Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Large Group

Since next week is another short week, we are doing our Glad Monster, Sad Monster Large Group again.  Our kiddos who come Mon/Wed got it in Ms. Jeana's class and those who come Tues/Thurs got it in Ms. Ange's class the last time.  It was a great one that I wanted all students to enjoy, so this week I will be flip-flopping which room I'm in.  I will be doing Ms. Jeana's Large Group on Tuesday, November 5th for her Tues/Thurs students and Ms. Ange's on Wednesday, November 6th so that her Mon/Wed kids get it .  Check out this post to see the Learning Card.  Our handout this week is from Super Duper and is on greetings!  Enjoy!    

Friday, October 25, 2013

Free App Friday...and more!

Sorry I missed posting last week about free app Friday! With the break I completely forgot.  Anyway, this week there are 28 free apps worth $74! Head over to Smart Apps for Kids to get them.  Remember that most are only free until 10 p.m. (CST).  Also, Smart Apps for Special Needs has a post about the top 10 Halloween themed apps that are free! Check them out.  There are some fun ones!

Happy Halloween!

Next week with Halloween, parties, meetings, and a short week I will not be leading Large Group in either classroom. I usually float on these days and let the teachers do their own Large Groups if time permits.  Because of that there is no learning card this week.  Here is a fun song from Speaking of Speech that we have been singing this month. All the children love it!  We sing a few verses and then encourage the children to think of things that could be in our Halloween House, then they tell us what the object/item does.  (The skeleton goes rattle, rattle, rattle). This works on actions and wh-questions and is a fun way to work on language at home!  Have a Happy Halloween! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

National Sensory Awareness Month

Last, but not least, October is also National Sensory Awareness Month!  The Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Foundation has a great explanation page of what (SPD) is. Their website is a wonderful resource for parents, finding support, information, treatment, research, flyers to help raise awareness, etc.!

A few facts about SPD:
  • ranges in severity
  • is caused when the brain has problems organizing sensory information appropriately
  • also known as Sensory Integration Disorder, Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SI Dysfunction), and Dysfunction in Sensory Integration (DSI)
  • some may avoid loud noises, touch, or chaotic environments, while others may seek highly sensory things out
  • although everyone has difficulties processing sensory information at times, those with SPD experience these difficulties continually
  • commonly diagnosed in childhood, but affects adults as well
  • research shows that it is most likely inherited, but other factors (environmental, birth, etc.) may contribute
  • those with SPD are at a higher risk of social/emotional problems
  • often treated directly by an occupational therapist (OT) who specializes in sensory integration, but those with SPD can also have sensory needs met in other therapies or settings with professionals who have a background in sensory integration and who are collaborating with an OT
Sensory needs are best met naturally in a child's environment. Here is a great list of "heavy work activities" you can do with your child at home if they struggle with sensory integration.  This is a list of calming activities put together by Children's: Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.  Sensory Savy is blog that provides weekly tips/ideas for children who struggle with sensory processing.  The above activities should only be carried out while under the direction of an OT.  If you have concerns about your child's sensory processing, go here to search for providers in your area.  
It looks like there are not any events scheduled in Utah this year, but if you are interested in organizing an event to help raise awareness, check out the SPD Foundation page on tips and tricks for organizers.  You can also contact Susan Geiler for details on how to organize an event, or volunteer for one in your area.  There is also a list of Sensation Celebrations in the U.S. that the SPD Foundation has put together.  

Finally, there is a symposium that will be happening Oct 25-26 in North Carolina, but it will also be offered online!  Go here to get more details.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Selective Mutism Awareness Month

This month is also Selective Mutism Awareness Month.  Many have never even heard of Selective Mutism (SM) before, but it is very real and can be very difficult to treat in some cases.  The Selective Mutism Foundation has a good informative page on their website that explains SM wonderfully!  So check it out.  The American Speech-Hearing Association also has a great article about SM.  This is a summarized fact list from The Educator's Room:
  • Often diagnosed before 5. 
  • There are varying degrees of severity from not making any sounds at all to whispering occasionally to certain people.
  • Some use gestures or will nod their head, others may just just stare or look panicked when spoken to.
  • Social situations, including school, is often referred to as a phobia for these children.
  • It affects 1 out of every 1,000 children.
  • To be diagnosed, the mutism has to have lasted for at least one month, not including the first part of school.
  • It is considered an Anxiety Disorder.
  • Without treatment, children can go without talking during their entire school years.
  • With intervention, selective mutism can be "cured."
  • It is not a communication disorder, but can occur in conjunction with speech or language delays.
  •  Children have the ability to talk and often will at home.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Popcorn Popping

