Interested in some new therapy supplies? Take advantage of Teachers Pay Teachers HUGE Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale! Every single LiveSpeaklove product will be on SALE for 28% off! Now is your chance to stock up on all of the LiveSpeakLove goodies you need. Holidays are our specialty– and we have LOTS of holiday-themed goodies that will give you a December to remember. Keep your prep work to a minimum and target a variety of speech and language goals using my theme-based activities. Fun, engaging activities that allow for differentiation and are aligned to the CCSS…take advantage of this HUGE event and you will have the best, easiest holiday season ever! Don’t forget to check out my FREEBIES!!
Time for a celebration! In honor of the once in a lifetime date anomaly 12-12-12, I am offering a FREE GIVEAWAY of my most popular Holiday/Seasonal Activity! How about a FREE Holiday Bingo & Activity Set for your classroom or therapy room (or just to have at home for fun???) This MUST-HAVE comprehensive activity set targets language skills through seasonal vocabulary that can be adjusted to meet the needs of any student. Seasonal vocabulary from Christmas, Hanukkah (Chanukah) and Kwanzaa are used in these open-ended games, perfect for differentiation and inclusive education. Work on Common Core standards using these games can be tailored to meet individual academic or speech-language therapy goals–perfect for small or large groups, learning centers and push-in therapy sessions! Skills addressed in this packet include: seasonal vocabulary use and comprehension, use and comprehension of descriptive words, comprehension of wh questions, oral communication, knowledge of word classes/attributes…and more! Check out how to win this FREE RESOURCE below.
To win this free resource, HURRY and visit the LiveSpeakLove Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/livespeaklove and follow the directions in the Giveaway post. You will need to 1) SHARE the facebook post; and 2)Comment on the post on the livespeaklove page. That’s it!! A random winner will be picked at 12:00 midnight, so hurry and share!! Thank you for visiting LiveSpeakLove and have a happy 12-12-12!!
The season has really just begun…despite what retailers have been telling us since before Halloween! While there are more fun activities yet to come, I know many of you are planning out your entire month as we speak. To help with your planning and to add some holiday fun, I have compiled my Holiday Speech-Language Activities into one Roundup Post! I am thrilled with all the support and feedback I have received so far, and am so feeling the love over at my TPT store. THANK YOU, and keep it coming! Here is my HOLIDAY ROUNDUP for you..enjoy!!
Activities for you include the following Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa theme activities:
If there is anything else you would like to see, please let me know. I have lots of resources that I will continually post throughout the season, but I also take requests! Please leave a comment and let me know what would help you in your classrooms and therapy rooms this month. Thank you for visiting LiveSpeakLove!
Here is a resource I have for you to help put you in the LiveSpeakLove holiday spirit! Target /s/ in all positions of words with this cute printable activity I created. Santa’s hat contains practice words with /s/ in the initial position of CV and CVCV words. His beard contains /s/ in the initial, medial and final positions of one and two syllable words. This worksheet is perfect for speech therapy homework, practice folders, data collection probes, RTI and more.
The holidays are very quickly approaching! Who am I kidding, they are already here. Before busy moms and dads had even finished their school supply shopping, stores were convincing us that holiday preparations must immediately begin. Even though I am still creating my back-to-school organization system (a nevr-ending process, apparently,) I am clearly in full holiday mode and planning for the hustle and bustle that will carry us all into 2013. How about a FREE DOWNLOAD to spread some holiday cheer!?
With family dinners, parties and get-togethers planned, the holidays can be a
hectic time–possible overwhelmingly so to an individual needing pragmatic or
communication support. These pragmatic communication cards containing core
vocabulary/functional phrases provide visual support for expressing wants and
needs in a variety of social situations. The cards can be left as-is and used as
a communication/choice board, or cut apart and placed on a ring for easy access.
The cards can also be used in conjunction with an AAC/AT device or low-tech
communication board for communication support that is portable and
functional.The cards are applicable year-round, but may be especially useful
during holidays, family get-togethers or parties.
Grab this FREE DOWNLOAD – visual for simple wh questions. Provide visual cues and structured supports for answering simple wh questions in any therapy or classroom activity. Supplement auditory processing and reading comprehension tasks with this visual, and help increase independence during instruction.
I’m so glad people are enjoying my resources and taking advantage of my new, lower prices and the Pre-Halloween Sale. Being new to the TPT scene, it is hard to gauge what price is reasonable for the work behind the product, and the potential the product has in terms of its application in your classrooms/therapy rooms. Thank you for being patient while I made some initial adjustments! Keep looking for more resources — seasonal favorites as well as practice management/clinical tools. Also, don’t forget that my Pre-Halloween Sale ends TOMORROW!!! Don’t forget to take advantage of my FREE downloads, too. Thank you for your support!
Wow, time really does fly when you are having fun– and when you are knee-deep in navigating a new position and new responsibilities! I am loving life as a new clinical faculty member at Towson University — teaching classes, supervising in the campus Speech-Language and Hearing Center and running a Pragmatic Language program for adults on the Autism spectrum. I wish I could list all of the things I’ve learned in the last few months! I’ve lost count. I feel blessed every day to go to work, and I love the variety my new position gives me. I feel this job is a noble and humble calling…training future speech-language pathologists through academic instruction and clinical experiences, also helping members of our community.
