Saturday, November 30, 2013

Candy Canes Everywhere--free printable

Simple is better; Repetition is good

This free printable book is in a format that will look familiar to many of you.  I plan on using this in my less advanced groups and individually.  You can too!  It also fits in with the holiday theme, with a touch of advice at the end.

  I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.  I'm blessed with plenty of everything and a great family.

Click here to download this book in Boardmaker.

Click here to download this book in pdf
icons and blue sentence strip

We had a special treat at Thanksgiving!  We chatted with Andorra who is in the Peace Corps in Indonesia, literally on the other side of the world.  This left me feeling full of gratitude for her and what she is trying to do, and for the wonders of the internet.  I miss her terribly, but virtual chats make her seem closer.

Google chat between Andorra and her grandmother


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On the Christmas Tree--simple printable book with icons

We are headed to Brevard on Thanksgiving morning--over the river and through the woods.  I am putting up a simple book (found on Tarheel Reader and adapted, and I also changed many of the pictures that were not sharable). We only have three weeks of school before Christmas, so I'm putting up as much as I can now.  Go HERE to a modest holiday collection.

Click here to download this book and icons.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
I'm thankful for all of you, and for the technology which allows me to share with you and to learn from all of my fellow bloggers.

SmartySymbols icons now (commercial license)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sunny Articulation Phonology Test--a Godsend app, literally

I'm a little slow with my app reviews.  Someone gave me this app--Sunny Articulation Phonology Test (maybe someone from Smarty Ears gave it to me to review?--it's been so long I can't remember).  I used it and stewed over it.  I wasn't sure of the pictures (what kid knows 'dove'?) or the way the errors were recorded.  There were a few minor things about it I thought I would report on.....but I waited. I hate to be critical.  Then I found that I was using this app, a lot!


Other bloggers have actually reviewed this app extensively, so I feel I don't need to give a tutorial.  Actually the app is so intuitive that any competent speech pathologist can figure it out.  Basically, the child is shown a series of pictures (with or without voice).  The child labels the picture and the clinician records the errors.  At the end, a report is generated.


I've discovered that for simple articulation cases, and for progress monitoring, this app is the way to go.  I've totally abandoned paper forms for the mild to moderate articulation kids.  Why use an expensive Goldman-Fristoe protocol when you have a high tech app to use?

Also, this app is very easy to use if you are just being asked to 'talk to' a child which does happen quite a bit in a school setting.  There is a screening version (shorter)!  Perfect.

If you are a busy school clinician with an iPad or iPhone, use this.  Don't use paper.  Ultimately the app will pay for itself.

sample report---email to yourself and pring

I will say that for the more complicated children (e.g. those who have serious intelligibility issues, this app may not fit your needs.  Most likely, that's when you drag out your other assessment tools, and write a more thorough report.  However, if you have a child who can't say 'r' or 'k'---this saves time and paper.  Go for it!   I am! 


Monday, November 25, 2013

The Thankful Family

 I posted this last year, and love it so much, I'm doing it again.  I'll treasure this forever.


When Vicki was in first grade, she had the greatest teacher ever--Ann Overton.  She asked the kids to do a project involving being thankful, and involving the family.  Vicki, David, and I all took this on, and the end result was a video that I replay occasionally, and totally love. (This was all done with VHS--no digital yet.)  I'll never forget helping her with this!  It was the best school homework project ever!  By the way, the kids pictured in this are now all adults---they do grow up fast.   Yeah!!!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

LEP Checklist for your language evaluations--free download

When I first started in education, children who did not speak English as a primary language were a novelty.   People stared at the kids as though they had three legs! 

Times have changed. Now speaking a different language is almost the norm.

 The question for us as SLPs has become how to evaluate the kids for speech/language disorders.  I can't answer that question here, but can offer you one tool to help in preparing for a language evaluation.  In our school system, we are fortunate to have a Spanish speaking speech-language pathologist, Jennifer Kirschner, CCC-SLP,  who assesses our Spanish speaking children.  She has created a checklist and questionnaire for teachers to fill out prior to an evaluation.  It's important to note that the teacher is asked to compare these kids to children of similar backgrounds (as opposed to comparing them to native English speakers).  This checklist is an excellent tool in seeing how the children are progressing, and accessing the regular curriculum.  A speech pathologist can use this for LEP children speaking any language.

