Monday, September 24, 2018

I Have a Website - For Just a Few More Weeks

In 2004, I was asked to show computer resources to parents of preschoolers. I wanted to easily present free websites to 25+ parents so decided to create a one-page website with a large number of links. After several snow days, the site was created. Using Computer Activities to Enhance Language Learning contained over 250 links leading to hundreds of activities designed for young children.

The presentation to the parents went well, but I was amazed how news of the site spread and how often it was used. One of my colleagues remarked that my site and Pat Mervine's Speaking of Speech were the only websites by SLPs she found when she began working in 2005.

I faithfully updated the site at least once yearly, adding links and fixing or removing broken links. A second page, Six Weeks of Summer - Interactive Speech and Language Practice Activities, was added in 2013. 

Last December, the company running the site removed it along with thousands of others due to security issues. Before the site went down, hundreds of thousands had viewed the page. A few weeks ago, it surprisingly reappeared. 

At first, I thought I would revive it. However, both pages need to be updated and should probably be moved from the genealogy site. After spending time on the site, I realized it is no longer relevant.  Google can easily find websites and activities by topic. The explosion of SLPs on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers, and those with blogs far exceed what I can add to my tired old site. 

If you haven't visited my website, you will find it, for a few more weeks, at this link


© 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

FREE Voice-Output For your Core Vocabulary Board

This core vocabulary initiative began as we saw a need for
students to have a language system from the first day they
entered the classroom. This does not take the place of the
several hundred dynamic and static display systems
used by students. 
In 2016, we* began a core vocabulary initiative in my school division. We compiled a core vocabulary board (60 words based on solid research) and distributed it in a variety of sizes. We provided training for SLPs, teachers, teacher assistants, parents, administrators, OTs, PTs, and anyone who asked. We worked and continue to work very hard. 

However, one component was missing . . . voice-output.

Static display devices were too expensive and most not large enough for our 60-word board. As all of our targeted students had access to iPads, we needed to find an app. 

TalkBoard Free by Mark Ashley
Talkboard Free was the best fit for our needs. It was FREE, we could add up to 100 cells, and voice-output was a feature. 

Our board was created with Boardmaker symbols so we contacted Boardmaker to ensure we were not violating any copyrights. 

Once we had the go-ahead from Boardmaker, the first board was made and then transferred to other iPads via Bluetooth. 

The first board took quite some time to create. Each symbol needed to be added as a JPEG. Recording is much like recording on a static display device so timing is important and takes practice. The 9-year-old son of one of our SLPs made the recording of each word and his recordings transfer to each iPad along with the symbols. 

* "We" refers to the fabulous SLPs in our school division's assistive technology department. 


© 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Back Again, Making Time for Me, AND a New Blog Recommendation

Well, I am going to try this again. I enjoyed blogging. I felt I was contributing to my profession, but life and work seemed to get in the way these last two years. 

So, why blog if time is an issue? I like to blog, it's a creative outlet for me, and I want it to be part of a "new me" - someone who takes time for herself to do what she wants to do. Here is my first 2018 post. 

After my first summer off in seven years, balancing my home life and work is something often on my mind. I have been working for my local school division for many, many years (this will be my 40th). I love my job and know I have accomplished much in my career, but have I gone overboard? How much has the stress of my job affected my health and resulted in missed family time?  My son once told me he would never work in a school. He said, "You never go to work. You always go to school. And, you always have homework!"

He was right. I always had homework - reports, lesson plans, and IEPs. I rarely came home without a bag or two. For 30 years, I spent almost every Sunday night finishing lesson plans and creating materials. 

For the last 10 years, I have worked in the Assistive Technology Department. Sunday nights are usually my own and I only bring home something to do one or two nights a week. Nonetheless, I continue to put in very long hours. During the last two weeks, I worked at least three hours beyond dismissal time on 7 of the 10 work days. Home late and too tired to cook made food choices less than healthy and physical exercise was not an option.  

When does this stop? Is it too late for me? I certainly hope not! My short-term goal is to leave at dismissal for four of the next five workdays. That's a start. Let's see what happens. 

My inspiration for this post is Worth the Wage, a new blog written by an SLP in my school division. Meredith's posts are short and insightful. She makes some very good points about having a definitive end to the workday and includes the resources she uses to help achieve her goal. The post, Perfect vs. Perfectly Adequate, had my needs written all over it. Read Racing the Clock to find out how she quickly and easily sets up her speech schedule. 

For more thoughts and tips to help SLPs balance work and life, check out the following links.  

I am Not Superpowered! at Doyle Speech Works, Musings on blending speech-language pathology and life


10 Terrific Time-Saving Tips and Tricks for Busy SLPs at Sublime Speech

SLPs, Save time. 10 tips for fast reports at The SLP Burnout Coach


© 2018