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It’s a Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers. Sorry, but I have to get my spiel in here first. Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s is having the annual back to school sale and there are some really good deals there. You can’t really beat the prices when you compare products to the commercial products. A lot of the stores have 20% off with an additional 8% if the code BTS15 is used at checkout. This makes for some significant savings when buying bundles. So if you haven’t discovered it yet, you should make a visit.
I would love it if you came and took a look at my store and “followed” me even if you choose not to buy anything. By following me you get updates on any changes or new products. If you click on the image at the top of the page, it will take you directly to my store. You can also click on any of the slides on the slide show on the sidebar if you want more information on a particular item.
There are so many new stores with clever clipart I am beginning to feel outclassed. I decided mine really needed to get an uplift. I spent a lot of time this summer putting new covers on and updating some of my older products. The content has remained mostly the same however some have larger print, more clipart, and numbers added. If you have purchased products in the last couple of years you may want to get the updated versions. You can download them again for free because the system will have record of your previous purchase in your account. I also created two bundles that will be included in the sale so will be 28% off the listed price.
These bundles include the task card sets pictured on the covers. You can click on the images for more specific information.
As I was going through my materials, trying to see what needed updating, I was marveling how many changes have occurred with therapy materials over the years. When I first started working in the schools we used something called a ditto machine. You would write or type on carbons which then went on a roller that you would crank and make multiple copies. Don’t laugh, but I actually have a few articulation worksheets made from carbons stuck in my files. The print is usually blue and a yellow plastic page protector can make it possible to copy it in a copier. I bet you don’t need to know that trick though. Back to the ditto machine. You could tell the teachers who spent too much time with the ditto machine because they would have a glazed look from the fumes and purple fingers. There were no concerns for toxic environment then.
I never liked the ditto machine or the copy machine. It always seemed to wait for me to jam up. Some things don’t change I guess because it still seems to jam up or there is a long line. I started using task cards pretty early on. I found task cards were the easiest to work with groups of students with varied needs and I didn’t need to visit any version of a copier machine. Most of my task cards started out as handwritten notes on index cards. I have revised them through the years as some of our objects become obsolete. It was in about 1995 that I actually used a computer that made it practical to save them in files. This led to placing them on the blog for easy download no matter what school I was at. The last 5 years I have added clipart to the cards. I like the clipart to be part of the visual cue for the written material so I avoid the repetitive cutesy stuff. I also like to save on using colored ink which can be a problem at many schools.
The blog downloads have saved me many times when I have lost materials or forgotten them. I have downloaded and brought them up on my iPad on occasion. So there you have the progression from ditto machine to iPad in one career. That is quite a jump. I wonder what the new SLPs will have 30 yrs. from now.
It is a year ago that I made the switch to a self hosted web site. I do not know why I waited so long. I have enjoyed having the freedom of decorating as I wish. There was definitely a learning curve, especially when I found it was hijacked at one point. Over all It has been worth it. I decided a free download was needed to celebrate. Continue on to find it.
For some reason containers hold a certain fascination for me. It seems like I am always collecting them and thinking about how I can use them for speech therapy. While drinking my morning orange juice, I got to thinking about the cover to the juice container. It would make a good tile for a hiding game. It is at least 2 inches in diameter, can hold a reasonable size card on top, and a small object underneath. I also drink enough juice to get a number of them in a reasonable amount of time. This led me to thinking about the game of Secret Square and Cariboo. It seemed like it could be made into a game adaptation for either game. The covers just need velcro dots to fasten pictures on top.
Do you remember the old therapy game called Secret Square? It was a game that had tiles with pictures on top. A chip is placed under one of the tiles. Students find it by asking questions about the pictured items and eliminating the pictures that do not correspond to the answers. Eventually the chip is found. Cariboo is similar in that it has pictures on doors that can be chosen to find a hidden balls that is used to open a treasure box. Both games are very versatile when addressing goals for describing, questioning, and synthesis of information to get the main idea. It can also address articulation and specific speech vocabulary such as prepositions with a switch of the cards. Students love the idea of finding the secret object and it keeps them motivated. Unfortunately Secret Square and Cariboo are no longer in production. They can be hard to find and a bit pricey if bought second hand on e-bay.
Which brings me back to my orange juice container lids. I could see potential for making a game of “Secret Circle” and possibly even a Cariboo type game with items hidden under the lids. This could include pieces of a puzzles hidden under some of the lids. All I needed to do was drink 10 containers of juice to get 10 covers and place velcro dots on top. Pictures for the tops can range from articulation cards such as found on Mommy Speech Therapy to preposition cards such as found as a free product at my TPT store. I updated and revised my Preposition Penguins especially for this post. There are a number of Cariboo cards on Teachers Pay Teachers that would also work.
Many parts of the country have had their last days of school but we are still finishing up the last couple of weeks of our year. It is easy to feel defeated and wonder if the whole thing is just one big paper using, report making, operation. It is times like these that it is important to remember the things that made you smile through out the year. Some the following gave me a smile.
