Sunday, March 31, 2013

So long, Spring Break!

I've had such a nice relaxing week this week!  Unfortunately, I was not able to go anywhere exciting but was able to spend some good QT with my pup, my Bible, my laptop, and family and friends.  It's back to the old grind on Tuesday though.  I am glad I've got one more day to sleep in!  :)

I probably painted my nails about 5 times this week.  I kept trying different fun pinterest ideas; however, they were all a big fat FAIL.  So, I reluctantly ended up with a plain soft pink...sigh.  If any of you have been successful with nail "techniques," please share.

One of my best friends is getting married this summer, and all of us bridesmaids threw her a shower this past weekend.  I was in charge of decorations, so my scissors and glue gun were worn out by the time the big day came.

The shower turned out so nice!  I was even able to whip up that wreath the day of...whew!

Oh, and I surely did finish 2 new products earlier this week for y'all to check out if you haven't already!

Game Hero Fact and Opinion

There Was A Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea book companion

Who else had their spring break last week?  Did y'all do anything fun??  :)

A Happy back to work sale is in my TPT store!  15% off everything!

Friday, March 29, 2013

FAQ Friday: Off-topic Answers

It's FAQ Friday time!  Don't forget to send me your questions!  I'd love to be able to help you dig a little and find some good answers.  :)

Today's question is brought to you by a couple of teachers that I work with.  I love it when they ask me how they can help the students with language disorders.  It shows that they really care about the student's learning and they value my opinions as an SLP.  Here's what they asked me recently:

Our conversations usually go something like this:
-Teacher:  Many of your students give "off the wall" responses to the questions that I ask them, what do you do with that?  Are there any strategies or things that I can do while teaching that would help them?
-Me:  Can you give me an example?
-Teacher:  Sure.  I asked, "How long did the king reign over his kingdom?"  And the student responded, "Sometimes thunder is loud, and you can't play outside when it's raining."

I procede to explain to the teachers that off-topic responses are usually an indication of a receptive language disorder, meaning they aren't correctly processing the information being asked of them.  The students I work with also often have a very limited vocabulary.  In the example, this student had never heard the word "reign" and related it back to the only word he knew "rain."  On top of that, his language is still very ego-centric, and it is very difficult for him to think outside of his own experiences.

I attempt to give teachers a few strategies to try out in the classrooms with my language-disordered students, along with the disclaimer that every child is different, and what works with one may not work with another.

Here are a few:

  • Anticipate that the child may not process the question correctly.  Rephrase the question using simpler vocabulary.
  • Give the student time to process the question and encourage him to think about what is being asked before immediately responding.
  • Give the child a choice between 2 possible answers.
  • Give visual cues by pointing, highlighting key words, drawing a picture, etc.
  • Try not to just move on to the next student when they respond incorrectly.  Scaffold down or break down the question until they can come up with the answer.
  • Explain words with multiple or hidden meanings.
  • Make the question a yes/no question if necessary.
  • If nothing seems to be working, encourage him to ask a friend for help.  Let him practice asking the question to someone else in his own words.  Sometimes just this act will help him internalize the question.
What other tips do you have?  I'd love to hear how some of you respond to questions like this from teachers.  

I previously did a post on tips for teachers that included a freebie handout.  You can refer to that post if you need something tangible to give to teachers.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea Companion Pack!

I love book companions.  When I bought this new book from our school's "Books Are Fun," I knew I had to make a companion pack.  It is SUCH a cute book!  And I'm loving the southwestern theme!  :)  If you aren't familiar with it, head on over to Amazon to check it out.  So worth it.

Here's a preview of my companion pack!  It's filled with lots of speech and language skills and activities to go along with this book.

The contents include:
  • Open-ended game board
  • Sequencing cards and sequencing mat

  • Vocabulary cards (14 cards)
  • Rhyming cards (20 cards and 4 blank cards)
  • Basic and complex comprehension cards - the basic questions just target who and what questions plus include answer choices.  The complex questions are more of a variety and do not include answer choices.
  • Story prediction chart

  • Feelings inference cards - Includes sheet with feelings words for you to choose from. 
  • Inferencing chart - Students use pictures and text to come up with their own inferences.
  • Double bubble compare and contrast graphic organizer
  • Articulation cards - 12 each for /r/, /s/, and /l/ and 12 blank cards.  These can be used with the game board.
  • Open-ended reinforcement worksheets

 Color a Coyote, Do-A-Dot, and Roll and Color Desert.
  • 12 regular plural cards
  • Regular and Irregular verb sort - Sort the verbs into present tense or past tense cards.

