Saturday, April 12, 2014

{Review} Minimal Pairs Academy

I'm excited to share yet another comprehensive, go-to app with you from Smarty Ears, called Minimal Pairs Academy!  This app is designed to help children with phonological sound disorders improve their speech sound production skills.  Both listening and discrimination abilities are addressed in this app that uses targets at the word and phrase levels.

First, you can adjust the settings if needed to customize the app for the student(s) that you are using it with.

Add individual players as you'd like.  This app can be used with up to four players at one time.

Next, select the goals that each student will be working on.  Examples of target areas include:

- cluster reduction (/l/, /r/, /s/)
- deaffrication
- final consonant deletion (broken up into various sounds)
- final devoicing
- fronting
- gliding
- initial consonant deletion
- prevocalic voicing
- stopping (broken up into various sounds)

Here, I've selected velar fronting to be the target.

There are four different ways that a student can work on their goal area.  First, is auditory bombardment where a student listens to a word and finds the picture to match the word.

Next, is auditory discrimination, where a student must choose the picture to match a verbally stated word that highlights the difference between the minimal pair productions.

Then, there is production practice where the child must say the targeted word.  The minimal pair appears on the other card, but if the student produces the targeted word correctly, then there is no need to discuss the other flashcard.

Finally, phrase completion allows a student to pick between two words to complete the phrase.

One of my favorite parts of this app is the detailed data collection.  For each task, the app tracks the following:

- process targeted
- correct answers with and without cues
- session length
- number of participants
- overall accuracy
- task type

Talk about detailed data collection!!

What I love about this app:
- The data collection is my favorite part of this app.  I love that I can focus on giving my undivided attention to the student(s), instead of also trying to collect data at the same time.
- With 25 different phonological sound disorder target areas, this is an extremely comprehensive app that targets a wide range of speech sound errors.
- With four different tasks to target errors, this app can be used with students with varying skill levels.

You can find this fantastic app to target phonological sound disorders for $19.99 HERE!  OR... You can enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win a free copy of the app!!!

Disclaimer: This item was given to me for review.  No other compensation was provided.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

{Review} iPractice Verbs

Here's yet another great app from Smarty Ears!  iPractice Verbs allows children to practice present tense verbs, present progressive verbs, regular past tense verbs, and irregular past tense verbs at the word, phrase, and sentence levels.

Before you get started, I highly recommend watching the tutorial.  It only takes a few minutes and teaches you valuable features of the app.

Here you can adjust the settings and add a new player.

By clicking on "modify database", you can choose regular or irregular verbs to work on and/or choose the individual verbs that you would like to target.

Then you're all set to add your players.

You can choose between flashcards and "find it" which includes locating a specific picture to match a verb in a field of four pictures.

Next, it's time to choose the verb tense and determine if you'd like to work on the verb at the word, phrase, or sentence level.

Here is an example of the flashcard option.  This part of the app provides basic drilling practice.

Here is the "find it" option where students must determine which picture best matches the sentence provided.

Data collection is a snap because the app takes care of it for you!

The app also provides 16 different verb tense homework sheets that can be sent home with the child.

What I love about this app:
* It provides homework!  Just print out the homework for the student and wa-la!
* You can select the individual words that you'd like to target, so you can include specific words that you've been working on with the student or new ones that you'd like to introduce.
* It targets present tense verbs, present progressive verbs, regular past tense verbs, and irregular past tense verbs at the word, phrase, and sentence levels, which allows for differentiation and a lot of practice no matter what level the child is at.

You can find this awesome verb app for $9.99 HERE!!  OR... You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win a free copy of this app!

Disclaimer:  This app was given to me for review.  No other compensation was provided.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

{Review} Preposition Remix

If I had a dollar for each student on my caseload that is currently working on prepositions, I'd be rich!  (Ok, well not rich necessarily, but it could probably fund my need for a Starbucks beverage on a daily basis!)  While prepositions are used so often in our everyday lives, they can be very difficult for children with language disabilities to understand.  Luckily, Preposition Remix by Smarty Ears makes it much easier for students to learn and practice these concepts.

