Saturday, December 14, 2019

Wheel of What

Wheel of What is the kind of simple app that any clinician would benefit from having on an iPad. A spinner is useful in many situations, and with a digital one you won't have to dig one out! Plus an engagement factor of offering a digital version is always handy. With Wheel of What, a bonus is that you can create customized spinners in seconds.



One activity I like to do in social groups (even up to high school) is to make up our own games or "same but different" versions of other games. That vocabulary as well as the STOP strategy (Space, Time, Objects, People-- Ward & Jacobsen 2014) provides a guide to making this type of activity clinically focused. Recently, our group made up our own version of The Floor is Lava and had to consider Space (Where to Play), Time (how much time we had, also the order of events in the game and the if/thens), Objects (e.g. construction paper tiles and the spinner, also furniture), and People (cooperative or competitive roles, how would we Think of Others during the game to keep it positive).

Hope you find this free tool useful! What might you use it for? Let us know in the comments.

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

Friday, December 6, 2019

Check your public library...

Recently I was trying to get a copy of a book, Sally Gets A Job, that would align with a vocabulary set from one of my favorite apps, WWP-Vocabulary. The set featured good Tier-2 words such as skill, operate, career, successful, earn. Sally, dog hero of one of my favorite series, seemed a great match.

A quick search on Boston Public Library's website revealed that the book was right at my fingertips, free, via their connection to Hoopla, an electronic media service. Hoopla allows you to view books on a laptop or your iPad after signing in through your public library, if this service is offered to you locally.


So, this is just a suggestion to check out your library website's resources for picture book therapy materials. They may vary, of course (mine has connections to lots of picture and other books through Overdrive, but not Tumblebooks, which you may have), but probably offer you some great options of free materials!

Also, don't forget, EPIC! Books for Kids has scads of picture books, free for educators.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Self regulation on the road this holiday

At ASHA Convention this past week (some recaps to come), I was happy to record another podcast conversation with JD Gray of ASHA Voices, this time on self-regulation. We touched on mindful apps SLPs can use for themselves and as language/self-regulation activities for our students, but I always like simple tricks too.


For example, since I got a car with bluetooth, this has offered me lots of enjoyment on the road (music, podcasts, etc). But have you noticed the annoying habit when bluetoothing or USB connecting of your radio blasting the first song on your music list? In my case, it was "Aaron Burr, Sir" from Hamilton. "Aa" puts it first alphabetically. It made me actually hate the song eventually, though I love the musical. Regular jarring annoyance was eliminated by a simple trick after researching this problem, which I discovered many friends shared. Go to your music or iTunes app and download the sure-to-be-alphabetically-first (well worth the $.99) "A a a a a Very Good Song." It's like 10 minutes of silence, so when you connect your phone to your car, now you will hear what was playing or blessed, calming silence. You'll thank yourself, and your passengers will too.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Traveling to ASHA (or otherwise traveling)? Check out these two tools...

For me, planning + situational information = self-regulation + productivity + life is good.

When planning travel, I always TripIt. As you make any reservations and receive your confirmation emails about them, once you have opened a free TripIt account, you can forward them to plans@tripit.com. What results is a sequenced itinerary with flights, hotels, rental cars and other pieces you may have arranged. Simply a lifesaver. TripIt also generally lets you check into flights from your itinerary. You can access it via web or available mobile apps.


Another indispensable tool is FlightAware. Use FlightAware (via the website, which works perfectly well on mobile, but apps are also available for free) to track not only the status of your flight, but if you are super anxious like me, also the status of the INCOMING PLANE (click on Where is my plane now?) Often this information is just not provided to you by airlines, so it is very reassuring. Or sometimes not.



Hope you have a great trip if you are going, and I'd love to see you at sessions 1048, 1338, and or 1836!

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

Friday, November 8, 2019

Add YouTube Clips to Google Slides

As Google Apps (G-Suite) becomes more ubiquitous in school settings, it becomes more useful for SLPs to tap into the power of these tools. Whether conducting in-class therapy activities, or via a small group with your laptop, or even in my case frequently in the private practice setting in a room with an Apple TV, having a visual "space" to explore contexts, language, and strategies is important. Using Google Slides allows you that space- I often encourage thinking about presentation creators flexibly, as you don't need to be creating a whole series of slides or a "PowerPoint." It's just a space, and one that is much more easy to work with than that of a word processor, because of the whole fitting things into paragraphs aspect (and the nightmare of trying to insert and place an image in a doc as opposed to a slide).

Another tool you can consider within Google Slides is the ability to insert a YouTube clip.

On a Google Slide, that's Insert > Video > Search, which searches YouTube.


Once onscreen, you may want to drag the video corners to make a bit larger.


Doing this has a number of advantages:
a) You can place helpful videos into lesson sequences within your Google Slides "decks" and therefore have them for subsequent groups, years, etc
b) Inserting the video here on a slide removes ads (sometimes) and distracting sidebar content
c) Your following slides can be a place to graphically/visually explore the ideas of the video in discussion with the group (e.g, a story map, see my post A Story of Shapes.


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


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Come see us at ASHA!

I am lucky to be presenting three sessions in Orlando at ASHA Convention in just a few weeks! Here are some details:


Imagine Integration: Incorporating Evidence-Based Methodologies in Telepractice
Session 1048
Thursday 11/21 10:30-12:30

It takes some imagination to translate evidence-based approaches into digital, interactive formats for telepractice activities! This session will model techniques in incorporating “clickable and typable” visuals in the process of implementing best-practice methodologies. Techniques and strategies will emphasize approaches in narrative language, sentence formulation, vocabulary, social cognition and self-regulation that can be infused across the client’s school day.

