Monday, February 27, 2012

Speech & Language Pinwheels

Several months ago I pinned a wonderful idea on Pinterest from Jodi over at Fun in First. She used some dollar store pinwheels to target reading comprehension. I have been keeping my eye out for a deal on them and Target dollar spot didn't disappoint this weekend! Check out these cute pinwheels!

I can see endless opportunities! I tried to control the urge to buy 10 pinwheels. So I only came home with 3.  Here's how I used them! During speech, when it was a child's turn to participate I had them spin the wheel and they complete the action listed where the arrow is pointing!

I printed little petals with directions, laminated them, and hot glued them onto the pinwheel. For my articulation wheel I added directions like : Spell & Say, Silly Sentence, Rhyme Time, 10 times fast. These make the directions very flexible! One of my favorite's is 'Rhyme Time.' I give the student a word with their target sound at the end of the word and see how many rhymes they can create. Ex: for /s/ I give: 'KISS' - miss, bliss, dismiss!

This is my grammar pinwheel! I added parts of speech, including verbs, pronouns, prepositions. I can use this one many ways! For kids working on grammatical forms (like future and past tense verbs.)  I can just give them prompts to target the correct word form. For kids working on expressive language and sentence structure, they spin a part of speech and then I give them a word to use in a sentence.

The last pinwheel I made is a general language pinwheel! I really love this one because it's so flexible! My younger students are just working on the basic skills listed, such as synonyms, definitions, categories and WH questions. The beauty of it is that I can work with my older students on curriculum vocabulary with the same item!

 I created the petals on the pinwheels that you can grab here.

Just for the record I will be back in Target this week at some point, because I just have to make a WH question spinner and a Social Communication spinner!  What other ideas do you have for these awesome finds?!

Easi-Speak Giveaway!

I wanted to share a giveaway with you today for all of you who don't yet have an ipad! You can still incorporate some technology into your speech rooms quite easily! The kind folks over at Learning Resources provided me with a cool USB recorder to test out. And because they love SLP's - they are offering one to a lucky reader!

Check out the Easi-Speak USB Recorder. It's an MP3 recorder in the shape of a microphone!

In my speech room I use a voice recorder a lot. I use it for assessments - especially fluency and language samples. I can also use recorders for articulation carryover and fluency treatment.

I had the Easi-Speak recorder in my pink 'speech bucket' (as seen on this post) today and the students in one of my articulation groups spotted it right away! I got it out and we started playing with it. We first went around and reach recorded a few sentences. We played it back to listen for carryover of our sounds.  The next round we played the "I'm going on vacation game." I started the sentences and said "I'm going on vacation and I'm bringing a 'ring'" then the next student had to add one item to the list that included their speech sound! He said, "I'm going on vacation and I'm bringing a ring and a raccoon." We used the recorder to record our ever increasingly long vacation list full of articulation targets.

The best part of this device in my opinion is that it has a USB plug in built in, so all I had to do was plug it in to save the file. That's a big upgrade from my current digital recorder. The students favorite part was that it looks like a microphone  and they were in fits of giggles listening to each other!

The Easi-Speak retails for $69.99.  The price makes it someone you would like to have the school/clinic/company buy for you! One lucky reader will get a FREE one!

To enter the giveaway you need to do the following!
1. Like SpeechRoomNews on Facebook
2. Like Learning Resources on Facebook at
Leave a comment below with your name and email!

The contest will be open until this Friday March 2! Make sure you tell your friends! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Social Communication

During one of the app giveaways on SRN, I asked you what you wanted to see more of. One of your overwhelming responses was social communication activities. 

I wanted to share a few resources today. The first is a blog written by Jill Kuzma. Pop on over and check it out HERE.

Jill covers a variety of social language topics. I especially like using the youtube videos sections.

Another resource you might want to check out is an app created by the ladies over at All4MyChild. Their blog was also named a finalist for the EduBlog awards in the same category as SpeechRoomNews!  They provided me with a code for their app Social Adventures  to test out and review for you.

