Monday, June 22, 2015

Continuing Education Options For SLPs

I've seen a lot of discussion recently about CEUs and what the best ways to complete them are.  As someone who just received her CCCs and will have to begin continuing education soon, I thought I would do some investigating for you.

First, let's talk about the basics of CEUs.  ASHA requires 30 hours every three years.  Your state will also have requirements, so be sure to check those out.  They are not always the same either.  For example, my state requires 30 every two years.

ASHA has a way to record CEU information for you in something they call their CE Registry.  This is an easy option because it will automatically submit your compliance form if you have 30 hours in the registry.  Please note, however, that the CE Registry will not record anything that is not a course registered with ASHA (see more about that below).  You are allowed to record your own, so that is another option.

I used to think that CEUs had to be at a conference or seminar, but I was wrong!  There are a lot of options out there, so let's get started!

I'm going to lead off with this because I don't want anyone to miss it.  ASHA is offering fifteen FREE CEU courses beginning in July and running for 15 months.  Registration is open today, so head on over here to sign up!

One of the easiest ways to get a lot of CEUs in one place is a conference.  Some examples include the ASHA Convention (every year in November) and ASHA Schools (every year in July).  ASHA also hosts some online conferences such as Language and Literacy in Elementary Schools and Complex Cases in Adult Dysphagia.  You can read more about ASHA conferences here.  Also be on the look out for specialty conferences.  One example of this is the National Association for Neonatal Therapists Conference (every year in April).

Be sure to check out your state association's website for information about their annual conference or other workshops they are offering.

Another easy and cost effective way to gather CEUs is ASHA's online journals.  If you are a special interest group affiliate, you can read a journal article and receive CEUs for $5.  You heard me, $5.00.  Check out that page here.

If you like going other places than ASHA for you continuing education, you have a lot of options.  First up, Super Duper has FREE CEUs for us.  You watch a video and take a quick test.  Pretty awesome, right?  Check them out on Super Duper's site.

Another cost effective option is  For $99/year, you have access to unlimited CEUs.  They have courses on a wide variety of topics to meet all of your needs.  Some of them can even count for college credit, which is a double bonus if you need that too!

Another online option that a lot of SLPs recommend is Video Continuing Education.  You can purchase a yearly subscription for all courses ($179.99) or you can purchase one course at a time (ranging from $9.99 to $299.50 for SLPs).  Price varies by topic and number of hours.

Passy-Muir has free, online CEUs available to you.  Their topics include getting started, vents, swallowing, pediatric, special populations, and special focus, all related to their technology for trachestomy and ventilators.

Find workshops on programs designed by other SLPs/related professionals.  These could include one on the Expanding Expression Tool by Sara Smith, PROMPT training, Kaufman Apraxia Approach, Social Thinking courses, the SCERTS model.

Here's one I didn't know about until recently.  College or University Coursework at any level can count as continuing education so long as it is in an area that meets the definition for professional development (foreign languages that you need to communicate with your population, autism, literacy, neurological disorders, genetics, etc).  This is one way to get a lot of CEUs because 1 semester hour counts for 15 hours of continuing education.  This means that one course can cover your continuing education requirements (3 credits= 45 hours of CEUs).  Not only can your work on track advancement if that applies to you, you can knock out a lot of CEUs at once.

Another one I didn't know about until recently is teacher-oriented content or employer-sponsored in-service activities such as special education workshops.  Yes, these all count according to ASHA.  So long as it is information that enhances your ability to better serve your clients or deals with professional ethics, diversity issues, etc, then you can count it.  In the schools, we are already required to complete so much professional development, why not count it for this too (if applicable)?

Other places to look include:

Note- these are in no particular order.

Northern Speech Services
Home CEU Connection
Ciao Seminars
Relias Academy
SATPAC--one free course for /r/ and /s/
AAC Institute

Phew--that was a lot of information.  I hope that helps you get started!

What are your favorite places to obtain CEUs?  What are some of your favorite CEU courses that you've taken? 

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Prep Positions {app review}

Do you love the circus or circus-themed items?  Then this app is for you!  Smarty Ears recently released a new app called Prep Positions, and it has a fun and motivating circus theme.  It targets prepositions!

First up, set up your player profiles.  Once you do that, you will see a screen where you can select the level for that student. 

Click on "modify" on the screen above, and you will be taken to this screen below.  There are 15 different levels, and this screen allows you to see the prepositions targeted on each level. 

Once you select the appropriate level, the activity will start.  The students will be presented a picture, a sentence with a blank, and three options to fill in the blank.  Simply drag the correct answer to the blank. 

