Monday, November 12, 2018

See you at ASHA!

Hope to see some of you this week, as I have two presentations scheduled for ASHA Convention 2018 in Boston! My first one I am going to try to deliver start to finish in my best Boston accent!

Here are some details on them below. Also see my convention tech preview published on the ASHA Blog.


Topic Area: Language and Learning in School-Age Individuals
Session Number: 1327
Title: Pairing Picture Books & Apps for Contextualized Intervention: Hub of History & Innovation Edition
Session Format: Seminar 2-hours
Day:  Friday, November 16, 2018
Time:  8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Author(s): Sean Sweeney 

Another edition of this popular presentation from ASHA 2012-2017 describes pairings of picture books and apps setting intervention contexts related to science and social studies curriculum areas. Boston, a center of history and scientific innovation, is the perfect location for exploring connections between language intervention and these content area contexts, with picture books and apps providing tools for linguistic interactions.

Objectives:
-Identify 2 apps and picture books containing language structures and contexts within text, visuals and interactions
-State 4 features of disciplinary language within science and social studies providing contexts for language intervention
-Describe 2 session plans pairing books and apps based on contextual overlappings

Topic Area: Telepractice and Technology
Session Number: 1752
Title: Evolutionary Telepractice Approaches: Bridging the Gap Between Integrating Evidence-Based Methodologies & Methods of Delivery
Session Format: Seminar 2-hours
Day:  Saturday, November 17, 2018
Time:  8:00 AM - 10:00 AM 

Author(s): Amy Reid (PRESENTING AUTHOR: Author who will be presenting), Sean Sweeney (PRESENTING AUTHOR: Author who will be presenting), Nathan Curtis (PRESENTING AUTHOR: Author who will be presenting)

Speech-Language Pathologists aim to meet the goal of evidence-based practice by integrating clinical expertise, scientific evidence, and client/patient/caregiver perspectives. This presentation discusses how to utilize evidence-based methodologies in telepractice. We will present the underlying research and methodologies as the framework upon which to make clinical decisions about context. We will share video demonstrations of materials and approaches.

(Note: Amy and Nathan are the tele-experts in this one, as I'll be talking tech and context. You might be interested in the material regardless of whether you are involved in telepractice)

Objectives:

List three ways to include evidence-based methodologies in telepractice sessions
Describe two clinical techniques applying technology with curriculum-based materials to complete evidence-based approaches in telepractice
State three ways to engage clients on curriculum-based content using digital and “hands-on” resources  


Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Plotagon for Mac or PC

Plotagon Story is a very useful app for iPad and Android (free) that is now also available to download for Mac or PC. Plotagon represents the type of creative app that allows us to create models of concepts, skills or narratives, but also then to use as a co-creation tool so students can apply their understanding while having fun. With Plotagon, you choose a scene (many available for free) and create or use characters, then can type in a dialogue between them (2 characters only). You also can add emotional reactions; see my post walking through Plotagon in relation to the 6 Universal Feelings and Mindwing's Story Grammar Marker® (including a printable visual) here.

For another specific example of a clinical use of Plotagon, consider the Peers® Curriculum, which includes a breakdown of strategies in "trading information" in conversation. One of these includes the twofold moves of asking questions and then answering your own questions (basically topically commenting). In providing an overview of these moves week by week with a group of teens, Plotagon was useful in providing an engaging visual example before practicing the moves in conversation. Here's an example (this took me all of 5 minutes to make).

To download Plotagon Story, you can start from this page (scroll down for Mac and Windows downloads).

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Lesson: 5 Point Scale of Halloween Problems

The Five Point Scale is one of my favorite tools. It is versatile to talk about many different kinds of social observations, norms, problems and nuances; it is also narrative in form and sparks discussion about perspective taking.

So I made you a lesson! Use this Google Slides, uh, slide as a template to have kids generate examples of problems that occur on Halloween. I like the framework contained in both this TpT packet by Speechie Musings and Social Thinking's® Size of the Problem book: problems become bigger with 1) time needed to solve 2) needing help 3) someone being physically or emotionally hurt and 4) affecting other people. So, a 3 might ruin your day (time) and cause light physical or bigger emotional hurt, and you may need to talk to someone about it.

You can use humor and lightness/darkness appropriate to your group in developing examples, so, a 5 for your HSers might be "your friend becomes a zombie" where with 2nd graders maybe "a ghost decides to live in your house."

To use this template, please do not request access. That results in my getting emails...thanks. Open a browser and sign into your Google account. Go to this link. From the file menu, choose Make a copy. Then it is yours. Consider duplicating the slide or the file itself to use for many groups. Also, Tools>Explore will let you search for images to add extra visual support (e.g. "throwing up," a 3). This activity is great for pairing with a book about Halloween.


Have a great Halloween!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Explain Everything in Chrome

Explain Everything has historically been a great "whiteboard"/"explanimation" app allowing us to create a series of slides so to speak, with recording capabilities making animations as we draw, move images and drawings around, and speak to record narration. However, I have found their rollouts and pricing very confusing; they have had a number of versions of their iPad app and it is currently $14.99, which I believe is overpriced for education markets (I'd accept $9.99 for an app this powerful).

