Sunday, March 30, 2014

{Review} iName It from Smarty Ears + Giveaway

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

It's time for another app review! This time, I am reviewing iName it from Smarty Ears. This app is currently on sale in the app store for $14.99. Initially, I thought this app was geared more towards adults. After some exploring, I think it will definitely work with children as well. Specifically, it works well for anyone who has difficulty recalling functional words in the household. 

There is a choice of 5 rooms, including the bathroom, bedroom, garage, kitchen, and living room:

Once you choose a room, you will see a room with a variety of items. Along the bottom of the screen, you will see all the items that you can touch and see in a larger view. 

If the client isn't able to name it right away, there are a variety of cues that can help with word retrieval. You can hear a phonemic cue, complete a phrase, the whole word, or a semantic clue (a place to store dishes). This is great for learning what kinds of cues work best for each client. 

What I Liked:
-ability to target following directions along with vocabulary (touch the cupboard, then the cup)
-expansion of utterance (I see the ____, The ____ is in the kitchen)
-realistic pictures are awesome for a lot of my kids
-clean, uncluttered presentation of rooms 

What I Would Love To See:
-ability to touch the item and hear the word: I think this would work really well with some of my kids with autism, because I think they would be able to start connecting the verbal word with the item
-ability to only choose one type of cue at a time

Overall, I think this is a great app for vocabulary development, answering "where" and "what" questions, and learning functional life skills items.

Smarty Ears has provided me with a copy to give away, so please enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 28, 2014

Peek At My Week 3/28

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are included for your convenience.

We are charging towards April! The weather has finally started to warm up here, thank goodness. This week, there was an all day special event at my school, which shook things up a little. I learned awhile ago just go with it. I took the opportunity to push in and see how some of my students were doing during the activities. 

One of my groups is working on interpreting facial expressions. I picked up the book called The Way I Feel at a thrift store. It talks about feelings and what makes us feel different ways. We read this book together and talked about what makes us feel scared, frustrated, etc. I found these Highlights comic pages in the dollar section at Target awhile back and laminated them. They're great for interpreting different facial expressions. We took turns writing what we thought the characters were saying. These are similar to Conversation Comics in my TpT store. 

I use a modified cycles approach with some of my preschool friends. This week, I felt like letting them glue things, so I printed out worksheets (black and white) from Mommy Speech Therapy and cut them out. I cut out some squares of construction paper from other colors and let the kids glue them on while I did one on one practice with the others. They took it home for additional practice. 

Next week, I plan to use my brand new product called Design A Town!

Those were some highlights from my week! How was yours?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Experience With PROMPT Training

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the PROMPT Institute!   

One of my 2014 resolutions was to take an Introduction to PROMPT course. I can check this one off my list! The course was 3 days long and it was INTENSE.

If you're not familiar with PROMPT, it stands for Physically Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets. It is a multi-dimensional approach to motor speech skills that uses tactile and verbal cues. It is designed to help those with motor speech disorders, but can also be used for articulation or phonological disorders.  

The introduction course is 3 full days - that is about 6.5 hours each day of information coming at you.  As someone who gets overloaded with a lot of auditory information, this was a bit challenging sometimes. You're also learning a new motor skill yourself (i.e. learning all the different prompts - there is a different one for each phoneme) so it can be overwhelming at times.

There were 3 instructors who circulated the room and answered questions, corrected, your hand placement, gave tips, and did the PROMPTs on you so you could feel them. They go over the methodology behind the approach as well.

First, you delve into the theory behind PROMPT. Then you learn the PROMPTs and how to go about assessing and planning for treatment. There is another level of training that you can take once you've been using the method for awhile. 

You're taught some of the PROMPTs (there are different levels) and then you're given time to practice on each other. I definitely felt clumsy at first and it's somewhat awkward to be invading someone's personal space that much. Though after 3 days, you get used to it. I think everyone feels this way, so at least you're not alone!   

