Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Taking Therapy Outside!


I'm participating in a link party hosted by The Frenzied SLPs today on ideas to take therapy outside the therapy room. Our campus has been working for over a year on increasing vocabulary as an entire campus, not just for the students identified as language disordered.

We started this vocabulary campaign last Spring and I wanted to share that initial post with you today. You can follow the links through the posts to see other ways we have worked to increase the vocabulary skills of our entire student population.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

My Three Favorite Things in Speech...April


It's Sunday and I'm sitting here working, collecting my thoughts and making plans for the new week. I can't help but reflect on what a great week I had last week with my students. This is my first time to link up with Teaching Trio and share three of my favorite anythings, and I'm sure it won't be my last! I keep a joy journal at work and here are three things that I wrote about in my joy journal this week: 


1. Flying Kites: Our local Wal-Mart donated about 50 kites to our school. I grabbed them for a project I plan to do next year. They were sitting in my room and one of my students asked me what they were. He had never seen or flown a kite before! I asked if he would like to learn how and we headed outside. We had such a good time. The wind was perfect. There was very little running involved. We talked about distances, higher/lower; the wind, faster/slower, and many more other basic concepts that were targets in his IEP.  I had so much fun with this activity that I decided to pick one group each week until the end of the year to go outside and fly kites with. It's officially one of my new favorite things to do in speech!

2. Cold Sand: I have fond memories of digging in dirt and playing in the sand as a child. We used spoons and tin pie plates to make mud pies. I have also made some very amateur sand castles when camping at local state parks.  My three year old students love playing in the sand box. Since they choose to use it every single session, I decided to make flowers with words on them that targeted final consonant sounds to get more articulation trials in during a session. I gave each of the students a flower pot. They filled it with sand and "planted" each flower in it as they said it three times. They used the watering can to pour more sand on it once it was full. Of course we dug our fingers down deep into the sand and covered up our hands for fun too! That's what makes cold sand one of my favorite things to do in speech this month!

3. Making Kids Laugh: We had a special take home activity this week where we partnered with HEB and sent home a package of muffin mix with each student. A handout accompanied the mix with a list of vocabulary words to use and questions to ask during the activity. The same day, Wal-Mart also donated this adorable battery operated mini SUV to the school. We made an impromptu sign and the name has now stuck! The vocabulary vehicle made it's debut driving the muffin mix up and down the halls, delivering one package to each student. You cannot imagine the laughter and squeals of delight as they saw me squeezed into this tiny plastic car zipping up and down the hall! I guess that means that I would do just about anything to make my students laugh, making it the most important in my favorite things to do in speech!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Spring Reminisce Activity


If your patients loved using the Winter Reminisce Activity, they are sure to enjoy these Spring reminisce questions and topics. 

Get creative and get your patients outside for this activity. My creative COTA friend, used them with her patients. She even had PT co-treat for ambulation outside on uneven surfaces. She had one patient cut them out inside the therapy room, another patient stick them in the flower beds outside, and a hard to treat-less than cooperative patient walk around and pick them up and answer the questions as they walked around the patio....which went REALLY well!




Post your pictures and mention/tag Ms. Gardenia's Speech Room in a post on social media and get a free activity in your inbox from me!



Monday, February 29, 2016

Read Across America Day

Read across America Day is the perfect day to get the community involved and increase awareness for providing a language rich environment at both school and home. I have created a free illustrating activity with a send home task for parents to ask students questions about the books they read. My hope is that by providing parents with these questions only once, they will use them again and again as they read to their own child in the home. 

I used the activity in my therapy room for World Read Aloud Day last week. After sharing it with the faculty at my campus and hearing their enthusiasm, I decided to revamp it and make it a free activity in my store for Read Across America Day.


My district participated with districts all over the world...for our students to experience this day to it's fullest. I took a few pictures of the amazing illustrations that I saw one class making about the story that was read to them from a teacher in Missouri. 

In speech, we read Fox in Socks. The students picked their favorite part of the book, illustrated, and re-told that portion to their friends. We even sequenced them in order to retell the whole story. I was so proud of their illustrations:








Tuesday, February 2, 2016

FREE Open Ended Winter Activity for Speech Therapy


My preschool and Kindergarten speech therapy students need visuals and manipulatives to keep them motivated and busy during group. I have found that anything they can cover or color keeps their attention. I created this low ink, print and play activity this year for them to use in a variety of ways.



