Monday, October 10, 2016

Halloween Night---book by Shannon Moore Fitzgerald; Free Companion Materials

Hello, Here in North Carolina today, we have been trapped in the Hurricane Matthew spiral.  Luckily, Chapel Hill has escaped most of the wrath, but for me personally, it has meant that the beautiful Hilton Head wedding for my daughter was scrapped.  Very sad for her and for all of us who wanted to celebrate this joy.   Maybe a redo in April?  I'll keep you posted.

picture taken of the wedding site before evacuating

I want to highlight a new Halloween book for those of you who work with younger kids.  It's entitled "Halloween Night" written by Shannon Moore Fitzgerald.  I had previously reviewed a Thanksgiving book by this same author, but this book is just as good with great artwork and simple language.

From Amazon:  A rollicking romp through Halloween! Kids of all ages will recognize the sights, sounds, and wonder of Halloween. With a rhyming pattern that is fun and catching, interesting vocabulary, and fun sound words, children will want to read or hear this book over and over. Appropriate for Preschool through upper elementary school audiences. Written and illustrated by Hillsborough, North Carolina author/artist, Shannon Moore Fitzgerald, this book is a rocking good time! Besides the fun text and clever illustrations drawing the reader or listener in, there are lesson resources in the back of the book for teachers, parents, grandparents, homeschoolers, or care givers to springboard children’s learning and creativity. When you wrap learning in fun kids are hooked! Halloween is a magical time, so take advantage of it.

I have taken the liberty of providing some visuals to go with this book. These visuals are from Smarty Symbols and are copyrighted. Please use only with this book.  I liked this book for use with my more challenged children because of the simple language and concepts. If I worked with regular education school aged children, the lessons provided in the back of the book are great for extending thinking and creativity.

Icons for your more challenged learners

Also included in the link below is a visual step by step for making a fun little lollipop ghost.

Pretty awesome book for Halloween.  Order from Amazon, download these visuals and you have a fun little unit!

Click HERE to download visuals free.

disclaimer:  I was given a copy of this book to review but otherwise, gain nothing financially.  This blog contains a link to Amazon.  


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Frozen's Elsa and her Difficulties with Self-Regulation

I don't know about other speech-language pathologists, but I'm finding typical guided reading books a tad boring.  I apologize to whoever wrote all the level F books, but four of my students (third and fourth grade) have been stuck at that level for a while and are getting nowhere fast.
Level F books have riveting titles such as "Cleaning My Room", and "Farm Friends" that would make any third or fourth grader stuck there collapse in boredom while the vocabulary in such books is not enriching to say the least.

Since I'm really not a reading interventionist, and all of my students have IEP goals related to language comprehension (more global than just reading), I've taken a different route for a little while.  All of my kids love Disney, so we searched the Chapel Hill Library website to find books they would like.  The most recent one was Frozen.

Why did I chose such a book?  Simple---the students were familiar with the plot. This became a shared language experience, and they used prior knowledge of the plot to learn new vocabulary and write about the story elements.  They were also extremely interested in this and attentive. (I like the attentive aspect.)

Language lesson aside, what I really wanted to share today was one student's spontaneous observation about Elsa---he described her as first being in the yellow zone, and then the red zone.  He obviously remembered the  Zones of Regulation classes and materials he had been exposed to.  The pictures (and the plot which he had memorized from the movie) helped him to make this connection.

Elsa attempts a strategy to avoid Red. She stays in Yellow a long time.

Red!!!!  (Trigger was jealously over Anna and Hans)
 It's a great thing when you can use a student's experience and knowledge about something such as a movie to connect to such a concept as self-regulation.  I think this worked since students sometimes watch the same movies daily, putting the plot and characters into long term memory.  The student then doesn't have to struggle with story comprehension AND learning new skills at the same time.  If your social skills groups are working with the Zones, try this book!   You don't need to even read the whole thing.  Elsa progresses up the zones in the first few pages.  Read the kids part of the book, and let them peruse the rest on their own after your zones lesson especially if you are like me and operate in 30 minute scheduled sessions.

always seems green to me!

On a personal level, some of you may remember my daughter who had been in the Peace Corps in Indonesia.  This weekend is her wedding!   We're thrilled.  (The wedding is in Hilton Head, however, and Hurricane Matthew is coming north.  We're hoping for no major event!


Monday, September 12, 2016

Fall Products--Affordable Timesavers for your more Language-Challenged Kids

Our temperature here is dipping to the mid 80s---seems very cold compared to the mid to high 90s we've had for a long time!

I thought I was list here the fall goodies I have on Teachers Pay Teachers.  These units are affordable and comprehensive and real timesavers!  All of these are for our more language-challenged children.

Fall Leaves Activity and Literacy Packet
--This has interactive books, a craftivity, visuals for a scavenger hunt, and more!

Apple Literacy Packet
  Interactive books, Pom Pom apple tree craft with visuals, a worksheet, and visuals for all

Back to School Packet--for some of you school has just started.  Check this out!

I also have some mainly free items on my blog which center around fall and apples.
You can check those out here.

If you happen to be a poor CF and need a lift, email me and I can send you units free of charge.

Happy Fall!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Blaine Blows His Top--Book review and Free Printable

School has started down here in NC, along with the passage of tropical storm remnants.  Life goes on as usual!    

A speech-language pathologist, Bethany Vigilante, asked me to take a look at her book, Blaine Blows His Top, and review it.  This seemed like a great book to use with a social skills group (4/5th grade and middle school) so I did!

