5 Reasons to Assess Narrative Skills- Back to School

Are books a vital part of your planning? I can't imagine doing without them, personally, but teaching your students internet literacy is just as important. If you teach students from disadvantaged homes, they may not have the same level of access to computers, so they especially need it included in every aspect of school life to gain digital skills.

The other bonus for us is that we can try out books online to see if our students engage with them, purchasing the book only if we decide it is one of our favorites to use over and over again!

One of my students introduced me to this YouTube video last year, and it has become one of my new favorites! Although I love the paperback version of Don't Laugh at Me by Steve Seskin, the song version is a great way to introduce it.  At back to school time, as students are getting to know each other, it is a natural time to find out about their likes, dislikes, and characteristics and incorporate a theme of acceptance of our differences. Give this one a try!

5 reasons to assess literacy skills plus links to free online resources! Looks Like Language
Checking students' narrative skills is on the top of my list for back to school assessments. Whether you do this orally or in a written format, there is so much information you can gain to help your students make progress over the year!

Beside the fact that this is an essential basic skill for conversations, discussion and writing, you can see how well they
* retrieve and organize information while staying on topic
* if there are word finding issues
* the level of sentence complexity
* grammatical errors
* how well they carried over skills from the previous year, including articulation skills.

There are so many fun, free websites at all levels of skill that can help you do this with little planning! Check out this post to get a comprehensive list! I double checked- all of the links still work.

What is your favorite book or website for literacy?


Getting Organized for Back to School Freebie

Do you feel better starting the school year with some organization in place? I know I always did. The beginning of the school year hits with a bang, and being able to find your materials quickly can save so much time!


Get organized for back to school with a freebie from Looks Like Language!
I had you in mind when I made this freebie for labeling your binders. A little bit of pretty along with organization makes getting back to school even nicer! You can get it at my store!

Don't worry if you aren't an SLP and the pre-made labels won't work for you. The PowerPoint is completely editable, so all you have to do is highlight the existing text and replace it with your own.

Want more organization tips? Read this post to see how I do it!

Enjoy!

Back to School with Teachers Pay Teachers

Are you ready for Back to School? Here in the northeast, there’s still another month of summer vacation, but many school systems across the country are gearing up to go back soon.

The Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School sale is here!
Of course, that means it is time for the TpT Back to School sale! It’s your chance to get 25% off everything in my store if you use the code BTS2017!
Don't be like me and forget to put the code in!

Now, you know that I am delighted to be working on products for you full time now, but I thought I’d take a peek at some new products you might be interested in.

Bilingual Speech Therapy Explanation Handouts for Parents in Spanish and English
Do you have students who come from a bilingual home? This new packet by Sarah Wu- Speech is Beautiful looks amazing if you do.  It can save you so much time, compared to writing you own and then finding someone to translate for you. And since Sarah is both bilingual and an SLP, you can be sure that the information is just right! Check it out here.


Social Skills: Comic books, girls, friendship
If I was going back to my caseload this year, this new social skills comic book by Smartmouth SLP would definitely be in my cart! Middle school girls can show a lot of drama, and the cartoon set up provides a great way to open up those discussions! You can find it here.



One of my newest products can also save you a lot of time! 
Save time with R sound homework and activities- Fall! Looks Like Language

Although my passions are autism, social skills and mixed groups, I’ve also done a fair amount of articulation therapy in the (40 years time  SHH!) since I started treating! I know how time consuming it can be to not only plan for therapy, but come up with homework as well.

This NO PREP set can be used for therapy activities and then sent home for homework! Parent instructions are included, too!

The set is very adaptable, working on the R sound from listening skills through words and sentences, and includes picture level worksheets as well as pages with words for readers. Check to see how much time this will save you here.

Have fun filling up your cart!

Getting Started with Autism Guide- FREE!

Woo Hoo! Looks Like Language has been a blog for 2 years now!

To celebrate, I've gathered up the freebies for autism that I've made over the past 2 years and bundled them up into 1 easy download!


Get this amazing FREE Getting Started with Autism Guide from Looks Like Language!
Getting Started with Autism is a sweet little packet that includes things I wish someone had explained to me when I first started in a low functioning, behavioral autism program. So, of course I want to share it with you!

Even if you have already joined me, it is okay to click here and sign up again to get this amaaaazing download for FREE! Plus, you get an awesome BONUS!

In case you missed it, click here to get my incredible Getting Started with Conversation Guide!

I'm so thankful that you have joined me on this journey I never expected to take in life. Sometimes you just have to take what comes your way and go for it!

So, be sure to download these helpful freebies to get your school year off to a great start!

I'm grateful for your support! Enjoy!

Getting to Know You!

This is an unusual month for educators! In some parts of our country, summer school has just started. In other parts, they are gearing up for back to school.
Get this fun, FREE ice breaker game from Looks Like Language!

