Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Taking It Home- Using Visuals Outside of the Speech Room!

Good morning! Coffee is brewing and I am writing this blog post at 5am. Life with a newborn back in the house is amazing. Amazingly exhausting but amazing none the less. Since my husband works evenings and gets home at midnight, we split up the night time feeding shifts. That means my day starts at 4am. I thought being such an early bird would be terribly hard, but I actually enjoy it. The house is quiet and when everyone is back to sleep, I get to spend some alone time creating TpT materials, reviewing products, and writing blog posts. The rest of the day is spent snuggling my little ones, potty training, going to swim lessons, dance classes, and attempting to keep the house somewhat clean :)
Before the littlest one arrived, I began using visuals with my daughter. Kenzie turned three in April, but it felt like she turned 16. My sweet baby girl was transformed into what I like to call, a "threenager!" I love that she is strong willed and wants to be incredibly independent, but the protests, attitude, and tantrums were really starting to wear on my 8 month pregnant body. As a therapist, I emphasize to parents and teachers all the time how helpful using visuals can be to reduce anxiety and other issues that can cause behavior problems. Visuals can also provide some great motivation for kids. Well friends, it was time that I took my own advice. I sat down at the computer and created a weekly chart that addressed a daily schedule of activities I was having difficulty getting her to do. This chart allowed her to put a sticker next to a box after each task was completed. I chose this type of chart because currently stickers are highly motivating for her. 
It was no surprise that this sticker chart worked like a charm. My husband was impressed and embraced this chart quickly! After seeing how successful this was, I quickly went to Pinterest to find a motivating potty chart (of course we decide to potty train with a newborn in the house!) I found this free Frozen Potty Chart printable here. "Time to go, Let it go…!"
Something else that has proven over and over again to be helpful with getting things done without tantrums is using a visual timer. I am guilty of giving Kenzie more screen time then I would like to lately so I can feed or bathe the baby, but I always set a timer. When the timer goes off, the iPad gets shut off. I am a big fan of the Time Timer because it is easy for little ones to see how much time is left. When the "red is all gone!" time is up. The visual makes the concept easy for her to understand. 
Are you using visuals in your home? I would love to hear what works for you and your family!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fun in the Sun! Summer Time Therapy Activities {Linky}

It's hard to believe that it's already July! Summer is flying by, but time flies when you're having fun, right? Summer time is always a fun time for therapy for me. It just feels different. The kids are out of school and in the mood for some fun. It motivates me to think outside of the box and get creative with some new summer themed activities. Some of my favorites are DIY activities (look for a future post about those!) but many are board games and hands on fun. I wanted to share a post with some of my favorite summer time therapy games! I want to know what your favorites are as well. 
So, to link up, write an original blog post that includes the linky graphic below. Make sure the graphic links back to this blog post so others can find it and link up, too. In your post, list your favorite summer therapy materials. Make sure you link up at the bottom of this post and share!
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience.

What's a better way to beat the summer hear than with some ice cream? I love this lego ice cream set- and so does my daughter! Let's be honest, who doesn't love legos and who doesn't love ice cream? This is a fun way to target following directions, role playing, descriptive words, and just overall expressive language through play!

BBQ's are a summer staple. If your students love Jumping Jack or Pop the Pig, they will also be fans of this game. I like to use this game during articulation therapy sessions. Have your student(s) practice target words before a turn in the game.

Let's go fishing!  This game is a hit with my younger crowd, especially those working on following directions, turn taking, colors, and counting!

I cannot get my daughter away from our water table. She has a blast splashing in some sensory fun. Throw in some plastic sea creatures for vocabulary enrichment and watch the expressive language unfold!

PlayDoh is also a hit with my students. In the summer, I love using cookie cutters or food molds to create a picnic. Grab a basket, a blanket, some plates, and some cans of playdoh and head outside for your therapy session!

Another popular summer theme is camping. These Spot It games are so much fun, especially one with a fun theme. These games are perfect for targeting vocabulary, visual skills, attention to task/focus, and turn taking.

