Language, Resources, Technology, Therapy Tools

Lights, Camera, Action!! Using Videos as a Therapy Tool

 One of my personal goals this year is to increase the use of technology in my therapy sessions. Much of my “free” time can be spent compiling lists and exploring possible resources, applications, Universal Design for Learning strategies and interactive programs. I do plan on purchasing an iPad in the near future to use in my private practice, so I have been bookmarking lists of apps and other resources that the iPad offers. Though the school district for whom I also work has not yet authorized the use of iPads for instructional use, I feel quite fortunate to work in a setting that does offer a variety of  additional technology resources — flipcams, smartboards, the ActivPanel I now have in my therapy room, and more. I have developed a few favorite tools that students really seem to enjoy, and the opportunities for engagement and interaction have increased immeasurably. I like to think I am pretty engaging all by myself, but there is something to be said about therapy that includes music, color, sound, movement, and electronic modes of presentation. Children today are wired for the technology (read more about this thought in my Signs of the Times post.)

One therapy tool that is quickly marching its way into first place is the use of video to target speech-language goals.For students whose performance is greatly enhanced with the use of music and visual stimuli, videos help to secure focused attention and engage their minds for interactive learning.  I often insert a video into a smartboard lesson, designed to reinforce a theme or idea. Below is a video I found recently on Youtube, which I used in a caterpillar/butterfly seasonal theme. I used the video in a smartboard lesson that reviewed the lifecycle of the caterpillar/butterfly, and reinforced the recently presented story, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. The video helped to help model use of descriptive concepts, and we used colorful scarves to incorporate motor movement and sensory input as we pretended to fly like the butterflies. Students were absolutely mesmerized by this tranquil video!  They readily formulated their own phrases and sentences to describe colored butterfly pictures following the video:

I’ve also posted recently about using Animoto to create videos using music and selected images.  I made another video  today with a group of students to target expressive language, descriptive concepts, theme vocabulary and answering wh questions. To introduce summer theme vocabulary, I created a folder of Google images showing kids enjoying a variety of summer activities. Students took turns selecting the pictures they wanted to use in the video, and we practiced individual speech-language goals as we selected the pictures. Here is a visual I created to highlight the sequential directions for this video-making activity:

After we selected pictures, we uploaded them to Animoto, added the music track, and reviewed our objectives/progress while we waited for the video to finish “production” (a process that only takes a couple of minutes.) Then we were ready for step 4 — watching the video! I just loved seeing how connected and animated my students were when they saw the video and recalled the images they contributed. I noted increases in attention, participation, spontaneous verbalizations and use of targeted concepts in ALL students in the group. Here is the video that we made:

With so much success, I plan on using video as a therapy tool as much as possible — flipcam video  and mobile device  image uploads to star students themselves, interactive video clips in smartboard files, youtube videos that highlight concepts or themes, and other educational videos from sites like BrainPop, PBSKids, and more.  I still reserve time and energy to create hands-on activities using games, toys, concrete objects and pictures; but the use of video as a therapy tool is clearly a winner in my book…er, umm– electronic reading device. 🙂

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Assistive Technology, Free Downloads, Holiday Theme, Language, Resources, Technology, Therapy Tools

Going Green – Earth Day Activities Part 2

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!

~Lisa

Free Downloads, Language, Resources, Technology, Therapy Tools

Creating Multi-media Videos Using Pinterest Images

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

Technology, Therapy Tools

Time to Tweet

Ok, I am finally taking the plunge…yes, it is time for Twitter. Starting this blog has been an exercise in moving a bit out of my comfort zone–in a good way, of course! I am delighted at the response my little blog has received so far, and I am finally pushing myself to do more of the things that excite me about my profession. I have boldly professed to love technology, online resources and professional collaboration. I have spent more time than I should have in the wee hours of the night researching therapy resources, caseload management techniques,  document sharing tools and other apps that get me fired up and excited about being a bit of a tech geek. But in all this research, discovery and technology-induced lack of sleep…I have resisted Twitter. Why? I am not really sure. Perhaps I’ve been afraid of entering yet another online arena that might very well suck me in and induce a mental time warp, leaving me with another way to lose sleep and avoid housework. More nights than I care to admit I have looked up from my laptop, blinking in disbelief at my clock. How can it be that hours, not minutes, have passed since I tucked the last child into bed for the night??  I mean, isn’t Facebook, WordPress, Blogger, Google Play, LinkedIn, and Pinterest enough for this busy SLP mom? (Now that I think of it, actually, how bad could it be to add one more thing?) I am easily swayed  encouraged by those people who really think I should fly on over to Twitter. I have quite a few blog followers asking if I am on Twitter yet, wanting to get connected. So, I finally decided to take the plunge! I am currently a bit lost, which actually cuts down on the possibility of entering a mental time warp anytime soon. It will take me a while to develop some tweeting skills –it’s a whole different world.  But if you want to connect with me there, feel free to “follow” me and tweet me or hashtag me, or something like that.  Find me on Twitter here. I look forward to connecting with other SLPs, bloggers and the like–I hear there is quite a network of collaborators!

