Monday, December 23, 2013

A Whole Slew of New Activities and GIVEAWAYS!!

I've been working on a lot of new activities lately, so I've taken some time away from my blog, but now I'm back with many new activities and giveaways!

Here's a comprehensive activity to target past, present and future verbs, called Hot Chocolate Verb Tenses!

This activity includes 60 "sort the sentence" cards where students must decide if the verb is past, present or future.

It also includes 54 practice cards for children to gain more experience with the skills that they have learned.

You can find this great grammar activity HERE!!

I always like to use the New Year as a time of reflection for my students, seeing as it's about the half way point of the year.  Therefore, I made a packet that includes reflection writing prompts, inferring questions, and prediction questions called New Year's Reflection, Inferring and Predicting Pack.

Here is one of the reflection question prompts.

This activity also includes 24 inferring scenarios...

as well as 32 predicting scenarios.

You can find this activity HERE!!

Last but not least is an activity, called New Year's Celebrations Around the World, that targets a whole host of skills including: vocabulary skills, inferencing, listening/reading comprehension (nonfiction), grammar skills through writing prompts, and articulation at the reading and conversation levels!

Eight countries are targeted in this activity.  Each one includes a page-long reading passage,

as well as a vocabulary worksheet,

and a inferencing/listening comprehension/writing prompt sheet.

You can find this activity that targets a variety of goal areas HERE!!

And now, here's the best part... You can enter the rafflecopter giveaway below to win one of two copies of "New Year's Reflection, Inferring, and Predicting Pack" or one of two copies of "New Year's Celebrations Around the World"!!

Happy Holidays!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 3, 2013

{Review} Fun with Verbs & Sentences

Here's a look at a cool new app from Hamaguchi Apps called, "Fun with Verbs & Sentences"!

This app is developed for children ages 2-5 and targets basic syntax skills.  It includes 266 colorful animations to grab and hold a student's attention and targets 39 verbs.

I started by adding users to use the app.  I've added my name to the "Add Individual User" area so that I am able to track data and keep track of progress.

Here's a look at the settings options for the app.

The "Activities" tab allows the user to choose from activities as well as how those activities are shown.

The "Sentence Type" tab includes verb (only), subject + verb, subject + verb + object, subject + verb+ prepositional phrase, or random.  You can also choose between using pronouns or nouns.

"Track Progress" by turning to progress tracker on or off and deciding whether or not to display scores.

The "Verbs" tab allows you to choose random vs. custom verbs.  You can also select the present ing form, past regular, past irregular, or random.

The "Cueing" tab provides options for visual support, as well as if the sentence is modeled by the narrator before the animation.

Finally, you can choose how often you'd like to play the Bubble Game.  (More about this game later.)

After the set up, you're ready to start using the app!  First, start by choosing the person who will do the action.

Then, choose the action.

Here, I've chosen subject + verb + prepositional phrase, so I selected where the action happened.

Last, you can watch a video that corresponds to the sentence that you've created.

Then, it's time to review and/or say the sentence.  On the bottom of the screen, there are instructions to, "Tap once to see the picture.  Tap again to hear the words."  This is a nice way of providing the student with as much support as he/she needs, but not going overboard.  Students can also record their sentence and compare it with the correct sentence.  On the left, you can track correct vs. incorrect responses if you choose to do so.

When you're all done, you can view data from the session.

As I mentioned before, a bubble game is also included.  Simply tap the object that you'd like to find, then pop the bubbles to find the object.

What I like about this app:
- It provides scaffolded cueing for students by giving just enough, but not too much help.
- For students who need a good deal of support with syntax, it provides them with a step-by-step way of creating a sentence.
- For students who are just working on verbs, it provides a cute, short video for them to watch related to the verb.

You can read even more about the app HERE and you can find the app at iTunes for $15.99 HERE!  (The lite version is $.99.)

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

Saturday, November 2, 2013

{Review} Expanding Expression Tool

You know how there are just some therapy materials that you simply cannot live without?  Well for me, one of those items is the Expanding Expression Tool by Sara Smith.

