Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Welcome Back!

It's hard to believe that we are already in our fourth week of the 2014-2015 school year.  Summer went by in a flash, and it seems as though this school year is going to follow suit.  We are off and running!

I have so enjoyed visiting with my old speech friends and getting to know my new students the past couple of weeks.  We have been busy completing All About Me activities as well as collecting baseline data and creating charts so that we can use progress monitoring as a way to observe students moving closer to accomplishing their speech/language goals.

All of my speech groups have learned about Whole Body Listening as well during these first couple of weeks of therapy.  Whole Body Listening teaches students that listening requires more than just using your hears to hear.  Whole Body Listening requires you to listen with your eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet, body, brain and heart in the following ways:

Listening with your eyes - eyes on the speaker
Listening with your ears - hear what the speaker is saying
Listening with your mouth - mouth is quiet (no talking or making sounds)
Listening with your hands - hands are quiet at your side or in your lap
Listening with your feet - feet are quiet on the floor
Listening with your body - body is part of the group facing the speaker
Listening with your brain - think about what is being said
Listening with your heart - care about the person is saying

In addition to learning about Whole Body Listening in the speech room, students at Coal City Elementary and Coal City Intermediate Schools are also getting lessons about this topic during their second step groups with school social workers Mr. Dzubian and Ms. Marketti.  Whole Body Listening isn't just something we do during speech, or during Second Step, or in our classroom.  Whole Body Listening is an important tool that we should be using EVERYWHERE!  Ask your child about Whole Body Listening - can they tell you what it means or show you what it looks like?  Can they point out times when YOU are using Whole Body Listening?  Encourage your child to use Whole Body Listening at home!


This year I will be splitting my time between four buildings - Coal City Elementary, Coal City Intermediate, Coal City Middle, and Coal City High School.  If there is ever a need to contact me, you can check this blog for my contact information (located on the right hand side) or visit the Coal City Unit District 1 homepage and click on the Student Services link on any of the individual school's home pages.  You can also follow me on Twitter (@mrspatten_slp) or on Remind (send a text to 202-417-2676 with @443ef in the text box) for weekly updates on what is happening in the speech room.

Mrs. Patten

Welcome Back!

Speech at the ECC is back in full swing.  It has been great seeing all of my friends come back to school as well as meeting new friends!  The first few weeks focused on different types of "getting to know you" activities that I think we all enjoyed.  We have moved on now and are working on our first theme: FOOTBALL!!!

We have been working on all kinds of fun activities related to football.  Here are some of the things we have been working on!

In preschool, we have been reading books about football, learning football vocabulary, and sorting by size (big, medium, small).

Coloring footballs by size: big, medium, and small

Our book of the week: Little Football

In Kindergarten and 1st Grade, we are also working on vocabulary.  We are solving riddles such as "It's full of air and mostly brown, but in this sport it isn't round."  The students love figuring out these riddles.  We are also working on not only learning the football vocabulary but also how to describe and expand our definitions of different football vocabulary.

Football is our "word of the week"

Working on our word of the week: describing where it is found, what category it belongs in, drawing a picture, and thinking of sentences that use our word

Learning new football vocabulary such as jersey, cleats, helmet, pads, goal post, and football

This week has been a fun start to our football theme!  More fun is to come as we continue learning about football next week.  Please check back often to see the great activities we are working to improve our speech and language skills!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring is here!!

We are celebrating spring this month in therapy at the ECC.  The students are very excited to be outside and to be onto the spring season!

In preschool, we are working on spring vocabulary, following fun multi-step directions, sorting flowers by size, and going on a scavenger hunt.  

In kindergarten, we are having fun using our speech and language skills to describe, compare, contrast, and practice speech sounds.

Hope you are all having a great beginning to spring!!  


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Taking the Plunge

This past weekend, 35 dedicated individuals from Coal City School District took a plunge in to icy water in order to support Special Olympics Illinois.  The Law Enforcement Torch Run sponsors the Polar Plunge throughout the state of Illinois in order to raise money and awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics.

Special Olympics is a global organization that "unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sport, every day around the world.  Through programming in sports, health, education and community building, Special Olympics is changing the lives of people with disabilities solving the global injustice, isolation, intolerance and inactivity they face.  Special Olympics Illinois provides opportunities for more than 21,000 athletes, 40,000 volunteers and thousands more statewide through 18 area programs in all 102 counties of the state."

Who wouldn't want to support such an organization?!

