Monday, April 29, 2013

Common Core Standards-Based RtI Packet for Language

I am so very excited to show you this next project.  It has been a work-in-progress for several months now.  It's such a great feeling to finally be finished!

In my state RtI is a mandatory component of the evaluation process.  We must have documented interventions in all areas of communication (articulation, language, voice, fluency).  It has to be included in the report if a child qualifies for speech therapy services and marked on the "documentation of eligibility" paperwork.  Needless to say, RtI has become a major part of my work day.

Language RtI has been a tough nut to crack.  I tried a couple of different programs that didn't work for my kids or schedule.  I really wanted something straightforward and relevant to the classroom.  Enter: Common Core Standards-Based RtI Packet for Language!

This is a huge 48-page packet.  Every page is packed with content based on Common Core.  This pack addresses kindergarten through second grade.  I'm still working on grades 3-5!

  • The kindergarten and first grade units come with pre- and post-tests for 4 areas of language: WH questions, grammar, phonological awareness, and language concepts.

There are also progress monitoring quick checks for each of the 4 areas to keep track during the RtI process.

  • The second grade unit comes with pre- and post-tests as well as progress monitoring checks for WH questions, grammar, vocabulary, and language concepts.

  • It also comes with Appendices and student sheets to supply visuals to some of the questions

  • There's even a graph to chart students' progress.
  • Lastly, I've included a list of standards that are targeted in these assessments for each grade.

A few things to note:
-These are assessments to give you some good pre-intervention and post-intervention data.  You would provide your own research-based intervention during RtI.
-The assessments would also be great to give at the beginning and end of the school year to show parents how much progress their child has made, or even give you and the teacher an idea of what they still need to work on!
-In order to determine which of the 4 areas I need to target, I use Nicole Allison's Curriculum Based Language Assessments.  These provide a great overview of what the kids can do.
-You can download a free copy of the phonological awareness unit for kindergarten!  Just click the "download preview" button on the TPT page.

You can download the freebie and purchase the whole packet at my TPT store HERE!

What do y'all think?  How does RtI work in your states?

PS I'm ready to give away a copy of this huge packet to a random blog follower!  Just comment below to enter!

Friday, April 26, 2013

FAQ Friday: Managing Behavior

In today's FAQ Friday post, I'm hoping to give you a couple of easy ideas and a few research links that could help my fellow SLP and teacher friends.

It's that time of year!  Summertime is just around the corner.  State testing is over.  It didn't help that there was a full moon last night.  The kids are getting antsy!  This is the time when behavior starts to get a little bit (or a lotta bit) out of control...which leads us to this week's question.

Of course, let me just preface this by saying that every kid is different.  There are cases that can get severe.  Sometimes it takes lots of trial and error and team meetings and professional intervention.  This is just meant to be a few helpful tips and links to get you through the rest of the year.  :)

-It's always great to have an incentive system in place.  I always like making much of the good behavior.  Check out some of these cool ones that I found through Pinterest.  Click "source" to take you to the pin.

Behavior Bingo - Students write their name in a square when they're spotted doing something good.  At the end of the day (or session), the teacher/therapist draws a bingo chip to see who gets the special prize.

Cute punch card!  Kids receive a punch for good behavior.  When their card is full, they choose a prize.

Behavioropoly - SO cute!  When students meet their behavior goal, they can take a turn on this fun game board.  It's filled with little incentives like free homework or take off your shoes.

-It's also a great idea to teach kids about how to deal with their anger and show self-control.  The savvyschoolcounselor has a great post about anger games.  This m&m one is my fave!

-The Crisis Intervention website lists 6 behavior management strategies for you as a professional when the situation gets tough!  You can find the full article here.  Strategies include:

  1. Be mindful of your own reaction.
  2. Maintain rational detachment.
  3. Be attentive.
  4. Use positive self-talk.
  5. Recognize your limits.
  6. Debrief.
-If you want to take a closer look at a child's behavior, you can use the ABC system (from
A = Antecedant (the event that happens before a behavior or what prompts the behavior)
B = Behavior (a response to events that can be seen or heard)
C = Consequence (the events that follow the behavior and effects whether the behavior will occur again). 

-If you want to do a little more reading up on managing behavior, THIS website has lots of great articles and tips for the classroom.

Hope you find some of this helpful!  Do any of you deal with problematic behaviors?  Or maybe I'm the only one.  ;)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day Fun!

It's a beautiful day here in South Louisiana!  A little on the warm side, but clear and sunny and cheerful.  Spring is definitely here.  The grass is greener, and flowers and trees are starting to bud.  Even my fig tree is sprouting some big, fat leaves.  

Since it was so nice out, I decided to take Maisy for a long walk.  Well, I think I need to do this more often because this is what she looked like afterward.  

LOL...poor baby is so out of shape.

This is some perfect weather to celebrate Earth Day!  I know some of you have already done your Earth Day activities, so you'll just have to put these in your pockets for next year.  We'll actually be doing fun "Earthy" activities all this week!  Check out what's happening in my speech room.

