May is busy and I have not done a lot for Better Hearing and Speech Month this year. In the past I have had poster contests, had parents & teachers in to observe sessions, posted facts about communication in the hallways, did presentations in classrooms on hearing and voice, etc. and even had students present facts during the school’s morning announcements. Now before you think wow Meester is really a super fantastic out of this world SLP I did these things over the 35+ years and not all at one time. I have gotten much more low-key due to the demands of the end of the school year.
This year after taking down my lament to Mother Nature I decided to put up the BHSM poster from the ASHA Leader. Looking around my speech room I realized I could just move my posters that Erik Raj had created. Thanks Erik! My students always like to see themselves on my door so I did a quick adaptation from BHSMStudentFactSheet. I used the Popplet app to create the student’s quotes- Popplet Lite (free) or Popplet (4.99).
Here is the result:
This is another fun poster on my door that I found somewhere…. sorry I can’t give credit to who it belongs to.
The quote I loved the most was this one: Remember my post about Losing your Marbles….
Now add your own twist!
I only fundraise for one organization. I donate to many, buy from kids selling for school and of course Girl Scout cookies. But I only request donations for one… Helping Paws.
I trained a service dog, Gabby. She was with me for almost 3 years before she was matched with Angie. Gabby was trained to help Angie open doors, retrieve dropped items, turn on/off lights, carry items, tug off socks and more. The best was training her to snuggle by resting her chin on my shoulder. Gabby was a gentle soul who helped Angie become more independent.
I brought Gabby everywhere I went while I was training her. I even brought her to school. She was like a therapy dog for staff and students. On days I didn’t bring her the kids were disappointed. Gabby even helped my students improve on their speech goals. When it was time for her to graduate the kids made her a special blanket to take with her.
It was a wonderful experience. It was bittersweet to see Gabby leave. Yet knowing she was ready to do the job she was trained to do was heart healing. Gabby and Angie bonded and became a team. When I visited Angie, Gabby was excited to see me and I got my snuggle fill. Gabby worked with Angie for 8 years before she started having her own health issues. Gabby has since crossed the rainbow bridge and left us missing her.
I am sharing this in the hopes you have enjoyed my blog and the free ideas and materials. If you are able I would appreciate a donation to Helping Paws.
My fundraising link: Cindy Meester’ Fundraising Page for Helping Paws
If you would like more information about this organization follow this link: Helping Paws
I will be at the Wag Walk and Run volunteering and helping to run the dog contests. What a sweet sweet job. Wag Walk & Run Event
This time of the school year can be busy, rushed and feels like you are losing your marbles. We need to try and keep our resting faces like the yes faces below and not so much the not face. I’m trying to measure the end of the year in giggles and not how many IEPs or reports I need to complete.
Say yes to this…. and not this….
So here are few things that have gone on in my twisted speech room that have made me smile.
- Me: Do you have a dog? Student: No but I have a sister.
We were working on the story “If You Give a Dog a Donut” and working on comprehension, predicting, vocabulary etc. The kindergarten was having some difficulties and finally stated “Please no more sample questions!”
- Student: You look beautiful. – Last week he told me to “Get out of my face.”
- Me (Meester): Are you thinking about the group? Student: My face is in Meester channel (and then he drew an “M” with his finger on the front of his shirt)
- Me: You like spaghetti but not lasagna? Student: Yep I just have one taste bud.
- Me: What book did you check out? Student: Ponies- My Dad’s gonna have a baby and it’s a pony!
- Student: I’m teaching my baby how to be an adult. Me: Wow! What do you need teach them? Student: How to watch TV.
- Student: Wow Meester you really know your stuff.
- Me: (working on emotions/feelings using pictures) How is he feeling? Student: Medium
- We had been working on the days of the week. I realized it was too difficult for the student so we focused on what today was (MONDAY). We sang it and we clapped it and we watched videos and we chanted “today is Monday” and more for at least 15 minutes. At the end of the session: Me: Today is…. Student: Saturday Me: I wish it was too…
Now a marble activity that will surely bring a few more giggles your way!
I had saved a marble activity from News-2-You several years ago. It was a great activity to work on concepts, turn taking, problem solving plus have fun! We did a lot with social skills, fine motor, motor planning, following directions (verbal and visual), and more. I’m an SLP who often rolls (get it!) with what the kids do or say in our sessions so there are often twists to our sessions.