Beyond my new job, I do have a few updates for those who have been kind and patient with my recent blog neglect:
Team Living and Lovingdid it again! We supported a wonderful lady and raised over $2,300.00 with over 40 registered participants at the 2012 JT Walk to Stomp Out ALS! Here is a picture from our inspiring (albeit wet and windy) day:
LiveSpeakLove is now accepting appointments for consultations and assessments. Our ongoing therapy schedule is currently FULL; however, you may call and have your name added to our waiting list should a therapy time open up in the future. Feel free to call or email with any questions!
I will be expanding my blog focus a bit to include topics and materials relating to my univeristy position. Coming soon: tools for mastering phonetic transcription, data collection and planning for therapy sessions. Also, topics in Autism across the lifespan, instructional technology in speech-language therapy and personal thoughts as I face the challenges of full-time work, an additional private practice, raising amazing children and more.
Product reviews are coming!! The months have flown past at an astonishing speed. In the back of my mind, have been several product reviews I still need to post. Of particular interest in the works–a review of a truly amazing book that I am currently using in my practice and at the university…Speaking of Apraxiaby Leslie Lindsay. More to come, but suffice it to say that this book is a gemand chock-full of everything any parent or professional needs to know about Apraxia.
I am sure there are more updates I’m forgetting, but at nearly 2:30 am, I will save them for another day. THANK YOU for your patience and for checking out LiveSpeakLove!!
It’s definitely that time of year! Hallways are filled with the hustle and bustle of end-of-the-school year excitement. In between closing sessions with students, team meetings, wrapping up special projects, prepping for summer private therapy and more, I have also been busy putting together summer speech-language packets for my public school students and their families.
The packets cover a variety of speech-language skills, incorporating theme-related content and activities that can be adapted for individual students. I included many of the popular activities found in my previous Summer Fun post. In addition, I also included information and tips/tricks for parents found in these handouts and in my previous Communication Temptations post. These speech-language Summer Fun packets are for both kids andtheir parents.
I have received a number of requests to post additional summer-themed activities. As always, I am happy to spread a little speech-language love and share resources I have developed. So, here you go! Additional activities straight from my Summer Fun Speech-Language Activity Packet…free for you to download for educational and/or personal use. Let me know if you are using them; I would love to hear your feedback!
Summer Speech/Language Activity Pages:
Stay tuned for more posts this summer including book, product and iPad app reviews. More free downloads for your summer themes in store as well. Thank you for visiting Live Speak Love, LLC…have a wonderful summer!
With summer just around the corner, many parents and teachers are already making plans for summer fun. Do you need ideas for speech-language activities during the summer break? Read on! Here are my top suggestions for fun, language-based activities that target communication skills in memorable ways.
Take a walk– A walk that incorporates language skills can be as simple as a stroll around the block, or as complex as an afternoon hike to a scenic destination. As you walk, encourage conversation by asking open-ended questions or observations like, “I wonder what this is!” Take note (out loud) of things that you see, hear, discover and enjoy, encouraging your child to do the same. You could also create a game or scavenger hunt for your walk, prompting your child to search for and label objects using a picture checklist:
Plan Day Trips – Take trips to local beaches, parks, museums or amusement parks. These excursions are not only fun, but they give your child the gift of developing background knowledge, or schema– an important database of personal experiences that become essential for reading comprehension. Providing your child with a variety of life experiences gives them a broader vocabulary base and fosters personal connections to text and stories. These connections will prepare children for higher level skills as they are introduced to new reading material and participate in group discussions. Day trips are also good practice for language formulation, planning and organization skills, and they offer many opportunities to reinforce conversational behaviors, language use and comprehension. Here are some select visuals that target these skills:
Take a Road Trip– If you are planning a vacation this summer, take advantage of the many built-in opportunities to develop communication skills. Trapped in the car for hours? Resist the urge to “autoplay” your ride with DVDs or handheld electronic devices. Why not target speech-language skills with games that kids love and will very likely remember for years? “I Spy,” license plate games or find-the-alphabet contests all target verbal skills and a variety of language concepts. You could also create a Seek-and-Find activity for your trip, like this downloadable version:
Make a Treat– What activity is more rewarding than one that ends in a fun treat to eat? Simple recipes can target a variety of language skills and are a favorite with kids. Practice following directions, using descriptive concepts, sequential vocabulary and more with real tools and materials. Here is a super easy treat I’ve made with my own children and students, with visual directions that allow for review after you are done:Go to the Movies– ‘The movies’ are not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about fostering communication skills. How can sitting passively in a dark theater target speech-language goals? But let’s face it – many parents can become desperate to find an enjoyable activity for the kids on those stifling hot, lazy days of summer. Enjoying an air-conditioned theater for a two hour respite can be just what you and your child need. (For children with sensory issues that make trips to movie theaters a challenge, look for sensory-friendly movie times, like those offered in AMC theaters.) In addition to creating motivating content for future discussions and activities, movies also generate opportunities for language before and after your excursion. Decide with your child what you will see; where and when you will see it. After the show, review with your child the movie plot, characters and sequential events. Ask questions like, “What was your favorite part? Why?” to help your child formulate and support their opinions. Offer your own opinion, too! Encourage critical thinking skills by asking “why” “how” and “what if” questions. Some families I know even keep a log of movies they see throughout the year, giving each movie a rating after a family movie discussion.