(Graphic Courtesy of Expanding Expression Tool)

This multisensory tool is an extremely versatile item that can be used to target the following skills (to name just a few):
- oral expression
- written expression
- vocabulary comprehension
- defining and describing
- making associations
- stating functions of objects
- stating categories
- stating similarities and differences

How it works:  
Well, first of all, the kit comes with the following items:
- string/ball visual tool
- kit manual
- object cards for describing
- stickers for writing
- poster
- dice game
- picture icon cards

(Graphic Courtesy of Expanding Expression Tool)

Since students with language disabilities often have difficulties describing, this tool is absolutely awesome because it breaks down the tasks listed above into smaller pieces.  The kit is designed with designated colors and repetitive materials.  Each color stands for a specific attribute of an item (e.g. green group, blue do, pink parts, white where, etc).  Students methodically move through each color to describe objects, define, make associations, etc.  (I use this tool most often with describing, so that is my frame of reference, but as you can see, it can be used to target so many other skills too!)

Here is a specific example of how to use the item for describe.  Take a banana for example.  Typically, if I asked a student to describe a banana, he or she might say, "you eat it" or "it's yellow".  (Or if I'm really lucky, maybe "You eat it AND it's yellow.")  By using the EET, look at all of the ways that this item could be described...

- Green Group: This item belongs to the fruit group.
- Blue Do: You can peel the item and you can eat it.
- White Eye: This item is yellow and it is shaped like a crescent.
- Pink Parts: This item has a peel and a short stem at the top.
- White Where: This item grows on trees, but you find it most often in a grocery store, typically in the produce section.
- Orange Extras: This item is often eaten by monkeys and the peel can be slippery.

Here's a closer look at the visual tool.

This is the manual that comes along with the kit.

These EETCHY Steppers are an add-on that can be used to get your students up and moving throughout a therapy session.

What I love about this item:
- The string/ball visual tool is a step-by-step way to describe that is hands on and really grabs a student's attention.  My students get excited every time I pull "him" out.  (Each group has their own name for him and they all remember his name.)
- This tool can be used for SO many skills.  It is ridiculously versatile!
- The manual comes with a large variety of materials that support the program and the hands-on materials that come with the kit.

The kit is $229.00 and can be found here but there are also tons of extra add-ons to enhance your kit that can also be found at the same site.

To find out more about the Expanding Expression Tool, you can go to their website and read all about it.  

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

{Review} Products by All Y'All Need

I'm constantly amazed by the wonderful, diverse, and comprehensive products that SLPs have been creating.  Today, I will be sharing some great products with you by All Y'All Need.  (And stick around for a giveaway of both of our products as well!)

Activity #1: Fall Ask Away Activities
This is an awesome activity for the entire fall season.  Played similarly to Guess Who, this product includes a "Back to School" version, a "Fun in Fall" version, a "Thanksgiving Time" version, and a "Veterans Day" version.  This activity could be used to target attributes, interrogative reversals, syntax skills, grammar, etc.  I love that this activity can be used for so many different holidays and for so many goal areas!  Here are two of the sheets that I'll be using in November for Thanksgiving and for Veterans Day!

Activity #2: PreK Speech and Language Checklists
LOVE!  This material is great for working with preschool and kindergarten age students.  It provides basic yes/no checklists for articulation and language, as well as voice and stuttering checklists for all grades.  In addition, the product includes a teacher concerns page and SLP/teacher discussion page.  This material is great for a quick screening!

These are the screening checklists.

Here are the teacher concerns and discussion pages.

Enter to win one of these reviewed products through the rafflecopter giveaway below!!!

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

{Review} Speech Buddies

Speech Buddies is a set of five tools that are intended to improve speech sound production.  The set targets the /r/, /s/, /l/, "ch", and "sh" sounds.  Each sound is targeted through the use of plastic tools that are created to teach correct tongue placement.

                                            Speech Buddies In School Therapy
                                                  (Graphic Courtesy of Speech Buddies)

I have been using the tool to target the /r/ sound with two students since the beginning of the school year.  For this sound, the student uncoils the rolled up flexible plastic part of the tool, then holds his/her tongue at the end of the "roll" in order to produce the /r/ sound.

                                                               R tool schematic
                                                    (Graphic Courtesy of Speech Buddies)

Although I have just used the /r/ tool so far, here is a graphic that explains how the other Speech Buddies products are used.  The pictures provided are very helpful in explaining correct placement of the tools for specific sounds.

(Graphic Courtesy of Speech Buddies)

I have seen mixed results with my students using this system.  For one of my older students, it showed him the correct placement that he hasn't been able to get with verbal and visual cues, as well as other apparatuses that we have tried.  This is not to say that he is now able to generalize this sound to correct production without the tool.  We still continue to work with the "r stick" as he calls it, and it will likely take some time to achieve this sound consistently with and without the tool.  The other student I have been working with continues to have difficulty using the Speech Buddies /r/ tool.  He has difficulty achieving a retroflexed tongue position and making his tongue tense.

