The Frenzied SLPs are hosting a Linky Party and they want to know…. What did you learn this summer? I had to think about that.  What did I do this summer?  What did it teach me?
I learned a lot of interesting things at the TpT conference, how to use new-to-me apps (Facebook Groups, Periscope, etc…), and that I HATE when my little one is gone for so long (6 weeks is the WHOLE summer practically!)

This summer, I had a huge to do list in my head.  I was going to clean my house so that all EXTRAS would be gone (downsize!) and the house would shine!  I was going to finish my daughter’s quilt.  I was going to work on creating all the products swimming in my head.  I have stepped up to the plate, gripped the bat of completion, and have only managed to hit a few balls as they passed the plate.  My house has not downsized at all, and when it shines it only does so for a day or two, and my daughter’s quilt is not completed.   Normally, this would cause me unnecessary stress and my anxiety would go through the roof!  

SLOW DOWN AND BE IN THE MOMENT: Who cares if my house is a bit messier than I like.  It will be there for me tomorrow to clean too.  Even if I manage to make it shine for a week straight, my daughter will be home soon and it will be a mess in 10 minutes after she walks through the door.  Why let my home stress me out?  Time with my loved ones is far more important than if I have managed to downsize or not.  Date nights with the Hub and Girls Night with Gambling Guru Grammy has been far more rejuvenating this summer than if my home sparkles!

TAKE TIME:  We always hear how we should take the time to give to ourselves.  Maybe a little pampering is in order.  Maybe just take the day off and read all day.  I don’t do this.  I should.  I know I should.  However, I do not.  Everything I do, I do for my family.  I learned as a small child that we must work hard, sacrifice, and keep going until we are free from financial debt.  Although part of that is a good lesson for a child.  You know the part where the world doesn’t owe you anything and you must work hard for the people you love and for a better life.  However, the unsaid part which suggests you work, work, work, and never play is a poor lesson to teach a child.  I often fear that I am teaching my daughter that lesson.  Her entire life she has seen me work, work, work and never play.  She has seen me stress out about debt and that we can never “afford” to go on vacations that do not involve visiting in-laws.  It got me thinking, I think I observed these same things when I was growing up.  I do not recall many family vacations.  So I decided change was in order!  Don’t freak out.  I will not be going out on a spending spree, throwing responsibility aside, and being frivolous. No, I have to be responsible still but I can still throw a little caution to the wind and just TAKE TIME for my family and myself.

Secret Ice Cream with Grandma- Summer 2015
I have been with my husband for 10 years now.  We eloped so we never had a big wedding and we didn’t even have a honeymoon.  We happened to be in Lake Tahoe for a weekend trip (this was when we lived in Sacramento and it was roughly a two hour get-a-way) and while researching possible places to get married, he leaned over with a devilish smirk and said, “Want to get hitched? I dare you!” So we called our families and said “Think of us in an hour because we are getting hitched!”  Our families were not too thrilled about our spontaneous decision.  That happened to be the last of the spontaneous decisions for us.  (Well, my daughter decided to spontaneously be born three months early but that was not on us.  That was her!)  That was…. Until…. Now! 

I have been saying for the past three years how I wanted us to take a family vacation.  However, there was just never the time or the extra money to do so.  My little one is about to turn six soon and time is flying by so fast I am rather fearful that if I blink she will become eighteen and ready to leave our home. What memories will we have given her?  So, I made a decision.  TAKE TIME!
Four days after she comes back from her summer vacation with my parents, we are going to quietly pack us up and put her in the car.  She is naturally inquisitive so she will ask me a lot of questions.  However, I plan to bite my tongue and not say anything until we are all in the car.  Then, I will turn on the recorder on my phone and tell her…. “WE ARE GOING TO DISNEYLAND!”  I’m excited to TAKE TIME with my family.  This will be our first vacation without visiting family.  It will be our first vacation as just our little family of three. Can I afford to go on vacation?  The better question is, can I afford NOT to go on vacation?  No one is guaranteed tomorrow.  Time together and special memories are priceless.  Besides, that is what credit cards are for.  