Here are two examples of how I used this print and play download in my speech room this week. The first example is using magnetic chips from Super Duper Inc. and a deck of articulation cards. This student said the word three times and then made a simple sentence. By the end of the board we had plenty of repetitions to add up and average. 


The second student was working on using pronouns in sentences. I wrote a pronoun on each square with a dry erase marker and gave her a stack of cards. She had to make a sentence using both the pronoun and the word that included her articulation sound target. 


By using the board in this way, I was able to collect data on both her language and articulation goal.

My kids love these boards and I love the flexibility of them. 








Sunday, January 24, 2016

Amazing Progress on Animal Vocabulary


It's progress monitoring time in our school district. That amazing week where you get to write all 50+ progress reports on your students! I know it can be long and tedious, but if you look at it like I usually try to ...it's amazing. Don't get me wrong, not all of my students make extreme gains each nine weeks, but most of them make good ones...the kind that gets you motivated for the next nine weeks!

One of my kinder kiddos has been working hard and making some crazy good progress on animal vocabulary words. I initially used THIS SCREENER from Speaking Freely SLP on TpT to establish  baseline of his animal knowledge...which was expressively 3 out of 16 accurate. Bummer!

Over the next three weeks, we played animal matching games, used plastic animals, stuffed animals, and watched videos on animals. His reading teacher even resorted to ordering a "vintage" See and Say online to provide any and all association opportunities for this little guy to reference.

We read and acted out From Head to Toe...
We read Goodnight Gorilla...

Well, even with a two week Christmas break during this time, he got it! I don't know who was more excited.... I know I for sure showed it as I walked around the school showing off his progress chart! This is a student that our ENTIRE campus has invested TONS of work and thought into. One we have all grown professionally and emotionally as a result of his presence.

Our final activity...because he demonstrated mastery level!... was using this set of magnets that I found over Christmas break on sale at Burke's Outlet. I thought I would jazz up the excitement level with a little impromptu sorting activity. I placed all of the animals we were targeting with a couple extra that I figured he already knew on the tray of my easel.


To begin, I said the animal's name so that he receptively identified it first. For example, "Find the giraffe".

This student lacks confidence in his own abilities. He used to always answer, "I don't know!" for every question asked. Now he has been taught to say, "I'm still thinking!" while shrugging and beaming that big adorable grin...

So for this task, he simply pointed to each animal named. Keep in mind he was pointing to animals named in an array of what...20? He KNEW them all! I was ready to assess him expressively.

The activity I had prepared was informally about sorting/categorization to help him further his association skills of the vocabulary we were targeting, but that wasn't what I was keeping data on. I only used that part of the task to keep him fully engaged in the session.

My bright little buddy took each animal off of the tray and placed it where he thought it would live. He had to say their name and where they lived in a sentence. He wasn't too sure about their living quarters, but it was fun helping him figure it out. I got a good laugh out of him when I said, "If it can EAT YOU, you don't want it on the farm!" Then he would say, "The duck can't eat you so it must be on the farm!"

My heart was swollen with pride. He only missed two animals. This is what it is all about my friends...

The progress.


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Thursday, January 21, 2016

My PRN toolkit...for the SNF and Home Health


I work for a company that has more than 5 facilities that I serve in my immediate area. At this point, I have become familiar with each of their therapy rooms, activity rooms, etc. If I have a question, I am familiar enough to a handful of staff members, to locate something I need.

This hasn't always been the case though. When I was doing home health and SNF therapy PRN, before the days of portable technology, apps, and iPads, I had a rather sizable bag that I would carry with me that had anything I needed to treat patients on the fly!

This bag contained most of these things all the time...unless I lost/left an item somewhere! I decided to go through my bag this weekend and get it organized. I was surprised at some of the things that had collected in this bottomless pit!



