American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Jeffries Elementary

Springfield, Missouri

My entire school looks forward to the month of May. The multipurpose room (gym/cafeteria) is the heart of the school, and I hang a huge banner "May is Better Hearing and Speech Month" to which each student on my caseload contributes a letter they have colored or decorated (printed from ASHA's Web site). Each student in the school views the banner everyday during lunch! With the addition of ASHA's new link to create a "rock video" to the theme song "Communicating is Key," each group of my students designed their own video and e-mailed it to their classroom teacher. The teachers were able to show the videos to their classes using Smart Board technology.

Jeffries begins each school day with morning announcements over the intercom system. Thanks to my supportive principal, Dr. Liz Cooper, during May I follow-up morning announcements on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with "The Better Hearing and Speech Month message" devoting two or three announcements to different aspects of the communication process. I don't mind playing the buffoon to make a concept stick so I use different attention-getting ploys. I may start out singing, "I Can Talk" from "Charlotte's Web" or call in my alter ego "Queen LaSpeecha" to rap along with the Ear Buds to "Loud Music Can Be Dangerous." I write the scripts to involve my students by having them read lines, repeat or ask questions-whatever level each can handle, and with a little encouragement, most rise to the challenge to verbalize over the intercom for the whole school!

I try to include a "hook" or something for listeners to do or share with parents at the end of each message. It may be a Web site to visit or a speech, language or hearing quick fun fact for kids to tell one person before the next message. One example is I challenged the students to find out what the smallest bones in the body are, and if they could tell me when they saw me around school, I would have a surprise to show them. I have a small paperweight with exact replicas of the malleus, incus and stapes that I carried around, and when students answered correctly, I pulled the paperweight out for them to look at. Over the years celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month has become a tradition wherever I am!

Submitted by:
Kathy Coleman, MA, CCC-SLP

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