Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Deal of the Century

Hi readers and friends,

It's been a while---I'm retired.  My hubby and I took a trip to Madrid and Barcelona in April. Then in June, we visited Norway, Estonia, and Finland.  We've also spent quite a bit of time taking care of our two sweet grandchildren.  That all was delightful.

Sadly, my wonderful mother-in-law passed away in June.  She was my role model in life.

Suffice it to say, not a lot of time in there for creating materials and blogging, but I'm back.  Keep reading,


I have a fantastic deal for all of you-- especially those of you who work with the more linguistically challenged children.  I am on the board of New Voices Foundation.  Click on the link to find out more--but basically we support classrooms and teachers of students who have severe communication and physical challenges in central North Carolina. 

Teachers in this area are in dire need of training, specifically in the use of PODD systems.  New Voices provides funding to the teachers to attend trainings (so they don't pay out of pocket) but demand has outpaced the New Voices budget.  A month ago, I created a Go Fund Me page for teacher training.  Response to this has been a bit slow, so HERE'S THE DEAL!

Donate to this project---ten dollars or more.  I will gladly send you two products from my TPT store free.  If you don't want or need my products, consider donating a modest amount anyway.  It's for the benefit of children with severe communication needs.

If you donate and want products, let me know at speech40@gmail.com

Check out my TPT store and let me know what you would like (two products including any bundles).
I have some great items for back-to-school and fall.

This is a worthwhile cause which will impact the lives of many of our children in a positive way.
Please consider donating.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

"My Beak, Your Beak"-- Free Companion Materials for Comparing/Contrasting

Now that my little granddaughter is four, she totally loves books.  I found one at our awesome library that would be great for teaching comparing/contrasting in a speech/language therapy session. It's "My Beak, Your Beak" by Melanie Walsh.

From Amazon: "Melanie Walsh, creator of Do Pigs Have Stripes? and Do Monkeys Tweet? shows her skill in reaching the youngest readers. Walsh shows differences between pairs of animals and then shows how they are similar.
Lions are big and have hairy manes. Kittens are small and fluffy. But . . . they both have scratchy claws!
There are birds and bats, sharks and goldfish, penguins and birds—who at first may seem very different, but share similarities, too. Children will love guessing on their own."  

The author compares 5 pairs of animals, with clear illustrations, and simple language--perfect for our kids.  I've created a set of visuals to go with this book, all free, just for you.  You will have to find the book--it's for sale online, or you can check out your local library, which is what I did.

The visuals have clipart from Smarty Symbols for each animal, along with a sample Venn diagram and a blank Venn diagram.

The book is loads of fun, and the kids will all love this.

For the free set of visuals to go with this book, click here.

A while back, I made a comprehensive set of visuals to go with 'Nothing Like a Puffin' along with some supplemental teaching materials, and a compare/contrast game.  You can view 'Nothing Like a Puffin' companion pack here on TPT.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Open the Door! Make a Simple House Craft--printable directions, sequencing, communication board

Last week, I posted a free simple book to elicit the word 'Open'.  This week, I'm sharing a craft also designed ultimately to elicit the same word.  Links to download are at the bottom of this post.

This craft comes with free downloadable step by step directions, a sequencing activity, a simple communication board, and some sample yes/no and wh-questions.

Sample instruction page

Simple core/fringe communication board.
Use the child's own core board and system if you want.

                                Sequencing page activity
This activity was originally meant for a Teachers Pay Teachers product.  When I looked at how many 'core vocabulary' products were for sale on TPT, I felt the market was a bit glutted there (as in 1,470 products listed when I typed in 'core vocabulary' under speech therapy) so I switched this to free on this blog.  Core vocabulary words are beautiful because children can use them in any school or daily living activity all day long.  This is a simple craft to elicit a few, including the target word 'open'.  

Have fun!  This can go with my previous blog post where I listed a free book "What Can Open?"

Click here to download this craft booklet.
Click here to also download a free book, "What Can Open?"

This picture was too good not to share--my granddaughters.  As an SLP, I can't help but marvel at the eye contact and happy smile on the 6 week old baby's part, and the ablility of the fun-loving 4 year old to elicit a response.  

Thursday, March 1, 2018

"What Can Open?"--Free Printable Book with Icons

A very functional word to teach your students is 'Open'.  Everything seems to open, so here's a free book to let the children practice using this word with a variety of nouns. (13 pages including icons)

The symbols are Smarty Symbols---Please do not use these in another product as they are copyrighted. I have a commercial license.

The images are from Pixabay---public domain.

The last two pages are icons (Smarty Symbols) for matching, and a small sentence frame.

