Wednesday, April 26, 2017


If you ever want a beautiful site for a wedding, venture down to Hilton Head Island.  We just had one!  Yes, this is my lovely daughter, back from the Peace Corps (almost two years ago), now walking with her dad to marry the love of her life.

father and daughter

We are excited about a new son-in-law, and are excited for Andorra as she enters this new chapter.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mother's Day Interactive Book and Craft

Here's a very affordable, fun little packet for Mother's Day (which will be here before you know it!).

This is a language/literacy pack to go with Mother’s Day. This packet is meant for the more linguistically challenged students and is perfect for  speech/special ed collaboration. This is nice for integrating literacy and hands-on activities. You are purchasing one interactive book, and a meaningful craft activity with visuals. The interactive book focuses on verbs associated commonly with mothers. The craft includes a step by step set of instructions, and ultimately the child is to pick words or pictures to describe his or her mother.   Clipart is by Smarty Symbols copyright 2017.
What do Moms Do? Verbs, Verbs, Verbs” real photo interactive book (pages 3-13)
Icons for ‘What do Moms Do? (page 14)
Sentence Frame for “What do Moms Do?” (page 15)
Mother’s Day Flower Craft  (pages 17-24) Fun activity where the kids choose words/icons to describe their mom to go on a flower. This comes with icons, step-by-step pictures, and patterns for cutting out the flower. No fancy craft items needed---construction paper, glue, scissors, and printed icons only!  Make this as a Mother’s Day gift!
Descriptive icons for the flower (page 25) print one for each
Communication Board for Mother’s Day craft (page 26)

Here are a few screenshots, but you can go to TPT for previews.  It's a great deal, and easy fix to having to plan for Mother's Day.  
Title page of Interactive Book

Click Here to view this on TPT
Sample Page

Personal News Update---Daughter is trying again to get married (first wedding canceled due to Hurricane Matthew last October).  Date is April 22 at Hilton Head!  This should be a blast!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Green Eggs and Ham Companion Pack

Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr Seuss is a pretty awesome poem.  It builds as it goes, and my students memorized the lines. It's only written with 50 words, many of them core vocabulary.  When I don't have a clear idea of what to do (as in, I am tired, busy, overwhelmed), I can grab a book such as this, and work on myriad goals with an eager student.  I'm sure all of you school SLPs have had moments where planning awesome lessons doesn't happen.  Green Eggs and Ham is on my backup shelf!

This book can also be on your 'awesome lesson' shelf!  To help you with this, I've created some materials to go with it.  This companion pack is for your extra special learners---those students who really can't access the regular education curriculum, and need help putting words together, and understanding what literacy is all about.  If you are thinking thematically, 'green' goes with St. Patrick's Day, while 'eggs' go with Easter.  Green Eggs and Ham, though, is one that works anytime of the year.  For the record, while I have described a companion pack here, you will need to have your own copy of the book, Green Eggs and Ham (easily found in stores and libraries).

Here's the description:

This is a language/literacy pack as a companion for Green Eggs and Ham. This pack meant for the more linguistically challenged students and is perfect for  speech/special ed collaboration. This is nice for integrating literacy and hands-on activities. You are purchasing two interactive books, rhyming word bingo, and a food choice activity with visuals. Icons to match to the actual book, Green Eggs and Ham, are also included. Clipart is by Smarty Symbols copyright 2017. AAC core vocabulary words of ‘like’, ‘see’, ‘here’, and ‘I’ are emphasized.  This is also a great packet for using adjective + noun combinations, and for the pragmatic functions of stating preferences.
Interactive visuals for the book Green Eggs and Ham (Pages 3-4)
•“All Kinds of Eggs” real photo interactive book with manipulative icons and sentence frames (5-16)
“Rhyming Words Bingo”(pages 17-21)
•“Eating Green” real photo interactive book with manipulative icons and sentence frames . (pages 22-33)

Let’s Eat  Fun activity where the kids choose their favorite foods to go on a plate. This comes with food visuals, sentence frames, and place setting visuals.             (pages 34-37)

You can check this out over at Teachers Pay Teachers.  Price is modest, and as usual, if you are a starving CF, email me privately at for a complimentary packet.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"Test Day, Team Player"---Book for Alleviating High Stakes Test Anxiety; Helpful to use with a Social Skills Group

A while ago, I reviewed two books by a local author, Shannon Fitzgerald (Halloween Night and Thanksgiving Weekend).

She has now provided me with a third book, perhaps her best, different in scope, intended audience  and artwork from her first two, but great for teachers in late elementary school on up to middle school.
The title is Test Day, Team Player.

The setting of this story is a regular education classroom before the End-of-Grade testing begins.  Some of the students are experiencing anxiety, and the teacher in the book leads a group effort to conquer their fears. In this case, the group plan was to wear a class color (all the students wore blue shirts) while the teacher nurtured a group mindset of support for one another while they individually tried their best on the tests.  The author is a former classroom teacher who successfully used this method to help her students get through this annual event. Stakes are high in NC and sadly kids feel it.

