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


The calm before the scheduling storm…

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on September 5, 2015
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So my summer is over and school will begin after Labor Day. I survived the 5 days of professional development and got my speech room set up. This year I took “before” pictures to remind me that once upon a time everything was organized. So take a peek before it gets all “twisted!”

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Now on Tuesday this space will morph into a blizzard of class lists, teacher schedules, post it notes and pulled out hair. Yes it will be time to once again reinvent the wheel also known as scheduling. But as I have found in the past 38 years this can be accomplished with many tweaks along the way AND throughout the school year. I’ll see you once I shovel out the mess and actually start with students!

So here’s where I should comment about my lack of posts but how about some fun pictures from my summer vacation instead! I am so lucky to have lifelong friends who wanted to celebrate our milestone birthdays (yes 60 of them) by taking a trip to Wyoming and Montana. Cowboys, happy hour, whitewater rafting, happy hour, pig races, happy hour, horseback riding, happy hour, shopping, happy hour, rodeo, happy hour, mountain exploring and did I mention happy hour?! Many memories and laughs were shared.

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So with a new year beginning I am making no promises that my posts will be on any kind of schedule. I did promise myself that I would share any therapy ideas that others may find useful. If you’ve read my blog you know I like therapy with a twist so stay tuned. I do have some Wild West ideas galloping through my brain and will try to rein them into therapy. Of course I found therapy materials on my trip I am an SLP after all.

Can’t wait to see the twists you add to your therapy sessions!

Cindy

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Credits:

Door Posters this set also contains We ♥️ Posters

Speech Ninjas

Wooden Wall words were bought at the MN state Fair but can be ordered here: Wall Words

The Listen Board was from Target’s Dollar Spot

We ♥️ Posters

Common Core Cans from Nicole Allison

Material Open Top Containers I used left over borders and taped them inside to get a more uniform look. I also did this to the portable storage drawers.

The fun seating- the flat seats were from Target on clearance. You can see what twist I added to these- Seating Twist

The ball chair was given to our school this year. A furniture company did a photo shoot this summer and donated all the furniture to our school- standing desks, carts, etc.

The “talk back chattering teeth” record your voice. I bought them on my summer vacation at a Cracker Barrel restaurant and could not find them online. I did see one on eBay.  Sorry!

The M & M dispenser was bought at the M & M store in Las Vegas. They sell them other places too. And no I no longer fill it with candy…darn heathy eating in schools.

My Fairy Door was bought from a wonderful New Zealand craftsman (Imagination Doors) who has moved and closed shop….temporially I hope.

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March Madness is Yappening

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on March 6, 2015
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This is not only the month for basketball but also for a March Madness contest for Yapp Guru.

madness

What is Yapp Guru? It is a group of “experts” who review apps to help others get a better idea if an app is a good fit for your needs. So this month as we will be adding more app reviews to help you all out and bonus some of us “experts” might even win a prize.

What is Yapp Guru? It’s an online site that we’d like you to join for free. Once you have signed up you have access to many app reviews and the ability to vote for your favorite apps.

I choose apps to review that I use in therapy sessions and meet the needs of my students. I love finding some non-traditional apps that lets me add a twist. You may not see a lot of negative reviews from me as I tend to contact the developer first about any concerns. I found this to be much more beneficial than posting an issue about on app on iTunes. I will be honest about the apps I do review on Yapp Guru. But I often tell others to read reviews on Yapp Guru, look at description of the app and view a video about the app in use. This is the best way to gather information to help you decide if the app is a fit for you and your wallet. You can find my reviews here: Cindy Meester’s App Reviews.

So come join the March Madness fun at Yapp Guru. Be sure to check out all the app experts reviews. There are 25 SLPs and 1 OT as of today trying to be the best resource we can for you!

So line up your shot mouse and dribble click on Yapp Guru and join for free. It’s a win win and you won’t even break a sweat.

 

I’d love to hear about the twists you add to apps we have reviewed.

Cindy

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My ABC’s Favorites from 2012

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on January 1, 2013
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HappyNewYear

2012 may not have been my best year but I’m keeping positive and hoping for only the best in 2013 for all!  Reflecting back I do have a number of  things that helped me in my therapy sessions this past year.

a is for APPS: This is a hard one to narrow down to only a few-So in no particular order and not necessarily new in 2012 here we go…

Custom Boards– my go to app to create materials. I like the flexibility to use the symbols within the app, adding your own pictures or finding pictures on google. I can even make materials within a therapy session with the students, save it and print it for them to take home immediately.