Next week is all about Popcorn! We are talking about our sound of the week, our "Popcorn Sound" and doing lots of fun things with popcorn.  For next week we are focusing on /p/ in isolation, consonant-vowel combinations, and words.  The last week in October we will work on /p/ in phrases.
Again use these sheets below to practice.  Remember to make it a game or even just target this sound during play activities!  If your kiddo struggles with drill work, just say lots of words with the "p" sound in it while playing so that your child hears the correct production of this sound over and over!  Just have fun with it and the more naturalistic the better!  :) 

Isolation: practice the "P" sound in isolation in front of the mirror or even a video camera.  You can show your little one our Popcorn picture (above) while you work on it.  If you use a camera, record your practice and then watch it together after you finish!
CV combos: use this worksheet from Heather's Speech Therapy to practice (pa, pe, po, etc.).  
Words: use this game board from Adventures in Speech Pathology for practice at the word level.
Phrases:  use the game above to make 2-3 word phrases ("The pink pig." etc.)
Have fun with our "P" sound!
For Large group we are also going to be popping popcorn and eating it. Here is our learning card:

I will be reading one of my favorite Halloween stories.  I found these cute visuals over at Sandy Toes and Popsicles!  Our weekly handout is from Super Duper and talks all about present, past, and future tense. We focused mainly on past tense -ed during large group this week, so you can do the same while playing this week!  Happy Fall Break!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

October is a busy month for awareness!  There are so many that I may not be able to get to all the ones I was hoping to post about.  But hopefully I can at least provide a few resources for each one.  This month is Rett Syndrome Awareness Month!  In the last few years I have had the opportunity to work with just a handful of sweet little girls who have Rett syndrome.  I feel like it is a syndrome that far too many don't know enough about, even therapists working with these little ones!  Some quick facts about Rett Syndrome summarized from The International Rett Syndrome Foundation:
  • It occurs in 1 out of every 10,000 births.
  • A developmental disorder mostly seen in females, and rarely seen in males.
  • It is caused by a mutation on the X chromosome.
  • Many used to refer to Rett syndrome as a degenerative disorder, but it is not. It is a neurological disorder.
  • Symptoms don't usually occur until after 10+ months of normal development.  Once symptoms set in, there is a halt in development or even a regression.  During this time, girls begin "hand washing/wringing" and have motor/gait problems.  Delays in communication occur and seizures may also begin.  
  • Problems or delays with communication, swallowing, motor, sensory, social/emotional skills, and breathing often occur.
  • It is diagnosed by a simple blood test.
  • Current research shows that Rett syndrome is a potentially reversible disorder.  Girl Power 2 Cure has a nice summary of current research.
 The International Rett Syndrome Foundation has some great ways to help raise awareness!  This year everyone is encouraged to "Paint the town purple!" for Rett syndrome.  So paint those nails or break out all your purple apparel to help raise awareness.  

This is a sweet, wonderful video about a little girl, Oaklynn, that I used to work with.  Her mother is amazing and is so involved in spreading awareness.  I wanted to share her video because I think she does a great job of explaining Rett syndrome.  You can read more about Rett syndrome or Oaklynn at 
My Silent Angel's Fight.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Glad Monster, Sad Monster

Next week for Large Group we are going to be focusing on emotions!  We will be reading the book, "Glad Monster, Sad Monster" by Ed Emberley & Anne Miranda.  Here is our learning card:
I used the visuals from Making Learning Fun for our dice:

And here is our emotion board where we will name each of our Monsters and decide how we are feeling:

This handout is a great one from Head Start/The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning.  It's a little longer than our usual ones, but it really gives some simple, straightforward steps you can do when trying to teach emotions to your child.  It also has some great ways to help children begin to label their own emotions!  

Free App Friday

Happy Friday everyone!  Remember to check out Smart Apps for Kids today!  They have 30 apps, worth $75, free.  They are available for free until 10 p.m., (CST).  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Changes to Book Orders

Some of you may have noticed that I added another button, to the right, for Scholastic Book Orders. There is now a button for each class, one for Ms. Ange's and one for Ms. Jeana's class.  Please be sure to use the correct button when placing orders for your class.  There will be reminders when book orders are sent home as well. Thanks!

