Monday, December 20, 2010

My Faves of 2010

2010 is wrapping up! In February, I started this blog almost on a whim, and it has been an amazing experience so far. It has been totally rewarding to have watched my audience of 2 or 3 grow more sizable over the months, something I have been able to view through Page Views, subscriber stats, Facebook "Likes" and Twitter followers. I'm really thankful that you are out there and keep reading, and I hope you are finding my posts helpful.

I'm going to take a little break to recharge until after the New Year, but I'll be back like gangbusters in 2011. I took some time to reflect on my own work and which posts I would like to emulate in 2011, in terms of potential utility to SLPs. So here they are (in no particular order) whether published here or elsewhere:

Introducing the SLP Blogs Bundle

Why Comment?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Screencast: I hate Yahoo right now!

Well, no, I don't, totally, because their careless closing of social bookmarking site delicious is causing me to finally commit to using the superior diigo. This screencast discusses the calamity, shows you how to move existing (if you have any) bookmarks from delicious to diigo, and the basics of bookmarking with diigo (as well as the rationale for social bookmarking). More to come on this social bookmarking site!

Update 1: My bookmarks still haven't appeared in diigo, but there is a message on the site saying they are understandably being bombarded with requests. It's cool.

Update 2: The plot thickens. Or thinnens. I'm not sure. Delicious claims they are not shutting down. I'd still move your bookmarks to be safe if I were you!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Call From Santa!

Santa...tricky I know in the public school setting, and with good reason.  However, this is such a fun resource I figured I'd let you know about it, and you can use your judgment.  Send a Personalized Call from Santa is really a giant ad for Google Voice that has a number of other purposes (one of which may be sending a call to a friend or significant other just for giggle's sake).  Visit the site and use choices to script a call from Santa, which you can send by phone (USA only), email, Twitter or Facebook.

Here's the one I made for you, SpeechTechie Readers!

Language Lens:
  • One way this site could be used is for auditory comprehension- have the kids listen once through and then again to pick out the key categories that Santa talked about, draw a picture visualizing the call, or simply answer wh-questions.
  • Students could make Santa messages for each other or a teacher that reflect their use of perspective taking (e.g. what gift would that person want), but be a little careful and/or gear this to an older grade level.  Unfortunately, Santa can be a little wild and say things like "hottie" and "sister from another mister" that you may not want to get into.  Maybe again, their could be an auditory comprehension component where you read aloud the choices and students are not allowed to see the screen for some made-up reason!
Again, I am just floored by Google's creativity!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2010 Edublogs: What I said, and what I wanted to say...

Let me tell you about the Edublog Awards ceremony.  It's truly something else.  It's hosted in an online environment called Elluminate Live, where a presentation can be given by moderators as attendees log in, listen to speakers and view slides, chat in a sidebar and, at the discretion of the moderators, can have their mic turned on to speak.  The organizers did a fantastic job at conducting the ceremony and it was quite an experience.  After an intro, we were asked to show our location by placing a star on the map (it was definitely an international crowd, numbering usually around 100 as people came and went).  Then it was time for the first category-mine!!  I was quite floored when the SpeechTechie logo and my face appeared on screen under the word WINNER, as the moderator read a description of my blog written by Chris Bugaj (thanks again, Chris, for the nom).  I "raised my hand" by clicking a button to show I was there, and the moderators turned on my mic and I said "Thanks, guys, I really appreciate it..." And then that was it.  Somehow, through either a technical glitch or a button I nervously pressed, everyone thought I was done and they moved on.  Hahaha! Anyway, it's fine and ultimately a humorous, ironic moment to happen to the author of a blog focusing on speech and technology.  Is it ironic or just unfortunate?  Can my Canadian slpeeps ask Alanis? The rest of the ceremony was wonderful to listen to (though eloquent speeches by educators and students made me feel a bit of a tool in comparison), and again I say kudos to the organizers for a great job.  Check out the other winners and runners up here.

So what I wanted to say would have been something like this: This is about YOU, the readers and visitors and emailers and commenters and tweeters, so thank you. When I started this project somewhat impulsively last February, I didn't really know if anyone would read it.  Edublog award notwithstanding, what's going on in our SLP (and other educator) social media hangouts (including all these places and #slpeeps) is remarkable, and speaks to a need among all of us that often really fly solo in our workspaces and feel isolated, whether we are SLPs, therapists, SPED teachers, or techies- we are finding a way to connect and share and collaborate online! Technology itself isn't the point either, it's that we are exploring ways to engage our students (and ourselves) while building skills in educationally relevant and fun contexts.

Having actually won is just gravy- it was really marvelous to be on that list in the first place, and to have you reading.  Please check out all the nominees (click on the categories on that page to see all nominees) over your holiday break-that list is a gold mine that I'm still mining.  Congrats to everyone!

