Timothy learned to walk backwards before he has learned to count backwards.  I'm sure you're thinking "yeah... that's pretty normal."  Well, yesterday I used his ability to walk backwards to help teach him to count backwards.  All I needed was some sidewalk chalk (20 pieces for $1 at the Dollar Tree) and our feet (well and my phone to capture this video).
This was the second time he had done it.  He had so much fun that we did it a few times and then he started trying to hop backwards!  Remember that learning can happen anytime and doesn't require a lot of expensive materials!
 
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Has it really been two weeks?  That's what happens when I get out of my routine.

I made a mistake.  

Timothy discovered a Thomas app on the ipad.  He is obsessed with Thomas the train.  One of the games on the app is a matching game. He quickly figured out how to play the matching game.  He was able to navigate the game by touching the cards and would get excited when he found a match.  If he found Toby (for instance) and he had already seen Toby somewhere else, he would immediately touch the correct card and say "TWO TOBYS"!!  

Here's where the mistake comes in.  I thought he had learned how to play a matching game.  He had not.  He also didn't know what same, different, or match meant.  

Timothy pulled out the game Memory yesterday.  He wanted to play it.  I stopped what I was doing and sat down to play with him.  I figured it would be a breeze since he's so good at it on the iPad.  I was wrong.  He turned over two cards (Nemo and Thumper) and the following exchange occurred:
Me:  Are those the same?
Timothy: Yes!
Me:  That's Nemo and this is Thumper.  Are they the same or different?
Timothy:  Same!
Me:  No, Nemo and Thumper are different.
Timothy:  Different

There was no fight.  There was no tantrum (from him at least ... I was kicking myself for being so foolish).  We simply turned over the cards and I proceeded to play the game teaching him about same, different, and match. 

It just shows you that technology can only bring you so far.  One-on-one teaching with your child can't be replaced by a computer, tv, ipad, DS, etc.  Now, do I think Timothy would go to college not understanding same, different, and match?  No.  However, I'm glad to catch it early and to be the one to teach him.  

 
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Here is a St. Patrick's Day book from last year!  It's a great little book to get kids involved with St. Patrick's Day!!

Click here to see the blog post and download the pdf file!

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I quickly created this little St. Patrick's Day sign to help teach kids some of the vocabulary that centers around Irish Folklore and St. Patrick's Day.

I have some other games and books on my teachers pay teachers store.  A sale is going on now, so check it out!

 
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Now, that we have discussed creating a paper chain and ways you can make it a learning tool, let's take it one step further and make it a language-learning/writing activity!

Make a journal for the special days that you are counting down to on the rings (the rings that were a certain color).  Depending on your child's ability, you can do any or all of the following:

BEFORE THE EVENT:

Have your child write about how he/she is feeling about the activity or special day.  If your child is not writing, have him/her circle a happy face that is showing the correct emotion or tell you about it and you write it down. 

Have your child write about what he/she thinks will happen that day.  Again, the journal "entry" can be a drawing, a drawing plus a few written words (either by you or your child), a sentence, or a paragraph.

I know that sometimes the events occur in the morning or the morning can be taken up with having to get ready.  Therefore, this activity may be best to do the day or night before.  

AFTER THE EVENT:
Have your child write about the event after it occurs.  Have him/her write about what happened, how he/she felt about it, how it was different than expected, who was there, etc.  You may want to use the story order prompt that I created.  (click here for the pdf file)

For those of you who have children who are working on pragmatics or who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, this can be a great activity!  It can help you understand how your child is feeling about something that's coming up, it helps give your child the language to talk about how he/she is feeling, and is another method in trying to get your child to process the change or event that will occur.  

Have fun with your journal entries.  You can re-read them in order to talk about all the fun things you have done.  It will also make a great keepsake!

 
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Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is.  You have to actually live what you preach.  Well, on September 7, 2011 I posted about the importance of a print-rich environment (check it out for more information).  It was easy for me to post about it then - Timothy was barely crawling!  Well, now he knows all of his letters and he is starting to figure out that letters make up words.  It's really cute.  He will name all the letters in a word and then guess what the word is.  It's usually associated with what he sees and knows, but he will be way off.  For example, he read the letters off my shirt: "f-r-o-g-s" and then said, "Mommy!"  He knew that I was Mommy and just figured that my shirt was advertising my title.  :o)  Therefore, I went to the dollar store (Dollar Tree), purchased some blank word strips, wrote out words of things he sees everyday, and posted them around the house.  Does my house look like a pre-school?  Yes.  But it will help him learn and, if you think about it, we are called to be the first teachers our children encounter.  Therefore, it's ok that our house looks like a pre-school!