  • Also included are visual sentence strips, story element cards, and contents page
You can grab this 33-page packet in my TPT store HERE!  What do y'all think??  Have you ever read this book?  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Game Hero Fact and Opinion

I've got a brand new download for you today!  Yay!  It targets fact and opinion - a skill that so many of my kids struggle with.  This game is leveled and lets you practice the skill in 3 different ways.  Check out Game Hero Fact and Opinion!

Students help the video game hero get to the island by moving game pieces along the coins.

They choose a card and answer 3 different types of questions.  The race car cards let kids decide if the statement given is a fact or an opinion.

The star/face cards have 2 statements about the same topic.  Tell which statement is the fact and which is the opinion.

The standing player cards allow students to come up with their own fact or opinion.

Of course, there are 6 cute wild cards included and 6 blank cards to make up your own questions.

I've also included an answer key for you to track students responses.  So what do you think?  You can grab this fun game at my TPT store HERE.  :)

I'm ready to give away a free copy to a random blog follower!  Just comment below on this blog post to enter!  I'll choose a winner tomorrow!  Yay!  Good luck!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Introducing: FAQ Fridays!

I've decided to start a new series on the blog called "FAQ Friday!"  Each Friday I'll take a speechie question that I get frequently asked by parents, teachers, friends, or other therapists.  Of course, I am not claiming to be an expert in every single aspect of the field, but I'll do my best to research and find some good links and answers to the questions I get asked.

Here's what I need from you: share your questions!  If you are a parent or teacher, what questions do you have about speech therapy?  If you are a therapist, what questions do you get asked often?  Feel free to comment on the blog posts with your questions or send them to me via email to

Today's question is brought to you by parents everywhere, especially the ones I come in contact with.  ;)
"Is my child's stuttering normal?"  Well, the short answer is...possibly.  Stuttering is typical for kids between the ages of 2 and 6 during their language "surge," as I like to call it.  Kids learn SO much language during their toddler years, and stuttering is often a sign that they are grasping this new language.  Their disfluencies are also likely to come and go, so you may not notice your child stuttering for a while. Then it might return a few months later.

However, there are some warning signs that your kiddo might need a speech or language evaluation.  Contact an SLP if your child:
  • Stutters frequently - more than 10% of the time.
  • Has visible tension in their face when they speak.
  • Has been stuttering continuously longer than 6 months.
  • Began stuttering after age 3-and-a-half.
  • Has family members that stutter.
If you have concerns or are worried about your child's speech, it'd be good to schedule a screening.  Many clinics offer speech screenings for a low price or even free!  Public schools also have SLPs on staff that you could contact.
Here is a risk-factors chart from to help determine if your child is at risk for stuttering.

There are also things you can do to help your child when they stutter at home.  Here are a few tips:
  • Speak slowly and calmly.
  • Refrain from interrupting your child and listen patiently to what he is saying.
  • Create a relaxed atmosphere.  We want to try to keep him from feeling rushed or like he has to hurry and speak in order to be heard.
  • Set aside some good one-on-one time with your child.  Show him you are interested in what he says rather than how he's saying it.   
  • Be involved with his teachers and SLP and ask for strategies and suggestions of things you can do at home.
  • Remember that overcoming stuttering is not easy.  There is no quick fix.  Always be encouraging and supportive.
Click here for a printable list of 7 tips and strategies to hand out to parents from

And here are a few helpful websites: The Stuttering Foundation, National Stuttering Association, StutterTalk

Well, that's it for my first FAQ!  Hope it helps some of you!  I'd love to hear how some of you other therapists respond to this question when asked.

