Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hello, dear readers!
Whatever holiday you are currently celebrating, I hope you have some time for some rest and relaxation, time with friends and family, and a few special treats that you enjoy!

I just wanted to let you know I have not dropped off the face of the planet; just apparently my blog. I'm taking some classes, so I have been preoccupied with that rather than posting interesting things on here for you. I hope to pick things up again, but as you know, life gets busy!

I will be listening to some ASHA webinars in the New Year, so I will be sure to share a little bit about that in a future post. Stay tuned!

Until then, enjoy this time of year whether there's snowy weather or sunny beautiful weather where you are (or somewhere in between, like where I am right now).

Keep it AFV!
Karen
Thursday, December 24, 2015 Karen
Hello, dear readers!
Whatever holiday you are currently celebrating, I hope you have some time for some rest and relaxation, time with friends and family, and a few special treats that you enjoy!

I just wanted to let you know I have not dropped off the face of the planet; just apparently my blog. I'm taking some classes, so I have been preoccupied with that rather than posting interesting things on here for you. I hope to pick things up again, but as you know, life gets busy!

I will be listening to some ASHA webinars in the New Year, so I will be sure to share a little bit about that in a future post. Stay tuned!

Until then, enjoy this time of year whether there's snowy weather or sunny beautiful weather where you are (or somewhere in between, like where I am right now).

Keep it AFV!
Karen

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hello... I hope you haven't forgotten me! I've been on a long blogging hiatus, but have a freebie for you today!

If you work in a school setting, you're busy getting set up again, so I'll get right to it.

I've been using the same data collection sheets for years (read about them in this previous post), always pondering if they could be better. Especially at the end of the quarter when updates come due on top of all the other things that keep us busy.

Anyway, someone posted in the School-Based SLP facebook page about her new data collection sheets, and it gave me the spark of inspiration I needed.

So here they are!
Boxes, lines, or both?
I have three versions: one with data boxes, one with data lines, and a hybrid of boxes and lines. All are free at my TPT store.

I designed these to track data and attendance together. Simply enter the date and time, indicate group or individual session, jot a note for your session objective, and take your data. There's even room to calculate percentages along the right, making quarterly updates a little smoother.

These were designed for 3 objectives per goal. If your student has more than one goal, just indicate which one at the top, and keep them together. They are fully editable, and I hope they're just what you need. So download yours right now!


Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow to keep in touch.
Keep it AFV!
Karen
Saturday, August 15, 2015 Karen
Hello... I hope you haven't forgotten me! I've been on a long blogging hiatus, but have a freebie for you today!

If you work in a school setting, you're busy getting set up again, so I'll get right to it.

I've been using the same data collection sheets for years (read about them in this previous post), always pondering if they could be better. Especially at the end of the quarter when updates come due on top of all the other things that keep us busy.

Anyway, someone posted in the School-Based SLP facebook page about her new data collection sheets, and it gave me the spark of inspiration I needed.

So here they are!
Boxes, lines, or both?
I have three versions: one with data boxes, one with data lines, and a hybrid of boxes and lines. All are free at my TPT store.

I designed these to track data and attendance together. Simply enter the date and time, indicate group or individual session, jot a note for your session objective, and take your data. There's even room to calculate percentages along the right, making quarterly updates a little smoother.

These were designed for 3 objectives per goal. If your student has more than one goal, just indicate which one at the top, and keep them together. They are fully editable, and I hope they're just what you need. So download yours right now!


Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow to keep in touch.
Keep it AFV!
Karen

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hi, friends of my blog!

Once again, I feel like the day-to-day routine is so time consuming that I wonder if I will ever post here again! I want to write more, but sometimes, just don't get to.

Anyway, Yesterday, I watched a video of two YouTube personalities that took everyone's favorite 1980s pioneering game The Oregon Trail out of the computer and into real life. If you're interested, click here to see it.

I was thinking to myself, wow, the guys looked like they really had fun bringing that computer game to life! I remember playing the game when I was in 5th grade. It was a nice trip down memory lane.