The task cards I make for TPT are usually made for specific student goals. Some of my students have attention deficit disorders and I am always trying to find creative ways to keep their attention. I remembered when I was a child that my name never seemed to be in any stories. I thought that some of my students may feel the same way so I decided to use the names from one of my classes on the task cards. One of the boys saw his name and was thrilled. He had to take the card and show his teacher. They were also thrilled to find their teacher’s name. Such a simple thing to keep them enthused about task cards. It is one advantage to making your own materials.
My students with Downs and Autism make me smile a lot. They continue to show me the value of play and that a toy’s worth is determined best by it’s ability to spin. Tops can spin almost anywhere for preposition development. A box of happy meal toys is priceless for cause and effect. Do not decide the value of a toy by its cost. Free is sometimes the best.
Good Will was a gold mine this year. After a year of searching I almost fell over when I discovered a Cariboo game for $5.00. It was only missing the key which I replaced with a golf tee. My husband couldn’t quite figure out why I acted like it was Christmas. It is truly a great game for speech therapy so don’t give up on the search. When you least expect it the game shows up.
I have had an iPad with some game apps available for reinforcement. When given a choice my students were choosing a game off my shelf rather than the iPad. I have to smile when technology doesn’t always win over the old fashion games. I find this encouraging because I feel board games are still better when it comes to developing social communication. I know that many therapist are implementing 5 minute individual speech drill sessions and are foregoing the games. However, I have only a few students who see me only for articulation. They usually have a mix of language, articulation and social skill deficits. The games play an important part in therapy and give me a better idea of their skills then drill.
You may notice I have been playing around with the design of my Blog. I am not sure if I will ever be truly satisfied. It is something else that keeps me entertained. I fixed a few links lately that were not working. Sometimes updates throw things off. Please make a comment if you can’t get to something.
I use Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® curriculum with many of my students. One of the concepts that is explored in this curriculum is “I have thoughts about you and you have thoughts about me.” In other words, people are always thinking about each other and they may have comfortable or uncomfortable thoughts depending on their actions. This may affect how they treat individuals in the future. People want to be with people they are comfortable with and have good thoughts about. They may avoid those that don’t make them feel comfortable. Therefore being able to tell the difference between what is expected behavior in given situations and what is unexpected can help us when making and keeping our friends. You can find more information on her concepts at http://www.socialthinking.com/
I needed a good set of task cards to review actions that students may do or observe others do. You may find them useful if you are teaching from this curriculum. They are double sided with an unexpected behavior on one side and a matching expected behavior on the other side.
I put the cards in a draw bag. The students reached in and drew a card out, and placed it on the table. They then decided if the side facing up was an expected behavior or unexpected. They talked about how the actions make them feel. If the unexpected is presented first, students can talk about what they think the expected behavior would be on the other side.
Students checked their answers by using the Top Secret UV light which I got at our book fair. I put a U or and E in the box for them to check. There is also a QR code for those who would prefer to use a scanner. My students find this motivating and they can self check if they are working in small table groups.
The draw bag is an easy thing to make. I took a sleeve off an old sweater and sewed across the bottom. The cuff makes a nice finished opening and the bag is stretchy. It has got to be the easiest bag I have ever made.
In my TPT packet, there are 28 expected cards and 28 matching unexpected cards side by side. They are meant to be printed on card stock, cut on the horizontal lines and folded back to make a double sided card. I put a box on each card so I could write with my UV light pen a U or E in the box. Students can light the answer up. I also put a QR code for those who like that option. The QR code is from http://www.qrstuff.com/. When scanned it will read expected or unexpected to correspond to the side it is on.
I am putting 2 pages of the cards below for you to review as a freebie. If you like them consider getting the full set at TPT. Just click on the cover page button at the top for a direct link to the product. Your patronage covers the cost of this website and keeps it advertisement free, except for me I suppose. I am trying to keep the commercial aspect down and provide resources. I know most of us are on really tight budgets.
It is always hard this time of the year to find activities for group therapy with my Life Skills groups. There are usually 5 students in each group and the abilities are really varied. I try to include some motor activity because this keeps their attention. Using objects for actions is more meaningful for them then paper tasks. However there are a few students who have motor difficulties which makes it difficult for them to do some tasks and work with the group.
My inspiration often comes from my closet. This is a picture of what I found. I decided to make a badminton type activity. They used the pool noodles to hit balloons through the hulu hoop and then over the jump rope stretched across two chairs. We encouraged two students to hit it back and forth to complete turn taking. I reinforced the prepositions of over, through, below, under, and above. My early language learners practiced phrases such as “Give it to me”, “Hit it”, “I want it”.
One of my students kept saying “there it is”. He was a student who we usually had trouble engaging and he blossomed with this activity. For a student with Downs he had amazing eye hand coordination. I hope he does badminton for Special Olympics.
I liked the pool noodles because they didn’t hurt if students hit each other and the balloons slowed down the process enough that all the students were able to hit them. I recommend having spare balloons. We had one student who couldn’t resist squeezing and popping them.