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Today I am sharing a video I found this week on a stuttering forum on Facebook. It was made by a young woman who stutters, imagining what if the covert stuttering “voice” in her head were a real person, pressuring her to hide her stuttering to avoid negative interactions or feelings.

I am so impressed both by the concepts the filmmaker is exploring, and also by the technical production by someone so young. I sometimes have difficulty taking a photo with my phone, but she can film in split screen, and edit the dialogue between her two selves!

This is a fantastic conversation-starter for older students, who may be grappling with the same issues around hiding their stutter vs. letting people know that they stutter. I am adding it to my growing playlist of stuttering videos on YouTube. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

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 photo hellogoodbye.png

One of my favorite times in Teacher Norma’s classroom is when I lead circle once a week. We have a routine of songs, books, calendar time and listening activities which we do each week. The content changes, but the goals are constant and so important. Circle time is a fantastic time to address social language use, listening skills, answering questions, emerging literacy, and so much more! Today I’m going to focus on the beginning and end of the circle time routine: greeting and leave-taking.

 

What’s so important about hello and goodbye?

There are several important communication skills embedded within a greeting. One of the first is imitation, which is foundational to learning language. During normal development, children begin to imitate waving hi/bye around 9-10 months old. Waving hi/bye has been linked with overall development. When children master this skill, it shows that they are able to recognize that another person is there, and that they can interact with that person. Saying hi and bye is a great way to practice joint attention.

Another purpose of a hi/bye routines is that they signal a transition. We begin every circle with Hello Friends, and end every circle with the Goodbye Song. These routine-based cues help children to anticipate what is happening next.

 

Nonverbal ways to greet

There are more ways than words to say hello and goodbye, which is another reason they are popular early goals for emerging communicators. A child can use words, wave, fist-bump, hi-5, use PECs or AAC pictures, shake hands, or make eye contact and smile – all of these “count” as saying hello! I use hi-5s a lot with younger students, who enjoy the feeling of slapping hands, the motor skill of aiming their hand to match mine, and the excitement of the social routine. Some students are not yet able to hi-5, but they will reach out a hand to be squeezed, like a child-version of a handshake. Nonverbal greetings usually develop before verbal greetings, so these are great steps towards the ultimate goal of a more conventional word, sign, or AAC greeting.

Thanks for reading! Goodbye!raised hands

This made me cry, sitting in my office this morning. I hope each of my students who stutter find their way to this place.

“My voice is the only one like it. My stutter is not a speech impediment… My speech, composed by God.”

 

Credit to http://stutterrockstar.com/ for posting it.

This weekend I found a wonderful animated video about stuttering, which I’ll be using with ALL of my stuttering groups this week!

Reasons I love this video:

  • It uses kid-friendly animations
  • It gives a simple, yet *accurate* overview of why people stutter
  • It talks about the range of feelings experienced by some people who stutter
  • It talks about the variability of stuttering
  • It gives tips for how to talk with someone who stutters

I’m adding it to my YouTube playlist of stuttering videos. You can find my other favorite videos here.

I found this short clip this morning while browsing my stuttering sources on facebook! I’ll be using this clip from WBTV in Charlotte, NC this afternoon with a group of students to talk about how to approach fear of stuttering in public, and job opportunities for people who stutter as adults. This man obviously has been able to make the most of it! I enjoyed hearing him tell his story.

CLICK HERE to see the clip.

CLICK HERE to view my previous post on using video clips in stuttering therapy.

This month our topic in room 10 was multiple-meaning words, otherwise known as homonyms or homophones. Words like flour/flower, blue/blew, see/sea… Working on these words helps expand students’ vocabulary, but also increases the connections between different words within their vocabulary. Those connections contribute to overall language skills and vocabulary robustness. Working on multiple-meaning words helps students who are concrete and literal in their thinking to learn to be flexible. Words can mean more than one thing! How cool!

Our first book, Dear Deer, was made of letters between Aunt Ant, and her Dear Deer friend. I put the book on the overhead, and the students enjoyed finding the homonyms on each page. The illustrations helped the more literal students understand the different meanings. Each page had a scene featuring at least one homonym pair, and telling the story of Aunt Ant’s move to live at the zoo.

Amelia Bedelia is a classic story from my childhood, about a MAID who MADE mistakes! Some of the exploits in the book are triggered by idioms (such as when Amelia Bedelia “put the lights out” by unscrewing the light bulbs and hanging them outside!), but others were homonyms (like when she “drew the curtains”… on a piece of paper!). The silliness kept the students engaged, and the fact that it was an older book gave some nice opportunities to learn new vocabulary words (like “draw the curtains” or “dress the chicken”) which most of my students had not heard before.

There are also many jokes which use homonyms for the punchline. We used this set, which is available free on TPT. There are many books featuring jokes also, such as Eight Ate.

YouTube:

Between the Lions, with Brian McKnight!

Also, homophone MAGIC!

Free products on TPT:

This video is covering the basics of R – the types of R, how to elicit R, and how to put R with single vowels. I hope it is helpful!

You can download the R Star exercise that I talk about in the last portion of the video here.

