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


It’s a little nuts and bolts around here…

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on April 11, 2014
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It’s that time of the year where hair is being pulled as deadlines are looming. So you may feel like you’ve lost a few nuts and bolts. I have a solution… just collect them and make a robot or two. I posted about robots a few years ago. Check it out: Robots

My robot parts were safely stored away and sadly forgotten until this week. As I was bringing two kindergarteners to my room one put his hood over his head- we said he looked like a robot. And ding ding ding I remembered by box of nuts and bolts.! So I pulled it out and we had a lot of fun this week.

We made short robots.            We made TALL robots.

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And generally had fun following directions and sharing. We put parts on top, in the middle, on the side, behind and at the bottom. We even  gave our robots names and special powers.

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Check out my earlier posting to get more information on how to create your own box of nuts and bolts: Robots

So now after you gather your nuts and bolts add your own twist to the fun!

Have fun and let me know what twists you add!

Cindy

PS- Please if you have even one dollar you can pay it forward and help support a great project from Mobile Education Store: Crack the Books

 

 

Pay it forward….

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on April 8, 2014
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You’ve probably heard about someone paying for the person’s order in a fast food drive thru.  It’s a random act of kindness and often gets passed on in the drive thru line. So today I am passing on a way we can pay it forward to a great app developer.

Kyle Tomas created many apps for Mobile Education Store. He has always been generous with gifting app codes. Now he has a new kickstarter project. This project is something that I believe in and would hope it reaches it goal. Check out it out: Kyle’s kickstarter project.

There have been many bloggers who have reviewed the Crack the Book series so I am going to direct you to one of the reviews by Activity Tailor: Crack the books review.

 

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This series is amazing. It can adjust to each readers level. Crack the Books fosters a lifelong desire for reading by featuring rich, audio-visual elements and interactive activities to help students understand difficult concepts. The series is designed to help students of all reading capabilities, from those with special needs to those with academic gifts, become better and more confident readers.

Please visit Mobile Education Store’s Kickstarter campaign and view its goals to fund the next generation of digital books. There is a short video right at the top of the campaign page that I encourage you to watch. It will give you a great sense of what these e-books are all about. Your support will ensure “Crack the Books” will be available to reach and inspire all students.

Once again you can view the video and learn more about the project here: Crack the books

Thanks for following my blog and considering this opportuntiy to pay it forward!

Cindy

Playing at working

As I grab my keys and head to my car I often tell my husband I’m heading to “play” vs. going to “work.”  So check out some of the “playing ” that has been happening in my therapy room!

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I have been receiving some fun products and apps to try. Here are a few of them in no particular order. Disclosure: all of the items posted were gifted to me but my comments are my own.

1. Think Fun has wonderful games. The most recent one I played is called UnHinged. You can check it out here: Unhinged

I played this with one of my 2nd grade groups in a cooperative game format. They were excited but found it to be a little too challenging. I used it with a 3rd grade group and they also found it challenging but were able to complete three of the patterns. It is recommended for ages 8 and up. The object is to manipulate the hexagon into different patterns. The game comes with a booklet of patterns to copy. It IS challenging but fun!

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2. How Katie Got a Voice (and a cool nickname). This is a fantastic book by Pat Mervine, founder of  Speaking of Speech. You can find ordering information Here.

The book is about a fourth grade girl who cannot talk. It is a way to introduce uniqueness in all of us while reaching about disability awareness. Pat has a special until the end of December so order it now!

3. Apps for working on Social communication-

Conversation Builder Teen is one of the new apps from Kyle Tomas at Mobile Education Store. This app follows the same familiar  format of other apps from Mobile Education Store but with a teen twist. The scenes are made for teens and the conversations even look like text messages. How cool is that!

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Social Quest is a new app from Smarty Ears. Each player can be transported into 16 locations from the movies, classroom and more. The social situation is based on each location. Players can play the “quest” in a receptive or expressive mode. Another winner from Smarty Ears!

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4. Teachers Pay Teachers- There is now a plethora of SLPs posting materials for sale along with some freebies. You really should check it out and save your self some “work” so you can start “playing” sooner! Jenna Rayburn of Speech Room News complied a list of SLPs who are on TpT. Here is the link: SLPs on TPT

So thank you Think Fun, Pat Mervine, Mobile Education Store, Smarty Ears and TpT for making my work so much more fun!

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Ok back to work (tee hee)!

And the winners are….

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on October 7, 2012
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Thanks for reading my blog and entering the app code giveaways.

