Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Whew! Goodbye March!

It has been sheer madness on Addington this month!  In addition to the normal excitement of a toddler, a traveling husband, and three hundred of my closest middle school friends, this is my busiest month at the schoolhouse.

I am so proud of my kiddos - they performed for a panel of judges and put on several beautiful performances.  Top ratings = one happy band director.

Mr. Cheeks vocabulary is growing by the day, and cracking me up by the minute.  He managed to fight the pollen with healthy doses of Children's Allegra, so he could be back on the court and keep Hubby's bracket alive.  Favorite Words: Net.  Hole.  Ball.  (Repeat 500 times).

With all of this madness, I haven't found a second for the computer, but I did briefly escape and find time for my other love - wine.

We enjoyed a fun visit from our family, and headed up to the North Georgia Wine Country (WATCH OUT NAPA!):

So Cheers!  Thanks, March, for the wild ride.  Hello, April - Spring Break, Sun, Almost out of School, and more time for all of the things I love.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Creative Writing: A Moment That Defined Me

This week's Red Dress Club assignment was when meeting someone for the first time, describe a scene from your life that would help show the person your true self.

In the extreme heat of the August weather in the deep South, I wandered around a worn grassy field.  Tall and lanky, my face was intense but happy.  Instruments newly polished after a break in their melodic work filled the field along with hard working children and teachers.  Directions and corrections came over a loud speaker even though silence filled the humid air.

We literally worked day and night and every moment in between.  I was a high school musician now and the stakes were high.  Far from being the leader, I found myself transformed into the rookie.  My eyes and ears were still recovering from hearing the accomplishments and seeing the maturity of those three years older than me.  People were kissing!  Some wore t-shirts with brightly colored bears dancing around despite being an 18 year old man.  

Unable to drive, my father would pick me up at the end of each day's marathon of notes, rhythms, and movement.  And each day through a clay dusted face, I would beam and report, "Dad, I love this!".  

It was during these moments that I knew, just knew, what I wanted to be when I grew up.  The feelings of success, belonging, leadership, hard work defined me and I couldn't imagine doing anything else for the rest of my days.  

The path proved to be a fitting one, filled with noteworthy performances and travel.  My ability to lead my peers was challenged just a few years later in that same August air on that same filthy field.  This time the question was, "Dad, how do I get my friends to do what I want them to and make the music better?"

SEC Football games were the next arena in which amazing music was being made and I earned the leadership opportunity of a lifetime.  Leading the University of Georgia Band each Saturday beneath the hedges was an exhilarating mix of music, crazy Southerners, lifelong friends, romance, travel, and a step closer to my very own group to lead.  

Today, four cinderblock walls are the home to my symphony of first sounds, and final sounds as students progress through middle school.  The morning's freshly brewed strong coffee makes way for additional rehearsals each day long before the first bus will arrive.  I am surrounded by talent on many levels.  Students astound me as they plow through musical hurdles with leaps and bounds, far surpassing what I was able to do at that age.  I have colleagues who have performed in New York's finest concert halls, and I am sure the transition from Carnegie to the hall of Beginners often generates thoughts of, "Why am I here?"

I knew though as I shared that dust filled smile with my father that I wanted to share my passion for learning and for music with others as inspirationally as my band directors did with me.  I wanted to see the faces of each new generation of musicians beam with successes large and small.  I wanted to see people in the throes of battle with self-esteem overcome the obstacles inherent with learning an art form and come out the other end a musician.  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ever wonder about your child's speech development?

This is a guest post from a wonderful friend who was my inspiration to begin my blog!  She also happens to be a fabulous speech teacher.  I asked Lisa to share some insight into what new moms can watch for as their children's language continues to develop.  I hope you enjoy this wonderfully informative post as much as I did!
Hey Y’all! I’m Lisa from Diary of a Newlywed and I am excited to be writing my first guest post for Katie. 
I work with Katie at the school house and we have become great friends.  Katie is a phenomenal teacher and the students and staff respect her in so many ways.
I am a Speech Language Pathologist in the middle school setting. You can call me an SLP or speech therapist.  I have experience in private therapy, inpatient/  outpatient rehab facilities, preschool aged children, elementary aged children and traumatic brain injured patients. I know I am crazy but I love the hospital environment. It feels like I am really helping someone out. I also love early development in children. If you ask my husband, he says whatever I am practicing at the moment is my favorite. That is why I chose this profession. There is so much to do within this field and that alleviates the chances of boredom.
Katie asked me to write about child development in regards to speech acquisition.  This is something I discuss a lot. When I am at a play date my oldest sister and my nephews, I laugh at how many mothers ask me to listen to their little Johnny’s speech and see if he is on target for his age. Unfortunately, many people (not all but a vast majority-including some of my co-workers) believe an SLP only works with articulation, lisps, and stutters. While we do work with those children/patients often, we also work with language development which targets pragmatics (social language), semantics (vocabulary), and syntax (word and sentence formations).  I could keep going but let’s face it, you want the quick and dirty.

Lists of age of acquisition for sounds in speech and common phonological processes are listed below: 

Sanders ( 1972) Norms for Speech Sound Mastery
(Concerns arise when the child passes the age of acquisition and cannot produce the sound
or has numerous errors making speech less than 50% understandable in conversation)

Age 3:  p, m, w, n, h
Age 4:  b, d, k, g, y (as in yes), f
Age 6:  t, l, r, ng
Age 7:  j (as in jump), ch, sh, th (unvoiced as in think)
Age 8:  er (as in feather, perfect)
              v, th (voiced as in the) s, z
            (zh is mastered later than 8)

Common Phonological Processes (Should not persist beyond age 5):

Final consonant deletion:                                             says “ba”  instead of “ball”
Syllable reduction:                                                           says “nana” instead of “banana”
Vowelization:                                                                    says “ca” instead of “car”,  “penso” instead of “pencil”
Gliding:                                                                           says “wed” instead of “red”, says “syide” instead of “slide”
Cluster Reduction:                                                           says “boom” instead of “broom”
Doubling:                                                                                             says “ho-ho” for “horse”, says “wa-wa” instead of “water”
Initial Consonant Deletion                                            says “all” instead of “ball”
Backing (not a common process):                             says “gog” instead of “dog”
Fronting:                                                                                              says “tat” instead of “cat”
Glottal Replacement:                                                     say “ba-tub” for “bathtub”

Another important rule is that of the Mean Length Utterance(MLU) of a language developing child.  It relates to the age of the child. If the child is one, they should be using one word to request something. When the child is two, they should be putting two words together to form an utterance. It may not be intelligible to all listeners but the words should be ones that are consistently used by the child that the parent can identify. A three year old should be using 3 word utterances. A four year old should be using four words and a five year old should be using five words in an utterance. As the age increases so should the complexity and length of utterances.   

I think that sums it up nicely for you as a quick little blurb! Please do not live by this because depending on the age of your child, location for therapy, IQ,  etc…other circumstances may apply when assessing, diagnosing, and /or treating a child. I hope to see you all soon over at my blog and I will of course come visit yours as well!

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Welcome March