The low down: In my experience over the past two months, I have seen mixed results with this system.  I have seen it work well for one student, but not as well for another.  I also, however, believe that there is no perfect product.  I think that each product is made as well as possible to help as many students as possible.

Things to consider:
- As just mentioned, in my experience, the Speech Buddies tools provided mixed results.  As with any other larger purchase, I would encourage anyone interested to consider if the item(s) are worth purchasing for your specific population.
- I would strongly encourage anyone using this product to do so with the assistance of a speech-language pathologist.

To find out more about the Speech Buddies tools, you can click here.

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

Friday, October 25, 2013

Happy Halloween Speech and Language Activities!

Happy almost Halloween!  In case you're looking for a few last minute spooky activities and crafts (or just want to start planning for next year) take a look at what's been going on in my speech room over the last month.

Spooky Activity #1: Speechie Spiders and Webs
We used this activity to target articulation/phono skills.  Make 4-5 concentric circles, then take a skinny object (we used the edge of an unsharpened pencil) and make lines from the center of the web out to the largest circle.  The spider made from each child's hands is my favorite part!

Spooky Activity #2: Spider Web Toss
I made these spiders last year using fabric, beans, pom poms, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners.  (Oh, and a lot of hot glue!)

I also made this web in my therapy room with masking tape.  Students stand in front of the web and toss a spider at the web, receiving points for the spot that the spider lands on.  This is an easy reinforcement activity that my students asked for again this year, and have already requested for next year as well!

Spooky Activity #3: Black Cat Concepts
To work on adjectives and concepts, I made these cats.  If you tape the cat body to a cookie sheet, then put contact paper down so that the sticky side is up, you can create a fun sticky board!  I made big pink ears, little black ears, a long thick tail, a short thin tail, etc.  Students can request items for their own cat or tell another student what to put on the cat.

Spooky Activity #4: Artic Witch Hats
I love these witch hats with artic words on them.  (Oh, and my students did as well!)

Take a small paper plate and cut about 7-8 slits in the middle.  Tape the triangle slits to the inside of the hat.  Paint the hat black as shown above, cut out circles for artic words and wa-la - instant speech and language witch hat!

Spooky Activity #5: Not-So-Spooky Spider Snacks
These little spider crackers were so easy to make.  Two crackers, some type of filling such as peanut butter, jelly, etc, pretzel sticks for legs, and chocolate chips for eyes.  We created these in our snack group and targeted requesting, turn taking, attributes, etc.

Spooky Activity #6: Spider Describing
I must be on a definite spider kick, but these next little guys were so easy.  I created these spiders by painting parts of an egg carton, gluing one edge together, and then adding googly eyes and pipe cleaners.  I put small pictures of items that the spider had "eaten" in its mouth.  Then, we used our EET to describe the items that the spiders had eaten.

Spooky Activity #7: Colorful Spiders
Last, but not least, is a colorful spider.  (No, not a black turtle as many of my students called it...)  I used this activity mostly with my little guys working on syntax, interrogative and expanded sentence length.  I painted a paper plate black, added a head, then colored clothespins various colors.  Student would ask, "Can I pick a leg?" or they could select a "leg" from a bin and state, "I have the purple/blue/orange leg."

What are your favorite Halloween activities and crafts?  Please feel free to share!

Monday, October 21, 2013

{Review} Teach Speech Now

Written by Robynne Merrill, The Complete Vowel + /R/ Series features a collection of six books, including:

- The Complete AIR Book
- The Complete AR Book
- The Complete EAR Book
- The Complete Stressed ER Book
- The Complete Unstressed ER Book
- The Complete OR Book

Each book includes extensive practice with commonly misarticulated words that contain these sounds.  The books begin by allowing students to repeat simple to complex words that contain targeted sounds through colorful illustrations of the words.  Each book also contains phrases, short sentences, complex sentences, question and answer drills, tongue twisters (my favorite!), simple stories, and longer rebus stories.  Pre-tests and post-tests are also included for initial and continuous assessment.

 (word level practice)

(more word level practice) 

(even more word level practice)

(phrase level practice)

(longer phrase level practice)

(story practice)

(tongue twister practice)

What I like about this material:
- The pictures allow even non-readers or students who have difficulty with reading to participate in the activities.
- Each book contains a large amount of material at various levels that a student might be working on.
- Pre/post-tests that allow for continual assessment.

You can find this comprehensive vocalic /r/ material for $50.00 HERE.  (This material is sent as multiple files to be downloaded.)

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