Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Power of Story Props with Matt and Molly

Story props make a great story come to life.

Young children love hands-on story activities. Even my most reluctant communicators engage with me when I bring out a few fun props in speech therapy. Story props are wonderful for increasing story comprehension, spontaneous language, and story re-telling. They draw in my concrete thinkers and inspire my creative ones.

The Power of Story Props in Speech Therapy with Matt and Molly

You can use story props with any simple children's story. 

I suggest you limit the number of props to five or less. The props should enhance the story (rather than distract from it) and allow children to act out portions of the story. For instance, when reading Goldilocks, you might bring a teddy bear (for baby bear) a bowl, and a spoon for the porridge. Your students can be Goldilocks. They can eat their porridge, sit on a chair, then curl up on the floor (the bed).

The Matt and Molly series is perfect for combining with story props.

One of my favorite activities to do with my preschool and kindergarten speech therapy students is sharing a story from the Matt and Molly series by Linguisystems/ Pro-Ed.

The Picture Stories and Language Activities Set is perfect combining with story props. It's a collection of 40 simple four-part stories.

Update 2020: The photos shown here display the interactive software that was formerly available from Linguisystems. I'm no longer finding the interactive software on the Linguisystems or the Pro-ed website. So sorry! I hope they develop an app for these awesome stories soon.

The link above is for the books, but they are rather pricey. One suggestion if you buy the books: project the cards for a story using a document camera.

(Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Linguisystems or Pro-Ed. I receive no compensation or consideration for this post. All opinions are my own. I am simply sharing what works for me in my speech therapy room. The links are only provided for your convenience in case you want to see more about it.)

I've collected props for each story. It doesn't have to be expensive at all. Garage sales are a great source for toys to use. Other items you may have at home or at school already.

Prop suggestions are included with the card set version of the stories. Here is a shot of the fall story Raking Leaves shown on the smartboard. I go into our integrated Pre-K room to do Matt and Molly lessons.

The Power of Story Props in Speech Therapy with Matt and Molly

In Raking Leaves, Matt is outside raking up a big pile of leaves. His dog is watching. 

I bring in three props: paper leaves, a rake, and a stuffed animal dog. I cut these leaves with our die-cut machine at school. I actually did this about 8 years ago, and use the same bagful every year. If you don't have access to a die-cut machine, you can draw a simple leaf as a pattern to cut out your leaves from construction paper. If you are hand-cutting, I recommend you layer a few sheets and cut them all at once to save time.

Acting out a Matt and Molly Story in Speech Therapy using die-cut leaves

I have the children rake the leaves into a pile. 

They love this! What are you doing? "Raking!" A big pile or a little pile? Who's raking? I don't have a child-sized rake, but I think that would be even better.

Finally, Matt finishes the job, and he is looking pretty proud of all of his hard work. Look at all those leaves!

But what is the dog doing? Uh-oh. I think he is jumping!

At this point in the story, I have a student come up and take the dog.They make him jump high into the air... and land in the pile of leaves! We scatter the leaves with the dog.

Oh NO! Matt has to rake the leaves all over again.

Poor Matt. I wonder how he feels? This is a great conversation starter about what makes us mad. 

There are so many goals that can be addressed in a simple story like this. We talked about the autumn season, raking, jumping, leaves, a rake, a pile, landing. We ask wh questions, yes/no questions. We act out the story and then retell the story. 

The Power of Story Props in Speech Therapy with Matt and Molly

What are your favorite ways to use props with children's stories?

I would love to hear them, I am always looking for fun new ideas to use with stories in speech therapy. So glad you stopped by!

Until next time,

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Why I Became a Speech-Language Pathogist: My SLP Story

What's Your Story?

Did you always know what you wanted to do for a career, or did you happen upon your profession another way? What influenced you to take the path you did?

My SLP Story- How I finally found the perfect profession for me.

The Frenzied SLPs are sharing their SLP stories with you this week.

I can't wait to read how each of them arrived in our wonderful profession. Be sure to check out the linky below, to find SLP stories from some of my favorite slpeeps! But first, I would love to share my journey with you too. Here's how speech-language pathology found me. This is my SLP story.

My son's kindergarten teacher noticed his three-year-old brother was very hard to understand. 

She asked me if I would like to talk to the school speech therapist about him, and see if he needed speech. "But he's only three, not old enough to go to school," I said. I knew he had a hard time pronouncing his words. Robin Hood was his favorite "boovie". He would get mad at his brother and tell him "top it!" He ate his "pood" with his "poon". He loved when his "tat" would jump up and purr. I tried modeling words for him, but we didn't have much success.

My son's doctor had never mentioned anything, so I thought it must still be ok. I had faithfully marked off my son's developmental milestones in his baby book. It never mentioned intelligibility...I figured he would grow out of it. Right?

