Favorite Blog Posts of the Month: February

Monthly Linky
After I read Playing with Words 365's post Fall and Halloween Speech and Language Roundup, I decided to start writing monthly posts on my favorite blog posts that I read throughout the month. This is mainly so I can remember the posts that I read that had great ideas in therapy. I wasn't sure where I could store them so I'd have them at my fingertips, and then I thought that maybe other SLPs would like to have them as well. 
Sparklle SLP suggested this become a monthly linky, so Favorite Posts of the Month Linky was born. Let's keep it simple: Post no more than 5 of your favorite posts that you read over the past month. Feel free to use the graphic that's at the top of this post and on my sidebar: right click, choose "copy", and then "paste" into your post. Don't forget to link back to my post! The hardest part will be limiting it to 5 posts!

Doyle Speech Works

I loved Doyle Speech Works' post titled:  I (Heart) SLP. She's been super busy in her therapy room & she shared a few other things she loves in her SLP world.
Kelly had a fun, easy (& cheap!) Valentine's Day activity that she shared in her post Cupids Arrow: A Cheap and Easy Valentine's Day Activity. I have a feeling her boys went crazy over this activity!
PediaStaff - Building self-confident children... one professional at a time
Heidi posted  Autism Speaks Alters Position on Vaccines. This is a good resource to refer back to should a parent want something in writing on this subject.

Doyle Speech Works

Another post from Doyle Speech Works had to be included. This one is Social Media and Social Grace. I wrote a similar post, but she took it to a whole other level! Please take the time to read this one, if you haven't already.

My Photo
SLPRunner posted Helping Hands! Card Holder Creations. I bought a set of card holders from Super Duper, but these are some very inexpensive, creative holders.

What were your favorite posts of February? What were your favorite ideas for therapy? The linky will stay up until 14 March!

Week in Review: 02/27/2015

I started this linky so that SLPs could go to 1 place to get ideas for therapy. Write a post about either what you did this week, or what you have planned for next week. All I ask is that you share a link back to my blog in your post.
(This post includes direct links to the products. Free products are indicated.

 I have another abbreviated post after a couple of crazy weeks with ice storms & snow. We made it to school on Monday after a 2 hour delay. 

Planned theme of the week: Snowmen All Year (Caralyn Buehner).
5 Minute Day:

For the independent station, the kids rolled the die after saying their target and then "daubed" that number of snowmen from the roll & cover sheets in Speech Made Simple's Snowmen All Year Book Companion. Since I didn't have as much room as I usually do, I had the listening station (with the iPad) on the same table.
The reason I didn't have as much room was this:

After coming in and seeing a ceiling tile in a small puddle of water on the floor, I looked at the other tiles along the outside walls. I pushed everything that was against the walls to the center of the room...just in case. 
During one of the group's 5 minute days, this happened:
One of my students said 220 /r/ words in 5 minutes with NO mistakes! This is a student who has been working on /r/ for 2 years...this is her 3rd year (the first with me). Before Christmas, she couldn't even make the /r/ sound, and now she's saying words with 100% accuracy! And, she's carrying the sound over into conversation!!! I'm going to be very surprised if she isn't ready for dismissal by the end of year, OR at the beginning of next year!

Sadly, the roll & cover was the only item from the companion packet that I got to use this week. So, I'll take the sticky off of the bag and try again next year!

What did you do this week, OR what are you planning for next week?

App Review: Speech With Milo Sequencing

The following is an app review. The views are my own. I received no compensation for expressing my opinions.  Links (in dark red) are provided for your convenience. Want to see larger pictures? Just click on one and scroll through!

I have used Speech With Milo: Sequencing (Doonan Speech Therapy) for a few years.  This app allows the child to put 3 items in the correct sequence, then has a "movie" option so that the child can see all three items in action.

Appreciated Features:
 The instructions are included in the app, so you can refer to them when you need them.

The sequences can be tailored to your student, and can be shown randomly. The ability to only use those sequences that are applicable to your student is greatly appreciated.

The student slides the pictures into their correct sequence. Touching "Phrase" (in the bottom left of the screen) will introduce the sequence. In this sequence, the phrase is Milo and Melvin are playing baseball.

