Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Speech Snow Globe Craftivity!

I am a sucker for a good craftivity. Any time I can incorporate movement and hands on interaction into a lesson, count me in! Since the weather has been quite chilly lately (yes, even in Florida!) I created a snow globe activity for my speech students.
Included in this packet is a color and black and white version of the snow globe. I found the snow globe clipart from Teacher's Clipart store on TpT. It is purposely left as a simple template so you can use it for just about any goal you are targeting. 
 Last week I used this with my preschool articulation students. I download target words from Mommy Speech Therapy and had the students practice their words or put them into a sentence before gluing them onto their snow globe!
They turned out really cute! I sent them home so they could practice the words in their snow globe that week with their families. You can download this craftivity for FREE in my TpT store here!

Friday, January 29, 2016

In My APPinion: Learning Verbs by Language Concepts [Giveaway!]

APPY Friday! One if the most amazing things about blogging, actually social media in general, is the connections I have been able to make with other creative and talented SLPs. Recently I was contacted by Anna about an app she created with another SLP. I was more than happy to check it out, especially since it targeted verbs. I know I am not the only one that can use more resources for teaching verbs. So here it is! Check out my review of Learning Verbs! Make sure you follow me on Instagram (@simply_speech) for a chance to win a copy of this app!
I was provided with a copy of the app in exchange for the review, however, all opinions expressed are my own. 
When you open the app, you will see a screen like the one above. Here is the main page where you can adjust settings and chose which verbs you want to target with your student. A total of 22 verb picture cards are included. I love that they are real life pictures instead of cartoons or drawings. The images are bright, colorful, and engaging. I also am a big fan of any app that allows you to customize features. This app allows you to add/upload your own photos. My first thought for this was to have my students act out the verbs and take their picture to use in the app. I feel like so many students would benefit from this feature!

Once you adjust your personal settings, click Play! Depending on how many 'cards per round' you chose, your screen will look different. Above is for the 4 card option. 

Another fantastic feature this app allow is the ability to adjust between the number of cards shown right in the middle of using the app. Tap on the gear icon at the top of the screen and it allows you to make changes. Simply tap, Resume when you are finished. This has come in handy when working with multiple students or realizing a students is having difficulty with the concept mid way through the list. 

After you have gone through the entire list of verbs (or the number you have chose to use) you will see the screen below. 
 This app has been a very useful tool to keep in my bag of verb tricks. It is a simple app, it  doesn't allow for settings for multiple students or keep data, bit that's ok. It is quick and to the point with what it targets. This is a fantastic resource for baseline and growth data collection on verbs as well as something that can be used to teach the topic. I absolutely love the clear and colorful images. For $2.99, I really can't ask for more! You can download your own copy of this app in the iTunes store, here. 

Make sure you follow me on Instagram for a chance to win your own copy thanks to the sweet creators of this app!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to Use Bathroom Cups in Therapy!

It's hard to believe we are 3 weeks into the new year and this is my first blog post of 2016! Life has been crazy busy, but we have been blessed so I can't complain. I wanted to write this blog post tonight to share with you a crazy idea that has the kids super excited! I have been using something in therapy this past week that is making tedious tasks lots of fun. You ready for this? Bathroom cups. Yep, bathroom cups. Believe it or not, those 3oz little cups are bringing a lot of skill practice into therapy without any complaining. 
 I started out using these cups to help one of my kindergarteners work on his sight words. I grabbed a couple of the cups, wrote some of his sight words on the top, then hid an object under one of the cups when he wasn't looking. He had to guess which cup it was under by reading the sight word on the top first. He thought this was a fun little game and then got even more excited when I started hiding snacks under the cups. He wanted to play over and over again… and you know what that means- lots of practice.
 This activity can easily be adapted for any goals (letter names, vocabulary, colors, size concepts, describing words, you name it) I love using these for articulation practice. Tape a target word or picture to the top of the cup. Have your student(s) practice saying the word before you show them what's under the cup. I promise you, they will love it.
 You can get really creative and build a tower with the cups. Have your student(s) practice their target that's on the cup before he/she can add a cup to the tower. Kids learn so much more when they are engaged and having fun!

Friday, December 18, 2015

In My APPinion: Social Skills with Billy

Appy Friday! I don't know about you, but social skill activities and materials are always things I am in need of. With the Autism population higher than it has ever been, you are very likely to come across a student that has social goals on his or her plan of care- no matter what setting you are working in. The Virtual Speech Center has recently released an app called, Social Skills with Billy that is designed  for children with Autism. This app was created to allow them to practice social skills and pragmatic language in real-life situations and to practice identifying feelings.

Here is how the app works. When you open the app you will see the screen above. Here, you can adjust the settings, learn more about the app, and access student reports. When you are ready, click start to begin the app.
You can add multiple students to the list and multiple students can use this app at one time. This is always a great feature for SLPs that work in the school setting or run groups. Once you have added and selected the students to work with, click on next. 
Here you can choose the activities for each student. You can choose anywhere from 1-7 of the activities to target at a time. There is also an option to edit each activity and specifically choose which scenarios you want to use.
Once you have made your selections, you can begin using the app. Below is an example from Identifying Correct Responses in Dialogues.
The screen shot below is from the Identifying Right vs. Wrong Responses.
This prompt is from Identifying Feelings by Following Directions.
Below is a prompt for Identifying Feelings in Multiple Choice.
Identifying How One Feels Based on Short Case Scenarios.
Lastly, Stating How One Feels Based on Short Case Scenarios.
I love that this app explores social skills in so many different ways. The graphics are colorful and engaging, but not too overwhelming or busy. Another positive for this app is that it allows you to use it with multiple children at a time, which is perfect for social skills groups. The scenarios used in this app are real life, which provides great real-life practice for students. I would recommend this app for school age kids-young adults. You can learn more about this app or download a copy for yourself here in the iTunes store!

