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