Learning and Sharing

As the year winds down…





I continue to discover new visuals, new games, new strategies to use with the Lunch Buddies groups.  So many good therapy tools, so little time left.




First, let me show you a power card that I made for one of my students






Love the concept of the power card developed by Elisa Gagnon.






SOL testing in the morning this week, but we have managed to squeeze in a few groups.


I love this activity created by Kristine Lamb over at  I bought the download on


millionaire 1









This social language game has a bit of everything. Not only is it fun but it targets inferences, predicting, cause and effect, and verbal reasoning. I even took it a step further, using social thinking vocabulary and the social behavior mapping concepts.

The individual game boards look like this.  With each correct answer, student accumulate points.

photo copy

The students worked hard on this activity.


My Best,



SOL Testing this Week




I will wear a different hat this week. SOL testing begins tomorrow and I will wear the hat of an examiner.  One of my students will take her test with me in my speech room.  I am probably more nervous than she is right now!!




Good Luck all you test takers!


Leave a comment »











“We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.”

Wernher von Braun

I love my job.  I really do!  But sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.


Leave a comment »

From Sleuths to Rock Stars


Today has to go on record as one of the MOST fun days of our school year!  The first grade group looked for What’s Missing? The third grade group played the Zones of Regulation App and the Multi-categorical class played a loud, fun game of Zingo.

The social sleuths used their detective skills to listen for clues to figure out what each person was missing in a given social situation.  We used the What’s Missing activity from Help! I Need Social Skills Pack created by  The Dabbling Speechie  and is available on

Here’s what it looked like –

photo copy 2 I read or helped the students read the scenario written on the game cards.  Then they had to decide what social skill was missing.  Here’s an example item:

“Macy asked Shelly if she liked her performance in the band concert. Shelly told Macy, “The music was really boring.  I didn’t like it at all”    What’s Missing?

Did Shelly use kind words?  Playing in band is important to Macy, so saying it is boring hurts her friend’s feelings.

Walker C. rocked the activity.  He suggested that Unthinkable Mean Jean was causing trouble by making Shelly say mean words to her friend.  He correctly named the Unthinkable who might be on the loose in many of the social situations in this game.


The sleuths discussed some non-verbal cues, words or actions that the person could have done to make that social situation better.

Zingo! is an all time favorite for all my students.  The students in the Multi-categorical class had a blast with it.  Everyone kept their brain and body in the group.  I heard “big sentences” telling me that they had the picture to match the Zingo chip.  I also heard encouraging comments.  It was awesome!

photo copy

Guess who got Zingo!

Rock On!



Context Clues and More


Before I share the activities of the day, I want to share a little love note.  For Teacher Appreciation Week, students created uniquely designed butterflies that hung in the lobby of Mary Munford.  I am proud to report that Jack B. accessed the brain file that he created for me to make this absolutely fabulous butterfly.

photo copy 2





I love how he included the coping strategy “positive self-talk” and a reference to “Superflex”.  There is a poster on my board that reads, “Keep Calm and Rock it Like a Redhead”.  He included “Rock it!” on the butterfly.  Thank you, Jack B., for being so thoughtful and creating this butterfly just for me.





New yoga pose added to our session.  We call this the “Triangle Pose”.

photo copy











Now, for the “Context Clues” activity.10160145-detective-investigating-with-a-magnifying-glass

Nicole Allison over at has provided us with fun learning lately.  Today we were detectives again but this time we were reading and learning word meaning through Context Clues.

context clues





Nicole Allison asks, “Why teach vocabulary using context clues?  Research supports it!  Giving our students strategies to learn words is proven more successful than trying to teach individual words”.  I concur.  Some of the Lunch Buddies are challenged when reading to understand what some words mean within the context of a certain sentence, paragraph or passage.



Each card in this activity has a sentence containing a word in bold.  The students have to look for other words or group of words that give them a clue as to the meaning of that bold word and then define it.  Hard work but good practice.

Here is what it looked like –


There are some mighty good detectives in the Monday second grade group!  One lunch buddie  was even mistaken for Mario!!

Here is an article worth reading by Dr. Paula Kluth-

My Best,


Leave a comment »

Collaboration and Teamwork


The success of our social skills groups is due to a great deal of teamwork.   I think that the success of our team comes from having focus on a common goal and good relationships.