The winner for TenseBuilder is….. Kristen Hansen

The winners for /r/ Intensive are…… Cathleen and Giovanna Renfrow

My little appy helper.  She  helps me test out apps and draw winners for contests.  And lucky me I get to live with her until we close on our new home.

Juggling Plates… /r/ Intensive and can be a TenseBuilder (p.s. there is a giveaway here)

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on October 2, 2012
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I’ve always thought that I was more productive when I had more on my plate and deadlines closing in…. Or so I thought.   But these last few weeks have been too much and I have found myself literally juggling plates when our house sold. I didn’t break any but I did pack them, toss some and set some aside to eat on.  With the number of craziness hitting me all at once I decided the only one putting demands and deadlines on my plate was ME.  So I gave myself permission to do nothing but try to survive the stress of moving, house hunting, temporary housing, living out of boxes, car repairs, family stuff, school starting etc. etc. So that is the main reason I have not posted for quite some time.  Plus having my computer packed away….somewhere makes it difficult!

So giving myself permission has relieved some of the stress.  But I do want to share a few things I have been enjoying.

Games:

This summer I won a game from Thinkfun called Mini Mouth. The object is to draw 2-5 letters and be the first one to shout out a word that contains those letters. Yes I did play it this way with my family but realized it might need modifying with my speech/language caseload. It is easy to keep in my purse or therapy bag and take with me. I played it following the game rules but have also changed it for some students. We pick a category (food, animal etc) and we flip a tile and try to name as many items that start with that letter. The kids also like to each have their own tile and think of an item that starts with that letter and give clues and see if we can guess it. Great toy to work on vocabulary, problem solving, spelling, turn taking and more!!!

I was then contacted by Thinkfun and asked if I would be interested in trying another product. Oh yes!!! This one is called PathWords Jr.  This game builds vocabulary, spelling, and spatial reasoning skills. The object is to fit the correct Tetris-style puzzle pieces over letters to spell words. I used this with a two boys who were working on cooperative play. I gave them the basic game instructions and then they were on their own. It was great to see them dividing the puzzle pieces, taking  turns and giving advice. I noticed that some of the “advice” was moving the puzzle piece for the other student. I reminded them that if they did not want “finger help” they needed to tell their partner. This was a really fun activity and helped to work on social skills too.

APPS:

/r/ intensive from Smarty Ears-

I don’t know about you but /r/ sound errors are not my favorite. If I am successful and have a child imitate my /r/ in one of our first trials I am thrilled!  Sometimes that doesn’t work so we work on tongue placement and that might work..hurray!  If that doesn’t work then I might teach a “g” and move it into an /r/ often with the word tiger . Oh boy if that doesn’t work I might try using “l” and have them slide their tongue across the roof of their mouth and cross my fingers. Ok maybe move from “ah”  to /r/.  (Big sigh) Now if nothing works then we come back the next session and start all over again and again.  I have not found “the one” trick that always works. Each case is different and some move quickly into words and sentences. The ones that try and try but still can’t reach consistency can be frustrating for everyone.  But as an SLP we are known to never give up. We try different techniques and tools. We research for other ideas. We collaborate with co-workers and other SLPs through social media.  And some days we even get to dismiss a student from /r/ therapy!!

Smarty Ears had a recent update for /r/ intensive and  has added new flashcards, a matching game and a guessing game. Not only is this a great way to target those pesky /r/ errors but it is very engaging for my students.  I always use apps in multiple ways so my twist for this app is using it with all students on my caseload. I can play guessing games to expand describing skills. I can use it with my fluency students to practice techniques at the word, sentence and storytelling levels.

TenseBuilder from Mobile Education Store-   is designed to help students learn how to identify and use correct tense forms by playing movie quality animated videos to demonstrate past, present and future tense. I have been using this with my students in group activities. It makes a great cooperation activity. My youngest students need to focus on using present regular tense in complete sentences (He is calling). So we have concentrated on using the videos to learn about this and record our “big sentences” within the app. The kids love to hear themselves and are even starting to self correct their errors after listening! My older students are working on irregular tenses and love to see if they can get their answer correct  before the movie ends. It has become a contest among the group of boys on who can shout it out first.

Giveaways!!!

I have 2 codes for /r/ intensive and 1 code for TenseBuilder so here is what you need to do….

1. Leave a separate blog comment for each app you would like to win.

2. Like the Facebook pages for Smarty Ears and Mobile Education Store and leave a another blog comment that you did this or already are a fan.

3. I will do a random drawing for the app codes on Sunday 10/7/12 after 7:00 pm Central time.

The codes are for US iTunes.

(WordPress blogs are no longer able to use Rafflecopter for giveaways so sorry!!!)