For correct answers, you have the option to hear clapping; for incorrect answers, the option is a "bomp". There is background music that can be turned on or off.  The spoken (in the "movie" section) and written words (at the bottom of the above screen) explaining the  main idea of the sequence can be turned on or off.
 Following the correct sequence, touching "Play" will show a "movie" showing the sequence.

What I would like to see:
The ability to turn off the "ta-da" at the end of the "movie sequence".
Also, it would be great if you could turn off the "Take a Break" feature that occurs after 10 sequences.
Data. When I use this, I take the data on my labels. It would be great if the app would take the data for me so I could transfer the results to the label. 
I had a student in the past who would randomly put a picture in any of the blank spaces. For instance, she would not put the pictures in the correct space in order. She might start with #2 or #3. An option to prevent this would be ideal.

Additional Comments:
The app does not "talk the child through" each step. To me, that allows the SLP to interact with the student while working on the many skills that can be targeted through this app. It also allows the SLP to individualize the app to each student's needs.

How I plan to use the app:
 I use this during my 5 minute days during their independent time with students who have sequencing as a target.
The following skills can be targeted with this app:
story telling or recall
wh questions
increasing mean length of utterance
first, next, last

Speech with Milo: Sequencing is available for purchase for $2.99 To view in iTunes, click here.

Quick Tip Tuesday #6

 Kim is hosting "Quick Tip Tuesday". Posts that are short, sweet, and to the point...what could be better?
I pinned this on a Pinterest board, and the link went back to here, but I know that's not where I saw this:
I bought a 3-day pill box and put pictures for a visual schedule on velcro. Inside, you can put whatever you want...my little guy likes goldfish, so there's 1 in each compartment. I velcroed the box onto card stock, along with adding an "all done" card at the end. After the child completes the activity, he opens one compartment and he can have whatever you put in. Now...if they only made 5-day boxes, I'd be set! (If you know of where I can get one, please let me know!)
Please visit Kim and see who else is linking up with good ideas!

What's in Your Cart?

Jenna at Speech Room News is hosting yet another "What's in Your Cart" linky, just in time for the big TpT sale that will be happening on Wednesday. You can get an extra 28% off by using the code "HEROES" when you check out.
Here's what's in my cart so far. I'm sure it will grow once I see what everybody else is buying! 
(Click on the product to be taken directly to it.)
What Are They DOING?  Printable Version    Superhero Sentence FormulationOn Topic Packet!  Activities to Teach & Improve Topic Maintenance
A Dab of Speech and Language for the YEAR {A Growing Bundle}

Don't forget to leave feedback to earn credit for your purchases! Every little bit helps!
Want to find other products you didn't know you couldn't live without? See what's in everybody's carts by clicking here.

Week in Review: 02/20/2015

I started this linky so that SLPs could go to 1 place to get ideas for therapy. Write a post about either what you did this week, or what you have planned for next week. All I ask is that you share a link back to my blog in your post.
(This post includes direct links to the products. Free products are indicated.

This past week was going to be a short one for us: Presidents' Day on Monday & a PD on Tuesday. Then, we got a little ice storm that also knocked us out of going to school this week. 
I was planning on taking it easy this week as far as planning was concerned.

Game Day:
I got this new game a couple of weeks ago and was looking forward to playing this game with my kids:
 Main Product Image
The game is like "Trouble", but if the penguin drops through the hole, it has to start over.

Sadly, we weren't able to make these (free) adorable penguins from Miss Kindergarten Love:
All About Penguins {shape craft}

What did you do this week in therapy, or what do you have planned for next week?

Teaching an Old Dog a New Trick

Right after I started this blog, I wrote a post outlining how I work with students on the /r/ sound. At the beginning of the year, I discovered "The Karla Technique".  I watched videos on youtube, and it looked simple enough, so I tried it with some all of my /r/ kids. They.Could. Do. It!!! All I had to do now was isolate that /r/. Easier said than done.
Enter Speaking of Speech. She had it on her webpage, but it has been taken down. Luckily, I found it on Pinterest! You can find it here.  
I'm not going to lie and say that all of my /r/ kids now have it. This technique has worked for a couple of my kids, in particular, one student who has been working on /r/ for 2 years. This is her 3rd year working on just being able to make that darned /r/ sound. (This is my first year with her.) When I met with mom in Oct., she asked, "What if she doesn't get it?" I assured her that she would get it (although I wasn't 100% sure she would) and that we would continue to work on it until she did. I tried "my" (or rather, Char Boshart's) technique, and she just didn't get it. Then I had her say "karla". We used the pvc pipe so she could hear that she could say it. She's now on the word level and is doing GREAT! She 's even starting to show some carryover into conversation! 
Bottom line: If you're having trouble getting that stinkin' /r/ sound, check out the "karla" technique. It's one more weapon for us to use in our arsenal!

