Source: via Laura on Pinterest

Here in Texas, educational diagnostician's week is coming up! We also love our LSSPs and celebrate them, too! I absolutely love my diag. She is so helpful and wise, and her door is always open. Our district has a blend of diags and LSSPs, so I created subway art for each in black-and-white, primary, and bright colors. It would be a great gift for a co-worker you appreciate! They are $1 each. You can find them at our store, here.

LSSP Primary
LSSP Bright

Diag B&W
Diag Primary
Diag Bright

Yee haw! It's almost that time of year again. The time when Texans celebrate everything Texas! For most school districts, that week is next week. But my district had to be different. For me, next week is therapy and then TSHA. While everyone else is out on Spring Break after that, I'll be in school. But I get the next week off when everyone else goes back! Since the next two weeks are kind of crazy, I'm devoting them both to Texas.

I'll be using parts of the fabulous Texas Two Step unit my sister developed. Pictured above are an Ask Away Activity and a favorite book. We'll also be doing Fact/Opinion. The artic kids will read the cards and decide. The language kids will listen to the descriptions, answer questions about them, and then decide. The fluency kids will practice easy onset when appropriate. (Note: the book is not included in the unit. Also, the unit is for K-2, not specifically for SLPs.)

And check out the mockingbird in the cute denim pocket! That's only one of about 25 state symbols. Id did not know we had a state vehicle (it's a chuck wagon - my guess was pickup) or a pepper (jalepeno) and native pepper (chili pepper). Here are all the pockets filled up.

With the younger students, I will plan to pass out the cards and work on categories - Who has a plant? Animal? - and then narrow down. Artic and language students can work on words, vocabulary, or sentences - The mockingbird is the Texas state bird. Fluency students will work on easy onset. Older students will work on social skills by filling up the pockets cooperatively. I'll give them cues - instead of "That doesn't go there!", ask a question - "Does that go there, or would it fit better here?" My students are all ready for Spring Break, so we'll see how the cooperation goes...

This past week, I used CC's wonderful Billy Goats Gruff unit with the younger students. The unit is for RtI, but I used a few of the manipulatives in therapy. The 38-page unit is only $4.50, and it is super. I think it will come in very handy for making decisions about RtI students. The unit is detailed and practical. I can't say enough good things about it!

Older students got The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs and Pigs: Fact/Opinion.

I hope you've had a good week! What kinds of things are you roping up?
This semester, I have the privilege of having a fabulous grad student for 1 1/2 days a week. Today, she brought in an idea from Pinterest. It made me think about how unparalleled our resources are now. Back when I started, 20 years ago, there wasn't even an internet! Back then, I waited for catalogs from linguisystems and Super Duper.

While those are still good go-to places, our SLP world has really opened up. Blogs offer wonderful ideas, Teachers pay Teachers offers great downloads at reasonable prices, and FaceBook and Twitter offer instant help and answers.

I can't keep up with it all. But I did want to update one part of my electronic file cabinet. So I went in and updated my Pinboard of bloggers and websites. Some of the blogs haven't been updated recently. Others have popped up. And several have evolved into sites with ongoing and topical information that help me daily as an SLP.

The best place for a daily roundup is Pinboard, here. My Pinboard is a round-up of  blog sites, not posts. I hope you find it useful and maybe find a few blogs to follow. If I have left you out, it is unintentional. Please email or comment with your link, and I'll be happy to add it!

On Friday, I heard a kindergarten teacher outside of my door say, “I’ll change places with you”. Horrified, I slowly turned around to see she was talking to someone else. I was glad, because there is no way I could be a classroom teacher. Here is why.

About 2 minutes later, a 1st-grade teacher asked me to watch her class while she ran a copy of something. All of the students were sitting quietly at their desks working. The teacher was gone for about 41.273 seconds. During this brief time, two of the students I see for speech got up because that's what they do when I come to the door. Another cutie pie walked up to me and just smiled. And the fourth student tugged at my sleeve and asked to go to the bathroom. I told him to wait for his teacher. “Where is she? Is she gone forever? When is she coming back? She’s here, I know! Can’t I just go? I really need to go!” The teacher walked back to my deer-in-the-headlights look and laughed.

I have the highest respect for classroom teachers. I couldn’t do it. Here’s a big thank you to all the teachers out there!

It’s me, Amy.  It’s time for me to quack about the Oscars.   

So, the Oscars are over.   Did your favorites win?    Anything you were upset about?

I loved all the musical performances.   And the dancing, I'm a fan.    What are your thoughts?

Can you believe Catherine Zeta-Jones?   Wasn’t “Chicago” a movie from more than 10 years ago?   She didn’t miss a beat.