One reviewer on Amazon wrote: "End of year testing causes real anxiety for young children, and this book tackles it head on. Rarely does one see the words testing and teamwork together, but the combination works. This book finds a positive message in overcoming challenges and fears together through companionship."

Our local paper summed this book up, along with the illustrations with this article.

In other words,Test Day, Team Player is an awesome resource for a regular education teacher.


From a special education perspective, I would highly recommend this book to supplement Social Thinking with a social skills group.  Even though the author is unfamiliar with this curriculum, she is using the testing situation to teach 'being part of a group' rather than 'just me'. I was amazed at how Ms. Fitzgerald intuitively figured out this social skills concept.  I guess she was a natural teacher!
The 'just me' approach to a testing situation creates unnecessary anxiety, whereas a team approach helps to facilitate students supporting each other and more of a feeling of 'being in it together'.  This would be a nice tool to use to collaborate with a regular classroom teacher while trying to help the more anxious students in the group.

At the end of the book, the auther gives suggestions for how to make this happen in a classroom.

One final note here is that the illustrations were beautifully done by an East Chapel Hill High School Student, Danielle Losos.  Even her front cover illustration meshes well with Social Thinking--complete with thought bubbles, facial expressions, and body language for students in a class or social skills group to interpret.  ('What are thoughts vs feelings?' is another component of Social Thinking).

Here is an article about this talented high school artist.

I have really enjoyed all of Shannon Fitzgerald's books.  This one is perfect for getting ready for the dreaded testing season.  Since I'm now officially retired, I get to miss it this year :)
  The kids won't get to skip it though, and this book will help them get through the tests, feeling supported by their classmates while they each try their best.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

On the Road to Key West!

Hi everyone,

I'm now completely done, officially retired per NC Teacher's Retirement System and headed out tomorrow for a jaunt to Key West.  Look for pictures of geocaching, biking, sunsets, water, kayaks, and 6-toed cats.  

When I said I was 'completely done', that's actually a bit misleading.  There's still much to be done, so I'm now on the board for the New Voices Foundation.  I am hoping to publish about this in either this blog or a New Voices website to highlight great teaching, awesome kids, and work that needs done, and I will continue to make materials at low cost for the extra special learners through TPT.  Who knows, at some point, I may even work somewhere!  For now though, Florida, here I come!



Sunday, January 29, 2017

How to Retire Joyfully!

Hi SLP Friends!

    Last Friday was the big day.  I managed to leave the building without turning into a blubbering mess, and now am sitting at home reflecting over a glass of wine (maybe a couple of glasses).  For the last two weeks, I've been showered with warm wishes, nice notes, gifts, parties, hugs, and flowers.  After 24 years in the same school, I left--  turned in the key, peeled snapshots of my students off the bulletin board, cleaned out the desk, grabbed my coffee cup.  The retirement has been awesome, and I now have a collection of tips to make yours great too (if you are working as an SLP in the schools)

1.  Make sure you work for a wonderful school.

3. Love the kids, but also appreciate the parents.  "There but for the grace of God go I."

I guess it all comes down to this:  If you find the right school, work with the right team, and love the people with whom you interact, you will love retirement when the time is right.  I leave with no regrets, no bitterness, only happy memories, and am looking ahead to new adventures both in the speech world and in life.  
I WILL continue blogging, by the way, and have a clearer, freer mind to make new materials.  Come back soon!

My hair looks a bit wind swept in the picture, ha ha.  This article was great in that it told the community that we all make a difference in the lives of kids.  That works for me.


Monday, January 23, 2017

"Yaks Yak" Awesome Book for Teaching Multiple Meaning Words! Free Printable Visual Supports

I totally love children's books, and am always visiting our local public library to find new ones.  I look for clear language in a book, but the book also has to actually help to teach concepts, vocabulary, feelings, social skills, and myriad other goals that are part of a child's IEP. I was so excited when I found 'Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs', written by Linda Sue Park.  This is a wonderful book to introduce multiple meaning words.

The pictures are funny, there are only two or three words per page, definitions of the words are provided, and I think you and the kids will love it.  You can read about the book here at Amazon.
You can also view sample pages on their website.

Today is your lucky day.  I have made a set of visuals for you using Smarty Symbols to print, cut out, and have the students match to the pages in the book. I'm sure you will also take the time to discuss and demonstrate the meanings.  My students often need the added element of manipulatives to focus their attention, and to offer a visual representation for each word in the pair.  I admit that it was sometimes hard to find an adequate picture, but it's a good effort on my part.  (e.g. There is no picture symbol for 'craning a neck', so I went with a photo.) Smarty Symbols is an awesome set of clip art. I pay a subscription to share my materials with you.  Please use the clip art here only with this book, and don't reuse in another way as it is copyrighted by Smarty Symbols.

Personally, even though Amazon says this book is for ages 4-7, I would plan on using it with language impaired 3rd through 5th graders.  Some of the vocabulary would be difficult for the littler ones.


Retirement looms in 4 days!!!   With more time, and lots of ideas, I still plan on blogging.  I have many SLP friends and special education teacher friends who like my work.

It's Florida in two weeks, wine tonight, and just a few days left in my cinder block cubicle!