Oh, and I get to keep this:


Time's Best Inventions of 2010

Kids tend to love gadgets, and things that are "now." Time Magazine's web article on the 50 Best Inventions of 2010 meets both these criteria, as well as being a good opportunity to explore categories (note in the picture that the inventions are organized into categories) and descriptive schema. Try having your students pick their favorite invention in a particular category, use a descriptive graphic organizer to break down the information, and create an ad (video or print) for the invention.

Of course I agree with this particular selection...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web is a wonderfully accessible interactive book released this past month by Google.  The book covers a lot of Internet vocabulary and concepts that would be helpful for anyone to know, especially SLPs looking to integrate web-based technology into their practice. Some of the extremely relevant "Things" in the book include an understandable description of HTML-5, the programming language that makes some of the latest and most interactive web content possible, including the book itself, and the importance of maintaining a "modern" browser (easy to do through simple and free updates).  I recommend that everyone give this book at least a quick skim.  I learned a lot from it!  Also, it has totally cute illustrations.

**Technical note- you will need to update your browser to the latest version of Safari, Chrome, or Firefox in order to access this book.  Sorry, I just don't do Internet Explorer.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's all about Sharing...

...and don't miss the commitment to sharing Karen Janowski is making over at her blog, EdTech Solutions- Teaching Every Student, where she is embarking on a trip "Around the Web in 80 Days." She plans to dedicate the next 80 days to highlighting "free, online resources to help meet the needs of struggling learners in innovative and creative ways."  Cheer Karen on and subscribe to her blog (subscribe to button is in her right sidebar-and don't worry, Karen, we won't hold you to sharing 80 resources in 80 days)!

I particularly love one of the sites Karen just shared, Into the Book, (video on her site demos the activities) which is a tremendous and easy to use interactive website that reviews these VERY language-based comprehension strategies (stressed in balanced literacy programs): Using Prior Knowledge, Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, Summarizing, Evaluating and SynthesizingU.sing Prior Knowledge, Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, Summarizing, Evaluating and Synthesizing
Consider breaking Into the Book into an 8-lesson series with one of your upper elementary or middle school grade levels- it will be right on-point!  I tried this site with a 3rd-grade class, and they were totally engaged in using the strategies while working through the quest-themed story of the site.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Screencast Saturday: The SLP Blogs Bundle!

Google Reader allows you to create and share "bundles" of feeds with others, so that they can easily follow blogs of interest. I made a bundle of SLP blogs, and show you how to access it here:

You will need to sign into Google Reader before going to this link to subcribe to the SLP Blogs bundle. Good thing you can edit your bundles, because I realized after shooting the screencast that I accidentally left out the PediaStaff blog- a great blog that is there in the bundle now! Please let me know if you think anything else was inadvertently left out of the bundle- or if you'd rather yours not be there.

To make your own bundle in Reader, click on Browse for Stuff (I know, not intuitive) in your Reader sidebar.

Please let me know if you are an SLP with a blog and you'd like to be included.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Language and Math

Many of us shy away from math curricula and concepts (or are teaching skills that classroom teachers consider to be mathematical without knowing it, as SLPTanya recently pointed out), but truth is, there is a TON of language in current math curricula, from vocabulary to sequencing of steps, etc.  Valerie Lill, one of my co-bloggers at ADVANCE also wrote a great post on this topic recently.

Check out my colleague Brian Marks' and his cohort Leslie Lewis' excellent website Yummy Math.  This website strives to place math in real-world contexts for kids by sharing lessons that draw on engaging and current topics, such as sports or food. Yummy Math just featured a lesson on the top grossing holiday movies, and in addition to the math components of the lesson, it would also be a great opportunity to work on oral narrative for upper elementary, middle or high school students.  Have the students research the movie plots or watch their trailers (a really fun way to work on inferencing skills as well), then share a summary with peers! Follow Yummy Math on Google Reader (there's a link to subscribe in their right sidebar) to get all these great lessons as they are posted.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

SLPs, YouTube and Gingerbread

Hi folks,

Two posts to tell you about that recently published elsewhere:

Please check out my post on ADVANCE about YouTube, an amazing therapy resource. The post contains strategies for minimizing student distraction when using a YouTube video, and also how you can still avail yourself of the site if your district blocks YouTube.

Gingerbread! It's a reasonably non-sectarian topic for speech and language therapy around the holidays. Click on over to the Mindwing blog for links to discuss characters and create them as gingerbread men, and also a 3D Gingerbread House activity (with screencast).


Disclosure: author is a paid contractor for Mindwing Concepts Inc, but in no other instances is compensated for product/website/app reviews.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

SpeechTechie Shortlisted for Best New Blog!

The 2010 Edublogs awards are here, and I am REALLY excited and thankful to have been shortlisted in the Best New Blog category (thanks again to Chris Burgaj).  Voting is open until December 14, so please click on over and give me a vote!

Click on the Badge to vote for SpeechTechie in the Best New Blog Category!

Please also consider voting for my Speechie Slate (great to see so many of us, if unfortunately not everyone I nominated, represented)-click where it says "The Edublog Award Categories" or use the links below to get to the poll for each category.  First link is the poll, second is the nominee's site:

Best Individual Blog-Speech Language Pathology Sharing

Best Individual Tweeter-KarenJan (an AT specialist friend and colleague in my district)

Best New Blog- Me!