Preposition Remix targets 20 different concepts with easy to interpret pictures that represent each direction word.  The concepts that are targeted in this app include:

* above
* behind
* below
* beside
* between
* closest to
* furthest
* in
* in front of
* in the middle
* inside
* near
* next to
* on
* on top of
* out
* outside of
* to the left
* to the right
* under

To begin using this app, choose which concept words you'd like to target, select the reinforcement (voice feedback vs. a tone), and customize various details of the app to make sure that it is individualized for each student.

This app starts out like most other Smarty Ears apps - select your avatar/picture and add your player(s).

Now, you're ready to begin because the app is so simple and user friendly!  In the following three pictures, the concepts "on", "below", and "furthest" are targeted.  Students must point to the picture that most accurately reflects the sentence that targets the concept word. 

Here is an example of the reinforcement once the student gets a question correct.

Once the student is done with the app for the day, the adult can collect data on the session.  (No pesky data collection during sessions!)

What I love about this app:
- It can be customized for the concept targets that a student is specifically working on.
- It is simple and straight forward.  I watched the tutorial and was able to easily use the app in less than five minutes.
- It collects data for you, allowing you to focus on teaching/modeling/prompting the student throughout the session.

You can find this awesome app to target 20 different concepts for $9.99 HERE!

OR.... You could also enter for a chance to win a copy!!!  I'll be giving away one free copy of this awesome app.  Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win!

Disclaimer:  This item was given to me for review.  No other compensation was provided.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

{Review} Superflex... A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum

Who doesn't love superheroes?!?!  You may have heard and/or read about some incredible Social Thinking products to target social skills.  Today, I'll be sharing my review of my favorite material yet, called Superflex... A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum.

The introduction to this product says it all... "The purpose of this Superhero Social Thinking curriculum is to provide the social-thinking educator, teacher, or parent with a fun, motivating, and non-threatening way for our students to explore social thinking while increasing their knowledge of social expectations, their awareness of their own behavior and how to modify their behaviors with Superflexible strategies.  Our students have difficulty monitoring and regulating their own behaviors in the moment, and this curriculum provides a fun forum in which they can explore their own challenges and identify ways to modify their thoughts and related behaviors in different settings."

This resource offers thirteen different lessons aimed at explaining social skills, the type of superhero that students should want to emulate and the type of characters that students should stay away from.  Also included in this resource are a few appendices that offer:
- books and materials related to the superflex curriculum
- definitions of words and characters used in the curriculum
- student awards
- social scenes to support lessons
- additional handouts

I was showing this resource to a teacher today and we both agreed that we love the characters included in this curriculum.  Of course, Superflex is what we all strive to be.  Superflex is super flexible and tries to figure out how to keep people calm while also getting his turn at activities.  He's a great problem solver.  Then, there's also the "team of unthinkables" which teach about unexpected social skills.  ("Topic Twister Meister", "Space Invader", and "The Destroyer of Fun" to name just a few!) 

Now about those lessons... As I mentioned, there are 13 different lessons in the curriculum.  Each lesson includes the materials needed, purpose of the lesson, vocabulary words used, goals, and things that need to be done before the lesson.  (I like organization, so this really appeals to me!)  

The book methodically walks you through the lesson and provides handouts to practice the skills that the students have learned.

Below is a letter that can be distributed to parents and educators.

Quiet Please... Training in Session!  I love how even older kids can get into this curriculum because it's so fun and engaging!

This curriculum also includes a "cartoon book" that looks more at the relationship between Superflex and the Team of Unthinkables!

I love that this curriculum explains social skills in easy to understand terms, but it is also interesting for older students as well.  It allows students to work through poor social skill traits to determine how to improve upon these characteristics in a non-threatening way.

You can find this awesome Social Thinking Curriculum resource for $49.00 HERE!!!