It's so important to gather all the data you can for children who don't speak English at home.  The last thing an SLP wants to do is to misidentify a child as having a language disorder, when the child is only struggling with learning English.  This is one tool to help in the process.

Click here to download the checklist in pdf

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How not to serve pancakes (school breakfast)

This is a quiz.

1. Guess which picture I took of a school breakfast?  (Left or Right)

2. The correct way to serve pancakes is with:
   a. a plate
   b. utensils
   c. both
   d. none

Apparently our school goes with d.  The kids are given pancakes heated in a bag, which they open, and eat with fingers, dipping them into (corn) syrup.  The creative girl, to the right, didn't know that trick and created a plate from her bag, pouring syrup as she does at home.  Her problem then was one of how to eat it without a fork.
I have a problem anyway of just providing morning carbs to kids without much in the way of fiber or protein.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

'Including Samuel'--full length movie; a Must-See for anyone in education

A long time ago, I posted about a YouTube video I saw, which was an abbreviated version of "Including Samuel".  Now the full length version is available.


"Before his son Samuel was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, photojournalist Dan Habib rarely thought about the inclusion of people with disabilities. Now he thinks about inclusion every day. Shot and produced over four years, Habib’s award-winning documentary film, Including Samuel, chronicles the Habib family’s efforts to include Samuel in every facet of their lives. The film honestly portrays his family’s hopes and struggles as well as the experiences of four other individuals with disabilities and their families. Including Samuel is a highly personal, passionately photographed film that captures the cultural and systemic barriers to inclusion."

On a personal note, I've seen this a few times, and it always brings tears to my eyes- of joy (watching Samuel's successes), and of sorrow (seeing the struggles of many of the kids and parents).  You must watch this.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thanksgiving and Hunger--Facing Reality

I love holiday themes, up to a point.  Right now, many of my materials feature turkeys and a few food items.  I do this because school teachers also focus on it, and the kids are exposed to the vocabulary during their regular school day.  I am a related service to their education, so I need to support what is already happening.  Personally, I also love Thanksgiving traditions in my own family. 

One thing I try not to do though with some children is speak glowingly of massive Thanksgiving meals.  I don't make books about Thanksgiving meals (although I have used familiar children's literature about these meals). North Carolina is ahead of the pack in food insecurity in children; and some of my students are among these who don't know where the next meal is coming from. 

Click here to read the article

I also do not suggest Thanksgiving menus or ask kids to draw pictures of what belongs on a Thanksgiving table.

Go here for another article

I try to be sensitive to the issues of my kids, as I think all of you are.    I've seen anger in the eyes of my older students when I ask them what they did for Thanksgiving, so over the years, I've altered my questions to be more general.  When coming off of Thanksgiving, I don't talk about the gluttony that I enjoyed with my own family.  I'm blessed to be well off, but don't need to flaunt it.

I do spend a little time with the kids asking them what they are thankful for.  Sometimes we do a group "thankful project"--everyone has something they can appreciate in their lives.  The actual meal I've enjoyed, however, I keep low key, and only in vague terms, for they may not have had enough.  

It's a balance---offer the vocabulary, use the words of the dominant culture, but don't raise anxiety levels in children who are in need.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Graduate Student Intern Supervision---21st Century Style

I could not help but noticing a plethora of paper forms offered on Teachers Pay Teachers for supervision of graduate speech/language pathology interns, especially for a public school placement.

I have a secret to share---those interns are probably gifted in using technology for most of their needs.  I would suggest that the rest of us strive to keep up with them, and embrace technology when supervising. As much as possible, go paperless!
screenshot of partial Google form

Here's what I do:


  • IEPs still need to stay in paper form.  I'm not allowed to share these electronically. I share the paper documents with my interns who can copy student goals and objectives onto their lesson plans.
  • Therapy documentation---although I use Google forms and spreadsheets for my own therapy documentation, my interns record therapy notes by hand.  I feel that they need to do this before progressing to e-forms. In this format, I can also sign off on their therapy notes.


