Thursday, January 4, 2018

5 Reasons to Laminate your SLP Materials

Some SLPs love flair pens, magnetic tape, teiks, or Erin Condren planners.  Me? I love my laminator.  I've used a Scotch laminator since grad school, and it's still going strong.  I pretty much laminate any materials that I print out, unless I plan on sending something home with a student.  Often people will ask me why I'm laminating so much, so, I thought I would share my top five reasons.

5 Reasons I Laminate

1. To save paper-  Instead of printing something, using it, losing it, re-printing it, using it, losing it, and repeat, I only have to print it once.  I can't crumble it up and shove it somewhere, because now it is laminated and stiff.  I also don't have to waste money on paper or ink needed to re-print things.  Additionally, I'm just naturally more careful with materials that are laminated because they look all shiny and sturdy.

2. Cleanliness - Laminated materials are so much easier to clean.  You can't wipe spit, boogers, or french fry grease off of regular paper.  With laminated papers though, you can take a clorox wipe and clean them right off!  Goodbye germs, hello the peace of mind of knowing that your activity is clean for the next child (and for you!)

3.  Durability - I work with students with severe disabilities, some of which include poor fine motor skills.  Through no fault of their own, things just don't hold up in my speech room.  Things get broken, dropped, ripped, licked, you get the idea.  It's really difficult to ruin something that is laminated, and if it does get ruined, chances are I'd be more impressed than upset.

4. Options - Laminating papers gives me the option of adding either velcro, magnetic tape, or regular tape to the back of it.  Kids can get bored easily,  especially if they are coming to your room multiple times a week, so switching up the method you are using to teach a topic is always helpful.  It might not seem like it, but magnetically sticking a laminated picture of a hamburger to a metal baking pan is a lot more fun than just laying a flat paper picture of a hamburger on the desk.

5. Confidence - Nothing shoots down a child's self esteem more than telling them they have to scrub a piece of paper with a subpar pencil eraser, then ripping the paper accidentally, before writing down a new answer.  You know what doesn't make a student feel bad about themselves? Quickly wiping their answer away with a dry eraser, tissue, or even their finger!  Erasing is fun on things that are laminated because your students can use dry erase markers.

Why do YOU laminate?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Making a Snowman - Collaborative Speech/SPED Lesson!

These past few Fridays, we (the teacher that I collaborate with and myself) changed up our routine! Usually we having a life skills cooking class with her 6:1:1 class, but we decided to do more of a craft activity instead.  Consistency in routine is good, but so is teaching flexibility - so changing it up once in awhile can be beneficial for our students with autism.

To add a literacy component to the activity, I've been using my Building a Snowman Interactive Book to expose my students to the vocabulary they will be hearing/seeing during the craft.  My kids take turns matching picture to picture for words such as: hat, scarf, mittens, snowball, etc.  Once we finished the book, it was time to make our big paper snowman.

Okay, so this craft had a lot of steps! I used board maker to create these visual sentence strips and broke the directions down to:

1.  Put medium snowball on top of big snowball
2. Put small snowball on top of medium snowball
3. Put hat on top of snowman
4. Put two eyes on snowman
5. Put carrot nose on snowman
6. Put scarf on snowman
7. Put coal mouth on snowman
8. Put two stick arms on snowman
9. Put mittens on stick arms
10. Put coal buttons on snowman

We made our snowman jumbo size, and added magnet tape onto the back of each piece thinking it would stick to the teacher's magnet board.  Maybe because her board is covered with paper, or possibly the magnet tape wasn't strong enough, but the magnets just weren't holding.  The pieces kept falling, which became frustrating for the students.  We quickly rolled up tape and stuck that on top of the magnet tape and that was more successful.  Once our students were done, we finished up the lesson by playing the Frosty the Snowman song/video on the smart board!  By using a book, hands-on craft activity, and a song, all on the same topic, we increase the chances of our students retaining the vocabulary they are being exposed to.  

Fun fact - the following week instead of having the kids make one large snowman, they each made a small one to bring home and show their parents!  Same vocabulary, different activity.

Happy winter!