First, I grabbed The Lorax to read with the kids.  

They LOVE this book and so do I.  I created a few of these half-page worksheets to use with some of my groups.  They fill this out while we read...with a little help of course.  They include worksheets for artic, rhyming, and vocabulary.

You can grab a copy of these worksheets for free HERE.

We also made some cute crafts to go along with it.  I snagged this fun foam earth-themed set from Wal-mart last year.  

Every time they responded correctly or said their target word a certain number of times, they got a foam sticker.  They turned out pretty cute!

I also made a giant Earth out of bulletin board paper and attached it to my classroom wall with sticky tack.  The students traced their hands and cut them out.  I had some of them find Earth Day vocabulary that included their artic sounds and write them on the hands.  It turned out super cool, if I may say so!  :)

The whole thing will be filled with hands by the end of the week.  It's looking a little bare right now, since we were just getting started.

Oh, and be excited because I've got some FREEBIES for you!  :)  Check them out!

Color-a-pic worksheets:

Sentence writing cards:

Vocabulary wordlist page.  This page can be used for describing, defining, conversation starters, etc.  I had my articulation kids find words with their sound in them and write them on the hands.

Grab your own copy of these freebies HERE.

What do you think?  Hope you can use some of these activities, even if for next year!  

Friday, April 19, 2013

FAQ Friday: Tracking Progress {with Freebie!}

I am SO glad it's Friday!  It's that time of year that's sooo crazy busy.  The countdown to the end of the school year has already begun for us...25 school days left!  I know my kiddos are definitely ready for a break.  What about yours?

Of course, Friday also means FAQ time!  :)

This week we're going to chat a little bit about tracking progress.  Tracking progress is a great way to get parents involved in their child's speech at home.  I also love to get the kids involved in tracking their own progress, if they're old enough.  So today's question is for parents:

 For some of us SLPs, tracking data has become second nature, mostly because we're required to do it everyday.  We can easily teach parents and kids to do it as well while they work on their homework!  The benefits of data tracking are great.  It can:
-Give students a visual to know how far they are from reaching their goal
-Motivate students to practice harder
-Let parents know exactly how their child is performing
-Be a great incentive to actually get their homework done

If a parent is willing, I'm a believer in teaching them to be their own mini-SLP at home.  I give them tips on what kind of responses I'm looking for.  For articulation, I show them what the error sounds and looks like versus what the correct sound is like.  If I can't trust that the parent and student can correctly tally the errors, I suggest recording them practicing so I can check.  Most cell phones have a video recording feature, so they could easily whip it out and record without having to purchase another device.

Ok now on to the good stuff!  To track progress, here are some tips:

  • Grab your homework sheet - whether it be a worksheet, cards, an app, etc.
  • Write down how many total items you practiced.
  • While practicing, circle or mark the items that you have difficulty with.
  • Count how many items that were easy or that you know you said correctly.
  • Grab a calculator and divide the number you got correct over the total number of items.
  • Multiply that number times 100 to get a percentage.
  • Mark your percentage on a chart or graph.
I've created a couple of charts to help you if you need!  Check them out :)

These give a quick visual on how the student is performing.  You can grab these charts for FREE right HERE.  :)  Enjoy!

What do you think?  Do you encourage parents and students to track their own progress at home?  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Say What? Product Review & {GIVEAWAY}!!

I think every single one of my 2-5th grade inclusion kiddos are working on comprehension this year.  It seems like a hallmark sign of a language learning disorder.  Some of my kids can even read beautifully, decoding long words and everything.  When you ask them about what they've read or try to get them to retell the story, they break down completely.

When Kristin over at [simply speech] asked if I wanted to review one of her products, I immediately jumped at the chance to grab her Say What? pack!  I love it because it's simple and straightforward, targeting exactly what I need.  Check out Say What? and Say What? Part II!

The first edition of this activity comes with posters that explain story elements and terms and include visuals.

I actually printed out multiple sheets per page and use them as large cards.  This works better for me when I do inclusion or push-in sessions.

Also included are 24 mini stories with multiple comprehension questions for each.  Most of the questions focus on the story elements, including problem and solution and predicting.

These are great to whip out and gather some data or to reinforce skills they are learning in class!

Now let's check out Part II.  It is a super cute packet as well!

This activity includes a game board and 24 target cards.

These cards address story elements PLUS author's purpose, fiction/nonfiction, feelings, and sequencing.  It's a little higher level than the first pack.

I highly recommend grabbing BOTH packets!  They each come with several unique aspects that you'll want to be able to mix and match.  Grab the Say What? pack at Kristin's TPT store HERE and the Part II pack HERE!