Best Resource Sharing Blog-Free Tech For Teachers (Mainer Richard Byrne is inspiring!)

Most Influential Tweet Series-#slpeeps

Best Teacher Blog-Speech Language Pathology Sharing

Best Educational Podcast-A.T. Tipscast

Thanks so much for your vote- really appreciate it!! While you are there, browse the site and other nominees, it's a great way to find new resources and add them to your Google Reader.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Screencast: Google Lit Trips and "Make Way For Ducklings"

This is the inaugural edition of the Saturday Screencast! I'd like to publish a screencast at least once a month, but probably more frequently. This one is based on a resource I presented at ASHA, and which a few eager attendees had questions about after the session. This is one of those resources that's sorta hard to explain without showing how it works, hence the screencast.

Google Lit Trips is a resource of KMZ (Google Earth Format) files that correspond with works of children's literature. I recently used the Make Way For Ducklings activity and it was a great hit, even with 7th graders. The advantage to viewing a story in Google Earth is that the imagery can be used to elicit a lot of descriptive language and discussion about the setting, a key narrative element. Check out how it works below and have fun with this "ducky" resource- one of Boston's faves.

I am very open to suggestions on what would make good tech screencasts for SpeechTechie readers. What's something you'd like to know how to do?

Friday, December 3, 2010

UDL Explained

Not every consultation between an SLP and a student’s teachers is about technology, of course, but on some level, every consultation is about Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Check out Chris Bugaj’s terrific video UDL Explained and please give him a vote over at the People’s Choice Awards for UDL!  On my Mac, the video opened in Windows Media Player, so you may need to make sure you have that (good application to have on your computer anyway).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The FIVES Booklet

Blog posts are kind of ethereal- they are there in the feed for awhile and then buried under a series of "older entries" clicks or somewhere in the Labels cloud, or your bookmarks, or where ever.  I wanted to do something a bit more permanent with my posts on the FIVES criteria for selecting good tech resources, as that whole schema is pretty much a unifying statement for this site and my work as a whole.  So, I have compiled these posts, originally published on the ADVANCE Speech in the Schools Blog, along with some new graphics I made on my iPad (fun!) and some NEW content and resources (see especially Appendix I, which has 5 resources you might not have heard about that are good examples of the FIVES criteria).  This booklet is going to live permanently on a new page I have created up in the top menu bar, called "The FIVES Criteria for Tech and..." the "and..." teasing something else I am excited to put up there starting on Saturday!

The FIVES booklet is available to you for free on Scribd, where you can view or download it (and print if you like).  Hope it's helpful!  Here it is embedded below:

Fives Booklet

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Explore and "build" your own model village

Bekonscot Model Village and Railway in the UK has a great visual and interactive website that allows you to take a photo tour of their modeled towns and then create your own.

Language Lens:
Discussing and creating a small town is a great way to target a variety of language skills and concepts, among them the categories of buildings, businesses, and other places in your neighborhood/city, spatial concepts, and storytelling skills.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Voice Cards App

Voice Cards is an iPhone/iPod/iPad app you can use to create stacks of "flash" cards with auditory rather than written information. The app is currently priced at $.99- very reasonable for such a versatile therapy resource.

Voice Cards is really easy to use and has many applications for SLPs- it would be motivating to use with students' vocabulary lists. Presenting information auditorily will give students an opportunity to work on that modality. I also really wish that this app were available when I was in grad school, particularly to get me through Neuroanatomy- and comps!

Check out the app- if you want to tweet @Buddy_Apps, they told me some promo codes are still available!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday on Moms With Apps

Hope all of you (U.S. Folks) had a wonderful Thankgiving.  Moms with Apps has arranged a Black Friday event with a number of apps relevant to SLPs at FREE or reduced prices today.

Let's Bead Friends allows you to make and share a beaded bracelet and provides an opportunity to develop categories such as colors and shapes, as well as skills such as description, sequencing and patterning.  It is also the type of app that would make a good context for a barrier game, with one student designing a bracelet for another.

GeoWalk is an exploratory app in which you can navigate and zoom about the globe and discover facts (categorized into places, flora and fauna) about geographic locations.  This app is sort of a Google Earth Jr, though the descriptions will be a bit lengthy for some students (but a good context for interactive read-aloud).  It will be great to have on hand for younger students who are studying world geography, and its categorical organization is also helpful.

Also on sale today is ChorePad, an app that helps parents organize and reinforce completion of chores by kids in a visually appealing way.  If you do any consultation with parents on organizational skills at home, or the importance of kids contributing to the home in order to develop social thinking skills, this app would be good to demonstrate to parents.

I am sure all the hardcore Black Friday shoppers are home by now, but we can continue shopping thanks to Moms with Apps!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Understanding the Online World

Note: I actually had written this post some time ago and kept scheduling it forward, and after attending Chris Bugaj and Beth Poss' timely and terrific presentation at ASHA, this definitely seemed a good time to publish it!

