Thursday, January 30, 2014

Seals on the Bus---Cute book, plus some printables to go with it

I'm a little tired of the 'Wheels on the Bus', so when I found the 'Seals on the Bus', I grabbed it!  Like the Wheels on the Bus, it's full of repetition and rhyme, and is a bit more fun. 

From Amazon:

An animal-filled version of the classic children's song "The Wheels on the Bus"

"The seals on the bus go "errp, errp, errp"
All through the town."

Two children and their parents board a city bus on their way to a party. At the next stop, who should get on but a group of seals, who holler "errp, errp, errp" at the top of their lungs. Each time the bus stops a new kind of animal joins the passengers and adds to the din, to the children's delight and the parents' annoyance. But when several hissing skunks want to come aboard, even the children cry "help! help! help!"

This hilarious new version of the beloved children's song "The Wheels on the Bus" will have young readers errping and roaring and honking along.


I adapted my book with velcro and pull off icons.  Some of my kids need some work just matching so I made a very simple matching activity to go with it (color icons to black and white icons). Just use the icons provided (link below), and you can make the pictured visual using cardstock, glue, laminating film, and velcro. After doing a quick search on Pinterest, I can see there's lots of things to do with this book---I'm here to only get you started. 






Click here to download visuals in pdf.

Click here to download visuals in Boardmaker





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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What Does the Fox Say? Smartboard activity

Ahhh!  Snow day in North Carolina!  We had a whopping two inches---an event that shut everything down.  School let out early yesterday with the threat of snow (it didn't start until 8:00 pm), and I stayed home in my pajamas all day today.  I'm actually from the north originally, so this scenario is extremely humorous to my family living in Erie.

During my time at home, I created a Smartboard activity to go with the extremely popular viral video--
"What Does the Fox Say?"


I'm blown away by amazing creativity and energy---this video with its kooky costumes and characters, energy displayed in dance and music, and child-like lyrics leaves me in awe.  The lyrics start out with names of animals and the sounds they make, so this is the bulk of the Smartboard lesson.   It's simple---my kids need simple.  Afterwards, they can dance!




The adult reads the question.  Kids pick the right animal.  When they touch the animal, they can hear the appropriate sound effect (made by me!).
They can drag the animal picture up to the right place on the board if they want.  They can imitate the animal noise too. (I had a lot of trouble with the line in the song where the elephant goes 'toot')


This was a lot of fun to make, and incorporates mainstream music into a language activity for our more special children. 





 This last part of the activity was actually inspired by CC over at Super Power Speech.  She created a free paper activity---mine is similar but on the Smartboard.  Kids can hear the sound when touching the choice, or make up their own sound.
They may laugh a little, and hopefully their teachers will too!





Click here to download the Smartboard activity on Notebook.




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Monday, January 27, 2014

Future President?

I went to a presentation tonight at UNC by Jeb Bush. 

He gave a great lecture---from a speech pathologist's standpoint, he is much more articulate than both his brother and his dad (and for the record, I didn't vote for either).  He's fluent, and can speak extemporaneously, no problem, unlike George W who fumbled around for words when he didn't have a script.   He doesn't support No Child Left Behind (I asked him that question), but does support school vouchers.  We'll see what the future holds---he's not his brother, definitely a Republican, and very easy to talk to (maybe that's why he's such a successful politician).

Here's my claim to fame!  He's very tall, as you can see. 



   Time Magazine ran an article last summer on why he might run for president.
Check it out!




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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Valentine Prepositions Bingo


 February is almost here, so you may want this in your moments of need.  This is Valentine Prepositions Bingo--the concept is simple.  The children take turns drawing cards and describing what they see using appropriate prepositions.



Click here to get this and a couple of other items for a modest price on TPT


Happy last week of January!   We are bracing for yet more frigid temps.  (Although not like Chicago or Minnesota!)



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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snowmen Everywhere---Spanish version; free printable

I had a request to upload more Spanish translations, so here's one.

Muñecos de nieve en todas partes!    Snowmen Everywhere!

This was actually a lot of fun to translate.  Google Translate does a nice job, and I had our multi-talented school secretary double-check and offer expert advice on corrections.  The hardest part was figuring out how to put in accents using an English keyboard..



Go here for the English version.









 Click here to download Spanish version
of Snowmen Everywhere in pdf


Click here to download Spanish version of Snowmen Everywhere in Boardmaker 





 Are there other books of mine you would like in Spanish?  Let me know.

Here is a link to all of my Spanish books. 





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Monday, January 13, 2014

36 tests (the North Carolina way)

I'll cut to the chase---North Carolina General Assembly has passed a bill known as Read to Achieve.  This bill mandates retention for those students who don't demonstrate reading proficiency in 3rd grade.  (This type of mandate is not new.) I'm not against proficiency standards, just to be clear.  I'm just not sure that lawmakers really know how to improve instruction. 

Here is the flow chart of what is to happen with the kids who don't pass the 'Beginning of Year' test.