Rainbow Sentences  – an app that helped my students on so many levels: syntax, following directions and for a couple it motivated them to verbalize.

Articulation Scenes – yes I use many traditional articulation apps but this one is different- my students begged to play this one! They loved earning trophies and wanted to do all the sound scenes even though those that were not their sound errors.

Social Quest– an app that helps work through a variety of social scenarios – I like that there is not one correct answer and allows for flexibility

Conversationbuilder Teen – this is an app geared for older students and I used this more with clients I see in the speech clinic. I loved how the conversations looked like text messages and were in teen language. The version I used for the students at my school is called Conversation Builder.

Story Pals – is a reading comprehension app for short stories and follows with a quiz. You can even create your own stories and quizzes.

Question Sleuth– this app can be used to work on categories or asking questions to decide what item was hiding the star. You can add your own images and create your own categories.

Talking Train is a new app from all4mychild. I use it for sequencing, vocabulary and storytelling. You can draw  a picture or add an image on 3 train cars. Record a story or words for each train car and tap go to send the train on its way.

Syntax City – an app to work on pronouns, plurals and more. I like how you can have a group of students working on different skills and levels at the same time. My students were so diligent and proud to see their report cards improve after each session. For my less verbal kiddos I used apps by Hamaguchi.

b is for Books and Blogs:

I love my Kindle app. I have downloaded many free books for my reading pleasure. But also free ones to use with kids in therapy.  One source (more for me than therapy) that shows free apps is- BookBub on Facebook. Another source I use is Amazon and search for free kindle books for kids- lots of choices! I also get free book option from the blog  No Twiddle Twaddle

There is a plethora of  SLP blogs and SLP Facebook pages this past year. I had listed some on the side of my blog but have not been able to keep up with all of them. What a wonderful way to get new ideas and connect with SLPs!

 c is for Connections:

I work with a wonderful group of SLPs, special educators and regular educators in my school district. This is a shout out to only two of them for making conncections and helping me make it through 2012.

Liz is an Occupational Therapist who allows me to do groups with her. We have worked together long enough what if you were observing a session it might be difficult to tell who is the OT and who is the SLP.  We combine motor and language using obstacle courses, theme units, letter of the week and more.

Laura is a special education teacher who has a one of our site based autism classrooms. She is someone who is such a gentle teacher even in the midst of tantrums. We can collaborate about student needs and come up with ideas to work on together. I never worry if I need to change my schedule with her students. I enjoy working within her room and learning from each other.

The other connections that have brought smiles, knowledge and new experiences all came from social media. I have “met” so many SLPs on Speaking of Speech, Perkilou Therapy Group, Facebook and twitter. Meeting many of these SLPeeps and others  in person at the ASHA convention was energizing! So shout outs to Mary H. (speech adventures), Sean S (speech techie), Jonathan F, Dean T, Barbara F, Kyle T, Rosie S, Lucy N, Tiffany W, Ramya K, Eric & Kelly S, Jeremy L (speech guy), Shareka B, Kim L (Activity Tailor), Heidi, Meghan, Karen, Jill, Megan S, Milo and more!

One thing I try to remember is you never know how big a small connection can be.  A smile, a thank you, holding a door, a “I like your shirt” or stopping by to say hello just might bring a rainbow to someone’s rainy cloudy mood.

Allow me to be a little nostalgic- When I first entered the SLP field I was fresh out if college with my bachelors degree as MN had not yet change the requirement for needed Masters degree.  We did not have phones in our rooms, Internet, social media, blogs or TPT sites.  If I wanted to consult with another SLP I had to try to get on the one phone in our school and hope I could reach the SLP at her school (almost impossible). OR I could hand write a note and send it out through inter-school mail and wait for a week or so for a response. Now we can connect via many channels: cell phones, texting, Facebook, face time, twitter, email, blogs, etc. So how lucky are we!

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s is for all the other Speechie Stuff I liked: (nope not listing something for every letter of the alphabet!)

Of all my posts about therapy ideas my favorite was my Reduce, Reuse, Recyle. I think I liked this because it was so spontaneous and the kids really took charge of the sessions. It also made me smile as they tried to figure out directions for right and left as they sat across from each other!  Looking at my blogs stats for the past year it looks like the one with the most hits was my Can You Sea Me Now.