Quick Tip Tuesday #5

 Kim is hosting "Quick Tip Tuesday". Posts that are short, sweet, and to the point...what could be better?
Do you have a "runner", or a child who likes to explore in places that are "off limits"? This is a very simple tip, but I've found that it works.

Just a stop sign on the doors that I don't want to student to get into is all it took. What do you do to discourage exploring where you don't want the child to go?
Get yourself over to Kim's to see what other cool tips are shared!

Monday Repost: 5 Minute Day Variation

The following post was originally posted on 09/17/2013.  This was the subject for the poster that I presented with a colleague at ASHA 2014.

A couple of years ago, one of the SLPs in our system began talking about "5-minute Days", and a few of us went to a seminar on 3:1 and 5 minute days.   We took the information back to our Special Ed Coordinator.  He seemed genuinely interested, but there was one little problem:  money.  Isn't that what most everything boils down to?  Not seeing students for 60 minutes/week puts them in a lower funding "bracket" (if you will), which would mean less money generated.
So...we came up with an alternative.  One day/week (at each school), I have "5 Minute Days".  The students come to the therapy room for their designated 30 minutes, but I have "stations" set up.  Each child spends 5 uninterrupted minutes with me, one on one.  If he/she is on the word or sentence level, I use the "Jumbo Articulation Book" from Super Duper.  They roll a die, and then say a word or sentence that number of times.  If they're on isolation, we'll work on that sound.  The number of responses I get during those 5 minutes is amazing!  On the word level, it's common for me to get around 100 responses; on sentences around 75.  That's compared to around 28 on a typical, "traditional" speech session.
 For data collecting, I will use a tally counter to keep track of how many total words/sentences they produce.  On each student's label (which I use for data collection), I will make a mark for each incorrect production.  The students keep track of how many times they've said their target by putting their finger on one of the cut-out shapes.  For example:  this month I'm using flowers (just because I haven't had time to cut out leaves!).  If he rolls a 3, then I put 3 flowers on the desk in front of them.
  I have a notebook where I have the pictures/sentences needed divided into their groups.  I didn't do this until towards the end of the year last year, and it's proven to be a time saver for me.
When the students aren't with me, they rotate between a couple of other stations.  I may have a listening station set up (sometimes, but not always).  The past couple of weeks I used my "Articulate It!" app as the listening station:  last week the students listened to each word/sentence 3 times before scrolling to the next picture.  This week, they are using the matching game.  They are instructed to listen for their sound, and think about where in the word their sound is.
Another station may be anything from Chipper Chat to a cut & glue activity, a color activity, a board game, hidden object activity, or a Bingo Dauber Art activity.  Pretty much anything goes during the table activity.  As long as it's something that the student can do independently, it will work.  The student uses a pvc pipe as a "whisper phone" while he says his words/sentences to himself.  For those students working on the /r/ sound, I have them do their "straw exercises" while doing the independent activity.
Last year, I was talking with one of my principals about how I felt like the students showed a lot of progress by using the 5 Minute Days, and she said, "If it works that well, why not do it both days?"  We talked about how important it was for the students to have that social aspect of therapy of playing a game or participating in the "typical" therapy activities.  I wasn't sure how the Special Ed Coordinator was going to take it, but he said it was a form of Differentiated Instruction.
If you have any ideas on how I can improve my 5 Minute Days, or any activities, please let me know!

Week in Review: 02/13/2015

I started this linky so that SLPs could go to 1 place to get ideas for therapy. Write a post about either what you did this week, or what you have planned for next week. All I ask is that you share a link back to my blog in your post.
(This post includes direct links to the products. Free products are indicated.) 

This week's activities were centered around There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose (Lucille Colandro).

