Sunday, May 31, 2015

Nothing Like a Puffin--Compare and Contrast Literacy/Activity Packet

I have a new favorite book---Nothing Like a Puffin by Sue Soltis.
It's really wonderful as a springboard to teach comparing and contrasting.

Here's Amazon's words: "A puffin is an amazing creature. It's completely unique and one-of-akind. A ladder is nothing like a puffin. A house is nothing like a puffin. A newspaper is nothing like a puffin. . . . But wait! Who would have guessed? Could these things be more alike than you think? Young children will love following this mischievous puffin in an entertaining exercise in creative classification-- and are guaranteed to start looking at everyday things in a whole new way."  (

I found my book at the public library, and have used it several times with my kids.  They love it. It's not too high for my significantly language impaired first graders in regular education, and over time, I can see them improving in their abilities to tell me how two items are the same and how they are different.

To assist in teaching comparing and contrasting, along with some literacy skills, I've created a literacy/activity packet to go with "Nothing Like a Puffin".

This is nice for integrating literacy into the language tasks of comparing and contrasting.The actual book, "Nothing Like a Puffin" is not included with this packet. You will been to obtain this on your own. It's available at Amazon, Discovery Toys, and possibly your local library.


5 pages of visuals, Venn diagrams, and instructions to go with “Nothing Like a Puffin” (page 3-7)

Printable interactive book “The Very Hungry Pufflings” written by Ruth Morgan (pages 8-19).

Sequencing worksheet for “The Very Hungry Pufflings” (page 20)

3 pages of questions with visual multiple choice questions to go along with “The Very Hungry Pufflings”(21-23)

9 page printable book to use during therapy “Let’s Compare and Contrast” (pages 24-32)

“The Same and Different Game”—game board, 18 picture pairs to compare and contrast, one data sheet (page 34--38)
I realize most of you are headed into summer break.  Keep this in mind for the fall!

Who's in Your Boat? Working Together as a Professional Learning Community

I really like this cartoon.  It clearly illustrates dysfunctional teams--members don't realize that for their organization to be effective, all members need to pitch in, problem solve, and work together.

One very effective way that our school system makes sure we are working together as a team is by forming Professional Learning Communities (PLC).  I belong to two different PLCs---the special education PLC in my school composed of resource teachers, therapists, and system level teachers.  I also belong to a PLC composed of all of the speech-language pathologists in the district. The concept behind professional learning communities is great---implementation takes work.

When I look around my school, it's clear to me which teams are working together to keep their boat afloat.  Those are the teams that divide the workload, share lesson plans, share materials, and meet regularly.  They problem solve together about challenging children, and when a teacher needs help, these teams actually share their assistants.  A good PLC has a organized dedicated leader who other team members respect, and the leader, in turn, respects the members of the PLC.  Without naming specific names, the second grade PLC in my school is wonderful, and if I had a child of that age, I would feel comfortable with him or her in any of the classrooms.

Another team that is functioning in an awesome way is our SLP team---We have regular meetings, and attempt to stay 'on the same page' in terms of placing students in speech, writing similar IEP goals, using research based practice, and problem-solving.  Often a speech pathologist from one school will help out someone at another with assessments and therapy.  Materials are shared, and advice given freely.  Members congratulate others on their successes, and there are always shoulders to cry on during sad times.  All of this takes place under our lead, who also shares the caseload.  As each year goes on, this PLC becomes stronger and more effective.

The point is, if you feel lost and alone in your job, hook up with professionals who are literally  'in your boat' (working in your organization).  Find times to meet and problem solve.  Share time, materials, and advice.  Set goals. Work on some common professional development together.  Our SLP group does this, and the results have been amazing!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Verbs of Summer--Free Printable Interactive book

I'm on cloud nine!!! Bursting with anticipation!

My daughter in the Peace Corps will be coming back from the beautiful country of Indonesia after 27 months on June 12!
Time has gone by!  We are so proud of her.

To help pass the time I'm spending waiting for her, I've put together a book that is timely for all of you---Verbs of Summer.

The language is simple; pictures are from Photos for Class.
Clip art is from Smarty Symbols, which is copyrighted, so don't share them.  I do pay a subscription fee to use them in my materials.  If you like them, you should subscribe too!  They are awesome!

Here are some screenshots from the book.

I need to do this 'relaxing thing' pictured in the photo!

Click here to download this book.

icons to make the book interactive

Have fun!   What are you planning on doing this summer?


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Opposites Bingo and an Interactive Opposites Book

A while back, I posted an Opposites Bingo game.  You can still get it free HERE if you have Boardmaker.

If you do not have access to Boardmaker, here is an updated pdf version with Smarty Symbols, along with an interactive book, "Opposites Attract".  It's better than the Boardmaker version.
This is for a modest price, but that helps cover the expense of paying for the commercial license for Smarty Symbols (worth every penny, though.  I love that symbol set!)

 Kids need to make associations and connections or they won't learn new vocabulary.  Opposites, synonyms, categories, features, functions----they all need taught.This focuses on opposites, for now.

