Im My APPinion: Articulation Carnival by Virtual Speech Center

Saturday, February 15, 2014
Appy Saturday! I am excited to share an app with you that has been getting a lot of requests lately! Articulation Carnival was created by Virtual Speech Center. This app was created to target English phonemes at the word, phrase, and sentence level. 
Virtual Speech Center did provide me with a copy of this app, however, all opinions in this review are mine. 
To get started, first add or select your students that will be playing (yes, we do "play" in speech!)
Next, choose the phonemes you want to target for each student. You can choose as many phoneme targets as you need.
There is also a settings option where you can adjust the app sounds, game settings, music settings, etc. My favorite part of this app is in the settings section... you can add custom words and upload your own photos. This would be perfect if you were working on a thematic unit and wanted to tie in special words to your articulation practice. You could also use pictures of friends or family members that the student has a difficult time saying their name (like Uncle Wobert!) Possibilities are endless with this option!
Once your settings are complete, your students are prompted to start practicing their targets. On the left side of the screen you can adjust which phoneme you want to target, which position, and choose between word/phrase/sentence level. I love how easy you can make these adjustments. You do not need to start all over to switch from words to sentences if the students is doing well!
Your students earn a balloon for each correct target they produce. After your kiddo has completed their designated amount of targets (this is decided in the setting section) you get to have some fun with some very popular carnival games! 
These games include....
Spray Ducks
Balloon Darts
and the famous Strength Hammer!
Once your session is over, you can access the Session Report. This is a great paperless data tracking device and can be easily emailed to teachers or parents. 

What I love about this app:
-Fun app!
-Option for multiple students/users
-Option to practice multiple phonemes at the same time.
-User friendly
-Colorful and visually appealing yo students. 
-Option to add your own custom photos
-Data tracker with Session Reports

What I would like to see in this app:
- I wish that this app automatically brought you back to the target phonemes after a certain amount of time with the carnival games. I often was the bad guy making the kids quit their game to go back to the practice screen. Other than that, I have no complaints! Great app Virtual Speech Center!!

Do you think this app looks great too? You can download this app in the iTunes store here. This app gives you the option to download each sound individually at approximately $2.99-$5.99 each (good option for parents wanting to practice at home) or all sounds for $36.99. OR you can enter below to win a free copy of this app courtesy of the kind folks at Virtual Speech Center!
Good Luck!

Friday Rewind! {Highlights From This week!}

Friday, February 14, 2014
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links
Holy moly! How did another week already fly by?! I hope you all had an amazing Valentine's Week and felt lots of love in and out of the speech room. Before we get down to speechie business, I wanted to share this photo with y'all. 
Kenzie and I went to go surprise daddy at work last night. We brought him cookies and beer (what's a better V-Day gift for a man?) Of course it had a Pinterest-inspired note on it that said, "We love you BEERy much!" He loved it. 
Ok, on to speechie business. This week we read two Valentine's themed books in speech... time was running out and I had too many adorable stories to share! First we read, Biscuit's Valentine's Day and had some fun with a freebie book companion from Lauren LaCour. Visit Busy Bee Speech here to snag a copy!
The second story we read this week was, Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse!
In addition to reading this adorable story, we also created "Things I Love" books! This is a freebie from the Frog Spot blog (she has the best clipart!) You can download a copy of this book here!
Of course our week wouldn't be complete with our a craftivity! My articulation kiddos made Articulation Love Bugs! This was inspired from Word Nerd Speech Teach's guest post for me last year!
Last but not least, we worked on patterns. Remember those heart erasers I told you about last week? Well they got put to good use again this week! The kids and I had fun making up patterns for each other to complete. This pattern template came from The 3 Dinosaurs blog.
Yes, there was a whole lotta love going on this week! How was your week?

Thursday Rewind {With a Giveaway!}

Thursday, February 6, 2014
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links
Happy Thursday!! So I normally try to post on Fridays about the activities we did in speech that week, but this week I cut my week a little short. As you read this, I am on the way to Savannah, GA to celebrate my good friend Francesca's bachelorette party! (If you care to follow our trip, follow me on Instagram @kevstin) This week we continued to spread the love and celebrate Valentine's Day. We even invited that crazy old lady into our sessions this week, too! Take a peek into my sessions this week... make sure you get all the way to the bottom where there may be a giveaway!
This week we read the story, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose!
My students never seem to get tired of these books! In addition to reading this story, we had some fun with a few festive activities.
First, we used this activity from my speech & language set to practice story retelling and sequencing skills with the Old Lady!
Then, we went on a story scavenger hunt to find our target speech words in the story! After we finished, I sent these handy little worksheets home for homework (score!)
My younger kiddos and I created a Valentine's Day speech wreath.... although almost every single kid put it on their head as a hat when we finished. V-Day visor? Sure!
This craft was inspired by the wonderful Jenna Rayburn!
Last but  certainly not least, we wrapped up our week with the Valentine Heart Challenge! Each child placed a heart on the mat when they practiced a target. This made for a fun skill and drill session! Instead of candy I found these adorable heart erasers at the Target Dollar Spot that worked like a charm. You can download this challenge (and a bunch more!) from the Peachie Speechie! You can download this freebie here!
Whew, what a sweet week! If you would like to enter to win a copy of my There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose activity pack, enter below!

What's So Special About a Pill Box?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
This may look like an ordinary pill box to you, but to me (and my students!) it's pretty special!
When I was working in the school system, I tried very hard to stick with one reward system  so that I could be fair to all my students. However, being a private therapist now, I realized that I do not have to stick with one behavior management system for all of my students. Each kiddo has their own motivators and I can really use that to my advantage in one on one sessions. Some kids love ClassDoJo, some love stickers, and some simply need some positive verbal reinforcement. Every few months I search Pinterest and other blogs for ideas for behavior management systems. I have occasionally come across a pill box visual schedule/reinforcement system but never gave it much thought until I saw a co-worker putting it to use!
Image courtesy of Sarianna Lang
 The image above is the pill box system she uses with a 3rd grade student. She put 3 clock images and an "All Done" image on the box. If the student can remain focused for each part of the session, she receives the reward in the pill box. This is also a great way to work on telling time!
There is another great example of how to use a pill box at The Inclusive Church blog. Check it out here.
This is the box that I use. My mother-in-law happened to have an extra one and was a bit confused as to why I was so excited about it! (It's an SLP thing!) Since I have younger students, my system is a bit simpler. Depending on the student's attention span abilities, I set a timer on my phone (ranging between 5-15minutes) If the timer goes off and he/she is focused on their activity, they receive what is in the box! I try to increase the time as we go on. The goal is to have the timer go off after 15 minutes of work. I know that candy as a reward is not the best option for every kid- although they only receive a few pieces throughout the session. Other options are crackers, erasers, or even little notes or pictures (most kids just love surprises!)
Have you used a pill box system in your therapy sessions or classroom?

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