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July 31, 2012

Camp Journal: Olympic Champion Badge

Here's an example of the Olympic Champions Badge page of a Camp Journal.

We completed three activities:  Making a torch, painting the Olympic Rings (see previous post) and earning Olympic Medals.

This child is working on naming members of a group and their functions as part of the EET program.  As he collected foil to decorate his Olympic torch, he named 8 things he would see at a birthday party.  As he decorated his torch, he needed to describe two things each item does.  For example, he named "Balloons" as something he would see at a birthday party.  Then he said, "you hold them, you punch them and make them go back and forth".

Our next task was to name 8 items in each of 5 categories; you can find a photo of that activity in my previous post.

Our Olympic Competition was the highlight of the day.  The kids attempted to earn bronze, silver and gold medals by completing a task that contained one of their goals.

I used cards from Jenna Reyburn's Speech Room News Olympic Activity Pack to make my own Olympic events.  I wrote the names of different activities on the back side of the medal cards.  Kids selected a card from the Gold Medal, Silver Medal and Bronze Medal piles to determine what "event" they needed to "compete" in.

For example, this child selected the Amazing Ball Skills card, and had to say one of her target words or phrases before hopping over the block with the ball between her knees.  Once she said all 10 words/phrases correctly, she earned a medal.

The Sandwich Stack event required the child to say her target words to earn pieces of a large fabric sandwich.  After earning 8 pieces, she had to walk across the room and back with the sandwich balanced on her head.  I'd say that's Bronze Medal worthy, wouldn't you?

After completing the tasks listed in their journals, the kids were awarded the Olympic Champion Badge, which they glued on the page.  My little Olympians really enjoyed their speech time today!

Be creative and have fun,


July 27, 2012

Let the Games Begin!

I don't know about you, but I have caught Olympic Fever!  I can't wait for the opening ceremonies to begin!

Today I borrowed an idea from Pinterest, using an Olympic Rings printout, which you can find right here.  I used this handout for a categorization/word association activity.

I wrote different category names in each circle, and got my dot paints out.  I instructed the child to name  eight items in a category, and to paint a dot after naming each one.  To make it a little more difficult, I used my stopwatch to see if she could name all eight in less than one minute.  Easy!

I used this same idea earlier in the week as an articulation activity, too.  We just glued pictures of the target words in the center of each ring, and said each word eight times.

One of the things I like to do each summer is make "Camp Journals" for each of my kiddos.  I plan my summer around Summer Camp Mini-Themes, and the kids collect "merit badges" for completing tasks centered around each theme.

I make the covers out of foam, and add five blank pages to each.  You can download my template for the pages here.   The kids decorate their journal covers with the letters of their names and other fun foam stickers.

I make the badges ahead of time, using my Cricut paper cutter, which can make just about any shape you can dream of.  I cut tons of two inch circles for my badges, and then shapes to match my mini-themes.  Here are some of my badges:

They include Forest Animal Expert, Sports Fanatic, Camping Pro and Olympic Champion.  I'm not sure what I'll name the one with the marshmallows on the stick yet, but I know we'll be making s'mores one of these days with my indoor s'mores maker!  We've got to earn a badge for that, right?

Each week, I write a list of goals on a blank page of each journal, and write the name of the badge at the top of each page.  For example, to earn the Forest Animal Expert badge, the child must name at least 5 different animals that live in the forest, name at least three important features of each, and tell me at least one interesting fact about each one.

I also make special badges for kids who are working on the R sound, and those who are working on establishing correct tongue positioning at rest.  My vocalic R pages look like this:

The symbol on the badge matches the vowel set:  a bear for AIR words, a star for AR words, a fire for IRE, and a deer for EER.  Sometimes I write the target words on each page, and sometimes the kids do it themselves.

The child above was working on vocalic R in single words, specifically the OR words.  He earned his badge because he was able to say the entire list correctly, which was the goal.

