I am a speech language pathologist (SLP) in the Edmonds School District. I work at Maplewood Parent Coop.

This blog is intended as a resource for parents and teachers of the students I serve. Take a look around!

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Our letter this week is “C”, and our word is COME.

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“Come” is an important word for following directions. Students need to be able to follow directions to come with me, come to the circle, come to the bathroom, come here, come to the car… the directions that use “come” are endless! It is an important safety word.

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We should also allow our students to use “come” expressively, for the word to have power for them. If students think a word is only for adults, why should they be interested in it? But if a student could tell US to come, and we did it? That’s a word worth learning.

We should also make sure that the consequences of following a “come” direction are positive as much as possible. If we use the word “come” to mean “come here because I’m mad at you”, why would students listen to us? Make sure that when learning the word “come”, that students are receiving positive rewards when they listen. Hugs, stickers, treats, kind words, high-fives or whatever else your student finds motivating. Once they know the word it can be okay to call them over for a problem, but try to avoid using the word “come” in negative situations, especially when students are learning what it means. If they learn that “come” means “I’m in trouble”, you may end up with a student who runs the other way when they hear it!

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This week Teacher Norma is teaching the letter B. We have TWO words to focus on that start with B: Bye and Big!

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Bye is a powerful social word. Many children learn “bye-bye” as one of their first 50 words. Every time someone leaves, it is a chance to practice using “bye.” Students can orally say “bye”, wave bye-bye, or use AAC picture symbols or devices to say “bye.” Adults should model using “bye” whenever appropriate! It is a helpful transition word, both for saying goodbye to people, and saying goodbye to things. “Bye bye toys! Bye bye book! Bye bye snack!”

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Our other word this week is BIG. This is an important describing word, used a lot in elementary school curriculum and classrooms.

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Adding a describing word onto another noun is a way to help students make longer utterances. Instead of “dog”, it can be a “big dog.” Instead of “cookie” it can be “BIG cookie”! Who wouldn’t want a big cookie?

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Bye bye!

We are learning a new CORE word each week in Teacher Norma’s classroom this year. The CORE words (and a few fringe words) will follow the alphabet letters that students are learning. For a refresher on CORE vocabulary, check out this post.

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A is for ALL DONE! Some students in other programs learn the CORE word “finish” instead. Either way, this is a very important concept. Note: “all done” counts as one “word” because it is a phrase that expresses one idea. 

All done is important for students to learn to help them transition from one activity to another. It lets them know that what they are currently doing is over, so they need to change gears into the next activity. Teachers and staff can use “all done” to help prepare students for these transitions.

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All done is also important for students to use, to tell teachers and parents when they want to be done with an activity. Students need a way to appropriately “protest”; to tell other people “no” in a pro-social way. When students don’t have protest vocabulary, they may end up throwing, hitting, or screaming instead. We need to honor their right to tell us when they are tired of something by providing vocabulary for students to express these feelings and desires.

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Any mode of communication (word/sign/picture symbol) is an acceptable way to communicate “all done.” Students learning CORE words often need multiple avenues for learning, and may do better with one more or another. Using *any* form of communication increases a student’s future potential to use communication of all kinds, so encourage students to use whatever mode of communication works best for them!

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“All done” in American Sign Language

You can work on “all done” at home using any activity that has multiple steps. Cooking, coloring, or craft projects all have steps that you “finish” before moving on to the next step. Any activity, actually, will have an end-time, and using “finish” to signify the end of activities is a great way to model the word.

You can also work on “all done” by anticipating times that your child may want to be done with an activity, and providing an icon or model of the word, so they can use it to get out of something they don’t like. 🙂  Make sure to provide “all done” at an authentic time, and also at a time when the activity *can* end the moment the child wants it to end (so not while walking across the street, for example). Also be sure to honor the child’s request to end *immediately*, not when you feel it should end. When teaching “all done,” we need to make sure to give the word full power, and let students tell us when they are done. Once they know the word, then it is okay to have them wait if it’s not the “right” time to be done with an activity. When teaching a new word, honor it immediately whenever possible.

I’m all done!

We have reached the last week of in-class therapy for Teacher Norma’s classroom! This week we are doing one of my favorite books, The Napping House by Audrey Wood
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The Napping House is about a grandma who falls asleep in a cozy bed, followed by a boy, and a dog, and a cat, a mouse, and finally a flea who wakes everyone up! It is a patterned book, with every page adding the next character, and ending with the line “…in a napping house, where everyone is sleeping.”

Targets:

  • Prepositions – ON: Each character lays down ON the character before, with the grandma ON the bed, the boy ON the grandma, the dog ON the boy, etc.
  • Verbs – SLEEP: While not a CORE word, the verb “sleep” is an important word for daily routines. Find the word “sleep” on your child’s AAC system, or look up the ASL sign (some families use “sleep”, and some use the sign for “bed”).
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American Sign Language: “sleep”

  • Predicting: What’s next? is a great question to ask during a story like this. Stories with a predictable structure can help students predict the next words or actions, and use language to describe the story. After reading the story a few times, start asking “What’s next?” and see what your student says!

We are using this interactive book I made, asking “Who is sleeping?” on each page.

You can find The Napping House at your local library, or watch the read-aloud YouTube video here:

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Our book this week is Froggy Gets Dressed, by Jonathan London. Froggy is a fun-loving frog, who sees that it is snowing and wants to go and play! When he tries to get dressed, he forgets to put something on each time – his pants, his shirt, and even his UNDERWEAR!

