Social Skills Updates

28 Jul

The In Spontaneous Speech blog is in the process of much needed reconstruction and updating. The adventure started when I recently updated the Social Skills products on my Teachers Pay Teachers Site. This resulted in the free sample products not matching here on the site and needing updating. Of course it then became a cascading effect of changes, some external and some internal. However, I think you will like the changes. I will move on to the other headings later on, and I will keep you updated. Please read on to discover the changes.

First I updated the free product samples on the Social Skills Page, and they are ready for downloading. I started with the Social Skills Page since many of those cards were the oldest and seemed the most outdated. I used new clip art and added additional cards to some of these products.

When you have a chance, download the new free samples and replace your older ones. You can check out the new free samples by clicking on Social Skills on the index strip at the top and following the page down. You will notice the new buttons.

I switched the down load storage site so it should be easier to do downloads. In the past you may have encountered a two step process to get to the down load and sometimes may have received a message that the site had reached its maximum downloads. This was another complicating factor of the old infrastructure. When I started many years ago, I used Keep & Share, Photobucket, and a few other places as data storage sites. I had links going to 3 or more places and some of those places have since added restrictions. It made it difficult to figure out where problems were occurring if something stopped working. It became quite an undertaking to keep the links going.

Thank you for your product support because you have kept this site going and helped with the improvements since it’s conception. Very little is free in life so I am sure you aware that this site costs a bit to operate. The product sales have allowed me to get to a self hosted site with download capability within the site. This alleviated the need for multiple storage sites and all those links. I have been switching the links as I get to them.

This adventure also started because I started to cringe at some of the cards from those older sets. My clip art was less than stellar. Originally, I made them for my use and didn’t have time for frill. Now I have more time to explore digital art which was another interest of mine.

When I first started making task cards, I didn’t have experience with digital art or drawing tools you use on computers. I began drawing my own clipart because I couldn’t always find the clip art I was looking for. I wanted figures that were relevant to the content of the card and not the same figures everyone else was using. I didn’t want the clip art to depict very young children, because I know some of the students using my cards might be older than average for a grade. I knew older children may get put off by clip art that appears to depict young children. I also needed some very specific actions and objects.

Within the last year, I have acquired a notepad and stylet. I have been making digital art using the free app, Auto Desk Sketchbook. After trying other programs, this one seems to make the most sense to me. I love drawing without buying all those supplies that go with it. I discovered how to use layers, which allows you to revise drawings multiple times without having to start over, which is a real plus for me.

Before I close, a reminder to those who have purchased the full card sets on Teachers Pay Teachers, you will be able to download the updated versions free by just getting another download on the TPT site. They are all listed under the original titles. The card sets in the Social Skills Communication Bundle are all included in the update and can also be purchased separately. To get to the TPT site, click on the picture below.

I am ending this post using the thought process of Bad Thing and Good Thing. Bad Thing: Updating is a real headache and overwhelming after 7 years of building a foundation on trial and error. Good thing: Hosting a Blog has been a great hobby and learning experience. There was something cathartic about writing it all down. It gave me a boost and support at work when I forgot materials going between multiple work sites. I could bring up what I needed on a lap top or iPad. It was a great creative outlet. Finally, it forced me to look at my data files and create a better filing system.

With any such endeavors, there are a lot of chances for errors. Please let me know if there are errors on products so I can make corrections. It seems like a few always slip through. Constructive suggestions are always welcome.

That’s a Wrap.

23 Jun

Summer is here.  I don’t usually post  much about personal happenings, but they do have an effect on  my postings.  There has been  lot happening behind the scenes.   The month of June  came in with a flurry of events.  Some were good like the college graduation of my youngest  daughter.  Family members  flew in for the event so I  was able to spoil a grandchild and celebrate  at the same time.  We are also planning for  a wedding in August.

Some not  so good.   The last week of school  I received notice that I would be changing schools for the  next school year.  Then after I packed up  I found I would be staying  put.  That was what I really wanted so Murphy’s Law worked on that one.

Then if that wasn’t enough, my school district had a tragedy occur that made national news.  It made the staff realize that the realities of our world can intrude anywhere and it is not safe to say, “‘That will never happen here.”   It made for a somber ending to our school year.

On a better ending note, I  never dreamed when I started this blog 5 years ago,  that  I would someday say , “We have outgrown this place.”    Changes are needed so it can continue to be user friendly in the future and not get bogged down.  With the help of  my new family graduate, the blog will be going through a transformation.   We are in the process of updating and moving to another host.  This blog has been a learning experience for me.   I  knew nothing about blogs  and some of the frame-work  is not how I would structure it today.  There will be  improvements such as easier access to the free material downloads, a url that matches the title,  and no pop up advertising.  I will try to keep headings similar so that you can still find things.  Meanwhile, this site will stay up until the opening day and after that will direct you until you get use to the new place.   I will alert you to when the change goes into effect.   A thank you  for those  of you  who have visited my TPT store.  You  supported the updates and  my blogging habit.