My New Favorite App!

Friday, April 26, 2013
Happy Friday y'all! I wanted to share an app that has become so useful for me lately. This is not like one of my normal app reviews. The company that makes this has not been in contact with me or given me a code to download this. I actually found out about it from one of my private clients and I paid for it myself (it's only $0.99!!)

 Toddler Games Toys by Photo Touch is a receptive vocabulary app all about identifying toys. The app prompts the child to "Touch the tractor"or "Touch the puzzle" which would be a great vocabulary app for young kids, but that's not why this is my new favorite app. This app allows you to create your own library or pictures to be targeted. You may remember, last week I read the story, In The Tall, Tall Grass with my PreK kids. I used this app to create a vocabulary lesson to go along with the book. To do this, go into the settings part of the app (the orange gear box in the top right corner of the main page), then choose Customize Items, then Add list name here. I titled my list In The Tall, Tall Grass so I would know what story the list went with. After that, you create items to go on the list.
You can record your voice saying the word or a prompt to go with the picture. I used actual photos from the book with my iPad. Taking real life photos of the little critters would be great to add into the list as well. 
Below is a screen shot of the vocabulary items in my In The Tall, Tall Grass list. 
Once you complete the list, make sure you have the story list(s) that you want to use turned ON. You can add as many lists as you want. This would be ideal if you wanted to review vocabulary from multiple stories or thematic units. 
"Touch the caterpillar."

The family that I learned about this app from was using it with their child to learn names of common items, objects, and family members. There is so many options with this app... and it's only $0.99!

Out With The Old & In With The New [And Fabulous!]

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
So you may have noticed that Simply Speech got a makeover! I am so excited about the new look. Alicia over at DreamLike Magic is the amazing designer I used. I was so happy with her work and everything was completed in about a week. If you are looking to give your blog a makeover I would highly recommend her. 
So, this is my farewell to my old rookie logo that I created on PicMonkey.... 
out with the old
and in with the new!
What do you think?

Ten Chirpy Chicks [With a Freebie!!]

Monday, April 22, 2013
One of my absolute favorite groups of kids to work with at school is my 3-4 year old inclusion group... and this week PreK is down on the farm! I decided to use Ten Chirpy Chicks by Debbie Tarbett with them. This book is one of my favorite to use with little ones. Debbie Tarbett has other books just like this one that targets counting with other animals. I always use Ten Friendly Fish during our Under The Sea unit!
The story starts out with 10 little chicks and counts down as each chick decides to go hang out with another farm animal. 
"Ten chirpy chicks, out walking in a line. One joins some puppies in the bright sunshine!"
At the end of the book, they are all reunited on a pop-up page!

Since I see my PreK kiddos during whole group and small group, I created two activities to do with this book. The first part includes vocabulary picture cards of animals from the story and 10 little chicks. Before we read the story, I have the kids try to name animals that live on the farm or guess what animals they think they will see in this story. Then, I introduce the picture cards and place them in front of me on the rug. I also lay out the 10 little chicks. As we read the story, the kids take turns taking one chick away and putting it with his new farm friend!
For small group, I created a sorting activity. This activity includes  Zoo Animals and Farm Animals placemats, zoo animal picture vocabulary cards, and the farm animal cards from the story. The kids take turns choosing an animal and placing them in the correct category. 
I am always able to hit so many of my students' goals with this activity. 
Graphics for this activity came from Graphics Factory
Please leave me a little love note and let me know if you snagged it :)


In the Tall, Tall Grass {With a Freebie!}

Thursday, April 18, 2013
Happy Friday eve :) I can feel the school year winding down and summer approaching! With that being said, Spring is being celebrated in PreK this month. This week we read In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming. Last year I read a blog post by Jenna from Speech Room News about her activity that she did with this story. I decided to do it with my kiddos, too!
With this activity, my students were able to retell and recreate the story. I started with a piece of green card stock paper (we had an abundance in our room for some reason) and folded it almost in half. I left room at the top for the sentence, "I see ____ in the tall, tall grass." Then I let the kiddos choose their favorite critters from the story and let them glue them in the grass. After they were done, they were able to peek through the grass and tell me what they saw using the prompted sentence, "I see ___ in the tall, tall grass."
This was a great story and activity to target:
spring vocabulary
using complete sentences
following directions
qualitative concepts
quantitative concepts
etc., etc., etc.!

I created the critters using Graphics Factory. You can download my 3 page document to go along with the story for free!

I saw in a recent post that Jenn from Crazy Speech World created an articulation activity that would also go great with this story... I think I may use this one next week :)

In My APPinion [Sunny Articulation Phonology Test]

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Appy Wednesday! Today's app review is a little different than the usual app reviews I have posted. This app allows you to have an entire evaluation tool in your iPad or iPhone! Sunny Articulation Phonology Test by Smarty Ears is a screening and diagnostic tool that can be used with all age groups.
To get started, you first have to add a student by entering their name and date of birth. The app figures out the chronological age for you so you don't have to have flashbacks of grad school! After you have your student added, select New Test. Here you will be prompted to make a choice between a full evaluation or a screening. 