Schedule Playdates– Effective speech-language therapy often includes group sessions to promote socials skills and to create opportunities that reinforce generalization of skills. Foster peer interaction, interactive play, functional communication and other skills by arranging a short playdate. Around two hours is a good length of time for a get-together, allowing ample opportunities for play, exploration and a small snack. Offer a few summer activities (bubbles, balls, sand toys, etc) and encourage conversation/interaction, but do resist the urge to organize their activities. Children need time to develop play with each other and discover what is motivating or fun in the moment.
Read, Read, Read – Reading with your child is one of the best activities you can do to promote language and literacy skills. Studies show that time spent reading with your child is the best predictor of overall academic success. The AmericanAssociation of School Librarians reported a study, (Wells, 1988) where researchers found that “the amount of experience that five-year-old children had with books was directly related to their reading comprehension at seven and eleven years old. Wells stated that of all the activities considered possibly helpful for the acquisition of literacy, only one—listening to stories—was significantly associated with later test scores.” Read more.
Not sure how to incorporate language into reading? The U.S. Department of Education outlines things you can do to help your child develop language and literacy skills. Read more.
Whatever your plans this summer, do take time to engage with your child in real ways using everyday activities. For more ideas/activities that target communication skills, please visit my speech-language blog at LiveSpeakLove.
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! In the LiveSpeakLove spirit of sharing resources, I have created some FREE printable information pages for you to distribute to parents, teachers and other educators. Please feel free to share with others for educational and/or personal use. Enjoy!
Find out more about Speech-Language Therapy and Better Speech and Hearing Month with the following resources:
One struggling parent recently described her son’s speech to me as sounding “like nothing more than a robot.” This description spoke volumes about what it must be like as a parent of a child with autism or similar disorder. A child whose very personality is veiled by a mask of robotic speech — scripted sentences, drill-like productions, automated phrases to answer questions or label objects . As a mom, I can understand the ache that this mom was feeling for her child. She longed for a genuine conversation, a sweet moment to glimpse into her child’s mind and hear him speak with intention and meaning. Working in the public school setting and my additional private practice, I encounter many families struggling with this issue. A large number of my students are children with autism or similar disorders that include significant expressive language impairments. Many of these students are somewhat verbal, but their expressive language appears limited to verbal imitations of given models or simple, scripted sentences following a visual. Often, the presence of echolalia and/or attention difficulties further compound the expressive language issues. ABA or structured expressive language trials often increase verbalization of targeted concepts and scripted sentences, but the spontaneous language may still be very limited. As a trained speech therapist, I know that repetitive trials are often the key to skill acquisition, language memory and motor planning. But I also know that for students struggling with functional, spontaneous language, I need to move beyond the drills, repetitions and the neat sets of ten that convert easily into percentage scores. I need to create moments of intention and meaning that can be reinforced naturally, in the moment. There are a few tricks I’ve acquired that I consider very effective tools to create spontaneous language opportunities. I am pleased to share them with you here in my first official “Top Five” post. Many of these ideas may come naturally to you as a parent or clinician; maybe not. Either way, I hope these ideas will inspire you to think and reflect, and to seek genuine, spontaneous moments of language with your child or student.
Top Five Ways to Encourage Spontaneous Language:
1. Use Communication Temptations – I previously posted about lots of ways to “tempt” children to communicate. Temptation is a very powerful motivator. Though you may be finely in tune with your student and know exactly what they want or think, be sure to encourage functional communication skills as you interact. Offer activities that require the student to be motivated by something they want, need, love or desire. In my post, you can read some of the tools I often use and how to effectively create communication temptations.
2. Use Elements of Surprise – this tool is one of my favorites for increasing spontaneous language. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a quiet, hard-working but rather disinterested child suddenly come to life with exclamations of excitement, laughter and delight. The surprises do need to be varied and presented infrequently or they become, well, not very surprising. And some surprises might be startling or even scary for students, so you should closely monitor students’ reactions. But the right balance of surprise can be an extremely effective tool in fostering expressive language and meaningful connections with your student. Here are a few of my favorite surprises:
Surprise idea #1: Motion sensor toys – I have had very good success with toys that come to life in song, dance moves or cascades of giggles. These toys can be found just about anywhere they sell toys. My latest find is animals that roll and erupt in side-splitting, contagious, can’t-catch-your-breath fits of giggles. My students have all loved my new roly-poly giggling guy, who I first introduced as “my very kind friend who sometimes gets a little silly.” We enjoyed lots of laughs as we practiced language concepts. I have the alligator version of this toy, but it does the same thing as this little pig:
Surprise Idea #2: Planned “accidents” – Accidents catch people off-guard and create instant reactions. I love hearing students express their surprise, pleasure, or even worry as a train drives right off the track or crashes into another train. When a puzzle is “accidentally” knocked off the table onto the floor, I often hear complete sentences like, “Oh no, what happened? It’s ok, I’ll help you!” We work together to remedy the problem, and their spontaneous language is reinforced in a very real-word situation. (Photo courtesy of YummyDelicious.com.)