The character in this book is a young adult who works at a fitness center.  He and the other characters are realistically drawn, bordering on anime, and would be appealing to the pre-teen and teenage sect. He obviously has many frustrating events that happen during the day until it all reaches a climax where he lets his temper out.  The book is written in a catchy rhyme, and is sure to both entertain the students and act as a springboard in a discussion about identifying zones of regulation.  (The character, Blaine, moves through the zones.)

The whole book is great, but I like the ending where Blaine reflects about ways to avoid a blow up in the future.
 "I think it's important to say what I feel
 and not let it build up into an ordeal." 

Maria, Blaine's friend, also reflected on the impact of her own behavior (which ties into Social Thinking where students are taught about the impact of their behaviors on others):
 "My complaining had finally caused you to crack,
 I pushed you too far and you flew off the track."

I love using books such as this with social thinking groups, or with any student who has self-regulation difficulties, and it fits perfectly with a self regulation scale that I had published some time back.  

I have since revised this scale with the help of a fabulous occupational therapist, Tamika Harris, and we have added teacher strategies for helping students get to the 'green' zone.

I highly recommend that you purchase this book, "Blaine Blows His Top", and use it with this scale to teach and reinforce the concepts in self-regulation.  

If you are thinking of purchasing this book, it's available on Amazon. 

disclaimer:  I was given a copy of this book to review but otherwise, gain nothing financially.  This blog contains a link to Amazon.  

Friday, August 19, 2016

Plan Ahead for Thanksgiving---Review of an Awesome Children's Book, and Free Companion Activities

I love children's books, and especially love those with beautiful illustrations, clear language, and simple messages.  Today I was given a new book entitled Thanksgiving Weekend, and fell in love. The author and illustrator, Shannon Moore Fitzgerald, is local to our area, and you can check out her art, musings, and books at She is a former elementary school teacher, author, artist, quilter, and lifelong lover of learning.

In this delightful book about Thanksgiving, the concepts including gratitude, fun, family, sharing, and love are each given their own page, with gorgeous illustrations, and lovely prose.  Each page is a work of art-- a combination of cloth applique and other media, simple enough to convey the main idea but offering enough visual support to provide a springboard for reinforcing vocabulary.

Whenever I find a new book, I always think of our children with language difficulties who need more visual supports, so I developed a set of visuals as an interactive aid for comprehension.  The visuals include icons to match with each page's concept, and a step-by-step set of instructions to make a 'Thankful Turkey' project.  You can download this for free at the end of this post.  The author has also provided nice suggestions at the end of the book for enrichment activities including suggestions for developing a 'gratitude graph', 'gratitude letters', and an Acrostic poem.  Although these didn't come with visual aids, it wouldn't be too difficult to scaffold some of these ideas visually for our EC population.
icons to add an interactive component
Thankful Turkey activity

An Amazon reader wrote about this book: As a special educator and a parent of young children, I am always searching for great holiday and thematic books to read with my kids. I have found Thanksgiving books on turkeys and the history of Thanksgiving, but could never find a book that focuses on GRATITUDE and GIVING THANKS that was also appropriate for young children -- until now!!! I especially love how Fitzgerald's poetic words and beautiful illustrations highlight Thanksgiving vocabulary on each page, like GRATEFUL, SHARING, and BLESSINGS. This book will make you smile and warm your heart, no matter your age. I can't wait to read this at home and in my classroom!

Plan ahead for Thanksgiving!  It'll be here before you know it and this book will work great with your younger learners.

Click here to download the supplementary materials.

disclaimer:  I was given a copy of this book to review but otherwise, gain nothing financially.  This blog contains a link to Amazon.  


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Back to School---Awesome SLP materials! TPT storewide sale!

It's back to school time (almost) and so TPT is throwing a sale!  All of my items are 20% off and then TPT is adding an extra amount off if you use the promotion code BestYear !  You can't go wrong.

I have several awesome items perfect for the more language-challenged children on your caseload. These also work if you are a special education teacher and want to emphasize language/literacy in your classroom centered around themes.

Check out my Apple Literacy Packet with interactive books, a craft, visuals, and nature scavenger hunt.  Kids love it!

A new item is a Friendship Packet.  Kids learn places in the school, learn verbs of friendship, and make a customized friendship booklet.

Finally there's a cute Back to School packet.  This also has interactive booklets, a craft with communication board and sequencing activities and vocabulary bingo.


In addition to selling items on TPT, I also purchase my teaching supplies from some very gifted SLPs.  I have a couple of recommendations for materials that I use all the time.

Super Power Speech has developed an awesome social skills packet with games, posters, and social stories centered around a super hero theme.  Check out Super Social Skills!

Nicole Allison has developed a large pack of articulation carryover materials.  Once I bought this, it was in constant use for those kids who have mastered specific sounds at a word level but need help with self monitoring and carryover.
Check out Articulation for Reading and Conversation!

I hope everyone has a great start to the new school year!  I know I will!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pokémon is Everywhere---Free printable interactive book

I hope everyone is having a good summer!   I am!   After a trip to Yellowstone, I'm a lady of leisure--no summer school work for me this year!

The past two weeks, I've suddenly become aware of Pokemon Go.  I downloaded the app into my phone and stumbled around a park a bit, finding three of them, before deleting the whole thing.  It made me look more like a zombie than I wanted, ha ha.  However, I do recognize that lots of people are really enjoying this, so I perused some public domain photos and created an interactive book for the kids.  Go play Pokemon Go outside with your students, then come back and read a book together! This is a free download.  Picture symbols are from Smarty Symbols---I do have a professional license for using these.  Please don't reuse them on another product. Photo credits are provided in the pdf document where needed.

 Click here to download this free book.  Have fun!
Smarty Symbols

Yellowstone was great, by the way.  We put over 5000 miles on the car and visited or drove through 18 states.  Have to go again.