I love that this can be used as a screening tool. In our district, screenings are not required so we don't have an official screening tool. Until I started using this app, I had been using a very basic screener I found online a long time ago. This app gives me so much more information than the tool I was previously using.  I used the app today to help me update a student's articulation goals for his upcoming IEP meeting! Below is a screen shot from the SAPT manual (yes, the manual is included in the app!) that gives you a better idea of the difference between the screener and the full evaluation. 
Once you select your assessment tool, you can begin the evaluation. The student is shown a picture of an object that targets certain phonemes. One thing that I liked about this app right away is that you have different options on the screen. You can have the student record their answer (this would be great when conferencing with the child's parents after the screening/ eval), you can add in notes, and you can rotate the screen and word prompt based on how you and the student are sitting. One setting that I did make changes to was the transition audio. If the transition audio is on, the student is praised after each picture ("good job!" "that was great") I found it somewhat distracting for some of my students. One of my kids actually said, "Why did he say good job, I said it wrong?!" I love it when kids are honest but I had to agree with him. This option, however,  is great for kids that need a lot of positive reinforcement to maintain their focus. 
If you look at the top of the screen, the word is written out phonetically. The phonemes in green are the ones targeted in the word. If the student produces that target wrong, simply touch the phoneme. You are then prompted to record how the sound was in error.  
This app does a great job of reporting very specific results after the evaluation is complete. The screen below gives a brief overview of the testing results: raw score, overall intelligibility (you rate this after the eval/screening is completed) and date of administration.
You can get even more specific in the results and get a summary based on results regarding position, manner, voicing, words, place, and errors. Below is a summary of errors.
The screenshot below is a summary of position
This is a great tool for traveling SLP's! No need to carry around manuals and testing probes when you have an entire evaluation on your iPad. If you would like to get more information on this app, visit Smarty Ears website!
Sunny Articulation Phonology Test sells for $59.99 in the iTunes store. 
You can also enter to win a copy below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rainbow Doodles! {Giveaway Included!}

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I have a brand new shiny activity sitting in my TpT store right now! If you missed my blog post on rainbow writing, you can check it out here. I have added a new activity into my speech centers that has been quite a hit with the kids. Rainbow writing is where students write target words in 3 different colors (making it pretty like a rainbow).
Doing this activity helps with writing skills, spelling, and articulation. And as a bonus, I send these worksheets home as homework! I created a Rainbow Doodles packet that includes target sounds in the initial, medial, and final position.

There are 3 pages of words (total of 30) for each sound in each position. If you are working with younger students that are targeting /k, g, f, l/ sounds there is one pack that just targets those. If you have older students, there is another pack that includes /s, r/ "sh" "ch" and "th." I also included a combo pack for those of you like me that have a caseload of kids working on all kinds of sounds! Below are some examples of pages from the pack:
initial /k/ worksheet

medial /r/ worksheet

You can purchase these activities in my TpT store or try to win a copy of my combo pack below. I will pick 3 winners Friday!

New Speech Center!

Monday, April 15, 2013
I have a fun new speech center to introduce to you all today! I got the inspiration from working in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms doing inclusion therapy. I noticed that most days their literacy centers included rainbow writing as an option at their writing center. So this week I added a new activity to my activity center bag of tricks! If you have not seen rainbow writing before, here is how it works. The teacher has target words pre printed on a paper for each student. In the classrooms I do inclusion in, the words are usually sight words, spelling words, or simply the letter of the week for the really young ones. The students then choose 3 crayon colors. The student first copies the word in one color then traces over the word 2 more times with the new colors.
 I loved the idea of learning through repetition and the students' finished work always looked so pretty! This was also sent home as homework words to practice this week (bonus!)

I created some Rainbow Doodle worksheets that include target speech sounds in the initial, medial, and final positions. These worksheets would be perfect in the speech room or to be sent home for homework. You can download this activity below:

Week 2 of Poetry Month... With a Freebie!

Friday, April 12, 2013
So has anyone else jumped on the poetry wagon for April? Like I said in my last poetry post, this is the first year I decided to participate in National Poetry Month. To be honest, I was a little nervous that my kiddos wouldn't enjoy reading and writing poems as much as they enjoy stories. Boy was I wrong! My students have loved learning about poems and becoming poets themselves! I was a proud "speechie mamma" today when 3 of my students got to read their acrostic poems on the morning news!

This week we focused on acrostic poems. Most of my students wrote acrostic poems with their name but a few wrote about their favorite food or animal. Below is Andre's acrostic poem!
If you would like to download some of the poetry paper that I used with my students, click here. The backgrounds are from The School Supply Addict!