If you notice the left rectangle above the last diamond, the chart refers to a Student Reading Portfolio.  This portfolio is actually 36 mini-tests the child must take starting soon.  Actually, the child has to pass three tests per reading standard, and there are twelve standards.  Up to six tests per section are allowed, meaning potentially the child could tak 72 mini-tests to demonstrate reading proficiency.  This of course is in addition to the plethora of other assessments---mClass, AimsWeb, benchmarks testing, writing assessments, performance-based assessments, and I'm sure I've missed some.  What do you think about this?  Is the same thing going on in your state?

  • I worry about lost instructional time due to excessive testing. 
  • I worry about kids becoming desensitized to assessments. How can you 'do your best' on an assessment when assessments are every day?
  • I worry about teacher stress.  Who would want to teach 3rd grade?
  • I worry about administrator stress.  How do you make this work and keep the school a happy place?
  • I worry about the parents of marginal students.  
  • I worry about student stress if they think they won't pass.
  • I worry about the lost joy of reading.

An education activist blogger, Diane Ravitch, had this to say (link).  (NC has been making the news quite a bit lately.)  Ms. Ravitch can be a little extreme about some things, but here, she's right on!


What are your thoughts?   My students are often these struggling students and 36 tests really won't help them.

 Our Governor, back in June, had spoken out about too many tests.  I guess he forgot.






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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Collection of Links---Language Sample Directions, Forms and Checklists for Regular Education

I've recently posted about Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools SLP language samples in three separate entries. 
Also, in the past, I've posted our various checklists to determine teacher impact.  Here's the collection of posts gathered in one place for your convenience!



Language Sample Form and Directions:  K-3








Language Sample Form and Directions: 4th and 5th grade










Language Sample Form and Directions: Middle and High School










Teacher Checklists for your evaluations--determine impact








LEP checklist for your language evaluations







Now I'm going to go on a rant.   In an effort to make sure children in 3rd grade are promoted, kids will be now required (in Wake County, NC--not my school system, yet) to take 36 tests to develop a reading portfolio. (That's in addition to the current proliferation of assessments the teachers are forced to do.)  Check out this link.   I'm aghast!!!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Language Sampling--Kindergarten through 3rd grade (printable directions and form)

This is the last installment for my 'Language Sample' series. In the Chapel Hill Carrboro City School System, we worked as a team to 'standardize' our language sample system, and to align it with classroom expectations.  I've never worked with such a hard-working, professional team!

 As I've said in my previous two posts, a spoken language sample is a required component of our evaluations.  This set of directions and form is for those regular education kiddos who are referred for evaluations (as opposed to our more severely disabled children who may need a more customized communication evaluation).  Children in regular education are routinely expected to tell stories, explain their thinking, compare, evaluate, state opinions, listen and follow complex directions, and use appropriate social skills.

Here are the segments of the CHCCS language sample for grades k-3: (see the link for detailed instructions)

  1. Sequencing Cards:  Directions are given in the link.  You can find sequenced picture cards from many sources and may already have your own.  This is set up as a dynamic assessment.  If the child is confused about expectations the first time, teach the child and look for improved performance.  In this way, you can see if the problem is due to task confusion or due to a language difficulty.
  2. How To:  The child is to explain a task.  Again, this is a dynamic assessment.
  3. Compare and Contrast:  The child is to compare two common items without pictures. Again, this is a dynamic assessment.
  4. Story Retell:  We use the stories in the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation.  WH-questions are also asked of the child, and these questions are on the form (see link below).  If you do not have the Goldman-Fristoe, you can find a wordless picture book, write out a script, and do your own story and questions.
  5. Storytelling:   This assesses the child's ability to tell a story given a wordless picture book.  We used the books from the Dynamic Assessment and Intervention.  If you do not have this, find two wordless picture books with a clear problem/solution, characters, setting, and sequence of events. Use one for initial assessment, then model the concepts you want the child to demonstrate, and use the second book to reassess.    
Click here for the detailed directions and recording form.

I just have to throw in here that my grand baby is growing fast!!!



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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Language Sampling--Middle and High School (printable directions and form)

I'm walking on thin ice.   I actually haven't worked with a teenager for an extremely long time.



That being said, I do know for a fact, after having four such creatures of my own, that teenagers in regular education are expected to have completely mastered syntax, conversation, following directions, and higher level language skills.  Teens can be creative, persuasive, cunning, charming, and ultra-social; so when a teen needs a speech-language evaluation (those young people that are in regular education who are struggling academically), a language sample needs to go way beyond simple sentences and mono-syllabic answers to questions.  Our adolescent language sample first looks at spoken language, and then the impact on written language.  (This language sample is not meant for those teens who are in more restricted settings such as a self-contained classroom, and not on a regular diploma track).

My SLP colleagues worked last year to create a set of directions to administer a research-based language sample to middle and high school students.  This is a required component of our comprehensive speech-language assessment and so, as a group, we take language samples seriously.

