Kwick Stix and Pencil Grips in Pre K

The Pencil Grip Company so generously sent me some pencil grips and Kwick Stix (Tempera Paint Sticks) to try out in my Pre K classroom. At first, I was a little apprehensive towards the Kwick Stix because they sounded too good to be true. I love doing art activities with my kids, but I don't have any shelves in my classroom. Needless to say, drying space is limited. However, the Kwick Stix solved that problem. The kiddos tried them out in our art center this past week and we loved them! They are easy for the kiddos to use and paint very smoothly. Plus, they dry in a matter of seconds. Win! Win!

Here's how my kiddos used the Kwick Stix this week:

The Pencil Grips were a great tool as well. I used them with my kiddos during our writing time. Teaching correct pencil grip is so important at the primary level and the Pencil Grips are a great reinforcement. I let my kiddos that don't have very strong fine motor use them. It took a little while for them to adjust, but they became very comfortable with using them quickly. I loved the fact that I didn't constantly have to hover over them to help correct their pencil grip. Another win win!

Please go and check out this amazing company! They are kind, helpful and create products that work.

A Spark of Inspiration Linky Party

We are linking up with the fabulous collaborative authors of A Spark of Inspiration for a two day dollar sale! Our $1.00 product is Spring Spatial Concepts. Click on the picture below to go directly to our tpt store.

Spring Spatial Concepts

Check out these other Dollar Deals from Spark authors here! 

5 for Friday

Today we are linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching.
Head on over to see what other educators are doing this week.
I read Salt in His Shoes to Kindergarten the sweeties this week.
It's about little Michael Jordan before he became #23 Hoops Superstar.
I told the sweeties that Michael's heart was full of basketball.
Then, I asked them what their heart was full of.
Some answers:
hope and love, 
my family,
God and Jesus,
more hearts,
the library.
Love those sweeties!
We are getting ready for Earth Day.
It's coming up on April 22.
To celebrate, we are using our Earth Day Reader's Theater.
You can check it out here in our TpT store if you
want a fun, interactive way to celebrate Earth's happiest day
(one of my sweeties always refers to Earth Day this way).
So, I went to the acupuncturist for help with sciatica.
He discovered I had sludge in my gall bladder.
I don't understand how all of this works.
But he did some treatments and my sciatica is much better.
And he said the sludge is gone from my gall bladder.
His advice, "An apple a day keeps the gall bladder happy."
Apparently, the pectin in apples is very good for a healthy gall bladder.

Happy Birthday to Beverly Cleary!
100 years old on April 12.
And 50 years of publishing children's books!
My little community is covered in red.
That is because we are in poppy season.
A local soldier sent his mother from Europe right after World War I.
Naturally, his mom planted the seeds he sent.
Poppies now reseed themselves in our area each year.
On my drive to and from work, this is my beautiful view during April.

Have a wonderful day!

Giveaway Time with The Elementary Entourage

We love Spring!
And free stuff for teachers is always a bonus.
Especially since is about that time that the tax man comes knocking on doors.
We are teaming up with our friends at The Elementary Entourage for an awesome April giveaway.
Check out all the goodies in the K-2 Bundle you could win.

Hope you are the lucky ducky who wins this giveaway!

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April Showers with The Frenzied SLPs!

Do you hear that - the plop-plop of rain? We've had a little bit in Central Texas, which is perfect for this topic:
 The Frenzied SLPs
I wrote about my favorite rainy go-to activity in Rainy Days and Wednesdays. Here's a recap. Gather wax paper, clear plastic cups, food dye, plastic spoons, and straws.
Give each student a piece of wax paper. Fill the cups about 1/4-1/2 way with water. Add food dye and stir with spoons. Then, put the straw into the cup of colorful water, put finger on top of straw to collect water, and then drop on wax paper.
Ta-dah! Instant colorful rain drops! This activity is so fun for mixing colors. It gets in lots of language - requesting, describing, sequencing... Plus, the water blobs up on the wax paper, so students can move it around to make little and big drops. 

Y'all know how much we love books. Use the rain activity in conjunction with some of our favorites.
 All Y'all Need
Weather in Texas means teaching safety. 3rd-5th graders this week will be learning about tornadoes and safety plans with Tornado: Fact & Opinion. Students draw a card, read it, decide if it's fact or opinion, and then write it down for homework. Artic students underline the words with their sounds. Students do their own homework, they are busy while waiting for their turns, and I get to address language, fluency and artic. 
 Tornado Fact & Opinion by All Y'all Need
I'll make the homework page 2-sided to save paper and write a quick instruction on the top, like "Practice saying the underlined sounds 3 times per day" or "Practice reading with easy onset." 

Both sets come in one bundle, also! 

How do you incorporate water lessons into therapy? We'd love to hear! Either comment or link up! Thanks to Speech2me and Looks Like Language for working behind the scenes to make this linky happen! Bloggers, use the first image in this post and link to The Frenzied SLPs.

