Monday, January 27, 2014

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie



"If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" is my favorite Laura Numeroff book, and I love when Laura Numeroff week rolls around in preschool! It has great illustrations to work on basic vocabulary and WH questions with my students as we read, and is engaging enough so that my kids love reading it more than once throughout the week, as they hear it both in class and in speech!

I have a lot of both general cookie-themed activities, as well as specific activities relating to the book to use during this week.  One of the activities I used incorporated both-- my WH Question Cookie Flip activity that's part of my If You Give A Mouse A Cookie packet in my TpT store!


I printed a picture of a cookie jar from My Cute Graphics and attached it to an empty tissue box.  The kids used a play kitchen spatula to scoop up the cookies and flip them over, and then I read the question on the back.  Some of the cookies were comprehension questions relating to the story, while others were just general WH questions (which I used to work on WH questions when I did this activity for small groups in the classroom).  After answering the question, they got to put the cookie in the cookie jar!


We also made cookies with "icing" (shaving cream/glue mix) and "sprinkles" (glitter).  I got the idea from one of the prek teachers who had her kids cover a snowman with glue/shaving cream the week before.  When the mixture dries, it's puffy! So fun, and a fun little sensory activity! This was really fun to use with my artic kids as we practiced their words!

As for the quote, "Leave a little sparkle wherever you go" ... I think we nailed it... annnd perhaps we left more than just a "little" sparkle--especially for the few kids who dumped a bunch of glitter on and then blew it off the cookie, sending glitter everywhere! Oh well- what is preschool for, if not for exploring the cause/effect of glitter explosions?!


Later in the week after I got them prepped, I used my new "Mouse" artic cards. I forgot to take a picture of them while they were out, but they're super cute, and it was fun to change up the stimulus cards a bit for the week.

We used them while making the shaving cream cookies, and also while we did these Mouse magnet pages from Making Learning Fun.  I used the Bingo dauber paint markers, but you could use the pieces from Chipper Chat, too!


Another thing we did was a (freebie!) category sorting activity from LC SLP.  I used this for some of my lower kids during in-class small group rotations as a receptive language task, as well as a basic expressive vocabulary task for picture naming.  I also used it with one of my students who I am introducing EET to, so he named the picture, named the category it went to, and gave a feature/function of the item.


Oh, Cariboo.. Where would I be without you?! I use this game every. single. week.  Every week.  I don't know why the kids don't tire of it but they jump at the chance to play it every week! I have these Cariboo-sized pictures of items in the story in my TpT packet mentioned above.  I used these cards for comprehension questions.  After reading the book, I asked them questions about the story, like "What did Mouse use to trim his hair?" or "Where did Mouse hang his picture?" and they had to find the right picture that answered my questions.  When they found the right picture, they opened the compartment to see if there was a ball underneath!



Another activity we did was play Memory with my "Milk & Cookies Go Togethers" activity on TpT (also in my full If You Give A Mouse A Cookie packet).  We worked on associations and describing how items are alike/belong together.  I kept the cookies in the top row and the glasses of milk in the bottom row, so the kids had to flip over one from each row to see if they found two items that went together.

Sticking some themed pictures (in this case, cookies) on top of beanbags are an easy, go-to general reinforcer when the kids get extra wiggly and need some movement! We tossed them into an empty box and pretended like it was a cookie jar.

The Cookie Doodle app for the iPad is fun to use for this week, too! You can  choose from different recipes and mix all the ingredients together before rolling out the dough and decorating.  It's great for sequencing, requesting, cooking vocabulary (rolling pin, dough, eggs, butter, pour, roll, cookie cutter, oven, etc...) turn taking (my turn/your turn when decorating a cookie), and working on 3+ word phrases (ie crack the eggs, roll the dough, I want sprinkles, etc...)  It's one of my best 99 cent purchases :)

Last year, I had a kiddo on my caseload who was moving over the summer.  He'd ask me to play "the cookie making game" every single therapy session (no joke).  On the last day of school, his mom told him, "Tell Miss Kari 'bye' and that you'll miss her" .. He turned around and said "Bye, Miss Kari! I'll miss your cookie making game!" ... ha ha. I miss that kid, and think of him every time I play this game!

PS- They have a cake doodle app, as well, that's basically the same concept.. in case you wanted to use it for "If You Give A Cat A Cupcake!"


Those are some of the fun things we did for If You Give A Mouse A Cookie week.. What are some of your favorite activities to use to go along with this book??











Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Don't Break The Ice!