Here is the download link:

Click here to download "What Can Open" 

For an extension craft, go here. The kids will be provided step-by-step directions for making an 'open the door' house craft.
Icons for the "What Can Open" book

If you are interested in another Core Vocabulary Product, go here for a packet highlighting
"Look and Go".

In the ongoing saga of my life, I have retired again, however, with our new little addition to our family, I have important grandmother responsibilities.  The picture below illustrates a typical morning.

Monday, February 12, 2018

TPT Sale and Gift Card Giveaway

Teachers Pay Teachers is a bargain at all times, and it's even more so on February 14 and 15 where there is a sitewide sale---Everything in my store will be 20% off and TPT will throw in an additional 5% when you type in the promo code  XOXO.  

I have been given a 10 dollar gift card by TPT to promote the sale!  If you would like to be considered for the gift card, you can enter in the running by sending your email to me at speech40@gmail.com.  We will randomly draw a name 9:00 a.m on February 14, and email the lucky winner the gift card code. Ten dollars will go far with this awesome sale!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Why I Quit

The past few months with a new job have allowed me to seriously reflect on personal happiness, health, and guilt-free options.

You probably all don't know my work history, but I started an awesome retirement in February 2017.
In July 2017, I then was hired on by the same school system as a part-time teacher (itinerant) for hearing impaired children.  At the time, it seemed like a perfect marriage between my former career as a speech-language pathologist, and my other former career as an educator for the deaf.  I was hired as the only teacher of the deaf for this district.

After beginning that new job in August, I resigned in January.  Why, you may ask?  After all, I was in fact very familiar with the school system, IEPs, community, and the special education field.  I did have 25 years experience with this same system.  What could go wrong?  With me, it was a lack of anticipation.

1. I didn't anticipate the work-related anxiety.  I started in August, and by September, I was having difficulty functioning at home.  The 'anxiety knot' (for lack of a better term) simply wouldn't go away.
The job was part-time, two and a half days a week, but even when I would leave it on Wednesday, it wasn't until Saturday that I could function. 
    The picture below is a screenshot of my resting heart rate, as measured by FitBit.  Basically it shows how well I've been sleeping at night. The lower the heart rate, the sounder the sleep.  Even though I was only working part time, my nights were filled with worry about my students, and feelings of angst about the job. I finally decided I wasn't getting paid enough to drag the worry around with me 24 hours a day.

2. I didn't anticipate how the lack of instructional funding would affect me.  North Carolina seems to expect that teachers purchase supplies out of pocket, and that was certainly true for me. I was forced to raid random bookrooms, purchase materials from Teachers Pay Teachers, submit DonorChoose grants, and otherwise beg for scraps.

3. I didn't anticipate that I wouldn't have enough time to teach the students.  Too many high needs students, too little time (I was only half time), too many schools, no instructional money---all leads back to reason number 1.

4. Myriad other reasons involving serious student equity issues, my own feelings of isolation in the job, no 'guide book', low pay, low morale in the entire special education department.  It was impossible to stay happy.  Since I already had health insurance and other benefits with my pension, there was no incentive to stay.  I hope that if any of you readers are seriously unhappy in a work setting, you feel free to explore other options. 

5. New job!  I'm looking forward to spending lots of time with the grandkids!   Isabel was born January 10 joining her big sister Lily! 

My hope is that the school administration will look at this particular position and make some changes.  Bumping it to full-time would be one---as of now, the position is still vacant.  With no benefits, and a half-time salary, few people will line up to even interview.  Other changes would be to include the teacher in a professional learning community to reduce the feelings of isolation.  Providing instructional funding would be a necessity, as well as adequate office space. Providing a mentor for a new teacher also seems vital. 
   Given the state of turmoil that NC education is in, changes are doubtful.  I can only hope, for the children's sake.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Accountable Talk® for Everyone---Shout out to Chapel Hill Schools SLP blog with free printable

My former SLP colleagues at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools put out a blog post from time to time.  They're busy, so their postings have been a little sporadic lately--I know how that goes.  Initial enthusiasm tapers off, and pretty soon, a blog post seems to be a monthly, then quarterly event.

Their latest post, Accountable Talk® for Everyone, is a particulary good one.  Buddy talk, Accountable Talk, small group discussions, partner work---these are all extremely challenging for language impaired children.  The child may know answers, but to explain thought processes, or to think about ideas from others' perpectives and provide verbal supports for your own opinions is difficult.  The author of this blog post, Sarah Smith, M.S,, CCC-SLP, has provided the readers with free visuals to aid a child duing Accountable Talk times in the classroom.  These are leveled flip books--one for beginners, and one for more advanced learners.

If you are interested in these free downloads, hop on over to the Chapel Hill Speech Pathologist blog by clicking here, find the link, and download.