This language sample form looks like an excellent example of a carefully thought-out, research-based assessment protocol. Our SLP group from Chapel Hill would really like to share our work, but since I don't work with teens at this time,  what I'm going to do is this:

1. I've uploaded and shared our forms.  See links below

2. If you have questions on how to administer, email me at speech40@gmail.com

3. I will forward your questions and get back with you.

Click here to download the Adolescent Language Sample Directions

Click here to download the form "Final Writing Analysis Worksheet"

If you want the language sample form for 4th and 5th grade, click here.



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Language Sampling---4th and 5th graders (1st in series) Printable form

Our school system is small enough where all of the speech-language pathologists get together often twice a month for business, peer review, and staff development.

 Last year, the big project was to revise our language sample forms for those kids in regular education classrooms who were referred for a speech-language assessment.  These forms are not intended for those children with severe disabilities who are not in the regular curriculum.  Since there are multiple SLPs and multiple schools, we wanted a standard set of stimulus questions so that the kids in the district are assessed the same way.

This blog entry is the first of three---4th and 5th graders only today.  Later this week, I'll share the primary grades language sample form, and then middle/high school.

Our language sample is part of a comprehensive assessment.  We are required to administer at least one standardized language test (such as the CELF-5), get a language sample, take a case history, have teachers fill out checklists, and observe in class and get work samples.  For eligibility, a child must show deficits on the language sample as well as score well below average on a standardized assessment.  There must be evidence of classroom impact, as well.  This is a simplified synopsis--I could write multiple blog entries about our assessment and eligibility process! 

Our 4th and 5th grade language sample is divided into 6 sections---each discussed here

  1. Wh-Questions--Typical children in the upper elementary grades are way beyond simple wh-questions in conversation.  They are expected to answer questions about complex text.  For this section, we took an internet story, ("Eating and Drinking in Space") and developed questions for it.  The child is not expected to read it--the examiner reads it to the child, showing the text and pictures.  Then questions are asked and the examiner records the child's answers.
  2.  Compare/Contrast--By 4th and 5th grade, a child in regular education should be able to answer questions comparing two items without pictures.  Our language sample is designed so that if a child doesn't answer fully the first time, the concept is demonstrated, and then the child is given a similar question with two different objects to compare.  This is a dynamic assessment process.
  3. How To--This section addresses a child's ability to explain a step-by-step procedure.  The SLPs all engaged in quite a bit of discussion about which questions to use in order to assess the language task and not background knowledge or exposure to a particular task.  Again, with this assessment, there is a chance to see if the child responds quickly to teaching and then retesting within the same session.
  4. Story Retell--We used old pictures and stories form an out-of-date CELF screening test for our stories.  If you don't have access to this, you should find two other stories for the child to retell. If the child does poorly after the first story, explain what you would like them to included, demonstrate how to retell a story, and then retest this ability with a second story.  If the child responds quickly to this teaching opportunity, then most likely the problem was not a language difficulty, but a lack of familiarity with the task.
  5. Story Telling--We used two different wordless books from Dynamic Assessment and Intervention.  If you do not have access to this, find wordless books with clear characters, a plot, opportunity for dialogue, and a sequence of events.  Again, testing, teaching, and retesting assesses whether there is a language difficulty, or merely lack of familiarity with the task.
  6. All kids and staff in my school--E for Ephesus Elementary
  7. Conversation---this should not need an explanation!



There are two downloads:

1. Eating and Drinking in Space story

2. Language Sample directions and form

If you have questions, feel free to ask.
I did not personally develop these forms---credit for the work is to the whole group.


Stay warm out there!






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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Five Little Snowmen---printable book and props


Happy New Year everyone!

I've been on a bit of a blogging vacation--busy with family and relaxing.  I'm so grateful for the two weeks off.

To continue with the snowman theme, I found a book (Five Little Snowmen) on Tarheel Reader, downloaded it, and changed out some of the pictures.  It's a little long, and if you don't want to print, you can just display it on the Smartboard or your computer while you read it with your kids. I know everyone doesn't have budgets that allow paper and colored ink.   The pictures depict more actions with people, so you need snowman props.  (See the next paragraph).

 You will want to print  the props---very simply a sled and five snowmen, and the Snow Mom. (See below for links to everything--book and props).  Print the sled and snowmen, glue on sturdy paper, laminate, velcro, and you've got it!  The kids can take off the snowmen one by one after each disaster.   Snow Mom is separate--laminate and attach to something the kids can hold up each time she ineffectively lectures the snowmen.  The snowman poem and props are now on Teachers Pay Teachers, along with another Snowman book.  If you feel you can not afford to purchase these but need them for your kids, send me an email, and I'll send the link free, no questions asked. 


cover page of book

sample page





Click here to download the book.


Click here to download the props in pdf. 
(this comes imbedded in a bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers.
If you feel you can not afford it, send me an email, and I will
send you the link, no questions asked. It's all about helping kids)








props--print, glue on sturdy cardstock, laminate, velcro





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