"Is it wine-thirty yet?" was one of the things I heard early this morning from a coworker.  I think while most of us are excited to see the kids again and hear all about their break, the transition back after 1.5-2 weeks off, especially after a busy holiday season, can be a little rough and often times, a bit hectic (unless you’re a super planner and had this week's therapy all planned and ready to go before you left for break-- in which case, you’re a rock star and I wish I had your talents).  I have what feels like 5,000 IEPs in January that I’m trying to finish data collection for, in addition to the progress reports that needed to be completed, so I’ve needed 1-2 simple activities this week that I could adapt for every student/group I had to see since I haven’t had much time to plan beyond that!

One of the games I’ve been able to adapt for almost every single kiddo is my “Don’t Break The Ice” game I picked up at Goodwill last year for $1 or $2.  With this game, I’ve used Busy Bee Speech’s articulation cards that go along with this game (Grab them HERE at her TPT store!)




I believe I snagged this activity during a flash freebie last winter, but if I didn’t have it, I’d purchase it in a heartbeat-- I’ve been using it with ev-er-y-one!!  Here’s how I’ve adapted it to fit various groups:

Articulation- self explanatory.. I’ve just used the stimulus pictures as is.  They pick a block they want to break, and they have to say the word X amount of times before hitting it.  

I also used this in a mixed artic/language group. I had 3 prek boys, all with different goals… One was artic, one was working on ‘be’ verbs, and one was working on giving features of an item (I am introducing the basic concept of EET to a couple older, kindergarten-bound kiddos this year!).  The stimulus pictures I used for this group were for the specific sounds I wanted my artic kid to practice (i.e. all the /f/ cards), but when it came time for the other two kids’ turns, they had to a) make up a sentence using “is” or “are” about the picture on the block, or b) describe two features of the item pictured.

Vocabulary: Many of my students need basic vocabulary exposure.  I just mix and match the artic pictures to have a variety of different items to do simple picture naming practice! You can easily incorporate object functions with this, too, by having them name what you do with the item pictured on the block.  Need something a little lower?  Have them perform the task receptively, where they find the block that “has something you throw” or “something you use to eat your food” etc…  

Categories:  State the category of the item on the block they want to knock out, or give them the category and let them knock out an item that belongs in that category.  Want an added challenge? Have the student name 2-3 additional items belonging to that category, as well!




The only downside to this game is that clean up/setting back up is definitely NOT quick.. However.. I have the kids do their speech/language tasks as we set up again, too! (They would play this game all day long if they could!)  They can pick a block to hand me and have to practice their speech word/label the function/label the category/make a sentence about it, etc… so precious time isn’t wasted trying to set the game up again.

Don't Break The Ice and this accompanying activity have been a lifesaver for therapy activities in a pinch! I put little Velcro pieces on all the ice blocks and on the back of each laminated picture card from the packet, so that I could switch out pictures quickly and easily for different needs (like different artic kids!)




Do you use this game? Do you have any unique twists on how to play the game in therapy? My kids would play this game every therapy session if I'd let them, so I'd love to hear new ideas!!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!

Whew! It's been a few weeks since I've done a blog post.. That last week of school before break was crazy, and Christmas break FLEW by! To get back into the swing of writing, I thought I'd share my 2013 with you.  Saw this on Jenna's blog over at Speech Room News and thought it was fun, so here goes!



What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Got a puppy! We rescued her from the pound at 4 months. She’s a black lab/border collie mix! (we think)



Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My New Years’ resolution last year was to make more trips back home to visit friends/family, since I only went back two weekends in all of 2012, and I’m less than 4 hours away. I did keep it, and made 4 trips back, but two of them were only quick 24-30 hours in town trips. I’m going to keep working on it!


Did you visit anywhere exciting?
Unfortunately not last year.. but we did Hawaii the year before and will probably take another trip this summer!

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
More girls nights out! :)

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Hmm.. Maybe May 25 because that was the day we got our puppy, and I was SO excited! The excitement wore off for about 6 weeks while we dealt with dominance issues and I felt like my dog hated me (haha), but after a lot of training and patience (LOTS of patience!), we finally made it through most of those issues!

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Paying off my student loans!!


What was your biggest failure?
Hmm… not learning to sew like I swore I would over the summer!!

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Surprisingly, no injuries! Yeah!!

What was the best thing you bought?
A new car! A 2011 Ford Escape.. Check it out!

It replaced my husband’s old 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 220,000 miles on it.. The A/C had been broken for many years, the rearview mirror was superglued on, you had to bang on the dash for the radio to come on (but even then it was still a tossup), the back doors wouldn’t shut in the winter when it got really cold (unless you knew the trick), it rattled really loudly… the list goes on & on! We were happy to finally get rid of that thing!

Where did most of your money go in 2013?
Student loan payments.. but we got it done!

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Being nominated for an EduBlog award for “Best New Blog!” I was SO honored/thrilled/humbled that anyone would think my blog was worthy of this nomination, amongst so many other great new bloggers.