Surprise Idea #3: Hidden objects – Yes, it’s true, I am known as the Bag Lady in some parts around here. I often bring bags of interesting objects, toys or theme accessories with me. Admittedly born with a somewhat dramatic flair, I take pride in my ability to create an atmosphere of anticipation, mystery and eventual excitement/awe with a mere “something” hidden in a bag. Before the big reveal, I encourage students to guess what might be in the bag, accepting and reinforcing virtually any answer but also calling attention to the bag size and shape. Students can reach in the bag and pull out –whatever it is– which can be fun or even delightful to a curious child. Spontaneous language, as well as other targeted language concepts can be elicited as they react to what they have found. You can also hide objects buried in sand for students to discover as they dig, use the computer or smartboard to reveal hide pictures that can be revealed with the click of a mouse or stylus. Hands-on, interactive activities like these create opportunities for spontaneous language that traditional flash card or picture stimuli do not. (above photo courtesy of glamzzle.com.)
(photo courtesy of Vappingo.com) 3. Make Mistakes – Many times as I am working with a student, I purposefully insert mistakes to catch them off guard and create a reaction. Often, their reaction involves correcting my mistake, a task eliciting language targets without direct prompting. I may use the wrong word in my sentence and simply pause with a confused look on my face as I scratch my head and say, “Is that right?” Another mistake I often make is to hand them the wrong tool or object. If we have just decided to use a certain toy or game, I might hand them a puzzle instead, or maybe even the plant from my desk! A confused look from me usually elicits a reaction, and possibly a clarification of what I was supposed to get. One of my favorite moments using this “purposeful mistake” strategy was when a student remembered what I had done and spontaneously made a similar mistake in our next session. Before I could respond to his mistake, he burst into laughter saying, “I didn’t make a mistake; I tricked you!” Yes, REAL language, without structured prompts; a glimpse into his mind and heart.
4. Use Humor – Closely related to using elements of surprise and making mistakes, there is another skill I am proud to exhibit– the ability to be silly and often make a fool of myself! Whether it be acting out silly animal actions, donning a ridiculous hat or mask, or getting goofy during some interactive play, the use of humor can elicit focused attention, interactive smiles, giggles and of course, spontaneous language. One trick I tried recently came from an idea I found on Pinterest, originally from I Love 2 Teach. I modified the idea slightly and created a Boardmaker file of different voices to produce. I used the idea with a group of students working on following directions, and they each picked the voice they wanted me to use to give the direction. INSTANT engagement, amusement and focus on my verbal direction! I plan on using this tool in other types of activities very soon, encouraging the students to try out the different voices on their own. Here is the Boardmaker file for you to download:
5. Play – This Top 5 idea may sound obvious, as many clinicians, teachers and parents incorporate play into their time with language-impaired students. But play, REAL play, is essential for developing spontaneous language, social skills and creativity. Many children do not know how to play. They need experience and appropriate models. When I first began using play in therapy, I would bring out bins of fun toys and then initiate what I thought were interactions, but were actually play-based commands. “Okay, where’s the bear? That’s the bear! Ok, put the bear on the table. You say, ‘On the table!’ ” Sometimes my “play” more closely resembled correction…”No, that’s a chair; I said on the table, put the bear on the table. ” Looking back, I am pretty sure that the children to whom these commands were directed during their “play” time did not really have very much fun. These directives involved toys, yes, but the activity could hardly be called interactive play. Now, I realize the things I wish my much younger self had known. Specifically, real play should involve letting the child explore and choose what he/she wants to do, with interactions built-in to the chosen activity. Interactions are encouraged during moments of play as the child discovers what they find intriguing, amusing or just plain fun. I watch their behavior, and join them in their exploration. As we play, I initiate dialogue using characters or toys as the “speakers” As we play, I also model language production and elicit responses through play behavior, but I stay away from the commands. Throughout the session, I might encourage them to verbalize requests or imitate words and language concepts, but our play is child-led and consists of much more than a series of commands. Using true interactive play is an engaging activity that sets the stage for spontaneous verbalizations, comments, requests and engaging time to connect.
Okay, so there it is…my first Top Five list. Thank you for reading, and if you use any of these ideas, please let me know how it works for you. Thanks for visiting LiveSpeakLove!
Wow, what an overwhelming response I received after being featured as a guest contributor on PediaStaff, sharing some of my Earth Day activities! I decided to share a few more ideas for those of you looking to plan your week with Green therapy, technology and activities that incorporate UDL strategies. Please feel free to click, download and share any of these resources. Enjoy!