If you are here, you are already taking steps toward taking advantage of the Internet for your professional development and practice. Kudos. I know this world can be a bit confusing and jargon-y, and found Sue Waters' Glossary of the Online World to be an excellent explanation of some of the most common terms.

Putting some of these words in context for you as a SpeechTechie faithful reader:

  • You can see my little avatar over there in the right sidebar, a photo of me, and a different avatar on my twitter page.
  • This webpage is itself a blog, hosted on the Blogger platform. Comments (as Sue mentions) are extremely welcome (I live for them!), and you can see some of my pages in the top menu bar (e.g. What is SpeechTechie).
  • Cloud computing (saving it to "the cloud" meaning out on the Internet) has been featured here when I have made a document available to you from Google Docs (the tracking sheet).
  • I hope that SpeechTechie becomes just one stop for you in your Personal Learning Network (PLN), including other blogs, Facebook pages, or Twitter contacts. To learn more about PLNs, check out this post from The Innovative Educator blog, or my own on ASHAsphere.
  • Using RSS is something I have encouraged before by subscribing to this blog using a service such as Google Reader, or using the email subscription. RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" and it allows you to save time and be aware of new posts without having to visit all your blogs.
  • Social bookmarking is a great practice- and it's really how I find/organize most of my links on diigo and delicious (you can just pick one)!
  • Social networking is what you do if you access this site through Facebook or Twitter.
  • Web 2.0 sites (though this term is falling out of favor, and "social web" seems to be replacing it) are what you use anytime you save something to the web. Kerpoof is a good example.
  • Wikis are a bit free-form for me, but I started out all these online endeavors by creating a wiki, and find some to be great references.
  • Tags are used here on this blog (called "Labels" by Blogger, at the bottom of each post) to put posts into categories such as "cause-effect" or "curriculum connections." Clicking on labels lets you see ALL posts in that category.

I am sure new tech words will keep on comin'- it's hard to keep up!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Resources from ASHA Convention

It takes one a lot of time to consolidate all we learn at a conference like the ASHA Convention.  Unfortunately some years we never fully do consolidate the information, because we are thrown back into the busy schedule and, well, it's HARD to integrate new practices.  I think it's helpful to have realistic expectations of ourselves and consider a conference successful if we have a few new ideas that we implement.

ASHA's practice of putting handouts on the internet and keeping them there is, I think, a really open and useful one.  I first of all wanted to post links to mine:

Narrative Rubrics to Support Evaluation and Eligibility in School Settings is a poster I presented with Laura Goehner and developed also by my colleagues who could not attend, Katy Fleming and Christine LaFleur.  The presentation can be downloaded here and the rubrics themselves here.  You might find the packets interesting as what they are intended to be- the story of one particular department's study of a problem, and creation of a working solution.  The rubrics are something you might consider trying as a supplement to standardized testing.

My Links to Language presentation can be downloaded here.  This is an overview of the FIVES criteria, with links that serve as examples (in the link), and a discussion of how to find technology resources on our own- blogs, twitter, social bookmarking, focused searches.

I feel like I might be overstepping a boundary if I link directly to too many others' handouts, but I'll just point you in the direction of the handouts site and tell you a few of the ones I think make interesting reading even if you weren't there (you can search session # and author on the site).  Please don't read too much into my choices- these are just a sampling of sessions I made it to and found interesting for my own personal and clinical interests.

1068- Just a Box of Games: excellent task analysis of games not necessarily intended for SLPs

0970- Developing Individualized Social Stories: presented an advanced form of social stories to use with older students.

1593- The Secret Language of Stories: the Hero's Journey as an alternate story grammar for older students- great idea!

1599- Functional Tx Strategies to Improve Executive Function Skills in Students: GREAT presentation by Sarah Ward, these are indeed very functional suggestions and we are so lucky to have her in the Boston area.

1483- Michelle Garcia Winner/Stephanie Madrigal's presentation on Superflex: gives a good intro to social thinking and that program.

2011- I don't think Chris and Beth will mind if I link directly to their awesome presentation on social media and SLPs.  Thanks again so much guys, for including me directly in your presentation.

Hope you all enjoy browsing these and many other great resources at the handouts site!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

ASHA Philly Wrap-up

This was my fifth ASHA experience- I have been fortunate enough to make it to Miami, Chicago, Boston, New Orleans and Philly. I know that it can be overwhelming at first, and I usually get so discombobulated that I commit some kind of major faux pas. I recall back in Chicago, I saw a gentleman walking toward the escalator, spied his last name on his badge, and thought I knew him from Boston University. As I got on the escalator behind him, I said, "Hey, Jerry!" and flummoxed him (he was not Jerry) so much that he actually TIPPED OVER. Ohhhhhhh, Sorry. Tipping over was also involved in the Philly convention. After Laura and I hastily pinned up our poster Thursday morning for our session that afternoon, we rushed to get to the first talk we wanted to see (two SLPs, and neither of us could figure out that Marr Salon G meant the session was in the Marriott, and we had to ask for assistance). Coffee/breakfast lines are always an ordeal at the convention, and I still hadn't eaten my bagel or finished my iced coffee. As we navigated the packed conference room and into some seats, late, I did this whole lose-my-balance/fall kind of thing when I was unhinged by the heaviness of my laptop bag and the narrowness of the row. Luckily the two SLPs I almost fell onto were totally cool and had a good laugh. Also, luckily I had not stuck the "presenter" tag on my badge yet, though the fact that I was one of perhaps three men in the room might have made me stand out a little. I did decide NOT to eat my bagel at that point, as I had already broken like three unwritten rules: coming in late, with a big drink, and falling.

