My Favorite Apps of 2012!

Friday, December 28, 2012
For me, 2012 was the year of the app! This was the first year that I really put my iPad to use in my therapy room. I have downloaded 100's of apps but a select few really helped make my therapy sessions fun and powerful. Here is my list of my 5 favorite apps for 2012:

Articulation Station
By Little Bee Speech
I have used this app more than any other app out there. Articulation therapy sessions can get tedious and you can only play Candy Land or Go Fish so many times. This app allows for drill like sessions (that get you tons of target practice) without the moans and groans from the kiddos. Even my littlest ones come in my room asking for, "The bee!" 
Multiple Choice Articulation
By Erik X. Raj
Looking for an app that allows you to target articulation carryover while working on language skills? This one will help you score points with your speech and language kiddos! So many speech apps are made for young children. This app wont make your older students feel like they are using a preschool articulation app (and it's a lot of fun!)
Find it in iTunes here

Glow Draw!
By Indigo Penguin Limited

This FREE app has saved me many times this year. Kids hate doing worksheets but love using the iPad.... enter Glow Draw! This app allows you to upload a picture and draw on it. I have uploaded more worksheets than I can count with this app and students (willingly!) complete them using the glow pen! Another bonus is that I spend way less time in the line at the copy machine :)
Find it in iTunes here

Preposition Builder
By Mobile Education Store

I have quite a few students on my caseload with preposition goals this year. So naturally, this app was used a lot. What I really like about this app is that if the student answers wrong, the app shows them a picture of why the answer is not correct. I have been using it as a reward activity at the end of each session. The last 5 minutes of each session, we use this app as a whole group for extra practice and fun.
Find it in iTunes here

Sounding Board
By AbleNet

I love this app! It is a communication board on the iPad. I use it in both private therapy and in my school based sessions. This app allows you to create your own communication boards with your own pictures. It is great with helping little ones make choices and express their wants and needs!
Find it in iTunes here

I was really  close to adding the Pinterest app to my list :) I can't even count the number of creative ideas I have stolen from Pinterest (and I know you have, too!) I am so excited to see what 2013 has in store for the iPad! Do you use any of these apps in your therapy room?

The Elf On OUR Speech Shelf!

Thursday, December 20, 2012
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.
The last 2 weeks have been so much fun with our little "Princess" elf visiting us! This was the first year that I introduced the elf to my classes. I love doing activities like this with my students. Most of my students don't get these kinds of experiences at home, so I love the fact that they can have them at school. Want to see what we have been up to?
After we read the book, we chose a name (gotta follow the rules!) Speaking of rules, they did an awesome job not touching her! I let the students make suggestions to list on the chart and and then the voting began. As you can see, Princess took the cake! Now that she has a name, she can start creating some mischief!
Princess relaxing at the Marshmallow Spa!
Having a sticker party with her friends!
Princess loves speech and we love Princess!
Hanging out in my crayon wreath!
Cuddled up with a good book! If you look closely, you can see her glasses.
All that wore her out! Taking a nap in the tissue box!

The kids took such interest in the elf that I decided to let them create their own. I found a template for an elf on DLTK. Download it here! The students decorated their elf then named and write about their elf. Here are a few samples!
This elf loves to eat candy canes and french toast!

This elf is related to the Hulk!

Whew!! What a week we have had... but a fun week at that! Princess will definitely be returning next year!

In My Speecherbread House!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I wanted to come up with a crafty activity that the kids could play over the break. My student love games so I figured they would actually practice their targets if they were made into a game!
With a little "Pin-spiration" here is what I came up with!
This is our Speecherbread House!
Here is how it works:
I printed out the gingerbread roof and decorations from Jackie Higgins' Gingerbread Theme Unit. You can download it here!
Then I printed out target words from Mommy Speech Therapy and cut them out. You can download them here!
I laid out the target words and let the students take turn choosing a word words to practice or use in a sentence. The kids liked using the sentence "I have a ___ in my speecherbread house!"

After they practiced their target, they put their word in their bag. Now they can take home their speecherbread house full of target words and have a fun activity to use over the break!
Are you sending homework with your students?

More Uses For Those Sunday Ads!