Items: Tongue Depressors, Straws, Lemon Glycerin Swabs, Dum Dums. 
Used for: Oral motor exercises for dysarthria or dysphagia

Items: Straws, Pinwheels, cotton balls, washi tape and a few copies of my patient education handouts on conserving energy at mealtime.
Used for: Breath support exercises, sustaining and controlling exhalation, teaching pursed lip breathing, patient education.

Items: A deck of bicycle playing cards and a deck of UNO cards
Used for: Cognition-Sequencing, Sorting, attention to task, problem solving

Item: Basic Photo Memory Cards (this is my favorite set)
Used for: Cognition-memory of three photos, concentration/memory game, categorization, telling relationships between two items, attention to task
Expressive Language-Naming, Giving description or attributes of item pictured
Receptive Language-Identifying named photo or described photo

Item: Blank copies of Peg Patterns and markers, post it tags for visual cueing
Used for: Cognition-attention to task, problem solving, multi level sequencing
I like to let the patients make their own pattern and leave them in the therapy room for the patient to show their weekly therapist what they have done over the weekend.

Item: A seasonal everyday magazine like Women's Day or Good Housekeeping
Used for: facilitating conversation with dementia patients, naming, reading comprehension

Item: Large print word search
Used for: Memory (take away the word list and only give two or three words at a time), visual problem solving, following directions (give directional cues as to where the word is located in the puzzle when they can't find it easily), attention to task

Item: Small dry erase board and marker (I like the kind that has the eraser on the end), index cards and binder clips.
Used for: Augmentative Communication, answering yes/no questions for non-verbal patients, written cues for following one step or multi step directions or memory of directions over several minutes pertaining to a therapeutic task, and a good, old fashioned game of tic tac toe or hangman!

Item: my iPad
Used for: SO many uses! I open THESE peg board patterns in iBooks. I use it to take pictures such as THESE for a quick working memory task. I have a few favorite apps such as THESE.


After cleaning out and organizing, I realized that I had a lot of good stuff in there that I couldn't stand to part with...just yet. After all, you MUST carry your own purple mouse everywhere you go, right?!? ...priorities people!

What do YOU carry in your bag? Comment below...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Best Dollar Store Speech Finds!


I have been known to spend over $50 at a time at the local Dollar Tree so I thought I just HAD to get in on this one! My favorite things to get are the usual stickers and goodies for the grab bucket. My kids get grabs when they return signed documentation to me or when they work extra hard on drill in a session.


In my line of work, you ALWAYS need extra dice...


...and some buggy headbands for retelling the ladybug and caterpillar stories...
It just makes it more FUN!


I like sending home puzzles with my students. A large majority of my kids come from homes with little to no developmental toys...


The dollar store in my town ALWAYS has great flashcards which are good for take home activities...


Extra hearts are great for Bingo cover ups, Valentine board games, or token economy systems...


I ALWAYS need bingo daubers...just make sure NOT to use them on picture day...Lesson Learned!


These chip clips make GREAT card holders for little hands...


My favorite find so far....Ta Da! Little noisy birds to use for positional concepts. 
Just remember when you turn on your classroom light first thing in the morning, you are NOT hosting a family of nesting birds in your room. It's only the little plastic ones in the bottom shelf!


So that sums up my quick trip around my speech room to find just the tip of my Dollar Store Stash. I'm a self proclaimed hoarder, so you can only imagine!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Winter Reminisce Activity


Print and use this activity today! This download contains 15 different seasonal reminisce questions and topics for use during January and February. At least five different therapy ideas are included. This type of activity will work well in small groups, individual sessions, and co-treating scenarios. Keep them in your pocket for those patients who are harder to encourage to come to therapy as a means to "break the ice" when entering a room. It will make a difference in their willingness to participate if you start the conversation like this...












Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Play Ball Like a SLP

Working PRN at the SNF on weekends, it can get a little lonely. I much prefer the weekdays of Christmas break and Summer break that I get to work with the entire team! Since I have known them all so long...and they know my ways...I like to leave little silly notes for them like the one I left the OT one Saturday..."Note to self: Leave Darla chocolate in bottom drawer" to which I was pleasantly surprised the next weekend when I discovered a full size Hershey bar in his bottom drawer! 