Things got much better after that. ASHA is always a great time to reconnect with old friends and colleagues, and this time I "knew" (virtually at least) a lot more people, and they knew SpeechTechie! Maggie McGarry, ASHA's social media director, held a "tweet-up" and I got to meet her (@maggielmcg) as well as a bunch of Twitter #slpeeps @palspeech, @geekslp, @speechalicia, and @pediastaff. Follow these guys on twitter! Maggie also had set up a twitter hashtag (a phrase starting with "#" that helps you find all tweets on a particular topic), and that was very helpful! I also finally got to meet Alyssa Banoti, my editor for my posts on the ADVANCE blog, and it was great to put a face to all the virtual communication.

Thanks, Maggie, also, for the special tweeting tag!
We actually had a terrific timeslot for our poster, so this experience was much better than my last (when no one showed up for it). The feedback was great and everyone was interested in getting our handouts. Thanks, Laura (and Katy and Christine) for all the hard work!

Then, Friday at 11 was my timeslot for my seminar. I was only vaguely nervous all morning and made it to a few good sessions. Imagine my surprise, though, when I got to my conference room and saw this:

All those people were waiting (30 min prior) to get into my session! It was wonderful to see that so many SLPs are interested in using technology in their work, and the response to my talk was really overwhelming, in a good way. Thanks so much to everyone who came.

I'll be posting again tomorrow with some of my favorite resources from the convention.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another Thanksgiving Lesson

I am going to be posting a bit about my great experience at ASHA (just got back and I am soooo tired, and still have laryngitis), but this is time-sensitive. SpeechTechie pal Katy Fleming, whom I work with at Bigelow Middle School, sent me this resource via email. She is right-on in noting that video can be used as a great way to engage students to discuss expected and unexpected behaviors, in this case the ones that we call "table manners." Katy also refers here to one of my favorite tools, The Incredible 5-point Scale, a variety of useful versions of which appear in Autism Asperger Publishing Company's The Social Times series, also by Kari Dunn Baron. Thanks, Katy!!

With Thanksgiving next week, I've been using my groups to talk about "table manners" and rude behavior. I found this video on youtube (kinda gross) and we used the Manners Social Times issue ... absolutely LOVED the "Rude Behavior 5 point scale".

5 being Extremely Rude
4 Offensive
3 Unsettling/Disturbing
2 Small Issue
1 Polite ....

You will love to hear that we discussed "farting loudly" and the "unplanned fart" for about 15 minutes.

Other behaviors discussed were: racist jokes, yawning loudly and then blowing your breath on others, unwanted topics of discussion, etc.

If you are looking for other lessons regarding the Thanksgiving holiday, there are some great specific social thinking ones in Michelle Garcia Winner's Worksheets book.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tables Around The World

Click the link below to see the essay

Check out Time Magazine's excellent photo essay, What the World Eats, Part I, which features 16 families from around the globe, a visually stimulating photo (look for things your family eats too!) of their week's groceries, and the cost of feeding their family. This site will give kids- who probably never asked their parents how much it costs to feed them- some healthy perspective in this Thanksgiving season.

Language Lens
In addition to being a perspective-taking activity, this can be used to target food categories or geographic locations. Try visiting each of the families' hometowns using Google Earth. A good extension would be to have students draw or write (or assemble Google Images) about what it would look like if their table were laid out with all the food their family eats during the week.

Thanks to pal Amanda Warren for pointing out this link on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Qwiki is a brand new site that has great potential for use by SLPs. Enter a search term into Qwiki (right now, the available terms are limited), and a wall of images and video-like a dynamic slide show-results, along with audio providing information about the topic. This is why the site is called "The Information Experience."

Right now, Qwiki is in Alpha, which means it is in the very early stages of testing. You can try a sample Qwiki here, or request to join their alpha at the site, which gives you access to search.

Language Lens:
Qwiki would be a great context to develop information organization or auditory comprehension strategies. Try using a graphic organizer, Inspiration/Kidspiration, or key word generation task after watching a Qwiki result.

Thanks to iLearn Technology for featuring this resource

Make a Virtual Turkey

The Make a Stuffed Turkey game at Primary Games is a fun way to work on sequencing and helping kids understand all that goes into a Turkey Dinner.  The click-and-drag activity prompts each step in "making" a  stuffed turkey, and is great fun (though the music is annoying).