5 Minute Day:
The students started off with prepping their homework. Since the kids are off next Monday & Tuesday, I wasn't going to give homework. Then I saw this sheet in There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose Print &  Go Speech & Language (1sparklleslp)! My older kids used the sheet provided (with words from the story that has their targeted sounds) to write 10 words on the Old Lady. My younger kids glued small pictures on her.
When they finished with that (providing they still had some time before the 5 minutes ran out), they said their words/sounds, rolled the big dice into the heart box, and put the chip on the Graph a Granny (Crazy Speech World).

Preschool Language:
I kept my little one very busy this week! On Monday, we used Speechy Musings Interactive Book Attachment for the Old Lady Book Series for sequencing and retelling, answered yes/no questions about the book, used the vocabulary from the book to read "Rose,Rose What do you See?", and made complete sentences using the vocabulary and the carrier phrase, "I see ____". (Those were all freebies from MarissaSpeech's There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose Activities.) Oh, and she also "fed" the Old Lady pictures from the story using Jenn Alcorn's Language Unit.
 As we read the story on Monday, I realized she had never been exposed to glitter, so on Wednesday we made a glitter heart! While it was drying, she sequenced the story using the interactive attachment, feeding the old lady after she said the sentence, "She swallowed a/some ____." She made a booklet (There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed-2 Emergent Readers/Minibooks--Figuratively Speeching SLP) using the sequencing pictures from the Print & Go Packet.
 We also went back and worked on putting hearts on/in/under a mailbox & heart box, as well as answering "Where is the heart?"
Game Day:
What else would we play, but the open-ended game that is part of Jenn's There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose! Language Unit?
A few of my kids are working on making grammatically correct sentences & answering "wh" questions. Using K. Ratliff's Groundhog Day Roll-a-Story Story Cubes (Free!) as my inspiration, I created some cubes from LessonPix for Valentine's Day. 

I searched for a craftivity that would somewhat go with the book, and found this from A Life in Balance:
Not exactly a rose, but it was a flower made out of hearts! 
That wraps up my Valentine's Week!
Link up below with what you did this week, or what you're planning for next week!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose

I'm joining up with other SLPs at Speech is Sweet for her weekly linky.  It's super easy to link up: just write a blog post about the book that you're using this week, along with how you're using it in therapy. Then, link up!
I wonder how many speech rooms the old lady is visiting this week?  I have a feeling she is one busy lady right now!
This is such a wonderful book to introduce new vocabulary. I have a preschooler who isn't familiar with glitter, so today we're going to make a heart and use glitter to decorate it. There some words in the book that even my "older" kids (and by that I mean 2nd & 3rd graders!) don't know. Great opportunity to use synonyms.
Sequencing is always a must! The kids love to feed the old lady as she swallows all of those weird things, and the Interactive Book Attachments from Speechy Musings is perfect to use while reading, or after reading the book.
As with any book, "wh" questions can also be targeted, as well as past tense verbs. Using 1sparklleslp's Print & Go Packet for this book, the kids can take home their sequencing or the sheet for artic. Perfect "no-planning" homework sheets!
What are you reading this week in your speech room? Find out what other SLPs are doing by linking up with Speech is Sweet!

Quick Tip Tuesday #4

 Kim is hosting "Quick Tip Tuesday". Posts that are short, sweet, and to the point...what could be better?
This week, I wanted to share with you one way to make the students accountable for their progress. At the end of a data collection session, I give the student a progress chart (from  Super Duper's Year 'Round Lifesavers & Timesavers (which apparently is not in publication anymore) and we chart how he did for that session. I draw a red line for his accuracy goal so he knows what he's aiming for, and color code which phase he's working on. He draws a line connecting the dots. If the student looks a little distressed because the line went down, I just reassure him that it will go back up next time. There are times when we don't do it, and the kids actually ask for it. Below is an example:
Head over to Kim's to see more tips.

Monday Re-Post: Relieving Stress

The following post was originally published on 10 September 2013.

How to Relieve Stress

If you work in a school, you know how stressful the beginning of the school year can be.  Transfers, screenings, new evaluations, scheduling, and planning therapy can really take a toll on your stress level.  Here are a few tips to help relieve that stress and keep you loving your job:

♥  Get organized.  Make sure you put things in your calendar, no matter how trivial you think they may be.  Don't forget to look at your calendar every day to keep up with what you have to do.