Today, I was scrolling through and saw a post on a facebook group sharing that the Jenga app is free today. My first reaction was, "how do you even play Jenga on an app?" Bringing an IRL game to an app might be a little weird. So I checked it out. Spoiler alert: this is not my typical format for a blog post, but I can do something different, right?

Jenga app

It was surprisingly true to the IRL (in real life) version, but not anywhere near as satisfying to me. You can tap to see which blocks are looser (white ones are looser than red ones). A few taps and swipes will remove your block and allow you to place it on top. You can play classic mode, pass 'n' play (two player mode), or arcade mode (colorful blocks with some additional bonus point opportunities).

Don't pull out the red blocks!

White blocks are a pretty safe bet
It even falls if you don't remove your piece carefully, or if the tower is too unbalanced.

Oh no!
So are there pros and cons to the app vs. the IRL game? I'm not going to conclude one way or the other, but invite you to ponder with me...

App version:
Pros: 
1. No set-up time. If you've played the IRL game, you know this is annoying to have to set up each time.
2. Play simulates the real game well. Tapping blocks to test, placing blocks on top, even tapping to try to scoot blocks back into a sturdier position.
3. Cost. The app was free today, but I have a feeling that even if it was a paid app before, it's cheaper than IRL Jenga, or the knock-off version of the same game available at some stores.
4. For SLPs who travel to multiple sites, the app is a space saver and a time saver!

Cons:
1. No satisfying crash sound! The tower doesn't really wobble that much and the 3D view allows you access to most of the tower at a time, but not the same way the IRL game does. The animation of the falling is a little too digital feeling, as if the blocks are on some planet with very little gravity.
2. You can still target whatever you want, but you aren't going to be writing on any of the blocks to customize anything.
3. You'll have to compete with the iPad for your students' attention.
4. Some students aren't willing to give up the iPad once it's in their hands. You'll possibly have turn-taking and sharing issues to deal with on top of your intended goals and objectives.

IRL version:
Pros: 
1. Speech Jenga. You can customize the blocks with vocabulary or articulation words or whatever! Writing on the blocks gives the student their word/task for your therapy session. An internet search for "speech Jenga" will yield tons of ideas.
2. We are always looking for hands-on activities for our students. Why should we allow technology to run the show just because it exists? Sometimes a lot more learning comes from real-life interaction when we put the iPad away.
3. We can encourage better problem solving and some general practice with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
4. You can push blocks back in better than in the app version. If the tower is getting a little wonky, you can - with one hand - try to fix it.
5. The wobble, the suspense, the CRASH! Need I say more?

Cons: 
1. Price. As mentioned above, you'll have to shell out some dough for the real thing.
2. Missing pieces may be an issue if one falls under a cabinet or behind a table.

Well, what are your thoughts? Do you prefer the app or the IRL game? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch!
Keep it AFV!
Saturday, December 13, 2014 Karen
Hi, friends of my blog!

Once again, I feel like the day-to-day routine is so time consuming that I wonder if I will ever post here again! I want to write more, but sometimes, just don't get to.

Anyway, Yesterday, I watched a video of two YouTube personalities that took everyone's favorite 1980s pioneering game The Oregon Trail out of the computer and into real life. If you're interested, click here to see it.

I was thinking to myself, wow, the guys looked like they really had fun bringing that computer game to life! I remember playing the game when I was in 5th grade. It was a nice trip down memory lane.

Today, I was scrolling through and saw a post on a facebook group sharing that the Jenga app is free today. My first reaction was, "how do you even play Jenga on an app?" Bringing an IRL game to an app might be a little weird. So I checked it out. Spoiler alert: this is not my typical format for a blog post, but I can do something different, right?

Jenga app

It was surprisingly true to the IRL (in real life) version, but not anywhere near as satisfying to me. You can tap to see which blocks are looser (white ones are looser than red ones). A few taps and swipes will remove your block and allow you to place it on top. You can play classic mode, pass 'n' play (two player mode), or arcade mode (colorful blocks with some additional bonus point opportunities).

