Wednesday, April 23, 2014

U.T.F. Unexpected Therapy Find Linky Party

Melanie at The Speech Place has started a linky party for U.T.F. or Unexpected Therapy Find. This month features apps. I love finding apps that aren't designed specifically for speech therapy, but seem to work wonderfully during sessions. 

Here are the ones I find myself frequently using:

Oscar Pizza Chef: This is a cute app featuring 10 recipes for different pizzas. You have to follow the recipe exactly, otherwise the monster at the end gets mad and throws it. Great for following directions and it's quick!

Show Me: This is a simple whiteboard app. Sometimes I'll open it to do comparing and contrasting and the kids really just like to write on the iPad. The little things that will motivate them sometimes! You can also make recordings, which is good for artic students. Just write a list of words and have them record and rate themselves!

Speak Colors: This is a simple app that I use with younger kids when I'm trying to increase utterance length. There is a phrase and sentence level and you're show a color and an item of the same color. 

You can record the sentence as well, which is extra motivating!

Those are some of the U.T.F. apps that I frequently use! Don't forget to check out other SLP bloggers who linked up to share their finds!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Clinical Skills Confidence: Keeping Tabs on E.I.P.

At this time, I'm currently treading water in a sea of evaluations. Sometimes, I'm floating on my back just to get a little break. This is when keeping tabs on E.I.P. becomes crucial for me and if I don't have all my ducks in a row, something can easily slip through the cracks. 

What's E.I.P.? Evaluations In Progress! 

Here's how I do it:

After the meeting where we learn about the student, I compile all notes that I took in a file folder with the student's name and date of birth. I put 2 sticky notes on each file: one with chronological age for easy reference and one with all the steps that I need to take to finish the evaluation, so that I can check it off as I go. As anal as it sounds, it keeps me organized. I also put test forms for the tests I plan to give in the folder, so they're ready to go. These are the steps I usually take:

-evaluation: names of all tests I plan to give since I usually don't finish in one session
-oral motor exam (that can easily be forgotten)
-observation (not always done, but I try to do it)
-language sample: I have my checklist handy for this and I record it
-teacher questionnaire (I give the CELF one)
-write report 
-make copies for cumulative file, my working file, and parent

I usually also have the sticky app on my laptop with who I'm currently evaluating so I can reference it when I'm at home. I try to finish up evaluating and write the report as soon as humanly possible, especially when I'm doing a bunch at a time. Otherwise, I'm liable to forget which kid did what! 

That's my system! How do you keep track of evaluations? 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Finding Your TpT Niche

Linky Party time!

It's easy - if you'd like to participate, simply insert the above graphic into your post and link back to my post. Be sure to add your link to the bottom of this post too!

When I started TpT in November 2012, I'll admit I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. Little did I know what a fabulous world of wonderfully made activities I would find from other SLP bloggers and SLPs across the country. In times where budgets are tight, it is amazing to be able to find activities that will work for diverse caseloads for just dollars.

I didn't start it with intentions of making millions (though that would be nice)! I started with some ideas that I thought would be great to share with fellow SLPs. Making activities to sell on TpT has become very popular in the last couple of years. It's a GOLD MINE of fabulous, creative, inexpensive activities! I am, by no means, an expert on what makes your products sell, but I thought I'd share how I've found my TpT niche.

I try to come up with ideas that are different! I like to try new ideas out in my therapy room and I'm definitely trying to streamline my planning process so that I can still enjoy life outside of the SLP world. That's been my inspiration for creating most of the products in my store. Some of the ones that I think have been a hit include:

Mirror Activities: I have a bunch of these in my store (some free, like Mirror-CATEGORIES and Mirror-TIC: TH). Kids get excited about these!

App Companions: I started with My PlayHome and now have one for My PlayHome Stores as well. I did contact the app developer and got permission to develop the product with the knowledge that I'm selling it online.

Mini-Books: I like writing my own mini-books with accompanying activities!

I believe that if you come up with a new and different idea, people are likely to become repeat customers. Above all, I strive to create and post quality products, which definitely takes time. It doesn't happen overnight and I'm nowhere near the success of some other SLP bloggers who sell on TpT, but I'm content with what I've accomplished so far.

So bloggers, get ready! Link up below and share your ideas for how YOU found your TpT niche!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Places To Find Inexpensive Books

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are included for your convenience!

