Cindy L. Meester's Blog- Speech Therapy with a Twist

“Sticking” to pumpkins …

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on October 24, 2013
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We have many cultures represented in my school population. Many of my students do not celebrate Halloween so I tend to be low key around this holiday. But it is still fun to get some crafting in. This is one I am doing this week. You can find the “real” directions at this site: Popsicle Stick Craft

I gathered all the materials from the school supply room except for the googly eyes.  Here is what I used:

1. Green, purple, orange and black markers

2. White tempera paint and a brush

3. popsicle or craft sticks – we had the small/skinny ones but the tongue depressor size would work too

4. glue

5. table covering – I used craft paper from the supply room that someone had already torn off and left.

Mistake #1 – I first grabbed permanent markers. Just say we had a lot of interesting colored fingers. So I switched them out for the regular washable markers which worked just fine.

Mistake #2 – don’t try to glue the supports on the back while the paint is drying- I’m a little impatient but I’m working on it. At least white tempera paint washes off ok.

Mistake #3- (all good things come in threes right?) don’t try to write the student name on the back right after it has been painted. I found if I wrote their name on one stick it worked better.

The first group helped to cover my table. Here come the therapy twists:

  • Me: What is this ?  Where are we putting it? Why do you think we are covering the table?   As you know the answers were very very interesting!  (The paper also worked for students to practice drawing their face before they drew it on their creations.)
  • Me: (for the first group) You will get to be my guinea pigs!  We had to look up what a guinea pig was (they did not know). I tried to explain what the saying meant. Sometimes my humor is lost on first graders.
  • I showed them this  picture that I copied from the original site: craft stick art  We talked about what we saw, what they were made from, etc. then they chose which one they wanted to make.
  • We counted how many sticks were used in the pictures and decided if we wanted the same, more or less.
  • We talked about the materials they needed and how to use them.
  • We talked about what was easier to color: sticks separated/apart or together

marker painting

  • When they had finished coloring we talked about what came next (gluing sticks on the back).
  • We talked about turning all our sticks over.
  • I glued the sticks with “guidance and instructions” from the students.  We talked about using a whole stick and broken/half sticks.
  • We talked about the reason we needed to glue sticks on the back (why) and what would happen if we didn’t.


  • Then we washed our hands…. another lesson with lots of language.
  • The next session they were able to complete their project by drawing the face and glueing googly eyes (I only used these for the monster/Frankenstein/zombie)
  • During the project we had some fun discussions and not always related to what we were creating. And that’s real life!

I have many more t creations to add to our “Patch” but here is the start….


Now go add your own twists!


Cloudy with a Chance of fun…

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on October 15, 2013
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I started a unit based on a News 2 You edition about the new movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.  We looked at the book that the first movie was based on. I mainly skimmed the pages and summarized about an island where it rained food and what happened when the food grew. It led to watching the video trailers for both movies which led to worksheets I found here: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatball sheets.

You can see the sheets on my window wall:


We created game boards together. You can start anywhere on the game and the object was to get all the way around. Each group has different goals so some were working on using the word in a sentence or providing a description or a category, etc. We rolled a die to see how many spaces to move for each turn. I used magnetic chips and each student had a different color to place on each space.

photo 5 photo 4  photo 3photo 2 photo 1

I found these cute lunch bags from the Target Dollar Spot. I used them for following directions (color the mouth red etc.) I also cut out the mouth of a couple so we could use it for categories (food and not food etc.) synonyms and antonyms and more. They were nick named our Food Monsters.

bags bag

But the most fun was creating our food wall about the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs book and movie.  The students chose the food and their body postitions.


Since I quickly ran out of room for all my students we then created the second movie on my wall.


We drew sequence stories.

photo 1

We had an APPitite for these:

More Toast, Sandwich Maker, Cookie Maker, Cloudy, Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs, Let’s Eat!, Grillmeister  and others for pizza, pie, donuts, potato head, icee, and more.

We popped words, colors and other goal areas with ice cream cone shooters.

ice cream

And of course we played lots of food games: Picnic Panic, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, Shake Shake Shake, Alfredo’s Food Fight, Ice Cream Scoops of fun and more.


We had a food frenzy without gaining a pound all the while targeting each students dietary needs- oops I mean IEP goals.

Now go add your own twist!


You’re Unbelievable

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on October 4, 2013
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A quick idea coming your way…

I received a Mother’s day card from my oldest son. It was huge and he felt the bigger the card the better the son… ha ha. It was also a musical card. I saved it and knew I would use it at school one day. The day has arrived.  The card plays some of the lyrics from the song You’re Unbelievable by EMF. Luckily it only plays the words You’re Unbelievable and not the rest of the lyrics.

