Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tip Tuesday! Connecting SL services with CCS: a webinar recap!

I participated in a free webinar held via Advance for Speech Language Pathologists on 2/28/13. The topic: How SLPs Can Connect Their Services to Common Core Standards.
The speaker: Perry Flynn, MEd, CCC-SLP.  

I'm going to attempt to recap the things I felt were important from this webinar.  (If you want to listen to this webinar, I believe that Advance will be posting a recorded version on their website over the next few weeks.  So I recommend you checking out their website here for more information).  

What are CCSS (Common Core State Standards)?

CCSS are a means to "level the playing field" for all children.  They are nationwide standards for education that are based on research and evidence based practice; they are aligned with college and work expectations (to functionally prepare students to go head out to the workforce or college after graduation); are considered rigorous; and are internationally benchmarked (so students who study abroad will be educated with the same expectations as other countries).  CCSS are supposed to ensure that children across the country are learning the same skills in each grade.

How can I get a copy of the CCSS?

You can go to http://www.corestandards.org/ to read the CCSS or you can download the FREE common core standards app to your smart phone, iPad, or tablet.

ASHA's resources on CCSS:  http://www.asha.org/SLP/schools/Common-Core-State-Standards—Resources-and-References.htm

Where did the CCSS come from?

The CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) and the NGA (National Governors Association) contracted out this task to experts in the field of education, most recent research and evidence based practice.  This group created the CCS (in June 2010).

Why were the CCSS created?

The CCSS were created in response to legislation:  No Child Left Behind (Bush), Race to the Top (Obama) and Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act (IDEIA).

States that have YET to adopt the CCSS:  Virginia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Alaska.  According to Dr. Flynn, these states may jeopardize  their chances for federal funding if they do not adopt CCSS.

So what do CCSS have to do with speech-language pathology?
  • CCSS has expectations for reading, writing, speaking, listening and language.
  • These are the areas of our expertise as SLPs therefore it makes sense that we would become an integral part in helping children "access" these standards even if they are delayed.
  • These particular areas target several communication skills we as SLPs are the experts in teaching:
    • "comprehending and evaluating texts
    • constructing arguments and conveying complex information
    • strong content knowledge
    • adapt communication to varying demands of audience, task, purpose, discipline
    • use technology strategically and capably
    • understand others perspectives and cultures"

  • Another area in which we as SLPs may play an integral part is the Critical Thinking and Problem Solving area which are based on Bloom's Taxonomy:
    • Remembering: recall, repeat, reproduces, memorize, define, duplicate list
    • Understanding: explain ideas/concepts (classify, describe, discuss, explain, ID, locate, recognize, report, select, translate, paraphrase)
    • Applying: use info in new way (choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write)
    • Analyzing: distinguish between different parts (appraise, compare/contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test)
    •  Evaluating: justify a stand or decision (appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, evaluate)
    • Creating: create new produce or point of view (assemble, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, write)
    • TEA
        • What Should We Do when a teacher comes to us and tells us one of their students cannot
        • perform a particular CCSS?

        • It is our job to observe the child and analyze this standard from various points of view.  We need
        • to determine why the child is struggling.  What is the underlying problem that we can assist
        • with? Is the child struggling with:
    • Bloom's Taxonomy 
    • Syntax
    • Semantics
    • Morphonology
    • Pragmatics
    • Phonological Difficulties
  • We can also analyze which language areas are affected:
    • Listening
    • Speaking
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • These are strategies that we can use as SLPs when "pushing into" classroom, co-teaching, group teaching, whole-class lessons, etc. and the % with which they improve a students ability to perform academically:
      • "Identifying similarities and differences (45% gain)
      • Summarizing and note-taking (34% gain)
      • Reinforcing effort and providing recognition (29% gain)
      • Homework and practice (28% gain)
      • Nonlinguistic representation (27% gain)
      • Cooperative learning (27% gain)
      • Setting objectives and providing feedback (23% gain)
      • Generating and testing hypothesis (23% gain)
      • Questions, cues, and advance organizers (22% gain)"
    • Reference:  Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D.J., Pollack, J.E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • When writing out IEP goals, do we write the CCSS?
    • NO.  IEPs by their very nature are for students who are functioning below grade level (and CCSS are based on the child's current grade) AND they should be individualized based on the child's strengths and weaknesses.
    • However, CCSS can be discussed at IEP meetings in that you can present how your goal(s) will assist the child is getting closer to performing particular standards.
    • IEP goals are really for EVERYONE; therefore the teacher should have a "shorthand" list of goals you are working on and parents should get a list of ways they can also target/accomplish goals at home according to Dr. Flynn.
  • Dr. Flynn has a 6 Step approach to incorporating CCSS into Speech and Language Intervention:
  • 1.  Review content of standards by grade
    • may even require you to analyze several previous grades to determine which standards the child has met and which he/she continues to struggle with.
  • 2.  Determine where the child is performing (present level of performance)
    • gather data
      • classroom observations, 
      • work samples, 
      • teacher/clinician problems, 
      • criterion referenced tests
    • analyze instructional strategies, accommodations and modifications and their effects on the child
    • look for patterns in the child's communication needs that may need to be addressed.
  • 3.  Review IEP goals, accommodations and modifications
  • 4.  Review classroom materials and analyze instructional style
    • encourage use of classroom materials in therapy-limit use of materials NOT academically relevant to child
    • observe classroom environment
    • faciliate optimal communication between teacher and student
  • 5.  Collaborate with teachers
    • need to integrate speech and language interventions in classroom making the strategies useful and practical in the child's real world
    • SLP and classroom teacher determine together the nature of the interventions:
      • direct instruction by SLP?
      • co-teaching?
      • small group instruction in classroom?
  • 6.  Design and Implement intervention
    • intervention may be appropriate in a pull-out situation
    • ideally intervention will incorporate collaboration between teacher and SLP and some type of service incorporated into the classroom setting
    • use other collaborators: secretaries, janitors, principal, music, PE teachers, etc.
    • can collaborate in various ways:
      • in person
      • email
      • skype/facetime
      • drop box/google docs
      • meetings
      • planner/homework folder
      • etc.