Go HERE for the updated pdf version of Opposites Fun!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

There's a Shark in the Park! Companion Pack to a great book teaching joint attention, part/whole, and 'all abouts'

I hope the title grabbed your attention!

Some of my kiddos have difficulties in that area; joint attention, that is, not sharks or parks.  This book, Shark in the Park, is perfect as a springboard into teaching kids to follow eye gaze of another (thinking with your eyes).  A kid can't really do whole body listening if he can't use his eyes to see what others are looking at and thinking about.

Do not buy the Shark in the Park book by Phil Cox. It's a completely different book.  It might be a fine read, but doesn't go with my materials. Look for the book by Nick Sharratt. 

Here's a video of this book read aloud. You can get the gist of this cute book after the first couple of pages.  I love it because the kids have to make predictions and learn repeatable lines. It's a funny book, very entertaining to both children and adults. The language is clear, illustrations are adorable, and there's a fun twist at the end.   All my kids have enthusiastically embraced "Shark in the Park"!

I've developed a companion pack to go with this book.  There are several teaching points here which I can explain.

a. Joint attention and following another person's eyegaze: A telescope lends itself to this.  In my materials, I have a simple step-by-step craft for making a telescope.  A few kids and I have had fun guessing what each of us is looking at, then retrieving the items. One of the teachers I work with does this with her whole EC class.  It's a great activity to reinforce joint attention!  The guy in the picture below is my significant other, by the way......forced into this. Now he's famous.

b. Part vs Whole:  This is a common core curriculum concept.  When you look through a telescope, you naturally see part of something.  I have a companion book here which looks at parts of things, and then whole things.

c. 'All About' Books:  A sample "All about Sharks" book is included, along with a blank graphic organizer.  Use this organizer to fill out with the kids about another animal.  Those kids that write can use this to write their own "All About" book about a different animal.

As you can see, you can use this book on multiple levels.  The whole book rhymes, too.  I didn't add this as an activity but as I read the book, I do ask kids to identify the words that rhyme and generate more words.

Have fun!

You can get this packet here on TPT. 

As usual, if you are a starving CF, email me.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

What's in your Cart? Teacher Appreciation Sale

I'm still a novice with my little Teachers Pay Teachers store, but so far, I've loved being involved with this dynamic group of speech pathologists who sell their wonderful products.  Here's the big news---Tuesday and Wednesday, TPT is throwing a sale.  You will get 20% off everything in my store (Chapel Hill Snippets) and if you type 'Thank You' into the promo code place, TPT will give you additional savings! 

Although everything in my store will be on sale, I thought if you need a last minute Mother's Day idea for a literacy activity, check out this!  This is a companion pack to the classic "Are you my Mother?" book.

  There are several good products that I've had my eye on that SLPs have put countless hours in preparing.  One I really want is by Teaching Talking entitled Bundle of Themed Craftivities.

One other super product that I'd love is Jenna Rayburn's Summer Preschool Speech and Language Packet: Learning Through Play.  Looks terrific to me especially since I work all summer!

Check out the link up at Speech Room News for more great products.  She's wonderful to host this once again.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Verbs, Verbs, Verbs (printable interactive books collection)-----Repost of past materials free

 Happy May!  Things are looking a bit lush here in North Carolina!   Our school is gearing up for the annual standardized testing ritual.  No one enjoys it much, or at all.

This is a repost, actually a combo of Verbs materials.    The bottom half of this post is a repost from 2013 which highlights all the animal verbs interactive books.  You need verbs to communicate!  These books have them.

------------------------------------------below is a repost from 2013-----------------------------

I like to make interactive books.   The reason for making my own, or adapting the ones I find, is simple---the leveled readers in our school book room simply aren't designed to teach language.  Vocabulary is often not controlled, and the syntax structures become too complex early on.  The school's books are designed for typical language learners who need to learn to read.  My adapted books are designed for kids, who may be able to 'word call' a bit, but need to learn sentence structure and vocabulary.

One little problem with this blog is that I've uploaded things and written blog posts randomly--one day I'll write about an app I like, the next day I'll blog about an adapted book, while the third day, I'll post about a member of my family.  This randomness will continue, but this blog entry is to cluster a few postings.

 This page is to highlight the adapted books on my blog that illustrate verbs.  Each blog post has a free book to download.  In addition, Boardmaker icons are included with each so you can adapt your own books--use velcro, laminate pages, bind them, and keep the books for your own collections--or don't laminate and velcro (it depends upon what you have available---some of you readers are don't have the resources I'm lucky to have.)  Use stuffed animals for the kids to act the verbs out.  Compare and contrast, count, comment, laugh---my kids really love these books!  Language and reading should have a 'fun' component.

Chimps + verbs---go here for the blog post

Dolphins + verbs--go here for the blog post

Pandas + verbs --go here for the blog post

Cats + Verbs--go here for the blog post

Dogs + Verbs--go here for the blog post

Horses + Verbs --go here for the blog post

Pronouns + Verbs---Go here for the blog post