Once they select the correct answer, this screen below will appear.  The student is then prompted to read the sentence they created out loud. 

As the students complete the activity, they will  earn balls to be used in the game.  The app will tell them how many balls they earned and how many they have total. 

These balls can be used to play a cannon ball game.

 Once the student is done with the preposition activity and the game, you can view the results.

You can view the reports by level, by session, or by preposition.

Overall, this is a great app to target prepositions.  It allows for multiple players to use the app at the same time.  You can customize it for each of those students as well. In fact, there are 15 different levels of play! This app allows for a lot of practice.  It is easy to use but is also fun and motivating for the students! Finally, this app aligns with the Common Core.  

You can read more about the app on the Smarty Ears website.  If you are interested in purchasing this app, you can find it in the app store for $19.99 at the time of this review.

Note:  A copy of the app was provided for my review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine. 

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Update on Second Semester Goals

In January, I posted my goals for the second semester of the school year.  You can read about them here.  I promised that I would update you on how we did, so keep reading to find out.

My students took ownership of their data and were able to interpret it for me or anyone who walked in the room.  They were able to tell me that their goal was at least 80% (where the black line on the chart was) and how they were doing comparatively.

I planned interdisciplinary lessons. This was actually part of my evaluation, so I had to do it in order to pass.  I really saw my students benefit from it, though.  I incorporated lessons about the holidays, science, and social studies.

I mapped out my IEP schedule for the rest of the semester. 

I tried really hard to not take work home.  I worked really hard to use my plan times efficiently and start IEPs several weeks out to avoid working on them at home. 

Some of my students' scores went up on their district assessments.  We are still waiting on scores for the state assessments.

All of my students made some form of progress on their goals!

Work in Progress:
I did rely less on using games and focused on drill some.  My students were not as motivated at all and sometimes really didn't like me for making them "do work" instead of "play."  It is definitely something I am still working on and will carry into next school year. 

I read up on hypernasality some, but I need to do more.  It is on my summer to-do list, along with stuttering. 

I am drinking more water than I used to, but I know I can do better.  Having a water bottle at my desk helps.

I was doing really well on the going to the gym 3x/week until March.  I got a little off track, but I am happy to say I am back at it.

I was not able to bring myself to read for fun during the school year (my eyes felt tired), but I am happy to report that I have already read 6 books this summer!  

So there you have it!  How did you do on your goals for the year? 

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Makeover Madness: Directing the Action

One of the first products I created was Directing the Action: Social Skills.  You can read about that original post here. This month, I am completing a TpT Seller's Challenge with Third in Hollywood, Peppy Zesty Teacherista, Teach Create Motivate, and Sparkling in Second!  As part of that, we are completing a makeover.  Check out the update to Directing the Action below.

It is one of my best sellers and desperately need a makeover.  It had a difficult to read font, had rounded edges on the flashcards, and the cover and instruction pages were not visually appealing. So it went from this...

To this...

If you are interested in this product, you can find it my TpT store here

You can also check out the whole linky party over at Third in Hollywood.

Hope you like it!!

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Pronoun Heroes {app review}

 Happy Friday!  I hope your June is starting off well.  Happy summer to some of you.  For those still in school, I hope your year finishes up well! 

Today, I want to look at a newer Smarty Ears app with you.  It's called Pronoun Heroes

First, select your students.

Next, you have a choice of 6 activities (2 teaching, 4 practicing):

Under "What are Pronouns?" and "Pronoun Types," you will find various teaching activities.  The app teaches about a lot of different types of pronouns, such as personal, reflexive, demonstrative, possessive, and many more!  

After going through the teaching segments, students can practice what they've learned through four activities:

1. Where is the Pronoun?
The SLP can choose whether the student is selecting the pronoun at the word or phrase level.  As you can see below, the student is given 4 words to choose from, and they select the pronoun.  In the phrase level, the student is given a phrase and is asked to select the pronoun.  

2. Which one is not a Pronoun?
This activity looks similar to the one above.  This time, the student selects the word that is NOT a pronoun. 

3. Find the Picture
In this activity, the student is given two pictures.  They will select which picture best fits the word given.  One great part about this activity is that you can customize it to the user.  If you want to focus on certain pronouns over others, you can do it!

4. Let's Use Pronouns
Students are given a picture of a common event or activity.  They are also given a sentence with a missing pronoun.  The student will fill in the blank from a choice of two. 

As with all Smarty Ears apps, this one has great data collection and reports!