I was cheering for this guy.    I wasn’t picky for what category he won.    Surprise, surprise...Ryan wasn’t nominated!    In my opinion, the Academy screwed up!
I didn’t see “Argo”.   I’m happy it won, though.   Ben Affleck knows how to give a great acceptance speech.   Ben’s grown up from his “Good Will Hunting” days.  I did love that movie.    “Argo” is on my list to see.   
I was happy Jennifer Lawrence won!   Yay!    She was also best on my best dressed list.    She made me laugh and cry in her movie.   I thought she was fantastic.   And, she IS Katniss.   Then, she tripped.   Oh my goodness!  Someone help that girl up the stage, please.  

And, another favorite, Mrs. Anne Hathaway.   Loved "Les Mis".   Loved her dress for the Oscars.   Her solo, you know the one, broke my heart.

I’m always rooting for any movie dealing with Lincoln (since we share the same birthday).  Daniel Day-Lewis was our 16th President in the movie.    He was AH-mazing.   I don’t care how many Oscars Mr. Daniel Day-Lewis wins.   I’ll even stop counting.

I didn’t see any of the other big category winners.   I’m slacking.   I realize that fact.   Maybe I shouldn’t have gone to see “Bernie” four times.   Yep, four times, at the movie theater.   It was my summer fun-go-to-activity.   Go to the movie to see “Bernie”.   I downloaded the movie from iTunes.    Sometimes, it's nice to just watch a little "Bernie".
So, I guess that leaves best dressed.    Really, just my favorites.   I don’t know anything about fashion.   That is Lisa’s department.   I just am telling you what I liked.    You already know I liked dresses worn by Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway.

So, now Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Garner and the First Lady of the United States.   Wasn’t that super cool????

The men?   Well, gotta go with classic, Oscar-winning George.   He’s simply golden.

If you haven't noticed, I'm a bit of a fan of Six Sisters' Stuff. It seems like the perfect time to try something in the crockpot, specifically their Slow Cooker Chicken Tortellini.
                              Source: via Laura on Pinterest

The Good: Easy to put together.

The Bad: I can't get my family to eat spinach, mushrooms, olives and onions in one dish, even if it's covered with sauce! I left out the onions.

Summary: My husband and I liked it. The kids could take it or leave it. I would still make it again. I loved the chicken and cheese tortellini together!

The perfect gift for your school nurse from All Y'all Need! $1 each for B&W, bright or primary colors.
 Nurse Subway Art from All Y'all Need

I first heard about vanilla bean paste when I made these Valentine cookies from Shugary Sweets. I liked it and decided to try it in what is becoming my go-to recipe for adaptations, Sugar Cookies from The Pastry Queen. This is one of my favorite cookie recipes. I originally tried cutting the butter with avocados last summer. It was a hit with my friends, but I think I like this one better.

I just used an equal amount of vanilla bean paste, 4 teaspoons since I was doubling the recipe. See the flecks? That's from the vanilla bean in the paste. It gives the cookies a slight texture.

The Good: easy, delicious recipe. Vanilla bean paste was a good adaptation. Added texture and a slightly more intense vanilla taste.

The Bad: Nothing!

Summary: Vanilla bean paste is looking like a keeper!

Here's a little bit of what's been going on in my speech room this week. First, I had to make a few repairs. Mavalus tape may be wonderful for many things, but not for fabric. I hot-glued fabric onto the metal cabinet doors and edged them with laminated border. Every day I walked into this:

I finally got some hot glue and fixed it.

Next was the door handle. A little bit of ribbon made me happy!

Not bad for an 18-year-old metal cabinet, huh? Well, it needed one more thing. There's this metal rod that's supposed to go through some holes so I can close and lock the door.
But it always falls out like this:
And after my grad student mentioned twice how it almost killed her, I used an all-purpose simple trick:
I can't lock it, but my confidential and valuable stuff is elsewhere. Locked up. Now maybe my grad student can finish hours without a head injury!

I still need a fix for all of my spiral-bound notebooks. What's the best way to store them and keep them straight?
Finally, I thought I'd give an update on our Presidents' Day activities. The first one was an American Flag from Glyph Girls. These were done by two first-graders. I thought they did pretty well, even if they did choose the same answers! This activity allowed for answering questions, making choices, following directions, cooperating with supplies, and of course, artic words!
I also used Jenna Rayburn's Presidents' Day Pack. Unfortunately, I didn't have much of a voice this week, so I had to adapt. I printed out a what-kind-of-question-to-answer-page for each student in a group and put them in sheet protectors. The students put one line through the question they were going to answer and then got to X it off if they answered the question. The students took turns reading the cards.

