How to Survive the Downhill Slide

The Frenzied SLPs are linking up for the downhill slope! While downhill is usually the easiest and most fun part of the ride, at school it does bring some extra challenges. Many SLPs are drowning in paperwork. Most of us are juggling meetings and therapy. Then, there’s always the cleaning up, reorganizing and sometimes packing up for the summer that needs to be done.

Although the end of the year drags, seeming like it will never come, I actually prefer doing therapy at this point! With the comfort of having progress demonstrated or goals achieved, and behavior management methods worked out, there is some leeway to generalize skills, play games and just have some fun! That was my goal when I was shopping the TpT sale last week: finding some new, fun therapy activities to get through the end of the year. I accomplished my goal! (I hope you found what you were looking for, as well!)

This time of year, I like to loosen things up a little and get away from the therapy table as well. So, I went looking online to find some activity ideas (by skill used) to adapt to meet the needs of my caseload. I think that ESL teachers may have the best job ever- teaching kids with normal neurological skills to talk! Many ESL sites share fun ways to get kids talking. Here are two ideas that I’m looking at now for descriptive language from the site
slp, speech/language pathology, end of school year

I am thinking of adapting the ‘Swat’ game for my lower level groups and using pictures of words they have learned this year on my board. The first week, I will provide the descriptions and they can swat the words off the wall or catch it on the sticky hands I found at the Dollar Store. The next week, they will get to be the SLP, taking turns giving clues to each other to find the words. To keep them from purposely giving limited information, I challenge them to give better clues than I did, making their combined score of words figured out on the first clue higher than mine was the week before. Games like this let the students use their skills, have fun, and let me do some mindless paper filing/recycling while I am interacting with them, cueing as needed and monitoring their carryover skills.

vocabulary, games, speech/language therapy, end of school year
For my higher groups, the game I am going to try out from this website is called ‘Hot Seat.’ I will adapt this version of a vocabulary game by having the student who is giving the description write the word on a small white board. (If you follow me at all, you will have seen pictures of my favorite dollar store deal before!) The student has to give descriptions of the word that was written on the mini board until the student in the hot seat guesses the word. Then, they switch seats.

Since I don’t have teams, I like to change the rules a bit so that my students are both motivated to keep trying and to not become frustrated. To do this, I will limit my students to 5 clues to get the other to guess the word. If they go over, that round ends. If they get the other student to  guess the word, they get a point for each word. The students will alternate chairs, the ‘hot seat’ being the guesser, each round. For some groups, I may start with a category or a subject area to make the job of the student in the ‘hot seat' a little easier.

So, what are your pet peeves this time of year? What is your most difficult time of year? Mine is the fall. Soooo hard to get back to work. But now, we have a long, wonderful summer to look forward to!

Are you interested in more helpful therapy tips and freebies?  Subscribe to the weekly newsletter or visit on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram: @lookslikelanguage.

For more ideas to help you make it to the summer, check out these links!

SLPs, It Is Time to Feel Appreciated!

Hi Y’all! If I sound a little southern it is because I have been hanging out at Mia McDaniel’s store, looking at all the great choices and deciding what to put in my shopping cart. 

TpT sitewide sales are so exciting! I think we all deserve to treat ourselves and feel celebrated, don’t you? The Frenzied SLPs, with special thanks to Jennifer at SLPRunner, are hosting this linky and hoping that you feel celebrated! Don't forget to use the code CELEBRATE when you shop to get the extra discount!

At Mia’s shop, I put her Reading & Responding Interpreting Language with Text Messages into my shopping cart. I own some of Mia’s other fun products and my students love them. I know they will love this one, too! With text messages, the amount of reading required is short and sweet, as well as being motivating. So many functional language activities are targeted in this packet and I couldn’t resist that cracked phone screen!

Then, I headed over to Small Talk Speech and put Take Out Topics in my cart. While most of my caseload needs help with conversation, I have some students working on carryover of the /r/ sound, too. This fun set lets me address both goals! An added benefit is that the clip art isn’t too cutesy for my older students!

Finally, I stopped by Susan Berkowitz to get a new activity for my older life skills students. I like  Life Skills- What to Say and Not to Say in the Community because it covers such an important life skill. The picture cues will help my limited readers to organize what to say. I like that includes a variety of ideas, as well as reasons, for saying/not saying things in situations. It is a treat for me because I don’t have to think of all the situations I need to discuss- I can just interact with my students!

I just love having some new, fun activities to help me get through the end of the year! Don’t you?

