Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mario's Pants & a Pacing Freebie

I hope everyone is having a terrific week!
Today was my "Thursday" because I'm off to a conference on Friday! I'm SOOO excited to attend sessions, mingle with other special educators, & best of all...a school visit. We are going into the schools from 9:30-12:00 on Friday to observe. This is my 3rd similar school visit. I've had the chance to go to Houston, Chicago, and D.C. It's truly the best professional development seeing other teachers in action!
I'm sure I will have tons and tons to share next week!
We've been uber-busy with annual IEP meetings. This past week, I had two interesting revelations concerning supporting my students' speech and language development in the classroom.
One student is doing INCREDIBLY well academically and keeping up with the grade-level curriculum (with the appropriate supports). But despite her awesome effort in her literacy word work (decoding, dictation, building words, sight words, etc), it hasn't transferred over and she is still reading at a Guided Reading Level C. I read through her IEP report from the SLP and it said she was unable to classify three objects (articles of clothing). I asked for more clarification because it didn't seem to make sense with what I was seeing. After delving a little deeper, we realize that this is a child with a very limited exposure to vocabulary. She has made great progress (moving from beginning kindergarten almost nonverbal to 3-4 word sentences!), but we needed to brainstorm more ideas to increase her exposure. We decided we will be sending home a CD player and books on CD (if you know of any used items that can be donated, please leave a comment!) and I've started pulling a small group to focus on vocabulary.
I started today with a language photo building library. This morning we reviewed articles of clothing and it was VERY eye-opening to realize how this student was unable to name many of the objects. She absolutely knows what they are and what they are used for, but she doesn't have a word to associate. She simply needs exposure and proved this by naming the articles with 100% accuracy (go girl!) after we reviewed the cards one time.
This deck of cards is from 1995 and although they are high quality photographs, they are NOT fashion-forward. Some of the students' answers were pretty off initially and one girl was shaking her head like "no way would I wear that." Agreed.
 My all-time favorite response was:

"Mario's Pants"
 I had to stop and take a moment. My students were being totally serious. They had never heard of the word "overalls" (thank goodness). There were other beauties in the deck and one of my over-sharers kept saying "My grandma has those!" Despite the confusion over some of the items, I'm feeling optimistic about this vocabulary development activity! If you have ever experienced anything similar and have ideas, please leave a comment :) Thank you in advance!
Another student has been successful with pacing boards to support his speech development. I made a few variations of boards with 3, 4, and 5 words:
Click here to download the seven variations (I got a little carried away thinking about my students' preferences).
The cute graphics are from Happy Digital.
Have a super evening!

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  1. Does your student have internet access? If so, she can go to online story time. Here's the link:

    Another website with printables for kids with limited vocabulary is Here is the link for the picture cards section.

    I hope these help!
    The Lower Elementary Cottage

  2. Could you please explain your pacing boards. Are they like Elkonin boxes? They are so cute! My students would love Mickey Mouse.

  3. I would also love to know how you use the pacing boards. Thank in advance!