Information from their website:

  • Social Adventures is an eResource for teachers, therapists, and parents conveniently produced as an iPhone and iPad app to be taken with you everywhere you go! And…because it’s an app, new activities, games and links will be added regularly through updates
  • Designed by SLPs and OTs who treat and understand the importance of physical activity, body-space awareness, and self-regulation in effective social interactions among young children.
  • This comprehensive program was designed to address 7 key areas of social interaction created for use with young children, ages 4 to 9.
  • IMAGINE is an acronym for the 7 key areas addressed: Initiating interactions,Maintaining interactions, Advocating and compromising, Getting regulated,Interpreting non-verbals, Negotiating space, and Experiencing humor.
  • The app is a “cook book” of 44+ activities. Just click on the social skill you want to address and a list of easy-to-use games and activities emerge with specific directions, parent tips, and apps that can be used to promote that skill area.
  • A Sample 8-week program is included within the app to help you get started with your program.
  • Visual supports and social catch phrases are also included.  These stick with children and are easy to use anywhere – on the playground, in the car, waiting at restaurants, on play dates, etc.
  • The BAG GAME is an interactive game that is also included in the app. And… is now available as a separate app at the Bag Game - all4mychild. This game is for 2 or more players and promotes question asking, listening, maintaining interactions and theory of mind.
You would use this app like a social program. It's meant to be used as a resource for SLP's, not an app that the students directly use. For example, one of my social groups is working on initiating conversations. I opened the "Initiating Interaction" tab on my Social Adventures app. 

I decided to use the "Start with a Question" lesson. I created a visual using the white board. My students added each type of WH questions starter. We rolled dice to see which question word to use. Students took turns initiating a conversation with a peer  using that type of question.

The program also has an 8 week suggested program. It might be a good starting place if you're running social group. For my students, it works better to look through the ideas and target just certain skills. 

One other app I want to highlight is free from the American Psychological Association. You can check it out HERE

It's a great little story about how a bad mood impacts everyone in the family. This cute story uses rhymes and cute pictures to help kids see how they can turn their grouchy mood into a good one! 

Those are just a few social language ideas. I use several of Michelle Garcia Winner's programs as well, so make sure you check them out if you aren't familiar with the Social Thinking program! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

St. Patty's For Upper Elementary

Next week is going to be March already! I bet you've been seeing lots of items on Pinterest and the other speech blogs that feature activities with St. Patrick's Day themes. I've been pinning and downloading from all my favorite websites. So when I was deciding what kinds of materials I still needed for my caseload, I  realized I was really lacking activities for the upper elementary aged students. All of the following activities are focused on language, problem solving and reasoning skills for the 3-5th grade population!

So let's get to it! The first activity I created was a multiple meaning words matching game.

I used foam green shamrocks from the dollar store. I used all body part multiple meaning words. I wrote the body part on one side and the alternate meaning on the other side. For example "heel" and " what a trained dog does on a walk." Students had to match the pieces and then explain the 2 meanings in their own words.

The next activity requires the students to logically evaluate statements. Print one of each card and attach them to a popsicle stick. The SLP reads aloud a statement and the students hold up their answer card. A variety of example sentences are included, such as "Doctors are women."

The next activity focusing on problem solving and inferences. Students draw a card with 3 items listed. They read the items listed and determine what activity they could be used for. Given the words: Rod, Bait,  Boat, the students should infer that the person is going fishing. 

The last activity has an activity listed and students need to express the sequence of steps to complete the activity. 

All the activities include these extra cards to make them into a fun game! 

Grab your free download HERE.

What other goals are your upper elementary school students working on? 

March Madness

A cruise through Pinterest or the speech blogs will show you lots of ideas for March! Most are of the great doctor (Seuss of course) or St. Patty's day materials! I wanted to share something a little different to get you thinking about March! Lots of my students love sports, so I wanted to make a quick printable to go along with March Madness.

I made a super flexible basketball game to use with all my groups. The game is played like basketball! First you write your learning targets and objectives on the back of the basketballs. My example above is a pronoun game. I also made articulation, verb and conjunction versions. 

Students complete the speech or language task to earn their points. They flip over the ball to see how many points they earned! Most balls are just regular 2 point field goals. They are trying to find those 3 pointers and slam dunks (worth 5 points for style in our game!) 

Just print one scorecard for every game. I divide my students into teams and tally their points on the backboard. An easy points reminder is included on the score card!

Grab your copy here

I will be cheering for the Buckeyes this March. Who is your team?!

Friday, February 24, 2012

MouthWorks App Review & Giveaway!

Since I got my Ipad a few months ago, I've downloaded hundreds of apps! I love when I hear about one that I haven't seen before! One of my amazing followers, Kelly Hilliker, emailed me to tell me about an app Called MouthWorks. Kelly said, "I like that it has a child model oral-motor movements, sounds, and sequences only showing the child's neck to nose... no eyes for those eye avoiders.  You can customize the settings to include the sounds and sequences that are appropriate for the student." So I just had to check it out! And guess what? I enjoyed it too! Mouth Works provided me a copy of the app to test out plus two codes for you! So lets get to the review! 

The app was created by Judy Goodfellow, MS-CCC, a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist. Judy was inspired to make the MouthWorks app to provide a simple, fun way for kids to practice speech. She wanted to make an app that would provide strong visual models without the distracters of other facial features. She felt that combining it with animation and providing a child's mouth as the model would make it highly motivating for kids.