I have some fun, new activities to share, too! Perspective Taking Fun uses cute clip art of kids playing pranks on each other! Students love to play pranks and this is a very concrete way to start your kids on the spectrum thinking about how people have different perspectives. I love that they can interpret the body language and facial cues in the clipart to determine the kids’ perspectives on the jokes. I included thought bubbles to give them practice making statements from another point of view, worksheets to compare their points of view to the pictured student, and provided an emotions mini poster to help out with vocabulary. This activity also opens the door for your students to discuss their opinions with each other, and use some flexible thinking to determine what kinds of jokes are ok to do and what kind aren’t.

Hot off the presses! I've been really busy working to complete a new set of file folder activities for verbally limited kids and AAC users with a summer theme. I managed to finish 4 sets AND bundle them for you, too, so that you could get some extra savings! 

I worked for many years with nonverbal and minimally verbal students on the spectrum using low tech AAC. After my students were able to request their basic needs and label familiar objects, I started to explore ways to get them to comment and communicate using simple sentences. Verb use is more difficult to teach, but I found that it certainly was possible to do! One of the formats I used is the one that is in my new File Folder Sentence Activities. I’ve made sets for 4 fun summer events (playground, field day, carnivals and barbecues) to help your students communicate all summer long! You know that I always want my packets to be helpful, so please check the previews to be sure it is right for you!

I hope that you feel appreciated, and that you find the item that is just right for you! Then, treat yourself! You work hard! There’s a lot more suggestions to help you find just what you are looking for. Just hop right over to The Frenzied SLPs!

Are you interested in more helpful therapy tips and freebies?  Join the free weekly newsletter or visit on PinterestFacebook and Instagramlookslikelanguage.

Make Sure Your Wish List is Complete!

Thanks to Jen from Teaching in the Tongass for hosting this linky to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week and the TpT 10th Anniversary sale!
We are sharing our top wish-listed products with you today!

TpT, sale, SLP, communication, social skills, speech/language
Being a part of TpT is an incredible, and incredibly busy, experience! I really appreciated this opportunity to go back and look at all of my feedback on these packets. 
Seeing it all at one time made me feel so warm inside, knowing that I am helping you and the students you provide services for! I am so glad that my many years of experience, creating my own materials, can benefit others. Here are the stories of how these packets came to exist!
conversation, autism, TpT, language, Looks Like Language, social skills
I started researching how to develop conversation more functionally when I was working with students on the autism spectrum who were verbal, but had limited use of their language in functional ways. Conversational Topics and Turn-taking, my most wish-listed packet, helped my students on the spectrum move from just reciprocal turn-taking (responding "I like _." followed by “What do you like?”) to actual simple conversations with peers. It provides topic cards with visual supports in a progression that helps students see what is expected and to practice the skills. This feedback says it can help your students, too! 
“This is the first activity I've found to get my student with Autism to talk about his own likes and interests in a conversational way! Thanks so much!”
conflict resolution, conversation, TpT, language, perspective taking, commenting
The second of my most wish-listed sets is Conversational Follow-Ups. This packet came about when I was working with middle school students, some who were on the spectrum and some with emotional disorders. They had so many skills in place to be able to interact with each other, but really lacked the perspective taking skills to think about why their peers would make certain comments to them, and what type of response they needed to provide in return.

Showing them the types of responses that could be given, discussing what might be the best type of response for varied scenarios and practicing answering in a game format really helped my students to start thinking about how they replied to their peers! The increased variety of response they could provide helped them engage in more conversations and begin to get into conflicts less often.
social language skills, emotions, perspective taking, TpT, autism, emotional disorder
Last on my top 3 list is Think About How I Feel! I’ve found that many students
have basic vocabulary for emotions, but lack the synonyms that help them distinguish degrees of emotion. I developed this packet to have a set of materials to help them develop this skill, starting with understanding that there are degrees of emotions with words to distinguish how strongly people are feeling.

The cards with facial expressions to practice interpreting the nonverbal cues that indicate our emotions. The next set of cards, describing familiar situations, requires students to take the perspectives of a child in this situation to tell how they feel, choosing a synonym that expresses how strongly they might be feeling in this situation. The next skill worked on is determining emotions from statements that a student is thinking, requiring more inferential skills than being told the situation does. 

Students having problems in these language areas may demonstrate difficulties interacting with their peers, whether it is a reluctance to interact at all or a tendency to get into conflicts. Academically, they may demonstrate difficulty understanding the plots of stories that involve characters’ feelings, interactions, and changes in these from the beginning to the end of the story. They may be able to memorize historical facts without comprehending the teacher’s explanations of why these events occurred.