TPT– Teachers Pay Teachers is a site where I can purchased great therapy materials for a few dollars or less.  Now you can find many SLPs selling creative therapy games, flash cards and more. Many  SLPs also sell products on Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) site. Check out the resource list that Jenna Rayburn of Speech Room News has put together:  SLPs on TPT Resource List

Ok more nostalgia – “back in the day” when I first started working in the schools we either had to wait for a catalog to arrive and hope there was a budget to order materials. The process of submitting a request on NCR forms and hope you could press hard enough to be legible through all three sheets and then wait for a few weeks until the item(s) arrived was often frustrating. The other option was creating your own materials without cute clip art.  It might involve hand drawings, creating hand written dittos or if lucky using a typewriter and hope you did not make a typo! The copy machine was rare and it only used this really slippery paper that you could not were really write on.

The other option was a huge projector that would project a page onto the wall. You would trap paper on the wall and trace the picture then color it later. Anyone remember what this was called? I couldn’t find a picture. It was not an overhead projector. It was a huge clunky machine.

I have not been able to post to my blog as I had intended or as often as  I had in the past. It doesn’t really matter why but what should be the direction I take now. As I look at all the new blogs it makes me feel comfortable keeping mine to what I feel I do best- provide therapy with a twist. That to me is taking something and turning it into a therapy tool or lesson. So in this widening world of bloggers I will continue to add my own twist.

Happy 2013 everyone! Keep on connecting! I’m off to buy some duct tape to go with a therapy twist I have stuck in my mind!

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!

Gerald_G_Girl_Driving_Car_Cartoon

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!

unhinged

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!

teen

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!

social quest

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!

lady

Ok back to work (tee hee)!

Bootiful art work! Plus a review for Mask Jumble Halloween app

On my indirect week I like to go into classrooms and do a project with the whole group. This past week I went into the three self-contained special education rooms. I often create a project that each child can take home but switched it up this time. I used screen shots from some apps and clip art. I used photos of the students taken with my iPhone and iPad to create our posters.

In  this room I used pictures of different Halloween costume pictures and we labeled them or pointed  (dependent on students’ skill levels). Then we made a collaborative “Fall-o-weeeeen” poster. I used the app Picture Me Trick or Treat and clip art from Scrappin Doodles. I bought the pumpkin bag and cut outs from the dollar store. The fall confetti around the sides was the idea from one of the students.

In the second room we made a “Field of  Screams” poster. The corn was made from a green strip of construction paper and clip art for the corn. The bats and spiders were from the dollar store. The clip art was from Scrappin Doodles, Halloween Card Creator and Wood Puzzle Halloween.

In the last class we made a collaborative “Knock Knock. Boo’s there?” poster. The clip are was from Scrappin Doodles and Picture Me Trick or Treat. I used construction paper for the doors. The bats and spiders are from the dollar store.

First we had closed doors:

Then we knocked on the doors and….

For all of these posters we were talking, pointing and requesting. The kids glued the items on tho poster board and we talked about concepts like: over, next to, under, top, middle, bottom, more, all done etc. Of course lots of vocabulary happening too!

APP Review:

Mask Jumble Halloween is a fun app from Piikea Street. I did not have this app before creating our posters. If I had I would have definitely added these fun pictures! You can view more information and a video on the Piikea Street website.

I used this app with students for fun and to work on taking turns (waiting is hard!), giving directions and making choices. The app includes 10 masks with 40 unique pieces.  As you complete masks you get treats and need to catch them in your mouth to earn a new mask. What a fun way to work on right/left, and up/down. Photos can be taken of your face in a mask which then can be e-mailed as a postcard or printed. With my students we printed them and then compared and contrasted the faces/masks. We also worked on emotions/expressions. You can make any face you want for your mask- a sad Frankenstein  an angry princess and more.  I worked on articulation sounds for some students /s/- mask, costume, princess etc. /k/ Frankenstein, mask, cute, costume, etc. We had a great time with this app! Piikea also has another mask app called Mask Jumble Animals.

How can you incorporate this app into your therapy sessions?

  

This is my door to my speech room. I used clip art from Scrappin Doodles and a postcard (black pumpkins). Student pictures and a spider or other Halloween creepy image are under the pumpkins with a ?. 

