Thursday, May 28, 2020

Some metaliguistics for you

I went to grammar school. I mean it was intense diagramming-sentences kind of grammar back then. I learned what the subjunctive mood was. Actually my mother taught my eighth grade ELA class, but that's another trauma to not talk about for now.

Anyway, for this reason as an SLP I've always had a lens on syntax, at least in its functional capactity of comprehending and producing complex sentences. This involves building some syntactic awareness of parts of speech and the functions of words. There is evidence that knowledge of parts of speech and how they go together impacts language and reading comprehension. Approaches like sentence combining are research supported and require this kind of awareness in students.

For these reasons, interactives around parts of speech can be considered on-point in our therapy. Check out Sheppard Software (overall) and their specific ELA interactives. Their Parts of Speech tutorial is adorbs and a fun visual way to explore the functions of nouns, adjectives, and verbs (note also that adjective+noun equals elaborated noun phrase which we can be measuring as microstructure in narrative).

The sparkly cloud

The sparkly cloud is hiding

Finding an interactive website of this type is helpful as you can follow the activities in a sequence, which helps with session flow. I have added this website to the Teletherapy Resources List.

As a child of this era also I loved Schoolhouse Rock and have used their engaging grammar videos in therapy to build awareness of parts of speech.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Pairing Picture Books With Apps in Teletherapy

I've long been a fan of the contextual approach described by Hoggan & Strong in their influential article The Magic of Once Upon A Time-- that of pairing a picture book with pre- during- and post- narrative/language teaching opportunties. I have been presenting about this with many iterations for years, and last year published a pamphlet about it (free) on Teachers Pay Teachers.

We can consider "apps" in this context as including websites and webtools. Last week I used a picture book via it's YouTube read-aloud. There are usually several versions available for any picture book, I like to make choices around the style of reading and a slide-show look. I mentioned I have been picking lots of picture books with emotional vocabulary or self-regulation themes. In this case, I liked this version of Good News, Bad News (Jeff Mack) also because the visuals were a little quick. It provided the opportunity for many stopping points targeting situational observation and use of association and causals:

"Now he has an umbrella, so that's good news. What do you think the bad news will be?"
"Hmm that went by kinda fast, what did you see as the good news there?"

One post activity suggested by Hoggan & Strong is an "art" activity! I set up a collaborative art activity with the group using Jamboard- an interactive/collab whiteboard that is part of the Google Suite (find it in your little "matrix" of Google Apps- upper right corner of Gmail, Drive etc). In cases where I have used Jamboard, I have just clicked on Share and made it editable to anyone with the link, then put that link in the chat of Zoom or Meet, and students navigated to it easily. In this case, I thought we could do a good news-bad news cause effect chain in a different setting- my students chose a supermarket, I started them off and it played out like this:

Here's the resulting Jam. It owes something to Nancy Tarshis, Ryan Hendrix, and Kari Palmer who presented a verbal play activity I once saw called "Yay! Oh No!" Our activity with some coaching involved:
-Student 1: The lights go out at the supermarket!
-Student 2: But good news- the rabbit has a flashlight
-Student 1: But then bad news, dinosaurs invade the supermarket.
-Me: But good news, they are herbivores and just wanted lettuce
-Student 2: Bad news- they have no money.
-Student 1: Good news- there's a cash machine
-Student 2: But it's broken!
-Student 1: a repairman comes (but we should make him an animal to fit the story)
And we all decided everyone gets money to shop!

The boys did well with this playful narrative activity!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A Model Lesson About Re-openings

I recorded this for a client who can not attend a makeup session offered for the holiday Monday, but thought it was also worth sharing here. As I watched our governor in MA announce the four phase reopening plan last week, I thought how it might be some important information to discuss in my social groups for a number of reasons:
-all students will need to utilize strong situational awareness in the community as we go forward, being aware of the restrictions and visual markers for social distancing etc.
-This plan is essentially a Five Point Scale and involves a lot of nuances, understanding why one phase is same but different (vocabulary from Sarah Ward and Kristen Jacobsen)  from the previous and future phase etc, as well as many IF/THENs
-Any lesson about time is also an executive function lesson.
-and so on...

