In this episode of the Real Talk SLP podcast, I am chatting with Mandi Schaumburg all about Boom Cards and how to use them to engage your students.
With the school year coming up fast and schools having to do a mixture of models because of COVID-19, SLPs need materials that are versatile in any setting. Mandi is sharing all her tips and tricks for using Boom Cards in therapy.
You will want to leave this episode ASAP and start playing around with Boom Cards after you hear about her tips for keeping kiddos engaged!
If you have ever hummed Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” after you got some constructive criticism, then you are going to love this Real Talk SLP podcast episode.
Today’s guests are Sarah and Lisa, also known as “The Toolkit Girls.” They are the co-founders of the web-based app, “SLPToolkit” which is an amazing tool to help you streamline your progress monitoring, present level assessments, and daily data.
All of us jumped into doing speech therapy presentations and get real about what it is like behind the scenes of preparing for public speaking.
Let’s just say, I probably wasn’t going to win the award for “Most Likely to Be a Presenter at ASHA.” But, it’s amazing where things can lead to a field you are passionate about.
And, Sarah and Lisa are so passionate about helping SLPs, specifically, school-based SLPs have the tools and information they need to serve their students well. It’s always a fun conversation with these ladies.
If you didn’t know, Lisa and Sarah’s help run the www.slpsummit.com and the annual summer webinar conference is right around the corner. You can signup and get 8 hours of practical PD while sitting poolside or in your PJs.
For just $24.99, you can get those 8 hours reported to your CEU registry. It’s quite the steal. Amazing PD that you can use Monday morning + free training? I call that an energizing experience you can’t pass up!
If you need some professional development in the area of push-in services, I have a CEU course with ABASpeech.
For those of you curious about my SLPSummit training on sensory bins, it is available on my YouTube channel.
I love incorporating books into speech therapy. It is the easiest way for me to teach themed vocabulary without having to prep anything! Summer books are filled with picture scenes that have summer vocabulary to teach. I don’t think I could ever have enough books to teach summer vocabulary! #professionalbookhoarder
This blog post will walk you through the benefits of teaching vocabulary using summer-themed books and strategies for building better vocabulary with your students!
Why Using Summer-Themed Vocabulary Is Beneficial for Language Therapy
When working with students to improve their vocabulary, the research shows that focusing on building a deep vocabulary will help students learn new words because they can add those new words into a system or category a child knows well. There is also research that shows that students with language impairments need up to 36 engagements with a word before they learn it. So, as clinicians, implementing themed therapy can be a great approach to building a depth of knowledge for vocabulary. This gives us permission to use a summer theme for longer than a week because the more engagements with words, the better our students will learn a deep knowledge of that vocabulary.
Furthermore, if your teachers are also incorporating summer-themed books into their curriculum and daily class readings, we are helping to give more exposure and discussion with those words when our students come to the speech room. Plus, most students have experienced a summer season. By picking a theme that is relatable, it will help your students draw from their own experiences with the summer concepts and vocabulary.
You can see some of the research articles at the end of this blog post that specifically look at vocabulary intervention.
Books also provide way more opportunities for you to target other language skills, such as inference, predicting, grammar, articulation practice and carryover, story retell, and narrative comprehension.
The cool thing about using a summer theme to plan therapy is that you can incorporate a new summer-themed book every 1-2 weeks. You will keep students engaged by reading a new story while still choosing a book that builds off of previously taught vocabulary.
Strategies on How to Teach Vocabulary with Literature
To help your students build stronger vocabularies, here are some strategies you can use to teach vocabulary with literature:
Provide multiple exposures to words while reading the book and in activities. One study found that just hearing the target words helped build vocabulary.
Give explicit information about the words in the book or give kid-friendly definitions of unknown words. Picking out Tier II vocabulary words has been shown as the best way to build vocabulary. Bringing Words to Life is a great resource to learn more about Tier II vocabulary. You can use the story pictures to also show the vocabulary words.
