Friday, September 24, 2021

Consider This: Videos about Mindfulness

Mindfulness should be considered right in the SLP wheelhouse. It a) is evidence-based, b) promotes self-regulation which underlies executive function, academic performance, social communication and c) practicing and discussing mindfulness encompasses expository language and metacognition (talking about thinking). 

Through the mandated teletherapy period and beyond, I have found videos about mindfulness to be particularly useful as they are visual, prompt practice, and serve for post activities

Check out this example:

It's great. Well-paced, specific, promoting a strategy that can be used without the video at other times, and an example of an abstract, complex idea. In using this I have needed to recast my students' understanding of it: Being present helps you be in the moment to pay attention, but also regulates your emotions away from thinking/feeling about the past or future. There's much personal narrative that can come from exploring this as well as descriptions of what we notice in the moment (often a complex sentence formulation prompt as well with any cognitive verb).

In addition to other videos by the Partnership in Education, you can explore ones for various age levels from Cosmic Kids, MyLife, or Headspace.

It's a good idea to do this kind of activity with regularity (it need not take more than 10 minutes) or in a series as mindfulness is really about developing a practice.  I always think of it as a toolkit (aligning with models like Zones®), so it is also wise to find videos that promote different strategies such as presence, above, deep breathing, gratitude, etc.

Interested in professional development for your department, school, or organization? Sean is booking in-person or remote trainings for the 2021-2022 school year

Friday, September 17, 2021

Consider This: Make A Scene

Tech-based scenes, in which story grammar settings are presented and we can add characters and objects, suggest the creation of stories and other language targets. One of the simplest series of tools for this is the apps from, well-titled, make a scene (inexpensively priced at $.99 for iOS, Amazon devices and Android Tablets). These include themes that can be used to build semantics such as Dinosaurs, Jungle, Polar Adventure and Transport. The apps are simple, promoting use for many grade levels ranging down to preschool. Additionally, each app contains related scenes to choose from for a variety of stories to create.

Make A Scene: Transport. Create a traffic jam for an "initiating event!"

Consider This:
-Make A Scene apps and websites (fewer options) function like a stickerbook or (if you remember) Colorforms for very simple co-creation activities.
-The iPad remains alive as a great tool for clinicians to have on hand for its portability, ease of use, and functions such as screenshotting which allow you to revisit previous creations and the language involved with them. The iPad can also be mirrored to computer screens for use in telepractice, or connected to a projector or interactive whiteboard in a classroom.
-In addition to story creation, scene creators can be used to target microstructure aspects: vocabulary, elaborated noun and verb phrases, syntax and sentence formulation e.g. temporal and causal clauses.
-Scene creation begs for pairing of apps with picture books of similar themes to set a larger context in therapy activities. See my free booklet on this topic on Teachers Pay Teachers.
-Particularly for telepractice, to allow for interactivity it is easy to create your own scenes in Google Slides. Students can interact with the scene through remote cursor control or setting the sharing settings to allow the student to edit the Slides. 

Interested in professional development for your department, school, or organization? Sean is booking in-person or remote trainings for the 2021-2022 school year

Friday, September 10, 2021

Consider This: Visual electronic books on EPIC!

I'm sick of talking about COVID. Obvi it's still with us, but I thought I'd frame the path forward instead of backward, and 6 parts of "Lessons from COVID" was enough anyway. A new school year, so Consider This. In coming posts I will be encouraging flexible thinking, planning, and contextualizing of language interventions fostered by simple tech resources. 

I'm still a working clinician of course but have the privilege of doing consulting as well. This week I was discussing with an amazing SLP colleague a "way forward" for social learning lessons for a group of moderate to high-support high-schoolers. With delivery in their dedicated classroom, use of the board and projector is really helpful for keeping up engagement. We had at our fingertips a book she had identified, 125 True Stories of Amazing Animal Friendships, a great visual resource from National Geographic.

Interactive read-alouds, though still effective, get tougher as students get older. They no longer gather around in a circle on the carpet, do they? We thought of digitizing through Slides (easy enough, and one option), but then I thought to check EPIC! It had the book! Hopefully you know this repository of digital books offers (still!) free accounts to educators. Consider also this entire publisher's library and other visual treasures, which help us see how a resource like this can be useful beyond the primary grades.

Yes, you can zoom in...

So Consider This, in brief, and comment with other thoughts, please!
-Each entry, and there are many, can be mapped as a narrative
-The book as a whole is also an expository example and graphic organizers can be used for list, sequence, cause-effect etc.
-Our primary interest here was social "same but different" thinking. Many of these episodes can be used to extract human friendship "hidden rules" 
-Conversation building: what connections can you make in your experiences with pets?
-EPIC is very vocab-friendly. Click on a word and you get a definition.

What other ideas do you have when you Consider This?