This adaptation got in extra artic and fluency practice for the readers. It also allowed a greater variety of what the students answered. Instead of drawing Who? multiple times by chance, they had to answer the whole sheet. And they're reusable! Just clear the sheet protector with and eraser or tissue, and it's ready to use all over again!
Here, one student has finished the questions, so they are all X'ed off. Plus, my 5th-graders figured out a trick. See the 3 P? That's the student's own writing to help her remember her answer is "third president". Yes, I realize that kind of negates auditory memory, but I also thought taking notes was appropriate for her age and a good adaptation for her.

The third student cleared his board before I took the picture, but I drew a red line as an example. If we were just starting the game, the student would be choosing to ask a "when" question.

How did your week go?
Congrats to Carrie N!

I plan to start Weekend Giveaways. Unfortunately, this first weekend I had it planned, my computer got sick. It's all better now. So I'll make this contest for today through tomorrow. The prizes are two Ask Away Activities, just in time for spring and summer.

Swinging into Spring:
                                          Source: via All Yall on Pinterest

What a Wonderful World:
                                        Source: via All Yall on Pinterest

These are the perfect activities for asking questions, learning thematic vocabulary, and the templates can even be trimmed to fit into Guess Who? game templates!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
From Amy, who is still celebrating her birthday 10 days later. But I'm not judging. She's the queen of the baby club and gets to make her own rules! Her first favorite of the week is a beautiful cake made by her dear friend Rosa. It tasted as good as it looks!

Amy does celebrate other people, too!   She was happy to see Robin Roberts back to work on Good Morning America!    Of course, she doesn't get to actually watch the show due to that thing called a job.   But way to go, Robin!    Way to be a brave, intelligent, determined, beloved, cool talented, and classy lady.

Oh, Amy is back to birthdays.     Her own birthday that is.    Here is the gorgeous handmade quilt from her bff Carol Ann the Crochet Crackerjack!   Apparently, this birthday Amy just sat back and let her friends make something for her.  But don't you think a certain part of this cozy blankie looks like my blog?    Just sayin'.

My (Laura) Friday Faves are:

My first fave is from Pam Dahm of {Chit Chat and Small Talk}.  I discovered Pam's insightful blog last summer.  In this week's post, Pam talks about how much she has learned in a year.   I can relate to much of what she says.

It appears Amy is not the only one thinking about cake this week!   My second Friday Fave is Texas Sheet Cake.   My wonderful diag shared some with the school this week, and I got to see my grad student's face light up when she had her first bite.   She's from New Jersey and the cake was new to her.   My favorite recipe is from {Pioneer Woman}.

Here are Lisa's faves of the week:    
In anticipation of March Madness (What she missed the memo that Amy is still celebrating her February birthday?   Shhh, don't let Amy know.), Lisa chose clip art from TpT.   Ashley Hughes' adorable basketball kids are her pick.   Lisa is a huge basketball fan and Lisa knows these cute hoopsters will be perfect for your classroom activities.

Lisa came across a new graphics store on TpT.   She was excited by just the name alone!   It's called Glitter Meets Glue Designs.   Lisa dreams in glitter, so this store is perfect for her.   Lisa says the graphics are adorable and full of GLITTER.   And Lisa is pretty sure, if they met in real life, she and GMGD would be best friends.

Proof positive of that fact, Lisa's motto is:

Hope your Friday faves might have a little cake or sparkle in them!

This week started out with an in-service day on Monday. Last week was Valentine's Week, so I decided to make this week Presidents' Week. I figured the students need to know why they didn't come to school on Monday!

Arthur Meets the President worked for Kg-3rd, along with Functional Academics. 4th and 5th grades are mostly artic, so I do traditional games with them and drill, drill, drill. After reading the book, we played a Game to Go from Linguisystems, Country-City-Beach Bear. I admit, it's a stretch. But we talked about the different areas in the United States. Language students worked on sentences - the windmill goes with the country bear, for example - and there was a lot of /s/ and /r/ practice for the students who needed it. Plus, there are take-home sheets. If I don't send home communication once a week, I have parents who complain, so I love this part of the game.

I have two activities for tomorrow and Friday. The first is Presidents: Listening Comprehension Activity from Jenna Rayburn that I bought during her Presidents Day Sale. The second is an American flag glyph from Glyph Girls. I spent $6 for two products with a lot of content.

Next week will be a focus on fairy tales with these books:
I will let you know about activities. Hey, just planning the books is a head start for me!

