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

Time to Cover Up

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on October 20, 2011

It’s fall and in Minnesota it means chilly weather is starting and colder weather is on the way. So we start to cover up air conditioners, plants, boats, and eventually ourselves. But today my post is about covering your iPads and a way to use a cover up theme in therapy.

I have been lucky. I have either won or had developers send me cases for my iPads. I wrote about iBallz in a previous post. They have recently updated their design and sent me a new one. I use this case on my iPad2 for easy access on and off.

I use Gripcase on my original iPad. This is the one the kids in therapy get to use the most. I like how light the case is and how easy it is to carry. The kids think it’s cool. I received mine as a promo from the developer. I have lots of people interested in this fun foam case. In fact staff in our assistive technology department have ordered some to use on the iPads they use with students. If you are looking for a fun colorful lightweight case this could be the one for you. It has proven to protect my iPad when little hands have dropped it. The cost of 39.99 is also easy on your wallet along with a variety of color choices. I am seriously thinking of ordering one for my iPad 2.

I won another case that I use on my iPad 2. I’m not a fan of its name but it has lots of ways to use it. It is called MountMe. I have used the suction cups and attached it to a cabinet in my speech room. I place my iPad here when I want to be hands free. My students can sit in front and take turns without needing to pass the iPad. I can sit behind or next to them and help direct the session. I can turn it vertical or horizontal quickly. It has an easy way to take it off and leave the main mount on the cabinet. This leaves the iPad in a hard case which can also be removed. I personally have to struggle some to remove the hard case. It is easy to pop into the hard case but harder to remove. There are other ways to use this case but having it on my cabinet has worked the best for my needs. If you check out the website you can view all the ways to use this case. The cost is 49.99 or 54.99 and other accessories are available.

So thinking of covering up got me brainstorming ways to incorporated this “theme” into therapy sessions. Here are a few ideas. I think I’ll call it “The Big Cover Up”…..

1. Bring in different covers, caps and lids from jars, bottles, cartons, etc.
-You can compare sizes, shapes, textures, colors, and place into groups.
-Guess the container the cover it belongs on. You can take a photo or print one off the Internet. You could even glue the answer on one side of the cover.

2. Collect pictures of hats and caps- talk about who wears them (police, chef) or where they wear them (outside, in winter, baseball game) of course this could lead to the classic book Caps For Sale.

3. Make a collage or sculpture using the caps, lids and covers you collected

4. What are items we use as cover ups? jackets, snow pants (well some of us), blankets, beach towels, table cloths, tarps, leaves (how fun to cover up and jump out), lids on pots, dirt in a hole, snow on the ground (well again some of us) or sand on a beach. What else can you brainstorm? Can you think of something for each letter in the alphabet?

5. Here is a bingo game I created using Custom Boards. The game is played by giving clues for each item such as; This is something that falls on the ground (snow). There are four Bingo cards- print one for each player and print one extra to cut apart and use for the calling cards. Bingo 1, Bingo 2, Bingo 3, Bingo 4 (The dog on the card is mine, Miki. She is sporting googlie eyes created with the Googlies app.)

Apps for the Big Cover Up theme-
1. Googlies a fun .99 cent app that lets you put googlie eyes on photos
2. Pirate Ninja– this app lets you turn people into ninjas and pirates for .99 cents
3. Hatch Free As you crack eggs you can make guesses on what is inside for .99 cents
4. Wipe and Learn Erase each picture slowly and guess what is covered up for a cost of .99 cents
5. Swapsies for iPad Swapsies for iPhone+ This app lets you cover up a boy with different outfits- police, firefighter, etc. Another .99 cent app
6. Faces iMake-lite You can cover up faces with food and other fun items- .99 cents
7. Lil iSculpt Chip away at the stone and see what you uncover- .99 cents

Zumba in my brain and other brainy thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on October 9, 2011

It has been a crazy start for me this year at school. I have been dealing with organized chaos for far longer than usual this fall. Luckily my job position was adjusted from going to two schools down to one…yeah! My learning curve is still high with all new staff and students but I’m getting there.

I was looking for a release to help with the stress and decided to try Zumba. Our school district is offering this free for 10 sessions so the price was right. I have never been one to exercise much so I thought it might be a bit challenging but my co-worker encouraged me to attend. It does help to have a buddy to nudge you along. I’ve been to two classes and found them to be totally “fun”… no really. It is very sweaty but I am smiling and laughing. What I noticed was being with others was great to keep me motivated and smiling helped keep me having fun.

Now how does this relate to working with special needs kids? It’s all about the brain. In my brain my body was doing the routines and keeping on beat but in the mirror not so much. When I mentioned this to my co-worker this was her “Yoda-like” insight- She stated she thinks about that when one of her students gets upset after writing an “imperfect” letter or word. What is in his brain did not transfer to his paper. So true! What our kids “picture” or “hear” in our brain does not always translate to the correct tongue placement, hand movement, etc. This can be very frustrating for everyone. So what to do? If you are waiting for the magical answer well…. so am I!

Here’s what I might do to translate the Zumba in my brain to my limbs:
• try again
• watch more
• give up
• keep on smiling and laughing

Here’s what I might do to help my students:
• try again
• talk less
• model more
• use a different technique
• work on a different goal
• consult with other SLPs
• read more articles and brain research
• keep on smiling and laughing
• but never give up

This reminded me of another post I added awhile ago. It talks about finishing the loop for kids’ brains. finish the loop

My brain came into this new position ready and willing. I had theme boxes packed and ready to go. I was going to be the best of the best! Then I met my kids and they reminded me that reality is not always in my brain. The school I am at is very high need and at least 40% English Language Learners along with a 93% minority population . What I packed into my brain and boxes did not necessarily fit into my caseload. It’s not that I won’t bring in these wonderfully planned and packed theme boxes. It is how I will use them and change them with better understanding of my students’ needs. One sweet first grader saw me searching for the sheets I write on for his group. He offered his advice on how I could become better organized. They are teaching me a lot.

So for now I am happy that I am:
• starting to learn student names and even matching them to the right faces
• and they are learning my name too…sort of… MEE STER (like ME STIR) or as on little guy calls me MEE Cho PEE Cho
• smiling and laughing (even at myself)
• have a speech schedule set up (finally)
• working with a great staff ( and learning their names too)

My theme this week:
Play dough- I even made purple, orange and black homemade jello play dough to use with a semi- Halloween/Fall theme. What will we do with it? I can’t wait until the kids “teach” me!
1. push into molds and let dry or not
2. use cookie cutters
3. hide items in the dough and hunt for them
4. roll it, squish it, etc. and talk about shapes, textures, sizes
5. use my brain mold and foam brain to talk about our flexible brain
6. Hasbro Play Dough Ideas
7. Play Dough App

Jello Play Dough:
1 cup of flour

1/2 cup of salt

2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 cup of warm water
Three ounces of jello – any flavor you wish
I added food coloring to make my orange orangier before mixing the ingredients.
I tried adding this to my purple after it had cooked and it wasn’t as successful.
I made black by taking a small amount of the purple dough and adding food color until it was dark.

Combine ingredients and cook over medium heat until it thickens. It will start to pull away from the side of the pot. Knead until cool enough to touch. Takes about 8 minutes. Store Ziploc bag or other container.