Do you need another sweet Halloween treat?

Halloween themed early literacy worksheets for early education, SLPS and home schoolers from Looks-Like-Language
I sure hope that you do since the second part is waiting here for you to download it! Send a thought of thanks to Classroom Freebies Too for motivating me to get started on this year's worth of free downloads!

This worksheet set addresses early literacy skills, so it is great for early childhood educators, SLPs and home schoolers. Changing themes is a great way to keep kids practicing skills over and over until they have truly learned them!

Download the Halloween freebie here. Then stop by my store to see what other fun stuff I have! Enjoy!

Therapy on the Fly!

Ok, I have to admit that I am a little, shall we say...jealous...of SLPs who blog about all the fun they are having during the day in speech. I'm all for fun, don't get me wrong. It's just that I'm not always having it, especially at the beginning of the year when there is just SO much to do! Too much paperwork, too many students, too many sessions, not enough time! We’ve all been there and the reasons are numerous.

Ideas for tough days in speech/language therapy- Looks-Like-Language
You see, I'm working now with mostly adolescent boys who have tough lives and lots of mood swings. So, on the days that they walk in to my room with hoods up and their frowns on, I scramble to come up with any way that I can engage them. Some Most days this requires some inventiveness.

On one of those days, I went to grab one of my conversation/ sequencing language spinners, hoping to to get some interaction, when I realized that I had forgotten to put the spinners on. However, I did have a bag of bottle caps that I was collecting to use for one of my preschool games, so I grabbed them, too, and started a tossing competition. 

If a student got one of the bottle caps mostly on one of the topic spaces and could name 5 ideas or sequences related to the topic, they got to keep their cap on the space.  ?/5 named answers over 4 turns= DATA!! Since I always combine all of my students' goals with social skills (they are so needy in this area!) the students had to respond to the prior answers before taking their own turn.

Combining sentences for text structures and conversation! Looks-Like-Language
The best part of the session was actually when the boys started interacting with each other naturally during the game. The hoods came down and I even caught a smile! Success! 

So, if you ever get something from my store and the directions aren't clear (I hate writing directions!) or they don't work for you, just ask a question at my store before rating the packet. It's a great way to interact with the TpT sellers! I've used every material in multiple ways and could have a suggestion that would help you out! 

By the way, if you want to give it a try, these spinner activities for using compound and complex sentences for text structures are here.

How has therapy on the fly worked for you?

A sweet Halloween treat is in the bag!

A Zero Calorie Halloween Treat for You from Looks-Like-Language! SWEET!
Halloween? Sweet! And the treat for you is in the bag! Even better, it is calorie free! I've started early enough that you will be able to download all 4 sections of this cute Halloween themed freebie for early literacy skills before the holiday has arrived. 

If you like to be ahead of the game, remember that you can sign up for my newsletter (above) to get the monthly freebies in one complete download. Plus, my newsletter subscribers get access to occasional exclusive freebies! How sweet of a deal is that?

You can download this week's section of the complete, free packet here! Enjoy!

Data Made Easy! 5 Easy Tips and a Big Freebie List!

Earlier this month, I joined with The Frenzied SLPs to give some tips on baseline monitoring and taking data. Did you miss it? Click here and follow the links to get some more great tips.

Well, now that I am back to work and in the swing of assessing my students’ skills, I though that I’d bring home my binder on data collection and let you know some of the links to resources that I found to be helpful.  If you read my last post, you know that taking data is NOT my favorite! I like the interaction that happens in therapy and figuring out the best  strategies, prompts and visuals to support communication growth much better, so I like to keep the data part easy.

For me, that means thinking about the functional skills I’d like to see my students doing by the end of the year, before I even begin therapy.  Then, I see how well they do in that activity, whether it is a worksheet, a language sample, or an authentic assessment in the classroom and take both qualitative and quantitative data to start the year.

After I get a sense of their skills, I start to take my regular session data. I have found that it is very easy to get involved with helping students and not really notice subtle cues that I have provided so frequently, I don’t even notice that I’m doing it anymore! So, midyear I like to give that same pretest or do the same activity, paying careful attention to letting my students do it independently. This lets me see if they are actually learning to use the target skills (without my intervention) but still giving me time to make changes, if needed, before the end of the year.

Free speech/language therapy data tips and downloads at LooksLikeLanguage!
Once I’ve assessed whether changes are needed, it is back to the regular data again.  Over the course of my many years of therapy, I’ve tried a lot of different ways to collect data. The simplest methods for me are when the data collection is built into the activity.

1. Get out sets of picture cards in multiples of 5. Place the correct response cards in one pile and the incorrect responses in another. Variations: stack them in different directions, place the error cards face down and the correct ones face up, set the error cards in a different location.

        2. Play a game or do an activity with pieces, like tossing balls into a hoop, throwing packing peanuts into a seasonal container, or tossing pompoms into an egg carton. Assign each student a different color and only let them take a turn if their answer is correct. At the end of 10 responses, you get a quick count as you have them clean up.

