Sunday, November 30, 2014

'Pants on Ants' 'Go by Goat'---review of two fun books for phonological process remediation

When I went to ASHA a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon a booth in the exhibit hall that had the cutest set of books I've seen for working with kids on phonological processes and language.  As I was talking to the author, Elizabeth Redhead Kriston (who is a speech pathologist), I let on that I blogged, and she kindly handed me four books to review!  I was thrilled!   Two of the books were for articulation (final consonant deletion, and initial consonant deletion) and the other two books were language, which I'll describe in a subsequent post.

I went to the website, cleverly called the Word Menders Series, and as I saw, the books are designed to target specific phonological processes while fostering language and literacy development.

flashcards from 'Pants on Ants'

 Each book is written around a set of minimal pairs that highlight a specific phonological process so children are provided with numerous opportunities to hear and practice the contrasts in a natural context. Flashcards are included with each book, and store in a pocket inside the back cover.

 I loved the illustrations---the ants in the pictures for "Pants on Ants" are quite funny.  This story (which targets initial consonant deletion) rhymes and has vivid imagery! 

  My favorite book, however, was "Go by Boat".  It's my favorite simply because I have a student who uses final consonant deletion, and the pictures and flashcards were perfect for him.  The plot centers around a little elephant who has invited her friends to a birthday party.  Some come by sea, some by train, some by goat.  Will they make it in time?  

 My little guy loved the story, and the flashcards were perfect for focusing his attention on what words to practice during reading. 

If you have children who are working on phonological processes, these books combine literacy, minimal pairs, and fun all in one package.  A good book should be read multiple times, so you can use these over repeated sessions.  

Disclaimer:  Although the books were provided free to me, I have no other affiliation with this company.  I love books, however, and these are reasonably priced, sturdy, and spot-on with integrating speech and literacy skills.  


Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Common Core--Informal Kindergarten and First Grade Math Vocabulary Assessment

This is a re-do of a kindergarten and first grade set of math common core vocabulary assessments based on Marzano's book, Vocabulary for the Common Core.
    I've added progress monitoring tables, and a bonus Bingo game, and relisted the combined assessments on Teachers Pay Teachers for a modest stipend.  Go to the bottom of the page for the link.  This assessment has helped drive some of my therapy with the younger kids.

 ---------------(from March 2014)
Service delivery for my kids has changed over the decades---now for my regular education kids, I try to go into the classroom as much as possible.  Often, there are strategies and a little coaching that needs done and the child is able to do reasonably well, or at least participate in the curriculum with his peers.  With the old familiar curriculum, the NC Standard Course of Study, I felt like the classroom was a comfortable place to go--I knew the expectations and I knew how to help.

Then things changed, rather abruptly, with the introduction of the Common Core.  I'm not anti-common core, but I'm finding that for the two curriculum areas--language arts and math, there are lofty language and verbal problem solving expectations, and my kids, with language deficits and vocabulary difficulties, struggle mightily.  Someone like the teachers and me needs to fill in the holes, but what are the holes to fill?  Teachers struggle with appropriate interventions, not knowing how to easily find the gaps in prior learning.

 Often when I go into the classrooms now during math, the teachers are so intent on teaching the higher level thinking skills to the class, my children are left in the dark, since they lack the understanding of some of the basic concepts which are being used in classroom discussions. 

 Somewhere, in someone's blog, I read about this resource, Vocabulary for the Common Core, and being in need such a book, I purchased it (with my own money, of course. Don't get me started on the lack of instructional funding in NC!).  This is full of vocabulary lists arranged by topics both in language arts and math by grade level K-12. I can now begin to fill in gaps in my children's learning!

A current student of mine is in the first grade and struggling in math, and so to assist the teacher in creating math interventions, I have started with kindergarten math vocabulary lists from this book and created an informal Common Core vocabulary assessment to determine if this child understands kindergarten language concepts (prerequisites to his current first grade placement).  Words in this assessment include 'first' 'last' 'part' 'whole' 'addition' 'subtraction' 'rectangle' and 'number line' (plus others).  Another skill was whether the student could verbally compare two different shapes. I did not include concepts introduced in first grade (since my child is in first grade, the teacher should be instructing him at that level), nor did I include items that solely seemed 'math' such as counting, computation, and identifying numbers. I also left off words pertaining to measurement. Prepositions were not included since I have another assessment for that.  These concepts here seemed to be the most commonly occurring concepts out of the kindergarten math list in Marzano's book. 

Screen shots from my assessment are shown here. I did try it out on my little guy in first grade, and glaring deficits became readily apparent.  How can he begin to comprehend 'part-part-whole' for addition, when he doesn't understand 'part'?   (e.g. When asked to color part of a square, he traced it.  When asked to color the whole square, he traced it again.)