Wherever you live, you might find that this quick and easy printable game makes your planning easier! Whether you use it for asking and answering questions, getting new classmates to interact with each other, graphing answers afterwards, or for conversation skills, have fun with it!

You can download this freebie at my store. Make your life easier!

Spend your extra time enjoying a beautiful summer day!

Helping Our Students Transition to Independence

Transitioning? What?

You might be wondering if these links have nothing useful for you, but if you are working with a moderately to severely impaired population, then it is my opinion that you can never get started thinking about this too early!

Building functional independence skills can never start too early! Check out these free resource links at Looks Like Language!
Our students who have moderate to severe deficits need us to be the ones who are thinking ahead and planning how to build their skills to their greatest potential! Since they need so much practice with work presented at tiny little steps, it will only help if we all have in mind the eventual desired outcomes as we plan each year's therapy.

With this in mind, maybe you want to take a look at these links even if your students are still younger!

The complete list of links can be found in this post.

If you don't have time to check out the complete list, I recommend that you at least go to my most favorite download, Moving Toward Functional Social Competence.

The Minnesota Region 10 Low Incidence Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) project compiled this thorough checklists at three levels for joint attention, greetings, self regulation, conversations, perspective taking, social problem solving/critical thinking skills, friendship and life skills. They also included a recommended resource list for further reading. 

Be sure to download this helpful free resource!

I hope you are enjoying your summer! 

Let's Get Started with Conversation! FREE Guide


FREE Getting Started with Conversation Guide- Looks Like Language

Would you like a life without conversations? No way! We probably can't even count how many we have during a day. So, try to imagine how the life of a child on the autism spectrum is like without this skill.

No matter what we do to improve vocabulary, concepts, sentence structure, you name it, daily life functioning will be affected if we don't manage to get our students conversing socially. And it isn't always easy!

The traps I fell into when starting to work on this skill included:

* getting rote I like/What do you like interchanges only!
While this is a beginning, it is definitely not an end goal.

* prompting with 'say' and 'ask' with students getting confused about what I was expecting of them.

* prompting responses verbally, ending up with my students talking to me and not with each other!

* getting students to converse, but only on limited range of topics or when prompted.

I decided that there must be a way to build conversation skills visually and offset these issues. (You know that I am passionate about visuals and strategies!)

It took me lots of years of trial and error before I came up with the methods that worked for my students on the autism spectrum. I know that I've had the actual materials available in my TpT store for a while now, and I'm thrilled beyond measure that there are students out there making progress in conversation skills that I had a part in helping!

However, I realized this summer that I didn't really have anything in place to help you see my overall structure/model. So, I decided to make this brand new free guide call Getting Started with Conversation! 

Getting Started with Conversation will help you with assessing current status, planning therapy,  and measuring progress. More success with less stress!

To get this amazing 8 page FREE Getting Started with Conversation Guide, all you have to do is click here.


FREE Getting Started with Conversation Guide- Looks Like Language
For my followers, I will also be sending out the link for this helpful guide in my next newsletter, but you can get it NOW by clicking here!

I hope this gets you and your students started on the path to building real conversations! Enjoy!

Summer Rhyming Fun- 5- A Freebie

FREE summer rhyming fun from Looks Like Language!
Welcome back for your final section of this fun summer rhyming freebie! So glad you came back to finish it!

Is your summer flying by? I don't know where all the time goes! I remember hot, boring days with nothing to do growing up, when summer seemed like it lasted forever. Did it seem that way to you? Now, forget it! I blink and another day is done!

Well, help a child in your life fill up some of that summer boredom and download this cute freebie. If you are visiting for the first time, click here to start at the beginning of this set.

Thank you! I love knowing that I am making it possible for some children to do a little better with reading skills!

I'm happy you stopped by!

14 AWESOME Resource Links for Social Skills!

Check out these great resource links! Looks Like Language!
There never seems to be enough materials to meet our students' specific needs. Between differences in how they learn, what activities they enjoy, and how much practice is needed, I know that looking for resources can seem never ending.

That is why I love to look for free help. And, of course, I want to share these resources with you!

I found what I think is a treasure trove of online ideas and activities for working on emotions and nonverbal language skills. If you haven't already checked these links out, you really should!

I checked to make sure that the links are still working, but instead of reposting the whole thing, I'm just going to ask you to click here for some amazing free resources.

You know that you can always find ready made help at my store. Be sure to drop me a comment here if there is something you are looking for but can't find. I still have time to get some new resources ready for you for the fall!

Summer Rhyming Fun - 4- A Freebie

Summer Rhyming Game Freebie from Looks Like Language
So now summer has officially begun! Some of us have just started, some of us are partway through, so.... Happy summer, everyone!