Also, I'm SO excited to be able to offer a giveaway of these goodies!  [simply speech] has generously offered to give a copy of Say What? and Say What? II to 2 lucky winners.  So, one person will win the first edition and another person will win the second edition.  :)  Enter in the rafflecopter below!!  Good luck!  I'll choose a winner on Friday! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 12, 2013

FAQ Friday: Vocal Abuse

Friday could not come soon enough this week.  With state testing and paperwork and evals, I'm about to pull my hair out over here!  I guess it's just that time of year...sigh.  April and May are always so ca-razy!

Weeelll, you know what Fridays also mean...FAQ time!  Get your questions ready!  :)

Today's question is voice related.  Even though I haven't had an extremely large amount of kids with voice disorders in my career, it seems like my friends are usually the vocal abuse culprits.  I've had some singer friends fight nodules as well as some hard core Tiger football fans!  In light of this, back to today's question:

To prevent vocal abuse, let's take a look at some behaviors that cause it.  That way we know what to avoid!  According to ASHA, these behaviors can cause abuse that can later lead to nodules:

  • Smoking
  • Allergies
  • Muscle tension
  • Singing
  • Coaching
  • Cheerleading
  • Talking loudly
  • Drinking caffeine and alcohol.  

Kids can also abuse their voices when they cry loudly, yell, scream, make silly noises, or make other harsh sounds.  Sometimes these behaviors can have long term effects, causing their voices to sound breathy or raspy.

The NICDC has some great tips for taking care of your voice.  Here are a few ways you can prevent these vocal problems:

Also, check out these Handy Handouts from Super Duper on voice problems HERE and HERE.  You can also view this ASHA article for more info.

As always, if you have concerns about your or your child's voice, it's best to contact a local SLP for an evaluation.  He or she can give help educate you on proper voice techniques and give you specific recommendations.

What do you think?  Do any of you have voice clients on your caseloads?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

App Review: Apraxia Ville!

This app from Smarty Ears has been MUCH anticipated by me.  I could not wait to try it out with my apraxia kiddos.  If you are needing something that's engaging for your young kids and that targets the appropriate areas for apraxia, then you are going to loooovvvee this one!  :)

Check out Apraxia Ville!

It uses a cute farm theme and provides lots of visual support.  On the main page you have the option to choose Quick Play, Select Player, view Reports/Homework, or Support.

* Quick Play allows you to jump right in to the game without designating the data to any specific player (good for when your student is screaming, and you're just trying to do anything to get him to engage in something lol).

* When you Select Player, it brings you to the student screen that gives you the chance to input your students.  You can do this via Therapy Report Center or add them yourself.  Just click a player to select, and you can select up to 4 players in a group.

Here is the activity main page that includes 3 levels of games:

The settings even allow you to customize the word lists to your liking.  You can add your own pictures and words as well.

  • The Sound Windows activity is great for kids beginning to practice CV sounds.  They can watch and listen to the avatars use correct production of consonant sounds and vowel sounds.  The productions are very clear.  You can even see their tongues and teeth move to the correct positions.  To change phonemes just click on the wooden letter below the pic!  

One of my favorite features is the little camera at the top right corner.  If you have an iPad with a front-facing camera, pressing it will cause the camera to pop up in the window!  Kids can watch themselves practice their sounds.  Yes, that's me practicing my /l/ sound...haha Sorry, it was the end of the day.  

  • The Farm House activity moves toward real word production.  You can customize for each student.  Choose whether to target CV, VC, or CVC words, the desired phonemes, and the desired vowel sounds.

Once each is selected, it brings you to the farm house screen.  Isn't it cute?  Above each student's avatar is green, yellow, and red buttons you can tally on.  Click the avatars to switch between turns.  

Clicking the magnifying glass over the faces in the bottom window will take you right back to the Sound Windows screen.  Or you can watch them produce the sounds here and change between the phonemes by clicking the letter.  Click the red circle to record and green triangle to play back.

  • The Words Farm activity lets students practice 2 or 3 words together.  They can practice the same words, different words, same phonemes, or different phonemes.  The screens are very customizable.

Clicking on the letters allows you to choose the phonemes to target.  Kids can also record themselves by touching the red circle.  The therapist can tally next to the child's picture.  Hit "done" anytime you are ready to finish.

* Reports and Homework - This app gives a really good break down of data in the report center.  You can view the consonant productions, vowel productions, and overall accuracies.

Share the data by opening the reports in an email or simply transfer it to TRC (a free Smarty Ears app).

Another AWESOME feature is the ability to produce and print a customized homework packet!  Just email it to yourself, print, and hand out to your students.   

What I dig about this app:
- The targets are appropriate for young children with apraxia (CV, CVC)
- It gives LOTS of visual and auditory support and cues
- The option to open the camera in the app to view yourself making the productions
- HOMEWORK feature!
- You can use it with up to 4 kids in one group at the same time.
- Quick play option for if you need to quickly get some productions in.

What might make this app better:
-'s pretty awesome the way it is.  It might be cool for more game-like options such as memory matching, etc.  Kids get bored quickly lol.  

You can grab this app HERE in iTunes for $21.99.  Totally worth it in my opinion.  
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