paper with fill in the blank information about the elves. The paper says:

Hi! I am an elf!
My name is ___________.
I am ______ years old.
My favorite food is _____.
My favorite book is _____.
I like to ______.

Some of my students got super creative!! Check out some of our **Celebrity Elves!**

The Hulk Elf

Nicki Minaj Elf

Even with Christmas and the holidays coming up, I wanted to do activities that are still academically relevant. This activity can target making predictions, categorization, shapes, colors, requesting ("I want a green square please"), articulation (have them read aloud their answers to share), and social language.


It's a..... CELEBRATION!

Sunday, December 11, 2011
WARNING: This post is going to be completely un-speech related! But I just had to share anyways! This weekend was so special for our family. Kevin and I found out last Tuesday the gender of our little jellybean! So, Saturday (after 4 long days of secrecy!) we threw a revealing party for our family and friends to share the news. We filled a box with balloons to release at the party (Pinterest inspired, of course!). If pink balloons were released, it was a girl, blue balloons meant it was a boy. Here are some highlights from the big day!

Grandpa Karl taking "pink or blue" bets!

My sister, Katie, on iChat from NY joining in!

Bringing the box outside for the big reveal... what's inside? Pink or Blue?

Family and friends awaiting the news! All holding their pink or blue spoons!

Grandpa Cummings with his blue spoon!

It's a.....


Pink balloons!

Hugs from MeMe!

Hugs from Grandma!

It was such a special and exciting way to share the big news with our family! So of course, today we started shopping for adorable pink outfits! Baby girl clothes are just too stinkin' cute!! I hope you had a wonderful weekend... stay tuned this week to see our Elves of Gulfport! 


Got Fluff?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I have quite a few kids this year that are struggling with the L sound... especially getting their tongue to move up for production! I have heard about using peanut butter as a tactile stimulation technique, but since our school is "Nut Free" that idea went out the window! I was talking with a coworker and we decided Marshmallow Fluff would work just the same... boy did it!!

The kids had a great time with this. Now I get requests for "more marshmallows!" at every therapy session! To get my students to correctly produce the L sound, I took a tongue depressor and put some Fluff up behind their top teeth at their alveolar ridge. They were instructed to keep their mouth open and use their tongue to lick off the Fluff! The really fun part came next.... I gave them Marshmallow Mustaches they had to lick off! It was a great oral motor exercise! I would recommend this idea to anyone struggling with oral motor or sound production difficulties! Check out some pictures of us hard at work! :)

Marshmallow Mustaches!!

Using our tongue to get that mustache off!


Short Term Memory

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Short term memory difficulties can have a major impact on your daily life. Students that struggle with short term memory skills struggle in school as well. I have a few students this year that truly struggle with this. I was looking up some drills and activities to do with these students and thought I would share some ideas!

1. Journey Game: take the students on a little trip around the school. Make stops at the cafe, library, nurses's office, etc. Make a point of saying, "our first stop is ___," our second stop is ___" etc. After you have completed your journey, have the students retrace the steps. Depending on the age of the student and severity, maybe just start with 2-3 locations.

2. Packing Game- this is often referred to as the picnic game. Have your students take turns adding something to the suitcase. Students have to remember what was packed before their item and add one to the suitcase. Using an actual suitcase (or box) with items can be really helpful for those visual learners.
"I'm going on a trip and I am bringing my swim suit."
"I am going on a trip and I am bringing my swimsuit and my dress."
"I am going on a trip and I am bringing my swimsuit, my dress, and my camera."

3. Use colored blocks and arrange them in an order. Let the student look at the blocks for a time period (minute, 30 seconds) then take them away. Have the student rebuild your block arrangement.

4. Draw a shape, letter, object in the sand. Let the student look at the drawing for a period of time before you earase the drawing in the sand. Let them draw what you drew.

5. Read a grocery list (or list of anything!) to the students. Have them repeat back what was on your list. This is good for auditory memory.

6. Good ole concentration! I play concentration with my kids all the time. If you are unfamiliar with concentration, lay out cards that have a match face down on a table. Have the students take turns flipping over 2 at a time. If it is a match,  they keep the cards, if not they put the cards back where they were. The students have to remember where the cards were to get more matches.

I hope you find this helpful... any other ideas are welcomed!

PS- today is a very exciting day.... we find out if our little one is a boy or a girl!!
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