Thursday, July 2, 2020

Support the Future of the Professions- Supervise a Graduate Student this Fall

I am hearing from some of my colleagues and friends at the graduate school level that they are finding it hard to secure placements for graduate students needing clinical practicum experiences this summer and fall. For many of us, what fall will look like is uncertain, everyone understands that. But I'd like to advance an idea: whatever it will look like, a graduate student will HELP YOU.

How?
-graduate students can help shoulder your clinical work (ASHA is recommending 25% supervision)
-freeing you for other aspects of your workload
-and likely bringing a comfort and creativity with technology you may not have, for whatever degree of teletherapy you may be doing
-while being willing to physically distance within or outside of your physical space
-and providing you with a collaborative relationship where this may not be as "happening" given whatever your work situation is
-last and, and giving you a sense that you are helping in a situation that needs an unprecedented amount of helping.

Think you'll either be at home OR at school and only one of those situations involves teletherapy? Take a look at this article (Boisvert & Hall, 2019) while it is free on ASHAWire and think more about workload management...and how a graduate student intern might fit into that.

I had a graduate student finishing up her Winter semester when COVID-19 hit Massachusetts. Continuing to have her "on" was immensely valuable for all of the above reasons. Summer semester rolled around and I took on another, and ditto.

Over the next several posts I'd like to share some examples of work graduate students have done during this crisis, with the goal of convincing you:
-to please reconsider if you said "no" to a graduate student for the upcoming semester
-to reach out to your local college and grad programs to see if you can be of help in providing clinical experiences
Otherwise all this stalls. And with efforts to increase diversity within our field ongoing, we all need to be part of that solution, too.

Kevin Buonanni, in his last semester at Emerson College in Boston, has done an excellent job co-running my social cognition groups (on Zoom) with me from May-June. Kevin brought a gaming expertise that I don't have, and has suggested many resources and approaches. I have a group that has had an Indiana Jones/archaeology/digging/earth/mindfulness theme and have long wanted to modify some Role-Playing Game (RPG) type activities with them but didn't know quite how. I recalled having some Indy RPG materials as a kid myself, though, and found this resource of out-of-print games on The Trove. As Kevin was progressing in his placement from duplicating activities he had seen me do to more independent planning, I asked him if he could take a look at those materials and plan an activity. I am SO glad I was not my usual control freak self and didn't say "Do ___." because what he came up with was so much better than what I envisioned. 

Kevin used Jamboard to make sketches that amounted to a storyboard of one of the scenes from the RPG, he then verbally communicated some narrative to the group members, offered choices for the way the story could go, and provided opportunities for them to contribute dialogue (conversation building) and sketches (collaborative play), for a great series of activities that will continue when the group reconvenes next week. 




In the second case, placing a maze on the Jam slide and asking the boys to each "imagine" what would be at the center of the maze.

Please check out this flyer--and share-- on what a graduate student can do for you this Fall (created by Meghan Graham, Clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University).

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

GIFs- simple animations

In a terrific recent PD I watched, Rachel Madel made a great point: why use static photos or drawings to demonstrate verbs, when we have GIFs. GIFs (arguably pronounced with a soft "g" or like the peanut butter) are a format that shows photos or cartoons as a short looping video. Like this:


The weather today in Boston got me like...

As Rachel said, GIFs can be great for verbs but also:
-emotions
-basic narratives
-sentence formulation
-connection to curriculum
-concepts
-figurative language
-are simple stimuli that don't require much sustained attention
-and not least of all, are cool.

GIFs live best in Google Slides, which would give you a place to put them in a flow of context, and you can place them next to typeable space for formulating and visually supporting language.

GIPHY is a great place to get GIFs. To put one in Slides, search for what you would like, select it and click through to it. Click Copy Link and copy the FULL link. Back in Google Slides Insert>Image> By URL. Click to select the image and click INSERT.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Juneteenth: a sequence and settings

Every context has language underpinnings. Why not use contexts that promote anti-racism?

Tomorrow is Juneteenth, the day that commemorates word of the Emancipation Proclamation reaching Texas, two and a half years after it was issued. It's history that isn't taught enough in schools.

So, sequence of events is critical to understand here. A number of books on EPIC! about Juneteenth are on point.

Using Google Street View is a great way to have students observe, describe, "think with their eyes," or complete a setting-based graphic organizer. A number of VA slave dwellings are rendered in Google Street View listed here and given more context here. Be sure to click through to View on Google Maps for the best visual/interactive experience.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Myvocabulary.com

Myvocabulary.com is a great source of contextual vocabulary lists. I found it recently when looking for lists like those contained in the terrific WWP-Vocabulary app. Working with vocabulary is a great way to aim for contextual therapy. From MyVocabulary, I have been using an A-Z list related to travel, an area of interest for my student. Go to the general interest area on this page to find similar thematic lists.