3. Use numbered question lists placed in a page protector. Mark with a crayon or erasable marker right on the sheet. For students who are sensitive about mistakes, make a small dot for incorrect responses right next to the question.

4. Start with a set of 10 interesting things in a pile in front of you. If the student answers correctly, one piece goes in a pile next to him. If the answer is wrong, you get to keep it. Many students will find this fun with tokens, as they are challenged to get them all away from you. Other students need the ‘interesting’ things to be something they can interact with after, such as different colors of crayons for a picture, the pieces to play a game as described in #2, or small toys they can play with for a minute. If your students are at this level, you might also need a container for their toys to wait in, while yours just disappear from view.

5. Of course, there are the standard coloring or daubing worksheet activities that let you see the total easily, too. My students like doing these with dry erase markers with the sheets placed in page protectors, which also cuts back on printing and photocopying.

Have you noticed that different activities and group sizes lend themselves better to different types of data sheets? I think so! To help you out, I asked my blogging friends on TpT to share the links to their FREE data sheets. Please leave kind feedback (that reads 4.0; we all want an A!) if you decide to download as a thank you for their time and effort. This is an impressive variety of free data collection sheets, so I’m sure you will find something to suit your needs!

A FREE speech/language therapy data collection sheet from Looks-Like-Language!
This data sheet is one I found useful for working with groups. Sometimes it seems that I never have enough hands, and being able to collect all the data on one sheet can be very useful. You can set it up so that your groups are listed in the order they are scheduled, and just flip the page after the third group. You can also use one sheet for each group, listing a different goal in each section. The PDF of this page can be downloaded here.

Friends on my mailing list, I’m working on an editable set with variations of this that will be available in my next monthly newsletter! If you would like to join me, just sign up for FREE! No hassle, no sharing your email, just monthly greetings, tips and some exclusive freebies. Till next week, happy data collection!

Now that Fall is in the Air

An easy to use freebie that works on multiple skills for mixed groups! Looks-Like-Language
So, everyone is back to school now. Fall can't be far off! I find it very helpful to have a few easy to implement activities around, ready to go, for those days that just aren't going as you planned.

Seasonal activities are very easy to use along with whatever theme or target you may have. This freebie can address grammar, sentence structure, writing, narratives or even carryover of articulation skills! The real photos add to its interest for students and games are always fun!

Grab this fall themed activity at my store for FREE! Be sure to leave kind feedback if you like it. I know your mom taught you to say, "Thank you!"  Truly, it means a lot when nice feedback is received! Enjoy!

10 Fantastic Free Resources for Customizing Vocabulary Work

Links to useful free vocabulary resources from Looks-Like-Language
If your caseload is anything like mine, you need to have lots of resources to teach and maintain new skills, including vocabulary! While I use picture task cards, games and activities to teach new vocabulary, I like to have other resources on hand for homework and reviewing skills throughout the year. I explain and expose my students to any new vocabulary we encounter in the course of discussions, stories and activities during the year to ensure comprehension, but I like to target specific, functional words for vocabulary goals.

When choosing the vocabulary to target for students each year, there are some factors I usually consider.

Preschool students always need to increase vocabulary in basic categories and seasonal events.

For life skill students, I try to find out if there are themes being addressed by the special education teacher that year or if the students will have work programs related to specific job skills.

For my older, low functioning students who are still being tested academically, I like to pick either of these: vocabulary that can be addressed all year long and applied to varied stories and academic work or specific vocabulary that relates to the other speech/language goals for the year. For example, vocabulary for reading comprehension, such as cause-effect, problem-solution, and fact-opinion usually ties in to both reading skills and language goals, making it easy to apply the vocabulary all year long.

Because I target specific words, I especially like to find sites that let you customize your word lists, but I am providing some fun general vocabulary sites, too!

Free Picture Vocabulary Card Downloads

Free Games and Power Points to Customize

There are so many good vocabulary resources available on line. Did I miss your favorite? Please share in the comments! I hope you find these resources useful!

After All These Years, I Still Need Help!

You'd think, after all of these years, that getting into the swing of a new year would get easier. Nope! That's why freebies are such a great help! 

Communicate! Free Game by Looks-Like-Language
This one, from my store, is great for the beginning of the year and for the rest of the year, too! Listen to these comments:

Kelly said, "I love the game board and the included questions. I also like that there is a template/page for adding additional questions! Will definitely use this with my clients who are working on conversation skills!"

Frannie wrote, "Thanks for sharing such a creative and useful get-to-know-you game, which will also be great for basic conversation skill practice with many of my students. Very creative and user friendly. Thanks!"

Joy commented, "Nice Activity - I'm not just going to use it as a beginning of the year activity but also as a social skills activity for perspective taking and having the students listen to each other and answer questions about themselves and others! Thank you!"

Wasn't it nice of them to let me know that it was worth my time and effort?

The best part of all is that it is free! Get it at my store!

I hope you have a smooth start to your school year!
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