Monday, March 31, 2014

My Professional Bookshelf

Spring Break has sprung! I've decided to spend nine glorious days at home doing all the things I love: gardening, reading, writing, grilling out, watching tv, and treating myself (any Parks and Rec fans out there?!). There's really no better time to dust the cobwebs off of my professional bookshelf. I love reading. It's ultimately what propelled me to become a speech-language pathologist. It's something I always make time for and I read everything; you should see my currently-reading and to-read list on Goodreads! It's truly all over the place.

This spring break, I want to delve into the world of a group of Bay Area first graders who learn to write. So I pulled this precious little gem off of my bookshelf:
This book is entitled The Brothers and Sisters Learn to Write: Popular Literacies in Childhood and School Cultures. Anne Haas Dyson, the author, became a part of these children's classroom and ultimately a member of their "fake family."

My hopes for "My Professional Bookshelf" is that it will become a regular feature on my blog. I want to share the professional books I'm reading, review them, and discuss them with my fellow speech therapists! Sooo.. this will not be the last time you hear about The Brothers and Sisters. I will give routine updates about what I've learned from the book and how I will apply that knowledge to my therapy.

If this book interests you.. read along with me! It'll be fun. :)


Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Articulation: Color, Cut, and Glue!

Roses are red, violets are blue.... My students love to color, cut, and glue!

Color, cut, and glue activities are a staple in my speech therapy room. I love them so much that my second post ever was all about them! You can check that post out here.

Honestly, they are one of the most efficient activities that I have found for articulation therapy. These activities ensure that each student produces 100+ repetitions (and even 200+!), which can be quite a feat when group size is at capacity! Students do not anxiously await their turn - which is what I find when we play games. They are actively engaged while others participate in repetitive drills. And most of all, these activities require very little instruction. The directions are so clear... so there's less therapy time taken with directions, expectations, etc.

I've used a variety of ready made resources (ex. Super Duper Fun Sheets) and I often mix and max materials.... but my problem is many of the ready made resources have horrible word choices! If a student is working on /p/, chances are they are not going to be able to say ketchup and envelope! Seriously?! haha... Fun Sheets, I still love you, but it's time for me to make my own materials. ;)

Yes, I decided to make my own color, cut, and glue activities! I'm not going to lie, this was quite the endeavor. But it was worth every minute... err hour! I am so PLEASED with the results. These are perfect for my students and I know I'll be using them for years to come.

Soooo.. without further ado. I present:
You can find this item in my TPT store, here! What's even better? Many teachers are throwing a Spring Cleaning Sale and I'm participating! This item will be 20% off until March 31st! And this bad boy contains 108 pages of NO PREP activities!

Here are some examples of the activities:

Here are some samples of the completed activities:
I hope you find these activities useful! I already have them printed and ready to go! My spring break starts today and it's so good knowing that I will be returning with some of my articulation groups planned and prepped! 

Stop by my store this weekend for the Spring Cleaning Sale! 20% off this item and more :)

Oh.. and be on the lookout for the later developing sounds packet in the near future!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bats at the Speech....Room!

Welcome to another edition of Wild About Books Wednesday. We're going to get a little batty today! For some reason, I've always loved bats! So when I ran across some adorable bat clip art over at Scrappin' Doodles I knew I had to make a book companion for one of my favorite books - Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies. I usually use this book near the end of the school year (after spring break) and it is just too much fun!
You can find this book companion in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, here

If you have students who are working on phonological awareness, particularly rhyming, this is definitely a book to feature during therapy. The entire story is written in an AABB rhyme scheme to ensure a bombardment of rhymes.

The first activity in this book companion is a memory-type rhyme game. Flip all of the batterific cards upside down on your speech table and have students hunt for rhyming matches. The cards are somewhat self-checking, as words that rhyme use the same exact bat. Here's a sample:
A midnight trip to the beach isn't complete without some s'mores made with bug-mallows! These fun comprehension cards feature s'more clip art and provide students with practice answering questions and making self-to-text connections.
What's in the beach house? Students can help the bats figure out what's lurking inside these cute little beach houses! Simply have students draw a riddle card and try to figure out what is being described. If they find a seagull they get to take an extra turn.
Another great thing about this book is that it does feature some non-fiction details, such as bats love snacking on bugs. The bats have a few treats at the beach, which inspired my next card game - Bugged Out Directions! Students draw a direction card and follow either a temporal or conditional direction. Watch out, don't become a bug-mallow!
Beachy Multiple Meanings! This activity is designed to promote vocabulary development. Students take turns drawing cards and providing at least two meanings for the provided word. Students get to keep the card if they are successful, but if they draw a "oops.. forgot your moon-tan lotion card" they lose their cards!
Lastly, I designed another phonological awareness activity. These cards can be used in conjunction with any game or can stand alone. Student draws a card and must delete the initial phoneme to create an entirely new word. An example probe would be, "If you take away the /b/ from boat, what new word will you have?" Here is a sample:
If you already have this book - this companion will really spice up your lesson plans! If you haven't used this book as a therapy tool - run to the library or bookstore immediately! You'll love it.

Go batty and enjoy!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring into vocabulary!!

I know spring is officially here... but ughh! It doesn't feel like it. I'm so ready to be knee deep in tulips, warm weather, sunshine.... and spring vocabulary games!