Research suggests that vocabulary depth, or ability to make connections between words and concepts in context, can be targeted with multiple exposures, providing explicit meanings, practice forming categories/taxonomies, as well as book reading and “playful” activities (Hadley, Dickinson, Hirsch-Pasek, & Golinkoff, 2018). Bringing Words To Life breaks these techniques down with many engaging activities that are great for verbal exchanges in teletherapy. These can include:

-Word Associations: which word goes with far? Abroad or Aquatic? Why?
-Have you ever? Describe a time when you went somewhere aquatic.
-Applause, Applause! How much would you like to have an adventure? To stay in lodging that has atmosphere?
Which would…?/Examples: Which would be abroad: Disney World or Spain?
Making Choices: If any of the things I say might be examples of affordable, say “affordable”- if not, don’t say anything
Relating words in sentences: How does a host show hospitality?

It's very easy to support these activities visually as-you-go with Google Slides (Insert-Image-From the Web).

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Vote with your wallet...

Super Duper Publications, a leading producer of speech-language materials, has refused to make any kind of statement on racial inequality despite being asked many, many times and while continuing to use images of Black people in posts about their products and handouts. You can see some of the interactions around this on @themindfulslpodcast account. It's WRONG.

Some who would prefer me not to be political might have noticed that ship has sailed in the past few days. I once was left a note "NO POLITICS" when I mentioned in a presentation the PBS Kids wonderful website was in danger of losing funding. My platform, my podium, my right to say what I think here just as yes, it's Super Duper's right to say nothing, and your right to walk on by. BUT as a gay person (first time saying that here but I have mentioned my husband in presentations, Happy Pride 2020) I have always voted with my wallet and I encourage our profession to do so in this case. 

So, and to continue my angle of being practical, with some ongoing assistance from valued colleagues in a Facebook group I belong to, I'd like to offer as many alternatives as possible to using or purchasing Super Duper Materials (feel free to add in the comments).



1. Use context. I have never been a fan of SD in the first place for their production of almost exclusively decontextualized materials. Read Gillam (et al implied here), Ukrainetz, Wallach, Ehren.

2. Aim at discourse and narrative. Helping our students tell their stories is more critical than ever. You know I am an SGM® person but make your own graphic organizers with research-based story elements in Google Slides, use Somebody Wanted But So, whatever approach works for you to scaffold.

3. Read and discuss, plan post activities with books. Doing teletherapy, you can use an inexpensive document camera, Epic!, Vooks, YouTube or many other sources.

4. Use interactive websites and apps to build categories in context instead of category cards.

5. Create "magnet" activities with Google Slides. You could also do this to fill up an array of dots with stickers. Smart Notebook interactive pages also offer options.

6. Create products as a language and narrative process. Book Creator, Pixton, Toontastic offer options.

7. Make vocabulary cards, synonyms/antonyms as a selection process by the student. "What picture do you like?" (in Google Slides, Insert> Image> Search the Web). Be creative and search for examples/nonexamples.

8. Use E-text sources for "auditory memory" (whatever that is)

9. Teach conversational structure in real time instead of using topic cards.

10. Find relevant and currently used idioms by topic and make Pic Collages about them (made this one in 30 seconds)



11. (Tanya Coyle) Lessonpix allows for all different skin tones and editing to change skin tones of any pictures that lack that option automatically (fewer and fewer over the last several years). They have a ton of therapy materials you can create or already created.

12. (Laura Staley) I just bring a couple of books and some bubbles.

13. (Jen DW) I love using animated short films in therapy! Hair Love, MVP, Dia de los Muertos are on Youtube and feature POC characters. Disney+ has some great short films featuring diverse characters, too! Out (about a gay man coming out to his parents), Loop (about an autistic girl who doesn't talk), Float (about a baby that can fly), and Bao (about a Chinese mom whose dumpling comes to life) all feature POC characters. These are usually wordless or have few words, relying on the art to tell the story, so they are great for describing, sentence formulation, story retelling, inferring, predicting, interpreting emotions, etc.

I look forward to growing this list, and bypassing the pile of bags at ASHA Convention 202_ if it is even there. #dumpsuperduper. Using less stuff is good for the environment anyway. 

Monday, June 8, 2020

Shortcut

Shortcut by Donald Crews has always been one of my favorites to use in therapy. It's a personal narrative, so good for teaching story elements, with some suspense. This story has an important message about evaluating dangers- a family of kids had been told not to take the shortcut (railroad tracks) and is surprised by a freight train running off schedule. Suspense is built as the situation unfolds but the children escape safely- reporting at the end that they never talk about the event again, but also clearly have thought/felt about it because they never take the shortcut either (more landscape of consciousness).



Shortcut is also a good representation of black characters in a different time.

As I reported to the parents of group members this week, the book also points to a bigger picture/main idea relevant to our current time (here represented with Story Grammar Marker® icons, Note: Author has a contractual consultative relationship with Mindwing Concepts for provision of blog and presentation content, but receives not royalties should you buy their products).

Note: your use of story mapping need not always be super-pretty, this was in an email.