Thursday, December 13, 2012
Last summer I did a post about saving your Sunday ads to use for therapy materials. If you missed it, check it out here: Save Those Sunday Ads! I was able to use some of them for an activity this week! Check it out...
Each student was given a blank Sound Finder worksheet. 
At the top, it says
I Can Find My ____ Sound!
You decide what sound you want them to go on a hunt for. Then, unload those Sunday ads on the table and let them get to work. This activity elicits SO much language (especially around the holidays with the toy ads!)
After they completed them, I sent them home for homework. The words they found were their 10 target words for practice at home. For the kids above the word level, have them make up a sentnece for each word.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.
She's baaaaaack!! That crazy old lady is back and swallowing up the Christmas spirit! This week I used
with my therapy groups.
I decided to do a story retelling activity with my groups using a paper bag and pictures of objects in the story (vocabulary!)
I read the story first. I took this time to do some story predicting and discussion during the story. 
After I was done, I gave the students the materials to create their own story in a bag! 
I had them number the back of the pictures as a reminder of the order (sequencing!)
Here are some of our finished products, what do you think?

Stone Soup, Anyone?

Monday, December 10, 2012
I love using the book, Stone Soup in therapy. There are so many activities that can be done with this activity on many different levels. I like to use this book and activities each winter and decided to put my activity up on Teachers pay Teachers this year for you all to enjoy!
I use the version by Ann McGovern. I don't have a preference of one story version over the other, but this one was already in my classroom library when I started at my school! Here is what the download includes:
Soup Place Mat 
(this can be used however you would like. I have included some ideas below!)
In My Soup Articulation Activity
Give each student a Soup Place Mat. Print out pages, cut and laminate. Place the cards face down on the table. Have student take turns choosing a card. Use the item on the card in the sentence:
“I like _________ in my soup.” or “I do not like ________in my soup.”
Students decide if they want to put the object they chose in their soup bowl or back into the pile. This activity created more language than I imagined! One student chose to make silly soup and put objects like a shark, flower, shoes, etc. in his soup. He spontaneously told me a story about how the shark was chasing the shoes and the flower around the soup bowl!
With younger students, you can also use these cards to sort food vs. not food items. I did the sorting activity with my PreK students.
Story Sequencing  Activity
Print out story map and object cards, cut, and laminate. Have students put the objects requested in the story in order. Let students retell the story using their sequencing map.
Stone Soup Story Grammar
Students complete the worksheet targeting characters, setting, and main events in the story.
Writing Prompt
Student write about how they think the soup was made from a stone. 
Make Your Own Soup!
Students create their own soup listing their own characters and what ingredients they will bring to make the soup!

How Arrrrgh They Alike?

Saturday, December 8, 2012
The concept of comparing and contrasting two items can be a really tough task for some kids, especially if they are language impaired. I had a student on my caseload this year that came to me with a comparing a contrasting goal so I created this activity for him!

Here is how you play:
1. Print out game board and cards. Cut the cards apart
2. Mix the captain, message in a bottle, parrot, and map bonus cards in with the object cards.
3. Students take turn choosing a card from the pile.
4. Students explain how the 2 objects on the card are alike and how they are different.
5. If the student answers correctly, he/she moves ahead on the game board.

Here is a shot of the game board and a few of the cards from the deck.

I also included blank cards so you can make your own! So far, it has been a popular game in my therapy room. Hopefully it will be in your room too!

Fun & Festive Speech Center!

Friday, December 7, 2012
With 3 weeks away from Christmas Break, I decided to start getting in the spirit. I wanted to find a festive activity that was quick and easy so my students could complete it during one of their centers. Here is what I came up with... Speechie Trees!
The trees are made out of construction paper and tissue paper cut into squares. 

Here is how I tied them into speech:
There was a word list at my Activity Center. 
Students had to practice each word 5 times. 
After each word, they were able to add one "ornament" to the tree! 
They loved it and I got a lot of productions out of them (plus I now have colorful decorations for my room!)
What did you do this week?