Focus on teaching words and how they relate thematically, such as a word map, naming word associations, or talking about a word in a taxonomy. For example, when teaching a word thematically, such as with the word “beach,” you can word map clothes you bring, activities you enjoy at the beach, food you eat, things you see, how beach items feel/look, etc.
More Tips for Teaching Vocabulary
When building depth of knowledge using a taxonomy approach, you are deconstructing a word by category, sub-category, function, location, size, shape, texture, parts, etc. For example, with the word “popsicle,” you could explain that it is a food and/or that it is a type of cold dessert. A popsicle can be eaten, it melts, and it often comes on a stick. A popsicle is made up of ingredients that are blended together and frozen. You keep popsicles in a freezer until you want to eat one.
As you are reading the book, you can use dialogic reading techniques to facilitate language discussion around the words. After reading the book, you can set up play activities that are related to the book’s concepts and/or theme to encourage students to act out the concepts from the book. Sensory bins, pretend play, toys, or props for story retell can work great to engage your students.
Summer Sub-Themes to Incorporate in Speech Therapy
When we think of summer, there are probably a variety of words and experiences you associate with that word. And, that might be different for you based on where you live in the world and what your students’ cultural values are surrounding summer.
Since I live in California, going to rivers, lakes, beaches, and/or swimming pools are activities many kids in my community enjoy on hot days. So, finding books with these topics are very relevant to my caseload. Other summer themes that resonate with students can be camping, Fourth of July, summer weather, going on vacation, ice cream, popsicles, lemonade stands, BBQs, nature hikes, bugs, ocean animals, waterslides, or just everyday summer activities, such as water balloons and bike rides. What other summer themes do you love to target?
If you need resources that help you plan extension activities with a summer theme, check these out from my blog and Teachers Pay Teachers store:
I have been so thankful to find resources on social media that share book recommendations and specifically diverse book recommendations. If you need some accounts to follow for books, I highly recommend following @havingoursay @diversereads
They have top-notch recommendations and I got Jabari Reads from @diversereads
The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann
Ernestine is invited to go on her very first camping trip. Although she is excited and packed thoroughly for camping, Ernestine has to learn how to set up a tent and what it is like to be out in the wilderness. This is a great story about a little girl who has to navigate a new environment that brings challenges. Even though camping is, at times, uncomfortable for Ernestine, she learns how to make lasting memor
A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chronicle Books
Camping is a favorite pastime for a lot of people during the summer months!A Camping Spree with Mr. Mageeis a great book to teach about all those camping vocabulary words. It has fun, vivid pictures; a bear; a camper; Mr. Magee; and his cute dog, Dee.
If you need camping resources to pair with this book, I have some funcamping activities, including aS’mores craftivity, in my Summer Craftivity Set! You can also make a fun lantern craft. Check out my tutorial for how to make a lantern by clicking the YouTube video (I know it is for Chinese New Year, but I use that craft for camping lanterns, too).
Books to Teach Summer Vocabulary at the Beach
When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore
I love usingWhen a Dragon Moves Into teach beach-themed vocabulary, to work on inferencing, and to work on perspective-taking. This book is all about a boy who is pretending that his sandcastle has a dragon inside it. He talks all about the things he does at the beach with the dragon. The boy’s family doesn’t seem to believe him when he tells them that it is the dragon who is eating the brownies and spraying sand at his sister. The pictures are very colorful, and it is a great book to discuss pretend versus real.
The Sandcastle Contest by Robert Munsch
If you want a book with a summer theme that is good for working on oral narration and story comprehension,The Sandcastle Contest is a great book to work on those skills! This book is all about cool sandcastles, so it is a pretty engaging book for students. I have a buried insand craftivity that would go great with this book!