Here is how I use it.

1.  I put sticky notes on the side numbered 1-4 and across the top lettered A-C. Students state A-1 and the other student finds the correct pumpkin and lifts it up. We get to see if it is a person or a Halloween image.

2. Students choose a pumpkin and lift it up if it is a person they can keep going or stop. The object is to see who can lift the most without getting a Halloween creepy image.

3. I put two of each image and the kids play a matching game. I use Halloween images, articutlation words/pictures and vocabulary words.

Do you have any other ideas  for this door?

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!!!)

Yippee Ki Yay!

 

Maybe this should be titled Yippee Ki YIKES!!! If it’s August then that must mean my summer vacation is galloping away. So I should be fetching me some tissues and fussing. But… I’m not….yet. It’s been a lazy summer with not many projects or routines so I’m looking forward to some structure again. In the meantime my blog has been ignored this summer so I’m getting back on my horse and writing a new post.

I decided to work on my Cowboy/Cowgirl/ Wild West unit. It is only a start but I wanted to share what I have so far. I have more items at school that will be part of this unit so stayed tuned.

I created cards to use for a memory or go fish game.Wild West Lasso game – Print two copies Wild West card backs– print on the backs of the Lasso cards

Another inexpensive resource:  Perkilou cowboy set

Here are some links I lassoed to learn how to talk like a true cowboy/girl: Old West Slang;  Cowboy CodeSlang and Legends

Apps: Here are some apps to make any cowgirl Appy!

US Westward Expansion

Westward Expansion

Little Jake

Talking Cowboy

Oregon Trail

Swapsies

iRodeo

Cowboy Lasso

Cowboy Names

Wrangler Rope

Classic Western Movies

Cowboys and Indians Magazine

Rodeo News

There was a fun Pecos Bill storybook app from Ruckus Media but I do not see it in the app store anymore.

That’s all for now Pardner! It’s time to russell up some grub. More to come later!

    

 

LOL or Letting Others Lead or maybe Leaning On Lazy says it best

I had plans…

I had lots of plans…

I thought about lots plans….

So why haven’t I acted on these wonderful plans? Well first motivation went on vacation then diligence kept taking naps so I talked myself into nothing.  In the meantime all the plans floating in my head began to materialize like magic. How can this be I wondered? Did I send telepathic thoughts out? Did I mention it in another blog posting? Hmmm… then I remembered that SLPs are creative and often share the same brain. So the ideas I was going to work on this summer have already been created by others. Oh darn oh shucks pass me another  margarita  tissue. My mottos have always been to share and don’t recreate a new therapy material if it is already out there.

Plan one: to make new cards for my guess who game but guess what there have been others who did this for me!  Check out this one: Speech Room News

Plan two: make cards for my candy land game but here are ones that are already completed: Candy Land Language Cards  and   Candy Land Articulation cards

Plan three-ten: …. I forgot what they were but I’m sure they are brilliant. I’ll just wait until someone else blogs about them. You know it’s nice Letting Others Lead once in a while.

So now that “my plans” are done what is left to do besides sit on the deck, read and enjoy my summer vacation?

So while I am enjoying the day here are some  oldies but goodies that you might not have explored on my blog pages.

Articulation Ideas and Materials

Bulletin Board Ideas

Book Units and Adapted books

Social Skills Materials

I promise to be back with some new ideas once I can find where Motivation is vacationing.  In the meantime here are some fun apps I am playing with this summer in private therapy sessions and on my deck!

Articulation Scenes– great way to practice sounds- here is more information I wrote for Smarty Ears on how I use this app:  Articulation Scenes Ideas

StoryPals– stories with comprehension quizzes plus you can create your own stories

iBernard HD or  iBernard – great for social skills- what is he thinking, what will happen next etc.

Are you BOARD? UNO I am! Plus a giveaway!!!

      

I love using my iPad and many games are now an app. But I still have all these card and  board games in my speech room. Do I give them away? Do I re-purpose them? Do I toss them? Do I leave them in the cabinet and forget about them?

Since my speech room is small I was given a cabinet to use in another location. It is close but I decided to house my theme unit boxes and some of my games.  The access to these  games is a little tricky since they are stuffed into the “theme cabinet.” I did make a list of the games to help remind me but… I think I need a better system.

I had thought about putting the game boards into picture frames but decided to try some other ideas floating around in my head.  So…I took home some of my games that included a game board or that I could pull out of the cabinet easily.

