Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Best Purchases EVER!

As the school year is winding down and I have 1-2 days left with each group, I'm finding a limited need for new materials, so I thought I'd share my two most important tools in their creation with you.

Of course I laminate everything so I only have to make things once, so my personal laminating machine is my number one item. 

I have found that I cannot live without my personal laminating machine.  I paid about 25 dollars for it at Walmart (and when I broke the first one due to stupid human tricks...)  I immediately went out to get it's replacement.  Amazon link to the one I have.  I got it at Walmart (but the website won't display the current price).

I find my laminating machine indispensable for many reasons.  Typically, when I'm taking the time to print and make materials, it's because I want to use them NOW (or even yesterday).  I'm not allowed to use the big laminating machine and I don't want to wait until the day they will get done for me in the copy room (if they get to me in the pile this week).  Another bonus is added durability.  I get my pouches from Lakeshore Learning (100 for 19.95).  I find that the sheets are a lot thicker than the big machine and feel more like "real" cards.

One downer about laminating things is that you have to spend the time cutting things apart twice, so enter the scrap-booking paper cutter as number two!

I can't even begin to describe how much time this baby saves me.  Often times I will use a scissors once laminated for OCD-like precision with the plastic, but it's super easy to whip through both pre and post laminiated materials on this thing.  This was somewhere around $20 at Joann or Michaels - and I probably got it on sale or used a coupon. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crash DIY Game for Articulation!

Crash!  Yet another articulation activity adapted from a sight word game!  The idea for this one came from a teacher in my building.  I also have every intention of making language versions to this game including: regular/irregular past tense verbs, plurals, questions ect.

To create this game you need:
Draw Container
35 slips of paper
Word list of target words
Baggies for card storage. 

My container is a (Target Brand) tall food container, I've also seen people using empty nut jars/cans ect.  I decorated a large sized index card and taped it to the outside.  I cut a bunch of standard sided index cards in half for my draw slips. 

Write Crash on 5 of the slips of paper.
Write 10 initial position words, 10 medial position words and 10 final position words (or whatever division of word positions suits your needs) on the remaining slips of paper.  Fold all your papers in half and put them in the draw containers. 

I only made 2 draw containers.  I've been putting the extra sounds into baggies for storage between sessions. 

Game Play:
1) Students can either have individual draw containers or share one if they are working on the same sound.  They draw out a word and practice it in words or sentences depending on their needs. After a student practices a word they put the word in front of them and it's the next player's turn to draw.
2) Students keep drawing words and practicing as play passes around the table.
3) Crashing!  When a student draws out a "Crash!" paper all of the words they collected have to go back into the container (or to the side).  Any words that are discarded after a crash aren't worth points at the end of the game or the student has to start counting again.
4) Winning - you can either decide to have the student who has the most words at the end of the session be the winner, or you can keep track of the biggest number of words collected between crashes and have that student win.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Find- Marvel Heroes Game

I found Heroes Unite Marvel Lunchbox Game game a few weeks ago at Joann Fabrics in their new teacher/kids department.  It has been an instant hit!  I believe it was 11.99 there, but with a 50% off coupon it's comparable to the amazon price - with immediate gratification! (The link will take you to amazon). 

I've always been a fan of the Lunchbox games by Fundex (if you ever see the out-of-print Wormy Apples, get it!  It's my favorite...  Cookin' Cookies is also great.  Not to mention the fact that the spoons pick up picture cards!)  Anyway, Lunchbox games are great because of their small size and easy portability.  This is the first year I've not been split between three schools, and I'm still in two.  These games are small and will easily fit into the single drawer you've commandeered or your travel bag with out adding a lot of extra weight.

I've used this with kids in first through eight grade - even one of my least participatory EBD kids is getting into it!  (Girls, including myself, also love it!)