*note: when I say “Here’s a photo of your tongue” I obviously mean “picture of your tongue”. I didn’t notice that until after recording, but I’m not going back to redo the whole video because of it. 😛


Stuttering therapy involves many things. Because it is a multifactorial disorder (meaning: there are multiple influencing factors which contribute to stuttering), it is important to address these different areas intentionally in therapy. I follow the research of Dr. Charles Healey, et al when I construct therapy programs for children who stutter. Dr. Healey and his colleagues have developed a model of stuttering that includes cognition (how much a person knows about stuttering), affective (how a person feels about their stuttering), linguistic (their speech/language skills), motor (the actual stuttering), and social (the social impact of stuttering). I won’t get in to the whole model in this post, but you can learn more about it here. Also, Dr. Healey has put together the CALMS assessment, which you can purchase here. I highly recommend it for evaluating school-age kids who stutter. (I have no financial connection with Dr. Healey – I just think his assessment is the best!).

But that is not the point of this post. In this post, I want to share how I use YouTube to target the areas of cognition, affective, and social. In therapy, students should be learning more about stuttering (how it works, what causes it, what DOESN’T cause it, strategies to speak more fluently). They should be provided a safe space to discuss their feelings about stuttering, connect with other kids who stutter, and be affirmed in themselves as communicators. And lastly, if there are any social impact issues (bullying, teasing, reluctance to participate in social events because of fear of stuttering), these issues also need to be addressed. These issues are in addition to practicing strategies to speak more fluently (working on the motor component).

One way I have found to work on these areas is using YouTube. There are many, many great clips available, if you have the time to sort through them. It takes some careful screening (especially of the comments on videos!), but the benefits are substantial. YouTube is free, which means that you can send video links to parents, and they can stay in the loop for what is being targeted at school. I am fortunate to have several students at each school who can meet in a group, but if you have only one student who stutters, using YouTube can help them see other students who stutter, and feel less isolated being a child who stutters.

For my older elementary students I start each session with a short video. I have an “agenda” for each video I share. We use the video to start discussion about different topics.

Here is a list of my favorite stuttering videos to use in therapy, and how I use each one.

Famous people who stutter: discussing famous people who stutter, their struggles, and their successes. Working on stuttering desensitization (the idea that stuttering is normal, and not something weird or worrisome). Also, identifying the kinds of stuttering in the speech of famous people.

Learning about stuttering: discussions about what causes stuttering, stuttering “cures”, identifying types of stuttering

Social impact of stuttering: talking about feelings, teasing, and how to talk about stuttering with your friends

I have a YouTube playlist of all of my favorites (there are more than 20 on there!) which you can find here. I’m always adding new clips as I find them, so feel free to add your own favorites in the comments!

UPDATE:

– Another favorite video is here: Stuttering: a short animation film
– A news clip about a man who stutters doing stand-up comedy!

Our January unit in room 10 was SYNONYMS – words that mean the same thing. It was a big/huge success! We had fun/enjoyed learning about synonyms this month!

Understanding synonyms is an expected language skill for students in elementary grades. Knowing multiple words for the same concept deepens a student’s vocabulary, and helps their speaking and writing to be more descriptive. If students don’t know/understand synonyms, there is a lot of language that they will miss!

Fancy Nancy is the first book in a very large/sizable series of books about a girl who likes being fancy. She uses fancy words for everything! She eats parfaits (ice cream sundaes), wears a plume (feather) in her hair, and her favorite color is fuchsia (pink). There were examples of synonyms on every page, and many chances for students to learn new words. The whole series would be great/fantastic to reinforce synonyms at home.

I found Chicken Cheeks at my local library. Oh. My. Goodness! This book is so fun, and only mildly inappropriate. 🙂 Each page features a different euphemism for “bottom” – tushy, keister, caboose, heiney, derriere… The illustrations are funny/hilarious, and the topic is engaging for almost any student. There are so many synonyms for your backside!

For more [free] activities and ideas, the TPT website has hotdog stand synonyms, cupcake love synonyms practice, synonyms pea pod freebie, and synonyms dominoes. (Those were just the first few of the 900+ results! There are many, many activities available to practice synonyms.)

Let’s not forget YouTube. There are synonyms everywhere! A classic sketch from Sesame Street:

Or a wonderful/fantastic song from Between the Lions:

We’ve been working on antonyms (aka opposite words) in room 10 this month. It is the opposite of boring! (hahaha).

The book I’m Not by Pam Smallcomb was a new one for me. The main character has a friend; a friend who is everything she is *not*. Her friend is fashionable; she is NOT. Her friend is adventurous; she is NOT. But then her friend is terrible at spelling, and she is NOT. Her friend is an awful baker, and she is NOT. In the end, the friends discover that being complementary is a good thing, and can make for the best of friends. There were many opportunities on each page to discuss opposite words, both from the text and the pictures.

Polar Opposites is more explicit about the opposite pairings. The BIG polar bear is from the NORTH pole; the SMALL penguin is from the SOUTH pole. They are messy and clean, loud and quiet, fast and slow. But they meet each year in the Galapagos Islands for a vacation – the OPPOSITE climate for both of them! Fun times can be had with this book.

A book that we did not have time for, but which also contains many antonym pairs, was The Greatest Gymnast of All. Zipping, Zooming Zoe (the greatest gymnast of all!) demonstrates antonym pairs while doing her gymnastic routine. She is ON the mat, then OFF; she has SHORT leaps, and LONG ones; she is OVER and UNDER the hoop… etc. The words and illustrations are more geared for younger children, which is another reason that we did not use it in our classroom (with students who are up to 6th grade), but it would provide great material for carryover reading at home.

YouTube has many (many!) videos about opposites. Here’s a good one from Sesame Street:

TeachersPayTeachers also has many, many free activities about antonyms.

Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Festivus, Delightful Kwanza, and a Merry Christmas to all!