HERE’S A LOOK AT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OCTOBER

October is one of my favorite months in speech. It also happens to be my birthday month (and yes, I do like when it’s acknowledged and no, I don’t care if people know how old I am). Anyway, we will squeezing in as much as we can this month. Here’s a glimpse at some of those things…

Of course we will be reading books, mostly with a Halloween theme. Here’s a look at some of the ones we’ll be reading:

ten timid ghosts

The students love reading this fun book about 10 ghosts who are scared out of their own house. This book can be used to target vocabulary, rhyming and /g/. I use 10 ghosts on a flannel board that the students take turns removing while we read the story. Always a hit.
spooky riddles

We will be reading some spooky jokes and riddles from this book during our Joke Club. More on our Joke Club coming very soon.

old lady who wasn't afraid

This Old Lady will have us moving as we pair movements to the repetitive text. This book will help us to meet targets for concepts, vocabulary, predicting and sequencing.

old lady bat

Of course we will be reading about this old lady too! The students never seem to grow tired of feeding the old lady all kids of crazy items. We will be developing concepts, vocabulary and sequencing when we read this book.

We will also be hitting some of our language targets using these fun Halloween themed activities from Teaching Talking.

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In our class meetings, co-taught with Miss Kat, we have been focusing on activities that help us to recognize that we are part of the group and how working together is important and beneficial. As part of some of our groups, we have been watching some fun videos that highlight teamwork. Here are a few…

Crabs and the seagull
Penguins

We will be using a favorite game Witches Brew.witches brew

This game is simple enough, be the first one to find and match eight correctly colored mushrooms, yet it appeals to most all students, regardless of ability. I use this as  reinforcement during articulation practice, for turn-taking, accepting disappointment when losing and expanding the repertoire for leisure activities. I don’t think the students like when I try to keep this game reserved only for October. Some might perceive that as a lack of flexibility, I like to think of it as organization.

There are many students working on articulation this year so I am trying to keep all of our work organized in speech notebooks. We are using some activities from Teaching Talking Articulation Notebooks, as well as other worksheets for drill practice. I am also keeping returned homework in the notebooks to keep track of what was given and what has been returned. Students still have folders that go between home and school but the speech notebooks stay with me. They will go home at the end of the year.

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I am planning on doing one post each month, spotlighting one book and its related activities so that parents can have a better, more detailed look at how these books and materials are being used during speech. That should be coming in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for that!

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Co-Treating with the OT

Today is Thursday, which is one of my favorite days of the work week. It’s the day I co-treat with the OT, my friend and colleague Kat Felkner. We run several types of groups together. We run traditional speech/OT type groups, class meetings and lunch groups.

We start most of our groups with a GoNoodle video. GoNoodle is a fun, web-based library of music and movement videos  We project the videos on a large screen in the classroom and students imitate the movements  As students complete the videos they move up in levels. After 10 levels, the class avatar gets a new feature, very exciting! Almost, any student can participate in some capacity. Some of the favorites with our kids include: LMNOP and Popseeko. And yes, we move with the video too!

Today I will focus on our lunch groups, AKA Kids’ Cafe. These groups tend to be very popular, if I do say so myself.  Kat and I are lucky enough to share a classroom, so we are able to run lunch groups in the treatment space. We also have some highly appealing activities which is strongly recommended, especially if you are going to ask first/second graders to give up recess. Our Wii system is popular and even the boys enjoy Just Dance.  We typically have 1-2 targeted students and then rotate peers models through. We have found it works well to have the same peers come for 3-4 weeks in a row (each group meets one time per week) to get an idea of the chemistry between the students. Everyone who has shown interest and has parent permission will have a chance to come at least once. By the end of the year, there is less rotating and the same kids come most of the time.

During Kid’s Cafe, we have the students eat together for a specific amount of time. All students are required to sit for this time. We have found this to work so kids don’t pass up on eating lunch in a rush to get to the fun activities. Of course, no one is required to eat but they do need to remain at the table. We use a few different activities during this “group” time. Currently the boys have been into knock knock jokes. We have been writing jokes on index cards for the kids and they take turns reading them to each other. We also post some fun facts on the board to spark a little conversation. Did you know a shrimp’s heart is in its head?? Curiously enough, whatever fun fact we post, no matter how obscure, the group also seems to have someone who already knew it. Hmmm. The girls have been asking to listen to music during the group time. That usually presents an opportunity to discuss preferences and dislikes.

Once the group time has ended, students are allowed to choose what they would like to do. We have different areas identified around the room. Each area is labeled with a picture and is marked open or closed.

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We have an arts and crafts area, game shelf, toy shelf, kitchen area, movement area (trampoline and scooters) and a video game area.  Sometimes, the kids want to do the same thing every time they come, so like magic we flip the smiley face around on the sign and close that area. I know, sounds cruel, but the kids really honor the signs and are almost always willing to go to another area try something else. As they exercise some flexibility, they sometimes are surprised to find themselves enjoying a new activity. They sometimes discover, somebody else might like the same things they do. Of course we use a visual time to keep track of the play time. When the timer goes off, students clean up and we return them to class.

With all of the demands on classroom teachers for minutes of educational instruction, the lunch group can be an ideal way to service children requiring social/pragmatic language. Typical peers are available, no instruction is missed from class time and no one seems to recognize it as a therapy service. It’s a win, win.

I’ll share more about the other groups we co-treat next week..