My Recommendations:
-bring hand sanitizer (they tell you this and our instructors had some, but I also brought my own)
-bring a highlighter
-bring pencils/pens (I like to write in pencil for these types of things)
-wear comfortable clothing
-cut your nails short on your dominant hand 
-don't feel bad if you don't feel at ease with it right away!

  If you're interested in taking a workshop, visit their website here.  
  I feel that it is another tool that I now have in my "speech toolkit." I have started using it with my preschoolers and have seen some results. It's great for the early developing sounds! I don't have too many kids with apraxia on my caseload, but I have used it with the ones that I do. I will say that some of my kids are highly resistant to me touching them, so that sometimes complicates things.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Love It and List It Linky: Technology

This month, Jenna's Love It and List It Linky features technology! Who doesn't love technology?!

Here are my favs:

1. Ipad: Probably on everyone's list! With a vast array of articulation, language, AAC, and social skills apps (plus many more uses), it's a multipurpose tool that everyone loves!

2. Websites: Lately my favorites have been Watch Know Learn and ReadWorks. I like to find reading comprehension passages on ReadWorks and then try to find an educational video, because I find that method more engaging for my students.

3. Auditory Memory Stories CD from Super Duper Publications: I got these on sale awhile back. It's great to be able to have one student using this while I work with another student.

Those are currently three of my favorites! What are yours? Don't forget to check out Jenna's original post to get ideas from other SLP bloggers!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Peek At My Week 3/21

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are provided for your convenience!

Thoughts of spring were quickly derailed early this week with yet another snow day. Thankfully, the temperature has risen a bit and snow is far from everyone's mind (for now, at least). This week was a little of this and a little of that. Plus, the FIRST DAY OF SPRING! Which actually turned out to be a pretty nice day.

Highlights of the week:

My younger kids enjoyed Robert Munsch's book Andrew's Loose Tooth. I love his books! For homework, I pulled a tooth graphic from My Cute Graphics to make a quick homework sheet that I jotted down targets for home practice. This book was great for prediction, past tense verbs, and answering WH questions!

I pulled out a spring themed freebie from last year for synonyms - Bee-utiful Synonyms - to work on synonyms. I continue to use pages from S.L.A.M. too because it's quick and easy. At this time of year when I'm running myself ragged trying to assess, attend meetings, and do therapy, that's all I can ask for!

And now...drumroll please: I spent a whoppin' ONE DOLLAR on something this week that became a total hit with my kids. It is the magical giant fly swatter from Dollar Tree. You can tell that it's giant in the picture about, but I kid you not, it is giant. Like "I feel silly walking around with this thing" giant. But I added velcro to it and velcro to some laminated pictures and we had great fun slapping pictures and naming what we found. This would work quite well for lots of goals! Trust me and go get one!! 

Those were highlights from my week! What did you do to bring in spring?!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Speachy Feedback March 2014

It always amazes me when another month goes by! The good news is when the 3rd Monday hits, it's time for Speachy Feedback, where you could win a free product just for leaving constructive/detailed feedback on a TpT product. This is brain child of Nicole from Allison's Speech Peeps - so check her blog post to see if you won from other SLP bloggers!

This month, I selected two winners: one for a free product and one for a paid product.

For the free product: Marla S B left feedback on Association Poppers

For the paid product: Sara R. left feedback on Conversation Comics.

If you see your username, email me at with your choice of a free product from my store (bundles excluded). As always, thank you for leaving feedback!! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Get More Trials!

Yesterday, I tried something a little different with a couple students that I don't normally see together. With March being a Code Red month, my "schedule" is all sorts of wonky (if you're not sure what I mean by Code Red, check out the link to get your own SLP Mood Decoder). Two students were working on completely different goals (one was the /r/). I was using Step Up To R from Linguisystems, which is a great step by step program for the /r/.

*I purchased this resource myself. Opinions expressed are mine from using it!*

I wanted to be able to drill the student with the /r/ and still work with the other student on what she needed. I flipped the book open to an initial /r/ page that had a grid with words. I told the student we were going to play a game and she was in a competition with herself. When I was working with her, I put a magnetic chip (from Chipper Chat) on each square when she said a word correctly. After we got through all the words, she counted up the chips and wrote down the number. Then she practiced by herself in front of the mirror while I worked with the other student. It was a good motivator and she really tried to get more chips the next time around - and I got a ton more productions that I think I normally would have!