Whatever is on your wish list, I’m sure you will find some great materials during this sale! Be sure to link back to Teaching in the Tongass to get more ideas! Thanks, Jen!

Are you interested in more helpful therapy tips and freebies?  Join the free weekly newsletter or visit on PinterestFacebook and Instagram:lookslikelanguage.

How to Capture the OUTside IN Therapy- Fun and Easy

As lovely as it is to take your therapy session outside (click here if you missed that linky), there can be reasons why it is not the best way to go for certain students. One reason that comes immediately to mind is when the safety of a student is a concern. For example, if your student is a runner who tries to get away, you probably won't want to be outside unless the area is enclosed.
Another reason could simply be that your students are too distracted or self directed to benefit from being outside for any new skills to be taught, although for generalizing skills it may be perfect.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the weather is not cooperative! For all of these reasons, I liked to have a few activities ready to go that bring the OUTside IN!

This year I’ve been working on multiple meaning words with my older students.  They benefit from having models and learning in slow, repetitive steps. To generalize the skills they have learned this year, I’m having a modified scavenger hunt for multiple meaning words and placing items all around my room for them to find.
You can see some of the items I’m using, from both outside and inside, in this photo. After some desk work is done, my students will wander around my room to see if they can find any items that have multiple meanings, write the word and use it in 2+ sentences.  Some of the words will be ones I have targeted this year, while others will be new words to see if any of my students are able to generalize the skill. Bonus points will be awarded to any students who bring in a small item to add to the scavenger hunt.

I keep the wandering time short, so no one gets too silly, and spread the scavenger hunt out over a month. Since my students love contests, everyone who enters will get a bonus point.  Then, there will be small prizes for the most words found, the most sentences, and for having words that nobody else found. Everyone is a winner!

Interested in more ideas for using multiple meaning words in therapy? Click here, here and here!

When working with younger kids, there are so many wonderful crafts and activities to learn the language for OUTside IN your therapy room! I’ll feature one of them next week since I have to go dig it out of a box first. Have you changed locations and population ages very often in your career? What do you do with all of the materials that you are no longer using?

Are you interested in more helpful therapy tips and freebies?  Subscribe to the weekly newsletter or visit on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram:lookslikelanguage.

Taking Therapy Outside
When the weather gets nice and your students’ classes are going out, you don’t stand much of a chance of having happy students inside, sitting at your table. With a bit of planning, you can have some therapy ideas ready that will let you take your therapy session outside! 

The Frenzied SLPs are taking therapy outside this week!

When I worked with preschoolers, I used this as an opportunity to generalize skills for requesting. Swings and roundabouts are the best! You can push just hard enough for a short ride, requiring your students to ask for ‘more pushes,’ ‘again,’ or maybe descriptive words like ‘higher!’ or 'faster!'

Slides are useful for eliciting ‘my turn.’  All you have to do is stand at the bottom of the ladder, looking at the student and waiting for them to say ‘my turn’ before getting out of their way. Do your students need some extra help to talk about the playground? Click here.
When I was working with nonverbal students with autism, this was a great opportunity to apply the skills of looking at a peer and giving an object to them, which I had worked on all year long. I did this by introducing a very modified version of tag. I’d point at the student they needed to find, saying “Give it to __ ” using the same ‘give’ visual that I had taught inside the classroom. The student had to run with a small object, like a ring (the kind that is used in relay races) and give it to the named student. 

Some students needed me to run with them to learn the new game. Using the ring was nice because it made it easy to hold their hand and the ring at the same time, fading to both of us holding the ring, to doing it independently. Besides getting a small edible reinforcer for completing the task, it also provided negative reinforcement naturally- once their turn was done, they were left alone to run around! My bonus? It got me extra exercise!

Some students, however, may not benefit from sessions outside, no matter how appealing it seems to us. For example, some students have too much difficulty attending for you to be able to keep their attention when a wide-open space beckons. Other students I’ve had will try to run away when outside, becoming a safety issue. So, join me next week for bringing the outside into your therapy room! In the meantime, be sure to link up with the rest of The Frenzied SLPs for some great ideas!

4 Easy Games that SLPs Absolutely Need

4 Fun Vocabulary Games
Vocabulary drills can get pretty boring, but my students need a lot of practice to learn and maintain new vocabulary. This has challenged me to come up with many ways to keep practicing skills so I don't hear, "But we already did that!" I am currently using these games with multiple meaning vocabulary words, but you could adapt them to whatever vocabulary you are working on. If you missed my post about why I think multiple meaning vocabulary is so important, click here to find out. My photos show my multiple meaning word task cards, but read my hints for how to adapt this for any vocabulary you are working on!

