What Instagram Has Done For Me

I probably joined Instagram a few years ago and like most social media I belong to, I joined to keep tabs on my boys. I was also interested in seeing what some of my friends had to post as well. I posted an occasional photo here and there but I could go days and weeks without really looking at it. I’m not exactly sure when I decided to start following other speech pathologists, but when I did, a whole online community of generous therapists opened up to me!

Instagram was where I discovered other therapists looking to collaborate on the Newbie Blog Hop, including co-hosts SLP Chelsea and Jen from Speech Therapy Fun. Thanks to them, I have a blog, TpT store and most importantly a new online mastermind group that provides support and collaboration for a group of us who are looking to further our practice and share our information and resources with others.

Recently Jessica from Consonantly Speaking and Kristin from Simply_Speech organized a contest through Instagram. The challenge was to post a different picture each day of the month for May in an effort to raise awareness for Better Hearing and Speech Month. I decided to challenge myself and post a picture each day. I think in the beginning I was so worried about what I was going to post, I  hadn’t really thought much about what I would SEE posted by others.  I am so impressed with the group of therapists who participated and shared their ideas. I know I will be walking away with much more than I put out. Although there are still a few days left, I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from the contest….

Articulation, we all know it can be a little dry, so we are always looking for ways to make it fun and engaging. I know I can easily fall into the comfort zone of my favorites. I will definitely be adding some of these simple, but adorable craft ideas to future artic sessions.

Bubble craft picture from my.speech.er.  Each bubble has a speech target. I will use pictures in the bubbles for my non-readers.

bubble craft

I love this flag craft idea from slptree. I will certainly be using this over the summer.

flag artic

Who doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs?? Can’t wait to make these meatball speech words with the students. Thanks to talkintime for sharing. spaghetti meatballs

In addition to crafts, we know the little ones love to “feed” animals, monsters and old ladies! I think I need to add Feed the Woozle shared by vlinderct.

feed the monsters

I’m also going to have to get my hands on one of these giant dies like sparklyspeechgirl shared. My kiddos love the smaller foam die. I can’t wait to introduce this giant one! Looks like we could even target some math with this!

die artic

Anyone who has read previous posts knows that I LOVE using arts and crafts in therapy. I’m planning on using both of these crafts this summer shared by speakingofspeech. Bubble prints and oceans in a jar! I have done oceans in cups with jello, and oceans on paper plates with plastic wrap, but never in a jar. Looking forward to the challenge!
bubble printsocean jars

I am an avid reader, although this spring has slowed me down a tad. I love this idea from speech4africa, using speech bubbles in books to target feelings, social thinking and more.

speech bubbles in books

Another great idea to target social thinking by sunshineonaspeechday is using a jello “brain” to identify different types of “smarts”!

brain

I think as a whole, you might not find a group recycling more than slps! We are forever saying, “don’t throw that away, I can use that! I’m just not sure how quite yet.” I love this idea  from slpstephiek for using recycled creamer bottles as bowling pins. Who doesn’t love to bowl??

creamer bowling

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, I have been trying to take back the speech room in terms of organization, aesthetics and function. I think there should be an HGTV (is that still a network??) show featuring classrooms and therapy rooms. Anyone else agree?? I love the polka dots and speech sign shared by slpstephiek. I also love these fabric bins shared by puttingwordsinyourmouth,  that look attractive yet are perfect for keeping items/materials out of view.

speech cornerstorage bins

This is one of my favorite finds that I could not wait to share with Kat, the OT. Speakingofspeech shared this food plate to be used with picky eaters. Why didn’t I think of that?!

FOOD PLATE

I love a good quote. the_speech_peach shared this one. I think it should be hung in all classrooms, regardless of grade.

speech quote

This is just a sample of the incredible posts shared by a generous online community of therapists. If you would like to see more, go to Instagram and search #instaBHSM. You won’t be disappointed.

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Games, games and more games

Recently, more and more parents have asked me about the apps I recommend for home. While I use apps with students and find many of them helpful, I don’t really recommend them for home. I have let parents know the apps I have found to be successful, but in general, my recommendations for carryover of speech, language and communication skills are not apps.

What do I recommend for home carryover? Games, games and more games. Games target so many of the skills our children are working on: following directions, giving information, providing explanations, concept development, social interactions, turn taking, problem solving, opportunities for articulation carryover and the list goes on…Depending on the game, math skills and reading fluency could also be targeted. It’s also good quality time for the family. We have many game nights in my family. Ages range from my youngest niece, who is 9 to my mother who probably doesn’t appreciate her age being revealed. We also bring a new board game to almost every holiday. In the summer time we have “game nights” by my brother’s pool. The teenaged boys actually request these nights with the family. Here is a great list of games by the artful parent. I also strongly recommend cranium games. Some favorites in my family also include Last Word which can be scaffolded for different playing levels, Catch Phrase and What’s Yours Like? There are so many games that are great for carryover practice, it would be impossible to list them all. You probably have some in your closet right now. Go take a look.

