Thursday, September 12, 2019

Get on a Roll this Year (Part 3)

Being on a contextual roll can involve curriculum topics. SLPs can go this route without watering down our therapy and while emphasizing specific therapeutic targets. One of the best examples I have found of this approach was written up by Theresa Ukrainetz, a context maven (2017); I have used this quote to launch collaborative activities in workshops:

“SLPs can link to the curriculum with thematic whole-part treatment units. For example, a 6- to 8-week unit on the topic of national parks can address a small number of specific skills, perhaps one for each of vocabulary, syntax, discourse, and self-regulation that come together in communicative activities. The SLP can choose a particular park (e.g., Yellowstone National Park), features (e.g., geological formations), or issues common to many parks (e.g., being “loved to death” by high visitation rates). To encourage engagement, students can have choices of the culminating project (e.g., speech, brochure, newsletter). The SLP looks toward the classroom in selecting information sources and crafting treatment activities. An extended process of reading sources; taking notes; composing, practicing, revising, and delivering the presentation; and then reviewing performance allows RISE+ (Repeated opportunities for Intensive interaction with systematic Scaffolding of Explicitly targeted skills) within these integrated skill tasks (Ukrainetz, 2006, 2015a, 2015d). Additional practice opportunities for individual skills can occur through brief focused skill tasks (e.g., constructing 10 relative clause sentences to express two pieces of information, such as “Yellowstone Park's geysers are holes in the ground that release hot plumes of steam.” After the student achieves some competence in this controlled setting, the SLP moves to coaching application of the skills within related activities in the classroom.”

You all may know I'm a national parks nut, so this topic would definitely engage me as well. Here Ukrainetz focuses on gearing the context toward the creation of a product or artifact, but you could also consider mini-projects. To be specific, some ideas integrating technology and specific clinical targets related to the above:

1. Use EPIC! Books for Kids highly visual materials--great for SmartBoards--to set the context, in the process targeting vocabulary (tier 2 or 3), expository text structure (e.g. a list, sequence, cause-effect graphic organizer) or do a conjunction search on a page to promote understanding and use of complex syntax.


2. As I know from planning my trips, every National Park has a website, and in turn a printable map and guide (on the MAPS page). Following a model, for self-regulation/executive function have students summarize the important situational aspects of visiting a park (Space, Time, Objects, People by Ward/Jacobsen), maybe with a visual made in Pic Collage, an easy way to display text and photos, or on a Google Slide. For example:

Zion National Park
Space: close to Las Vegas, the Canyon area most popular, East side accessed by a tunnel, also a remote area in Northwest of park. 
Time: e.g. most popular times to visit, how to enter the park on shuttle.
Objects: WATER is vital for any visit in summer
People: Very popular park, parts people want to visit include Angels' Landing (EEK, no) and the Narrows.

3. The above could lead toward a prioritization activity in which students use Google Earth and add the top 3 attractions to "My Places," along with a written rationale/description targeting causal language, which would make an engaging presentation.


4. Target functional reading comprehension and conceptual reasoning by having students map out a budget for visiting a park and researching air and hotel costs with Kayak.

5. Lastly, Google Slides would also be a good landing spot for students to create one slide with 5 complex sentences about a park (perhaps with targets because, so, if, when, otherwise)

Considering your professional development schedule this year? Check out Sean's offerings for training sessions.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Get on a Roll this Year (Part 2)

In the last post, I talked about how context can be your friend, not only in planning activities and engaging students, but also clinically. Incorporating curriculum topics is a key strategy for clinicians, but we need not be arbitrary about it. Please take these examples of contextual work as exactly that- examples. You can find out from teachers what they are working on and perhaps offer students a choice of topics to "roll with," especially if you are working on social objectives.

One tool I use frequently when making decisions as a group is the Levels of Like chart, a strategy I learned about from SLP Jenny Sojat. You can make one of these on a board to explore sample topics; it's also a good way to use Pic Collage:


Use Text tool to add the levels. Use the Web Image tool to search for images related to options being discussed. Poll students on their "thoughts" (good entry to perspective taking) and where each option lies. Try not to decide on something that anyone has below the OK level.

Let's say you explore pets as a topic. Pets are a nice entry point to curriculum as they relate to social studies (human interaction with environment, etc) and a number of science topics such as describing animal features, habitats etc. Some examples if you settle on, say, cats. Cats are cool!