My notebook had a blowout recently. Yes, I still keep a notebook. About 10 years ago, we started computerizing all of our records. We were told that if we just bit the bullet and put in all of the information the first year, the work would be done and everything would carry over. Shampoo, rinse, and repeat that same message for 9 years. We've changed programs twice and have yet to achieve reliable reports with ARD and evaluation dates and student data. If you have a program you like, please let me know. I would love to just print everything out instead of hand-logging.

Anyway, my notebook is a little full. So I used an all-purpose fixer, duct tape.
It's not real straight, but I think it will make it the rest of the school year.

Here's the leopard print duct tape on my bookshelf. It was my daughter's idea because the ribbon was boring. Did  I mention that she's 14 and knows everything? Really, she helped me out a lot getting the speech room ready.

Hope you're having a great week!

                                            Source: via Laura on Pinterest

From Lisa: One of my sweet kiddos bought me glitter nail polish for Valentine's Day and asked me if I was going to paint my nails with it tomorrow.

                                   Source: via Laura on Pinterest

From Lisa, who is trying a Dr. Oz drink of green tea, tangerines and mint: My kids see me with my four bottles of it and ask me what the green leaves floating in it are. Of course, I have Johnny, and he says it's delicious and that he drinks it all the time!
Here in Central Texas, the pollen and cedar are causing misery in my world. Yes, it's only February. But take a look at how tall and green my grass already is! Add windy days to a very mild winter, and there are all kinds of allergens blowing around. I've been taking my Flonase, but it's not doing a whole lot right now.

Last Thursday, I started sounding a little hoarse. By Friday, it was noticeable to others. After I saw students, I put myself on vocal rest as best I could. On Saturday, I spent a large part of the windy afternoon outside silently watching my son's baseball game.  On Sunday, I restricted myself to even less talking and rested quite a bit. Monday was an in-service day, so I didn't have to talk that much.

On Tuesday morning, I could not talk. As an SLP, I know I should be on complete vocal rest. But I took off 2 1/2 months of medical leave in the fall. The thought of adding more make-up times to the schedule is daunting. If I took the day off, I would be even farther behind. Besides, I don't really feel bad. I just sound bad.

I found this study that says that whispering can be okay if it's done without tension. So, I tried it and got some interesting results. First, almost all of my students whispered back to me. Second, my co-workers reminded me that "the speech therapist" would be telling them to go home and not talk. At outside morning duty, I smiled and waved as my co-worker, a 1st-grade teacher, explained the situation to anyone who looked confused that I wasn't verbalizing greetings. Third, I realized talking is a lot like baseball. The coaches teach players at a young age that a thrown ball is faster than a runner. Talking is faster than writing or gesturing or mouthing words.

What do you do when you're an SLP and you can't take your own advice? When it's difficult to take off work? When the HEB cashier thinks you're rude because you can't answer "Did you find everything okay?" in a normal voice, and he's scanning and not looking at you to know you answered by nodding? When you're driving and want to talk to your kids?

I feel a little vulnerable posting this, so be kind with comments and suggestions. I just wanted to say that I now realize how easy it is to preach vocal rest but how much harder it is to put into practice.

Tuesday is here!   So, it’s Amy quacking at you.

I just recently returned from a fabulous time in Las Vegas.   I am not a gambler.  Gambling appears to involve math, and I am simply NOT good with numbers.   Trust me on this one.

So, what did I do?

I saw “The Beatles Love”, a Cirque Du Soleil production.   It was fantastic!   I highly recommend heading to The Mirage, purchasing your ticket, and settling in for pure entertainment.   You won’t know where to look next, floor, ceiling, straight ahead, behind you....the action is everywhere!

I visited Red Rock Canyon.   Beau-T-i-FuL!  It was Nevada’s first National Conservation Area.    It was also the location of a snow blizzard for us!  So, we waited it out at the Visitor Center.   I also found a terrific book for Earth Day at the gift shop.   You can take the girl out of the library, but you cannot take the library out of the girl.

Hoover Dam made the list, too.    They were on high alert that day because a certain fugitive was still on the loose and those in uniform were not taking any chances.    We paused at the Hoover Dam memorial for a moment of gratitude.   One of my friend’s family members died building the historic dam. It was here that I discovered that my teacher voice echoes very loudly!    

We also went to see Herman and the Hermits featuring Peter Noone.   Fun show!    Even though this is not my generation of music.

We ate.  We ate.   Did I mention we ate?    We pigged out at the newest Gordon Ramsey restaurant.   Seriously, a MUST in Vegas.   Put it on the list.   Hold your winnings back.  And head to Burgr.   The push pops for dessert, just go ahead and order them with your meal.   You know you want to :-)  This is not the place to be shy....or order a salad!

I spotted lots of ducks and I may have even really wanted to bring one home with me.   

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