Friday, October 4, 2013


Many of the students were very interested in the magnetic letters from our coconut tree for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  And there were also a few students who spent an entire work time seeing what would "stick" to the magnetic fishing poles this week.  So next week for large group we are going to be having lots of fun with magnets!  Here is our learning card for the week:
This weeks handout is a great one about negation.  

Our Bouncing Ball Sound!

For the next 2 weeks we will be working on our "Bouncing Ball" sound during large group!  For the first week we will work on "b" in isolation and CV combinations.  The second week we will focus on words and phrases!

At home, again use these sheets below to practice.  Remember to make it a game or even just target this sound during play activities!  If your kiddo struggles with drill work, just say lots of words with the "b" sound in it while playing so that your child hears the correct production of this sound over and over!  Just have fun with it and the more naturalistic the better!  :) 

Isolation: practice the "B" sound in isolation in front of the mirror or even a video camera.  You can show your little one our bouncing ball picture (above) while you work on it.  If you use a camera, record your practice and then watch it together after you finish!
CV combos: use this worksheet from Heather's Speech Therapy to practice (ba, be, bo, etc.).  
Words: use these sheets from Adventures in Speech Pathology for practice at the word level. /b/ initial /b/ medial /b/ final 
Phrases:  use the worksheets above to make 2-3 word phrases ("The red boat." etc.)
Have fun with our "B" sound this week! 

Free App Friday

Today there are 24 apps worth $53 available for free over at Smart Apps for Kids!  Remember to grab them before 10 p.m. (CST).

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month

For anyone who knows me, they know I love working with children!  I always have, and I always knew that when "I grew up" I would work with children.  Somewhere along the way, I started working with children with special needs. And although at times it was very challenging and scary for me, I soon found out that I completely loved it!  Every child that I work with holds a special place in my heart and that's no different for children with Down syndrome.  I love working with children with Down syndrome!  I feel so blessed to be in a profession where I get to work with such amazing children and see the growth they make each day, month, summer break, or year.  In an effort to help educate others about different syndromes, disorders, areas of development, etc, I wanted to post about different awareness months/days. This month is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month!  The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) has a GREAT article on their website that talks about different ways to get involved!  I searched for a Buddy Walk in our area and it looks like there was one in South Jordan last month! (Bummer!)  However, if you have family in any of the surrounding western states here are the dates for upcoming walks (some states also had their walks in September):
If you would like to look up any other states, go to the link above to search.  

The National Association for Down Syndrome has a great list of ways to get involved or share information with others!  The National Down Syndrome Congress has great information and resources on their website as well.  There are really so many resources out there, so search the internet or check your local areas for ways to promote Down syndrome awareness!  

Thank You!!

I just wanted to thank all of you for your scholastic book orders! They helped us get ALL of these free books for our classes!
These are for Ms. Ange:

And Ms. Jeana's Class:

We have already made big plans for more reading time and small group activities, especially with our class set of "It Looked Like Spilt Milk!"  I hope you all enjoy your new books as well. They will be sent home today and tomorrow, along with a "Llama Llama Time to Share" sticker for every student. So be sure to check those backpacks.  Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shape Story

This week during Large Group we also read the following Shape Story adapted from the story "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" By Bill Martin Jr.  The children are encouraged to help read along with the story and after each shape we look around the room for things shaped like that shape.  Here are the very simple visuals I used for the story! The children have done great with it!  

Red square, red square, what do you see?

I see a green circle looking at me. 
Green circle, green circle, what do you see? 

I see an orange triangle looking at me.
Orange triangle, orange triangle what do you see?

I see a blue rectangle looking at me.
Blue rectangle, blue rectangle what do you see?

I see a purple heart looking at me.
Purple heart, purple heart what do you see?

I see a yellow star looking at me.
Yellow star, yellow star what do you see?

I see a black diamond looking at me. 
Black diamond, black diamond what do you see?

I see a pink oval looking at me.
Pink oval, pink oval what do you see?

I see _______(child's name) looking at me!

It looks like some of the pictures are coming out pretty dark for some reason. If you would like a pdf copy of the visuals send me an email and I will be happy to share!  Happy shape hunting.