I found this book on YouTube and planned to turn off the sound and read it aloud. Working with a terrific graduate student in telepractice sessions, I prepped him to do the follow-up activity. I had always had my students make a map of the story, because the setting is so integral here. I sent my student a quick Jamboard sketch (remember, Jamboard available in your Google tools) of what his target might look like, guiding him that he could ask questions like: where did they start? where were they going? where did the road run? where did the tracks run (must make a "shortcut")? other setting elements so it could end up looking something like this?


As activities often show, the students had their own vision when engaging in collaborative drawing, and did more of a micro-setting look at the story. It ended up being more of a mood-board than our original vision. But especially now, it's important to let our students express themselves how they choose, and reinforce their cooperation, inclusion of narrative elements, sharing imagination and following a group plan (terms from Social Thinking®).


Thursday, June 4, 2020

Another week...

One of my students in a group session this week shared as his "low" that he is upset by all that is going on with racism and injustice in America and that "it's another layer on top of the layers the country has been dealing with." A wise way to put it.

I'm working on what I can do in my own community, but I wanted to work to elevate black voices in my sessions this week, in ways that might help my students process current events and also be goal-oriented. A conversation about race is about many things, but partly thoughts and perspectives and experiences, all wrapped up in narrative language. Experiences start with the landscape of action (Bruner, 1986) or ability to describe actions in the story as well as character and setting, but relate to the higher level landscape of consciousness/theory of mind ability to describe thoughts, feelings, plans and perspectives related to these events. Cognitive verbs such as think, know, remember, realize, guess also often form complex sentences as in I thought I should do something to help.

For a group of 4th-5th graders this week I read from Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes And Friendship available on Epic! Books, reviewed here by Kirkus Reviews. The poems have a white and black student each reflect on planned topics for a poetry project, in the process sharing stories and embedded "thoughts" that often require some inferencing. I read the book in part and then made it available in the students' free remote access library available through Epic! As a post-activity we completed a discussion web of sorts with the students' contributing their understanding of some of the characters' thoughts as extracted from the narratives. The thought bubble visual is from Story Grammar Marker® and available in their downloadable icon products. (Note: Author has a contractual consultative relationship with Mindwing Concepts for provision of blog and presentation content, but receives no royalties should you buy their products) Typable thought bubbles as always are available through Google Slides in the shapes>callouts menu.




I was happy to see that this book was included in Epic!'s Start a Conversation about Race collection- if you are looking for material over this time.

And to make it absolutely clear, #blacklivesmatter, this week and every week.



Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Fallen London

If working with older students in language or social groups, Fallen London is one option of a very simple (technically) game you may find useful in teletherapy. This role playing game starts with creating a character and escaping a jail, and can be used for targets such as:
-visualization: the game runs more as a textual choose your own adventure, so you can encourage students to read and visualize, or visualize as you read.
-observation and commenting within the images provided.
-vocabulary and figurative language: the game starts with reference to a dirigible and all of my groups needed to google to figure out what that was, you also choose paths such as watchful, dangerous or shadowy so predicting what those might mean can be part of your discussion.
-agreeing on moves- we have just used one google login for a group and have them play as a single character.


You can read more about the background of the game here. I always follow the process, not product rule and am unsure how long my students will want to play. Abandoning group endeavors is OK, it's part of being in a group (and play).

Monday, June 1, 2020

Mr. Nussbaum's Learning Fun

Mr. Nussbaum's Learning + Fun is a collection of interactives that could be used to develop many language underpinnings (e.g. descriptive skills with the EET). For example this section of science games offers many opportunities. Some require a subscription (offered currently at a discount) but many are offered for free. Check it out- I'm adding to the Teletherapy Resources List.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Some metaliguistics for you

I went to grammar school. I mean it was intense diagramming-sentences kind of grammar back then. I learned what the subjunctive mood was. Actually my mother taught my eighth grade ELA class, but that's another trauma to not talk about for now.

Anyway, for this reason as an SLP I've always had a lens on syntax, at least in its functional capactity of comprehending and producing complex sentences. This involves building some syntactic awareness of parts of speech and the functions of words. There is evidence that knowledge of parts of speech and how they go together impacts language and reading comprehension. Approaches like sentence combining are research supported and require this kind of awareness in students.

For these reasons, interactives around parts of speech can be considered on-point in our therapy. Check out Sheppard Software (overall) and their specific ELA interactives. Their Parts of Speech tutorial is adorbs and a fun visual way to explore the functions of nouns, adjectives, and verbs (note also that adjective+noun equals elaborated noun phrase which we can be measuring as microstructure in narrative).


The sparkly cloud


The sparkly cloud is hiding

Finding an interactive website of this type is helpful as you can follow the activities in a sequence, which helps with session flow. I have added this website to the Teletherapy Resources List.

As a child of this era also I loved Schoolhouse Rock and have used their engaging grammar videos in therapy to build awareness of parts of speech.
 
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