Send in your questions for next week!  :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Reading Comprehension Camp App Review

Reading comprehension seems to be a major issue for my speechie kids.  Almost all of my upper grade students have it as part of their language goal.  The curriculum in 4th 3rd 2nd - 5th grade is drowning in comprehension and higher level thinking.  With common core creeping in, I know it's only going to get more prevalent.  Because I service my language disordered kiddos in their regular classroom setting, I'm thankful for apps that make it easy to practice these necessary skills. 

I know there have been several great reviews of this new Smarty Ears app by my bloggy buddies, but I'm excited to give you my 2-cents as well.  :)  All of the opinions in this review are my own.  Take a looksy at Reading Comprehension Camp!  I'm loving it.  Seriously.  

Be sure to click on the pictures to get a good view of my comments and notes on the slides.  :)

When you open the app, the home screen is this cutesy camping scene.  Click around on the different icons to get support, view other Smarty Ears apps, look at student data, or begin reading.

After you click the book, it will take you to the student page so that you can add the players.  You can choose up to 4 in one group.  Click each player you would like to select.

Clicking the open book will bring you to the stories.  There are 50 stories to choose from that are separated into 5 levels.  Level 1 would be appropriate for around the 2nd grade level.  

I love that you have the option of creating your own story.  You can add images, text, record yourself, and even add your own comprehension questions.  This would be great for story retell as well as generating narratives using story elements.

When you click on the story (this story is a level 3), there is text and an illustration.  The settings allow you to change the text size and image size.  The paper and pencil button will begin the quiz.

Choose the types of questions you would like to target.  There is one question per skill for each story.  Be sure and select several types if not all, so that the students will have more than one question to answer.

There are several options for structuring the quiz.  You can choose the number of answers they have to choose from, what you want to happen when they get an answer wrong, and functions you want displayed.  I like to have answers crossed out when wrong, since that is a strategy that we work on in class.

You have the option of allowing the students to view the text and the visual while they answer the questions.

Finishing the quiz will bring you to the student lounge, where you can select the student whose data you would like to view.  The data screen gives you percentages on each question type and allows you to share the data via email or TRC.

This app is available in iTunes at this time for $21.99.  You can check it out HERE.

Things I dig about this app:
  • The stories are leveled and appropriate for a variety of student abilities.
  • It targets several question types and skills, making it applicable for addressing the skill they are focusing on in class.
  • The option of creating your own story is awesome!  Perfect for students who need to work on writing and generating questions.  I can definitely envision a reading project for my upper grades.
  • I love the "hint" button.  Highlighting or underlining the text is a strategy the teachers reiterate in class.  Love it!
  • Easily tracks data on each student and lets you go from student to student to during the same set of questions.
What could make the app even better:
  • It would be great if there were more questions for each skill area instead of just one.  I'd like to be able to get a good set of data for a given skill.  
  • I'd also like to be able to customize the question types for each student instead of each therapy group.  
  • It's a little pricey; however, you do get a lot for the money you put in.
Overall, I'm loving this app!  So excited to be incorporating it into my therapy and RtI sessions!  What do you think?  Have any of you tried it yet? 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Blast Off into Spring Speech Giveaway!

It'ssss  giveaway time!  Yay!  I'm so excited to be a part of this A-Mazing giveaway put on by some of your favorite SLP bloggers.  The winners get TPT gift cards and awesome downloads from several TPT stores.  A big thanks to Kids Games for Speech Therapy for heading it all up!

All you have to do is enter via the rafflecopter below!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • The 1st Prize Winner will receive a $25 Teachers pay Teacher Gift Certificate plus all of the following Speech Therapy product downloads.

  • The 2nd Prize Winner will receive a $10 Teachers pay Teacher Gift Certificate plus 10 downloads.

  • The 3rd Prize Winner will receive a $10 Teachers pay Teacher Gift Certificate plus 2 downloads.

  • Click the links below to view the selection of sponsored products for yourself!

    Crazy Speech World: Social Candy Monsters
    WordNerdTeachSpeech: Butterfly Categories
    Kids Games for Speech Therapy: Easter Language Activity Pack
    Rae’s Speech Spot: Sequence Comprehension
    Nicole Allison: No Print Expressive Pack
    Ms. Jocelyn Speech: Buzz Words
    Danielle Reed: Hedgehog Grammar Unit
    Busy Bee Speech: Monster Mash Artic
    Speech Time Fun: Spring Word Fun

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