Things to target with Froggy:

  • Clothing words: Froggy is getting dressed, which is a perfect opportunity to work on functional clothing vocabulary. Students need to be able to receptively and expressively understand basic clothing words – pants, shirt, socks, shoes, and even underwear, as part of their daily routines.
  • “Put on ________”: Froggy needs to PUT ON his clothes! Students can work on the 2-word phrase, or use it as a carrier phrase for 3-word sentences. It is a predictable way to practice using clothing words in longer sentences, and the phrase “PUT ON” comes up in many, many situations at home and at school.

Activities:

  • File Folder game: I made a file folder activity using these cute printables, which we will use to practice “Put on ______”. I can tell students which clothes to put on, or they can tell me which clothes to put on! I put rolled masking tape on the back of the clothing items, but you could also use velcro to make it more sturdy.

Froggy file folder

  • Interactive book: I made an interactive book to accompany Froggy, which you can find HERE.
  • YouTube: you can watch Froggy trying to get dressed on YouTube, or check out the book from your public library.

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Our book in Teacher Norma’s class this week is “Today is Monday” by Eric Carle. Can you ever have too much Eric Carle in your classroom? No, you cannot. 🙂

Targets:

  • Days of the week: many students struggle with concepts of time and the weekly routine. Learning the days of the week is a basic life skill that helps students to navigate school and home routines.
  • Labeling: the book features common animals and food items, which students can practice labeling with verbal, sign, or AAC words.
  • Sustained engagement: the book has a simple structure, which helps easily distracted students to stay engaged and listen to the whole book. Students know what to expect on each page, and each page repeats all of the previous day’s meals, building on each other until the end of the week.

We are using this emerging reader book on TPT, which I adapted using Boardmaker Online symbols to be interactive with cut&paste icons for each day and food.

This book also has a song, which you can find on YouTube. It’s catchy!

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Our book this week is “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle. This classic book can probably be recited by memory by many parents, and by many children! It is a favorite nationwide, for it’s fun and repetitive format, and simple, engaging vocabulary.

Language targets:

  • Animals: every page features a different common animal. Can we name them?
  • Colors: each animal is a different basic color. Let’s label the colors!
  • 2-word utterances: color+animal makes a great basic 2-word utterance! The predictable format and familiar vocabulary make it easier for students to remember and produce a longer utterance.
  • Listening skills: Many students need practice listening to a whole book without losing interest. A book with a predictable format and familiar vocabulary can keep students engaged, and help them practice listening to the whole story!

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There are more than 200 free Brown Bear Brown Bear activities on the TPT website. We will be practicing requesting colors and tracing color words with this book activity.

You can check out Brown Bear Brown Bear from your local library, or listen to the musical version from YouTube!

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Our book this week is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. There are many themes we can work on using this book!

Numbers: The caterpillar eats through ONE apple, TWO pears, THREE plums, FOUR strawberries, and FIVE oranges! We are using an interactive book I made on the Boardmaker Online platform, which you can find here if you have a Boardmaker Online account. Students cut out the numbers, and glue them onto the correct pages. The book has numerals or number dots, depending on the number abilities of your students.

Days of the week: On MONDAY the caterpillar ate an apple, on TUESDAY he ate pears, on WEDNESDAY he ate plums… You can ask questions about the days of the week, what day is NEXT, or WHEN he ate different fruits.

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“Put in”: For students with emerging cognitive skills, “put in” is a direction they hear a lot. I found this cute caterpillar “put in” task on Teaching Mama, which we will use with our own picture symbols of the food items that we will have the caterpillar “eat”.

You can check out a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar at your local library, or watch Eric Carle read his own book below!

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Our book in Teacher Norma’s class this week is “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes” by James Dean and Eric Litwin. Pete the Cat books are pretty popular, and there are many in the series. Pete the Cat got some new shoes that he loves, and he is singing a song about them. As he goes through his day he steps in different things (strawberries, blueberries, mud) and his shoes turn different colors.

Concepts to work on:

  • Colors: white, red, blue, brown. Students at this level cannot be overexposed to color words.
  • CORE words: Love. “like” is a more common CORE word, but “love” is also a great word for students to learn.
  • Managing emotions: Pete’s shoes get dirty over and over. “Oh no!” he says. But then we learn that Pete didn’t cry. Goodness, no! He kept walking along and singing his song. Students can watch Pete handle a problem without getting upset, and learn to do the same thing themselves.

We are going to use this emergent reader book, and color in Pete’s shoes on each page. Coloring practice is great!


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Now that we have made it through the alphabet (yes, I knowI skipped blogging about “Z”, but we did do it!), we are moving to a book theme for each week. This week’s book is Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley. Our CORE word for the week is “Go”, which we will use all week.

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“GO” in American Sign Language

Some students are using iPads to learn CORE words, some are using ASL, and some are using verbal words. The great thing about CORE words is that we can all learn them in more than one modality! Since we use the word “GO” so often, it is a good idea to know how to say it in multiple ways.

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The words GO and STOP pair together so well. We can use many different activities to practice GO (and STOP). Playing with toy cars, wind-up toys, swings, slides, bubbles, or even iPad apps or YouTube videos are all great ways to practice GO. Set up the activity so that it will STOP by itself, or so that you can choose when it will stop. Then cue the children to tell you “GO” to make it start again! If they can tell you “GO” with a cue, then start fading the cues and waiting for them to tell you “GO” independently. We want every child to be able to say when they want something to GO and STOP.

The book is available at the library, OR you can watch it on YouTube below!

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winter break!

winter break!December 21st, 2018
86 days to go.

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