What did I learn this summer?  It wasn’t something I hadn’t heard or told myself before.  However, it was something I planned to make sure I incorporated more into my life.  Take time to enjoy the special people in your life.  Take time to pamper yourself if you need it.  Just SLOW DOWN and BE IN THE MOMENT, and TAKE TIME for yourself and those you love!

I feel very fortunate that the developer of Teach Speech Apps offered me the opportunity to try out, review, and give away her latest app, Wh-Questions!  I will review for you the various functions of the app and provide my opinion about the app.  Although the developer provided the app, the opinions in this blog are all mine. 

One thing that I immediately loved with this app are the setting options!  You are provided a variety of options to maximize your lesson and prompting levels.  You can choose if you wish to have reinforcement feedback or not.  If so, would prefer a computerized voice feedback or sound chimes?  The voice is definitely computerized sounding which is not my preferred; however,  it does not say the same thing over and over but actually varies its comments which is great!  You also have the choice of providing sound buttons for students to touch to read the questions aloud for them instead of your reading it or the students reading it.  It is always nice to have options.  You can even choose if you want to have written word or if you want to take the sentences out because it clutters the page or maybe provides too much input especially if you are working with a kiddo with an auditory comprehension issue and want them to work on listening. The best by far though in settings is the page forward options! I have multiple apps and nothing irritates me more than when the kiddo answers and the page automatically jumps to the next question (even if the kiddo’s response was wrong).  I feel that when it does that, I lose valuable teaching moments and language expansion opportunities.  I like to use my apps for more than just what they are intended for.  Since this app provides me the option to have pages move forward by button, I get to choose when I want to move on to the next question.  I LOVE THAT!

The Wh-Questions App provides four different activities: a) Identify the Picture, b.) Answer the Questions about the Scene; c.) Drag and Drop Pictures, d.) Answer the Wh- Question.  Each of these activities consist of 10 trials. 

In Identify the Picture, a wh-question is posed and there are three pictured options.  If the kiddo chooses the wrong answer, a red box with highlight the incorrect choice and a green box will automatically highlight the correct choice.  

This activity provides you with a pictured scene and two different types of wh-questions for students to answer.  Once they have provided their answer, you can touch the question and the correct answer will appear.  This is great for automatic feedback.  I love that two different questions are asked too.  By the time the student finished the ten trials, you will have had the opportunity to gather no less than 20 opportunities for data. I personally put my settings on page forward to move by button with this activity because I can then create additional wh- questions for the pictured scene and collect even MORE data!  The one thing I wish I could do with this activity is take data via the app.  I personally wish there was a button on the bottom so I could mark if each question was correct or not so that at the end the summary could provide me with the overall data.

The Drag and Drop activity is another activity that provides multiple data collection opportunities.  IN this activity, there are three pictures and three wh-questions. You simply drag the picture to the question that it answers.  This is fun and interactive.  It also provides you with at least 30 data collection opportunities by the end of the 10 trials.  Again, this activity does not provide you with the summary for data as Identify the Picture Activity or Answer the WH-Question Activity does.  Still, it has a lot of data collection opportunities and is hands on so my daughter enjoyed the activity and she is my go-to when considering apps that my students will also enjoy!

The last activity provided is the Answer the Wh- Question.  With this activity, you can get the summary at the end and it will take your data for you!  The activity provides you with a question, and three possible answer choices.  This is great if your student is working on answering wh-questions given multiple choice options.  I don’t know about you, but I know I do not enjoy coming up with those options at the top of my head and I feel like I offer the same or far too similar choices all the time!  So I love that the app does that for me!  Also, that the choices offered by the app are not so super silly that they couldn’t be a true option and basically gives the answer to the student.  I personally feel, since I am silly by nature, that sometimes my multiple choice options may be out there and that I am giving that student a freebie, you know what I mean?
Overall impressions:  This is a great app that allows me the flexibility to get more data as needed, and to take those extra teaching moments and language extension opportunities without rushing on to the next question.  Plus, the price can NOT be beat!  To learn more about this app and others made by Teach Speech Apps, you can check out the webpage here!

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