Friday, October 31, 2014

Do what you love; Love what you do!

I have one daughter in the Peace Corps in Indonesia.  Now the other is leaving tomorrow for the Pacific, too!  She'll be in the American Samoa.

Vicki has always had an extreme passion for birds and ornithology, so she will be banding tropical birds there for the Institute for Bird Populations.  It's nice to be able to do something you love in a tropical paradise!  She'll be on the island of T'au for 5 months. 

We'll miss her terribly, but this is an opportunity very few get.  I'm looking forward to lots of pictures!

Island of T'au (population 800 or so)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Getting ready for Thanksgiving--Small Collection of Free Materials and Ideas

Hi Everyone!   October ends--November begins--the year goes on.  Here is a post from last year of all of my favorite Thanksgiving things.  I'll most likely add a couple more, so check back.

----------------------------------------------------last year's post-------------------

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and if I can teach children to say thank you for their many blessings, I feel I've done my job well.  Here is a small collection of what I've shared over the past two years.  I'll be adding on, so check back.

Turkey Counting--Your kids could make a counting book--read about it here

Printable directions here

Turkeys Everywhere---printable book

Thanksgiving preposition bingo

Thanks for Thanksgiving--great book, printable icons

5 Little Turkeys--printable adapted Boardmaker book

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Make It Yourself Time (When there is no instructional money)

Here in beautiful North Carolina, there is no money for purchasing instructional materials.  It's 'make it yourself time'!   I have many of the Social Thinking materials that we've purchased from grant money, but when it comes to visual aids to actually teach the kids, we make our own.

My OT friend, Tamika, has a volunteer that made this lovely social behavior mapping poster.  We laminated it so that we can use a dry erase marker during groups, or in the classrooms as situations arise.

 I'm sharing this idea with you in case you also need to make your own due to working in a low budget environment.    Happy cutting and gluing!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Orlando Bound Soon!!!!

Once again, I'm going to my favorite convention---ASHA, this time in Orlando, November 20-22!    

I've been to Florida, never to Orlando.  Look for upcoming blog postings on:
  • Gluten-Free dining options in the area
  • Terrific speech/language presentations
  • Geocaching Events (Hubby is coming along--this is his focus)
  • Our AirBnB
  • Special ASHA events

I've been so busy lately that I have not researched exactly what I want to do there in terms of actual conference activities.  Often at conferences, I scan the program each morning, pick many presentations, and go to as many as I can.  I definitely want to seek out technology experts, social skills presentations, and anything related to evidence-based practice in language.  I'm rarely disappointed.

More to come!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Perseverance Pays Off---a Video for a Social Skills Group

If you want to teach your students that effort brings positive results, show them this video:

I'm planning on showing this to my social skills group.  Many of my kids have a "learned helplessness" demeanor.  Often they don't want to write, they don't like many math problems, they don't ride a bike, they don't want to try new things.  The kids are afraid of failure.

After watching this, with a facilitated discussion, the students hopefully will reflect on the ducklings' goals, and think of their own short term goals. We can also talk about things they learned in the past, and how it took time for them to learn it.  We will talk about the fact that the ducklings went through multiple trials over time to achieve the step climbing results, which is similar to multiple trials for school tasks.  Maybe they'll come up with their own life examples of goals they have achieved, small or large! Concrete examples can include tying shoes, riding a bike, writing their name, writing in cursive, memorizing times tables......We'll see what they come up with.

Videos are wonderful tools in groups such as this.  I'm grateful to whoever initially posted this particular one, since it will appeal to kids, and the language level is not an interfering factor.   Have a great day!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Time, LOTS of time, for Typing

     I'm not trying to be critical of anyone or any school, but there is a glitch in our writing curriculum. Students are asked to 'publish' their work through typing, but kids simply don't automatically know how to keyboard, and are extremely slow at it. Often they learn typing the wrong way too, such as using the 'caps lock' key every time they need a capital letter.  It seems to me that in our quest to be a 21st century school system, we are forgetting that students need to know where the letters are on a keyboard, how to use two hands, how to use a shift key for a capital letter, and how to find the punctuation marks.

      In addition, students don't come to school on an equal footing.  One family may have laptops, desktops, and tablets so those children have prior knowledge of keyboards, while another family might be struggling just to keep a phone.  Personally, I'd like to see a renewed encouragement and time allotted to teach simple keyboarding to kids in upper elementary school so they can publish their work in a more timely, less stressful manner. 

     Keyboarding is part of the Common Core, by the way.  (Not that that matters to North Carolina.)
Here's a good article about keyboarding and the Core here.  The people who wrote the Common Core recognized the importance of this skill, but didn't dictate exactly how to get the kids to meet the standard.  My opinion is that we can't assume the students will learn it without direct instruction

Why do I care?  I'm only a speech pathologist you might say. However, I do have integrated IEP goals which involve me pushing into classrooms during writing time for those students with language difficulties.  The times when students are typing are a waste of time for me to apply skilled interventions.  I become a clerical assistant.

The girl in the above video is a typical kid.  She has handwritten a lengthy, four page story and is going to be typing a long time! Can there be a better use of instructional time other than hunting and pecking?


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Time Out for other things

This post is about taking time for other stuff.  Speech pathologists (along with everyone else) need to have a healthy balance between work and life.   Applesauce canning, along with other family events, makes me truly happy.

We don't live in an apple zone.  Chapel Hill is way too humid, and apple trees like crisp fall weather.  So...David and Vicki (my family members) went to Fancy Gap, Virginia, (two hours away in the mountains) and picked up a truckload of crisp, delicious wonders!  We took orders from the neighbors (hence the multiple boxes), but several bushels were for us.

Apples with a pumpkin thrown in

I canned chunky applesauce, poured some wine, and now life is good.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

What Can Dogs Do---translated into Indonesian

 I realize that only a small fraction of my readers would need an adapted book translated into Indonesian, but my daughter and I have started a little project to benefit some special kids we met in Bali.
As you may know, my daughter, Andorra, is in the Peace Corps in Java, Indonesia, and we visited this school when we were on vacation last July in Ubud, a town in Bali, also a part of Indonesia.  There seems to be no publicly funded special education in Indonesia, and this school relies on private donations.  Most children with special needs do not go to school.  Maybe most children with special needs in the world don't have access to a free education.  One small step at a time is how to change things.


When we visited, we loved everyone and the kids.  Andorra and I thought, though, that some adapted books in Indonesian would be useful to them, so here is a translation of "What Can Dogs Do? The school staff members are excited to have some books, and have sent a list of what they would like.  Dogs are all over the place in Bali, so I hope they print this and enjoy!


Click here to download the book.
Print, laminate, and make interactive--this picture is English, but do the same for Indonesian

Breakfast in Ubud