For now, I am off to do some Twitter research. I did find this very helpful post from EduBlogs that will surely speed the learning process for me. If any of you have any helpful Twitter info, I would love to hear it. I would also love to hear how you are using Twitter for your blog, website, private practice, etc. Feel free to comment below with your ideas and feedback.

Thanks, see you on Twitter!

Lisa, A.K.A.  @LiveSpeakLove

Articulation, Free Downloads, Holiday Theme, Language, Therapy Tools, Thoughts and Inspirations

The Egg-stravaganza Continues!

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-board I 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 questions inserts 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 described as 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.

Free Downloads, Resources, Technology, Therapy Tools

Interactive Virtual Game Boards on your Smartboard or Computer

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.

 Thanks for visiting LiveSpeakLove!

~Lisa

Language, Resources, Technology, Therapy Tools

Extracting Images from Pinterest Websites

I’ve been racking my brain all week, trying to think of a way to use the idea Jenna posted this week on her blog, Speech Room News. She is using the app Tapikeo to quickly download images and pair them with voice audio, creating a fun, multi-media activity for students.  

Without an iPad, I do not have a way to use the Tapikeo app, a wonderful program that makes saving pictures into a program and adding audio a breeze. I did contact the app’s creator, Jean-Eudes Lepelletier, a busy dad of two who designs apps for iTunes in his free time. He very kindly responded with partially good news. While Tapikeo is not currently available on Android devices, his newest upgrade will include an export feature that allows photo grids to be shared with others via HTML. I am hoping that those creative SLPs with iPads out there will be sharing their photo grids very soon!

In the meantime, I did discover a relatively easy way to quickly download PediaStaff’s images and import them into an interactive smartboard program with audio. The process is actually fast and simple, but it does involve a few steps:

  • Install Nitro PDF (this FREE downloadable program easily converts any file or selection to a PDF file, even from the web. Just choose “Nitro PDF” as your printer when you go to print. By the way, this program is a wonderful tool to convert those Boardmaker files to PDFs for easy sharing.)
  • Next, go to PediaStaff on Pinterest and scroll down to your Photo Library of choice — they now have many different photo boards, filled with theme-specific images to target a variety of skills.
  • Once you are in the photo library, simply PRINT the webpage (Don’t forget to change your printer to Nitro PDF!)

 

  • NOW comes the fun part! After you have a Pediastaff photo library converted to a PDF, you then just need to select “Extract Images.”

Clicking this powerful, little EXTRACT IMAGES  button will instantaneously save each image to your computer!! No need to” right click and save as” on every image on the Pinterest board…just extract and you have each file saved separately in the same folder as your original PDF.

Here is a snapshot of my end result:

Once the images are saved (instantly!) to your computer, you can then create a fun, interactive activity with audio using PowerPoint or an interactive smartboard program (I use ActivInspire, which does not require a smartboard — use this program right on your computer with a mouse!) Below is a snapshot of the activity I created using action verb pictures  paired with audio (as Jenna did in her initial example.) Students circled, highlighted and wrote text on this flipchart page, and when they clicked an image the audio was activated. I embedded audio using simple, present progressive verb sentences (e.g, “The boy is yawning.”) as well as past tense verbs (e.g., “Yesterday the boy screamed.”) We also practiced higher level skills with each trial…these images are perfect for incorporating “I wonder” statements like, “I wonder why the boy screamed?”  to elicit inferences. I love using “I wonder…”  sentences to promote those critical thinking skills along with the lower-level objectives.

So, even though the Tapikeo program is not an option for me right now, I can still very quickly and easily create activities by instantly downloading libraries of images through a PDF conversion and extraction. Perhaps this is an example of collaboration at its finest…Pediastaff, Tapikeo, Speech Room News and LiveSpeakLove all working together to create ideas for wonderful speech-language activities! I’m thankful for the inspiration…hopefully you will feel the same.

Thanks for visiting LiveSpeakLove!

~Lisa