I know not everyone loves to sit and play board games, but not all games need to be sedentary.  This Easter we launched our first Easter Games (I took first in yo-yo and jump rope, thank you very much). The games we played required establishing teams, negotiating events, keeping score and demonstrating sportsmanship (more on that later). We only had one episode of tears. You can find a list of some old fashioned games for outdoors here. It should finally be nice out this weekend so get out there and play!

Now, a little about sportsmanship. I think (my opinion), that children should participate in games to learn how to win and lose gracefully. In this day and age when everyone “earns” a trophy for participating, it seems that children have a harder time losing. I don’t have any data on hand to back that up, but if I start to track it I’m sure I could. Many children ask me if a game is a winning game or losing game, because they don’t want to play a game that they might lose. While I understand that, being a little competitive myself, I think it’s important for children to learn how to lose. How is that related to speech and language? Social communication. We have observed many a student have a very difficult time losing, to the point that they require adult assistance to pull themselves back together. This does not put one in the best light with peers, socially. The same holds true for the student who is not the most gracious winner. No one loves a ‘sore winner”. In the speech room, you are only allowed to announce “I won!” two times and the winner usually gets to clean up, all in good fun.

I’m not suggesting that games are the only way to carryover speech, language and communication but I do find them to be a powerful and motivating context to practice some of the skills we are targeting. Try setting some time aside this weekend for some family game time if you aren’t  already. I think you’ll be glad you did.

What’s Happening in April

I’ve been wanting to share some of the daily happenings that occur in the speech room. I love that fellow blogger ChelseaSLP posts her weekly lesson plans. I thought I might try to post a general preview at the beginning of each month. These are general ideas and not all children will participate in each.

WHAT WE ARE READINGThere Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Frog, Leap Back Home to Me, Growing Vegetable Soup and Three Stretchy Frogs

april books

Language therapy in my speech room is almost always literacy based.  I would like to devote more time to that in another post so I will leave it at that for now.

WHAT WE ARE PLAYING: We are using lots of games during articulation sessions. Let’s face it, drill work can be a little dry ( I might liken it to learning to conjugate verbs when first learning a foreign language). This is where we use a little trickery. We mask the dryness of drills with fun games, crafts and activities. This month we are playing Fill the Farm Stand Game. We are also using Roll and Cover Game boards found here on TpT. Students also like using the spring themed boards for Seasonal Chipper Chat. 

farmstand game

During class meetings in some first and second grade classes we have been playing a Spring Themed Taboo Game. Why are we playing? It targets describing, explaining, listening, drawing conclusions and participating in social interactions.  Oh, and it’s fun. We are hoping to play a What’s Yours Like Game, in an adapted, child friendly version. This is still in the works.

To target some structural goals we are using Pronouns and Prepositions for Spring. The students love acquiring new seasonally related items for their boards and describing what they have. Many of the students can identify spatial concepts and follow directions involving them, but when asked to describe a location the response is often “it’s right here”. Not in my speech room! We will also be using spring themed barrier games (still in development). I am a huge fan of barrier games and I will probably devote a post specifically to that at another time.

WHAT WE ARE DOING: Hopefully we’ll get to some fun crafts like this cute garden picture.  (Notice some similar themes between some books, games and crafts??)

bunny craft

Why are we doing crafts? Crafts provide a fun and meaningful context to target sequencing, following directions, concepts, vocabulary, and it’s just fun to do. It also provides students with a hands on experience that can be talked about at a later time (relaying past events).

Hopefully, we will get a chance to re-pot some of our plants. Why are we doing this? Three reasons. One, the re-potting provides the same opportunities as when doing a craft. Two, we use the plants as a daily “job” for some students. Three, they’re not going to make it much longer if they’re not re-potted. Can’t have a watering job with no plants.

JUST FOR FUN: The second grade boys who come for articulation therapy have really been into sticker charts. I decided to try to make my own and take their requests. I’ve only done a few and they’re nothing fancy but the kids don’t seem to mind. Help yourself here.

Spring vacation is the week of April 19th. Every year we think it will be the last year with a break in February and a break in April. Best to enjoy, in case it’s our last April break.

 

Hopefully these are just some of the activities we get to this month.

Renee