Disclaimer: This item was given to me for review.  No other compensation was provided.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{Review} Speedy Speech

Lately, I've been seeing really good progress from my artic students who are seen more often for shorter sessions, so I was excited when Speedy Speech contacted me and asked me to review one of their products.  This program attempts to remediate sound errors through short 5-10 minute one-on-one drill sessions.  Currently, they make products for /r/, /s/, /l/, and /g/, and are coming out with a /th/ product soon as well.  Today, I will be sharing my opinions on the /s/ edition.

Each book contains: 
  • Program Guide with Step-by-Step Directions and the Latest Therapeutic Techniques
  • Auditory Bombardment Sets containing 360 words
  • Auditory Discrimination Pair Sets
  • Sound Bridge
  • Illustrated Drill Sheets Containing:
     - 360 One and Two Syllable Word Trials in Initial, Medial, 
                      and Final Target Sound Positions
     - 360 Phrase Trials
     - 360 Sentence Trials
  • Record Forms
  • Monthly Homework Calendars
  • A Variety of Parent and Teacher Letters
  • Motivational Charts and Certificates

The program includes eight different stages designed in an appropriate hierarchy of sound development.
* Stage 1 - Sound in isolation
* Stage 2 - Sound in syllables and consonant-vowel combinations
* Stage 3 - Sound in the initial position of one and two syllable words
* Stage 4 - Sound in the final position of one and two syllable words
* Stage 5 - Sound in the medial position of one and two syllable words
* Stage 6 - Sound in phrases
* Stage 7 - Sound in sentences
* Stage 8 - Sound in conversational speech

Mastery is considered to be 90% accuracy over three trials.  This is expected before moving on to the next stage.

Here is an auditory bombardment list for initial /s/ and /s/ cluster words.  It is recommended that each session begin with auditory bombardment.

The next two pictures highlight stages 3, 6, and 7.  There are pictures, words, phrases, and sentences of one syllable and two syllable initial /s/ and /s/ clusters.

The picture below demonstrates stage 8, as it includes conversational speech prompts.

Also included in this book are RTI progress monitoring sheets, a letter to the teacher, a letter to the parent, scheduling forms, practice tips, homework directions, and rating scales.  I really love the homework (as pictured below) because it includes a short artic activity for everyday.

What I like about this product:
- It methodically moves through a logical hierarchy of sound development.
- It includes extensive word lists of the targeted sound in all positions.
- I really like the "at a glance" monthly homework pages so that students have practice with their sounds on a daily basis.
- The program comes in one easy to use book so that sessions can run more efficiently without the SLP flipping through a bunch of papers, cards, etc.

You can find this great artic resource for $89.00 HERE and you can check out all of the other products that the company offers as well.

Disclaimer:  This product was given to me for review.  No other compensation was provided.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Monday, March 10, 2014

{Review} Understanding and Explaining Time in Sequential Stories

Here's the last (but not least!) in a three part review series of new materials by Great Ideas for Teaching.  This final resource is called Understanding and Explaining Time in Sequential Stories.

This material is "designed to help students comprehend how much time it takes to complete sequential stories or events.  The activities are designed to help students understand that events can happen in a very short period of time or can happen over a much longer period of time."  This skill is essential for improving overall comprehension skills.

Pictured above is the student worksheet.  Pictures are used to tell a story, while the instructor reads a short narrative to accompany the illustrations.  Then, questions are posed to clarify how much time was needed to complete the actions in the story.  This also helps to determine if the student can remember details from the narrative.  In addition, it allows the student to show his/her ability to follow directions related to time.  This resource targets a child's ability to understand the importance of time in sequential stories.  It also shows him/her the importance of time in their own daily routine.

The instructor's worksheet includes questions such as:
- Did this story take place in the morning or the evening?
- At what time did Larry go out to check on his pet?
- How much time passed from the beginning of the story to the end of the story when Buddy came home?

I absolutely love this resource and know that I'll get a lot of use out of it.  It includes short narratives that are also supported by picture cues, which are very useful for students struggling with narrative skills.  It also asks simple and more advanced questions that rely on a student's ability to pay attention to the story and pick up on specific details.

You can find this (in my opinion) must-have product for $29.50 HERE!

Disclaimer:  This product was given to me for review.  No other compensation was provided.  The opinions expressed here are solely my own.