♥  Get ahead.  It may take you a weekend to do this, but it will be worth it.  Print out notices to meetings for the week ahead, and print out drafts for meetings for the week.  September is a very hectic month for me, so I've got all of my meeting notices for the month into the computer, ready to print out when I need to send it.  I have all of the present levels and projected objectives in the computer, also ready to print out the draft IEP.

♥  Be prepared.  If there's a question as to the recommendation for the frequency (or dismissal) of a student, call the parent ahead of time and discuss the options.  For example:  there is a 6 year old whose birthday is in May.  He has corrected all sounds except for /s,z/, and he still has his "baby" upper incisors.  I usually don't work on /s,z/ until the student is 7, or has his permanent upper incisors (since the incisors are bigger than the baby ones, and may create a barrier that will keep the tongue in...thus "self-correcting".)  I call the parent and talk about the options:  keeping the student at 2x/week for an hour/week, consultative services (checking on him once/month), or dismissal (knowing that if the sound doesn't correct itself, all of the paperwork will have to be redone to recertify him as speech impaired.)  This keeps the parent from being put on the spot and have to make a decision at the meeting.  And, if the parent requests dismissal, you have the paperwork ready to present at the meeting.

♥  Have an extracurricular activity for yourself.  When my boys were younger, I had their football, soccer, and baseball games to keep me busy and keep my mind off of school.  Then, when my youngest was in high school, I had his band activities to keep me busy.  I also did various things for me:  I found a volleyball league and later a tennis league to keep me active and to de-stress.  Go after your interests and take some time for you

Week in Review: 02/06/15

I started this linky so that SLPs could go to 1 place to get ideas for therapy. Write a post about either what you did this week, or what you have planned for next week. All I ask is that you share a link back to my blog in your post.
(This post includes direct links to the products. Free products are indicated.) 

This week's theme was Groundhog Day.

5 Minute Day
I kept things simple this week by using the "Groundhog Day" card from Holiday & Seasonal Chipper Chat (Super Duper, Inc.).

Game Day:
I found this cute, free Groundhog Game from Speech Room News over the weekend, so it fit perfectly into my plans:
In this picture, you can also see the Groundhog Day Roll-A-Story Story Cube (free) from K Ratliff that some of my kids used to make complete sentences and answer "wh" questions (bottom right) as well as the pack of Fix the Sentence cards from Groundhog Grammar!  from SpeechSnacks (left side of the picture).

I found this really cute (free) craft from Gina Peluso called Groundhog Day Opinion Writing Craftivity:
I just modified the writing part with a blank sheet and used LessonPix to create pictures with the words that she had difficulty with during the session. For my Kinder language kids, they glued winter activity pictures on the blank paper.
I also found this free really cute, informative little book from Growing Kinders called The Groundhog Book.  Also included is a sheet for graphing whether or not the groundhog will see his shadow, and a describing sheet.

That's pretty much it in a nutshell! Link up below with what you did this week, or what you're planning for next week!

App Review: Silly Sentences

The following is an app review. The views are my own. I received no compensation for expressing my opinions.  Links (in dark red) are provided for your convenience. Want to see larger pictures? Just click on one and scroll through!

After having this app on my iPad for a few months, I finally used it. I'm not sure why it took me so long, but it will definitely be a "staple" from now on.

Appreciated Features:
Each target sound is broken down into positions: initial, medial, final, blends (for /s,r,l/, as well as a "mixed" button. Since I rarely work on a sound in just one position, this option is perfect for me.
The sentences are easy enough for my second graders (and some first graders) to read. Or, you can have the sentence read for the student for him to repeat.
Following the student's response, you have the option of hearing why it is silly, or simply just moving on to the next sentence.

The app can be used to target various language skills.

What I would like to see:
The only thing that is missing from this app is data collection, but that's not a deal-breaker for me since I usually use a pencil & labels anyway.

Additional Comments:
My kids absolutely loved hearing Mr. Raj's response. The first time I used this app, I asked my student if he wanted to continue to hear the response or move on to the next sentence, and he insisted on listening to every single one. The enthusiasm in Mr. Raj's voice is infectious and opens up more conversation between the students.

How I plan to use the app:
This app is going to be fantastic for my artic students who are on the latter sentence/carryover level. It is also going to be a welcome addition to my repertoire when I work with language students who are working on absurdities and humor.

Silly Sentences  is available for purchase for $2.99. To view in iTunes, click here.

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