Finishing Strong: Keep Calm and Just Color!

The end of the school year is always a stressful time for me.  I have not only all of my end of the year IEPs, evaluations, and progress reports to complete, but I also have all of my own kids end of the year activities and sports to contend with too.  Some days it can just be completely overwhelming.  Some days when I get really frazzled, I like to go out for a run and clear my head.  But, taking a run isn't always possible in my world, so I need something else to calm my nerves (besides a nice cold craft beer).

Five years ago, my husband had some pretty major health problems and ended up needing numerous surgeries, and finally, a kidney transplant.  While I was in the waiting room the day he received his kidney, I was given a gift from some volunteers.  The volunteers were from the Gifts of Art program at the University of Michigan.  They gave me a brand new box of crayons and a coloring book.  I loved to color when I was little, and truly had not done it in years.  My kids were pretty little at the time and hadn't really gotten into coloring pages yet.  So, when I was given this gift, I was actually excited to try it out.  I have to say that it was truly very calming for me.  Because I had little guys at home, I needed my support people at home with them, so I was by myself most of that day. This was a great way to distract myself.  There was something about putting the brand new crayons to paper and creating something without a lot of thought that really relaxed my mind.  I think it was nice for me to feel like I had control over something during such a chaotic time.

Here is a page that I colored from this wonderful book:

Here are three sites where you can find some free coloring pages to help yourself relax and calm down for a few minutes:

Color Pages for Mom
Coloring Pages for Adults
Super Coloring

I have also purchased a book from Michaels that I really liked that is full of Lotus designs.  With that book, I also purchased some markers and colored pencils.  I have really enjoyed that too.  Here are a few examples of coloring books that you can purchase from places such as Amazon, Michaels, or book stores:

Creative Haven: Lotus Designs (this is the one that I purchased)
Mandalas Coloring Book
Flower Designs Coloring Book

Here is a picture I finished from my book, and one that I am still working on:

So, the next time you are feeling stressed, go out an buy a brand new box of crayons, print off a sheet, and relax for a few minutes!  Then, you can go to work and finish strong!

Homework Hotline: Linky Party!

This week Gold Country SLP is hosting a Linky Party that is highlighting great summer homework activities that are all available in black and white!

I am going to share with you my Summer of Speech and Language Calendars today.  These have been updated for the summer of 2015, and will continue to be updated for each summer coming up, so you will always have calendars available to you with the correct dates!  After you purchase this pack, you will be able to re-download the updated files each year.

These calendars come in both color and black and white versions, so if you are looking for something that will save you ink, you do not need to use the colored versions.

There are articulation and language calendars included in this packet:

Here is an example of a color version:

I have used these for three years now, and I always get compliments from parents each fall.  They love the simple activities that are included, and the fact that it does not take them a lot of time to work on some great speech and language skills.

You can find these calendars HERE.

Thanks for a fun linky party, Gold Country SLP!!!  Remember to check out all of the great summer activities available HERE.

ColorCard Apps: Review and {GIVEAWAY}

I have so many students working on sequencing and describing pictures in sequence.  I am constantly looking for new ways to target this, as my students sometimes quickly learn my pictures, and it is not longer a challenge for them.  When I found out about Colorcards Apps, I jumped at the chance to check them out and review them!

These are five great apps focus on using real-life pictures for sequencing, predicting, and describing. The apps are engaging, and lead to some great descriptions and stories!

The main reason that I was really interested in these apps is for the sequencing.  There are actually three different apps for this:
Basic Sequences App: This one has three pictures for students to sequence.
4-Step: This app has four pictures that students sequence.
6 & 8 Step: This app has six and eight step picture sequences.

All of the apps begin with similar opening pages:

Each of the apps offer four different activities:

  • Ordering: students move the pictures around in to the correct order.  There is an option for recording on this part of the app, however when the students put the pictures in order, the pictures flash with transparent color, which I find a bit distracting while trying to describe.

  • Predicting: students guess what will happen in the last picture.  Students can record on this activity.  There is no correct answer picture provided.  The therapist will judge whether or not the prediction is correct.  

  • Describing: students describe each picture, and can record their voice.  This is my favorite part of these apps!  It is great to have students listen to what they recorded, and fix anything if needed.  When they are finished describing each picture in the sequence, it gives them an opportunity to listen to what they recorded in any order.

My students LOVE to record themselves and then listen to each picture.  This is a great opportunity to talk about what they recorded, and how they could change it if needed.

  • View Cards: students are able to look at all of the pictures in a sequence and describe to you.  There is not a recording option on this portion of the app.  

In the first three activities, there is an opportunity for the therapist to record data.  This is all kept for each student, and graphs are available for the data.

The remaining two apps, What Can You See? and Everyday Objects target describing and inferring skills.

What Can You See?  Students touch the picture, and a small amount is revealed with each touch. Students must infer what is going to appear.  They can then describe it.  There is a recording function on this app.

  • Everyday Objects: Students are asked to describe a variety of pictures.  The recording function is included in this app.  Students can describe a sequence, or describe pictures as they are revealed (similar to the What Can You See? app).

I have been using my EET beads with this app, and students are able to record their responses.  This gives us a great way to discuss what else students could add to their descriptions.

What do I like about these apps?
My students really love these apps!  There is a nice variety of pictures and sequences.  I'm sure my students will eventually memorize some of the pictures, but that happens with a lot of sequencing cards, so really it is nice to have a new set to throw into the mix.  

I really love the recording function.  My students have loved recording themselves and listening back. It has created so many great moments for self-correction.  They are so proud of themselves when they work hard to create a story, and then are able to listen to the whole thing.

My students also really like the pictures in the What Can You See? and Everyday Objects apps.  They like to reveal piece by piece and figure out what the item is before it is fully revealed.

What would I love to see?
The only thing that bothered me was in the sequencing activities.  I wish that the page would not flash colors.  It is distracting to my students when they want to describe the sequence that they built.  There is, however, another place for them to describe the exact same pictures, so really, it is not a big deal.

Now that you know how much I love these apps, how about a chance to win ALL FIVE!?!?
Colorcard apps is giving away all 5 of their apps to one lucky winner!  All you have to do to win is enter below.  This giveaway will run through Friday, May 15 at 11:59 pm (EST).

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