I will definitely be using this method again! It can definitely be used with other skills - be on the lookout for a new activity that uses this idea!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Peek At My Week 3/14

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are included for your convenience.

This week, I decided to link up to Old School Speech. She features a Week in Review Linky,  so check out who else linked up!

Due to the snow days from last week, I was able to use a lot of the stuff I already had planned! That was awesome because this week involved lots of meetings. With St. Patrick's Day being on Monday, I figured that most kids would wonder why I did crafts for that holiday after it was over. 

I wanted to make something quick and simple and decided to go with what I dubbed leprechaun hats!  I cut out rectangles from black construction paper and strips from black and green construction paper. We glued on the strips and added words to the green parts to allow for home practice. 

I was already planned for the older kids, so they were covered. 

Younger kids got to listen to The Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever by Teddy Slater. It was a good book for retelling, sequencing, and learning new vocabulary. The younger kids really enjoyed this book! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SLP Mood Decoder

It is that time of year in a school SLP's life. The time when referrals are raining from the sky, you are running from meeting to meeting, your schedule is laughable because it really doesn't exist anymore, and you are doing everything humanly possible to just keep your head above water.

Or is that just me? 

Well, I was having one of the "I should be doing something else, but instead I'm doing this" moments. I was thinking about mood rings and how I wish that I could wear one that would allow people to see my mood and know whether it was a good time to talk to to me or not. So I decided to have a little fun and de-stress myself. This was the result:

This one is how I personally feel throughout the year - obviously some years are more stressful than others. 

Sep and Oct: I'm crusin' along. Once I get a schedule nailed down, it's usually not too bumpy.
Nov: Kids and staff are looking forward to Thanksgiving and getting a little antsy.
Dec: Code Red, people. Holiday parties, too much sugar, possible snow days mean rescheduling meetings, etc.
Jan: Refreshed from the break!
Feb: Feelin' the burn a little and winter has fully set in.
Mar: CODE RED. This year it seems like meetings are constant, more referrals are pouring in, and I just have no time!
May: The light at the end of the tunnel - you can see it.
Jun: All hail June...hello, summer!

I realize you all might have different moods at different times. So I present you with your own 4 point scale. Get a clothespin and pin it to whichever state you may be in! 

This is purely just for fun - grab yourself a copy here!

What color are you at today?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tricks of the Trade Blog Hop

Welcome to the Tricks of the Trade Blog Hop! 16 bloggers are participating and the prizes are one $50 TPT gift cards and two $15 TPT gift cards, which can be entered when you get to the last blog!

Key words! I believe they are the "key" to the main idea. Some of my students aren't sure what key words are. Which clearly makes it that much more difficult to determine the main idea. So how do I tackle this? First, we start with sentences. I give each student a highlighter and we discuss only highlighting KEY words, not getting "highlighter happy" and highlighting everything. 

I start by going over what a key word is. I tell students that they are the important words that give you information. I ask them if "the" and "a" are key words. We practice a few before I let them try it on their own. We then look at sentences and circle key words, which helps them determine the main idea later on. Working our way up from single sentences, this skill helps them when we get to longer, grade level passages.   

While working on this skill, it's easy to address other skills like comprehension, articulation of certain sounds, etc. Very often, I find that students aren't sure WHAT is actually important, so I think this is an important skill to work on that will build the foundation of other skills. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Peek At My Week 3/7

March already! It sure didn't feel like spring here. Another snow storm came through, making Monday and Tuesday a snow day. 

Confession: Sometimes I have no motivation to plan (gasp!). It happens sporadically, but this past weekend, the motivation monster stole mine and I lost hope of getting it back. 

What ever did I do? I used some of my purchases from the TpT sale, plus my latest product called S.L.A.M: Speech and Language Activities for a Month to fill in the gaps. 