1. Make an Organizer a Game!
I use a big soft cube that I got at the dollar store, adapting it to match my organizer by placing a sticky note on it. You’ll also notice I saved myself prep time by placing the entire sheet of task cards into a page protector instead of cutting and laminating. 
So, the game goes like this. Students can be assigned as odd/even or top/bottom for a group of 2. For four students, assign a corner. You get the idea, just be creative. The students took turns reading their cards and figuring out the word that they were assigned. Then, they rolled the cube to find the skill (the section of the graphic organizer) to demonstrate with their word. If needed, points can be given to have a winner. I use dry erase markers, in a different color for each student, and take data right on the organizer. The activity ended when one student filled in all of the sections with #correct answers. Another option is to end at # minutes and the student who has the most checks is the winner. 
It is easy to make an organizer by dividing a sheet of paper and filling each box with a skill that you want your students to be able to do using their vocabulary words. Then, place matching sticky notes on the large cube.

2. Connect Three
I like combining task cards with a game. Besides being fun, it keeps me from having to think on the spot! When first learning the words, I use cards with the vocabulary words. The students find the picture for the word and place their token on the space. In the photo, I had my students use task cards with picture supports to figure out which meaning the word has in the sentence. As their skills grow, they could name the vocabulary word for the picture they landed on, tell the definition and use it in a sentence with that meaning. You can easily make your own cards, or have your students make them, by writing the definitions on index cards and the vocabulary words in a bingo grid.

3. Using Comics
Comics are a great tool for language therapy! If you can find comic strips that use the specific vocabulary words, or the type of words, it is a fun way to generalize skills. Pictured are some multiple meaning comics that I use. My favorite source?

4. Bingo Board Bump
In this game, students slide a token across the bingo board and have to do the requested task with that word in order to keep their token on the space that most of the token covers. If they slide their token into with the most in a row and the student with the most tokens on the board when time is up are the winners. The plastic tops that fell off of my Ikea magnet set are great colors and just the right weight! This game is terrific for using vocabulary in sentences and defining words. It would work for synonyms, antonyms and core vocabulary, too. If your students don’t need picture cues, all you have to do is write your vocabulary words in a grid. 

I hope I’ve given you some ideas to spice up your vocabulary work! These games are easy to recreate with your own vocabulary, or you can check out mine by clicking here. You can also try out my free sampler by clicking here.
What are your favorite ways to practice vocabulary?

Are you interested in more helpful therapy tips and freebies?  Subscribe to the weekly newsletter or visit on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram: lookslikelanguage.

April Showers and a Freebie!

Water is so much fun and so much a part of our daily lives, how can we not help our students to have language to talk about it?  The Frenzied SLPs are posting about April Showers this week!
When working with preschoolers and limited students, it is so important to bring the language for daily activities into the therapy room! These activities are what they need to be talking about and provide the most opportunities for reducing communicative frustrations at home while generalizing skills. 

My favorite water activity at this level is washing the baby. Kids love this!  You can even do this in a therapy room that doesn’t have a sink.  Bring in a basin that is much larger than your baby, a washcloth, a towel and some soap. I love using roll-on soap as it is easier to clean up afterwards. The trick to limited splashing is putting just enough water in the basin that you can wash the baby, but not so much that it splashes everywhere.

The language opportunities are tremendous! I have my students request the washcloth and the soap, but I hold off giving it to them until they label where they are going to wash. You can label and elicit every body part in this activity! There are lots of verbs to model and use in phrases, too: wash the baby, wash the baby’s __, rinse the baby, splash the baby (if you are brave!), dry the baby, and dress the baby. Include spatial concepts: put in, put on, take off, wipe off, pick up, bend arms/legs, turn over, take out, etc.

There are many books you can incorporate into the session, although I’d read the book before you start the bath! It is also important to bring the parents in on this theme, since they can model the language with their kids on a regular basis.
Parents are much more likely to be able to follow up at home when your suggestions for them are based around daily routines that don’t involve planning or stepping outside of their comfort level. 

I have found that making a simple checklist works the best. You can adjust the level of the language for each child by checking off the words you’d like the parents to emphasize and having them initial the sheet after the activity is done. Once you have a template set up, it is easy to fill in your current theme, copy and send it home. 

In fact, it is so easy that I made a FREEBIE template for you to download!
If you’d like some April Showers ideas and a FREEBIE for older students, pop over to this post I did with The Frenzied SLPs.

Be sure to link back to The Frenzied SLPs for more great therapy ideas!

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