If you are doing therapy this summer, or just hanging out with your own kids, be sure to grab this freebie! 

Working on literacy skills while having fun playing a game- how can you beat it when it is free?  

I spent some time making this set to do my part in helping children develop important skills that will help them in school, so pleeeease download it. If you missed the other sections, click here.

Have fun, too! Enjoy!

Summer Rhyming Fun- 3- A Freebie

A free rhyming game from Looks Like Language!
Playing rhyming and word games is so important for little ones to be able to develop the skills they need for reading. This is why I am so happy to be able to help out a little, for free!

If you have a little one in your life, be sure to click here and get your free download! Come back every week to get the whole set.

If you missed some of the downloads, start here.

Parent Tip:
When you have played the game for a while, turn it into a 'play anywhere' game. Find something you can easily see where you are and give a clue. "I see something that rhymes with ___." Can your little one find it? 

Happy rhyming!

Change is in the Air!

Change is in the Air at Looks Like Language!
Are you finished the school year yet? This week is my last week in the public school system after 38 years, so you know that change is in the air for me!

Don't you love this quote? While this destination looks lovely, happiness is the true plan.

If you are like me, you take some time off in the summer to relax, recharge and do what makes you happy.  Doing a bit more relaxing is in my plans, too!

So, this summer I will be updating my helpful links posts for when you are ready to start thinking about work again, but I will be posting every other week. My freebies for a fun Friday will post on Thursdays, as usual.

I'd like to use the extra time to make my posts even better for you. Some work on photography skills this summer will help to get better photos of tips in action. Wish me luck- it is not my forte!

Another plan is to develop some new helpful materials to get you off to a great start in the fall! I'd love some input to be able to develop a freebie that is very useful to you. To help out, please leave a comment about the biggest problem you have getting started again in therapy in the fall. However.....

Remember, there are no magic wands here!

I'd love to be able to
* raise your salary
* reduce your paperwork
* get you that perfect office space
* make all of your coworkers realize how hard you work
* get you a smaller caseload size
* (fill in the blank!)

Unfortunately, I just haven't figured out how to do that magic yet! But if you have something I could help you with, be sure to leave a comment!

Summer Rhyming Fun- 2- A Freebie

Have fun rhyming with this FREE game from Looks Like Language!
Welcome back! I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

This week you get to download the second part of my rhyming game freebie! 

Parents, I know that you have heard that you need to make sure that your children know their colors, numbers, shapes and alphabet to be ready for school. That is helpful, but you will be doing them an even better turn if you read to them and play word and sound games with them!

When children get exposed to rhymes and word games, they start learning about sounds and how they go together into words. This is such an important skill for reading!

So, download this free game now and have fun!

Trash to Treasure- Junk to Save Your Session

Trash to treasure: Ideas for using junk in therapy from Looks Like Language
Turning work into play is a great way to get through the end of the year, sometimes even for older students! It works, especially well when you combine elements of all of the goals from the year to see how well they can use the skills.

What is needed? Junk!  In the photo, you can see some of my life saving junk from this year. The empty egg cartons and ravioli trays are from my house. The foam cubes, colored dice, pompoms, mini erasers and plastic colored discs are from varied dollar place outings. 

Spinners are very easy to make and can be personalized or changed out easily by taping something new on top of the laminated clear spinner. Tape on some words or pictures and get out the organizers your students have used during the year to play a wide variety of language games. Then, just mix and match!

Here's how to create your own.

Trash to treasure: Ideas for using junk in therapy from Looks Like Language

THINK
1.  Determine which skills the majority of your students have worked on this year.
2. Think about what vocabulary or skills for using new words that your students have learned this year.
3. What skills can tie this all together?  Ideas include questions, grammatical forms, sentence structures, and articulation targets or carrier phrases.

Trash to treasure: Ideas for using junk in therapy from Looks Like Language

CREATE 
1.  How long are each of these lists? Place the information that your students have in common on the container or spinner that will fit it best.
2. Get some type of easy to toss item, like mini erasers, pompoms, plastic chips, or packing peanuts, if you have a container.
3. Make a spinner, adapt a cube, or use dice. Dice are fun and easy to use by making a grid with different skills for each number, or by numbering 6 pictures to talk about.
4. Personalize the activities by using an organizer, vocabulary list, or some specific skill for each student.
5. The more of these items you combine in an activity, the longer or more complicated the responses will be. The benefit is that it will require your students to combine multiple skills, demonstrating mastery and making them think. The drawback can be the time required, so I have my students spin, roll, toss, etc. while the other students are responding. An additional benefit for my ADHD kids is that this helps them wait for their turn without getting in trouble!

PLAY
Try all different kinds of combinations! You will find out which activities your students love and how your goals fit best with your junk! On days when I know that I'm not going to get any 'work' responses from my upset students, I pull out one of these activities to save the day.

