The Importance of Unstructured Time and When to Intervene

It makes sense that shows like Stranger Things are set in the 80s when childhood was less structured, making it more prone to adventure, abduction and alien beings. Nowadays, kids would be hard-pressed to find that kind of unscheduled time for exploration. They’re enrolled in structured enrichment activities outside of school and the classroom schedule has had to drop recess and (free) playtime to create more “academic” blocks. But it’s to the detriment of learning. Unstructured play gives little ones a chance to explore and create and these opportunities are much more likely to result in deeper learning and understanding—not

Read More »

How to Build a Play-Based Lesson Plan

Let’s build a play-based lesson plan! I can’t tell you how many SLPs people, tell me that little ones make them nervous. The two to four year old group is too unpredictable and they have those teeny, tiny attention spans. Some of our older students can be a bit like this too. Behind developmentally and skittish around activities that look like the classroom ones they struggle with, these students need an approach more similar to our toddler/preschool students. We need to play! But play with a purpose. Play-based doesn’t mean taking any toy off the shelf and letting the child

Read More »

Teaching Growth Mindset plus a Giveaway!

I make it a point to teach Growth Mindset with my kiddos working on social skills and tie it in with all of my students regardless of what we’re working on (because, seriously, don’t those artic kids need some Growth Mindset if there’s any hope of tackling their goals?). But it’s been hitting me on a personal level recently. It was time to jump start my exercise routine so I recently joined a Pound class a couple of days a week and tried out a couple of boxing workouts too. Pound is fun. If you haven’t seen this before, it’s

Read More »

Max’s Chocolate Chicken Activities

I’ve always had a sweet spot for Max, that little bunny that so closely mirrors the behavior of many of my students. In Max’s Chocolate Chicken he’s at it again. Ruby is bound and determined to follow the egg hunt rules to win the chocolate chicken. Max, on the other hand, is easily distracted by ants, mud, acorns, a spoon….in fact, at the end of the egg hunt he has nothing but ant and acorn mud pancakes to show for his work. Does that matter? No! When you aren’t penned in by the rules, you can grab the prize and

Read More »

Working on Categories in Speech

Is categorization a skill we really need to work on? YES. In fact, it’s probably the most critical attribute skill we need. The ability to categorize objects allows us to “file” information in our brains according to “like” characteristics. This ability to organize not only makes accessing the information more efficient, it allows us to predict or make inferences about similar, unfamiliar items. For instance, we might know quite a bit about dogs or farm or zoo animals, but what about a quokka? Even if we’ve never heard of this before, a quick glance and we’d place it in the

Read More »

Storybook Manipulatives Hack

I love using storybook manipulatives to help bring a story to life, but buying them already made can be really pricey and creating your own can take for.ev.er. Here’s a quick and easy hack that solves the problem. I bought doubles of classic fairytale board books at my local Dollar Store (yes, you need doubles, but they’re a DOLLAR). Next, take a deep breath because we are going to deface books. Using regular scissors, cut out the primary picture on each page (you need double copies of the book so you can get both the image on the front and

Read More »

Basketball Themed Speech for March Madness

I cannot express the passion for basketball that a lot of my students, make that North Carolinians, have. March with its nearly constant game action thanks to March Madness often has me adopting an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude. Here are a few of the activities that will be going on in my room. Trashcan basketball is a no brainer and can be used as open-ended reinforcement for any skill. Whether you simply toss crumpled paper into the trash, buy a hoop to mount on the trashcan or go all out on mini basketballs and a hoop

Read More »

Working on Pronouns in Speech

I love a little mailbox.  I have a couple for the holidays and a bunch more for Valentine’s Day. Recently, I picked up a little mail set from the Target Dollar Spot and I’m thinking I need want a more generic mailbox for that. Lately, I’ve been working on pronouns. Over and over on pronouns. Personal pronouns and all the possessive pronouns too. You can pop into the Dollar Tree and pick up boxes of little Valentines with all of the popular characters on them. I grabbed Disney princess, Paw Patrol and Justice League. Put a label on three mini mailboxes

Read More »

Setting Boundaries with Parents

Does Balance Seem Elusive? While it’s tempting to throw yourself into involved productivity regimes and distract yourself creating pretty schedules with “family” and “work out” allocated primary spots, the issue isn’t time management.  It’s boundaries. In my experience, boundary setting is particularly tough for those in caregiving professions and particularly for women. And while boundary setting is tough, it’s a learned skill. One that gets easier over time and pays huge dividends in your mental health. A few general tips: Be straightforward in your delivery. Maintain eye contact and project a calm demeanor. Breathe! Expect you may need to repeat

Read More »