The Polar Coalers once again raised funds over the course of 4 months in order to show support for the athletes of Special Olympics and in exchange took a plunge into some frigid water in order to honor their bravery and courage.  Due to the incredibly cold and icy weather, a modified plunge was set up off site from Loon Lake, where the plunge has traditionally been held.  With an air temperature of 8 degrees and a windchill around 10 below, it was still very "polar!"  Steam poured off of us and from the tanks of water because the air was so cold around us!!  You'll find video footage of the plunge below.

Despite the crazy weather and the modified conditions of the plunge, the Polar Coalers were proud to have raised over $21,900 for Special Olympics Illinois!!  We won the Golden Plunger for the third year in a row by raising the most money of any team that the Yorkville plunge site.  

The Yorkville plunge raised over $130,000 in total!!  I know I can speak for all of the Polar Coalers when I say that these totals warm our hearts.  

We wish the very best of luck to all Special Olympians as they continue to compete throughout the year and we echo the Special Olympics oath with you: 

"Let me win.  If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

Friday, February 21, 2014

Learning all about transportation at the ECC!

This has been a fun week in speech-language therapy at the ECC.  We have been learning about vehicles and modes of transportation.  The kids love anything that moves so this is right up their alley!   Here are some of the fun activities that we have been doing throughout the week.

We started the week making a book that introduced all different vehicles including car, boat, plane, dump truck, digger, train, van, fire truck, taxi, and hot air balloon.

We also played a train board game where the students answered different types of wh-questions including who, what, where, when, and why.

Towards the end of this week, we started making a train.  We used our describing skills and help from the EET (Expanding Expression Tool) to think of attributes to describe a train.  We will be finishing up our trains next week.  This activity was a big hit with the kindergarten train lovers.

Next week we will be continuing our fun transportation unit and I can't wait to see what the kids think of the activities I have planned for them!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful . . .

. . . but inside the speech room things are delightful!

We are taking cues from the weather and talking about all things winter since coming back from Christmas Break at the elementary and intermediate schools.  Last week we discussed favorite winter activities including building snowmen, drinking hot chocolate, sledding, and making snow angels; this week our theme is arctic animals.  The snow falling outside (AGAIN!) has served as the perfect backdrop for some great conversations about winter fun.

I have tried something new with the students the past two weeks where at the start of each session I ask them to take a one question survey.  Last week's question was, "What is your favorite winter activity?" Many of my students had a difficult time narrowing it down to just one favorite (with the exception of one third grader who very quickly announced his favorite winter activity is staying inside where it's warm), and in the end the results looked like this:

Looking at this graph gave students a great opportunity to talk about concepts like "more" and "least", and the survey taking also allowed for great persuasive conversation when students tried to convince each other why their choice was the best one.

This week we are talking about arctic animals including orca whales, seals, polar bears, penguins, narwhals, and snow owls.  Once again I'm asking students to take a survey:  which is their favorite polar animal?  Students are watching videos about different polar animals and we are targeting skills like answering questions following the videos, describing the animals by their critical attributes, and practicing articulation while reading stories about animal habitats.  What will the favorite arctic animal be?  Stay tuned for the final results!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy New Year!

Welcome to a brand new year!  We hope you all had a very relaxing holiday season and that 2014 is off to a great start.

After having an extra day added to their winter break, the students at the Early Childhood Center were ready to get back to work in both the classroom and therapy settings.  In speech therapy, our weekly theme included activities focusing on snow and winter.  With freezing cold temperates and snow piles all around, it was the perfect fit.

One activity I used with some of my kiddos was assembling an Olaf snowman, from the Disney movie Frozen.  Using the different snowman pieces which had already been cut out by an adult, students got to assemble their own snowman and then decorate their Olaf.  They were able to practice their speech and language goals, while still keeping busy.  This snowman, along with other great Frozen activities your whole family can enjoy, can be found here, courtesy of the Teachable Mommy blog.

Here is an example of one student's Olaf:

My kiddos with articulation goals also enjoyed a new snowball game from Jenna Rayburn of Speech Room News.  Each student was given a snowball pile, and the pictures on each of the snowballs contained words with their target sounds.  They went through the snowball pile, practicing their sounds while collecting snowballs.  There were also 'wild cards,' where students could either gain or lose a turn.  Whoever had the most snowballs at the end was the winner!

I am looking forward to the second semester of speech therapy and watching the students grow and learn everyday.   If you ever have any questions about your child's speech and language growth, please do not hesitate to contact me.