How do you save the day?

Summer Rhyming Fun- 1- A Freebie

Have some free rhyming fun this summer! Looks Like Language
Rhymes are a great way to get started with pre-reading skills for little ones!

Curl up together with great book- Dr. Seuss is the gold standard for fun rhyming! After the book becomes familiar, try pausing before reading the rhyme and see if your child fills it in!

On a rainy day, when you are stuck inside, you can also play a game! Download this freebie and have fun!


Endings and Beginnings- Time for a Change!

Exciting news at Looks Like Language!
Exciting news, my friends! After 38 years in public schools, I'll be retiring this month. Change is bittersweet! 

After a summer off to relax and rejuvenate, I plan to spend more time on my store and work privately part time.  While I am busy packing up and preparing to move on, I thought I'd share a few random thoughts and tips with you today.









On Students:
The student who, 5 minutes before had been shouting, "NO! NO! I won't come!" found out I was retiring. Now his tune has changed. "You won't be my speech teacher next year? I'm going to miss you." He can't wait to come.

Take away:
Sometimes you are having more of an impact than you realize. Try not to take students' attitudes personally (especially if they are middle schoolers!) They may be struggling with an internal problem, having difficulty transitioning, or may have problems with affect and nonverbal communication skills. Keep reassuring yourself!

Organizing makes packing up easier- Looks Like Language

Organizing:
I have found out that my organization strategy really works for making packing easier! I keep multiple originals in a page protector and store them in a binder, organized by skill or theme. (Read more about it here.)

So to pack up, I've just been recycling any extra copies I made this year and putting the binders in a carry bag. Every day I carry a few out to my car. I have to say, I've had to move a lot in my career and this has been the easiest one by far! Try it out for yourself!


Games and organizers make FUNctional bulletin boards! Looks Like Language

Bulletin Boards:
Since I've never taken pictures of my room before, I thought I'd share this tip with you.

Placing the strategy pages and organizers in page protectors and hanging them on the board made a functional bulletin board. It is easy to grab the one I need for each group. Since my students face that board, an added bonus is that partway through the year, I can leave them up and watch to see who can do the work independently and who is still looking up at the strategy as needed for help.

I also have a some games up there, too. This helps me find out more about what my students are interested in at the beginning of the year. It provides natural opportunities for students to comment, ask questions and request. Plus, some of the TpT materials are so pretty, it makes a functional way to decorate for the holidays and seasons!

I'm counting down to summer!


FREE Social Skills Problem Solving Unit!

Hi interest, low language problem solving and social language skills FREEBIE from Looks Like Language!
Do you have problems finding appropriate materials for solving problems with your older special needs students? If the level is right, the problems may be too young. If the problem is is right, there isn't enough support for the language skills. 

The story in this freebie is about a girl whose 'friend' picks a fight in the middle of the cafeteria one day. It is short and sweet, but allows you to address a lot of problem solving and social language skills. Try it out! 

If you download it and love it, please consider kind feedback as a thank you!

End of the Year Games

Need some help for the end of the school year? Some years, your usual therapy routines just don't cut it at the end of the year. This is one of those years for me! What to do? How about changing it up a little?

In my speech room this year, we are playing lots of online games to review skills after some 'work' is done. I have a complete post on this topic at Speech Spotlight- catch it here!

But, for my loyal readers, here's a few more ideas:




Questions

Decide which question word fits the answer.





Read a short passage and roll the cube to answer varied WH questions about it.



Sequence the words to ask a question.






Sentences

Sequence the words to form a sentence.




Add more words to make sentences more interesting.






Do you like these? Then be sure to see my other post at Speech Spotlight!

A Letter to Me- As a New SLP!

What would you say to yourself as a new SLP? Join The Frenzied SLPs!
I hope you are getting close to summer vacation! 

I've joined up with The Frenzied SLPs this week for an exciting linky- what would you write to yourself as a new SLP? This group has so many great ideas! 

My days of being new are long gone, so my letter is... Well, go read it and find out!




Looks-Like-Language- A letter to myself!
Dear (just starting out) Linda@Looks-Like-Language,

Don’t be so scared! Take the plunge! You will learn so much from every student you work with and do some good besides (for almost every one of them. Some people just don’t want to get help or to change, and that is okay since you tried.)

You will have more changes in your career than you are comfortable with, but it will keep you flexible and learning! You will never be bored.

You will gain so many skills and be happy that you made the choice to stay in this field instead of your other major- psychology. But that was a great choice for a double major since so there is so much counseling in speech/language therapy, believe it or not!

There are so many wonderful people in this career and so many choices of how to practice! It is a fulfilling career that can change as you change to meet your needs. You go for it, girl!

Best wishes,

The (ready to retire) Linda@Looks-Like-Language

What advice would you give to yourself as a new SLP?


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