Don't pull out the red blocks!

White blocks are a pretty safe bet
It even falls if you don't remove your piece carefully, or if the tower is too unbalanced.

Oh no!
So are there pros and cons to the app vs. the IRL game? I'm not going to conclude one way or the other, but invite you to ponder with me...

App version:
Pros: 
1. No set-up time. If you've played the IRL game, you know this is annoying to have to set up each time.
2. Play simulates the real game well. Tapping blocks to test, placing blocks on top, even tapping to try to scoot blocks back into a sturdier position.
3. Cost. The app was free today, but I have a feeling that even if it was a paid app before, it's cheaper than IRL Jenga, or the knock-off version of the same game available at some stores.
4. For SLPs who travel to multiple sites, the app is a space saver and a time saver!

Cons:
1. No satisfying crash sound! The tower doesn't really wobble that much and the 3D view allows you access to most of the tower at a time, but not the same way the IRL game does. The animation of the falling is a little too digital feeling, as if the blocks are on some planet with very little gravity.
2. You can still target whatever you want, but you aren't going to be writing on any of the blocks to customize anything.
3. You'll have to compete with the iPad for your students' attention.
4. Some students aren't willing to give up the iPad once it's in their hands. You'll possibly have turn-taking and sharing issues to deal with on top of your intended goals and objectives.

IRL version:
Pros: 
1. Speech Jenga. You can customize the blocks with vocabulary or articulation words or whatever! Writing on the blocks gives the student their word/task for your therapy session. An internet search for "speech Jenga" will yield tons of ideas.
2. We are always looking for hands-on activities for our students. Why should we allow technology to run the show just because it exists? Sometimes a lot more learning comes from real-life interaction when we put the iPad away.
3. We can encourage better problem solving and some general practice with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
4. You can push blocks back in better than in the app version. If the tower is getting a little wonky, you can - with one hand - try to fix it.
5. The wobble, the suspense, the CRASH! Need I say more?

Cons: 
1. Price. As mentioned above, you'll have to shell out some dough for the real thing.
2. Missing pieces may be an issue if one falls under a cabinet or behind a table.

Well, what are your thoughts? Do you prefer the app or the IRL game? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch!
Keep it AFV!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hi, I'm glad to be finally writing another post for you today! The first quarter of the school year has felt like an entire year of things to do! I feel like I have a moment to breathe now that IEP updates have gone out. Anyway, I'm happy to share with you a Halloween activity before the holiday has passed. Yay!

I came across this skeleton game (available for free at this link) and decided to play roll-a-skeleton with my groups.
Cut out your skeleton bones ahead of time,
and make it easy for players to get their selected piece.
The premise of the game is simple: roll the dice and you get the part of the skeleton that is assigned to the number. Think of it like roll-a-skeleton. I decided to assign different numbers than the ones you will see printed on the activity. This is what I chose to do, and obviously you can assign whatever  numbers you want for your activities.
1 - a leg
2 - head
3 - ribs
4 - two arms
5 - your choice
6 - another leg

Here are some speechy ideas for you you to work on while playing this game...

Articulation: This game lends itself to several specific sounds: especially /l, r, g/ and /sk/, but you can use any sounds and require practice on the targeted sound before earning a turn at the game.
Language/vocabulary: of course you can target the body vocabulary terms that are cutout, and divergent naming practice of other parts such as feet, toes, eyes, fingers, ears, and many more. You can also focus on requesting: after a roll of the dice, the player must ask, "Can I have..." or request in an appropriate manner. Describing is also going to be fun, because if you allow additional parts which are duplicates (e.g., two heads), the player can describe his or her skeleton (e.g., "My skeleton has two heads; yours has three arms"). Grammar; plurals will easily be targeted here. You can also use the EET to describe attributes for skeletons, and for extra fun, compare and contrast with another Halloween favorite of many students, the zombie!
Auditory processing: skip the dice and practice following auditory directions: attach the head to the top of the ribs; before you add an arm, put a leg on; etc.).
Stuttering: Using fluency skills, talk about scary decorations for fall, make up a skeleton story, or even discuss other skeletons such as dinosaur skeletons/fossils. 