The premise of the game is fairly simple.  Each student gets one of each super hero (Spiderman, Captain American and the Hulk).   Three villains are placed in the middle of the table.  They have 1-3 superheros on the bottom that are needed to defeat the villains.  On their turn they roll the dice and use the dice + their cards to beat a villain.  Once they use a card it's removed.  The person who defeats the most villans at the end is the winner.   (one of my groups wants to count who needed to use the most superheroes to determine the winner by counting the bottom of the villain cards).

The deck also comes with cards such as double punch, and wilds which I eliminated from my set.  I was worried about all the "not fair" complaints for one kid getting and not others.  It also decreased the game explanation

I also found some Marvel stickers at Michael's for a dollar so my kids are immersed in super-heroes and loving it!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Conversation Sticks - DIY activity!

I've been making some of the DIY's posted on the Sublime Speech Blog so I've got an excess of craft sticks around.  While thinking about some conversational activities I've been doing I had an idea for a multi-leveled conversation activity using craft sticks.

The yellow sticks have a variety of conversation topics for kids:

There are 6 each of the red, orange, blue and green sticks.  Three of each color say "question" and three say "comment."

Level 1: On their turn, each student draws out one yellow stick and one different colored stick.  They then have to ask a question or make a comment about the topic on the stick.

Level 2: Pull out all the comment sticks.  Have the first student draw a yellow stick and a different colored (question) stick and ask another student a question.  Have the 2nd student a blue, green, orange or red stick and ask a follow-up question about the topic.

Level 3 through ?: Keep adding numbers of conversational turns and comment sticks to increase the difficulty and the complexity of the conversation!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Custom Chipper Chat

A few weeks ago I found Angry Birds Incentive Cards on Pinterest (which is free on TeachersPayTeachers).  My mind immediately said - "Angry Birds Chipper chat?  I'm IN!"  I don't know what it is about Angry Birds, but kids love them.  Anything Angry Birds is welcome in my room (with the exception of the app itself - it is not on my Ipad and will not be on it...)

My kids also love using chipper chat.  I may have some pretty specific rules such as you can move your chips from spot to spot on the board but if they touch the table they're mine again, but my kids love the activity.  I find it a great way to encourage patience and respect between kids.  My students get to roll the dice for chips on their turn, but they also can earn a chip for being respectful on other students' turns.  It  really helps them think about what's going on and who's turn it is to talk.   
I was having so much fun with Angry Birds Chipper Chat, that I started thinking about other custom Chipper Chat boards.  I know my kids love the animals in grammar chipper chat, but it's nothing compared to their other interests.

 Creating the boards was super simple.  I found pictures online.  I found that Desktop sized pictures were best, but pretty much any kids show or movie comes in a desktop so it worked out ok.  I opened the pictures in paint and drew 20 circles on it with the shape tool.  I then pasted the pictures into a horizontal word document so I could control the print size.

I chose to make Disney Princesses, Thomas the Train, Mickey Birthday and Lightning McQueen for 4 specific K/1st grade kids that I work with.  The circles aren't perfectly even, they actually printed a little smaller than the chips.  I was very pleasantly surprised that even my most super-exact students with autism are not bothered by the circle sizes and are ok with the see-through chip going around the circle instead of in the circle.  I'm sure if you're more patient with creating boards than I was and use a real-life ruler on a chip and a ruler view on Paint you could do much better!

Princess and Thomas the Train

Mickey Birthday and Cars

Grab the Printables for my Custom Boards Here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Splingo - iPad App Review

Splingo's Language Universe is a following directions/complex language app.  It asks children to either make a choice or follow a 1 step direction.  The alien has an "alien" voice that my children are having an easier time listening to than I am.

Before starting the game, the you an select the number of Nouns, Verbs, Prepositions and Adjectives.  It have some simple objectives that are great for lower/younger students, but it also has some more complex ones that I've been using with some sixth graders.  I really like that kids have to listen to the entire direction, not just try to pick out one or two key words in order to follow it. 