I put hole reinforcements on the  two corners of the game board that were being drilled.  We left the game boards folded so we were able to drill through two corners at once.  Be sure to drill on a board and not your counter! I was lucky enough to have my husband drill the holes. I think he got nervous when I has asked him where the drill was…LOL. But you can easily do this yourself too.  After drilling I placed hole reinforcers on the front and back of all holes. Now if this is all you want to do you can hang the boards from hooks in your therapy room and store the pieces in small containers. OR you can check out the next options.

FYI: I did not end up drilling holes in the Hi Ho Cherry-O or Chinese Checkers games. They did not have the flat game boards like the other games shown in the  picture above. I’ll come up with something else for them.

    

I purchased several options to attach to the game boards. The dry eraser sheets and photo magnet sheets were purchased at Office Depot and the felt sheets at JoAnn Fabrics.

     

Option 1: Dry Erase Sheets

This was super easy- just peel and stick. The sheets can be removed easily. Now here are my ideas for this option.

1. Use as a dry erase board…duh

2. Use as a barrier game- the board bends in half and can be placed horizontally or vertically. You can take turns giving directions on what to draw. You can also use window clings  like the spiderman ones shown and place them on the board and give directions. You can even combine these two ideas; for example- draw a house in the middle- put the black spider on the left side of the house- put  spiderman on the top of the house, etc. Once the directions are completed you can lay the board flat and look at the results side by side.

   

spiderman window clings

Option 2: Magnetic Sheets

I used 4″x6″ photo sheets but there are larger versions available which I think would be even better to use. These are not as easy to remove and reuse. This could be uses as a barrier game with magnets.

Option 3: Felt

I used felt sheets and a glue stick and double-sided tape. I used the glue stick but I think the double-sided tape would be enough- just be sure to add tape across the middle and along the edges. This is an option for attaching  pictures with felt or velcro backings (the hook part). You could use this to create stories, learn vocabulary, etc.

If you have room you could hang several boards next to each other to create a bulletin board effect. There are calendar dry erase sheets, cork sheets and larger magnetic sheets that would be options to try.

Option 4: Game Savers

While searching for ideas for storing games I came across this site- OBH Enterprises. They have a great product called GameSavers. These are plastic containers that are used to store your game boards and game pieces. The boxes come in three sizes to fit most games created after 1998. The boxes also include stickers to attach to the box for easy identification. I was happy to receive two of the GameSaver boxes to test. So here is my disclaimer: The boxes were given to me for free but my review is based on my own experience.

      

The larger electric blue GameSaver box is made for games like Monopoly, Life, or Risk etc. It is has a built-in money tray. I was able to put two games in this container- Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders and still close the lid. It measures 16 x 11 x 2.5 inches The game board must smaller than 15.75 x 10.5 x 1/2 inches (double folded rectangular or square boards) and  game pieces cannot be thicker than 2 inches in at least one dimension. This sells for 13.50 on the OBH Enterprise website.

The second box I received was the juicy orange midsize container. This size holds games like Candy Land, Chutes and Ladder, Clue, Stratego, Parcheesi, Charades for Kids, Scrabble, Jigsaw puzzles, Legos and more. It measures 16 x 11 x 1.5 inches. The game board must be smaller than 15.75 x 10.5 x 1/4 inches (Single folded rectangular or square boards) and game pieces cannot be thicker than 1.25 inches in at least one dimension. This one sells for 11.50 on the OBH Enterprise website.  I was able to put two game boards (checkers and Word Trio) and the pieces in this box and close the lid.

The snazzy purple GameSaver box holds games with double folded square boards The board must be smaller than 10.5 x 10.5 x 1/2 inches (Double folded square boards) and game pieces cannot be thicker than 1 inch in at least one dimension. I did not receive this size so my information is based on what can be found on the OBH website. It measures 16 x 11 x 1.5 inches. It can hold games like  Aggravation, Clue Jr., Charades for kids, Dora the Explorer, Family Feud, Monopoly Jr., Parcheesi, Scrabble Jr., Sorry, Scene-It DVD, Trivial Pursuit DVD and more. This sells for 11.50 on the OBH Enterprise website.

