Oral Motor!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Earlier I did a post about my speech room. One of the photos in the post was of my oral motor kit. Since then, I have received a few emails regarding the kit and what I use. There has been a long standing debate on whether oral motor truly is beneficial or not. I personally think that it is. How can strengthening the oral muscles not be beneficial for students who have speech difficulties? The kit I have created is pretty basic. Being in the school system, I choose to do oral activities that are not invasive to the student.  Here is a photo of my oral motor basket:

1. The first thing in the basket is a box of grape flavored tongue depressors. I usually only use those when doing an oral motor exam during an evaluation. I also use them to apply the fluff....

2. Marshmallow Fluff! This has been my newest addition to the basket this year. I use the fluff to help the students locate the correct placement of their tongue for speech. For example, if we are working on the /l/ sound, I will put some fluff on the alveolar ridge. The kids also like when we make marshmallow mustaches and they get to lick them off. Great tongue exercises!! (Usually peanut butter is used for this activity. We are a nut-free school, so the fluff was my best back up!)

3. Cotton Balls. You may be thinking, cotton balls?? I use them for cotton ball races, of course! We have cotton ball races where the kids have to blow the cotton balls across the table and to a tape finish line. Sometimes we use straws to blow the cotton balls, too.

4. Bubbles! These are a favorite! I usually let my younger kids blow bubbles for about 5 mins. This is a great motivator for them and a great OM tool.

5. I also use an oral motor CD called, Speechercise that has a ton of exercises for the kids. They seem to prefer the cotton ball races and bubbles to the cd though :)

What do you use?

Tax Day Freebies!

Monday, April 16, 2012
This is my first official day of maternity leave. I cannot believe my little girl will be here in 11 days! As relaxing as this nice little break is, it feels so strange to be away. Every time I look at the clock, I think about what kiddos I would be seeing at that time! With the extra time on my hands, I have had some time to do some extra blog hopping this morning and found out that many places are giving away some great freebies tomorrow in honor of tax day!

Here's the run down on what I have found on TampaBayOnline.com:

1. Panda Express is debuting a new dish – Shanghai Angus Steak. Visit their Facebook page to "Raise The Steaks" and to print a free coupon to try this dish on tax day.

2. Print a coupon for free curly fries from Arby's while supplies last. You can also enter to win $5,000 in "tax relief."

3. Get a free scoop of their new yogurt from Marble Slab Creamery from 4 – 7 p.m. Tuesday. Locally this includes locations in Clearwater and Brandon only.
4.  Diners at P.F. Chang's will see their bill discounted by 15 percent on Tuesday to celebrate tax day. There are some restrictions, such as the deal does not cover alcoholic beverages.
5.  Chili's is offering a free dessert or appetizer with the purchase of an adult entrĂ©e. The offer is good Monday through Wednesday and is available by visiting the restaurant's Facebook page and printing the coupon. You can also follow them on Twitter to get the free appetizer or sweet treat coupon.
6. Office Depot is providing free copy services of tax documents and shredding of up to 5 pounds of confidential papers. The offer is good through Monday. If you're like me and have a bin full of draft IEP's, progress notes and other confidential information needing to be shredded.... this is a score!
7. Sonic Drive-In is extending happy hour to all day on Tuesday. For that day only, all drinks and slushies are half price.
8. Fans of Boston Market can enjoy a free meal with the purchase of a meal and a drink on Tuesday only. Don't forget to print and bring the coupon.
Enjoy... happy Monday!! :)

How Do You Celebrate Student Success?

Monday, April 9, 2012
Celebrating student success and "graduation" from speech has always been a big deal in my classroom. The goal of speech is to get out of the program, not be in speech until you are 35! So many of my students do not want to graduate out of speech. They (thankfully) love coming to speech. Young students don't quite understand the concept of being dismissed. One student thought I was mean because I didn't come play with him anymore. That broke my heart! So I had to get creative and make being dismissed out of speech something they all are looking forward to. I kept my old cap and gown from college and keep it in my room. When the students are dismissed, we have a graduation ceremony for them and a popcorn party! I dress the student up in my cap and gown and take their picture with their speech diploma! All of the photos are displayed on a wall in my room and are used as motivation for my current students.

How do you celebrate success?

Data Sheets!

Monday, April 2, 2012
Happy Monday!! I have turned all 3 data sheets into google documents. See the links below to grab your copy! Google docs would not let me keep my super cute fonts when I uploaded the files, so feel free to make any changes to the documents. If someone knows how to keep the origional format, please share! :)

I also have received a few questions about how I do things in my room:
1. What do you use the composition notebooks for?
I use the notebooks for many different things. One of my goals for this year was to limit the amount of copies that I made. I use the notebooks for kids to complete activities in. We have done anything from listing out target words, making collages with pictures of objects containing a target sound,  vocabulary activities, etc. This is a good little tool for them to take with them at the end of the year and use as practice over the Summer break.

2. When you have groups with multiple grade levels, how do you organize your notebook?
Honestly, I only have two groups with mixed age levels. Both are 3 second graders and 1 first grader. So I just put them in the second grade file. I did have them separate at the beginning of the year and it became a pain. These notebooks are for my reference so with this method I know where to find them.

I am glad everyone found this data posting so helpful! Please share the love about what works for you as far as data collecting!
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