Beach Day by Clarion Books
Beach Dayis probably my most favorite beach-themed book! It is written with a rhyme sentence structure, so it isn’t that long of a book. Why I LOVE the book is because the pictures are filled with lots of people and activities that a person may do at the beach. It is great for teaching beach vocabulary, as well as for creating sentences about what the people are doing. I love that this could help with teaching word associations, and the visual supports are already built in with the book, so you don’t have to worry about preparing visuals for your lesson.
Summer Books to Build Vocabulary on Hot Days
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari Jumps is a sweet tale about a young boy who is ready to jump off the diving board. Jabari has passed his swimming test and now has to figure out how he can overcome his fear of jumping off the diving board. Kids can relate to this book as many take swim lessons over the summer and also have fears of jumping off the diving board. You can also work on /dj/ when reading this story.
Let It Shine by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
If you like to talk about a lot of different activities people do over the summer, thenLet It Shine is the perfect book to read with your students. This book is great for answering themed wh- questions. They cover Fourth of July, baseball games, the beach, swimming, camping, and more in this book!
One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews
This is a great book for Pre-K and kindergarten that talks about what happens during a big heat wave in the summer months. The book uses real photos, so children can relate to the words used about summer. For many children, hot summer days are just ordinary days filled with fans, popsicles, and trying to stay cool in the shade.
The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing
Lots of children go on vacation during the summer months.The Night Before Summer Vacation is a book that talks all about what happens the night before kids go on summer vacation.
Have you ever thought about co-teaching virtually with your IEP team members? Today, I share about how my special education teachers and I are co-teaching virtually to help our students feel supported during distance learning.
It has been a really positive experience and I share why in this episode! If you have been feeling stressed out with techy issues, not sure how to get parents involved or just missing your students, this is a great way to plan some engaging lessons as a team.
By working as a team you can split up lesson planning to make the load a little easier, and you can prepare lessons that go with the activities your teachers are assigning.
Sponsor: Did you know that the Speech Retreat had to cancel for the in-person professional development this summer? Don’t worry! We are going to be doing the Speech Retreat Recharge virtually on July 18th. Grab your ticket today. If you want swag delivered to your doorstep, then you need to snag a ticket by June 1st. Head here to get your ticket. www.speechretreat.com
Get the free virtual backgrounds and Google Slides for the book In the Tall Tall Grass HERE:
The easiest way to run a virtual teletherapy session or class meet-up has been when using a Google Slide presentation. It is just like a PowerPoint. You can add in YouTube videos, images, and visual supports your students may need during the lesson.
You can screen share your Google Slide presentation while running the lesson. Click pink button below to grab your free In the Tall, Tall Grass teletherapy activity Google Slides and have everything ready to go!
I read the book aloud and showed the students the pictures while the other teacher removed the things hidden in the tall, tall grass on the Google Slide.
Then, we played the game, “What’s in the tall, tall grass?” using the virtual grass backgrounds.
Use Insect Toys To Work on Language
You could also use real toy bugs that you already own and have them land on your head. Just use the ‘STOP VIDEO’ feature to put a new insect on your head. Then, start the video again for the kids to name the insect or give them a CORE word such as “look” to use during the activity.
How to Change your Virtual Background in Zoom
Doesn’t this look super engaging for your students? I would love to know how it goes, so please tag me on social media. Have other fun virtual backgrounds that you use? Let me know! I always need more tools for my speech therapy toolbox. With remote learning, I need all the digital ideas I can get my hands on.
Insect Sensory Bin Ideas
If you are wanting to do more insect themes for your therapy, click the images below to see how you can make these insect sensory bins!
If you like to plan your therapy around themes and enjoy doing an insect/bug theme, then you will love the K-2 language activities in my Insect Push-In Language Lesson Plan Guides. You can use the parent newsletter and Google Slide presentations during remote learning and then have lessons ready for when in-person therapy happens again.
For your older students, you can work on learning about insects with these non-fiction task cards. Students can make an insect book to work on tier II vocabulary, main idea, describing, and explaining details.