The app is intended for children with delayed articulation or apraxia. It provides visual models of mouth postures, sounds in isolation and words.  First you see the animation and then a video of a child's mouth completing the task. 

They just added an update so that you can replay the video model as many times as needed. You mark correct or incorrect and end up with a percentage! Once you mark correct, the app moves onto the next sound you have selected. I had my students say 10 good sounds before I marked it for moving on! 

I would love to see this app grow. I think it's a great starting place and I would love to see it grow from CV and CVC structures into others! I think if they could have a quick little game for those sweet characters it would motivate the kiddo's even more! I've been using it as a 'warm up' for a few students with apraxia. They much prefer looking at the model on the ipad, compared to Ms. Jenna's mouth! 

Now for the giveaway! You need to complete the following 3 things in order to be entered! 
1. Like Speech Room News on Facebook
2. Like MouthWorks on Facebook
3. Leave a comment with the name of an app you would like to see given away on SRN and YOUR EMAIL. 

GIVEAWAY CLOSED: Congrats Krin and Paula! Our app giveaway winners! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Grab your shopping ads!

Many of my students this year have been working on auditory comprehension skills. They are working on listening to paragraphs and other short snippits of information, and then recalling the information, identifying key details, sequencing information and making inferences. As academic content becomes more difficult, many of my students with language disorders have difficulty with these auditory comprehension skills, impacting their success in the classroom.

My students were getting pretty good at completing these questions with my standard short stories and follow up questions. This week I decided to see how well they are transferring those skills!

This is where it's time to grab your Sunday paper ads! I had Target, Giant Eagle and Meijer.

I wrote this little short story up about a lady running errands. She had 3 days worth of activities to buy items for. The student's needed to listen to the activities, and then look through the ads and develop a shopping list. For example if Mrs. Baker needs to do the laundry, dishes and vacuum. She probably needs to make sure she has laundry detergent and dish soap. The kids had to recall the errands and chores and then make inferences about what she might need. It was a great activity to work on pulling out the key details presented.

To follow up we compared our shopping lists. Students worked on some social skills, such as persuasion  and negotiation to decide on a single list of appropriate items for the group.

This is the printable I used for each student. As always in my room. Activities need to be flexible for all different groups! Here are 5 more ways I used the ads:

1. Students searched for items with their articulation sound
2. Find items that fit into a category (ie: electronics, vegetables, etc.)
3. Find items with a certain attribute (ie: noisy, spicy, etc.)
4. Find two things you would like to buy. Compare and contrast them.
5. Find an item. Give your neighbor clues, until they guess what you have on your wish list!

Grab your printables here!
Story Example

What other ways can we use these ads? Thoughts?

You asked, I answer!

After posting yesterday about organization and my speech room - I have have several questions asked by multiple people. So This is a quick follow up!

1. What are those WH visuals you spoke of in hushed tones (or text?)

These are what they look like. I can't find the source. If you made them - claim them! I'm pretty sure I got them on Boardmaker Share but now I can't find them. I also looked on SpeakingofSpeech, but they weren't there either. I put them on magnets, so the kids can pull them off the wall as we work on different skills.

Here's a link for something similar:

2. What is your take on homework?

I live in a great district. The families really care about education. For me that means many of my student complete their homework on a regular basis. I give everyone a yellow folder at the beginning of the year and start the year by sending homework weekly. If students complete homework I send more home. If they consistently forget to do homework, I stop sending it. For those students, I write that they aren't completing homework on the progress report and that helps sometimes. Even if they don't complete homework frequently - I send homework home occasionally in the hopes that parents will see it and follow through. A post about my parent communication will be coming to you soon.

3. Do you do a reward system?

I do sticker charts. It's simple and the kids can manage it themselves. I do them for k-5 kids who are on IEP's. I see a lot of kids through RTI - they don't have charts because their sessions are usually shorter and adding the stickers just takes too long to get out the door. For my IEP kids, they manage stickers while I'm passing out homework and getting everything finished up.

I keep the stickers in the top of the pocket chart. The charts are on the wall behind the door (where they aren't in sight from the table). Students get one sticker for behavior and an extra if they return homework. 10 stars = prize. I ask parents to donate to the prize box , order happy meals, and find treasures at the dollar store.

3. Where did you get that pocket chart?

The pocket chart is from Oriental Trading! Check it out here:

The over the door hangers came from a teacher garage sale. Not sure where those are from, but you can google it!

