Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Wrapping up 2020. Thank God!

It was some year, for sure. In short, 2020 saw many of us becoming more tech-savvy because we had no choice and were working through an emergency. Still are. But there's hope ahead.

Myself, I admit to leaning in and then leaning out a bit. 2020 saw me writing about double the posts I had written in the past five years, because I wanted to be of use in the early days of the pandemic. Like everyone else I settled into "just keep swimming" mode and I hope weekly tidbits have been helpful enough. 

So, without further ado, here are the 10 most popular posts of 2020 in terms of page views:

10. What to: Using Google Slides for simple session agendas and visuals in telepractice

9. Demonstration of one activity you could do with Pear Deck

8. GIFs- simple animations

7. Mr. Nussbaum's Learning Fun

6. Explore ideas in EdTech Blogs

5. Creating a make-a-scene in Google Slides

4. Pairing Picture Books With Apps in Teletherapy

3. Vote with your wallet

2. ASHA Presentation 2019 on Telepractice

1. What to: Sharing Screens, Giving Remote Cursor Control, Using Interactive Websites in Distance Learning and Telepractice

Happy Holidays and here's to a brighter new year in 2021!

Thursday, December 17, 2020


As SLPs, at times we need to assist our students with work that is a bit pointless. I recall that Social Thinking® had some material about this; as students we are expected to follow the "group plan" and sometimes complete tedious tasks. Memorization of lists or passages is perhaps a good example. I recently needed to assist a student with memorizing a lengthy section from a book, I won't say which one. While the requirement was maybe in that zone of "Why tho?" it still was a good opportunity to apply Ehren's concept of the "strategic/therapeutic focus" and work on:

-ensuring comprehension of the passage as a whole and its vocabulary, sentence structure
-looking for opportunities for visualization
-noting language structure such as the flow from main idea to details in the passage, also several sentences had parallel structures that could be used as a memory trick i.e. adjective-infinitive, adjective-infinitive, adjective-infinitive.

Putting the passage in Google Docs and commenting in the sidebar with these memory tricks while discussing and eliciting paraphrasing and connections from the students made for a good teletherapy activity for a high schooler!

A quick Google search also found us this gem, which was great to leave my student with so that he could work on the actual memorization independently. Memorizer.me allows you to paste a passage or ordered list, then provides strategies and prompts to help you work on memorizing the language. For example, the website manipulates your pasted text to provide first letter or beginning of line cues. 

I recall having to memorize this above passage from Henry IV, Part 1 in high school and I wish I had had this tool!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Scaffolding complex and abstract language through Google Slides: an example

I have mentioned here many times that I am often seeking to target language and social competencies through a self-regulation lens of late. An example of a context for this is the great series of videos from the Stop, Breathe and Think-Kids app, now available free in full on YouTube in this playlist, see the right sidebar for full list. 

SBT-K presents mindful activities in a playful, narrative way and so is very useful for elementary students. As SLPs we can think of mindfulness cues like these as potential narrative/expository prompts (What did you think of when it said...?), connections to metacognition and self-regulation/social strategies such as Zones of Regulation®.

For a particular client these past several weeks, I have been using this series as a "flow" and creating in-the-moment visuals in Google Slides while scaffolding complex/abstract/how-can-you-use-this kind of language. A few examples are below, and remember that screenshots/screengrabs are your friend!

The READ acronym is one that I learned from MY therapist- how lucky I am to have a super solution-focused CBT support during a pandemic, and it corresponds well actually to story grammar (icons from Story Grammar Marker®)

As I mentioned, these are visuals we formed as the student, my graduate intern and I had this conversation over teletherapy; it occurred to me in the moment that many mindfulness activities are focused on lists, which are organized expository thinking!