Friday, November 20, 2020


This is a good week to remind you of a simple resource to help you and your students. I have written about Calm before but it seems it is more important than ever. We all need to take moments each day to reset and breathe.

Calm can be used as an app on mobile devices or Apple TV but I find that the web interface offers more, and particularly like the Scenes feature which can be used for free. To do this:

-visit the website, linked above.
-login with Apple ID, Facebook or create an account with your email.
-in the left sidebar click Scenes and choose a scene. Some are more setting-based and some more ambient visuals. You can choose the volume of the audio that goes with the scene.

-click Calm in the upper left corner, then the scene itself (not the featured activities) to see it full screen.

Calm could be a great resource to help you meditate and breathe a few moments if you enjoy visuals for this kind of activity.

For students, same. Also consider a post activity for some of the more contextual visuals. What place you have visited did this scene remind you of (could then go there with Google Earth and get some more narrative/description from the students). What do you think you would experience with your 5 senses if you were actually in this location?

Saturday, November 14, 2020

ASHA Pandemic Pangs

Facebook's "Memories" feature is sometimes not so great during a pandemic. You look back with a bit of a pang, right? "I can't do that this year..." This is best channeled with some hope, particularly with good vaccine news this week, toward better days ahead. But still, seeing past ASHAs kind of hurt. I'd always be prepping to present and seeing friends and colleagues I'd only see there. One very packed room I presented to in 2013 did kind of make me go "Ew," given current contagion.

This year, I was invited by SIG 18 and was set to present "Play on Words: Thoughtful Uses of Game-Based Apps and Resources in Language-Based Interventions." That presentation doesn't really exist as of yet (maybe next year), but I thought it might be helpful to share my presentations, along with one on telepractice with Amy Reid and Nathan Curtis, from the last three years. Hopefully there might be some ideas in there that will help you in your work currently.

Here's the link.

Food for thought: a lot of what I have presented in the past has revolved around iPad apps and these have been less relevant in the emergency-telepractice era. However, Apple has just released new Macs with their own M1 Silicon chip (as opposed to previous Intel-made chips) and THEY WILL RUN IPAD APPS NATIVELY. Kind of a game-changer for teletherapy, methinks. I will be getting one soon as my Mac is circa 2013, anyway. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

A focus on gratitude

Gratitude is a Thanksgivingy theme...but actually much more than that. Much research has supported that practicing gratitude as a form of mindfulness can be self-regulating and cultivate positive neural connections. 

In addition, gratitude has a language lens as it:

-relates life experiences

-can/should be practiced as a "listing" activity

-expresses causality

-can be pushed to the abstract i.e. being grateful for intangible things.

Over this and coming weeks I will be using this and this video in discussion activities.


Both are accessible, short and visual. Videos from Headspace are very useful that way, and the second has a bit more of a near/practical hook that will help a lot of my boys access what could be perceived as a dismissible touchy feely message.

As a follow-up activity, Jamboard is a motivating visual way to have students journal, share, describe and discuss. Here's my model: