Classroom Management... This is how we do it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012
First of all, thank you to everyone who posted, emailed, or facebooked me with suggestions about preparing for a substitute. I wanted to share how I handle/ reward for good speech room behavior. The past few years I have tried differet methods. This is the simplest and best method I have found.

I use a laminated piece of poster board that is within arms reach of my therapy table. I actually got the poster board with the lines from a teacher that was going to throw it away. (One man's trash is another man's treasure, right?) I wrote out all my student's names on paper and change them out as new groups come in. It is actually a great way for PreK and kindergarten kids to recognize their names. You can talk about the first letter of each name, how many letters, if their name is on the top, middle, or bottom, etc. Since the poster board is laminated, I use Vis-a-Vis markers to draw smiley faces by their name when they are caught being good. For my older kids, they get a smiley face for bringing back their homework, too.

The smiley faces on the chart correlate with a sticker chart I use. The number of smileys they receive that day is how many stickers they earn on their chart. After a certain amout of stickers, they earn Treasure Box! This method has been really easy for me to use and be consistent with. Plus, it's a visual way for kids to see how they are performing.

Here is a link to my super simple sticker chart. Please share your ideas and what works for you!

Help! I need somebody...not just anybody! :)

Monday, January 23, 2012
That song jumped in my head as I was thinking about writing this post! With our baby girl on the way, I go on maternity leave in 11 weeks. I am thrilled about the fact that I get to spend 4 whole months at home with my baby before the next school year begins. With that being said.... how in the world do I prepare for a substitute to take over my other "children"? Being a school based SLP, I have not had to make sub plans or anything like that before. I don't feel like I am handing over a caseload, I feel as if I am handing over a delicate package containing incredibly precious cargo. Each child has special needs and certain "do's and don'ts" that can severely affect a session.  (Don't ever touch Ashley's head, if you want David to participate, you have to sing a song first, etc). I'm sure that the substitute chosen to take my place will be fabulous... all of us SLP's are :) But it still makes me nervous. If anyone has had to do this, and has advice... please leave me a comment.

On a brighter note... I have reached over 40 followers!! Thank you so much for everyone who reads my blog. Have a wonderful night... yay we made it through Monday! :)

Here's The Story, of a Man Named Braidy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012
This Summer I took a training on a wonderful program called Story Grammar Marker, or SGM. SGM is a program that helps children with comprehension, retelling, and expressive language. I am using SGM for my inquiry project this year. I want to know how using this program will help my language impaired students (with a focus on first graders).

Meet Braidy (named appropriately because he is a giant braid!) The big green puff ball at the top represents the characters, the star represents the setting, the shoe represents the "kick off" or event that starts the story, the heart represents feelings, the beads represent events in the story, and the bow represents the wrap up, or story ending.

I wanted to share what I have done so far with Braidy. The past few weeks, my target group has been working on a story called, The Lion and The Little Red Bird. After we read the story the first day, I had the students take turns retelling the story. I recorded them on my iPad. Oh My! What a mess these retellings were! Out of order events, using "he" instead of character names, leaving out major evens in the story.... you name it! But that was my baseline... so it's all good! :)

Today, we re-read the story and filled out my magnetic Braidy with information on the white board as a group. Here is what we came up with:

After we completed the information as a group, I had the students retell me the story again. I allowed them to use the actual Braidy and the white board as a reference. They did fantastic!! I was so pleased with how much more detail and order they used when retelling the story! I can't wait to use this with each story we read!
If you want more information on the Story Grammar Marker, visit the website at: Story Grammar Marker


Thursday, January 12, 2012
Visuals have become a huge part of my daily therapy life. From behavior charts to schedules and everything in between, visuals help make my student's lives (and my life) easier. I recently made a visual schedule for a preschool student that I wanted to share. The student I created this for is language impaired, has behavior issues, and has trouble with transitions.

The first thing I did was create a board on Boardmaker. Some examples of what I used on this board was circle time, outside play, speech with Mrs. Kristin :), trains (he is obsessed!), snack, nap time, lunch, computers, etc. After the board was printed, I laminated the sheet and a file folder. Then I cut out the pieces into individual squares.

Then I took the foler, closed it up, and stapled it closed on 2 sides to make a pocket. The pocket is where I keep the square pieces when they are not being used. I also attached a strip of velcro to the board for the pieces to stick. Since schedules are always changing, this make it easy to adjust.

Now he has his visual schedule ready to go! Since it is velcroed, you can used as many pictures at a time as necessary. Even just using 2 at a time to show him, "First play with the trains, then clean up." or "First speech with Mrs. Kristin then snack time." helps eliminate the stress during transitions. My hope is that there will be less screaming and crying when I have to take him away from a desired activity! Have a wonderful Friday eve!! :)

Quick and Easy Therapy Games!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Are you looking for some quick and easy to make therapy activities? (Silly question, who isn't?!)  I have some games in my old bag of tricks that I often use. I learned about these while in my internship and I frequently make more! The photos I have below are of games I used from copying shape templates. The Ellison Die Cut Machine at work also works great for cutting out shapes.  I made some copies, colored, laminated, cut, wrote some points on the back and BAM! therapy game completed! I use these games mostly with my artic kids. I have them practice a target 3times, then they choose a piece from the pile. At the end, the kids add up their points or  count how many pieces they acquired during the game. They love these silly games and I get a lot of opportunities for speech productions.
This is my outerspace game! I start with all the pieces colored side up. The kids take turns practicing their speech and choosing a shape. Some have points written on the back and some have messages written on them (extra turn, loose a turn, etc). 

This is my latest game... the Ice Cream game!. Instead of just writing points, extra turn, or lose a turn... I got a little more creative! I added "do the chicken dance," "hop on 1 foot for 10 seconds," "sing your favorite song," and a few other silly tasks.

These games are great for incorporating a theme. When preK was doing their Under the Sea unit, I used fish, jellyfish, and starfish shapes. I put messages on the back like, "Name 3 animals that live in the water," "What do fish eat?" etc).

Have fun with these and enjoy!! And of course... if you have any fun, quick and easy therapy games, please share!!

My New Favorite App!

Sunday, January 8, 2012
Just like many of you, over the last year the iPad has become my new best friend in therapy! One thing that I have found really helpful is the video camera. During the first week of school, I video taped my kiddos telling me about their summer. I now use this footage to see progress made with articualtion. (It's also a good reminder when I feel we haven't made much progress). The video tapes are a great tool to use with parents to show them how much their kids have progressed during IEP meetings. This is also a good tool to use with students that are a little bit older. They can watch themselves and critique their own speech. Many kids don't think they say their sounds wrong. Being able to hear and watch themselves has been helpful for therapy progression.

I am always looking for new articulation apps. My new favorite is Articulation Station! This app was created by Heidi over at Mommy Speech Therapy (a blog I LOVE).  This app is great because it allows you to customize it. It is a free download that comes with targets for the /p/ sound. From there, you can choose what sounds to download for a price (most around $5). This way you aren't paying $50 for an app when you only need /s/, /r/ and /l/ sounds!

Articulation Station comes with singe word targets, sentences, and stories. It also has a concentration game you can play (my kids love this!)
Single word targets

Sentence Level

Story Level

Concentration Game

One last thing I like about this app it it allows you to data track students scores in the app. You can have them emailed to you or store them on the app!  I hope you find this app as fun and useful as I have. If there are any apps you are loving right now... please share! :)

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