January Bulletin Board

28 Dec

Happy New Year!  It is hard to believe we are this far in our school year.  I will be putting up a new bulletin board when I get back to school.  I thought some of you would like to get a head start too.   This is not a new idea for me, but for some reason I didn’t  get a picture of  the bulletin board from last year.

I keep to a winter theme by having students make  snowmen.  We have a paper cutter that cuts out snowmen.  If you don”t have this you could probably just cut 3 circles  small, medium, and large, for the students to stack and make a snow man.   They then use  scrap paper to make props and clothes for them.   Finally they make a sign with sentences written on it for the snowman to hold .  This gives them a chance to formulate relative clauses using descriptive phrases.  An example for a sentence would be.  “I am a snowman who is wearing a striped scarf and black hat”.  They get quite creative with this and can usually come up with several sentences that will apply. I have seen  flying snowmen with wings and snowmen who look like football players.

A snowman who.........

This year I will make sure I take a picture of the bulletin board and post it.

Snowmen Galore

Direction Sequence for Paper Ornaments

27 Nov

This is really an update for the paper ornaments mentioned below.  I had so much fun learning about this tool that I wanted you to be aware of it also.   It is a  free app for the  iPad called StoryKit.  I didn’t have the opportunity to explore its capabilities until now.  I was trying to figure out the best way to provide directions for the paper ornaments and it came to mind.  I am impressed.  It was easy to use and I can see a lot of potential for making sequences and having the students make their own stories. The stories can then be saved on a server for future use.  Here is the link for the directions for the ornaments.  On your iPad it will actually look like a book that you can turn the pages on.  It is also possible to  add audio to each page.

December Bulletin Board

25 Nov

It is time for a  switch on the  bulletin board again.  I try to make it look festive for the holiday season and the students always request to decorate it.  In the last few years  our school has become more culturally sensitive which makes it more of a challenge for what I can actually put up on the board.  I continue to search for materials that have speech therapy value and are not time intensive.

I already have a tree set up from November’s bulletin board.  I will change the limbs of my tree so it looks more like a fir tree.  I will have the students trace their hands on green paper and cut them out.  I staple those on the tree to provide the fir part of the tree.  I will then have them make and  add paper ornaments.

I found this great paper ornament that meets the requirements.  It is a simple activity  that even the youngest children can complete and it allows practice  following directions and retelling a sequence.  It is found on  http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com/2008/12/paper-flower-ornaments.html  I have access to plenty of colored paper and glue sticks so I won’t need to get additional materials.

paper ornament

Our winter break is only a few weeks away so we will have to get this started as soon as we get back from the Thanksgiving break.   I will take a picture of the bulletin board and post it when it gets started.

Beautiful paper ornaments

Literacy Tools and Speech Therapy

11 Nov

It is not a surprise that many of our speech students are poor readers and do not like to read.  They may  lack many of the skills that it takes to enjoy a good story.  Their reading ability often  keeps them in stories that have immature topics compared to their interests.  It doesn’t take long before they find themselves way behind their peers.  They are stumbling through basal readers when their peers have moved on to chapter books.  Yet books are such a great tool to learn new vocabulary, learn story sequence, and develop the ability to make inferences.

The 5th grade classes  at one of my schools compete in the Spring in a competition called the “Battle of the Books”.  They are assigned books through the year, questions are derived from the stories, and then the questions are used for a type of knowledge bowl competition.
The winning team is acknowledged by the school  library.  A few of the 5th graders I work with are unable to read the books and grasp the material.  They have a hard time including themselves in this competition.

This school year I’ve become aware of new tools to bring literacy to my students with  poor reading ability.  They can enjoy appropriate reading and writing content when their reading skills are low.  Two such internet programs are  “Bookshare.org” and StoryBird.  I have added them to the blogroll.  Both programs are  free to classroom teachers or mentors who enroll students and are responsible for over seeing the material and content. The material is password protected but available to a core group.

Bookshare is available to students with print disabilities. As stated on the  Bookshare site, ” Through an award from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Bookshare offers free memberships to U.S. schools and qualifying U.S. students.”   In this program, the mentor/teacher verifies that a  student  has a disability that prevents them from accessing literature without  accommodations. The books would typically be copywrite protected but are available to be downloaded through this program to assigned students.  The student has access to an assigned book on any computer by using an assigned  password.  Text is highlighted and read to them by the computer. All levels of reading ability are represented and a lot of the books are books being used in classrooms today as assigned reading.

The Storybird site is particularly helpful for students who need visual material to get the creative juices flowing.  Artists have contributed beautiful art work that can be dragged and pulled to pages.  The students then add text to make their own stories.  The students can complete their own classroom libraries.  Students can make individual books/stories or collaborate.  It can maintain an interest level from low readers to the Talented and Gifted (TAG).  What a great classroom project to include everyone on the same playing field.

Grade Level Goals

30 Oct

In our college speech programs we are taught what can be expected for  normal speech and language development.  As Speech Language Pathologist we spend a lot of time trying to write appropriate measurable goals for our students who fall below the standards of development.  We have the responsibility of translating our student’s weaknesses into goals and objectives.  In an educational setting,  we are also asked that  speech  services  address the common  core state standards for academics.  We need to be aware of these standards to know what is expected at each grade level and write goals accordingly.

Most states have  published their common core standards on the internet.  The standards are very common from state to state. I guess that was the purpose after all.  To have the states line up with common expectations.   However some state standards are a lot easier to read and use than others. You may want to look up your information from the state board of education in your state.  Oregon state has laid theirs out rather nicely with each grade level having their own section.  I added links for the state of Oregon’s Language Arts section  to the TX and Forms section.  Even if your state isn’t Oregon, it is probably pretty similar.  We  can use this information when writing our goals to see if we can help a student meet those expectations to grade level.  I tried to follow these when writing my goals in my goal bank.  Here is a short cut link to the TX and Forms page where you can access the goal bank and core standards.

You may notice that K-2nd have similar objectives but expect higher level vocabulary and expertise with grammatical structures as students reach 3rd grade.    3rd and 5th grades are expected to have better language comprehension and interpretations of what they read and hear.  In some cases it is the descriptive words we use rather than much change in the actual objectives such as referring to using antonyms rather giving opposites of a word.  I like to have my  goals reflect the language being used for instruction.  I’ve found the classroom teachers respond favorably to this as they realize I am supporting their instruction and relate it to what is happening in the classroom.