The  card started out looking like this…

card 4 card

This is where I initally had the card in my room.


This is what  happens when you get an idea…..

card 3  card g

But then it changes to this….

otto 2 otto

I bought two of these ottomans at Target on clearance for 5.98 each.

I taped the front of the card and the music guts under the seat. Now when I am sitting on it I can reach under the seat, push and the music plays.  So when one of my students does something wonderfully fantastic I can just push and play…You’re Unbelievalbe. Voila!

Now go add your own twist and leave a comment on what you did!


A Goal Mind!!!

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on September 30, 2013
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So September is here and almost gone. I have started my scheduled, tweaked it and swallowed a few aspirin but generally it is working out. I just wish I had more time to work with my 41 boys and 9 girls.  As some of you may remember I work with  K-3rd grades with a very diverse population (98%). So many of the students are coming to school with limited English, limited vocabulary base etc. but they all come with big smiles, energy and an eagerness to learn.  The wonderment has not vanished from their eyes and I hope to keep the spark there. And that’s why I come back each day.

This month we learned about each other and fought off pirates. Who knows what next month will bring?!!


You can find the All About Me sheet here.

pirate w  p boat

Check out an earlier post on pirates here.

Now to the Goal Mind!


At my school the teachers  work on Hopes and Dreams with their students. Our principal also had staff think about our own Hopes and Dreams for the year. I decided I wanted to work on helping students understand the reasons they come to speech. All staff had to create an apple with their own Hopes and Dreams- these will be placed on a tree in the school hallway.

Mine looked like this: I used the site Tagxedo to create the apple with goal words and used the Skitch app to add my hope and dream statement.

apple 2

So now that I have my Hopes and Dreams I needed to do something about it.  I knew most of my students needed pictures or visuals rather than words. I used Custom Boards.  I created these with the students so they could help decide on the symbols.  I printed these and put them in clear sheet protectors and use as “place mats” for each student to use in their sessions.

Here are some examples:

I only have 3 articulation only students-  this is what we decided to use for goals. I kept it simple. I want them to know their target sounds. We will talk about levels in therapy sessions ( words, sentences, etc.).


These are examples of what we used for some of our language and social goals.

image image

My hope and dream for you is a schedule that works and allows time to dream up some fun ideas to share.

Now go put your own twist on these ideas!


Why is that SLP smiling???

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on September 5, 2013
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A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a carrying sharing person inside. ~ Denis Waitley


I have a new room this year and it has a WINDOW! In the 36 years as an SLP I have worked in many different spaces, hallways, cubby holes, etc. But of all these spaces only 3 times have I ever had a window and the last time was about 20 years ago. This year I have a glorious window that looks out onto the courtyard in the middle of our school.  Yes that is a big reason to smile.


Here is a walk through my new space. Please come on in!image

The left wall and my table. My room is in our Media Center.


The back wall – with a WINDOW!

image  image image

The right wall-


Back to the entrance and my desk-

image image


The back of my door-


AND  I have more storage right outside of my door. The cabinets even create a cozy hallway right that I could use as another therapy space.

image  image


AND I have even more storage a few steps away! I store my theme units, art supplies and other items that I use less often. This is how they looked before I rearranged everything.


So the next adventure is scheduling but I will be doing it with a smile as I sit by my window.

Stay tuned for some twists on how I plan to items on my walls and a fun way I’m going to cover the windows by my desk.


iPad case winner is……

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on August 9, 2013
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The names were put into a box and my visiting helper picked one out.



But I guess it’s not a good idea to have a 107 pound 7 month old drooling Mastiff puppy help….. no matter how much they beg! (note the paper sticking out of Robert’s mouth)

So I asked my own trusty live in helper.


But as you can see Miki was busy. I couldn’t get a lick of help today!

So I had to draw the name myself and the winner is TEACH SPEECH 365!  Congratulations! You can check out her blog  Here!

Email me your address and I will send it on it’s way. I promise the dogs will not lick the stamps!


Pint-Sized Victories (plus a giveaway)

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on August 1, 2013
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When my three boys were growing up we went through many gallon buckets of ice cream. I enjoyed all the flavors they picked but looked longingly at the small colorful pint-sized containers with all the yummy sounding names. Now that the boys are grown and out of the house the gallon pails of ice cream have vanished from my freezer. I replaced them with the boxed half gallons but still lusted for the small colorful containers.  One day just this summer I finally realized I am worth it. I can afford it and I do not need to feel guilty about pricing out the cost per spoonful of ice cream!  So into my cart into my freezer and onto my spoon went several wonderful small colorful containers of pint-sized ice cream!  I feel worthy and guilt free and content.


Don’t you just love the one named Chocolate Therapy. It was meant to be mine!