Words SLPs Should ALWAYS Say with The Frenzied SLPs

Did you catch the round-up of Words SLPs Should NEVER Say? Here's the sequel!
 The Frenzied SLPs
The Frenzied SLPs are giving SLPs some words to say - not that we need any. SLPs are in the business of communication. I don't have any specific words for you. I DO have some tips that MAY have been learned through several life experiences, so keep reading.
1) Start out positive. With anyone - students, school staff, parents, everyone. This week starts the rush of the end of spring break through the end of school for me. It's hurried. It's stressful. Within these weeks are state testing and planning for next year on top of the "usual" stuff. It's easy to focus on what I have to do in what seems a short time.

Giving a positive start helps ease the concerns of staff and parents. It's not unusual for a teacher to come tell me, "Little Johnny/Mary is hard to understand. I didn't tell you because I think it's developmental, but I don't want next year's teacher thinking I didn't do anything!" I have two options for a response. A) "Why didn't you tell me sooner! Do you know how timelines work at the end of the year? Always check developmental with me!!!!" B) "Thank you for noticing possible concerns. Tell me more." Answer B gets in thankfulness, praise for noticing, and a calmness, at least on the surface.

At IEPs, parents can be anxious about facing a whole table of school staff. Giving a positive statement about the child and then sharing concerns can help get everyone on the same page. Starting out the meeting with, "Little Mary is not progressing. We want to retain her. It's the best decision. I'm sure you agree. We have lots of meetings, so just sign here" is probably not the best way to establish rapport. No matter how much is on my plate, I have to remember that this meeting is for this parent's child and think about myself on the other side. Even if parents start out with, "We are so worried/frustrated/mad about...", I prompt myself to start out with, "Little Mary is so delightful/funny/cooperative/loving...". That eases the tension and helps everyone focus on the student.

2) Go back to the start. When I attend spring meetings - either staffings or IEPs - it's easy for the first statements to be along the lines of, "This kiddo isn't making it!" and then move to options for retention, additional testing, more interventions, etc. These are options that need to be explored. I like to go back to where the student started, current skills, and what the plan will be. Going back to the start either confirms some progress (sometimes very slow), no progress, or regression. The meaning of "IEP" may be discussed.

3) Say nothing. Sometimes, listening is powerful. Sometimes, teachers or parents just want to share their journey.

4) Tone. Oh my, tone is so important. Especially at this time of the year, the words may be right while the tone is panicked, angry, frustrated, sarcastic, etc. School staff is held to a higher standard than students and parents. Am I okay with my words and tone being recorded? If no, I have to rephrase or keep quiet.

As we go into the final quarter of the school year, my key words are "positive" and "tone". Find out what other SLPs are saying by clicking on the links below. SLP bloggers, we would love for you to link up! Use the image at the top of this post as your first image and let us know what you always say!

Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat

I can't even begin to describe what the Teacher Blogger Retreat means to me. This is the second year that Amy and I have attended this wonderful weekend. Not only do we get to meet AMAZING educators and bloggers, we also get to see some of our best friends! 

On Friday, my cousin and I hopped on a plane at 5:30 in the morning to head to Nashville. Let me just say, getting up at 3:30 is ROUGH! I am not a morning person at all and there was lots of Diet Dr Pepper involved. We arrived around 9:00 at Nashville to be greeted by Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard and Dana from Common to the Core! After lots of hugs and laughs, we got in the Smorgie Mobile and headed towards French Lick, Indiana. BEST ROAD TRIP EVER!!!

When we arrived, we were greeted by the rest of our TRIBE! The rest of our tribe includes Tracy, Michelle from Journey into TK, Chad from Male Kindergarten Teacher,  and Stacy from Simpson's Superstars! Words can't express how wonderful these people are and how special they are to us. We had a fabulous evening filled with great conversation and laughter.....lots and lots of laughter. 

The next morning, we made our way to the retreat. Y'all, Holly Ehle is phenomenal! I don't know how she put together everything and still had enough energy to run a fabulous retreat! Throughout the day, we heard wonderful speakers and gathered a TON of new ideas. Not to mention, we watched a very inspiring montage of teachers talking about how much they love the retreat! It was really such a tribute to Holly's hard work. 

We ended a perfect day by having an 80's party! Let me just say, it's not everyday that you get to walk through the dome of West Baden with a guy wearing LED shoes and another one dressed as Richard Simmons! The black tie event and the jazz listeners didn't know what to think of us! Once we got to the 80's night, we had a fabulous night of laughing, dancing and taking TONS of pictures in the photo booth provided by GoNoodle! We also surprised everyone with a flash mob! Amanda Pauley did an amazing job of choreographing the dance!

On Sunday morning, we met everyone for breakfast at the hotel and said our goodbyes. Leaving everyone was very bittersweet, but we had a phenomenal weekend and made tons of new memories.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! 

This weekend wouldn't have been possible without the fabulous sponsors that love teachers! Words can't express how thankful we are for your kindness! And I just have to say "Thank you" again to  Holly! I left the weekend revived and inspired. This time of year, it's not always easy to maintain your highest level of passion. This weekend helped me reignite my passion. :) 

The following sponsors LOVE to support educators!

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Head on over to the linky party so you can read about everyone's experiences!
An InLinkz Link-up

I know not everyone was able to make it to Indiana, so we are bringing a little bit of the retreat to you! Don't forget to sign up for our giveaway! 
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