Here is a lively video teaching kids to Reuse, Reduce Waste, Recycle. It will get everyone up, dancing and moving as they learn about the 3Rs of helping the world:
Are you looking for even more visuals/activities to address goals with Earth Day vocabulary? Here are a couple of creations for you — Free downloads!
Looking for some Earth Day Books to share with your students? Check out some of my favorite theme-based books that will reinforce the concepts you review in therapy sessions. Many of these books are available in e-reader and audio versions as well as print:
Also, I previously posted about a site that offers free online versions of books. For every book read, they make a donation to literacy campaigns around the world. What better way to help your students feel good about working to make the world a better place?? If you are not yet convinced, please watch this video that gives you an overview of the Pearson Foundation inititative. It is well worth a couple of minutes of your time:
So get reading! Use your computer, laptop or smartboard to create a multi-media, interactive story time that will also make you and your students feel good about helping others. Here are a few Earth Day selections (by the way, this post is not a solicited review of their site or program…I simply think it is a wonderful idea for many, many reasons!):
I hope you enjoy these ideas designed to offer engaging activities with multiple modes of presentation. The more I learn about what works in speech-language therapy, the more passionate I become about incorporating technology into my sessions. I would love to hear from those of you who are using similar technologies with your students. Thank you for visiting LiveSpeakLove!
I wanted to share a successful activity that I used with a group of students. We have been working on the formulation of sentences using correct verb forms. I posted previously about how to quickly extract Pinterest images from PediaStaff Pinboards to create activities for my interactive smartboard. We have all enjoyed the use of technology in our sessions, and students especially the sound files that are played as they interact with the images. Here is a snapshot of the activity I previously posted:
I have also posted previously about using Animoto to create multi-media videos using images I select. Students have really seemed to love the videos I have used so far. I decided to have a group of students help me create a video as part of their speech-language therapy, using images I extracted from the PediaStaff Action Verb Photo Library on Pinterest. To start, we reviewed the folder of images I extracted from the photo library, stored on the computer. Students took turns choosing which pictures they wanted to include in the video, and produced a sentence with their targeted verb form (e.g., “The lion is roaring.” or “The boy was crying because he was tired.”) As they took turns, I copied their selected images into a newly created folder to use for our Animoto video. After all the images were selected, we easily and quickly made our Animoto video. To make the video, we uploaded an mp3 file I bought for 99 cents from Amazon, and then we uploaded the images students just selected. We added a couple of text slides (as we reviewed the concept of Action Words, and the different verb forms each student was currently working on as their objective.) Ta-da!! Our video was created. After a couple of minutes to discuss each student’s progress, our video was ready to view. Students were amazed that the work they just completed was instantly transformed into their very own music video! This activity reinforced their work in such a dynamic, rewarding way. Students were excited, beaming and abuzz with chatter about how they had just made their own video — definitely a success!! I plan on using this technology tool again very soon. For your viewing pleasure, here is the video that my students created:
Interested in trying Animoto for yourself? Click here: Animoto
Spring is definitely in full swing! Our Spring Break is now over, but there is certainly no shortage of seasonal fun for the speech-language therapy room. I have been asked by Heidi Kay of PediaStaff to write a post highlighting activities that could be used for Earth Day. Heidi has pinned many of my activities on Pediastaff’s incredible collection of Pinterest Pinboards, and she also recently wrote an article for ASHASphere highlighting this Live Speak Love blog as one of the “Best Speech-Language Blogs A-Z.“ Wow! I am both honored and excited to present to you this Earth Daypost that is featured on the PediaStaff blog.
Earth Day, in my opinion, is a wonderful opportunity to educate children of all ability levels about the importance of taking care of our world. As children develop an understanding of the vocabulary, themes and issues, there are many teachable moments and life-changing conversations that can develop as a result. Earth Day is a universal cause, and it often sparks something in the minds of young learners. My own children have shown particular interest in the Earth Day theme, causing me to make changes in our family’s recycling habits. Children of all ages and ability levels can begin learning what it means to “Go Green” and care for the world in which we live.
These fun activities can be used to target almost any speech-language goal or objective. In the past, I have used Earth Day activities during individual and small group sessions, and also during co-treatment sessions with classroom teachers, the occupational therapist and/or the school social worker.
Here is a printable social story mini-book (four pages total to be cut into quadrants) you can use to introduce what it means to “Go Green.” Students will learn how they can conserve energy and protect the environment. You can even print an Earth Day Certificate for each student who pledges to do their part. Just click on the images to download:
Earth Day Bingo Boards are another great way to introduce the Earth Day theme and relevant vocabulary. During your Bingo Game, you can target myriad speech-language objectives like answering wh questions, formulating sentences using target vocabulary, labeling objects or using descriptive words in phrases and/or sentences. I often give “Mystery Clues” about a Bingo Picture, and students individually locate the target words from the given verbal descriptions. There are six different boards I made for you to download:
To teach about Recycling, I have used a few different sorting activities. These activities can be used to target word class, categorization, picture identification or labeling, answering simple wh questions, expressive language and more. Probably the most popular activity I have tried is actually taking a group of students outside for a “walk” where we discover an area littered with trash (pre-planted by me, of course.) After some discussion, students pick up the trash and decide what to do with it. Put it in the trash can? Recycle? Or (perfect critical thinking opportunity here) could it be saved to use again or perhaps re-purposed? This real-world, action-oriented activity really hits home with my students, causing many of them to search for trash (or treasures) on the school grounds or in their neighborhoods. Students love to come and tell me what they have found, and the action that they took. To do this activity with any sized-group, all you need is a pile of carefully selected “litter.”