Memes: A meme is, in internet parlance, something that is shared, often for humor. Memes are essentially narratives and often take on a "same but different" theme with different versions of a meme. But animal memes are usually a story, so think narrative language. Be careful where you get your memes; you can save images from icanhazcheeseburger, find cute groups related to animals on Facebook, or search for kid-friendly memes. You can organize them for presentation in a Google Slides format like I did below:



Note that each one is a (partial) story involving observation and prediction.
Character: owner and cat
Setting: bathtub
Initiating event: The owner is taking a bath WHEN the cat comes to visit and perch on the faucet
Sequential events/reactions: you guess
Also a good figurative language term in slide 1.

Books: Pets feature in a ton of narrative/expository picture books. Try Creature Features or It's all about ME-ow, which have science and social extensions.

Apps: Lots of apps revolve around pets. Many are not great! But check out Toca Life: Pets to tell stories and play (also great for categories/following directions), and apps like How to Draw a Cat Step By Step are good contexts for following directions.


Videos: Phrasal Verbs Friends is a series of fun cat vids teaching about Phrasal Verbs (basically figurative language). Thanks FreeTech4Teachers for that suggestion. Also see the Simon's Cat series for wordless narratives.

More Academic: see what BrainPop, NewsELA or EPIC! Books have for material on cats and teach expository text structures and strategies.


I'll sign off with a meow, then!


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Get on a roll this year!

Context helps us achieve flow in our work, both in our own and students' enjoyment of it, as well as ease of planning. A study by Gillam, Gillam and Reece (2012) also found context linked to EBP, with improvements in sentence and discourse formulation measures when "clinicians treated multiple linguistic targets using meaningful activities with high levels of topic continuity." What contexts you pick are up to you, but I have one suggestion to start: the playground and recess. A couple ideas in this flow:

Scratch Jr.
This free resource from MIT Media Lab is available as an iPad app or on Chromebooks. Coding is basically language teaching, a context for us to help students follow directions, work with characters and settings, and describe movements that result. It is also a big causal (because/so) and conditional (if/then) context. Scratch Jr. provides mini-curriculums including one allowing you to simulate playground games! The teaching guides here can be modified by taking a screenshot of the key directions, like so:


Tells you what to do...


Shows your students what to do
Not so complicated, and very fun!

Practice Playground Games
Make visual supports via Comic Strip Conversations (with marker and whiteboard or Doodle Buddy/Book Creator) and practice playing active games. This will give your students many language opportunities and also be skill-building activities for actual recess.

Pair with Picture Books about Recess
Try The Recess Queen (O'Neill) or Do Not Bring Your Dragon to Recess (Gassman), both providing context for social and narrative teaching opportunities.  Psst: find read-aloud video versions on YouTube.

Playground Physics
For upper elementary students, try this free app from the series of "Noticing Tools" from the New York Hall of Science. You can video students running or doing playground actions and measure speed and various scientific measures. Lots of narrative and expository language can ensue, as well as being a social context of moving to an outdoor space together and observing ("body in the group").


Also consider that a good chunk of the fun and instructive Zones of Regulation: Exploring Emotions app plays out in a playground setting, exploring how daily events change our zones and prompt us to use tools to regulate ourselves.

I'm sure you can think of many other activities going with this context, tech-related or not! Please let us know in the comments if you do.

Considering your professional development schedule this year? Check out Sean's offerings for training sessions.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Summer Study Series on Mindwing

As you may know, I continue to blog monthly on the website of Mindwing Concepts Inc, creators of some of my favorite tools, Story Grammar Marker® and Thememaker. This summer I wrote four posts summarizing recent research and published articles. The goal of these is to provide summer "food for thought," each post with a little tech tie-in. In case you missed them, here they are:

An evidence-based inference and narrative curriculum (free) for you.

What is "rhetorical competence" and how does it connect to comprehending language in school?

Using science topics and curriculum as a context for developing expository language and use of causals at the sentence level.

Summarizing Lynne Hewitt's great tutorial on narrative language and ASD.

photo by LocusResearch on flickr

Note: author is paid consultant for Mindwing Concepts, Inc for provision of blog content and presentation material, but receives no compensation should you visit their website or purchase products.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Come check us out! 3 Presentations at ASHA Orlando in November!

I've been in solid vacation mode since the beginning of July. It's really been awesome. A week down in Cape Cod, then trips to 6 National Parks including Shenandoah, then the Utah "Mighty 5" of Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion, that trip in the space of one week. Something everyone should do--maybe not the 5 parks in one week part, but we did well. I'm a hiker, not hardcore, but firmly believing being so enhances any trip to a National Park, bringing you beyond the "scenic drive" to awesome vistas and offering an incredible experience in the process. Utah particularly brought me the "opportunity" to work on my aeroacrophobia- a pretty debilitating fear of high open spaces. Canyonlands, for example, puts you on a 1000-foot mesa (2000 if you count the ledge down to the Colorado), on a trail 5-10 feet from no railing. This was worse for me than what became easier and unavoidable, high exposed ledges next to a canyon wall, which I tackled at every park after that. But an amazing time.