Conversation Builder Teen App Review

Happy Friday! I wanted to share with you a review on Conversation Builder Teen by The Mobile Education Store. When Kyle contacted me about another one of his Teen apps, I was really excited. The number of apps that are age appropriate for teens are slim compared to the number of apps that are created for young students. This app helps students start, engage in, and maintain a conversation related to teen topics. There are 8 conversation topics to choose from: clothes, bullying, summer, entertainment, sports, sarcasm, relationships, and school. The Mobile Education Store sure hit the nail on the head when coming up with topics teens would relate to!
When you start up the app, you are brought to a settings page. Here, you can choose the type of conversation (2-3 player or group) and which modules you would like to use with your students. If you choose the 2 or 3 player option, you are shown a picture and prompted with, "Choose the best way to start this conversation." The student is shown 3 options to choose from. The student must choose the most appropriate response.
After the correct response is chosen, the student is then prompted to record their response. The app will then reply back to the student who is then prompted to choose the next best response. This goes back and forth a few times. The app saves the recorded responses and creates a whole conversation that can then be played back. 

If the group conversation option is chosen, you are prompted to list the names of all participating in the conversation. You can add photos of the participants as well (students will LOVE this!) This setting does not give the students options of what to say, instead lets the students practice carrying on their own conversation. Everything is recorded which is a great feature to go back and let students listen and talk about what they said. Students are also prompted to pass the iPad to their friend which is great for turn taking skills. 
I love how the speech bubbles come up like a text message (great idea when targeting those teenagers!) Another great feature to this app is that it allows you to upload your own photo for discussion. This would be great to use photos of school events or other familiar topics for students. 
The entire time I was watching the tutorial for this app, I was thinking about students with Autism. Many students with Autism do not know how to appropriately carry on a conversation. Using the conversation prompts in the 2 or 3 player setting would allow you and your student to discuss all options, why one is correct, and why the others are not the best choice. I also love the recording feature. Any app with a voice recorder automatically goes into my articulation therapy bag of tricks! 

Or you can try to win a copy below!

Now That's Inferencing!

Friday, November 23, 2012
Inferencing can be a hard concept for some kids. Here is a game that targets inferencing skills!
 This activity includes 4 game boards. The original thought for this game was to play like Bingo. When I use this game with my students, each student has a game board. Students take turns reading a card out loud to the group (or I do, depending on the ages and ability level) Once students figure out what object is being described, they place a chip or marker (or candy!) on top of the correct space. My kids had a great time playing this game!
 Sample game board
Sample inferencing cards. 

Story Builder App Review and Giveaway!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for everyone I have met through blogging in the past year, how much I have learned, and how technology has allowed me to work with my students on new levels. I am very thankful for Kyle and The Mobile Education Store because they have yet to disappoint me with their apps! Have you used the Story Builder app? The goal of this app is to help improve paragraph formation, improve integration of ideas, and improve levels of inference. In addition to those goals, many of the goals you work on with your speech and language students can also be addressed with this app.
When you open Story Builder, you are brought to the settings page. Here you can select the Level of Play, Question Reinforcement, Color Code Reinforcement, and Story Introduction Reinforcement. Here is a screen shot of the settings page. Like all Mobile Education Store apps, it allows you to create individual student profiles to save data and recordings (great for those artic kids!)

Here is a screen shot of one of the story prompts. With the settings I have chosen, a question is presented to the student along with a sentence prompt. The student is able to record their answer before prompted with another question about the story. The recordings are saved and then put together to create a story after all of the questions have been answered!
Here's how the levels are broken down:
 Level 1: 
4 questions are asked about the picture. These questions can be answered by simply looking at the picture. 
Level 2: 
7 questions are asked about the picture. The complexity level is stepped up a bit here. Students are asked what may have happened before or what will happen after.
Level 3: 
No questions are asked. The student is free to make up any story about the picture. 
Below is a picture of a Level 3 picture prompt. The audio with this picture says, "Make a story about the picture. Be sure to use complete sentences."
As I was playing this, all of the student that would benefit and enjoy this app kept popping in my head...and they are all working on different goals! I love that there is such a wide range of goals that can be addressed with this app. Here are just a few that popped in my head while playing:
1. Answering WH-questions
2. Inferencing
3. Articulation
4. Grammar (pronouns, tenses, etc)
5. Adjectives/ descriptive words
6. Story grammar
7. Story retelling
8. Sequencing

Story Builder sells for $7.99 in the iTunes store. Try to win a copy below!

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