If you do not have the opportunity to conduct this real-word exercise (or if you want to send a follow-up activity home for students to complete) I made this cut-and-paste version you could use:
For those of you with smartboards, you can use this virtual litter sorting game. Students will love dragging each item to its proper destination. If you have ActivInspire or a compatible program, just click on the link below to download the interactive flipchart I created:
Another great activity to use on a smartboard is this Going Green interactive game board. Just pair this game with any stimulus cards or questions that you wish to target. Students are always very enthusiastic about “rolling” the virtual dice and moving their game piece around the board. I have used similar game boards with both small and large groups. For larger groups, I place students on teams to increase interaction and decrease any wait time.
If you do not have a smartboard, or if you wish to insert the gameboard image to create your own file, here is a version you can import or print:
Working on those tricky /r/ sounds? Here are stimulus cards to target -er in all positions of words. Just print and cut to use with any open-ended activity (like the game boards above!) Or, print double copies to use in matching/memory games with the Earth Day theme:I’ve also used craft activities to incorporate fine motor skills, often in co-treatment sessions with the occupational therapist. Here is an activity in which students can follow sequential directions to create an “Earth.” Descriptive words, sequential and ordinal concepts, following directions and other language skills can be targeted in this “Go Green” project:
Whatever activities you choose, students will almost certainly appreciate learning how they can personally make a difference in our world. Doesn’t everyone want to feel that their actions have impact and meaning? So, Go Green this Earth Day, and enjoy teaching your students how to make our world a better place.
We’ve been having a fun-filled, colorful time in speech-language therapy! Out of all the Spring activities I’ve tried, students have been most enthusiastic about using the colored, plastic eggs I purchased for a few dollars at my local craft store.
I’ve paired the eggs with other technology-based activities, like the virtual game-boardI featured in my last post. I used this activity in my therapy room, and also in the classroom setting as a co-treatment with the social worker. We used previously-posted pragmatic questionsinserts for the eggs, and each team got to pick an egg and answer the question when it was their turn. Because the pragmatic questions were a BIG hit out in blog-land (as judged by Pinterest pins and downloads,) and because I found I needed some lower-level questions for those students needing more concrete stimuli, I also created an additional set of pragmatic inserts for you to download:
I also co-treated with the occupational therapist in an adaptive classroom setting. We filled the eggs with these “Following Direction” inserts and “hid” the eggs around the room. Students got to hunt for eggs, then we answered the questions or followed the directions that were in the eggs. We did many of the directions as a whole group, and each student got to come to the front to demonstrate to the class when it was their turn. For directions requiring drawing, we used the classroom smartboard, but you could also use a chalkboard, dry erase board or easel.
Another fun activity I’ve used in large and small groups working on simple descriptive vocabulary is to pair the eggs with colored pom poms and colored objects. Students can pick a color/colored object, and then hunt for an egg that is the same color. Sentence formulation, use of color words in descriptive phrases, matching and answering simple what and where questions are all targeted in this active game.
I used the following visual for language support with students who needed the visual input to assist with formulation of sentences using the concepts:
I also paired the colored eggs with pacing board activities as an extra motivation for students working on length of utterance, fluency strategies and/or sequencing of sounds for multi-syllabic words. Students “stamped” on the pacing board with the egg, or tapped the top of each egg as they spoke to mark the sounds or syllables. The same materials could be used as a token reinforcement system where students earn each color for the trials they produce. Students working on matching activities could also use these tools.
I’ve recently been describedas often posting activities with a “seasonal bent,” and I’d say that is definitely true. I just can’t resist all of the holiday fun! Some of my best childhood memories revolve around the holidays, even seemingly insignificant ones.I like to think I am creating memorable experiences for students, using motivating activities that target goals and keep kids moving and smiling while they work.
