Monday, February 23, 2015

What's in My Cart Linky!

Did you hear?  It's party time over at TeachersPayTeachers this Wednesday!  They're throwing another site wide sale to celebrate the heroes that all educators are.  Save up to 28% off your purchase using the code HEROES at checkout!

Today I'm linking up with SRN to tell you a few things that are in my cart as well as some recommendations I have from my own store!  Click on the image below to check out what everyone is stocking up on.  :)

I've got a couple of new goodies that I think you might want to check out for 28% off!

1.  Interactive Fluency Binder!  This huge packet is everything you need to get your fluency therapy up and running.  

2.  Story in a Can: A DIY for Narratives - My kids have been having a blast with this creating their own fun stories and working on language at the same time. 

3.  Jump Frog Jump Book Companion for your littles - This pack is jammed with speech and language activities for your preschool and kinders.  

Now, take a peak at what's in my cart for the sale!

1.  Articulation Strips for /r/ by Sublime Speech - I have SO many kids working on /r/ this year.  Can't wait to give these a try.

2.  Old Lady Story Sequencing Necklaces by [simply speech].  - We love the old lady in my speech room.  These will be a great addition to my books and companion packs!

3.  March Book Club by WhitneySLP -  I've been really wanting to try Whitney's book clubs, since grabbing a couple other of her book companions.  They go great with Story Grammar Marker, so I'm excited to try it.

4.  Interactive Grammar Organizers by Gay Miller - I came across this the other day and it seems amazing and a great price!

5.  Listening Skills Resource Pack by Jenn Alcorn - I mean what language disordered kid doesn't need help with listening?  In bag. 

A few others that I already own but would highly recommend include:
Leveled Grammar Intervention by Nicole Allison
Spring Print N Go by The Dabbling Speechie
No Prep Articulation by The Speech Bubble SLP

Happy shopping!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sticky Words Freebie

You know that feeling when you are giving the CELF to a student and you get to the formulating sentences subtest?  It's a mixture of dread and curiosity for me.  That subtest is not my favorite because sometimes scoring can be subjective, plus it takes forever.  But I'm always curious at how my student will perform.  It gives a great picture of how well he/she grasps language and its complexity.  Part of the reason, I'm thinking, is the word choices.  Targeting transition words and conjunctions forces them to have to think about how words and phrases link or stick together to create a certain flow and meaning.

So I'm trying to incorporate a little of these skills into my daily therapy.  We call them sticky words.  They help link or glue our different thoughts together.  I want my students to be able to speak and write cohesively.  I'm hoping that utilizing these will be a step in that direction.  This is why I made a sticky words board.

When we are creating sentences, retelling stories, writing, reading, etc., we talk about these words on the board and use them!  I love it when my kids find one while we are reading.  I have them pull it off the board and we talk about it and create sentences with it.

To make them I printed the words on bright orange paper and laminated.  Then I cut squares of magnet from this tape and affixed it to the back of the word.

Want some sticky words of your own?  Download them HERE!!

I've been going a little magnet crazy, lol.  I did the same thing with testing and classroom vocabulary.  I added visuals to give them something concrete to see, since these can be very difficult words.  We made it into a game, where different words are worth different amounts of skittles/m&ms/stickers.  We try to talk about them and define them.

Unfortunately, I can't share those with you because I don't have the rights to a lot of the images.  I just wanted to give you an idea of something you can do in your speech rooms!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Junganew: A Herd of Sounds ~ App Review!

I've got a new and very unique app to share with you today!  Let's check out Junganew's A Herd of Sounds app for /s/.  Disclaimer: Though this app was provided to me, the thoughts and opinions are my own.

This game is different from other articulation apps in that it has a story format.  You follow the adventures of Theo the tree frog and help him work on his /s/ sound.  It's great for auditory bombardment and discrimination as well as practice for all positions of words.  Below you'll find the home screen.

The Play button starts the story from the beginning.  Starting there sets the stage for the story and gives you some great auditory bombardment.