Two more legs, and I'll have the
skeleton of da Vinci's Vitruvian Man!
What other ideas do you have for this activity? Share your ideas in the comments below. :-)
Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch.

Keep it AFV!
Karen
Sunday, October 26, 2014 Karen
Hi, I'm glad to be finally writing another post for you today! The first quarter of the school year has felt like an entire year of things to do! I feel like I have a moment to breathe now that IEP updates have gone out. Anyway, I'm happy to share with you a Halloween activity before the holiday has passed. Yay!

I came across this skeleton game (available for free at this link) and decided to play roll-a-skeleton with my groups.
Cut out your skeleton bones ahead of time,
and make it easy for players to get their selected piece.
The premise of the game is simple: roll the dice and you get the part of the skeleton that is assigned to the number. Think of it like roll-a-skeleton. I decided to assign different numbers than the ones you will see printed on the activity. This is what I chose to do, and obviously you can assign whatever  numbers you want for your activities.
1 - a leg
2 - head
3 - ribs
4 - two arms
5 - your choice
6 - another leg

Here are some speechy ideas for you you to work on while playing this game...

Articulation: This game lends itself to several specific sounds: especially /l, r, g/ and /sk/, but you can use any sounds and require practice on the targeted sound before earning a turn at the game.
Language/vocabulary: of course you can target the body vocabulary terms that are cutout, and divergent naming practice of other parts such as feet, toes, eyes, fingers, ears, and many more. You can also focus on requesting: after a roll of the dice, the player must ask, "Can I have..." or request in an appropriate manner. Describing is also going to be fun, because if you allow additional parts which are duplicates (e.g., two heads), the player can describe his or her skeleton (e.g., "My skeleton has two heads; yours has three arms"). Grammar; plurals will easily be targeted here. You can also use the EET to describe attributes for skeletons, and for extra fun, compare and contrast with another Halloween favorite of many students, the zombie!
Auditory processing: skip the dice and practice following auditory directions: attach the head to the top of the ribs; before you add an arm, put a leg on; etc.).
Stuttering: Using fluency skills, talk about scary decorations for fall, make up a skeleton story, or even discuss other skeletons such as dinosaur skeletons/fossils. 

Two more legs, and I'll have the
skeleton of da Vinci's Vitruvian Man!
What other ideas do you have for this activity? Share your ideas in the comments below. :-)
Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch.

Keep it AFV!
Karen

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hello,

The school year is underway in my district, and I've spent tons of time doing the following:

Playing detective
It would be too easy for me to know where my students are come the beginning of a new school year. I requested class lists a bunch of times, but ended up having to run around the school on a quest to determine what teachers have my students. That and finding out who moved away, who moved in... what's going on with this one student who had an outside evaluation over the summer. And then asking, reminding, and hunting down those elusive teacher schedules.

Starting the schedule
I, like most of you, cringe at the thought of making a schedule when all that is before me is a blank plan book.


This year, I tried a new method. I grabbed one of those teacher lesson plan books and made each column a day of the week. And each row was a chunk of time for my groups. After deciding what students would be in groups together, I wrote their names on strips of sticky notes. If they are supposed to come 2 times per week, I wrote their name 2 times. Then I look at the teachers' schedules, check the special ed teachers' schedules, find a time that looks like it works, and put the names in the boxes. If I had any sticky notes left over with names, I knew I had to find a spot to fit them in.

I'm not going to lie. I didn't like this method. The number of time chunks in my day do not fit on a nice one-page spread. I had to turn the page for later time slots, and was afraid my sticky notes would come loose. So as I progressed with finding spots, I entered them into an excel spreadsheet as I have done in the past after I had determined what time slot they would get. But, it was interesting to try another way of doing things.