So many people have given me positive feedback about the Spring resources available for download in my Spring Egg-stravaganza post. One of the resources I posted was an open-ended game board — both a printable version and an ActivInspire flipchart version. For those of you who do not have ActivInspire, you can download it for free HERE. Check out this video for an overview of the kinds of things students can do with this program:
Obviously, if you have a smartboard, there are limitless possibilities for engaging students in multi-media therapy activities. I feel very fortunate to work in a school that had available funds and generous administrators. Earlier this year, my school purchased a desktop version of a smartboard for my therapy room. I have been using this technology to create a variety of lessons using pictures, audio, video and interactive design features that all my students love. Some of the files I create are complex, time-intensive and include pre/post assessment data collection where students respond using wireless ActiVotes. Some, however, like my Spring/Garden game board are really quite simple. To make this game I just imported the image of the game board (an image I actually used ActivInspire to create, but you could use any image — even a snapshot of a real game board,) then I added circle shapes to use as game pieces, and inserted the dice tool. Suddenly an ordinary game (with a dash of technology added) became a highly engaging therapy tool to target any objective needed. My students love the online game boards so much more than any “real” game. Here is a picture I previously posted of a couple of students interacting and playing a game using my desktop smartboard:
But what if you do not have a smartboard? Not to worry, you can still use these interactive files on your computer. You just need to use a mouse instead of the stylus (unless you have a touchscreen.) An adaptive mouse can help those with fine motor difficulties access this technology. You will just need to pair the game with stimulus materials or verbal prompts to elicit/train a skill, and your students will love playing the interactive, virtual game in their speech-language sessions.
If you want to download this file, just make sure you have ActivInspire installed on yourcomputer, then click on the image below.
By the way, I have no affiliation with Promethean or ActivInspire, and this post is not a solicited review. I really just love using this program, and I think you will too.
After what seems like barely even a winter (not one single snow day or even a school delay for my county!) spring has officially arrived. I realized yesterday that there is very little time left before spring break, and I quickly began gathering my materials for the spring kickoff season. Some of my favorite activities revolve around spring themes — Easter eggs, baby chicks and bunnies, the switch to warm-weather clothing and spending more time outside. I am very excited to share with you some of the resources I have developed and will be using with my students. Let me know how you like them!
First, Easter Eggs!! What better way to excite students and incorporate movement than with a good old-fashioned Easter egg hunt? Finding the eggs is a perfect way to target “where” questions, prepositional words and descriptive concepts like color and size vocabulary. I plan on filling my colorful, plastic eggs with articulation pictures and language concepts to use in sentences. I am also going to use the Easter eggs for a pragmatic language activity by inserting these pragmatic questions (click to download your own copy!)
In addition to the plastic eggs, I have these colorful Easter egg printables to design your own artic/language cards, or to use as tokens for motivation and reinforcement:
I also have a few fun crafts/recipes for students to create. I often use visual directions to accompany these crafts, opening the door for language-based questions involving ordinal and sequential terms, wh questions, language memory and curricular vocabulary. See below and click to download what you like.
How cute is this baby chick?? Students will love making their own little pet to take home. Click on the image below for your own copy of the direction page:
Many books for this time of year involve new little critters –chicks and bunnies as the main characters. These loveable creature crafts are perfect for recreating and retelling those spring stories. Below is a bunny craft for students to make. In the past, I’ve had students glue their bunnies onto jumbo craft sticks to make their own story puppets. Just print out the direction sheet below — use the template I prepared as well, or you create your own to use.
The topic of Spring leads to lessons about new plants as well — buds on trees blossoming into flowers, and people working in their yards to grow flowers and vegetables. My students have especially loved these next couple of activities…I hope yours do too!
The 20 oz bottles wotk best for this stamping craft. The bottoms of these bottles are shaped like a flower–really, it works perfectly!
How about a yummy treat to make and eat? Worms and Dirt is a crowd pleaser that students will remember for a very long time. You can use gummy worms, snakes, licorice or other creature-like confections to crawl in your “dirt.”
I also have an open-ended game board I will be using on my ActivPanel smartboard, paired with articulation or language stimuli to target individual student objectives. You can download the ActivInspire flipchart version to play on your own smartboard, or use the game board imageto creat your own smartboard file. Otherwise, just print the hard copy version below:
And of course I have Spring Bingo Boards (a set of 6 for you to download!) As always, I use Bingo Boards to target myriad articulation and language goals including language formulation, descriptive concepts, wh questions, location terms, categories, similarities and differences…and the list goes on! Click on the sample board below to get to the set.
Working on /s/ sounds? Here is a Boardmaker file I created to use as stimulus cards for games, Easter egg inserts and homework practice. Print double copies to use for a matching/memory game.
I hope you enjoy these ideas…I have many more, but there are only NINE days until our Spring Break, so time is limited! Yes, I have counted the days. 🙂 Hope you enjoy this wonderful season!
I was recently asked to offer some advice about correcting for those tricky sound errors — lateralized productions of the sibilants /s/, /z/, /sh/ and /ch/. If you are an SLP, you can probably detect a lateralized /s/ on every affected public speaker, casual acquaintance or celebrity you have ever had the pleasure to encounter. My husband makes fun of me for the way my ears perk up and how the expression on my face clearly changes whenever we are listening to someone with an /s/ distortion. I suddenly have the urge to offer these speakers nonverbal feedback as we interact. Sadly, I can’t help it; it’s an affliction. Even if you are not an SLP and have no desire to cure the world of lateralized airflow patterns, you may be able to detect that something is not quite right in the way a person says their /s/ and /z/ sounds— the words come out sounding “slushy,” “sloppy” or even “garbled.” I once had a teacher tell me that their student with a lateralized /s/ sounded like he was “pretending to be a ventriloquist.” This statement was actually not an off-target description.