Since my daughter goes to work with me most of the time, she draws the weekday therapists pictures or invades the OT craft station and creates them a unique little gift. 

Little gifts made of tissue paper and pipe cleaners are always nice, but I like to leave them little COGNITIVE SURPRISES for them to find on Monday morning!

I posted this on my Facebook page last Saturday when working at the SNF. My followers loved it so much they began sending me pictures of their own creations the next day!

The Physical therapists commented that they used this ball toss activity for their goals that address strength, standing balance, weight shifting, and standing. (They also said that it made for a nice impromptu game of dodge ball!)

Occupational therapists used it to work on fine motor and gross motor skills, sequencing, standing tolerance, sitting balance, gross motor coordination, upper extremity ROM, hand/eye coordination, and following directions.

Speech therapists said they were able to target attention, problem solving, sequencing, memory, verbal expression (by having to tell the rules to another patient)...Here's the great part...ALL while standing, working on balance and reaching skills with other disciplines! Co-treating at it's finest. That's what I LOVE to see. Teams of therapists working together to challenge their patients in functional situations that will make a lasting impression on them and those who are watching. 

Here are some of my readers and their patients showing off their own ball toss activities:


Minda Butler, SLP said, "I had to adapt due to space issues but my patient loved it!! I added things like math problem solving ( what is 2+4. And what is 2+3-1). I also had him show me the year, the year he was born etc. thanks for your great ideas!"



April Rosales, COTA shared: "I was so inspired by your idea that my patient and I came up with a Valentine holiday toss!!! She had to pull a phrase from the bowl and then match the phrase to the wall. The goals targeted were standing balance and tolerance, hand/eye coordination, activity tolerance and GMC/FMC."

Please continue to share your unique ideas in the comments below or tag @msgardeniasspeechroom on Instagram with the #SNFspeech. 

or

I can't wait to see what you have created this week!




Friday, January 8, 2016

Little Hands, Big Dreams!



January means back to school, starting our winter vocabulary and celebrating Martin Luther King Day with our students by teaching them about hope, kindness, peace, dreams, and public speaking.

I got a cute bulletin board idea from THIS PIN by Michelle at Just Wild About Teaching.

Although the bulletin board turned out adorable, the activity that we did to decorate it was even more precious. Latoya Reed at Flying Into First has an amazing free download in her TpT Store that was PERFECT for my kiddos. One of my goals this year is to incorporate writing into my groups. It takes longer for activities, but the benefit is huge. I love to watch the kids sound out their words and spell phonetically using their emerging writing skills. It's fascinating to me!

Before we began writing and drawing, we talked about what a dream is. Of course the subject of scary dreams came up and we had to talk about the difference in dreams when we sleep and dreams such that are life goals. I tried to explain this in a way as "something you can't even imagine that you would like to do or be one day." This was a difficult task to comprehend for my littles. I watched their eyes and faces transform from confused to silly to HOPEFUL.

After much consideration and self reflection...as much as a five year old can do in less than 30 minutes, I was just amazed at the responses that were given. My first Kinder kiddo had the idea that he would want to ride on the back of a dinosaur! We talked about fiction and reality for a minute and he decided that in REAL life, the best thing he could even imagine would be digging for dinosaur bones. His condition was, they all needed to be pretty close together and not spread apart.  As he began to illustrate his sentence, he included his boots, his hat and of course his "vest with lots of pockets." My favorite part of this conversation was when I asked him if he needed tools in his picture. He said, "No. I'm the boss. The boss just walks around and looks!" At this point I just smiled and thought to myself, "Well little buddy, you might be onto something and of course you will be the boss!" He reluctantly added some tools... Isn't it amazing?


Once they completed their masterpiece, we all went into the hall and made a huge production out of placing their dream alongside the dreams of their peers. I had them recite their dream aloud for the whole group to hear. It was just an amazing day! I have never been more proud of a bulletin board...


Now I would like to share the other dreams from that day and share their illustrations below:

My students now dream and can one day... 

...go to the park with my family.
...be like Batman.
...be a Dallas Cowboy.
...live in a castle.


...take my brother to the beach.
...sail in the ocean.
...be a policeman. 
...be a fireman.


What are your dreams? 

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.