Overall, this is a great app for students to practice pronouns.  I especially like the teaching portion.  It allows for a pre-teaching opportunity before the practice activities.  This app can be used in whole group and during center time.  It allows for easy planning for the busy SLP.  Finally, it targets 19 different pronouns, making it extremely comprehensive. 

If you are interested in this app, you can find it on the app store for $14.99! 

What do you think?  Could you use this app in your speech room? 

Note: Smarty Ears generously provided a code for my review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine. 

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lessons from My Clinical Fellowship

As of the middle of May, I completed my clinical fellowship!  I am just waiting on the official notice from ASHA!  This year flew by, but I learned a lot. 

A little background information for you:
I was in an elementary school setting where I was the only SLP.  The school had had 2 SLPs the previous year (one 5 days, one 4 days).  This year, they had decided to go down to one.  The number of students did not decrease, however.  I started the year around 70 students.  Holy moly.  I knew caseloads were higher across the nation due to budget constraints, but I did not expect that.  Needless to say, I somehow figured out a way to see all 70 students in a week.  Side note--most of those were not students with IEPs. 

One of the first things I had to learn was how to do effective group therapy.  At one point, I had to put 6-7 fifth grade students in a group.  Fortunately for me, they had similar IEP goals.  I also had 5-6 articulation students in a group at some points.  That was the hardest for me--how do you come up with an activity where each student gets 100 productions in a half hour??  I learned to speed up games, have students say things at least 10 times, if not more, per turn, and how to do centers.

Along with the large caseload came a large amount of paperwork.  I learned to start things early.  One of my biggest goals was to not take paperwork home if possible.  I learned very quickly that starting IEPs a couple weeks early and working on them slowly during plan times helped accomplish this. 

The paperwork forced me to be really good about time management.  One of my grad school supervisors told me that this was one of the hardest things to learn.  I learned pretty quickly that I could spend a long time looking at TpT during my plan time, or I could write those IEPs.  If I wanted time at home with my husband, I would need to write those IEPs at school. 

Another thing that saved me in terms of paperwork was relying on my co-workers.  We would work together to complete an IEP so that it wasn't just one person writing the whole thing.  If I had a few extra minutes to write it, then I would write more of it and visa versa. 

I learned to ask questions.  I asked a lot of questions.  I asked a lot of probably really dumb questions.  But that is how you learn, and that is what your CF is for.  I learned that assuming things wouldn't get me very far.  The state doesn't mess around with its requirements for paperwork, so

Another lesson that jumps out at me is this:  you can plan all you want, but sometimes they just don't work out.  I would spend hours prepping materials at the beginning, just to have my students complain about it and want to do something else.  OR sometimes you plan a great lesson just to have an assembly get planned.  I learned pretty quickly that having a cabinet of games and other materials (Super Duper, anyone?) is necessary.  Knowledge of what materials are in your closet and what you can whip out on the spot is necessary. 

Finally, I learned that a work-life balance is important.  Yes, work is important, but so are family and friends.  I have seen first-hand how a less than stellar work-life balance can hurt a family.  I was determined not to allow that to happen.  Having a good balance allowed my stress levels to remain in check.  Part of this balance is allowing yourself some days off. My co-worker had to sit there and convince me to take a personal day because I was feeling guilty about it.  In the end, it was a much needed day. 

So there you have it.  I have learned a lot of lessons, some of which I shared above.

What lessons did you learn during your CF?

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Word Vault Pro Update {review and giveaway}

Awhile back, I wrote a post about Word Vault. You can read about that here.   In January of this year, the app got a major update.  I wanted to tell you about it so you can see how awesome it is!

The first thing I noticed was how colorful it is!  This re-design is really appealing to my eyes.

The second thing I noticed was how comprehensive each of the sections were.  Check out all of the options below.  They had these sections before, but they added a lot to each.  You can also add your own to each!!

Another thing I love about this update is the use of real photos:

Other awesome features:
-You can track data.
-You can set up profiles for each student and you can set up groups for them as well.
-You can add your own words.
-Each word has audio with it.
-There are 1800+ flashcards in 25+ categories.

In summary, I really really really LOVE this update.  I use this app all the time.

If you want this app, you can purchase it on the iTunes store for $49.99 (at the time of this review).  BUT, I have some awesome info for you--It will be 50% this Wednesday, May 20, 2015 before midnight Eastern!! That is, it will be $25!!  That is a STEAL!   Don't miss out on this Better Hearing and Speech Month deal!  

Wait....there's more!!  Home Speech Home has generously donated a code for a lucky reader!! Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PS.  If you want to try the app out before purchasing the full version, check out Word Vault Essential.
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