Sunday, November 8, 2015

Thankful and Grateful Blog Hop

The Frenzied SLPs are doing it again...another link up!  This time we are showing our gratitude to you, our readers, for sticking with us on this linky journey.  So, who wants to have a little fun?  Well, if you have been following this link up, than you know already that we are giving away some awesome gift cards to TpT (who doesn't need speech materials?) and Starbucks (more importantly, who doesn't need some coffee?)!  

All you have to do is follow a few simple steps to enter to win:

1. Read each Thankful and Grateful post from The Frenzied SLPs! 
2. Collect the character at the bottom of each post. Don't forget to write down the characters in order to reveal the secret phrase. 
3. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of any post by entering the phrase. 
4. Visit The Frenzied SLPs Facebook Page for an extra entry.

And that's it! Three lucky winners will be chosen after the rafflecopter closes on 11/13/2015. Good luck to you all!!!

So what am I grateful for this Thanksgiving?

Well so much has happened in my family life over the last year but here are the top 5 things I'm thankful for:

1.  Retirement!:  Um...what?  Retirement?  Well actually I am very grateful that my husband officially retired from the military after 21 years of service this past February.  Of course this means a lot of change, however, the best benefit (hands down) to myself and my children is that for my husband there will be NO MORE DEPLOYMENTS! Yahoo!!!  (All the military spouses out there reading this know what a joyous celebration this is. Ha!)

2.  Transitions!:  Along with retirement came the need to transition from military life to civilian life, which equates to new jobs, a new home, new friends, new...well...everything!  So, thanks be to God, my husband was offered a job he enjoys on the east coast, where we were able to relocate to be closer to our extended families as well.

3.  Unemployment!:  I know you are scratching your head on this one as well but the truth is, when we relocated, I had to close up shop.  I had to close the doors to my private practice, which was always my dream, and head due east.  Yet the joy I have been given from time with my children has been the most unexpected blessing of it all this year!  I will never get that time back and I'm so grateful, I have had it with my two boys.

4.  Sleepless Nights!:  For over a year now, my youngest, who arrived in late September of 2014, has not slept through the night.  He tends to wake up anywhere from 3-5 times a night and this sleep deprived mama was really struggling there for some time.  But, I cannot say I didn't love the time I have had snuggling and cuddling with my little guy in the wee hours of the morning!  Watching him nurse, or snuggle into me fills me up over and over again and I wouldn't change it for the world! (Picture above just for cuteness!!!)

5.  New Horizons!:  And lastly, I'm so grateful to have completed the transition to our new home, gotten my newest state speech license, and completed the paperwork to start up my business...again.  So, the doors of my private practice are OFFICIALLY open once again!  

What a great life I am blessed to live!!!!

So how about you?  What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?  I'd love to know!

Ok so if you have started this blog hop, here, you can click on the picture below to take you to the first blog in the hop.  If you have been following along on this hop, then by all means, click on the picture for the next blog post. Don't FORGET to grab my letter before you hop right out of here!  
Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Accidental Learning!

What in the world is accidental learning?  Well this is a term I like to use for the learning that occurs during play and highly motivating activities.  As I just recently wrote a two part series on incidental teaching, I thought I'd also tackle one of my favorite types of learning that occurs naturally and without much planning.

Accidental learning is just that, it's unplanned.  It occurs spontaneously, most often in play and more often than not as a response to the interest of a student/client.  It happens when I am NOT currently targeting that particular skill, but with a simple model I can see it will benefit the student at hand.  Accidental learning may occur at any time and in any place.  Often times, I must illustrate to parents how they have fostered accidental learning as they feel they are only teaching their child in a structured environment.  Yet, learning is a way of life.  It occurs away from the desks and tables and out of sight of the chalkboards or dry erase boards.

So here are some of my favorite ways to facilitate some "accidental learning":

1.  Grocery Store Shopping:  The produce aisle is one of my FAVORITE places to facilitate accidental learning.  You can talk about so many great cognitive concepts such as colors, shapes, sizes, vegetables vs. fruits, counting and one to one correspondence, number identification on price tags, etc.  So many great concepts can be introduced and over time learned!

2.  Playground:  How great is the playground for accidental learning?  Our children can learn social skills such as taking turns, waiting our turn, waiting in lines (climbing up and down slides), introducing self and asking to join in play, etc.  When watching children play, we can see they are learning how to play cooperatively, follow each other's leads and directions, develop pretend play skills, etc.  Oh what a wonderful place the playground is!  Be sure to help your students or own children if you know they struggle with social skills.  Actually teach them the things to say in real time so they have a memory on which to base the use of particular social skills.

3.  Library:  Oh my goodness, what a TREASURE the public library is!  So many libraries now have children's rooms with developmental toys as well as puppets and books.  They offer great free programs such as story times, STEM educational events, puzzles, writing contests, super hero days, free movies (of which you can always find a book version within the library somewhere), etc.  Some libraries offer free tutoring, e-readers, access to other technology.  Don't discount your library!  You can find information on thousands of topics for your students and own children.  With simple book reading and re-reading your child's vocabulary can grow exponentially!

4.  Busy Bags and Waiting Rooms:  How often do we ask our children to wait?!  In doctors offices, post office lines, restaurants, in traffic, etc.  Sometimes our days are just spent waiting to complete the next errand.  So why not use this time for some great accidental learning?  Have you seen the busy bags ideas that are all over the internet?  If you haven't, here is a link to my pinterest board with several of these great ideas some brilliant mothers and professionals have created.  There are numerous ways to address early cognitive concepts as well as fine motor skills, sensory needs, language concepts, etc.  So MUCH accidental learning can take place simply by making some of these busy bags with objects around your house (and head on over to the dollar store near you b/c you will find some great items to use)!

5.  Family Reading Time:  I know a fellow teacher who has "reading parties" with her own children.  It's a great way to share a book together and is a wonderful way to learn new vocabulary,  learn how to retell a story, and also see how much your children are understanding of what they are hearing by simply asking them questions.  Depending on your children's ages, you can have them either write or draw a synopsis of the book after chapters or at the end of each book.  It's a great way to prepare you children for book reports that will eventually be coming at school!  It is a great activity that can easily be modified to use for middle and high school speech therapy sessions as well for our students who are really struggling with reading comprehension.  What a great way to use academic curriculum!

6.  Pretend play:  Pretend play with your students or own children is a MUST!  What great learning occurs here!  Skills such as communication, social skills, development of narratives, cooperative play, problem solving, etc. will easily develop with little help.  Simply have fun and you will see the learning without much help from you!!!!

Ok, so there you have it!  These are my six (b/c five was too few) favorite ways to facilitate accidental learning!  Feel free to share with parents as you counsel them or find ways to incorporate some of these activities with simple modifications into your therapy sessions.

Do you have a favorite way to facilitate "accidental learning"?  If so, please share below!

Happy Talking!

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