Mirror models are a great feature for students to learn to critique themselves and see what they can do.  Follow along with Ms. Snake and she'll help you practice.  It allows students to see themselves like a mirror and even records them saying the sound.

The Map allows you to go immediately to any of the 5 places that Theo travels to in the story.

The For Adults tab gives you information about the app and directions for each section of the game.

Now for the game.  The story takes you to different places that allow you to practice /s/ in different positions.
Sand Central Station: You start by doing some auditory discrimination/isolation tasks.  It actually can be a little tricky distinguishing between /th/ and /s/.

There are 4 icons in the corners.  The leaves let you go to the next and previous pages.  The house brings you back home and the compass brings you to the map.

Here you also work on initial /s/ with a hide-and-seek game.  Sal A Mander gives you clues to where he is hiding - all places that begin with /s/.

For medial /s/, you play an associations game with the butterfly.  Find the item that goes with her outfit.

The other medial /s/ game is fun and hands-on.  Trace the different shapes with both hands at the same time! The shape reveals a medial /s/ word.

Next, you travel to the fun house where you work on final /s/.  The final /s/ games are cute carnival ones.  The first is Balloon Pops.  Find the balloon that rhymes with the word given.  Great for practicing rhyming skills as well!

The other is Guess the Goose.  You have to pick the correct goose based on Theo's clues.

There's also a voicing game where you practice turning your /s/ into /z/.  Tap on the characters to hear them say their /z/ sounds.

Moving on to the last adventure: s-blends.  Just add consonants to the blender and make some s-blend cookies for Theo.

Practice s-blends/plurals at the ends of words by putting toppings on the cupcakes.

At the end of the game, the characters have a little party to celebrate Theo learning to say his /s/ for show and tell.

Grab this app from iTunes for only $4.99!

What I love about this app:

  • It's very unique and story-based, making it engaging for young students.
  • There are a variety of activities to provide lots of opportunity for practice.
  • The characters and graphics are super cute!
  • The mirror model activity is prompted after each game, allowing for lots of self-check.
  • The price is very reasonable at only $4.99.
What could make it better:
  • The game is not super straightforward.  It took me a little while to figure it all out.
  • You can't take data in the app.  Some activities are drill-oriented but not all.  You just have to tell your students when they need to repeat words.  
  • Young students would not be able to use this on their own.  They would need specific instructions from you on when they need to speak at the different activities.
  • It provides targets at the word level.  However, you could easily adapt some activities for sentences.
I'd love to see more stories for the different sounds, since this one only targets /s/, /z/, and s-blends.  Overall, I think it's super cute and motivating for lots of the kids on my caseload!  What do you think?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chicken Soup for the Soul Blog Hop!

I hope you have been filling up on sweet stories that are sure to make you laugh or cry.  Everyone needs a little inspirational posts once in a while, especially in our field.  I'm so thankful for all these amazing bloggers that are willing to give you a peek into their wonderful terrible speechie experiences.

Here's another story that I'm hoping warms your heart a little.

A few years ago, our growing school split and a new school was opened.  I was placed at the new school.  It was my first time to be full time at one place, and I was a little nervous.  Being itinerant has a way of letting you fly under the radar a little...maybe get away with not taking many of the tough cases or not having much focus on you.  I was about to get a lot more students with complicated situations and difficulties.

One of the students I inherited was a sweet, beautiful little boy that we'll call JJ.  He was autistic and nonverbal at six years old.  He loved swings and electronics and laughing at everything.  JJ's teachers and parents really wanted him to speak.  I just wanted him to be motivated to communicate.  

At first I tried everything I could to get him to produce words.  I tried ABA techniques, whole language techniques, building his receptive language, and everything else I researched.  It wasn't happening.  He didn't want it.  JJ just wanted to stare at youtube videos and google images.  Yes, this kid was a computer genius.  That's when I decided to use his computer skills to my advantage.  