I  found these boxes to be light weight, stack and store easily. It was easy to recycle bent and broken boxes and replace them with these GameSaver boxes.  The GameSaver boxes come with one label per game.  There are times I store my boxes the long way and times I store them the short way. So the only thing I added was an extra label on one side of the box. Now I have lots of options on ways to store my games. I will hang a couple on hooks but I can still store the pieces in my GameSaver boxes. I will store others in the GameSaver boxes. One of the great things about these boxes is they are the same length and width which helps a lot when storing goes together. No more trying to stack game boxes of different sizes that just never fit together and can become an annoying puzzle to figure out which piece goes where. It looks like I will be ordering more of these once I get back to school and dig out the rest of my games.  FYI my Hi Ho Cherriy-O and Chinese Checkers games did not fit into the GameSavers containers. So be sure to read the will my games fit on the companies web page. The company also makes a product called BeachPack which can be  viewed on their website.

GIVEAWAY TIME…

I have a 25.o0 gift certificate to buy products on the  OBH Enterprise website. 

Enter now through 7/13/12  by clicking on this link to enter:  Rafflecopter giveaway

The gift certificate will be mailed to the winner.

Please! No more ideas… really… I’m going to lose my marbles! ;)

I may be in the minority but please don’t post anymore ideas on Facebook, Linkedin, newsetters or your blogs. I am over run with too many ideas. Don’t even mention Pinterest!! I put my blog posts on there but I don’t dare to look around at any other pins or boards. Being an SLP for 35 years I have lots of materials and resources so I don’t need anymore…really …..no I’m serious….this time… 😉

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My school year is ending on June 8th. I am starting to mentally pack up my room and I’ve already run out of nooks and crannies. How can I store it all? Yes my iPad is wonderful and has a wealth of apps that work great in my sessions. BUT…I have a lot of other great stuff too. I’ve talked about downsizing in past posts but I still have many things (ok maybe TOO many) that I want to keep. I promise I will use them…pinkie swear.  In the meantime I will do my best to organize, pack  up and get ready for summer break.

So what do I plan to do this summer?

1. Relax

2. Play and explore with my grand-daughter – who is now 6

3. Work in private therapy

4. Write blog posts and articles for Smarty Ears Therapy Corner

5. Share more therapy materials/ ideas on my blog

6. Maybe even start a Facebook page for my blog… I’ve been encouraged to do this but what should the page be called??? Send me your ideas!

7. Think about next year …a little

8. Oh dare I say it explore Pinterest…maybe…. ok I probably will

In the meantime I packed away my Ocean theme from my last blog post and my room is looking a little bare. The kids are complaining. Wait… I did leave the sand pail with the liquid water beads out…hmmm. Ok a couple more ideas but I’ll try to make these easy and disposable.

So since I mentioned losing my marbles here is what I plan to do with  them!

Water Beads or Liquid MarblesI have found mine at dollar stores. They have only had the clear ones but they do come in colors.  I use these in sensory tubs or in this case a sand pail. For the last week of school here is how I will use it before I “lose my marbles.”

a. Just play with them- they feel wet and the squeals from the kids are so cute!  We can include a few adjectives to describe them for a language goal.

b. Add items and try to find them (without looking) – paper clips, hard marble, dice, any small trinket. Language twist: talk about the sizes and shapes; Articulation twist: use small laminated words or cards instead of trinkets; Fluency- create a sentence for the trinket or card with easy speech.

c. Add plastic letters or numbers- Pull out an M think of words or summer things that start with M- Pull out a 4 and think of  4 words or sentences using your sound(s) or draw 4 articulation cards or draw 4 vocabulary cards

d. Put a few outside in the sun and make predictions on what might happen to them… I don’t know but my guess is I will be finding out one of these sunny days!

e. Brainstorm a list or find pictures of other things that fill up with water…. pool, water balloon, etc.

There you now have five ideas to use until the end of the school year!

Enjoy and then to downsize just ..

1. Put all the trinkets you used back in your desk where you probably found them in the first place

2. Put the articulation  and vocabulary cards back into their boxes (or if you used ones on an app in your iPad just close it!)

3. Return the plastic letters and numbers to the teacher you borrowed them from

$. Toss the liquid marbles or put them in baggies and send them home with kids…nice surprise… maybe! Or use them at home in vases for fresh cut flowers.

4. Save the sand pail and take it home – you can use it as intended but I see a slushy drink with a little paper umbrella added to mine!

   

Last Summer Fun!

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