Keep the camping theme going with a camping play set. Role play going on a camping trip. What things do you need to go camping? What is a lantern used for? Lots of fun while targeting answering questions, vocabulary, and more! Want to really win therapist of the year award? Pitch a tent in your therapy room (or go outside for therapy that day.) Kids LOVE getting inside a tent and working!

Ocean animal puppets are tons of fun. There is something about puppets that elicit so much expressive language. I am also alway amazed at what little ones are willing to do if a puppet asks them to do it. Seriously, my daughter will clean her dinner plate or brush her teeth with no protesting if a puppet tells her to! There are so many ocean themed books out there that using puppets to interact with a story adds some extra fun.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Life... As of Late!

You may have noticed that it's been pretty quiet around the blog lately. However, it's been anything but quiet around our house- except for during nap time- and good lord do I love nap time! If you follow me on Instagram (@simply_speech) you may have noticed a cute little guy hogging up your feed. On June 11th at 8am we welcomed the newest member to our family, Kameron! If you haven't noticed, we have a K theme in our family!
My heart is just so filled with joy to have a family of four. Kenzie is an amazing big sister. She loves taking care of him and holding his hand when he cries. My husband and I are exhausted to say the least, but we wouldn't change a thing. I can't wait to teach him new things, show him the world, and read him 1,000 books!

Life as a stay at home mom is good these days. Our days are filled with early morning wake up calls, swim lessons, play dates, doctor appointments, dance classes, and lots of coffee. Occasionally I may even get a shower or if I am real lucky, a nap! I'm enjoying my time off but my SLP brain has yet to shut off. 4am feedings is when most of my ideas seem to come to me so expect some new things up in the store soon. 
While many of you are getting ready to enjoy your time at the Vegas TpT conference or ASHA Schools, I'll be here living through you all on social media… so make sure you post lots of good stuff! 
I hope you all are enjoying your summer! I'll be back soon :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Teddy Talker ™ Product Review and Giveaway!

I have recently seen a new product called Teddy Talker ™ all over social media! Everyone that had their hands on one of the products raved about it. So naturally I had to check it out! I contacted the wonderful people over at Creative Speech Products and they offered to send me the Teddy Talker Teach Together Tool Kit and the Teddy Talker Combo Pack. I am beyond excited to share this review with you all!
If you have not yet heard of Teddy Talker, it's a tool for speech production that promotes auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic learning. In addition to speech, it also promotes rhyming, sound blending, consonant clusters, phoneme changes, sound associations, and connections for phonemes and graphemes. Teddy Talker also helps your students learn while addressing Common Core standards (you can learn more about that on their website here.)
The Teach Together Tool Kit includes a binder with reference materials for therapy at home and in educational settings. The pages are black and white (great for making copies) and uses the Teddy Talker visuals. One of my favorite things included in this binder is a paper version of Teddy's face and articulators. My students love having their own personal Teddy to practice with! The best part is when they used their own teddy to teach each other. 
When you purchase the toolkit, you also revive a free digital version of the book for easy download and print access to the materials. 
-Teddy Felt Board
-Felt cue pieces
-Tongue puppet
-Learning Letters
-Reinforcement rhyme cards
-Mouth Position Cards
-Carry Tote
I love everything that is included in the Teach Together Tool Kit, but I got SO much use out of the Combo Pack. I was amazed at how engaging the graphics and felt pieces were for my students. In fact, I used Teddy with both my students and my daughter. I have a pretty wide range of goals to address with my students and I could use Teddy with almost all of them. Teddy's visual cues have been wonderful tools for my students with apraxia. In addition to the felt board, the Teddy Mouth Position Cards are very helpful for teaching sounds and placement. 
Teddy has also been oh so helpful with my soon to be kindergarten students learning letter names and sounds. I have also loved using Teddy with my articulation and phonology students. The voice on/voice off bow tie along with mouth position cards are the perfect tools for helping students work on their speech skills. 
I am so glad that I came across this product by Creative Speech Products. As a visual learner myself, I cannot say enough good things about Teddy and all the visual support he provides. The graphics are engaging for students (and adorable, by the way!) I look forward to using Teddy with more of my students in the future. 
Do you think Teddy would be a good fit for your students? Enter below for a chance to win a free digital copy of the Teach Together Tool Kit!!
**Make sure you have an updated email with Rafflecopter. I will be contacting the winner through email on Monday**

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

SLP Trading Post: Articulation Placemats & Giveaway!