I used this activity with almost all of my students. As an SLP we know how to adapt and modify to fit the needs of our caseload. My articulation groups were more independent and I could monitor carryover of their sounds. My students in our autism room needed more prompts and guiding to work on this activity but they could do it!
We had a few issues knowing what was inside the circle and outside of the circle.
We followed directions on how to set up the marbles.
We shared a few giggles and lots of fun.
We kept the marbles that were hit out of the circle on the white board shelf. A good lesson learned why we don’t keep them on the floor when you are moving around the circle! Don’t worry there was no blood or broken bones.
We used the cards to put the directions in order and the visuals helped us set up the game too. Here is a copy for you to use: Marble Game Pictures
I guess there are “real rules” for playing marbles but we did not really follow them. One of my students had actually been in a marble tournament so we were able to compare how we played vs. what he did in his tournament. IF the word cheating came up we then talked about what we should allow or not. Throwing was not allowed an all the kids were able to flick the marble in their own way.
Some apps with marbles: There are plenty but playing with a bag of marbles from the dollar store and a masking taped circle was a lot more fun!
So take these ideas and add your own twist! Just don’t lose your marbles!
It is May 1st. It is May day. If our kids want to put treats on someone’s door step they will need to put on their winter boots and coats. It’s May 1st and it is snowing … again here in balmy Minnesota (insert fake smile with chattering teeth.) Plus we are having indoor recess!!!! So that is why I decorated my speech room door like this today….
I am having my students send text messages to Mother Nature today. You never know it could help!
Here’s how it works:
1. New messsage TO: Mother Nature
2. We discuss what/who is Mother Nature. Each child decides what message they want to send and I type it in.
3. Press send and hope for the best!
Here are a few samples:
So far Mother Nature has not sent a text back. May…be she is busy.
Now go put your own twist on this!
I knew I should do something “springy” in my speech room. I just didn’t want to go all flowers and birds. So I decided to use an app called Bobbleshop. Here’s the almost completed result: (I don’t know if I can get my whole caseload on one side of my door but I’m going to bobble as many as I can!)
The Bobbleshop app was free when I found it. They have other versions you can check-out too.My students are in grades K-3rd and we had a lot of fun with this activity. I could see with older students taking more time and fine tuning the faces to really look like themselves. Or how about taking an actor, cartoon character, etc. and creating them … then posting them and have others guess who.
My therapy goals: (yea I really did have some)
1. following directions
2. turn taking
3. choosing parts and deciding if they were making them look the same or different from their real self
4. understanding vocabulary and concepts- bobble head, giggle, larger, smaller, darker, lighter
5. emotions- eyebrows, eyes and mouth can make different expressions
6. joint attention- it was fun to see the kids help each other and giggle together
7. humor- is it silly or not silly, one of my students just didn’t understand why others were laughing and why it was funny so that was a whole lesson (to be expanded upon)
8. I am going to print off smaller versions and use these as characters in stories, game pieces and whatever else pops into my twisted brain. I’m thinking Mad Lib like on the whiteboard. I also have items from Think-a-lot that I use to create stories and including these cute characters will add a new twist.
So take this idea and add your own twist!
Looking through my March folder I found something I had made a long time ago. It was a simple activity that I used with one of our site based autism programs. The poem was written by me and I’m still not totally happy with the last line but couldn’t think of anything better.
This was the original: It was made with a shamrock shape, heart for the tongue, small dog tree, google eyes and a dot for a nose.
This is the one we made this year. I used a rubber bone eraser instead of a real dog bone this time. I had purchased many packs of these when they were on clearance in the dollar section at Target . I do have other plans for them… yet to be created though! This is a copy of the shamrock dog poem. This time we added a gold coin to our picture.
We used a leprechaun and followed directions for concepts. Put the coin on, under, next to, over, behind, etc. The lucky leprechaun was also taped to the white board to do this same activity.
We used puzzles to work on turn taking, following directions, concepts: corner, top, bottom and more. We also hid the pieces in the room and gave directions to find them! I traced the shapes and added velcro. The sticker at the top of each sheet indicates the top of the puzzle. You can find these at Billy Bear 4 Kids.