Scratch all the effort of getting him to speak.  I wanted to see if I could motivate him to communicate at all.  While watching him on the computer, I discovered that JJ could recognize words.  I began to put words of his favorite cartoons and videos on strips of paper for him to request what he wanted to watch.  He did great with it.  He'd even grab the word and take my hand and put it on the keyboard.  I always pushed for him to type the words himself, though he'd get frustrated at times.  

We kept at it.  He started to match words to pictures and built his vocabulary.  He would even write words or finish a written sentence on a dry-erase board.    

I really feel like this opened the door to communication for him.  Eventually, his parents and teachers got on board with alternative communication techniques, and he now does amazing things on his iPad.  He still has a ways to go, but he continues to learn and grow every day.  I'm so proud of him.

This experience really taught me that sometimes you have to think outside the box.  Think about what interests the child and go from there.  Also, it's ok to give things a try if what you're doing isn't working.  It might even give you great data to show parents on what their child is able to do.  

I love sharing happy stories!  Keep pushing through the blog hop and enjoy.  At the end of the hop, you'll have the chance to win some fabulous prizes!  Check out what we've got for you!

In order to enter, you'll have to add up all the numbers along the hop and put the total in the rafflecopter at the last stop.  Here's my number!

Head on over to the next blog by clicking the image below. 

If you need to start at the beginning, click on the following image to go back to the beginning.  Have fun and good luck!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Therapy Fun Find: Simon's Cat

I'm one of those people who hates digging for things.  I'd rather go into a small boutique and glance around instead of digging through the clearance racks at TJMAX (though I do make myself do it to get good deals from time to time).  I'll admit that I get mildly annoyed when I have to google something and scour through website after website when I can't find what I'm looking for.  It's less of an impatience issue and more of a I-have-a-million-other-things-to-do-right-now issue. Or maybe that's the same thing.  Lol.

So, I always get a little flutter of excitement when I stumble across something cool accidentally.  I feel like I won the gift of time AND cool new idea.  Such is the case with this new fun find.

I came across a super cute series on youtube called Simon's Cat.  Maybe you've heard of it before, since it seems to have been around a while (like a few years!).  It was new to me, so I thought I'd share just in case you wanted to check it out.

The videos are short 2-3 minute episodes of stories from the perspective of Simon the cat.  Two things I love about them: they are short and WORDLESS...perfect for facilitating language and narrative discourse.  I use the Story Grammar Marker tools with them, since most of the videos make a "complete episode" for narratives in SGM language.  

They are also great for working on social language skills, such as emotions, facial expressions, problem solving, unexpected behaviors, and more.  The possibilities with wordless books and videos really are endless.

There are like over 30 videos, so head on over and use away in therapy.  Be sure and subscribe to the youtube channel, so you can stay updated when they post new episodes.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kindergarten Language Benchmark Assessment {Product Review}

Back in November at the ASHA conference, I was able to meet so many sweet people and talented vendors.  One of these talented ladies gave me a copy of a brand new assessment to review.  It's called the Kindergarten Language Benchmark Assessment (KLBA).  After reading up on it and trying it out, I am SO excited to tell you about this one.

The KLBA was created by Naomi R Konikoff, MS CCC-SLP and Jennifer Preschern, MA CCC-SLP.  It is "a universal screening and progress monitoring tool for early language skills."  It consists of three assessments for students enrolled in kindergarten and geared for fall, winter, and spring.  For me, this is perfect for the Response to Intervention (RtI) process especially since I have to include specific RtI data in every evaluation (state requirement).

One thing that I love about it is that each assessment only takes about 3-4 minutes to administer or maybe a little longer at first.  This  works out great if you're on a tight schedule like me (and probably every other school-based SLP out there).

The skill areas included are: auditory comprehension, following directions, categories receptive, categories expressive, and narrative language.  The test gives you a raw score for each skill as well as a total score.

To administer the KLBA you use the picture prompts and record form booklet.  The instructions are straightforward and the pictures are colorful and easy to identify.  A couple of the pictures could have a little better quality; however, they were still clear enough for the students to easily understand.