I frequently use books in therapy! It's a great way to incorporate literacy and language skills. While I love browsing big name book stores, I sometimes don't love the prices. Here are my tips for finding inexpensive books:

1. Thrift Stores: While you may have to do some digging, you can often find great books for a steal.

2. Paper Back Swap: This is a website that allows you to trade books and get new ones using credits. So dig out those old books you don't need anymore and trade them for new ones!

3. Dollar Store/Dollar Spot: Sometimes you can find great, short books at these places...among other things that can easily cause you to spend more than you intended.

4. eBay: If you search "children's book lot" or "speech therapy," you can usually get a bunch of different hits for less. 

5. Amazon: When you search for a book on Amazon, you sometimes have the option to buy a used version, which can be considerably cheaper. Plus, if you have Amazon Prime, you can get free 2 day shipping!

6. Children's Section of Alibris books: I haven't personally ordered from here, but there were some books for as low as $0.99!

Where do you get books for your therapy room? 

Monday, April 14, 2014

{Review} Preposition Remix App + Giveaway

Disclaimer: A copy of this app was provided to me; however, the opinions expressed are solely my own.

Time for another app review and giveaway - one of my favorite combinations! Be sure to enter the giveaway after reading my review!

Preposition Remix is an app by Smarty Ears that sells for $9.99 in the App Store. It is a single player app that targets 20 different prepositions.

You can customize it in the settings to only target certain ones, which is a great feature. Some of the prepositions include ones that I've found myself targeting on a regular basis, such as: above, behind, under, in front of, etc.

You can choose to have the written cue on the bottom or not:

Some of the prepositions are less common, such as: furthest, closest to, etc. 

When the student selects the correct choice, they get an audio and visual reward, which is very motivating to my students:

What I Liked:
-ability to customize and target just what you need
-pictures are clear
-ability to target less common prepositions like further, closest to, etc.

What I Would Love To See:
-the ability to make it multiplayer since I work with many groups
-an expressive part where students could name the preposition once they've mastered the receptive aspect

Overall, this is a fantastic app that will get your students excited about practicing prepositions! 

For your chance to win a copy, enter below:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Peek At My Week 4/11

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are included for your convenience.

It's official: the week before spring break makes everyone crazy! I think we all are ready for a break! But before we go, here's a peek at what we did this week. I made paper plate nests with eggs with the younger kids. It involved strips of brown paper glued onto paper plates (how I love paper plates), with multicolored eggs glue on top. Easy peasy. We have a elision cutter with mini eggs so that part was extra easy.

Not related, but we read a fun new book I picked up called It's Time To Sleep, You Crazy Sheep! by Alison Ritchie. Again this week, my artic kids had a great time listening to the story for their words. I don't know what it is about this activity lately, but they take great pleasure in shouting out when they've found a word with their sound. It's a little difficult to read fluently when this is happening, haha, but I love that their excited about it. It's a great way to start making them responsible for listening to their sounds.

I got brave and decided to paint with some of my kids. I found some lollipop sticks in a drawer and used those to make "dot art." Cleanup was easy because I just threw them away!

We also used the plastic eggs from last week and some other activities here and there. My older kids love getting a chance to use the Hot Dots that I got on sale at Zulily (<-- referral link). Super Duper has had some great sales on here lately, as well as Hot Dots, so it's worth checking out!

We are all happy to be on spring break!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Take the TPT Plunge Linky

Have you heard of people talking about the freebies at TpT and only heading there for those? I have! While the freebies are awesome, I think there's even more "awesome-ness" in paid products. Why?! Where else can you get a whole lesson (sometimes more) for mere dollars?  

Felice at The Dabbling Speechie came up with a great idea to share what products we've bought that have made our lives easier or made us a better therapist. These are my two picks (click the pictures to be taken to the product):

Nicole Allison's No-Print Expressive Language Pack: The kids love this! I don't have to print and laminate it! Win-win!

I have a lot of preschoolers on my caseload right now who are unintelligible. These flip cards from Kathy Grover make a quick and simple way to drill CV words in the beginning of the session.

The bestselling product in my store (and one that makes a frequent appearance) in my therapy room are my WH questions with visuals. There is also an add-on WHAT question pack!