So here is the therapy twist

How many times as SLPs have I felt guilty that I was not making gallon sized progress? Well stop it right now! We need to remember those pint-sized steps that occur when a child turns to their name for one of the first times even though we were working on two word phrases. We need to remember when a child looked up at us and showed they were enjoying an activity WITH us and not that we were trying to get a correct B in the final position of words.  These are the pint-sized victories we need to celebrate.

I often think of  how much really happens when working with a child in therapy.

  • Someone looking in may see a child practicing words and getting sounds correct or not.  As an SLP I see that the child has sat for 5 minutes and worked without being distracted.
  • Someone looking in may see a child whining and pulling on a toy.  As an SLP I see a child who is starting to show protesting and is moving into ways on how to make requests.
  • Someone looking in may see silence.  As an SLP I see a child learning to do something independently or learning how to ask for help.
  • Someone looking in may see me searching and saying where is that ___? They may be thinking boy she is unorganized. As an SLP I see a child learning problem solving skills.
  • Someone looking in may see coloring or throwing balls. As an SLP I see ways to get a reluctant learner to engage.

These pint-sized gains are important and we need to remember to give our selves credit. Remember it takes 8 pints to fill 1 gallon.

Now put your own pint-sized twist on this!  Leave a comment about your own pint-sized victories and you will be entered into the drawing for a iPad case (see below)



I have a pink CEO Hybrid case from Marware for an iPad for 3rd or 4th generation. I won one but they sent me two. So I would like to celebrate you by giving it away.   I will draw a winner on Friday 8/9/13 at noon (CST). I will reach you via e-mail to get your mailing address.


Summer lovin’

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on July 16, 2013
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I am so lovin’ my summer!

I have enough of a schedule working at the speech clinic twice a week from 4ish to 8ish to keep my brain active (and income).  Plus enough time to play and work on the house we moved into 8 months ago. Yes I did get those basement boxes unpacked and “treasures” put up. But Mondays are all about Brooke.

Brooke is my 7-year-old granddaughter and I get her from Sunday nights and all day on Mondays. Having grown up with only boys (2 brothers and 3 sons) it is really fun to have a girl around. This is what we did recently. We were talking about what we wanted to do and realized many ideas started with the same letter. So we decided we could only do activities that fit the pattern.

So here is what we did on our F-ing day.

F-irst we visited  F-amilymy mom

F-ueled the car

F- awn-doe-rosa visit and F-ed the animals

F-ireworks F-orever to get ready F-or the F-ourth

F-ood (lunch) at the Bison F-arm

F-un shopping F-or a F-riend’s baby gift

F-inally home and ate different F-lavors of ice cream

We had fun thinking of ways to make ‘F’ F-it into our day. I think we will try this again.  I wonder what letter we will tackle next?  What sounds will you try in your days?


Now how about a therapy twist or some parent summer activities:

1. Take the sound a kiddo is working on in speech and do activities that fit-  Working on /s/- tell stories, speak in whispers, sneak around on your tiptoes while finding /s/ words or cards or do a scavenger hunt for /s/

2. Create a pretend meal using drawings, or pictures cut from grocery ads but all the food must contain a target letter/sound in it’s name and glue all of these on a paper plate to share. Ex: gummy bears, graham crackers, doggie treats, grapes, arugula

3.  Work on phonemic awareness or letter  identification: Choose a letter sound and put out objects or pictures- Then ask which one begins with ___.  For phonemic awareness say the sound the letter makes such as “TTT”  if a toad in one of your objects. For letter identification say the letter that the object starts with such as “T”  if a toad is one of your objects.  Be careful with some sounds like /G/ as it can make two different sounds as heard in /go/ and /giraffe/.

4. Use an app like Doodle Buddy (free), Interactive Whiteboard (free) or Showme  (free) to create a scene with a target letter or sound. Brooke and I used  ShowMe to recreate our day. She drew pictures and narrated the story so she could show her mom and dad.

5. Use a print out of a newspaper comic strip, short story, poem, etc. and grab your highlighter then ready set go and highlight all target sounds or letters. How many did you find? How many did you miss? How many can you say?

6. Take the first letter of your name or the sound a kiddo is working on and make an outline of it on a sheet of paper or card stock. Then paste as many pictures as you can find that start with that letter/sound.

So now go put your own twist on these ideas!


PS- I’d love to hear what you did so please leave a comment.

Open the door for BHSM

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on May 17, 2013
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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.

super power

The quote I loved the most was this one: Remember my post about Losing your Marbles….


Now add your own twist!


PS- I am still hoping to meet my fundraising goal. Here is the post about Helping Paws or a direct link to my Fundraising Page.

A favor for a great cause

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on May 13, 2013
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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

hp 1   help   helpi

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

Thank you!


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