Friday, September 27, 2019

Get on a Roll this Year (Part 5)

So I made a thing. I have a free packet available on Teachers Pay Teachers describing the foundations and many examples of one of my favorite strategies: pairing picture books with apps for contextualized language intervention.

I usually capitalize that phrase because it is the title of a presentation I have done at ASHA Convention and other places with different versions (I like to call them sequels) since 2012! And guess what, if you are coming to Orlando, there will be a worldly version there! This session will be focused on building semantic/world knowledge, language tied to social studies concepts, and situational and social self awareness based on comparing our daily lives with that of other cultures:

In any case, I am happy to keep spreading the word about this strategy, which offers a balanced approach to using technology along with other materials, and mirrors across books and apps the techniques of co-engagement and stacking activities around a context (in pre and post-book fashion). I hope you will check out the free packet and please leave me a rating! My stars are looking kind of empty, with this being my first endeavor on TpT. Thanks!

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

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Get on a Roll this Year (Part 4)

There's of course a difference between "helping students with homework" and working in context, and that's as Barbara Ehren calls it, "maintaining a therapeutic focus." Text mapping, or teaching expository text structures, is one tool that we can teach students in almost any context. Graphic organizers are most helpful as a visual tool in text mapping, and are generally more helpful when a) more than just beginning-middle-end or main idea-details boxes (research supports this too) and b) consistent, using graphic organizers or helping students create them with a similar look, feel and structure.

For some more background information on this, I recommend Text Comprehension: Graphic Organizers to the Rescue and Expository Discourse Intervention for Adolescents With Language Disorders available on the ASHA Website.

Kidspiration and Inspiration for iPad remain my favorite apps for teaching the structure of any contextual block of language, whether that be a BrainPop video, a student or group's reading assignment, or a classroom topic reviewed more generally.

Both of these apps are free to try (for 5 activities). Kidspiration has the advantage of allowing for contextual basic or abstract categorization (sorting) with their Super Grouper mode, essentially also targeting the expository text structure of list or enumeration.

One strategy I have used is to look for expository categories in a narrative picture book e.g. "things on a beach" or "weather conditions." That way the picture book or other context can be used for retelling/summarizing as well as the categorization/semantic skills.

Take Scaredy Squirrel has a Birthday Party, available on EPIC! Books for Kids. You can create a Super Grouper Activity about two of the relevant contextual categories. Students can sort and write or audio record (tap the symbol, then the microphone) a "why" or association for each of the items.

These apps also allow you to make "diagrams" such as lists, sequences, cause-effect maps or story maps. You can move the bubbles around so you don't get stuck always making a "web," which really only corresponds to description. Look to Story Grammar Marker®/Thememaker®, Thinking Maps and BrainFrames for consistent structures you can translate. 

I've written before about the use of Google Drawings to do similar work with graphic organizers. For a wealth of examples you can copy right into your Google Drive and use, see Matt Miller's terrific collection on Ditch That Textbook (an edtech blog I am excited to have just found).

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

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Get on a Roll this Year (Part 3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Get on a Roll this Year (Part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll sign off with a meow, then!