In those days, I considered myself a good mom, and I was. I played with my kids, took them to the zoo, to the museum, joined playgroups and scouts, let them dig in the sand, build pillow forts, fingerpaint and cook with me in the kitchen. I truly didn't know much about speech therapy. I vaguely remembered there had been a "speech teacher" at my elementary school growing up, but I never went to see her. Taking my son to a speech therapist never occurred to me, since he was so little. And I had certainly never heard the term speech-language pathologist.

That was my first real introduction to the profession of speech-language pathology.

After my son's initial evaluation, there was a meeting. The results were explained to me, along with a lot of terms I was not familiar with. Speech therapy was recommended for him, and I was grateful someone would work with him to help him pronounce his words. He got so frustrated when I couldn't understand him.

My son had therapy through first grade, then began working on those lingering /l/ and later the /r/ sounds. (He said my first name was "weezette"). By second grade, therapy services had become pretty infrequent, instead of the twice a week he was scheduled for. I think one semester he was seen twice in total.

The school said there was a shortage of therapists, and just hadn't been able to find enough therapists to cover all the speech students.

Fortunately, with my prompting my son at home, he continued to make progress, and we dismissed him from speech therapy that year.

The following year, I began subbing at the school. I had been a stay-at-home mom for a few years and was considering going back to school. I had my bachelor's degree in psychology, but I knew that wasn't really going to help me get a good job without an advanced degree. I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go. I wasn't interested in becoming a teacher, as so many members of my family had done. I wanted something different.

 I was subbing in the early childhood classroom when the speech therapist came in to do a lesson. 

The school had found a speech therapist now. She read a story and asked the children questions. They sang a song. I thought, "I could do that." So I asked her more about it. She told me about the various goals she worked on, vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, and listening in addition to articulation. She told me she would be leaving soon to do private therapy for a much bigger and better salary, and how there were so many jobs open at that time for speech-language pathologists in all kinds of settings.

My interest was definitely piqued. I started looking up more information about the profession... and I decided that this was it.

I had found the profession that really seemed right for me. Eureka! 

I loved language and science, I enjoyed working with children, and a school-based job would allow me to have summers off with my own children. I headed to grad school, and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

My SLP Story- How I finally found the perfect profession for me.

This profession has given me such wonderful opportunities to grow, learn, create and help others.  It took me a while to find my perfect "niche", but this is definitely it! I love my job. That's my SLP story.

My SLP Story- How I finally found the perfect profession for me. www.speechsproutstherapy.comI would love to hear your story. 

Just leave a comment on this post. Then click the links below to read some more interesting stories from some of my speech peeps in the Frenzied SLPs. I'm so glad you stopped by.

Old School Speech
Looks Like Language
Talkin' With Twang
Gold Country SLP
Speech is Heart
Doyle Speech Works
Kidz Learn Language
Alberta Speechie
Rakovic's Speech and Language
Everything Speechy

Until next time!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

SLPs Have Super Powers- No Debate!

There's No Debate, SLPs are Great! 

That's the theme of today's fun Instagram hop by The Frenzied SLPs. I need a little positivity, a few laughs and diversion from this week's intense election, so I am really excited to join in. 

Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of today's post for information on the hop, and how you can enter to win one of two $25 gift cards. That sounds better than watching political ads, now doesn't it?

SLP's Have Superpowers- No Debate!


Why do I think speech-language pathologists are great? Because SLPs have superpowers! 

Just think what we can do...

1. Identify articulation errors faster than a speeding bullet.  

2. Write reports more powerful than a standardized score.

3. Use x-ray vision to shape that stubborn /r/. 

4. Leap over tall piles of progress reports with a single bound.

5. Change the course of stuttering and apraxia.

6. Build vocabulary more powerful than a video game lexicon.

Look! Up in the speech room! 

Is it a teacher? Is it a nurse? Is it an administrator? No, it's Super SLP! Disguised as a mild-mannered therapist, we fight the never-ending battle for kids, communication and super success!

All joking aside, I am continuously amazed by you, my fellow SLPs.

 The level of caring and dedication, professionalism, problem-solving skills, collaboration and expertise of my colleagues inspires me. I'm proud to be a speech-language pathologist. I vote for you! Enough said :)


Now more about the Instagram Hop

The Frenzied SLPs would love you to come "vote" and enter to win one of two $25.00 Amazon gift cards.You'll be asked to follow, and  cast a "vote" at each stop (comment) So follow, vote, click, and you may win! 

The contest runs from 11-6-16 at 6pm EST and ends on 11-8-16 at 9pm EST. Two Winners will be chosen and announced on 11-9-16. Oh, and I must note that the contest is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by Instagram.

At 6pm EST, head over to Speech Sprouts on Instagram @speechsprouts

 or to any of your favorite Frenzied SLPs on Instagram. There, you will find the full scoop about the rules and can get hopping. 

Once you are there, you will need to "vote" in a comment on each Frenzied SLP's post. There will be several topics to vote on. I'll be asking you to vote on your favorite SLP super-power. Then follow and click through the hop, until you get back to the first page. That's it!

Good luck, and remember to go vote in the election November 8th as well. 

Happy Voting!