  • Q&A time:  Dr. Flynn spent time answering ?s at end of webinar!  Here are some of the ?s and answers:
  • Q: How do you work on grade level vocabulary when the child is not at grade level?
    • A:  work on academic vocabulary child did not master from previous years (use CCSS to guide you)
  • Q:  What are cooperative learning groups?
    • A:  when group of students work together to achieve the same goal.  Each student has a specific job which targets their specific goals.
  • Q:  How do you manage a large caseload and implement suggestions of collaboration above?
    • A:  Ask principal for support to cluster students in one or two classrooms per grade or take advantage of "visitor time" (when students move to different classrooms for reading, math or writing, maybe speech and language students can all go into one classroom and you can co-teach, small group instruction there).
  • Q:  How to take data when co-teaching or teaching large group lesson?
    • A:  You can have the students responsible for their own data (helps with self-monitoring) or train teacher/aide to take data while teaching.  Or use small 3x5 card with child's name and goals on it and keep data as you are instructing.
  • Q: How do you measure standards when the very definition of "functioning" in these standards are labeled by the grade the student is in (e.g. standard: "A K student will understand vocabulary as compared to K standard level")?
    • A:  We are still waiting for those that created the CCSS to develop the ways we will be assessing them; possibly written tests, rubrics, data forms from classroom observations, work samples?  We don't know.

On a side note:  I just found this blog post (3/25/13)...Miss Thrifty SLP has an awesome post with goals for speech and language therapy for K and 1st grade using the CCSS!  Check it out at the link above!  You won't be disappointed :)
Things I really liked in this webinar:

  1. Explanation of how to analyze a standard (various language elements and/or 4 areas of communication-listening, speaking, reading, writing)
  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE the explanation of Marzano's strategies...we as SLPs already naturally use so many of those and now we have the research to prove to parents and teachers how what we are doing will translate to improvements in academics
  3. I'm a big fan of getting out of the therapy room (as appropriate and functional of course)...and I LOVE the explanations and enthusiasm of getting into the classrooms, co-teaching and collaborating... BUT also realistic expectation that if we don't have administration on board to cluster these kids in 1 or 2 classrooms per grade we as SLPs cannot realistically do it.
  4. 6 step model is good.  We are naturally doing most of these steps now I believe, but I do like the idea of working with the classroom teacher to train the style of communication effective for various students (how great would that work for our auditory processing kiddos????).  Of course we would need receptive teachers willing to try anything and I have met many, so I know they are out there!!!!
  5. Also enjoyed the Q&A b/c many of the answers were functional (again) IF we have backing and support from administrators, teachers and other professionals.

Well that was the webinar in a nutshell!!!  A lot of information in one hour but it did clear a few things up for for me.  Now I can't wait to see what the Extensions of the standards will look like (because that is really what will guide the way we make sure our kiddos get access to these standards while continuing to perform our therapy based on EBP of course) and what types of assessments will be done to determine how the child is meeting the standards.  I'll keep you posted (no pun intended) as I continue to learn more!

What do you guys think about this info?  Comment below and let me know your thoughts, concerns, positives and negative affects you believe the CCSS is having/will have on your speech therapy!  I'd love to hear some feedback particularly from school SLPs who are currently connecting their therapy to CCSS and how you go about doing it!

Enjoy and happy talking!!!
  • All


  1. Great post!!! Thank you for sharing all of this information :)

    1. After looking at all the info I got in an hour I was definitely glad I signed up for the free webinar for sure. But webinars are always so hard to participate in when working so I knew I had to pass on what I got out of it at least. Thanks for the feedback. I think Dr. Flynn did a pretty good job with only 60 mins. :)

  2. Wow! What a great post and thanks for sharing. I will definitely follow your suggestions and check out your links.

    1. Yes definitely check out the links Dr. Flynn shared. I have spent some time looking at some of them but really need more time to take an indepth look. Like I said above...I'm really looking forward to checking out the "Extensions of standards" to see how they are written and how we as SLPs can help all of our kids have access to those standards...but they still aren't published yet so I guess its a waiting game right now. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Thank you so much. I missed this webinar. I am interested in the "Extensions of standards" as well, I am not sure if you listed where to find those? Right now I use my students assessments, their grade level benchmarks and ccss checklists incorporated into my therapy. Thanks again for the info and if the "extensions of standards" is listed please tell me again.

    Thank you

    1. Dee, from what I understand from Dr. Flynn, the Extensions have not been published yet. This is a bit astounding when you think that the CCSS has been published since 2010 and already adopted by most states!!! I am eagerly awaiting their publication!!! As soon as I know where to find them I will definitely share that info with everyone. Thanks for your comment and for sharing what you incorporate into your therapy sessions (benchmarks, CCSS checklists, assessments, etc.). If there is something a School SLP knows how to do, its time manage! Well done and keep up the good work!!!


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