  • Our Schedules---I create an intern schedule and share it via Google spreadsheets.  I also share my own schedule which is intertwined with the intern's since I need to supervise, model appropriate therapy, and observe.
  • Lesson plans---I've created a very simple lesson plan form that I share via Google docs.  A graduate intern can save it, copy it for each session, and after typing into it, can share it electronically with me.
  • Feedback---I use a Google form to offer feedback to my intern weekly.  I have one form for evaluations and one form for therapy.  Feedback from each form entry is automatically sent to a spreadsheet shared between me and the intern. This method is invaluable because it shows growth over time, and provides a way for the intern to see strengths and weaknesses instantly (online).  No secrets, no surprises.      My interns have appreciated this; there's never been a negative comment from them.  In addition, this method helps me to stay on track with supervision and to remember what I've observed and written.  
Interns taking a class at UNC

 If you are interested in learning more about using Google forms and spreadsheets in graduate intern supervision, click HERE.   You will find links there to templates you can use for your own use to edit as you need to. After I started using Google forms and spreadsheets for feedback and for showing clinical skill growth, it has been the only way. My forms are closely aligned with ASHA supervision rubrics.

sample form after a few weekly feedback entries

If you have questions, please leave a comment below.  Too much paper confuses me---in this century, digital is the way to go.



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Five Little Turkeys--adapted printable book

I was inspired tonight to create a Boardmaker book about the "Five Little Turkeys" who seem to have difficulties staying with their group. 

first two pages
 Essentially the plot is that initially 5 turkeys hang out, but with every verse, one turkey doesn't know how to stay with the group and waddles away.   This could be a social story.

Seriously, the kids will like it since the book is interactive.  Attach a turkey by velcro at marked spots.  They can waddle the turkeys right off the page!
some middle pages

last pages

Click here to download in pdf

Three weeks until Thanksgiving!

I just got a question about how to make Boardmaker books fit on one big Boardmaker grid rather than having to save several different pages.   In boardmaker, you go to file, and click 'Board setup'.

Then when a popup window comes up, you determine height and width of the board you want. 8 by 10 is the size of a sheet of paper.  If you have multiple pages, make the dimensions bigger.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ipad Rage; Letter to Graduate Interns--two of my favorite past postings

From time to time, I've posted 'musings' which aren't about fun therapy materials to download; instead, they are just what is on my  mind at the moment.  These blog entries tend to get buried in time, however; but since they remain pertinent to what I do, I want to share again! I have several I'd like you to see, but am only going to repost two at a time.   Enjoy!

Ipad Rage

This issue has actually raised its ugly head again in my school.  Definitely worth reading!  

Letter to Graduate Student Interns in Speech Pathology

Graduate interns come from all walks of life, and may even not want to be with you.  Yet, they are seeking recommendations, evaluations, and future employment possibilities.  Here's a letter to them.   

So these are two of my past postings.  More to come!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

It's all about birds tonight.....up close!

So today was my birthday.  I work with teachers as young as my own children, and you know what?  I know more then them!  About everything except pop music......  and I have never felt so healthy.  The gluten free diet has been a miracle.  I'm just happy for everything, and am grateful to be 57 and healthy.

This post tonight is not about speech therapy. It's to show off the awesome pictures that my daughter, Vicki, has been taking on Kiawah Island (she is working there as a bird banding intern).  I love these.

OK, not a bird, but a 'rough green snake'. Most of you don't like snakes, but I do! 
Lots of bands!  Only the metal one is from Vicki's site.

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

Vicki with blue jay

Yellow-breasted Chat

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

I just love his hawk photo. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Mary Wore Her Red Dress printables

School should be cancelled on the day after Halloween.  Stress and exhaustion reigned today at my school.  TGIF!

Our fab OT and I attempted to introduce a new book with the little friends in the EC class (Mary Wore Her Red Dress). I didn't have my own printables, and instead downloaded some from Boardmaker Share, which I normally love, but this time, they didn't suit the group's needs, and the book reading wasn't quite right.

So, I made my own printable icons to try next week! If at first you don't succeed, try again; change it to make it work!  I've paired the color word with a black/white icon for the object. I will leave pairs attached when cutting them out.  Look for the link below to download these.  This really is a great book complete with cute illustrations, a catchy repetitive nature, and a familiar theme for the kids!

What was really fun was letting the kids try on some clothes afterwards. The clothing also didn't quite match the book, but it didn't matter.  We had one kid who was a bit tactilely defensive--so he just watched, and another kid who super enthused about the pink pants.

 I plan on doing this lesson again, individually with some of the kids.  In the past, I've taken pictures and made a class book.  We'll see if that happens this year!

Click here to download the icons in boardmaker

Click here to download the icons in pdf

Pink pants!

Happy November everyone!!!!