Language Lens

  • Consider a predictive pre-activity- brainstorm ingredients that go into making a turkey!
  • The activity also is a good context for building categories such as food groups and kitchen tools.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Plimoth Plantation

Check out an excellent site by Plimoth Plantation that you can use for so much more than talking about Thanksgiving.

You Be the Historian presents a number of interactives that present a balanced view of what happened in Massachusetts in the 1620s, and also a context for working on language skills and strategies.  Here's a breakdown of a few of the activities.  This site was always a great one when working in a MA Elementary school, where we have specific standards around Wampanoag history, but it would likely be helpful in other locations as well!

Fact or Myth- match pictures to "myths" and (offline) create a list of fact and fiction about Thanksgiving.

The Evidence- Use a "Magic Lens" and stickies to interpret a primary source, good context to use a sequencing organizer

The Wampanoag People- An interactive seasons chart with pictures and audio (good listening comprehension task), another good sequencing activity, or compare-contrast with our current seasonal activities.

Other activities include an interactive clickable map of a Pilgrim house, an audio activity about the sometimes conflicting perspectives of Pilgrims and Wampanoag, and a picture labeling task. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Balance the Federal Budget

Seem like an activity that is a little out of reach for your middle or high-school students? The New York Times recently published an interactive that allows you to select and cut spending areas from the budget and eliminate shortfalls. This would be a good experiential activity for students who have current events assignments and need to meet standards of understanding how the government works. Comprehension and vocabulary will be tapped by the accessible explanations of each spending area, and I am sure students will have their own opinions about what should be kept and cut! A helpful visual lets you see how you are progressing in balancing the budget.

Hope to see you at ASHA!

I'm getting excited for midweek when I will be heading to Philly for the ASHA Convention! I'm involved with two presentations (what was I thinking?) and my handouts are all uploaded.

I hope you'll check 'em out and put me in your Planner if you are attending.

The first is a poster- "Narrative Rubrics to Support Evaluation and Eligibility in School Settings (Session 1140, Thurs 3:00-4:30)." I worked on this one with people from my district and it relates our efforts to streamline the narrative assessment process. It's not pure numbers and you might find it interesting.  Knowing how dull poster sessions can be, we actually have an interactive component, but won't force you to stand there awkwardly and listen to us present!  Last year my friends Julie, Gabriel and I were forced to do jazz hands to drum up some attention around our poster on the 3:1 consultation model, which was scheduled at the very end of the convention. The loudspeakers were basically saying "The ASHA Convention is now over!" during our session.  Awful.  So hopefully this year will be better.

I am really excited to also have a seminar this year- "Links to Language: Leveraging the Interactive Web in your Interventions (Session 1598, Fri 11:00-12:00)."  I have since grown to hate the word leveraging but it seemed hip at the time.  There will be a lot of SpeechTechie stuff, FIVES etc., but definitely also some resources I have never written about, so come by! Interestingly (I don't know if that is the right word), I have no idea if I will have wireless. ASHA always covers themselves by saying NO, but then you can usually pick it up at the convention center.  Kinda hard to make a presentation about the Internet when there is no Internet.  But I made screencasts of everything as a backup, so all should go well no matter what.

If you're not going, I'll be at least tweeting (and posting tweets here), so will surely have some stuff to share!

Friday, November 12, 2010

My 2010 Edublogs Nominees Post

Wherein I start (and end) my campaign to get us SLPs and other Special Educators a bit more recognized in the edublogosphere.
The Edublog Awards is an annual online "event" meant to recognize excellent use of social media in educational circles. Nominations are open to any blogger, and instructions on nominating are available here at the Edublog Awards Homepage (they involve creating a post like this one with your nominations, linking to the Edublogs page, and notifying Edublogs of your post via an online form). You need not nominate someone in all categories, just as many as you want here goes!!
Please check out the Edublogs page and get us slpeeps and pals nominated!
Best individual blog- Speech-Language Pathology Sharing, unquestionably THE pioneer in SLP blogging, and a great sharer!
Best individual tweeter- KarenJan, how lucky am I to be able to see Karen Janowski in the halls of my school??
Best group blog- Pathologically Speaking, Bob and Kristin present two very different sides of our profession in very interesting ways.
Best new blog- we are all kind of new but I have particularly enjoyed reka's Easy Speech and Language Ideas!
Best resource sharing blog- Speech Gadget, I love Deb's ideas, bring 'em on!
Most influential blog post- as a big advocate for consultation, I'll nominate A Case for Consultation.

Most influential tweet / series of tweets / tweet based discussion-
#slpeeps, of course!

Best teacher blog-
It's Not All Flowers and Sausages, celebrating the ups and downs of life in a classroom.

Best school administrator blog-
Connected Principals- I had the opportunity to hear Patrick Larkin of Burlington HS present recently and, wow, he's great!

Best educational podcast-
GeekSLP, Barbara makes great vodcasts!