In any case, in the meantime I received the great news that all 3 of my submissions for ASHA Orlando were accepted. I am headed to Orlando next week to conduct follow-up workshops for Orange County Public Schools across two days, so it will feel like a second home over the coming months. I am happy to again be collaborating with the awesome clinicians and telepractice trainers at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast Maine (see below, Nathan Curtis and Amy Reid). As I have stated previously, I am not currently a telepractitioner, but my background in instructional technology has helped open great conversations about the role of tech in setting contexts for therapy activities. The info for each session is below; I hope to see some of you there!

Topic Area: Telepractice
Session Number: 1048
Title: Imagine Integration: Incorporating Evidence-Based Methodologies in Telepractice
Session Format: Seminar 2-hours
Day: Thursday, November 21, 2019
Time: 10:30 AM- 12:30 PM
Author(s): Nathan Curtis (PRESENTING AUTHOR: Author who will be presenting), Amy Reid (PRESENTING AUTHOR: Author who will be presenting), Sean Sweeney (PRESENTING AUTHOR: Author who will be presenting)

Topic Area: Language and Learning in School-Age Individuals
Session Number: 1338
Title: Not Just for Mickey Mouse: Applying Animation Tools in Language & Social Interventions Session Format: Seminar 2-hours
Day: Friday, November 22, 2019
Time: 7:30 AM -9:30 AM
Author(s): Sean Sweeney (PRESENTING AUTHOR: Author who will be presenting)

Topic Area: Language and Learning in School-Age Individuals
Session Number: 1836
Title: Show Them the World (Knowledge): Pairing Picture Books & Apps for Contextualized Language Intervention
Session Format: Seminar 1-hour
Day: Saturday, November 23, 2019
Time: 11:30 AM- 12:30 PM
Author(s): Sean Sweeney (PRESENTING AUTHOR: Author who will be presenting)

Considering your professional development schedule this year? Check out Sean's offerings for training sessions.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Repost: Play with Fireworks Virtually (IRL leave it to the professionals)

This post is a throwback for a free app that is still available- check it out. I'll be off for July and see you back in August. I am excited for adventures down in Cape Cod, then a visit to Shenandoah and a BIG National Parks trip from Utah to Vegas, hitting Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, and Zion! Have a great July!

Interactive apps have long been one of my favorite topics because they replicate world schema, and every schema has language that goes with it. As the 4th approaches (or other holidays in the future), you may have fireworks on your mind.

Apps give us a window to simulate removed events (and safely!), so you might be interested in Fireworks Lab. This free app allows students to organize and operate a fireworks display. The app is gloriously language-neutral, so students can be encouraged to label their choices in elaborated noun phrases (e.g. "green sparkly rocket") and then set them off.




A few supplemental ideas:
-The app is perfect for pairing with a written language or reading activity. Write or sequence cards with the different attributes of the fireworks and use these as a "plan" for the display.
-Have students research fireworks displays in your town, or for older students, pair with the story of this famous fireworks fail for a narrative activity. The article is safe to use with kids and has some good figurative language too!

Have a happy (and SAFE) 4th of July--and to my Canadian friends, Happy Canada Day!

Considering your professional development schedule next year? Check out Sean's offerings for training sessions.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

View and Describe a Landscape

WWF Free Rivers app (free, in another sense, for iOS and also Android devices) provides a cool, "immersive" experience where students can view a river and its effects on the landscape, weather, animals and people around it. The app uses augmented reality technology, overlaying a riverscape and also a world map over your teaching space (e.g. a floor or table). It is extremely easy to navigate and provides student-friendly language (and audio) about the water cycle, where you can make it rain and view above and below the clouds, the cause-effect of damming a river, and other material presented in a storytelling format. The app would be great for providing visual support and engagement in language such as:

-geographic features and landforms/continents (language/categories of social studies)
-weather processes (language/sequences of science)
-expository text structures such as cause-effect
-simpler observative social processes such as "thinking with the eyes" and "making a smart guess" (see work of social thinking)

See video demonstration here or below.

 Be sure to install this free app on your iPad for the upcoming school year- you'll surely find a context to use it in syncing with classroom curriculum!

Considering your professional development schedule next year? Check out Sean's offerings for training sessions.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Make a Top 10 List!

