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

Start your engines!

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on February 22, 2012
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Just a quick blog post about racing. I know there are many NASCAR fans and the big Daytona 500 is happening on 2/26. So I am doing a mini theme this week about car racing. Here are some resources to check out:

The News 2 You is a great resource for current events and includes lots of  information. This week the paper is all about the Daytona 500. I am using the paper with my students. I can open it in PDF notes-free or in Type on PDF-free. If I e-mail the pages I can even use them in Glow Coloring.

This app is so fun. It works on fine motor skills and problem solving skills. Draw Race costs 2.99. You chose the number of drivers (1-3) and the track layout. Each driver uses their finger to draw the path for their car around the track (5 laps). Once this is completed the race begins!

Daytona 500 History, Facts and activities

Cardboard tube racing:  Collect any size tubes from toilet paper, paper towels to the long tubes that craft paper for bulletin boards.

  1. Decorate the tubes- this can be a whole lesson on turn taking, collaboration, and so much more. I had students pick a race car pictures from the internet. These were cut out and glued to our tube.
  2. Set up a track- these could be taped to your door or a wall or even a large piece of cardboard- a great squencing activity! Since I am using one large tube we will be setting against a chair or the wall. This will be another problem for my students to solve and decide what works the best for racing.
  3. Decide on what you will use as your race cars. Could they be marbles, toy cars, pencils…? This will be another fun brainstorming activity to have the kids try!
  4. We will be racing against each other, doing time races with a stop watch and deciding how many “laps” or “heats” to complete.
  5. There are plenty of coloring pages – just do a quick internet search for car racing color pages
  6. Perkilou has an inexpensive tranportation game set with a speech raceway board Transportation set
  7. I created a memory game using Custom Boards from Smarty Ears. Print these nascar memory game and nascar memory game 2 on card stock  then turn over and print these on the back. You can use these cards to learn about Nacar vocabulary concepts.
  8. I created this Nascar game board using Custom Boards from Smarty Ears. The rules are open as to how you want to play it but here are some ideas:
    • Land on a car or other Nascar symbol and describe or define it OR use the cards from the memory game and draw one card to describe or define  OR  You could use your articulation pictures or other vocabulary pictures
    • Land on a red flag or tire and lose one turn
    • First one to the checkered flag wins
    • If you want to have the game last longer than see how many laps (times around the game board) each player can do in a set amount of time

Our tube in progress

Q is for Quetzal

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on February 16, 2012
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Imagination is a fun way to interact with kids. They bring so much wonderment to the lessons. Here is one way I have tried to capture this in a classroom  lesson.

The schools I have worked in often introduce a letter each week in Kindergarten. It makes it easy for me to plan my lessons around the letter of the week. In the past I created  lessons that used the letter and introduced an animal. I love doing this as a whole classroom lesson in the kindergarten rooms and it can be done in 30 minutes.  This activity introduced lots of vocabulary, comparing/contrasting, listening skills and problem solving skills.  This is the outline/script I usually followed:


1. What is the letter this week? Q!!

2. Who can think of any words that start with Q? queen, quick, etc.

3. Who can think of a creature/animal that starts with Q? not too many for this one!

4. If the animal was not guessed then I would give clues. It can fly, etc. I picked animals with two thoughts in mind- 1. a Minnesota animal  or 2. an animal that was unique or not as familiar and if I could find information about the creature

5. I would have books (from the school library), pictures, etc. and we would learn facts about the creature and where it lived.  We looked on the globe or map to find its habitat. Now the information could be displayed right on my iPad.

6.  I would choose 2-3 students to be the creature. They first came in front and stated one fact about the creature- “it eats frogs” etc.  The “creatures” would hide around the room and act out the fact they had stated.  I would use animal noses or other props that fit the creature. It could even be deciding what in the room would make a good nest.

7. The class would decide how we could travel to visit the creature- plane, train, boat, walk, drive, etc. We would pack our backpacks with our supplies which were dependent on where we were headed.  We might need sunscreen, sunglasses, rain coats, etc. We ALWAYS packed our cameras and binoculars. Now we can take real pictures on my iPad, iPhone or iTouch.  This app would be a fun way to make an ABC book for our creatures: ABC Spy

8. After “flying” to our destination we had guides to lead us on our safari. If there were 3 creatures hiding then we had 3 guides. We all followed in a line behind our guides as we traveled around the classroom and when the creature was spotted the guide would point. The cameras went wild but the voices were always quiet. We did not want to disturb our creatures!

