Monday, December 28, 2015

Three Wintry Products

I hope everyone had a nice holiday!  Here in North Carolina, we celebrated with record warmth. People had their air conditioners running, restaurants used their outdoor patios, and confused flowers blossomed. 

I'm hoping the weather will normalize by January, so I wanted to advertise here that I do have three winter products in my small TPT store listed at modest prices.  All of these are great for SLP/EC collaboration and perfect for your more language-challenged children.  Check them out!  I reduced the price of the Snowman Packet from last year.

The first is a Snowman Packet---which has "Snowman, Snowman, What do you See?"
     "Snowman Colors Bingo" and "5 Little Snowmen" interactive poem.  Price on this is reduced.

The second product is perfect for winter, and kids love the book that goes along with this!
"Bear Snores On" is a companion packet and activity packet which is loads of fun.

This last product is a companion/activity packet to go with "There was a Cold Lady who Swallowed some Snow"Again, perfect for our more linguistically challenged children, and lots of fun.

Have a fun week off if you have it.  Vacations can be rejuvenating, and I'm feeling ready to tackle the second half of the school year with enthusiasm.  I hope you are too!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

What do You Think of the Unexpected! Using Improv Everywhere Videos in Social Thinking Groups

A very popular website is Improv Everywhere.  I've been following them for years, and essentially, in NYC, people gang up and doing very unexpected things, garnering attention and laughter from those who are not part of the prank. 

Some of these are great for illustrating what 'unexpected' means, and then using screen shots of videos to capture people's reactions.   It's awesome for having kids try to determine both how the unsuspecting people are feeling, and then determining what they might be thinking.

Here are a couple of examples:


Year after year, the gang from Improv Everywhere invades a beach wearing formal clothing.

Ask your students what the man in the yellow trunks is thinking.  I'm sure there will be other discussion points made her, such as what were the unexpected behaviors on the beach.  Why do people react to these behaviors?


We use expected behaviors everywhere.  What happens when you see something wild at the usually boring crosswalk? 

 Take a look at the above screenshot.  Have your students determine how the ladies on the right are feeling.  What are they thinking when they see unexpected behavior? 
What are expected behaviors at a busy crosswalk? 
When people do expected behaviors there, how do others feel?

Of course, Improv Everywhere is all in fun.  Using expected behaviors in school, though, is serious. You will need to bring the discussion back to where you all are at the moment.
The next step is to apply this vocabulary (expected and unexpected) to different places in your school.  It's easy to make your own videos, and then talk about expected and unexpected behaviors.  Using the Social Thinking curriculum is awesome because you go a few steps further, mapping out social behaviors, determining how others feel when they see both positive and negative behaviors, and then bringing it back to the individual (consequences and how it affects his or her own feelings about himself). 

I'm sure I'll be posting more on this subject.  That's all for now, though. I hope everyone is having a nice December!  I love my job, but winter break is always a welcome perk.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

You Are Only as Good as the Weakest Link

We all belong to teams--in schools, these are IEP teams.  Some of you belong to 60 teams or more, apparently!

When I was younger, fresh out of college, I thought I had super powers, and could be the best school SLP ever, changing lives, making everyone happy, a modern day miracle worker. 

Ha Ha, I say now.
 I'm not jaded, just realistic.

The bottom line in a school setting, or any setting where teams need to work together, is that an SLP is really only as effective as the weakest part of the team.

Reasons abound:
  1. Goals are integrated.  "Speech" can't really function well without EC teacher or regular ed teacher support.  Are teachers willing to work on the communication/language goals, too?

  2.  The classroom teacher needs to be implementing communication goals in their setting all day (whether regular education or separate setting). Therapy with a speech pathologist is immaterial unless supported in the classroom.  Do others in the classroom try to implement communication goals?

  3.  Parents or caregivers need to be supporting and implementing IEP goals.  This is often difficult for myriad reasons.

  4.  Members of the team need to be communicating with each other.  Does the EC teacher know what to reinforce or elicit? Does the EC teacher care? Are members on the team reading emails or attending team meetings?

  5. Administration needs to support EC staff and students.  I could write essay after essay about how administrators often sabotage EC efforts, often inadvertently, but still with negative outcomes.  Providing times for collaboration, adequate staffing, adequate budgets, supervision, opportunities for trainings and professional development, and a space to work all contribute to helping teams work more effectively.  In addition, attendance during meetings along with thoughtful comments and objective decision-making is extremely helpful.

I've worked with awesome teams.

I've worked with teams with weak links. Those links suppress teams, and unfortunately affect student outcomes, and overall team satisfaction.

 My effectiveness as an SLP is only as good as the weakest link on a child's team.

So how many of you are aware of your “weakest link”? (This varies from IEP team to IEP team.) Once you’ve identified who or what your weak link is, it’s time to then map out a plan to rise above and strengthen the teamwork chain.

It's easier said than done.