Friday, January 24, 2020

Looking back at ASHA 2019!

I said awhile back that I would provide updates on ASHA Convention this year, and I never got to it! Well, I never got to it here. ASHA is always a great experience, and I was thrilled this year to have three presentation slots (my 10th year in a row presenting)! All went very well, and I certainly enjoyed the break from the weather in Boston.


Just to share with you a few resources and ideas...

My favorite new speaker (to me) that I saw was Cathy Alexander, who presented scads of fun, practical, contextual ideas for working on morphology and, for older students, morpholological awareness and vocabulary. You should check out her website and some of her resource offerings here.

I summarized two sessions I was involved with over on the Mindwing Concepts blog. You can see a discussion of integrating EBPs into telepractice (also useful for in-person therapists) here, and some info on my Pairing Picture Books with Apps update themed around "showing them the world" (semantics/social studies) here.

Though it started at 7:30 AM, I was very happy to have a good crowd for my 2-hour session Not Just For Mickey Mouse: Applying Animation Tools in Language and Social Interventions. You can get the gist of this one by giving my slides a skim at this link (with many research references for you).

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

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Making Posters (and Puzzles)

Did you know you can take any PDF you have and print it poster-size? And in associated news, anything you make in say, Google Slides, Keynote or PowerPoint can be saved as a PDF, so therefore you can design your own posters about language topics and strategies.

One way I used this recently was to do a post-book activity related to Social Thinking®'s We Thinkers Vol 2 book Size of the Problem. The We Thinkers curriculum volumes target 10 core concepts to think about social interaction in fun and engaging ways that in my experience all students can benefit from. In this book, the characters Evan, Ellie, Jessie and Molly host a birthday party and invite their dinosaur friends. The dinosaurs of small, medium, and big size cause problems corresponding to their size. The book describes how to think about problems according to factors such as how much time they take to solve and if you need help.

The poster creation activity was a natural followup. Using the PDFs that come with the We Thinkers Manual, I printed out the scale in poster size, along with pictures of the problems from the book. These served as attention-keeping manipulatives (in a crinkle-free class) handed out to the kids and then we "assembled the poster." Providing a class with a large visual support gives them ownership of the concept/strategy and reminds their teacher and them to use it!

To turn any PDF into a poster, you'll first want to open it in the free Adobe Reader software on a laptop or desktop. You can follow these directions or the screenshot below to print as a poster. Note that changing the percentage/size will give you a bigger poster or more "pieces." Once it prints, you will have to trim some white to make it all fit together.















Hope you like this strategy!

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

Thursday, January 2, 2020

A good app to take self-data

Streaks is an award-winning app (Apple Design Awards) that allows you to keep track of up to 12 good habits/intentions and simply mark on the calendar when you have completed the task (e.g. read for 15 min). The app is designed for the "don't break the chain" concept, but you can indicate how often you intend the habit to be completed so that you still construct a streak.


This type of app would be helpful for us as clinicians who need to practice self-care routines in the New Year (decade). It also would be a tool for use with older clients who may need to practice speech exercises or positive social/language activities.

The same principles could be enacted using Google Calendar as a (free) data-taking tool; the benefits here would include the ability to add more text/data for tracking.



Happy New Year!

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

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!
 
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