In My APPinion: Reading Comprehension Camp by Smarty Ears

Thursday, April 11, 2013
I frequently constantly am searching for new activities to use that target comprehension. So when Smarty Ears contacted me about reviewing Reading Comprehension Camp, I was super excited. Reading Comprehension Camp is an app that is designed to increase language growth and comprehension skills. This app includes 50 stories divided into 5 different levels.
To get started, first create student profiles. This way, data can be saved to chart each student's individual progress. This app allows up to 4 players per session. 
After you select your student players, you choose a story based on the students' ability level. Level 1 is for early readers (approximately 2nd grade reading level) and Level 5 is for 6th-7th grade readers. 
Once you choose a story, you can select settings regarding the font and image size based on student need. You also have the option to allow the app to read to your students or let the students read and record their reading. I love a language app where you can tie in some articulation therapy! The      recording option can also monitor student reading fluency and self awareness. Many of my students do not realize how fast they read or that they mumble until they listen to a recording of their read aloud. 
Each story also includes a quiz. You can choose from  11 different question types. This is great for all kinds of IEP goals and common core standards! If you choose more than one player for each story, it prompts the students to answer questions individually based on the settings you chose.
While taking the quiz, there is a HINT button the student (or you) can tap to have the section of the passage highlighted where the student can find the answer.
This is probably my favorite part of the app.... you can create your own stories! You can use a picture provided by the app or you can upload a photo from your iPad. In the screenshot above, I started writing a story about Patty the Surfing Peacock!
You are able to create your own comprehension questions as well!
Last but not least, the app allows for great data tracking on each student. If you have the Therapy Report Center by Smarty Ears, you can link the report to that app as well. 

Welcome Home Wednesday: Tatyana Elleseff

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I am very excited to have Tatyana guest post today! Tatyana created a Speech Language Assessment  checklist that I previewed while she was creating it. I thought this checklist would be very helpful for SLP's trying to figure out what assessments to use while evaluating a student so I asked her to write a guest post about it! Feel free to leave questions or comments for Tatyana below.

The importance of targeted assessments for school aged children Thanks so much Kristin for this opportunity! Today I'd like to write a few words on a topic of speech language assessment preparation. In both my hospital based job and in private practice I do a lot of testing. During staff/caregiver interviews I used to get a laundry list of both specific and non-specific problems by the parents and teachers, which did not always accurately reflect the students true deficits. Experience quickly taught me that administering general comprehensive language testing to every student simply did not work. Oftentimes the administration of such testing revealed one of two things:
  • Child's performance was within normal limits on a general language test but the child still presented with significant deficits in other language areas (e.g., problem solving, social pragmatic language, word-finding, etc)
  • Child scored so low on a general comprehensive language test (e.g., CELF-4) that it was very difficult to decide which goals should be targeted in therapy first. Had a test of decreased complexity been administered first, several language strengths could have been identified, based on which therapy goals could have been structured and build upon.
As a result I decided to create a checklist: "Speech language Assessment for a School Aged Child" to assist myself as well as other speech language pathologists in the decision making process of how to select assessment instruments and prioritize assessment for school age children. My aim was to eliminate administration of unnecessary or irrelevant tests and focus on the administration of instruments directly targeting the areas of difficulty that the child presents with. Checklist Contents:
  • Page 1 Title
  • Page 2 Directions
  • Pages 3-6 Checklist
  • Pages 7-8 Suggested Speech-Language Test Selection for School-Aged Children
  • Page 9 Select Language Testing Battery Suggestions
  • Page 10-12 Supplemental Caregiver/Teacher Data Collection Form
Checklist Target Areas:
  1. Receptive Language
  2. Memory, Attention and Sequencing
  3. Expressive Language
  4. Vocabulary
  5. Narrative
  6. Speech
  7. Voice
  8. Resonance
  9. Phonological Awareness
  10. Problem Solving
  11. Pragmatic Language
  12. Social Emotional Development
  13. Executive Functions
Here are just a few advantages of using the checklist:
  • Project efficient and professional image via detailed preparatory process
  • Save time by sending the checklist to the caregiver/teacher instead of conducting lengthy interviews
  • Quickly determine the child's most significant deficits areas
  • Base test selection on accurate staff/caregiver report vs guesswork
  • Assess only the RELEVANT areas of difficulty via administration of targeted tests or select test subtests
  • Quickly access list of speech-language tests categorized by area of focus in one place
  • Review testing battery suggestions if uncertain regarding specific test administration
  • Quickly tally the results of supplemental caregiver/teacher data collection form for students with severe language deficits in order to pinpoint the starting assessment point
Below are just a few product slides and if you are interested in purchasing it, you can find it in my online store HERE. SLP SCHOOL SAMPLE 1 SLP SCHOOL SAMPLE 2 If you are an SLP who works with preschool children click HERE to check out my " Speech Language Assessment Checklist for Preschool Children 3:0-5:11 Years of Age". Bio: Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP is a bilingual SLP with a full time hospital affiliation as well as private practice in Central, NJ. She specializes in working with multicultural, internationally and domestically adopted as well as at-risk children with complex communication disorders. For more information visit her BLOG, STORE, or follow her page on FACEBOOK.
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