What song will always remind you of 2013?
Probably “Blurred Lines” and “Thrift Shop”

What do you wish you’d done more of?
1. Crafting!! I have SO many fun things pinned on Pinterest.. so many that often times, when I go to pin something, Pinterest gives me that “Psst! You’ve already pinned this before” message.. *hangs head in shame* … If only I did ¼ of the crafts I have pinned…


2. More road trips back home. I seem to typically just go back when there’s a special occasion going on, which is perfect for seeing family (i.e. graduations, weddings), but then it can get really tricky to fit in time to see my girlfriends from home. My goal this year is to do more trips “just because” so I can do more of that. I have an amazing group of girlfriends from high school that are just incredible ladies... And even if I only see them 1-2x a year, we always pick up right where we left off!

My all-time favorite picture of us!

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Procrastinating ;-)


How did you spend Christmas?
Assembling these cute reindeer donuts ;-)


I spent Christmas at my in-laws’ house for the first time.. They just moved to the area in the Spring, so we did Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with my husband’s parents!

One of my favorite gifts? These crocheted Jayhawk hats that my husband's grandma made for all the grandkids. One word: Awesome.


My husband spent Christmas morning going on a scavenger hunt to find his gift! I got him a Nexus 7 tablet and some stocking stuffers, but I didn’t want him to suspect a Nexus when there was only one gift under the tree.. so I wrapped empty boxes and put empty gift bags under the tree with soup cans, etc… in them to weigh them down… ha! When we got to my in-laws', I scattered them around the house.  Each box/bag had a clue taped to it/in it as to where he could find the next gift!

What was your favorite TV program?
So many! The Voice, Big Bang Theory, New Girl, Criminal Minds, How I Met Your Mother, Sons of Anarchy…

What was the best book you read?
I’m ashamed to say I didn’t read a whole lot of books last year! But, I did read:
1. “The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband” It’s about a guy with Asperger’s who is married to an SLP. It was interesting, funny, and a really quick read!

2. …and 50 Shades of Grey. Don’t judge me.

3. I tried reading Gone, Girl but only got 5 chapters in before I had to return it to the library.. and I hadn’t really gotten into it during those 5 chapters. Am I the only one?! I heard SO many great things about it so I was disappointed I didn’t get into it!

What was your greatest musical discovery?
“Hey Pretty Girl” by Kip Moore… My husband often times starts out his texts to me with “Hey pretty girl” (I know, I'm a lucky girl! :))  so I fell in love with the song immediately.

What did you want and get?
I thought about starting a blog for a while.. then I finally took the plunge! I also got some help with my caseload this year.. we hired another SLP and she took two pre-k classes from me. She has been great and I am so happy we have her!

What did you want and not get?
A winning lottery ticket ;-)

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 27 in December and celebrated my birthday for about a week straight! My coworkers spoiled me at work, with food, gifts, and sweet card!


They know my chevron obsession all too well!
Not pictured: a mini potluck lunch!

It was FREEZING that night, so my husband picked up some of my favorite food after work and surprised me with it at home—it was perfect because I didn’t really want to leave the apartment again! We ate that and watched The Santa Clause-- our first Christmas movie of the season!

A couple days later, I did the Ugly Sweater 5k in the morning (it was 7 degrees that morning.. so cold!)


I wore a tree skirt as part of my attire ;-)

Later that night, I had an ugly sweater birthday party at my apartment!



(you can't tell but I'm wearing the same tree skirt I was wearing in the picture from the race!)

My mother in law took me & my husband out to lunch the next day, and a couple days later, a friend of mine came over to celebrate.  We had yummy food and wine, and got crafty!
We made Christmas trees from fabric scraps... This isn't a very good picture but they actually turned out pretty cute!

What’s one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Nothing that really stands out… 2013 was pretty good to me!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Maxi dresses, scarves, and bubble necklaces. I discovered Be Inspired Boutique, and they had the CUTEST dresses over the summer! I have a ton of scarves already, but found out the jersey-knit infinity scarves that GroopDealz has periodically are the softest, most amazing scarves ever! And for the first half of 2013, I wore the bubble necklaces a lot… now I’m back on my scarf kick!

What kept you sane?
Hilarious ecards from someecards.com -- Sometimes if I’m having a bad day, I’ll just browse them on Pinterest for a while and laugh. A lot. :)  And, trying to take things one day at a time! Sometimes, that's all you can do!

Who was the best new person you met?
Our new SLP, speech paras, and our 2 new prek teachers!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013?
If you want something, ask for it. It sounds simple, but I don’t like to ask for things, so this was actually tough for me. But, it’s been working! ;-)

What are your new years resolutions for 2014?


That about sums it up!!  What are your New Years resolutions??