In the groups co-lead by our OT and myself we turned our kids in leprechauns. They worked on a lot of fine motor and language skills making these! These were made with a paper plate and the kids colored the edge. They cut slits around the orange to make it look more like a beard. The adults cut out the middle when the finished coloring. The hat was a folded rectangle with a white line to cut on.
They were given a strip of green paper and told to cut it into pieces and glue them on to their hats. The added a shamrock sticker to finish the project. The adults stapled the hat to the beard and magical turned them all into leprechauns! We tried to get them to do a jig but no luck!
We had fun with St. Patrick Day materials from Home Sweet Speech Room, Live Love Speech, The Speech Bubble and Let’s Talk SLP. All the items were from their Teachers Pay Teachers sites. Thanks! I had more from other sites but as they say “my eyes were bigger than my plate” and we couldn’t get to all of them.
Just a wee bit of fun this week. Hope you did too!
I plan on working on weather vocabulary with students this last week in February. It can lead to learning new vocabulary but also:
- figurative language- In Like a Lamb Out Like a Lion, under the weather, feeling blue, on cloud 9, raining cats and dogs, head in the clouds, in a fog, etc.
- comparing/ contrasting
- sequencing – 1st clouds then raindrops/snow etc.
- making predictions
- revisiting the Groundhog prediction
First we made a large circle map about the weather. I used the Custom Boards app to create the describing pictures. Each group thought of words that were related to weather and we came up with a few to add to our circle map.
We made some bubble maps to describe a lion and a lamb.
We made double bubble maps to compare and contrast.
We are in the process of making weather predictions for Friday March 1st. Will it be like a lion or a lamb? We are using this chart and making tally marks. This is the chart we used: I predict March will come in like a
I am also having the students use the weather words and place them under the Lion or Lamb from the I predict page. It makes for some interesting discussion. Does hot go under lion or lamb? It’s often all about perspective taking.
Here are the weather words we used. weather pictures
Weather idiom sites:
More materials for this theme:
Here’s hoping you are not under the weather and you are feeling right as rain!
I use a 3:1 model at school. This means I work with students three weeks and the fourth week is my indirect week. I use this in many ways- consult with teachers, observe students in classes, testing, due process paper work and I do still continue to work with some students. My favorite part of this week is doing lessons within the special education site based classrooms. This week I tried a fun activity orginally posted on Aunt Peaches.
I follow her on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. I enjoy her humor, whimsy and crazy style. She recently posted a project for making yarn hearts. So I decided it would be a fun messy project to bring into a classroom of students with sensory issues.
The directions for the project can be found here: Yarn Hearts. I used the pictures from this site as a visual map for my students. My interpretation is shown below.
Gather your supplies: (check out your school supply room and use what’s there)
I only bought the Mod Podge. ( I knew I had some in our basement but I wasn’t digging through all those moving boxes!) The rest came from my house or the supply room at school. I got the gloves (for myself to wear) from the wonderful kitchen staff at my school. I knew I was going to be the one removing the excess goo from the yarn.
I taped the hearts on to cardboard before going into the classrooms.
The kids helped me measure the Mod Podge by counting how many times I filled and dumped (3) and one for water. They took turns stirring the mixture and we worked on remembering to hold the spoon as we passed it to our neighbor. If they forgot… whoops wet spoon and that was a real life cause/effect lesson. What can we do now? (ask for help) What do you need? (paper towel)
I used string and yarn and cut it in who knows how long of lengths. I had the kids chose their own yarn or string by requesting the color and if they wanted the thin (string) or think/fat (yarn). After each had a chance to put on one length I had them pick a second color and add that too. Now the interesting twist every one of students touched and manipulated the goo covered yarn/string. This was a big step since these sweethearts with autism.
Lots of fun vocabulary with this lesson: Valentine, squiggle, goo, mushy, squishy, thin, fat, long, wet, dry, inside, next, first, squash it (pushing the string down)…..
How lucky am I to find a roll of sequins in the supply room! Some kids even chose to add it to their creation. I mean who doesn’t like a little sparkle! We also used these to hang our creations.
I created these back in my room (without gloves) to use up the extra goo. I even smushed some into the heart ice-cube try to see how it would work (these took longer to dry). Note to self: Next time wash your hands before you start conversing with your co-worker. I had lovely shiny plastic looking hands and it took a while to wash it off. And by the way the hearts the kids made look flashy hanging from the ceilings in their classrooms!