I've said it before and I will say it again, visual supports are key for scaffolding understanding, supporting thinking and even eliciting language. I'm amazed that one format, creating Google Slides presentations with students, is as enthralling as it is. Apple TV (you can use an interactive whiteboard or just a projector in a classroom) helps for sure, but you'll be surprised how much students attend and generate language as you type into a slide and create something interactively.

A student of mine (entering 5th) has shown a lot of interest in comedy and SNL. It occurred to me that introducing the group to David Letterman's Top 10 Lists might be of interest, as well as a way to frame a review of a key idea we worked on all semester. You'll have to use your judgment and look around YouTube, but I found one that was not too risqué (#1 can be explained in different ways) regarding the lackluster accommodations at the Sochi Olympics, which gave us:
-narrative opportunities: what was the story here?
-many attempts to "get" figurative language, multiple meaning and humor



Following this activity we scaffolded our own Top Ten list around concepts and skills we had been focusing on for a few months: moderating talk time. This came pretty organically from items the kids suggested as well as some models of "what's going unexpectedly in what we are playing out right now" (e.g. I launched into a complete plot retelling of "E.T."). In this I was thrilled that the boys remembered a created acronym of mine ("LLLL=Long Lists Lose Listeners®," JK on the ®) and the 5 Point Scale of Talk Time we worked with as a group (view below). When complete, they asked me to review the whole thing David-Letterman-Style! Essentially the activity created a social narrative and was great to share with parents afterward.

Link to presentation (please do not request permission for me to share it with your account, but if you like you can go to the File Menu and Make a Copy, which will save to your account).






















Considering your professional development schedule next year? Check out Sean's offerings for training sessions.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The Tutankhamun's Mask Caper

Get ready for another fun adventure with Carmen Sandiego in Google Earth! This second game, The Tutankhamun's Mask Caper, is perfect for a one-session activity in which you can work on geographic/spatial concepts, categories such as world landmarks and continents, and making smart guesses (inferences). The game (spoiler alert) takes you to Cairo, New York, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Bejing, so is great for syncing with curriculum if your students are studying ancient civilizations or some of the associated countries. Again, it's a good idea to keep another tab open (if using Google Earth in your Chrome Browser) or flip back and forth from Safari on iPad to Google Earth app (where you can find this game under the "Explore" captain's wheel icon) and use Wikipedia or some other resource to provide additional language and context about the landmarks you see. The programming seems a bit more forgiving as you can activate other features such as street view on the landmarks without it kicking you out of the game, which was a problem with the first version initially. Have fun defeating VILE yet again!


Considering your professional development schedule next year? Check out Sean's offerings for training sessions.

Friday, June 7, 2019

"Fails" as Narrative Instruction

The Internet loves a "Fail," which Urban Dictionary defines as [noun, in this case] "a glorious lack of success." From a narrative standpoint, however, a fail is an initiating event, a critical story element to work with in our students' language. Graphic organizers reduce cognitive load and help students identify and internalize narrative structure, which assists with comprehension and production of narrative language. One level I like to work with my students around is the Reaction Sequence, which looks like:

Character
Setting
Initiating Event
Reaction (what the person DOES in response to the IE, note that this is not a Response or Feeling, which is part of the next level of narrative development, often called the Abbreviated Episode)


The Reaction Sequence is sometimes represented as Somebody Wanted But So. You can use SWBS, Story Grammar Marker®, Story Champs, or other approaches such as the Gillams' SKILL for your graphic organizers, or make your own. Good idea to have some sort of consistency in the icons or GOs you use, however.

So, the tech part: humor is great in therapy, but be careful about where you get your fails. I like America's Funniest Home Videos (AFV) as it is super family-friendly. Take this video compliation:




It provides a great 15-30 min activity in having students formulate the narrative of what they see. Of course, use the pause button, and a few other ideas
-Zoom in on character, some students have a difficult time reading nonverbal signals around age and relationship between people (a skill measured in assessments like the Social Thinking® Dynamic Assessment Protocol). Scaffold statements like "a brother and sister" or "a kid who is probably like, 8 years old."
-NOTE that with the above you are working on microstructure such as noun phrases and use of conjunctions (also linking between the story elements: "A group of kids is surfing at a beach WHEN a huge wave comes.")
-Zoom in on setting, many of my students would just say "outside"- scaffold specificity such as a beach, a lake, a hiking trail, and so on.
-Consider adding a pragmatic element with an ersatz barrier task- one student can watch and narrate, then show the video to the group.

May your summer be free of Fails!

Considering your professional development schedule next year? Check out Sean's offerings for training sessions.
 
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