In any case, particularly in our school environments where Chromebooks are often available, you'll want to take a look at least at their free account now available through the Google Chrome browser. You can log in with a Google account and make 3 projects (delete-able and downloadable). Explain Everything is unique in allowing you to make stick figures and animate them- think a teched-up version of Comic Strip Conversations or Stickwriting (for social cognitive or narrative representation, respectively). One trick you need to know is to make drawings move independently, as shown below, go to the [i] inspector icon and select the items, then Ungroup.

There are many uses of a tool such as Explain Everything, and one is narrative retelling. I love books that unfold over one setting, such as The Runaway Pumpkin, in which a humongous pumpkin is pushed down a hill. Here you see an example of a recording you could make with students to retell this story:

Image from Gyazo

Friday, September 28, 2018

Peanuts Minisodes on YouTube

Cartoon Network has recently produced a series of Peanuts "minisodes" available on YouTube through this playlist. As a general strategy, locating playlists of videos on YouTube can help us find resources on a theme or potentially useful for similar clinical targets. Additionally, identifying YouTube channels we find useful, always represented by a circular icon and a red button to subscribe (the circle for Cosmic Kids, below, is a little hard to see with all the white) when you search, also helps us find a flow of resources:


Subscribing to a channel (red button) or saving a playlist (nearby orange circled item with lines and a check) will add resources to your menu (upper left circled item when signed in to YouTube with your credentials):


Regarding the Peanuts minisodes, these are short, engaging videos for kids and a great way to explore and identify the Zones of Regulation® and to map narratives. Peanuts interactions often also have a lot of figurative language and reference to seasons and holidays useful for these themes.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Tinycards, teched-up flashcards

I have previously written about our potential role in promoting study skills through a) targeting connections and categories b) promoting use of metalinguistic "tricks and b) motivating our students' participation as at some point, tests and grades matter to them. Duolingo's Tinycards- Fun Flashcards is another nice (100% Free) app for SLPs to look at because it provides access to appealing interactive flashcards. These let you move through a category by responding in different ways e.g. identifying via typing, describing, multiple choice to promote different connections within the category. For SLP students also, there are quite a number of anatomy categories available. Note: you can also make your own cards!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Lookup

Lookup: An elegant dictionary ($2.99) would be a useful app for MS and HS clinicians to have in their library. The app contains cool, attractively designed posters that illustrate the meaning (more precisely, often a semantic association) to a word. The array of posters is not yet of true dictionary breadth, but the ones contained within would provide a great inspiration for students to make their own posters. Consider doing so with construction paper, or with Pic Collage or Google Drawings. The Expanding Expression Tool and Beck/McKeown/Kucan's contextual vocabulary strategies would be good methodologies to employ alongside the use of this app.


Here's an image I whipped up in 5 minutes using Google Drawings, related to a vocabulary word I heard targeted in a HS classroom this week:


To create this I:
-started a new drawing, go to docs.google.com/drawings, Google "Google Drawings" or from your Drive click New, then More, then Google Drawing.
-used Tools>Explore and looked up an image of "dollar"- dragged it in, selected it and copied/pasted a number of times, rotating and resizing.
-Used the Line>Scribble tool to draw a stick figure, then changed the line weight
-Added and reformatted text.

Here's a complete tutorial on using Google Drawings, a tool with many uses, particularly in Chromebook environments.

Creating visuals with Google tools has the advantage of creating collaborative and sharing opportunities between students and possibly making collections for studying. 

You'll find that the above features (web search, doodle, backgrounds, text) are also available in Pic Collage EDU.


Friday, September 7, 2018

More on Breathing

Breathing is an important tool that SLPs can employ in a variety of client populations. For our students with self-regulation difficulties, having tools they can use anywhere without disruption of the current situation they are in can be very important (see Zones). For us, too-- our jobs can be stressful, whether it is a difficult treatment situation, a contentious IEP meeting, or just going back to work after the summer (I AM STILL NOT REALLY READY)...we need tools.

I've always found any kind of mindful breathing to be useful, but this summer I stumbled upon a link from VICE News that led to some interesting science. One study sited here documents the effects of "coherent breathing" at a rate that balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, leading to increased calm for people with varied conditions: "In subjects with MDD (major depressive disorder) treated with resonant breathing (coherent breathing with pursed lips resistive exhalation) at 4.5–6.5 breaths per minute (bpm), HRV (heart rate variability) increased and mood improved." Part of the technique is that one should avoid counting, say to 6, as that engages the sympathetic side too much.

