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

Making Connections….thank you 2013

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on December 20, 2013
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We are heading into the holiday week and a new year will soon be creeping in. I look back on my professional life of 2013 and want to thank all of you who have followed my blog and left comments. When I started posting on-line many years ago it was through backflip- a web site that allowed you to bookmark and access from any computer. I used this often and spent many hours finding resources and putting them into appropriate folders. But then the site crashed and never did recover. So I turned to WordPress and started this blog in the fall of 2009. It has evolved and so have I and so has the social medial network. Now there are hundreds of SLPs blogging, on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Teachers Pay Teachers and more. The world has shrunk and now it is so easy to post questions and recieve advice from other professionals around the world. When I began as an SLP 36 years ago we only had interschool envelopes and ditto paper. There was no skyping or facetime. I didn’t have a phone in my speech room – there was only one or two for my entire school. Life has changed for making connections and that was what 2013 was for me. Making connections… in 2013.

Here are a few connections from ASHA 2013. I only wish I had taken more pictures. Thank you for sharing time with me even if it was a quick hug and hello. It was special. If I try to mention those not pictured I know I will forget someone.

photo 1    photo

So head into this new year with plans for making connections.  It doesn’t need to be at ASHA. It can be within your own work setting. Reach out and ask for ideas or advice. Reach out and share an idea or a laugh. It really does make a difference. Sometimes I feel like an island, the only SLP in my work place. Sometimes it can be wonderful and other times depressing. Being an island isn’t always fun but hop on your jet ski and head over to those other islands.  It may be as close as your next door workmate or across the social media links. Just do it and you will be thankful too.

Here’s to “reining” in the new year and to making new connections! (Bun I mean pun intended!)

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As always go add your own twist!


PS. I bought the packrat puppet at ASHA and she has made many connections with my students. Her name is…Asha.

Snow much fun!

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on December 12, 2013
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We have a freeze wave happening. The temperature has been hovering in the negatives. When you add in the windchill (-20 or more) we get lots of indoor recess days. We have our frozen fingers and frost-bitten toes crossed that it will warm up enough to let the kids out soon! It’s looking like it may be 18 degrees soon and here in MN that’s outdoor fun time!

In the mean time I have been trying to keep the energy focused in the speech room. This has led me to pull out more hands on and movement activities.  Here is one activity I tried this week…

Take two second graders working on social skills, comprehension, perspective taking, inferencing and add one Grow a Snowman.


First we looked at the front of the packaging. What  do you think grow a snowman means? How can we find out what to do? We checked out the back and looked at the pictures to make our guesses before we read the instructions. There was new vocabulary  and concepts to discuss: room temperature, full size, 72 hours,  near original size, grow over and over again.  Hunting for a container was an adventure and we discussed why the cover on our container was a good idea or not.


We walked and talked about where we could find the best placed to get room temperature water.  We found hot water in the teachers lounge (another learning experience on why they should wait by the door).  Now we had hot water- was it too hot? The boys said I should add a little cold water.  Returning to the speech room we noticed the cover was steamed over… hmmm why?  Finally we measured the snowman so we could compare his changes and plopped him the water. Now we looked for a good spot to keep him safe.


The instructions stated that we would see growth after 2 hours so the boys came back to check it before going home.  After the first check we noticed it was a little fatter but not really taller. I guess we’ll see what happens next… just like our weather!

Now how will you add your own twist? Leave a comment and I’ll pick one idea and send you your own Grow a Snowman! (I will choose on 12/20.)


Social Dough

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on December 9, 2013
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“E” is a first grader in one of our Autism classrooms. She has a lot of great skills but of course social peer relationships can be difficult. I paired her with “J” from her mainstream classroom. It has led to many interesting sessions. I want to share the one from today. This was a spur of the moment idea that worked ….. today. 😊

I brought out two cookie cutters. We talked about what they were and their uses. The girls decided that we could use play dough since no cookie dough makings could be found.

Here’s how the play dough turned into social dough.

1. First the girls took turns and gave directions to “squish” the dough.


2. They gave directions to “roll” the dough.


3. They worked together to remove their creations.


4. They asked me to take a picture of their creations.


5. They asked if they could make more and who could refuse!


This was one of our socially successful sessions. The girls took turns, gave each other directions, shared ideas, used each other’s names and thought about each other with their eyes. The best part was when the girls took over and no longer needed my “coaching.”

What is your “twist” on this activity?  Share your ideas in the comment section.