 
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I know that our freebies are usually on Friday, but considering Valentine's Day is Thursday and this freebie is a Valentine theme, I thought I'd just post it early.

It's a simple game that helps your kids learn or review opposites!  I hope everyone enjoys the game.

You will need to: print the game board, collect up coins as place markers (each player selects either a penny, nickel, dime, or quarter and collects 10 of their selected coin), and play!

The clipart is the work of Scrappin' Doodles (I do heart Scrappin' Doodles' clipart).

 
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Cards can get expensive these days... especially if you are like me and set a precedent to send them to your "baby cousins" from the time they were born and don't feel like you can stop now.

Plus, we have had some bad weather days where we just can't go outside.  What is a mother to do?  Have your child make Valentines!

It's simple and it can be so much fun.  All you need is: paper, art supplies, time, and some imagination.

The card on the left is a bit more involved.  I used my son's hand-print and my daughter's foot-print to make the letters "o" and "v" respectfully in the word "love".  I suggest using washable paint and doing this outdoors.  I then wrote in the letters "l" and "e" with a red permanent marker.

The card on the right is easier and can be made into a learning activity easily.  Kids like stickers, right?  (I know mine does) Have your child do some "work" (whatever his/her speech goals are or whatever you are teaching him/her right now) to earn a sticker.  After you have placed some stickers on the card (we used heart and star stickers for our Valentines), then he/she can color on it afterwards (I don't think Timothy was quite into coloring the day we made this card).  Write a cute note inside and you are done!

If your child is older, then have him/her come up with the greeting that should be written inside, have your child write his/her name, etc.

This activity is a great activity that can easily be made easier for small children (we've been making cards since before Timothy could talk) and older children (even Middle Schoolers may get into this if you allow them to color a scene on the front instead of using stickers).

 
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Have you ever had those days that you went throughout the whole day without knowing what day it was?  That was me yesterday!  I didn't realize it was Friday until dinner time when I checked our calendar to see what I was cooking that day.  Wow.

Sorry Freebie Friday has become Freebie Saturday.  This freebie finishes out our week theme of snowflakes.  Simply have your child look at the three snowflakes and tell which one is different.  If your child has more sophisticated language, then have him/her tell you WHY it is different or describe one of the snowflakes.  Just print, play, and learn!

Our prayers go out to those who were affected by Nemo.  I grew up in Rhode Island and so I have many friends in the New England area who have LOTS of snowflakes right now (and some without power).

Click here for the pdf version.

clipart by Scrappin' Doodles

 
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This is a game that I posted about a year ago.  However, I wanted to re-highlight it for those of you who haven't seen it.  It's a great print and play folder game!  Plus, it has a football theme, which is perfect since the Super Bowl is Sunday!!  

This game is blank and so it's completely customizable to each client.  You can either laminate it so you can write on it with a dry erase marker and erase.  Or you can print a copy for each student and let him/her take it home after the end of the session.

Articulation:  Write in the articulation words that he/she needs to work on.

Language:  Write in language tasks that correspond with your students' goals

Pragmatics:  Write in different social situations that a student might need to practice role playing.

Fluency/Stuttering:  Have a student practice his/her techniques for getting out of a stuttered moment or write different topics that your student has to talk about it order to practice "smooth speech"



Click here to download the pdf version

 
The Super Bowl is only 6 days away.  I don't know about you, but our house is a football house.  Saturdays is college ball and Sundays is NFL.  Our TV gets to rest from late January (or early February this year) until August when pre-season begins.  

Multiple meanings is something that can be very difficult for kids.  When I worked with the Middle School population, I always went through the multiple meaning flashcards that I had created at least once or twice a month.  It's good for them to realize that some words can mean different things and be used in different contexts.  

I thought about this when I thought about the word "super".  Have you thought about the different meanings for the word "super"?  People who live in apartments can have a "super" (I know this is an abbreviated word.  However, it's how it is used and so it should be taught that way) - someone who fixes things.  Super can add emphasis to a feeling - I'm SUPER excited, I'm SUPER sad.  Super can also mean something extraordinary or mythical when used as "super powers" or "super man".  It can also just mean that something is good - Oh wow, that's super!  

Now try that for Bowl - something you eat out of, a sport, a game (super bowl), etc.

Divide a piece of paper into four sections.  Have your child write the word in one quadrant and draw a picture with a sentence to explain the meaning in each other quadrant.  You can punch holes in your papers and start a multiple meanings notebook.