I was easily able to find an app that therefore provided other cues so that breaths could be timed to correspond with the BPM guideline: The Breathing App (free for iOS). I have used this as a warm up for groups and also frequently for myself. The app provides different modes: in one, a ball enlarges as a visual for inhalation timing, and decreases in size for exhalation. I have found especially useful another mode which uses audio tones of different notes to time the same--great to use in the car when feeling just a tad anxious on the way to some work task. Check it out and try the technique!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Stories of Summer

In working with students individually or in groups, I find that sharing our own stories can be a very effective elicitation technique. I'm a social interactionist at heart, and it's just pragmatically appropriate. Tell a story about yourself and you seem like a real person to the child. This interaction then becomes a context for all kinds of targets: listening skills, visualization for comprehension, use of comments and questions, and the students' own narrative language.

This was described as the "Conversational Map" by McCabe and Rollins (1994): "In spontaneous interactions you have to tell a story to get a story. Almost everyone has experienced awkward silences in social situations. No one can think of a thing to say. However, the minute one person launches into a tale about locking keys in his or her car or leaving lights on in a parking lot, virtually all others in the group share a similar incident that happened to them. The exact content of a story prompt is not important per se. What is important is that children are asked to talk about experiences that mean something to them. In general, children are likely to tell their best stories about being hurt or scared. These are experiences that almost all children have had but are significant enough to any particular child to be worth talking about."

One tech twist I have on this technique is that I like to present a photo if possible. Photos provide visual support and extend students' understanding of the situation you are describing. The photo you use may also support their commenting or questioning about relevant parts of your story, or constructing inferences based on the way you present the story. They say "the best camera is the one you have with you," and it's true that this is one good use of our smartphones. Keep in mind that small mundane stories that we experience (a spill or broken thing, whatever) can also be good opportunities to photograph and use in therapy.

Telling stories need not be completely free-form, but can be tied into specific strategies. I try to keep mine short enough to allow for conversational appropriateness and foster use of comments and questions (see Mindwing Concepts' 6 Second Story conversational scaffold). We can also progress from explicitly visual techniques like sketching to using Visualizing and Verbalizing®'s structure words to promote visualization, comprehension and responses.

Here are a few examples of photos (that I was just taking anyway, as a selfie enthusiast) that served as good therapy materials and summer stories, along with model narratives:

I bought a new car this summer, but left it at home when I went for a week down the Cape. I heard from my neighbor that a car parked right near it somehow went on fire! We don't know how, but everyone was OK. I was worried about the car but glad it didn't get damaged.



I went to see the Taylor Swift concert at the end of July at Gillette Stadium. They gave us all wristbands and I wasn't sure why. It turned out they lit up all around the stadium in synch with the music to make patterns. It was a cool surprise!


We went to Scarborough Beach in Maine in August. It turns out a foreign ship had docked nearby and brought a new seaweed with it, which was out of control. It stunk and made the water really gross. We found some areas on the beach to swim that didn't have the seaweed.


I went for a hike on the Welch and Dickey Loop in New Hampshire. It was beautiful but harder than expected. I'm afraid of open high spaces and it had a lot of those. This steep ledge was wet from rain the day before and I slipped and almost slid backwards down it. Thankfully I grabbed onto a tree and was safe!



Have fun telling your stories!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Building Context through Technology

In my last post, I discussed how some Star Wars conversation led a group of mine to some engaging self-regulation activities incorporating movement. I always like extending themes, and observe that both watching short videos and, for some reason, watching me type into a presentation slide both get kids talking! I found a Star Wars template easily and we used this "blank space" to map out some social narratives related to play, thinking, self-talk and regulation, and social cognition after reviewing some short videos.

In this video Obi-Wan uses a Jedi Mind Trick. It was a great context to analyze the narrative, in our case with Story Grammar Marker®, but also could be approached with other strategies.
 

I feigned some blanks in my knowledge and together we summarized that:
Character: Obi Wan
Setting: Tattoine
Initiating Event: The Rebels have put plans for the Death Star, which show how to destroy it, on R2-D2. The stormtroopers stop the group and want identification
Response: Calm
Plan: Get past the stormtroopers
Action: Uses a Jedi Mind Trick to get past
Conclusion: They continue on their mission

The narrative could also be flipped and analyzed from Luke's perspective, who at this point is mystified by Obi Wan's powers.

In addition to talking through the narrative elements, focusing on cause-effect relationships, we also talked about the theme of Jedi Mind Tricks as a way to talk about changing thoughts of ourselves and others (awareness of self-talk) in both pretend and real ways (see above re: simple uses of PowerPoint, Google Slides or Keynote for visual support):


We also role-played JMTs just for fun and playfulness.


Follow-ups! Contexts that get kids talking and thinking about concepts, skills and strategies are always worth repeating, so see also:

-Rey ineffectively using her skills, then succeeding after regulating herself better.
-Yoda's statement of "There is no try" prompted a great conversation and narratives in my group about times they had effectively tried, and the role of failure in learning.
-In a fun followup contextual activity, my students worked in small groups to make a "same but different" version of this activity using the free Scratch Jr. app, instead of a car in the city driving a Star Wars vehicle across space or the desert.
-The book Darth Vader and Son (Jeffrey Brown) is filled with comics building mini-narratives incorporating perspective taking and inference.

May the Force be with YOU this school year!


 
.