Monday, October 17, 2016

PLN's and Twitter - Oh My!

About a month ago, I took the chance and decided to join the Twitter world!  (I should also probably mention that it was part of a graduate course that I am taking.)  I was nervous at first, not being one to step out of the social media comfort zone I am used to, but now I am actually enjoying it!  I have found that going on Twitter a few times a day, and scrolling through my feed has given me therapy ideas and activities to do with my students.  I follow many of the same SLPs on other social media outlets, but have found that they post different resources on their Twitter accounts.

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These resources have been helpful when working with my preschool students.  Keeping the attention of the little ones can be tricky, especially for an entire session, so finding these ideas have been great!  I created a "pumpkin patch" for my groups and had them "pick" out their words to practice.  Given the opportunity to use Play - Doh in therapy...  How could I not try it?!  The preschoolers loved building and making different animals, people, shapes, houses, etc. during the session.  I was able to elicit TONS of language as well as following directions and answering questions.  What fun!

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I have been working on semantics with some of my 3rd and 4th grade groups, so this resource was another great way to demonstrate the meaning to them.  Adding in the visual (colorful) component gave the students another tool. 

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Many parents, teachers (and other staff too!) often ask about the development of sounds in children and at what age each sound should be "mastered".  I have a few resources to show people when they ask me, but I found this resource interesting because of the way it is color coded (visually appealing).  

I personally have been following many SLPs (speech - language pathologists) and SLP related twitter accounts, so when I have the time to go through the posts, I like the ideas that are presented and talked about.
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Here is a resource I found that really made me think.  ASHA (the national association that most SLPs are a part of) posted this article with many valid points.  Using the term "push in" may be perceived by others (especially parents) in a way that is not an accurate representation of what we actually do.  Using different terminology, with a better description of that actual service model might be something to consider, so that others understand what is taking place in the classroom.   I find myself reading more information on current topics (like this) and also seeing what other SLPs have been working on in therapy.  

That being said, I am pretty bummed about the whole Twitter chat concept!  I searched through about a month of #edchats and did not find a single chat related to SLPs.  I looked for chats during all hours of the day and even the weekends, with no such luck!  I "joined" a few of them, but most of them had minimal to no posts during the time frame posted.  At first I thought I had the times wrong, so I even double checked that to be sure.  The moderators did not even post during some of them!  

One very popular chat I saw posted, had me hoping that it would relate to my field in some way, so I would be able to participate. Instead, when the time came, I was very overwhelmed at the speed of it, and from the posts, the chat was directed more towards professionals in the medical field, then as a school related topic.

I finally posted on the twitter handle #SLPeeps, where many SLP related topics are posted, hoping to get some responses.

Not one response or idea about where to find a Twitter chat related to my field.  So I am still in search of a chat to really be an active participant in.  

One of the highlights for me, being a Twitter newbie and all, was when I tweeted about an iPad app I was using in therapy and tagged the company.  Shortly after I posted it, the company re-tweeted it and commented too!

All of that being said, Twitter has been an eye opening and beneficial experience.  I have been able to read about new research and topics related to my field, as well as monthly themed therapy activities and how to incorporate them during my groups. Now that the nervousness of Twitter has gone away, I will continue to be active on my account, tweeting and re-tweeting when I can.