Social skill needs change over time.  When Mrs. Rairden, OT,  had the idea to “join forces” and bring self-regulation to the groups, the timing was perfect.  I was just beginning to transition from behavioral therapy to a more cognitive-behavioral approach.  Lucky for us, we work in a school with a collaborative, inclusive philosophy.  The teachers and administration understand that, for our students, academic success depends a great deal on social success.

The Lunch Buddies Team extends far beyond Room 99 (Speech therapy room).  The teachers and teacher assistants who work with our students are open to posting the visuals that we use and adopting our strategies as part of the classroom routine.  Classmates and friends who join our groups on a weekly basis are learning to use the same language that we do to assist our students on the playground or in the library.  This blog has created a connection and opened a new line of communication with parents who need to know what is happening within the groups.   This blog has also linked me to a lot of smart people who are sharing ideas about social emotional skills.

What are the benefits of a collaborative team?

1)   Two (or more) heads are better than one!   Sharing ideas is always good.  Like minds can coach the students as they navigate the school day.

2)   When students have the same expectations across people and environments, they are more calm and productive.

3)   If one therapist is absent or in a meeting, the other is there to conduct the session so that students do not miss services.


What are the drawbacks to collaboration?

OMG!  I can’t think of any!!









1 Comment »

Parents and Teachers are always welcome in Lunch Buddies


The door is always open for parents and teachers to join us for Lunch Buddies.  Just today, we had a special guest.





This parent joined in the fun and played “Take off that Disguise!” with us.






We welcome teachers!  Miss Heather is an important member of our lunch buddies group.  She helps the students to carryover what they learn into other educational settings.












We learn social skills with a little help from our friends!  Peers and friends are welcome in Lunch Buddies too!












Learning and laughing every day!

My Best,


Leave a comment »

A Bit of Self-Control Practice



We hit the jackpot with the Inference and Problem Solving activity packet created by Nicole Allison over at and available on  Monday we had a blast with Take off that Disguise!  Yesterday with the first grade group we played the Who Can Answer the Fastest? game.  This card game is set up like 20 Questions.  There are 3 clues on each card about a person, place or thing.  An example would be-  Thing, Bubble, Sweet-gum.


I decided to add a twist to this already fun game.  I got out the “buzzers” to turn it into a Jeopardy-like game.


First, I reviewed the rules.  After I read the clues, the students needed to demonstrate self-control by stopping and thinking before buzzing.  If they buzzed without knowing the answer they lost a turn.  If they blurted out the answer on someone else’s turn, they lost theirs.  Those Barnyard Answer Buzzers are so fun!  The game was a great test in self-control.  Everyone enjoyed it.

My Best,


Leave a comment »

Take off that disguise!











Today we laughed ourselves silly!  The second grade lunch buddies had the best time with this activity. This inferential and problem solving packet was created by Nicole Allison and available at  It is called Crack the Case.  The first game in the packet, which we played today, is called Take off that Disguise!

To play the game, a player picks a card.  On that card is printed what a particular person might say that would provide a clue as to who they are.  An example would be, “How many inches do you want me to take off?”   The answer, of course, is barber or hairdresser.

We all put on disguises and kicked the game up a notch.  If  someone knew who the student was they said,  “Take off that disguise” and made their guess.

Take a look at the fun-












Two members of our group were absent today 😦

We all want to play this game again next week so that they will have a turn.



Leave a comment »

Whole Body Listening


The concept of Whole Body Listening was created by Susanne Paulette Truesdale (1990), a speech pathologist, to improve effective listening.  The concept is now incorporated  for effective thinking with our eyes and listening skills.  The cute visual above is a creation of The Dynamic Duo at

I use the book published by LinguiSystems titled, Can You Listen With Your Eyes?.  It is especially good with young children.


I try to make all lessons as interactive as possible.  I created this visual to help me do just that.  I make two copies.  I laminate them and then cut out the pictures on one and use velcro so that the children can participate by placing the picture of the body part that is being talked about in the correct spot.















This is what it looks like in small group

photo (96)

photo (97)



As I was reviewing the IEP for a preschool student, I noticed that the Present Level of Performance was full of comments about his struggle with listening.  So, I pulled out my “bag of tricks” labeled “Whole Body Listening”.  It is tried and true.  I hope that when we review his IEP the comments will be, ” He is such a good listener and follows directions the first time!”

Whole Body Listening-it’s a good thing,


Leave a comment »