Learner Outcome(s):
List two resources SLPs can use to access clinically relevant research
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


Not Just for Mickey Mouse: Applying Animation Tools in Language and Social Interventions
Session 1338
Friday 11/22 7:30(!)-9:30 AM

It takes some imagination to translate evidence-based approaches into digital, interactive formats for telepractice activities! This session will model techniques in incorporating “clickable and typable” visuals in the process of implementing best-practice methodologies. Techniques and strategies will emphasize approaches in narrative language, sentence formulation, vocabulary, social cognition and self-regulation that can be infused across the client’s school day.

Learner Outcome(s):
List two resources SLPs can use to access clinically relevant research
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


Show Them the World (Knowledge): Pairing Picture Books & Apps for Contextualized Language Intervention
Session 1836
Saturday 11/23 11:30-12:30

Epcot has not cornered the market on simulating the world! Another edition of this popular presentation from ASHA 2012-2018 reviews pairings of picture books and apps that provide intervention contexts to expand semantic knowledge and align with social studies curriculum areas. This session will describe approaches using high- and low-tech materials targeting a range of language objectives.

Learner Outcome(s):
Identify 2 apps and picture books containing language structures and contexts within text, visuals and interactions
State 4 features of disciplinary language within social studies providing contexts for language intervention
Describe 2 session plans pairing texts and apps based on contextual overlappings

I hope to see some of you there!

Friday, October 25, 2019

More on ever-evolving language

Slang is less academic and current-events-related than the terms related to my last post on the birth of new words and their inclusion in Merriam-Webster. Conversational figurative language is nevertheless quite important to be able to follow if not use-- unawareness of it can lead to misunderstanding of narrative and situations. Let's face it: the teaching of old idioms is only useful for application in standardized tests that measure it, or old texts that try to avoid cliches anyway.

Last spring, a 43-year-old high school teacher began keeping track of slang in a Google Doc that went viral and became the subject of some news coverage. You can find the doc here.


Evolving language is a good thing for all educators and perhaps especially SLPs to track. Probably don't use too much of it to avoid rolled eyes! Last year I wrote up an observation and indicated some confusion about why a high school student kept repeating that he wanted "a snack" in the context of having been offered a snack by a teacher. I literally just realized what that was about as I was writing this post.

Urban Dictionary online is another good resource if you ever need it, but is quite profane, be warned. I pulled UD up to explain to two colleagues why it was important to cut off the use of "yo mama" jokes among a group of teens, who should have been reading the situation better in the presence of teachers.

The list veers into some edginess, nothing like UD, but use your judgment. It is a good resource for making discussion activities around the terms, perhaps a quiz with Kahoot for fun and engagement, and working on narrative language about when/where the terms might be used. I'd add shade/throwing shade, and don't come for me, as a good way to close this post!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Little Interaction Makes a Fun Vocab Lesson

Merriam-Webster is known for documenting the changing words of our language. Their Time Traveler website (accessible in any browser) will allow you to look up any recent year and see a list of words that had their "First Known Use" in that year.


Click on any site to see a definition; you may have to provide "kid-friendly" definitions. This site would be great if you want to incorporate engaging material or current events content, which often has many contexts for teaching narrative and expository text.

Many of the words featured are nouns. For a strategic focus you can teach semantic structures with a tool such as the Expanding Expression Tool. 

Example: 
Escape Room (2012)
Green/Group: A recreational place
Blue/Do: It simulates a locked room according to a theme, you have to get out
?/What does it look like?: Room or series of rooms
What is it made of/Parts: Puzzles, codes, hints, themes
White/Where: Often in a mall or amusement center
What else do I know? I once did one that was a fallout shelter

Buy one, or the kit, but did you know you could make a template for classroom instruction, or use mine at this link? (please DO NOT request access, rather, you can click File> Make a Copy to copy to your Drive).

Friday, October 11, 2019

ASHA Voices Podcast

A few weeks ago I recorded a segment on ASHA's new podcast, ASHA Voices, with its host J.D. Gray. It came out this week. The episode and others that are available (through this link or Apple's Podcasts App) are worth a listen. In this one, Kim Murza discusses the need for creativity and "wearing many hats" as a school-based SLP, offering great tips. In my segment, we talked about visual tools such as Google Earth, "Fail" videos, Pic Collage and Book Creator (this was edited for time: note, search for "AFV fail videos"- family-friendly- when looking on YouTube). I hope you will give it a listen!



Friday, October 4, 2019

Make Different Versions of a Conversation with Pixton

Pixton is an online comic creator that I have loved for years. One thing I love about it is that you can create visuals that demonstrate communication behaviors or conversational moves that spark discussion and analysis (and practice) very quickly. Play around and make one strip (I use the classic free Pixton and screenshot my creations) and then note from your library you can make a copy of your strip like you do with Google Docs, and change the language or communicative move used. Voila! Another version! Consider handing one to each person in your group and having them explain what they see.

Pixton also is a great contextual tool- see all these settings? I haven't forgotten my previous topic run on context, and will return to it. Each of these offers many specific backgrounds within it to incorporate narrative language.


Create a simple two character comic and you can create examples of different WH questions to use in conversation, and their results:


You can contrast these with yes/no questions, which tend not to bear as much fruit:


And comments, and so forth. Create a lot of engaging visual supports for older students in a short period of time.

So again, 3 tips:
-Make sure your browser runs Flash (I had no problem with this using Chrome)
-Screenshot to save/print your strips (you could also put them on Google Slides, like I did here if you have trouble seeing the comics above, with instructional tips)

This post inspired by a lot of conversational work I have been doing with groups, and this post I thoroughly agree with by SLP Rebecca Reinking.


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


 
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