Those were the most asked questions! Hope they help you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Anatomy of the Speech Room

I can't tell you how many of you have emailed me asking me about organization and storage! It's certainly a hot topic!! Today I'm going to let to you peek into my speech room with a look at just how I organize everything. I'm really not a super organized person. I can usually find what I need - but it's not always in the most efficient manner!

Let's just get to it!

This is my room! Tada! One thing I wanted to highlight from this picture is the red pocket chart thats hanging up on the cabinet. This year I made it my goal to make my own version of the awesome Speech Sound Wall Pocket that Annie made.  I used a pocket chart and a over-the door hanger with them.

I printed pictures from Mommy Speech Therapy that you can download for free! It's wonderful because there are words in isolation, phrases and stories. Most sounds are in the initial, medial and final position of words.

I printed all the sounds, laminated them and then bound them with a book ring. For common sounds, like the /r/, I made many copies of the artic packets. For less common sounds, I just made a few. So when kids come into the room, I can ask them to grab the packet for their sound.

My working files are housed in this crate that sits next to me. Each child has a file with the data sheet. They also contain homework packets for each objective. That way I have plenty of homework activities on hand whenever I need it.

My file cabinet is organized like this! These folder house an 'original' packet that contains many homework pages for each goal. They are supposed to have extra copies of packets, but that rarely happens.

Try not to be alarmed. This is my cabinet. I feel a little exposed - showing my dirty cabinet - but I know you feel the pain of overcrowding so I'm going for it and showing it to you! The top shelf if language-ish things. The second shelf is artic/phonology stuff. The third and fourth shelf are full of other preschool toys and activities.

Within my shelves are small buckets/totes of organization. I have a big tub full of general activities. Some of my more commonly treated objectives are in these smaller tubs for easy access. The awesome paper activities you download on my site are just put in plastic bags. That keeps them easy to see and small to store.

I keep practically every container I can get my hands on. Chinese take out plastic containers are amazing. This one I used to keep my Artic Fries in is an old Swifter wipe box!

I have a mix of dish tubs and rubbermaid containers as well!

I store my preschool units in these crates. For each week I plan a Circle Time lesson and accompanying individual therapy ideas.

I keep all the materials for that week in a plastic bag. My amazing CF supervisor Kara organized her preschool lessons like this last year. It has made everything so easy this year! I just grab the bag I need, update and add any new activities for the lesson and I'm ready to go! This one is my Goldilocks & the 3 Bears bag for next week.

And here's a peek at my desk. In real life. I didn't even clean it up for you!

Ok, so there it is. Just a peek at how I organize things. What are you using? How about we all pull out our iphones and upload a picture onto the Speech Room News facebook page. I'd love to see what you're using. I'm sure there are more efficient ways!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear for Speech & Language

I thought I would share some Brown Bear, Brown Bear activities today. I use this unit with the preschool students, but it would be easy to adapt to the early elementary level as well.

My Brown Bear version is the board book version that includes the sliding cards. I think it's the best because the clinician can block the student from sliding the card, until they say the phrase! It's a awesome reinforcer, because they love to see what animal is next! At circle time, when I read the book I focus on attributes and categories for the animals. We sort animals into things that have wings, number of legs, size, shape, etc.

The main activity that I use in therapy is a Brown Bear retelling necklace. Just grab some beads and string and the printable story characters. It's great for following directions and color words while you are making each animals piece. I gave the students directions as I added they created the necklace (ex: add the bear and one yellow bead.) For students with just emerging verbalizations, we used this activity while we imitated each animal sound.

My kids loved making these! After we made the necklace, we could easily retell the story using the necklace!

This was a simple picture to picture matching sheet. You can use it to work on receptive vocabulary, expressive vocabulary, requesting, sign, following directions, etc!

I also used these size sequencing bears. They work great for both spatial concepts and positional concepts. Lots of my friends need to work on following directions, and the bears are great for that! Another activity I have used is the half matching pictures. It's a great skill for those younger kids!

This a story retelling strip I use when we aren't making a story telling necklace! I printed sentence strips to support those kids who need it!

This is an eye spy activity! You add rice and the pictures of each animal into the water bottle. Then students can work on finding each animal and marking it off on their sheet. This really gets them talking!

Another item we used is the Brown Bear sign language reader! We did it and then sent a copy home to the family! You can grab the Sign Language Book HERE. (By the way - one of the colors is wrong, but still a great resource! I just write a note on it!).

I also used the Ipad this week! I saved the pictures to my ipad and then added them into the Image Spinner App. In a group a students we took turns spinning and trying to get all the animals! We marked them off on the I Spy sheet above.

You can download most of the activities listed above at a wonderful website called MakeLearningFun. This is the link for the Brown Bear Printables.

Leave a comment and share this with a friend if you enjoy it!