I like that the verbal prompts are included inside the picture book to allow for quick delivery.  Most of the subtests include a training item and specific directions on what to say if the answer that's given is correct or incorrect.

Inside the test manual are specific scoring guides for each skill area as well as an answer key and scoring practice items.

There isn't any standardized data included, but you can still measure progress made throughout the year using the 3 assessments.  I will probably use 2 of the assessments as a pre- and post- measure for my RtI kindergarten students.  Check out this post on how you can use the KLBA more specifically in the RtI process.

The manual does give you the data from a recent pilot study, which allows you to compare your students' scores to the averages of the participants given in a table form.  You can find more info on the research involved in the KLBA here.  And this post explains how you can even use this test to differentiate SLI from ELL difficulties.

Overall, I thought this was a great tool to gather lots of language rich data from kindergarteners.  It can definitely be a go-to for progress monitoring, IEP goals, interventions, ELL concerns, and more.

 What do you think?  Is this something that you could use in your speech room?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Appy New Year Part 1! {InTense Pro}

Happy New Year!  It's "Appy" New Year on the blog today.  I've got a brand new app to tell you about and a giveaway too!  It's called InTense Pro, and it's designed by speech-language professionals as well as video game developers.  What makes it fun for the kiddos is that it combines learning verb tenses with a cute carnival game.

This app starts off by letting you create a profile for students.  Just tap + new profile to get started.

A cool option that you get is the ability to put the parent's email into the student's profile.  This is great if you frequently want to keep parents updated on progress.  You could also add your own email in place of it and send the results to yourself.

On each student profile, you can select the question types, tenses to practice, progress charts, and total stats.

Select up to 5 players in a group to get started and tap the let's play button.

There are several types of questions that are presented.  Tap the speaker button to have the question read aloud.  Some questions even have speakers for the question and answers with no text.

Follow the directions to complete the different types of questions.  After the student answers correctly, they earn tickets.  Keep track of how many tickets have been earned by looking at the righthand side of the screen.  There are 3 different types and each represents a different game that can be played for reinforcement.  More on that in a second.

After one student answers several questions, they are prompted to pass it to the next person in the group.

They take their turn answering questions and earning tickets.  They have to answer correctly on the first attempt for it to be counted as correct.

Whenever you want to reinforce, simply tap on one of the tickets to begin your game.  Depending on the ticket pressed, you'll enter a certain game board scene.  Tapping on a pod will allow you to complete a fun activity.

For this activity, you have to launch a cannonball to hit some top hats...kind of like angry birds.  :)

Tap the back button in the corner to return to grammar questions.  After playing tap on the settings icon next to the student's name to access their profile.  From their you can view their scores and email the results.  The dropdown menu at the top of the screen lets you decide exactly what scores you'd like to view.

Grab this app in the iTunes store for $18.99 HERE.

Things I loved about this app:

  • The graphics are super cute and kid-friendly.
  • The game aspect of it is very motivating for kids.  The games are fun and engaging and challenging enough for my older students.
  • It's easily adaptable to fit your specific needs.  You can tailor it to target exactly what the student is working on in therapy.
  • You can even choose the types of questions that work best for your student.  If you want all multiple choice with visual text, then you have the option to choose that.
  • I like that you can have several students playing at a time, and that they answer a few questions before passing.  This works great in group.  You could have them all working on something while waiting their turn, since it's not going to be right away.  (I'm a multi-tasker ;))
Things that could make it better:
  • The main thing that I didn't love about this app is that some of the questions are confusing.  The visuals they give are a little tough.  See below.  The correct answer is the one on the left.

  • Sometimes the answers are tricky as well.  The one below asks for a 2-word past tense which threw me off a little.

At least you do have the option of viewing the correct answer if you are unsure.  And it will let you keep guessing at the multiple choice items until you get it right.

Overall, I think this is a great app and my students love it.  My friends at Algoma even gave me a code to give one away for free!!  Just enter via the Rafflecopter below!! Good luck and Happy New Year!!

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