Taking the CELF-5 webinar
My district got several SLPs in my district the new CELF-5. So, I remembered how I learned about the CELF-4 in grad school. You gotta dig into the manual. I also had access to the 3+ hour webinar from Pearson.
If you notice, I have post-it notes on one of the test protocols. I quickly noticed that the stimulus easels are thinner than the 4th edition. They are for a reason. They are double-sided. Meaning, the standardized scripted prompts are not on the back of the easel. So, for now, I made myself a script copy of the test booklet with the intro directions, scripts for any demos and trial items, as well as for the items. And, if you're wondering, yes, I printed the post it notes on the printer! For a quick and easy tutorial and free templates, visit youtube!

The nice thing about the webinar is that it is grouped into sections, and you can click on the section you want. You can stop, start, skip ahead, go back. It's a nice overview of what you need to know to administer the test. There are differences from the previous edition, so be aware of those!

Decorating my office
Not a lot is different about my office this year. I still share half of a small office, but my roommate is different this year. This is my third year sharing this room, and my third roomie. It's definitely crowded. But we're figuring things out.

I decided to continue with my owl theme, so I'm reusing a great door decoration I found last year. I redesigned the look of the door, but the graphics are all the same as last year. New look with old stuff. Click here to check out Putting Words in Your Mouth, which is where I got it from.


I will be displaying learning targets, but slightly differently than before. I have a blue pocket chart like this one hanging up in my room now. I cut and laminated some sentence strips and display learning targets quickly and easily now. I'll have them written up ahead of time now, so it saves time during the groups.

Embarking upon the world of bulletin boards
I have never designed a bulletin board besides the one I did when I was completing my school practicum. I am always inspired by ones I see floating around on facebook and pinterest, but never knew how to really make a useful one. I don't want to just display who's in my class (is there an ethical dilemma with that, anyway?), or have a giant sign that basically says, "the speech room is right here, folks!"

I wanted something the whole school can get in on, so I made an interactive bulletin board. I saw one somewhere that had a Words With Friends style to it, and I thought it would be perfect for tier 2 vocabulary. Each month, I will display a different grade-specific tier 2 vocabulary word out there. Students from each grade can represent that word in a variety of ways: draw a picture, write a sentence, describe it... anything goes! I got a lot of positive feedback from the teachers in my building on institute day, so I'm excited to see how the students will represent their words. And I told teachers I take requests for academic vocabulary, too.

Starting with my groups
So this week, I began getting my groups. And without fail, I began to find conflicts with other service providers including special ed teachers and ESL teachers! Nothing is ever written in stone with that schedule, right? Anyway, I'm getting them set up with notebooks for speech homework, and including a student-friendly version of their IEP goals in the front cover. The template I found is perfect for this.
I love the fact that each goal has two lines. Some goals are a little longer than one line. But what I love best is that I can have them written in English and Spanish for my bilingual students. I have a 1/2 time bilingual parapro to assist me with my bilingual K-3 students. So she translated the goals for my kids. She also provides Spanish support for those groups and translates their homework, too. Get this free by clicking here!

I'm sure there's more... I've already completed 2 evaluations this year, too! Crazy.

How's the beginning of the school year going for you?
Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch.

Keep it AFV!
Karen
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 Karen
Hello,

The school year is underway in my district, and I've spent tons of time doing the following:

Playing detective
It would be too easy for me to know where my students are come the beginning of a new school year. I requested class lists a bunch of times, but ended up having to run around the school on a quest to determine what teachers have my students. That and finding out who moved away, who moved in... what's going on with this one student who had an outside evaluation over the summer. And then asking, reminding, and hunting down those elusive teacher schedules.

Starting the schedule
I, like most of you, cringe at the thought of making a schedule when all that is before me is a blank plan book.