I did discuss this plan with parents beforehand, emphasizing that:
-I am encouraging students to initiate conversations with them about the pandemic and what restrictions mean within their family.
-Just because something is open or now "allowed" does not necessarily mean every family is going to go forward with that- also a lesson in perspective taking.

And naturally, I did not present this activity as in the video below, there has been a lot more "stop and discuss" e.g. before moving to the next category having students predict what falls in each phase.

Resources shown in this video/following up:
-Fair Play read aloud (skip the odd opening first 50 seconds)- this book was recommended by Michelle Garcia Winner in her book Thinking About You, Thinking About Me for the lesson about JustMe thinking, but is also a great establisher of the main idea connections between government and social cognition
-Reopening Massachusetts visuals (if you're in MA, or you can do a same but different lesson)
-A Kahoot for students to play with what they learned. Again, you can make a same but different one if not in MA.

Video model lesson

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Demonstration of Pixton EDU- simple comic creation in teletherapy

Comics are motivating therapy tools that can be used to develop a narrative, work on physical description, emotional vocabulary, interpretation of nonverbals, or social behaviors and conversational moves. Pixton EDU provides much for free currently and as a webtool is very applicable to teletherapy. You can see some of my previous posts on Pixton here and here but in the video below I demo the current upgraded Pixton EDU. Email subscribers can click here for the video.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Some books I have been using on EPIC!

Given the current crisis and stay-at-home advisory (now transitioning to a safer-at-home advisory in MA) I have been focusing in groups on narrative, conversations, and social self-regulation tools. A few books that have opened up to discussion and followup activities (Recall that EPIC! offers free educator accounts):

The Lemonade Hurricane- an irked sister helps to teach her disregulated brother to calm himself. Play a version of Lemonade Stand online or on Alexa following the reading!

Sergio Sees the Good- this book is about negative bias, how we tend to notice and react more to negative things than positive. Good for a narrative activity after where students list positive things about their week, even "everyday positives" like a comfy bed.

Dictionary for a Better World- this book is useful over multiple sessions, has abstract vocabulary and challenges you can revisit with students for narrative or journaling.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Use science to build categories and following directions

GoReact is an activity (originally an app) from Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago that I originally wrote about for ASHA Leader. I was reminded of it recently when a HS student I work with had a chem project I needed to assist with.

GoReact can be used to explore the periodic table of elements and associate elements with practical, relatable objects they are used to make. Just click on any element.

Then, there is a Featured Reactions tab- this gives directions to assemble elements in different categories, e.g. health and beauty aids. It's a great interactive website to build categories, comprehension of direction, narrative about experience of products, and describing by function.

This website is a good pairing with the fun book 11 Experiments that Failed and maybe some simple experiments using household items

Thursday, May 14, 2020

A Fun Way to Explore Teleconference Social Behaviors (and another Discussion Web)

Let's be honest...Zoom and other Tele platforms are not just a now thing. may be hybrid or more in the fall distancing may continue for some time or have periods with flareups are discovering that working from home has benefits and some are making it the norm.

For these reasons, developing communication competencies for our sessions and beyond is an opportunity here! In my groups, we watched this amusing video (as far as I know available only on Facebook but you don't have to log in) and completed this discussion web with contributions from all.

See previous post about discussion webs as a way to scaffold complex language in teletherapy. In the process we also evaluated some of the behaviors shown and put them in a sequence from most to least expected (most distracting to others). This was a fun discussion and we were all able to acknowledge things we have done on Zoom that might have been "unexpected" and acknowledged our growth as well (self-awareness)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A quick "Mining" of Smart Exchange for Useful Materials

Piggybacking on yesterday's post, I just wanted to demonstrate a brisk look at Smart Exchange. We need not focus only on ELA categories in any material but can be looking also at content areas and consider a) would this activity be Fairly Priced, Interactive, Visual, Educationally Relevant, and Speechie/Specific, i.e. you can identify specific objectives you can target with it and b) what can you do AROUND the activity?