One big surprise was working on possessives in this app.  The app will show 2-4 items next to a person/animal and ask to find "the mommy's box" or to move something into/behind ect the mommy's box.
Touching Splingo at the bottom of the screen will allow him to repeat the direction.

As kids play the app keeps track of points.  You get more points for answering on the first try, and after 3 or 4 tries on one direction you only get 5 points.  After they are done playing kids can enter their name on the high score board.

The app is not only for following directions, it's organized into a game!  After every three responses kids get to complete a task to help Splingo get home.  After a task is completed they get to watch a short video of Splingo traveling to the next planet or level (5 in all).  The tasks are: assembling the rocket, fueling the rocket, collecting friends, collecting snacks and collecting activities.  Kids only need to touch something to add it to the rocket and are quickly back to following directions.

My kids are having fun with it, but it's therapy targets are closer to listening for details and understanding adjectives, prepositions and possessives rather than following directions.  I really wish there were some two or three step directions or that the number of steps in a directions could be selected. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

First Phrases - iPad App Review

First Phrases is one of the apps I got as a part of my grant for 9.99.  One of my students in particular is completely in love with this game, and due to the "Cat" character in the Lite Version he calls it the Cat game.   There is also an in-app purchase for 99 cents that adds more characters (boy, girl and dog I think).

There are several steps to this activity.  First, the child much first either touch or manipulate a three word command phrase.  The first level has a single touch, then the student can move the word to the space in the right order and then has to put the phrase in the correct order.

Next, the student hears the animal say "Ok, I'll _____."  Then the student watches an animation that illustrates the animal following the command.

After the child watches the animal follow the command, they record their voice giving the animal the command.  Their voice plays giving the command, and the animation plays again.  There are also sound effects that go along with the application.

There are a couple things I really like about this app.  1) video visualization of action verbs used in the commands.  2) recording of the students voice so the hear themselves using words and phrases and 3) individually picturing the words to help kids individualize the words rather than learning phrases. 

I started using this application during an explosion in my student's language use.  He went from 1-2 word phrases to 4-5 word utterances.  I changed his requirement to repeating full sentences for the recording such as "The cat is jumping" or "The cat is jumping over the hole."   This means we can still use a favorite activity, get vocabulary we haven't yet done in the game, but keep it at a challenging level for therapy!  I don't have the boy and girl in-app expansion, but I want it to start using this to add he/she pronouns to this activity when working on sentences.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Silly Stutters Printable Cards!

**EDIT**  I made these before thoroughly understanding copyright and have unshared the document.   Parts of these cards are pictures I've had in various materials since graduate school and I am having difficulty going back and sourcing them.  So enjoy the cards if you already have them, and I do have a silly stutters component in my Stuttering Unit on TPT you can check out if you don't.  Thanks for understanding!

I've had so many kids qualify for fluency this spring that my head is still spinning (and I'm still testing!).  As a result, I've been digging through my fluency materials and dusting them off.  The more I look through what I have the more I feel I don't have.  As all of these kids are starting in spring I've decided to go strong on the education piece and move into strategies starting this fall.  I also wanted to give my kids some positive experiences while stuttering.

As my speech room is not equipped with many fluency materials, nor is it likely that we will have the budget for them anytime in the foreseeable future, I decided to take the opportunity to create my own silly stutters deck and include some kid-friendly and familiar pictures.

Therapy Targets:
1) Desensitization - getting students more used to, and hopefully less upset by stuttering when it occurs in real live.
2) Control - by stuttering on purpose and playing with different kinds of stuttering kids start to feel in control of their speech.
3) Awareness - have kids talk about if the silly stutter was just a silly one or if it could have been real.  It also develops awareness of what's going on in their mouths when they are stuttering.  I combine this with some pictures of the speech mechanism to discuss where things are happening.

As an added bonus kids always love it when you try to stutter with the silly stutters!  They love telling you how bad your stutter is and offer lots of suggestions about how you can get it right.