Lateralized airflow sound distortions are unfortunately some of the hardest to correct. While I am an SLP, and therefore, an “expert,” I do not profess to have any secret knowledge or special talent in correcting these tricky sounds. I have struggled along with the rest of you in finding ways to train for correct sound production. I am happy, however, to share what has worked for me more often than not in the past fifteen years.
In my opinion, the issue of lateralized airflow distortions is two-fold, and requires training on both factors:
Students do not have a correct tongue position for these sounds (and often the tongue position at rest is incorrect as well.) These sounds must be produced with the tongue elevated to meet at the alveolar ridge or surrounding area.
Students do not have a correct frontal airflow stream (probably secondary to incorrect tongue position) . When the tongue is elevated at the alveolar ridge area, a slight groove is formed in which airflow is then directed in a stream out the front of the mouth. When the tongue remains low and flat, no slight groove in the center of the tongue is formed to direct the airflow out the front. The air escapes out the sides of the tongue and the distortion is produced.
Unfortunately, the tongue and airflow patterns are habitual and must be entirely retrained for correct sound production. Therapy on these sounds begins with ongoing student education for tongue position and airflow. I often begin with pure discussion and education using mouth diagrams, puppets, mirrors, and visuals. I then begin training with some oral motor tools or tricks like dots of icing on the alveolar ridge or other tactile feedback to elicit correct tongue placement. I have students practice in front of mirrors and watch me as well. My school recently purchased these mirrors for my therapy room so that each student has their own for practice (great for preventing “downtime” while I give individualized feedback to other students in the group):
Once the initial training and tactile feedback has been provided, I quickly move into practicing target sounds in isolation and then in syllables or words. I use a variety of methods including verbal, visual and tactile strategies to help students train for correct placement and airflow. I have visuals for each target sound that offer descriptions so students can more easily remember the placement and manner of the sounds. I usually start by targeting /s/ in isolation, though I do not believe that this sound is scientifically proven easier to produce than any of the others. I just personally find it easiest to elicit, especially when introduced as “the sneaky snake sound” and paired with different snake games/activities. Every therapy session I conduct is structured to include education, discrimination, direct training, and then practice (often using games or other motivating activities) to target sounds in isolation, syllables and words. These activities all include the following visuals (or similar.)
Below is a visual that introduces each sound and gives them all a “name” to represent sound attributes in some way. At the bottom of this visual is a three-step process chart that helps to elicit correct placement and airflow. I have had very good success using the cue “Teeth Together.” This cue is something much more concrete and outwardly visible than the more elusive “tongue elevation to the ‘bumpy spot’ behind the teeth.” For some reason, tongue placement seems to greatly improve and inhibit lateral airflow when the upper and lower central incisors meet in front (not in a smile, though, which tends to drop the tongue and foster lateral airflow. Think “show your teeth” in a Lady Gaga kind of way.) Students can see their teeth together; they can replicate it easily, and for whatever reason, it often works when it is done correctly. Students are also trained to hold their hand or finger in front of their lips and feel the airflow as they speak. Sometimes this trick is enough to elicit the frontal airflow pattern and progress is made quickly as the student has built-in cues and biofeedback wherever they go!
Another visual I like to use is this discrimination tool that can be used both with the student listening to modeled productions or when producing on their own. The clinician can provide the feedback using the visual, or the student can self-evaluate their own productions:
Students are encouraged to practice their sounds on their own using their hand as a self-cueing strategy for frontal airflow detection:
As we move into practice using syllables and words, I select the syllable or word targets to specifically shape and elicit correct tongue placement. I choose syllables and words using vowels that are produced higher in the mouth (usually /i/ and /u/) to move away from the low, flat tongue patterns used in /a/ or with a schwa. I also vary the position of the sound in the word or syllable:
Another way I elicit correct tongue position is to shape sounds across word boundaries using alveolar sounds that the student has already mastered. Here is a visual I use with students to shape the /s/ from /n/ across preceding and subsequent word boundaries:
As a student becomes more independent, the same pictures can be used to create sentences for practice at a higher level. My go-to games are often open-ended game boards, commercial games or interactive activities that can be paired with specific stimuli or picture cards using the currently targeted sound or sounds. I also use barrier games or student-led activities with a focus on peer feedback to encourage generalization to other settings. I often have peer partners that will develop their own nonverbal signal to prompt for correct placement or airflow.
Above all, a student needs to “buy in” to the training and practice their skills in other settings. This is why all of my speech therapy sessions incorporate the pieces of education, discrimination, targeted training and practice. If students are reluctant to practice or do not self-cue or self-monitor, then progress will likely be much slower. Systematic training in tongue placement, frontal airflow stream, how to self-cue and monitor, and how to practice are essential components of a treatment program for lateralized airflow sounds. The treatment program may seem endless some days as you train and educate, but eventually, most students “get it.” I consider my work with these students just as important as my work with nonverbal or language-delayed students and I applaud those of you who work tirelessly to improve communication skills on any level. Good luck with using these techniques, and I’d love to hear if there is something else that has worked for you. Please share — it’s exactly what I love about the internet!