For example, look at Fairy Tales and STEM- my plan for a social group today is to use a book about engineering and failure, then use Google Slides to have them design one of the options and share.

Here are 10 more I found on just a quick search:

Spring Calendar- Time concepts and building the macro of time for executive function!

Verb or Noun

Adjective Noun Riddles - These two follow along recent research for later language development especially that metalinguistics is important. Not only are parts of speech a curriculum area but our understanding of them helps us unpack complex language for comprehension.

Dressing for the Season 

What is Weather? - These two are similar. Weather is always one of my favorite educationally relevant language areas-- it's so tied up in categories, description, time, causals, conditionals, functional decision making. Think about pairing with the MarcoPolo Weather app.

Animal Classification

Five Food Groups- These two are based in categories, essential to semantics and description, as well as science.

What a Plant Needs to Grow

Animal Homes- As in this pair, science topics can also be contexts for sequencing and sentence formulation.

Park Map Skills- Maps are wrapped up in our understanding spatial concepts and executive function mind-maps of space and its layout. Pair with the free app Beep beep Alfie Atkins for map-making.

Remember from yesterday's post, Smart Exchange requires a free account to sign in, you'll need Smart Notebook Basic (also free) and you can edit files as you see fit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Smart Notebook in Telepractice

SMART Notebook is free software designed for interactive whiteboards, but activities available for it work well in telepractice sessions. Notebook activities are similar to PowerPoints but have interactive elements that will be useful if you are giving students cursor control or perhaps just screen sharing with students making verbal choices. No need to re-invent the wheel, instead take a look at activities available on SMART Exchange, the free website (access w a free SMART account). You can look in ELA and SEL categories or find activities in Science or Social Studies with language underpinnings to target (categorization, sequencing, sentence formulation, etc).

For example, look at this activity created for National Pizza Day (see in quick-and-dirty demo below). The author modified The Little Red Hen Makes A Pizza (with language targeting suggestions) and then created a page where you can make a pizza. Features like Infinite Cloner make it so there's an image of sauce you can drag over to the pizza, but then the sauce is still there so you can drag over more. SMART Notebook files are editable so you can, say, change the title slide because it's no longer National Pizza Day, remove one of the videos if you want, and delete/modify the page where students vote on their favorite pizza (this uses a push-out-to-devices piece called SLS Online that you might not want to get into).

So, again, the components you need to get started here are SMART Notebook basic software. Go to SMART Exchange to download activities.

Here's a little demo video for you:

Monday, May 11, 2020

E-Learning For Kids interactive website

I just stumbled across the website E-Learning for Kids- it has tons of content applicable for a number of levels and in various subjects. You may gravitate toward Language Arts, but note that the other topics have content for teaching many language underpinnings (e.g. concepts in the Math activities, description in the Science activities. The lessons here would be good for screen sharing and having students verbalize choices, or with cursor control, and have engaging animations. I am adding E-Learning for Kids to the Teletherapy Resource List.

This activity in the Science area is about describing and categorizing based on smell (lots of 5 Senses activities in Science here). I also like that the Science area has theme related to places around the world.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Demonstration of one activity you could do with Pear Deck

Pear Deck is an add-on for Google Slides and, I understand, for other tools, allowing you to make Google Slides interactive. You can also do this by sharing any slide deck so students can edit it, but Pear Deck offers some attractive possibilities as well. You can do much with the free education account available and I am on a premium trial. In this video I show how the add-on works and how you can do an activity like "sketch a birthday gift" for someone in a teletherapy group. I'm sure after looking at it, you can think of many other creative ways to use the tool--I'd love to hear about what you come up with. I have used it a number of times in groups and it's very engaging and fun. In the video also you can see what your view will look like as an instructor vs. the student view, and I also discuss brain in the group/executive function/pace as skills we have worked on through using this tool. Thanks- for email subscribers, the video is here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Video Modeling Texts

