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.