Have you checked out any of the other SLP Trading Post blog posts? I teamed up with Jessica from Figuratively Speeching to check out her Articulation Placemats! I am always on the hunt for more fun articulation activities so I was very excited to check these out. 
Jessica has a few packets of placemats that target different sounds. Inside each packet is:
-Parent Note 
- 42 Homework pages including: a word list for each weekday, two tick tack toe boards, a section to unscramble words, a section to draw a picture, and a spinner. 
I love that she included a parent note explaining what the activities are and why homework is important. Even better, she explains that this activity takes less than 5 minutes… perfect for those busy families!
The homework pages are lots of fun. They are even student approved! I have used these placemats as therapy activities as well as homework activities. You can download a copy of these in Jessica's Teachers Pay Teachers store here! 
Don't forget that the Teacher Appreciation Sale is going on today and tomorrow. 
Snag these placemats at 28% off now!
Enter below to win a copy of these awesome placemats from Jessica!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Sale: What's In Your Cart? Linky Party

Yay for Teacher Appreciation Week! No matter if you are a teacher, therapist, assistant or coach, you make a difference in our students' lives. With the end of the school year quickly approaching, why not snag a few items that will help your last few weeks of planning go smoothly? I only have 5 weeks left before I go on maternity leave so I am definitely on the look out for items that will help me during my last few weeks. 
I am linking up with Jenna from Speech Room News to share one of the new items from my store as well as what I plan on putting in my cart tomorrow. Check it out :)
I recently added WH Question Scenes to my store. I have a new student that I have been working hard on answering wh-questions with, so he inspired this fun activity. You can see it in the store here.
Now on to what I plan on purchasing in the sale…
Beach Grammar by Jenn is exactly what I need… grammar activities with a fun summer theme!

I love Whitney's book club companions, so May's is on my list. 
The Dabbling Speechie's flip books look great! I always need more articulation activities. 
Nicole's Speaking or Writing Prompts looks great for my older students working on writing, or my articulation students working on carryover skills. 

I love Jenna's Preschool Summer Packet. This will be perfect to send off with my students before I leave for the summer. 
Happy shopping! 
Don't forget to use the code word: THANKYOU to get 28% off your purchases!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Everyday Speech Social Skills Videos Review

Happy Wednesday!! I am really excited to share this product review with you all today because I know we all could use some new, fun ways to target social skills. I was recently contacted by Cal, the co-founder of Everyday Speech. You may already own one of their apps, Let's Be Social, Let's Learn Emotions, or Let's Use Language. In addition to the apps, Everyday Speech also has prepared to launch an entire collection of videos to address common social skills such as: eye contact, voice volume, personal space, and apologizing- just to name a few. 
These videos were created specifically for students that require some extra help with social skills. The videos include real people, not cartoons, in everyday social situations. The videos also include text and video thought bubbles to help the student truly understand the social situation and what the characters in the video are thinking. 

Each video is approximately 2 minutes long. This is a pretty ideal length for young students with a short attention span. These videos would be ideal for social skills groups. They would be great to show, then have a discussion about. 
Identification of emotions

Text descriptions

Thought bubbles

Here are a few things that I love about these videos:
-The videos are short, engaging, and to the point.
-The videos include narration, text, and thought bubbles.
-Real actors (age 12-18) are used in these videos. 
-The videos depict real life situations that your students probably encounter on a daily basis.
-The videos can be viewed on PC, Mac, Smartphone, iPad, or Android tablets.
-The videos provide another great option for targeting social skills. 
-These videos are great for individual therapy or group discussions.
These videos are coming May 4th! If you are interested, sign up on the wait list now.
Those on the waiting list will get:
-A guaranteed 50% off promo code, with no limits on purchase size
-A chance to win a free video package
-The blog/site that gets the most waiting list sign ups: everyone that signed up from that site will get a free video package.
-Sign up using my link below so we can all earn a free package!!!!

****Disclaimer: These videos were provided to me at no cost in exchange for a review, however, all opinions expressed in this review are mine.