TextingStory is a free app for iPad or Android that is useful for modeling (co-engagement) or co-creating examples of the social pragmatics, conversational moves and hidden rules of texting. It is very easy to use, just select the "texters" and type messages, and it creates a video of the text conversation unfolding. You can send the video you produce to the Photos app and then to your computer or mirror your iPad and create the conversation based on contributions from clients. You can of course model conversations that go well and not so well. You also could consider this as a narrative building tool in that conversations sometimes create an "initiating event" and reaction, etc. This being a critical time for our students to build and maintain social connections, working with visual tools like this is very helpful.

In my group, we mapped the progress of this conversation, labeling elements of it:
-Opening/greeting (we had some divided discussion of whether this one was "cool," I asserted that I'm using it a lot with friends right now, a time when "check-ins" are important)
-Response/Comment (my student said "mention of popular thing)
-Response/plan to follow up

One approach I find important with teens as that the above tool adds engagement and allows for flexibility, showing there is not just one "script."

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Keeping it simple and a visual for you

I posted a bit back about a webinar Nathan Curtis and I did that is being offered for free through the ASHA Learning Pass (until end of June, 2020). In this we reviewed a "Continuum of Technology Integration" partly to demonstrate that it is OK to keep it simple. I've recently been applying and emphasizing even simpler activities as beneficial in telepractice, but especially during this emergency.

For that reason, I've added to the left/simpler side of that continuum so that it now looks like this:

...acknowledging the importance and value of those easy-to-execute, conversational activities. 

Elaborating on the verbal exchange and asynchronous types of activities are examples of conversational games/structured conversations like "high and low" (state the high of your week and low of the week, essentially two narratives or one linked with an adversative but for the low). 

I find it valuable to screenshare to provide visual support and structure for some of these, but you could do that with a small whiteboard on camera, too. 

One of my favorite conversational games is Two Truths and a Lie. This requires some planning when playing- what 3 things should I say? One strategy I always teach is to think of three true things and then change one slightly. On players' part there is a lot of listening and responding needed. This game also is a good way to work on the Social Thinking® concept of "People Files"- it's expected to remember things and show interest about others, and your social memory of others will help you start conversations. The mnemonic here of FILE is my own creation- what's the schema of what we remember about people. I always think of likes/dislikes as separate from interests e.g. I should remember he's a Sooners fan, he hates seafood, etc. 

Playing in tele I found this visual support helpful both to aid in comprehension (write down the players' statements as they say them) and the flow of the game. It's good to hand the responsibility of "polling" to the person who makes the statements, and when you are not sitting in a circle, writing the students' names assists so they can "call" on each other for guesses (in person I encourage them to do this with eye gaze but that doesn't work so well in teletherapy. Also this is a visual aid for learning names, often a challenge. 

Click here for the slide, email subscribers or readers on the blog as well. As always with shared items, please do not request edit access. You can edit if you like by clicking File>Make a Copy or Download as PPT.

Anyone have other "conversation games" they like to play that require minimal materials? Please let us know in the comments!

Monday, May 4, 2020

May the 4th Be With You

You may not have time to incorporate this into today's sessions, but there's some generalizable ideas here anyway. May the 4th is of course the punny/meme-y Star Wars "holiday" when we can wish everyone all The Force. Using topics of interest to our students is motivating, especially in tough times, and can incorporate many goals around language. LEGO clips (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman, Adventures, others) are widely available on YouTube and frequently wordless, thus tapping interpretation of nonverbals and situational cues.

Training is a fun such clip.

You can use this clip in teletherapy to:
-Work on narrating or composing sentences about the story
-Use chat to have students write lines of dialogue, working on conversational language (see Anna Vagin's ideas about this)
-Guide a discussion web about a question like "What's something you had to practice to get better at?"