The teacher of this student in question was so excited about this because it gave her a starting place for interventions in the classroom and it gave me some easily identifiable concepts to work on.  That made me happy :) 

Click here to download the informal common core math vocabulary kindergarten and first grade assessment. Includes Progress Monitoring Tables, and bonus bingo game.  18 pages total.



Friday, November 28, 2014

Modest Holiday Collection

This is a repost from 2013-----

 I have a small collection of materials and ideas that I've written about over the years for the holidays.  I do try to keep holidays rather low key, remembering that the activities are not the goal; communication and functional language concepts are what to keep in mind.  The activities are a means to the end, the end being an improvement in IEP goals and communication.

I'll be adding more things here as I make them during the next couple of weeks, so come back!

Christmas Prepositions Bingo

   Candy Canes Everywhere---free printable book

Christmas for 10--printable icons for a cute book

O Christmas Tree App with printable Communication Board--Fun!

Rudolph and Joint Action Routines

 Rudolph and Prepositions--free printable adapted book

Hanukkah book and icons--free printable

Play dough Menorahs printable directions and printable dreidel game rules

 A book for your social skills groups--How do Dinosaurs say Merry Christmas?

 Christmas trees---Low tech and high tech

On the Christmas Tree--Printable book and icons

Let's hope for a wonderful December with your kidos!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Social Thinking---Back to the Basics

I have a delightful group of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders who are working on pragmatic language and social skills.  Since I just added a new student, I feel the need to return to the basics presented in "You are a Social Detective" by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke.  This book is perfect for the kids--written in easy to understand language with a cartoon format.  We just worked on the first concept this week which is understanding that different people have different strengths.

I picked up the idea from this lesson both from the book itself, but also from a explanation with illustrations from Speech Room News---a terrific blog by Jenna Rayburn.  You should take the time to read her description of the book.

The first page simply shows a kid which explains how there are all types of 'smarts'.

Following the lead presented by Speech Room News, I found a drawing of the brain here on Enchanted Learning which even had lines for the kids to write their own 'smarts'.

I modeled this activity for them, but had to send my model home for a kid who was absent (before I took this picture).  All of my students demonstrated the ability to reflect on their individual strengths ranging from Lego building to sports to dancing.  The next step in the curriculum is to identify their Social Smarts which we haven't done yet.  More on that after Thanksgiving!  Returning to the basics with this group is nice for them in reinforcing skills that have been introduced but still need refinement.

At ASHA, I attended several sessions where Michelle Garcia Winner spoke.  The curriculum is phenomenal, and I truly see improvements in the children when we teach the concepts in Social Thinking. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ants Everywhere---translated to Indonesian; free and printable

Most of you will never need an adapted book in Indonesian, but if you have followed my posts, you may remember that I came upon a delightful school in Bali for children with disabilities. 


I offered to translate some of my things, with my daughter's help. She speaks Indonesian (and is currently in the Peace Corps in Indonesia).  She took this particular book to the high school where she teaches English, and after some debate over exact wording, this is a good effort.  If some of the words are not quite right, please let me know, and I'll change them.

The title of the book in English is "Ants Everywhere".  You can find the English version in pdf and boardmaker here.

If you want the Indonesian version in pdf, click here

These are screenshots of a few of the pages.
Use the icons to have the kids practicing matching, and also you can use the icons for them to practice naming the pictures.

Have fun!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Busy Week for Dogs (Days of the Week in a fun way!)

My kids often need a bit of help understanding time, and the days of the week. It's sometimes hard for me to understand this difficulty---my week is so regimented in schedules, therapy sessions, meetings, and Google calendars that I not only know what day it is, I know it in 30 minute speech schedule increments. I know what days I don't work, and I know when holidays are.  I ask a kid what day it is though, and time is a mystery.

Here's a cute book I just made on Tarheel Reader, and have a link below for you to download and adapt. It's all about dogs and what they do on each day of the week.  It has a cute little ending---see if the kids can predict what that last little dog will do!  Have your kids sequence the icons---what happened first? second? last?  Match the icons to the days on an actual calendar.  See if they know what today actually is. Possibilities abound!


I got this idea from a book I've used with kids entitled 'Cookies Week'.  It's about a frisky cat---same pattern, very cute.

You can have the kids pose for pictures of what they do on different days of the week and publish a class book.  


Click here to download the book, free as usual.

If you have kept up with my bird banding daughter, she has arrived in Pago Pago, and enjoying herself. I need to stop worrying.

American Samoa drink