**The Virtual Speech Center did provide me with a copy of this app in exchange for a blog review. However, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.**

Thursday, December 17, 2015

How I Use Verb Interactive Placemats {Giveaway!}

Teaching verbs to little ones can be a lot of fun. The best therapy happens when kids can incorporate movement and excitement into an activity. Verbs are perfect for that! What's a better way to teach jumping, running, and throwing than having them actually do the action and then talk about it? I have a student that is working on this goal. We have lots of fun playing Simon Says while she follows directions acting out target verbs. She is also working on using pronouns correctly, so I created these interactive placemats for her to practice using verbs while we also address pronouns!
This activity pack includes 16 pages of verb mats as well as picture cards to use to complete the sentence. I printed and laminated all the pages and then keep them together with binder rings (so it's like a book) There are 2 pages of the small cards included. This is so you can cut one up and attach it with velcro to the second identical page. I take this page out of the "book" for easy access and reference.
 For some students, the whole reference page may be too much, so just take 2-3 pictures off the sheet for them to choose from.
When I am using this, I first have the child choose the small card that matches the picture on the placemat. I ask him/her what the picture is showing then have him/her complete the sentence. For some, I just have them imitate the sentence until they can do this part on their own. 
There is something about velcro that gets kids engaged in an activity! I have also paired this with my Verb Flashcards for extra practice and carryover. Think your kids would enjoy this activity? You can download it in my TpT store here, or enter below for a chance to win a copy!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Using the Elf to Promote Speech & Language Skills!

In our house, we absolutely love this time of year. One of my favorite holiday traditions is using the Elf on the Shelf with my kids. Before I had kids of my own, I used the elf in my classroom. If you're not familiar with the concept of the Elf on the Shelf,  the elf is supposed to help promote good behavior this time of year. Each night, he or she flies back to the North Pole and reports to Santa. With the overflow of sugar and excitement, there is no doubt that this little elf is helpful. However, I love using the elf for more than just behavior. This little guy is perfect to help promote speech and language skills!
In my book, anything that gets a child talking and using his/her language skills deserves a gold star. There are countless ways that you can use the elf to encourage your child's skills based on their interests, but I thought I would share a few of my favorites. 
Each night the elf moves to a new place in your home or classroom after she returns from her trip to the North Pole. That means, each day is an opportunity to work on a new preposition. Where is the elf today? Well, in our house she is sitting next to the bunch of bananas that look like minions! Yesterday she was inside the stocking and the day before she was on top of the reindeer. This is such a fun way to work on these skills. 

Where do you think the elf will be tomorrow? What do you think he will tell Santa tonight? Making predictions is a skill that many kids have trouble with. They have to think abstractly and about the future. After a few days of seeing the elf move to a new place and learning there is a pattern, your child may have an easier time using his/her prediction skills. 

The elf can give you plenty of opportunities to teach new vocabulary. Where you place your elf and what you place around her gives you the perfect chance to introduce new words. You can use pictures (my favorite is to make it look like the elf is drawing pictures of target words) or put actual items next to her- hey there's another preposition opportunity!  Working in a school? Use your students vocabulary or spelling words for the week.  Working with articulation students? Place some arctic cards next to her. The kids will have no problem telling you what words the elf has set out for them that day.

Expressive Language
I found an elf template on Pinterest a few years ago that I used with my students. They got to color and decorate their own elf. Then they used their creativity and wrote all about their own elf. They named their elf, told me how old the elf was, what he/she loved to eat (most answers were sugar filled!), and what he/she did for fun. I loved hearing their responses and the kids all got so excited about this activity. You can check out my blog post about this activity and find the free download here.

Language comes out when kids are excited. Use the elf collaboratively with things your child loves. For example, if he loves trucks, have your elf drive a big rig! If she loves princesses, set up an elf and princess tea party. In my experience, the sillier the activity, the more language I see.
I hope you have a wonderful, language filled holiday!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Our First Week with the Elf!

Has the famous elf made her or her appearance in your house this year? I have had an elf for 6 years now. She used to visit my students but now that Kenzie is old enough, she visits our home. I have been so excited for Kenzie to be old enough to enjoy the elf, and the year has finally come!
 The day after Thanksgiving, our sweet little elf made her appearance. Of course she didn't come empty handed… Christmas jammies for all! After we read the story, Kenzie decided to name her Belle (which is an improvement from the name she insisted on last year… Pizza!) Belle is here to stay for a while!
 The next day we found her getting to know Kenzie's toy friends and reading them all a story.
 I was super happy to see that Belle was getting into the spirit of Giving Tuesday! She encouraged Kenzie to pack a bag of toys to donate. To my surprise, Kenzie willingly gave 3 big bags of toys away. So proud of my girl!
 Tuesday Belle came in like a wrecking ball!
 Then it was time for a stroll with a reindeer.
 Belle overheard Kenzie asking for fruit snacks for Christmas, so she brought her a little treat.
 I let Kevin be in charge of the elf the other night since he was home (he works nights so it's usually my job to move the elf each night) This is what he came up with. If you can't see, Sheriff Callie is helping Belle get to the Love Troll with her lasso. I love his creativity!

We are having so much with all of these new Christmas traditions! Stay tuned to see what kind of trouble we stir up with Belle this week :)