I get a lot from reading you all, and thanks for being part of our little (but growing) online world...
Edublogs nominee lists are a great way to find new blogs to follow. Check out the 2009 nominees/winners, 2010 to follow!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Comment?

I thought I would post to encourage your (continued) comments. For years, I thought of sharing ideas by putting together a book, or getting out there more with presentations, but I picked blogging as a platform, and am so glad that I did. Other media can be so one-way (well, presentations are interactive, but a book or even a wiki, not so much). Truthfully, the creative energy I find in being an SLP is what keeps me going, but knowing you are reading is a huge reinforcement.

This is really a resource sharing blog, and probably isn't as likely to generate discussion as blogs that analyze, you know, issues or whatever. That said, I just want to put it out there that comments are very welcome here, and I don't want people to feel like I am just talking AT you. I'd like to hear if you have found similar resources to what is posted, or your experience after trying a posted resource. I'm sure others would like to read your comments too!

She'll probably be mad at me, but I want to single out my friend Laura G., who recently abandoned me to go work outside of Baltimore. Always exemplary, Laura recently posted an awesome comment on the Design a Habitat post. Love the feedback and the great ideas, Laura!!

It also occurs to me that the activity that Laura mentions would pair well (what am I, a sommelier?) with the fun book Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing, by Judi Barrett.

Ok, so this is slightly unrelated, but I found the Switcheroo Zoo activity with the animal making on this website. I'm not sure if you featured that one yet, but it's great! I had a group of kids going to the zoo on a field trip, so we read "The Mixed Up Chameleon" with a focus on the animals as characters, as that is where we are with using story grammar marker. We described how the chameleon changed, talking about the parts of the animals and what they help the animal do (e.g., having a long giraffe neck makes it see/reach high things). Then we went on the website and made different animals, talking about the fact that if a cheetah had a pig head, then it would oink and not growl, if it had fins, it would swim instead of running fast. We focused on conditional and causal phrases. At the end, they wrote a sentence with a sentence starter - "If I were a mix of two animals I would be a ______ and a _______ because..." and drew a picture of their pretend animal. It worked out really well, so thanks for the link!!!

How do you comment? Just click on the bottom of any post, where it says 0 comments (or 1 comment, or 2 comments, if others have commented), leave your comment, and sign in with your Google Acct, name and a web address (you can use your school's or whatever), or anonymously (but please sign your name)!

Thanks for the continued reading, guys!

Monday, November 8, 2010

More Posts Elsewhere!

Hi Folks,

Please visit a few posts I made in other places on the interwebs.

The folks at Bilingual Therapies asked me to write about mobile technologies, so I thought, why not apply the FIVES criteria to Apps?

Also, check out a post on how to make searches more visual and therapeutic using Google's interesting new search tools, Squared and Wonder Wheel, over at the ADVANCE blog.

Thanks as always!


Check out Bookster, a (for now) free app on the iTunes Store, compatible with iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch.  Bookster is an interactive book that reads text and allows you to record your voice, then play it back.  For now, Bookster consists of one free book, What If...

What a perfect context for generating and modeling complex conditional sentence structures!  The recording function would be great for speech practice or extending the contexts and ideas of the book to develop complex sentences.

Thank you to iPad Curriculum for featuring this resource.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Forest Life

UPM Forest Life is a gorgeous interactive website created by an international forestry company.  UPM is a paper producer but takes efforts to do so in a sustainable manner; I think this website is a nice effort to raise awareness about sustainability.

The site allows you to explore a number of beautifully photographed forest scenes through clickable hotspots that bring up further images or video, along with text about forest sites.

This video is brought on screen by clicking on a telescope to "see" the cranes.
Language Lens:

  • The information gleaned through exploring Forest Life's interactive interface would be great for upper-elementary or higher students learning categorization (plants, animals, activities, habitats) and sequencing strategies.
  • This site is a great one for the Fall season, when many students are studying tree growth and cycling.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Going to ASHA Philly? Try TripIt

This summer, right about when we were planning a big trip to Europe, I discoved TripIt when it was featured on Lifehacker. TripIt is a great free online service that builds your travel itinerary and keeps it organized for you. You know all those emails you get when you reserve flights, cars, and other travel activities (that you struggle to locate later). All you have to do is set up your account at TripIt, and forward those emails to as you receive them. Then your itinerary, complete with any needed confirmation numbers, will be available to you in your TripIt account, or the excellent free iPhone app. Just another tool to add organization and reduce stress in our busy lives!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Posts Elsewhere!

Hey folks, had a few posts pop up in other places that I thought I would link to here in case you hadn't seen them!

On the ASHAsphere blog, written here from Seasonal-Affective-Disorder-Central, read SLP Zen- 5 ways technology can help you reduce stress and anxiety in your work and life.

More of my musings on Google Reader, over at the ADVANCE Speech in the Schools Blog.

How Think Social Publishing's new We Can Make it Better program will teach social problem solving, align with story grammar instruction, and make your interventions Better, over on the Mindwing Blog.