The hearts from the ice-cube tray found a home in the trees and in a baby monkey’s lap. Ahh..kind looks like a pink diaper! The monkeys are from Walgreens after Chritmas clearance this year. I’m sure they will be doing more than just hanging out in the trees in my therapy sessions! And yes that is a blue glitter lamp!
My door theme is about keeping it simple but fun:
I taped up hearts and found some Valentine jokes. I found mine here but a google search will give you lots of options. The question is on the front and when you flip-up the heart to see the answer. Oh yes now you see the connection with the blog title!
I used this app to create all the borders and picture effects: Photo Captions from Sprite Labs.
Now get out there and add your own twists!
Cindy (who wishes she had chosen a snazzy name like Aunt Peaches)
Here in MN we are used to snow and cold but it can make us cranky if we are in subzero temps with subzero windchill. So with a few inside recess days I knew it was time to crank up the fun in my speech room.
I found this last week at Target on clearance for under 7.00 dollars. It comes with only one character so of course I will be adding lots of fun twists. The first group to try this all wanted to be first so we put names on slips of paper and put them inside. I used the claw to pick names. The name slips were lined up on the white board marker tray. Then we loaded items into the toy claw and we had to decide if each item was too big, too small or the “just right” size. After each turn the student placed their item on the marker tray in front of their name. Then I gave clues describing an item and they guessed and were able to play with the item. Of course we worked on sharing…I would say “Freeze Pass” and they passed their item to the person next to them until they had a chance to play with all items.
I will be adding cards into the toy claw from my materials to “crank” out too. What a fun twist on drill and practice of speech sounds, vocabulary, following directions and more!
Out came the zappers and articulation cards with another group. I gave clues and the first person to zap the card got to add it o their pile but only if they could say it correctly in a sentence. I kept adding cards to fill in the zapped cards. I used zappers from the Great Face Race game. They have suction cups which grip the cards. You could make your own using rulers or paint sticks and add small suction cups with duct tape. Or if you like power tools then drill a hole and push the end through and secure with duct tape. It would be a fun twist to wind the duct tape around the sticks to decorate them.
I will close this post with our twist on Groundhog Day Thinking Maps creations using the Custom Boards app app.
Here are a few quick clips from my twisted speech sessions. I hope you can find something you can try too!
1. Snowflakes – I bought several packs of foam snowflakes in the dollar section at Target. Lucky me they were on clearance for .30 cents per pack. I pulled them out on one of our lovely below zero days. My articulation students thought of winter words that contained their sounds. It was their idea to decorate them with their speech sound!
2. My first graders read some winter books about snow and snowballs. Our entire school uses Thinking Maps so we created bubble maps and then decorated our snowflakes. I have used this app to create Thinking Maps- Popplet This session also led to an unplanned lesson on evaporation. So we put a little snow in a cup and when the kids returned the next week they asked to check the cup. Well twisted me I threw it in their faces! But guess what…the snow had melted and evaporated! All that remained was our green marker line to show how high the snow had been in the cup.
3. I sent my students on a scavenger hunt. We used my iPod Touch to take pictures. Some groups looked for things that had their speech sounds. Some looked for items that targeted their language goals- finding items in categories (animals, soft things, round items, etc.). We talked about expected and unexpected behaviors before we left on our adventures. Expected- walk in halls, quiet voices, etc. Unexpected- walking into classrooms, yelling to get the camera, etc. We used the pictures to practice target sounds in words and sentences. We gave clues and had others guess. We thought of other items that would fit into the categories.
5. Snowman baskets- I bought several ok a lot of these felt snowman baskets. I found these too on clearance in the Target dollar section for .30 cents each. Here is one way I used these in therapy. I set out 3 baskets and we worked on throwing styrofoam snowballs into them. Concepts used: 1st, 2nd, 3rd; front, middle, back; right, left, center; near, nearest, furthest/farthest; few, many; my turn, your turn; most, least, some, none
6. We made it snow inside the school! It snowed on us, under tables, over our heads, and anywhere we pointed the iPad! We even caught some on our tongues. You too can make it snow with this app: Virtual Snow
Snow that’s what we’ve been shoveling out. How about you?