9.  We “flew” home and sat in our kindergarten spots. I had reporters come to the front of the group to “show” the picture or “video” they had taken. They each talked about what the creature was doing. We all put our photos into our “photo books.”

10. I always sent home a page that talked about our creature so they could continue the safari with their families. This is the one for: Quetzal

So what adventure do you have planned?

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to bring you some random thoughts…

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on February 3, 2012
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Although people tell me I am organized they don’t realize that my brain is totally random and disorganized. So this post is about a few of the things I’ve been doing spontaneously with the help of my random firing brain cells!

Below are a few of my random moments- the road to them may be twisted but it usually gets me to a new therapy idea!

Random Moment #1

It was groundhog’s day and I decided we should play a game of bop the groundhog. I cut pictures of a groundhog and taped them onto my steppers from my EET kit. For some groups I gave directions like this:  blue, white or blue, white, green or blue, blue, white, white, green etc. You get it the idea. It was like playing the electronic Simon game minus the electronics. The rule was use one fist only. The kids also took turns giving directions. With some groups we played that you were out if you missed a direction and played until only one person was left.

I also used this with my articulation students.  We used the Articulate it! app and for each picture/word they bopped the groundhogs. So if the word was “dog” they bopped once on each groundhog while saying “dog” each time. If the word was “doughnut”  they bopped the syllables.  For some groups we jumped on the groundhogs instead of using our fists.

I can see this being expanded for days other than bopping groundhog day. You could do it with or without pictures on the circles. So take this idea and bop it out and make it your own!

Random Moment #2

I have a flying pig hanging in my therapy room. I found it at a thrift store (of course) and knew it would replace the paper pig with wings I had taped to my wall. I had put it up to remind my students that if they asked for something (candy, etc.) my answer would be “when pigs can fly.”  It always led to a quick figurative language lesson. So when I saw this cute popping pig at the autism shop in my neighborhood I knew it was meant to be in my therapy room. Besides flying pig was a little lonely. I use this new pig to work on concepts. You can see one of my students popping the ball “between” our cushion cubes. They can be popped “over, under, next to/beside, in the corner, on top, right, left, up, down” and so on.  I use this toy therapy tool to work on “my turn” with students in our autism classrooms. It was amazing how fast they started requesting when the pig was involved!  I have used it to “pop” articulation and vocabulary cards too. I’m sure you can take this idea and “pop” in some new ideas for your therapy sessions!

Random Moment #3

I also work in private therapy at the Speech and Language Connections clinic. The little guy I was working with wanted to play with a tub of wind-up toys. He has lots of energy and can be implusive at times. He is working on expanding his expressive language skills. So before he could take one of the items from the tub he had to describe them without touching them.  For example he would say I want the green one. I would say I see a green one with dots and a green one with a tail. Pretty soon he was providing  more details to get the item he desired “faster.” The activity we did with the items was dependent on what he picked. Some of the bugs could race each other (fast, slow, first, last, win, lose, etc.) while others could spin and we made comparisons. I’m sure you have a plethera of small objects that are just begging to be placed together in a container. Just think of all the fun in a tub you can have in your sessions!

Random Moment #4

Ok this is not really a therapy tool but it does show that I do have a clean office at home….sometimes. We  have been busy downsizing our stuff and getting ready to sell our home (hopefully). Our three boys are now grown and have all moved out (insert a tearful cheer) so the house is feeling a little too big plus now we don’t have anyone around to assign to bathroom duty, trash collecting or dishwasher unloading.  So here is a peek at what my home office looks like after cleaning it up.  You can see some before shots on one of my previous blog posts. I’m finding that an iPad has allowed me to purge many items.

My closet with theme boxes and therapy materials. My desk all clear…for now! And a pile of items looking for new homes.
 So although my brain may be cluttered with therapy ideas, due process dates, home stuff, family stuff and other stuff at least my office is clean of a lot of stuff……. for now. Now about my school office…… oh well.
I hope you post comments with some of your ideas. I love hearing about all the fun things everyone is doing.