According to the FTC guidelines, I will disclose with each of these cross-posts (and in other references to Mindwing products) that I have a contractual relationship with Mindwing as a guest writer. In no other instances am I compensated to review or endorse products or technology resources (i.e. websites).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Circle

Pumpkin Circle is a great book for this time of year.  Kindergarteners at my school always study apples and pumpkins, learn their parts and life cycles, and do a compare-contrast project- all totally language-y stuff!  Pumpkin Circle was turned into a rather strange companion film (but kids watch, riveted) you can view on the Described and Captioned Media Program site, if you are a member.  If you don't have access to the book or movie, check out this cute video of it being read as a bedtime story:

Apples and pumpkins are great to compare-contrast using Kidspiration, Inspiration (both available as 30-day trials), or the web-based version, Webspiration (still totally free and the same as the software programs).  It's hard to share one of these files by blog, but you could recreate something like my activity here:

Using Kidspiration, Inspiration, or Webspiration, kids can click-drag ideas into groups and meaningful connections.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Garfield's Scary Scavenger Hunt

Garfield's Scary Scavenger Hunt is a exploratory activity in which kids can navigate Garfield around a haunted house to find his favorite snacks.  Though not as dense as, say Myst, it could take some time, and I didn't actually finish it.  Kids would have great fun encountering the "scares" and moving about the house, solving problems such as locked doors and other obstacles.  You can keep track of the screens on which items were located (# in upper left corner) and go back to them quickly if you were to break the task over several sessions.

Language Lens:
Spatial concepts would be a great target as you navigate; the activity is also a logical context for conditionals and the categories of snack foods, scary sights and rooms of a house.

Thanks to InTec Insights for highlighting this resource.  Also see Karen Ogen's great post on interactive Autumn games, many of them language-based.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monster Exchange

The Monster Exchange is a very cool project connecting kids through the Internet to develop reading and writing skills. The website links classrooms who are willing to participate in the project; kids then create and describe a monster in writing and are paired with a child who reads only the description and then attempts to draw the monster (scroll down a bit for example). I would of course encourage anyone to participate formally in the project, but the website provides great examples so that you could structure a monster exchange on a smaller scale (perhaps between two groups or classrooms).

I also love doing monster description as a simple oral barrier activity. Here's a visual support I have used to help kids generate details.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carve a Pumpkin

There are dozens of virtual pumpkin carving activities out there, but I have always favored this one at NCS-Tech. It is blessedly free of ads, and rather than a drag-drop interface, it allows students to carve a pumpkin freely. It's great for descriptive language, and also serves as a good context for a barrier game. Have students request a face with specific features as another listens/"carves"- I love to do this every year with my pragmatic groups!

Although the site does not give you a way to print or save your creations, you can always use a screenshot to do this.

What are your favorite halloween links?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween on SpeechTechie! (Horror Film Fest)

It's Halloween week(s) here, and time for some resources to use around one of the kids' favorite times of year!

Every Fall, the 5th grades at my school did a study of the horror genre. Not Stephen King or Saw or anything, more like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, etc. Kids also would write a horror piece at the conclusion of the unit. Some years in, it occurred to me that it would be a great opportunity to target genre conventions and story structure, so the teachers and I planned a "Horror Film Fest." I scoured the 'net looking for short films that fit the genre but that didn't end up with someone in a bloody heap or anything graphic! We ended up holding "screenings" where a group of kids would come and view their assigned clip, and we'd analyze it using a story grammar (Marker) organizer and list horror elements that were in the clip ,using a concept map as an idea bank. The following week, the students would "present" the clip to the class with a descriptive teaser, using character-setting-kickoff and no spoilers and then explain why the clip fits in the horror genre. It was always a lot of fun, even though we'd always get a few "that wasn't scarrrrry..." annoying comments (quickly squashed).

I'm sure by now there are more clips out there, but here are some that we used:

Devil's Tramping Ground (I'd use The Banshee and Maco Lights)
Blood Syrup
The Big Bed
Hay Fever
Thriller (just the opening scene)

Enjoy, hopefully these might make a fun and motivating story structure lesson for you (oh, I mean scarrrrry!!!)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Digital Storytelling and Speech-Language Interventions

The phrase digital storytelling has become hot on the web in past years, referring to web-based or other apps that allow you to blend pictures, text, comics, video, images, sound (or any combination) to tell a story (see Kerpoof as an example). It used to be that you needed to be well-versed in (and own) applications such as iMovie to engage in digital storytelling, but now there are a wide variety of tools available on the web for free, each with its own little spin on the genre.

SLPs and storytelling are a great mix, and these motivating tools can be used to develop story grammar, expository skills, or if recorded audio is involved, any aspect of speech.

More on digital storytelling later, but for now, please click on over to the Mindwing blog to see my post about Blabberize, a tool that allows you to give any picture a talking mouth!

According to the FTC guidelines, I will disclose with each of these cross-posts (and in other references to Mindwing products) that I have a contractual relationship with Mindwing as a guest writer. In no other instances am I compensated to review or endorse products or technology resources (i.e. websites).