The kids enjoy earning the badges and are proud to fill their journal.  I keep them with me until they are complete, but the kids review each earned badge with their parents after each session, and then take them home at the end of summer.

If you're interested about what tasks I'll have my kids complete to earn their badges, let me know and I will post sample pages from their journals.  Next week we are working on our Olympic Champion badges so...

...let the games begin!!!


July 26, 2012

It's the Small Things

I've taken quite a long break between posts.  I haven't felt very motivated or inspired lately.  Here in Oregon, we had an unusually cold, grey June with SO MUCH RAIN.  I am a sun-lover through and through, so that totally grey month put me in a tailspin and sapped me of all my inspiration.  The sun came out after the 4th of July and began to pour its healing warm into my heart and soul.  You'd think that would be all I needed to get back on track, right?  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  I'm not sure why I just can't seem to get back in the swing of things!  Maybe it's because several of my regularly consistent families decided to take the summer off, leaving large gaps in my predictable schedule.  Maybe it's because I took on several new kids all at once to take their place, and now I have piles of paperwork to complete.  Maybe it's because everyone takes vacations, and they never overlap with mine or the others on my caseload, making continuity very hard to manage.  I feel like I'm starting over every week with at least one child.  I don't remember other summers being so difficult!  And then there's this blog...I never knew writing a blog could make me feel pressured!  Here are some of the things that go through my mind when I think about my posts:  Will anyone read this? Does anyone care?  Is this actually helping anyone?  Why does it have to be so difficult to add a photograph in just the right place?  Did I choose the right photo to begin with?  Will someone "pin" my ideas on Pinterest?  Ugh!  Too much pressure!

So here's how I am attempting to get myself back on track.  I've been reading a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Although I am only about half-way through, I am finding it to be life-changing.  The author took a dare from a friend to find one thousand things she's thankful for, and she chronicles her journey to find them in this book.  She has been transformed from someone who hated to get up in the morning to someone who finds joy and God in the small stuff, all day, every day.

I am trying to do this in my life, recognize how blessed I am, and recognize each tiny blessing for what it is.  If I am successful, I know I will be a better person for it:  a better wife, mother, friend and speech-language pathologist.  I know it will impact the way I do my job.  Already it's making me be more compassionate and acutely aware of the struggles my client's face.  Already it's making me appreciate each little body for who they are and how God made them.  So here is my challenge to myself.  For the rest of the summer, I want to find just FIFTY things I'm grateful for in my life as a speech-language pathologist, and I will list them on this blog.  I'll start with 10 in this post, and hopefully add 10 more each week.

Ann says in her book, "I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life."  I am always thankful for parents who arrive on time, checks that arrive each month as planned, kids who do the homework I assign.  I am not going to include those things in my list, for they are painted with the broad stroke of thankfulness. Instead, I am going to look for the small things.  Things that will make me recognize deep gratitude for gifts I receive while doing my job.

So here are 10 things that brought me joy this week.  Some of them are things that make me feel grateful, and some things evoked my compassion, which is an emotion I am grateful to have.

1.  The wonder and discovery in a two-year-old's eyes.

2. The look of surprise and pride on a father's face as he witnesses his toddler daughter imitate his actions on a toy for the very first time.

3.  The unexpected effort from a very-busy-little-friend-who-doesn't-like-to-sit-still to take that tongue depressor and make his tongue say the /k/ sound, and his beaming face after a successful attempt.

4.  A mom saying, "He couldn't wait to come here! You make talking so much fun."

5.  My little three-year-old friend, taking a toy coffee cup and a wooden top and pretending to make cappuccino with it, sound effects and all.

6.  The held-back tears of a mom as she watches her little one with Childhood Apraxia of Speech struggle to say a word that seems so easy to you and me.

7.  My second-grade friend who informed me that he is a flower collector.  Shouldn't we all be???

8.  Colored pasta shapes, all jumbled together...a rainbow in a bowl.

9.  Sweet baby babble, music to my ears.

10.  First words spoken.

Seek joy, my friends.  And find it in the small stuff.