This year, I tried a new method. I grabbed one of those teacher lesson plan books and made each column a day of the week. And each row was a chunk of time for my groups. After deciding what students would be in groups together, I wrote their names on strips of sticky notes. If they are supposed to come 2 times per week, I wrote their name 2 times. Then I look at the teachers' schedules, check the special ed teachers' schedules, find a time that looks like it works, and put the names in the boxes. If I had any sticky notes left over with names, I knew I had to find a spot to fit them in.

I'm not going to lie. I didn't like this method. The number of time chunks in my day do not fit on a nice one-page spread. I had to turn the page for later time slots, and was afraid my sticky notes would come loose. So as I progressed with finding spots, I entered them into an excel spreadsheet as I have done in the past after I had determined what time slot they would get. But, it was interesting to try another way of doing things.

Taking the CELF-5 webinar
My district got several SLPs in my district the new CELF-5. So, I remembered how I learned about the CELF-4 in grad school. You gotta dig into the manual. I also had access to the 3+ hour webinar from Pearson.
If you notice, I have post-it notes on one of the test protocols. I quickly noticed that the stimulus easels are thinner than the 4th edition. They are for a reason. They are double-sided. Meaning, the standardized scripted prompts are not on the back of the easel. So, for now, I made myself a script copy of the test booklet with the intro directions, scripts for any demos and trial items, as well as for the items. And, if you're wondering, yes, I printed the post it notes on the printer! For a quick and easy tutorial and free templates, visit youtube!

The nice thing about the webinar is that it is grouped into sections, and you can click on the section you want. You can stop, start, skip ahead, go back. It's a nice overview of what you need to know to administer the test. There are differences from the previous edition, so be aware of those!

Decorating my office
Not a lot is different about my office this year. I still share half of a small office, but my roommate is different this year. This is my third year sharing this room, and my third roomie. It's definitely crowded. But we're figuring things out.

I decided to continue with my owl theme, so I'm reusing a great door decoration I found last year. I redesigned the look of the door, but the graphics are all the same as last year. New look with old stuff. Click here to check out Putting Words in Your Mouth, which is where I got it from.


I will be displaying learning targets, but slightly differently than before. I have a blue pocket chart like this one hanging up in my room now. I cut and laminated some sentence strips and display learning targets quickly and easily now. I'll have them written up ahead of time now, so it saves time during the groups.

Embarking upon the world of bulletin boards
I have never designed a bulletin board besides the one I did when I was completing my school practicum. I am always inspired by ones I see floating around on facebook and pinterest, but never knew how to really make a useful one. I don't want to just display who's in my class (is there an ethical dilemma with that, anyway?), or have a giant sign that basically says, "the speech room is right here, folks!"

I wanted something the whole school can get in on, so I made an interactive bulletin board. I saw one somewhere that had a Words With Friends style to it, and I thought it would be perfect for tier 2 vocabulary. Each month, I will display a different grade-specific tier 2 vocabulary word out there. Students from each grade can represent that word in a variety of ways: draw a picture, write a sentence, describe it... anything goes! I got a lot of positive feedback from the teachers in my building on institute day, so I'm excited to see how the students will represent their words. And I told teachers I take requests for academic vocabulary, too.

Starting with my groups
So this week, I began getting my groups. And without fail, I began to find conflicts with other service providers including special ed teachers and ESL teachers! Nothing is ever written in stone with that schedule, right? Anyway, I'm getting them set up with notebooks for speech homework, and including a student-friendly version of their IEP goals in the front cover. The template I found is perfect for this.
I love the fact that each goal has two lines. Some goals are a little longer than one line. But what I love best is that I can have them written in English and Spanish for my bilingual students. I have a 1/2 time bilingual parapro to assist me with my bilingual K-3 students. So she translated the goals for my kids. She also provides Spanish support for those groups and translates their homework, too. Get this free by clicking here!

I'm sure there's more... I've already completed 2 evaluations this year, too! Crazy.

How's the beginning of the school year going for you?
Thanks for checking out my blog. Be sure to follow this blog to keep in touch.

Keep it AFV!
Karen