This is what I came up with:
  • 5th-6th graders: I found some free reading comprehension worksheets from K12 Reader. They're even conveniently separated by grade! I chose this one  because it seemed to fit the extreme weather we had just experienced. It wasn't the most fun we've had during a session, but it hit all goals! 
  • 4th graders: Several of my 4th graders are working on formulating complex sentences with conjunctions and expressive language skills. I used parts of S.L.A.M. to cover those.
  • 2nd-3rd graders: I push in for some of my kids in these grades. That makes planning easier because I support whatever they are doing. Lately, the 2nd graders have been working on writing how-to books, which is great for overall oral language and sequencing. I pulled out one of my first TpT products called Syntax Slip-ups to work on identifying grammatical errors. 
  • K-1st graders: The goals for my younger kids vary widely. Between articulation, fluency, WH questions, and grammar, I decided to just use one of the open-ended games from S.L.A.M. and address each goal that way. 
  • Autism students: I push into this classroom a lot and I'm able to generally work individually with each child (except for the weekly social skills group). Goals range widely based on the student, so I bounce around and generally rotate the same activities with these kids, so they can have consistency. We work a lot on prepositions, simple sentence formulation, WH questions, etc. Again, S.L.A.M. helped because I had most of the visuals I needed. 
I recently purchased this Pancake Pile-up game from Zulilly. It's been a great motivator for several of my kids! If you're not familiar with Zulilly, it's a website that provides daily deals on clothing, shoe, toys, etc. I have been loving the deals. You can sign up if you'd like by clicking here (<--referral link). 

Not bad for a total lack of planning motivation! What do you do when you don't have time to plan?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Love It & List It Linky

Today I'm linking up with Jenna from The Speech Room News for her Love It and List It Linky. This month features fluency products. I have to admit, fluency is one of the areas I feel weakest in. I usually only have a few students working on fluency skills. 

These are the items I find myself using frequently:

1. Snooky the Snail's Preschool Fluency Worksheets: I use these frequently with my younger kiddos.

2. Fruit Bowl Fluency Game: This was one of my first TpT products, but it's great for a range of ages. It works on easy onsets, light contacts, pausing, and bumpy vs. smooth speech. 

3. I also tend to use whatever I've got planned for my language students and work fluency in. I actually don't have any older kids working on these skills right now. So I model slow, easy speech and we identify bumpy vs. smooth speech. It's less direct with the younger kids! 

Check out what other SLP bloggers are using!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Clinical Skills Confidence: Classroom Observation [freebie]

Graphics: My Cute Graphics

SLPs in the schools need to have an understanding of how students are functioning in the classroom environment. In order for a student to qualify for speech/language services in the schools, there needs to be an impact in the classroom. 

How can you determine if there is an adverse impact? 

We can use standardized tests of course. But they often are not enough. I also like to use a teacher questionnaire and do a classroom observation. I decided to create a short form that you can grab and use during an observation rather than furiously scribbling down notes about what you're seeing. Grab the freebie here! [don't forget feedback]

This article from ASHA highlights what elements are important for a comprehensive speech/language assessment. 

Check out Speechie Freebies for more awesome SLP freebies!

Do you do a classroom observation? What do you look for? 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

How Do You Use It? Linky

Speech Time Fun is at it again! This month, her linky party focuses on using dry erase materials. This is how I use dry erase in my therapy:

1. Markers: Dry erase markers are great for writing and wiping laminated items or even those stuck in page protectors. Wastes less paper and kids seem to love it!

2. Point Tallies: A surefire way to motivate kids in my room is to give them a dry erase board, marker and tell them to track the number of points they earn. This works for anything!  

3. Magnetalk Barrier: This is a Super Duper product that is used with the barrier backgrounds, but sometimes I like to just use the board part (because it's dry erase). I can easily create a simple barrier game, by providing directions to draw different objects and then we compare our pictures. 

4. Write and wipe: I will use dry erase boards with older kids that I want to write down their sentences rather than say them out loud. This ensures that I can see what each student is capable of without the influence of hearing others' answers. 

Check Speech Time Fun's original post to see how other SLP bloggers use dry erase materials in their rooms!