I've recently produced and prepped a set of vocabulary games to use with my students after spring break. They feature spring-themed clip art that is sure to brighten up any speech room! I'm really excited to use these and wanted to share the activities with you today.
This Spring Vocabulary Games packet can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, here.

The first game is Multiple Meaning Monsters! Students draw a card and provide two different meanings for the selected word. If they find an Easter egg they get to take an additional turn. The student with the most cards wins!
Aren't those monsters just to die for?! I think they are absolutely precious!

The next vocabulary game is a Hunt for Antonyms! Students must hunt for antonyms by matching up eggs with their basket. I plan on laying out all of the baskets on the table and hiding all of the eggs. Students can go on an "egg hunt" then return to the table to match up their antonyms.
Nothing says spring like a cute little birdie! This packet includes 24 analogy cards. Analogies are a great way to not only work on vocabulary, but also critical thinking and problem solving.
Lastly, students will have a hoot working on synonyms with these silly owls. This game is played just like memory. Flip all of the synonym cards over on the table and have students hunt for matches. Memory games are super engaging for students. The occasional game of memory is always enjoyed in my speech room!
Lastly, this packet also includes a Bunny Trail reinforcing game board. It can be used in conjunction with any activity to give it a springtime boost!

Do you love vocabulary as much as I do? I would highly recommend adding Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction by Isabel L. Beck to your professional library. I read and loved the 2002 version a few years ago. Recently a second edition has been released and I'm so excited to order it! My to-read list gets longer all the time - thankfully, I only have 4 more days until Spring Break! My stay-cation will be featuring lots of great books.
What are your favorite vocabulary resources/books/games?


Friday, March 21, 2014

Love It and List It: Favorite Technology!

This week Jenna at Speech Room News is hosting a linky party highlighting technology!
Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) is one of my areas of interest - so technology is right up my alley!

1) I LOVE high-tech AAC devices. The Vantage and Vantage Lite both have a special place in my heart. I'm so sad they are no longer being produced, but hey.. technology is ever-changing and I'm sure the newer devices are even better. As a student I was soooo fortunate to be able to participate in the Perlman Center's summer camps at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. The Perlman Center specializes in treating children with cerebral palsy. Most of the kids I worked with used a Vantage and I became very familiar with the unity symbol system. Currently, I have a student who has a Vantage Lite and I also have one borrowed from a local agency. I occasionally use it with a student who has a severe speech sound disorder. I think it's very important for children who are highly unintelligible to have alternative means for communication. Here is my loaner device charging up for next week!
 2) Proloquo2go: I have a few students who are currently using this AAC app and they really like it (so it has grown on me!). The iPad has so much appeal as a communication device. Here we are working on following directions and formulating sentences:
3) iPad - it makes an occasional appearance in my therapy! It's great to change things up and it's so awesome to see my students' faces when I surprise them with it.

What are your favorites?

On another note, my iPhone just hit a 5% charge..... things are about to get real! haha

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Little Red Hen Goes to Speech!

It's Wild About Books Wednesday! And I'm wild about The Little Red Hen! She's my home girl.

One of my favorite books to use in therapy is The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges. In fact, I love this book so much I made a speech & language companion to accompany it. It's such a versatile book and most students come in with a morsel of background knowledge to build upon.
You can find this book companion here.

Comprehension. It's why we read. So of course this companion contains a comprehension game! Students draw comprehension cards, answer questions, and take turns using a pizza game board! This book lends itself so well to higher levels of thinking, so right-there to inferential questions are covered.
This is the perfect book for targeting directions. The Little Red Hen is cooking and we can stress to our students how important it is to be able to follow a recipe... or directions! This book companion features temporal directions:
I have so many students working on pronouns this year so I made a pizza pronoun card game! In addition to this game, it's so easy to focus on pronouns throughout the story. Engage students in discussions about the characters using pronouns. Here's a sneak peek of the pronoun cards:
Another topic that this book lends itself to is social skills! The Little Red Hen is a very good friend and well.... the duck, the dog, and the cat... not so much! The social skills activity features character cards that contain a friendly or unfriendly scenario. Students draw cards and discuss whether or not the characters are being a good friend.
Sequencing n' extra cheese! There are so many sequences to discuss in this book. You can discuss The Little Red Hen's sequence for buying a pizza pan or making pizza dough. Toppings cards feature an activity and students have to explain the sequence to complete the activity.
Lastly, the book companion features another delicious activity. Students are provided with an answer and must generate an appropriate question. For instance, if a student draws "delicatessen" they could ask, "where can you buy pepperoni?"
This book companion is just the tip of the iceberg! I still have an insane amount of ideas haha! For brevity's sake (well, I guess brevity has already been thrown out the window haha). I'll just share a couple bonus ideas.

One thing I always target with my older students is context clues! Chances are our language delayed students have no clue what a delicatessen is or even what a hardware store is. So my students and I scrutinize The Little Red Hen's wagon each time she leaves a different store to figure out what kind of store she visited. She leaves the hardware store with a pizza pan, nails, a sink, a broom, annnnnnd some other stuff! With a little scaffolding students are able to figure out that a Hardware Store sells household goods. Her wagon always contains lots of clues and it's a great vocabulary building exercise.

Lastly, comparing and contrasting! I always read an alternative version so students can compare the two stories. I would recommend The Little Red Hen by Barry Downard. It's the traditional story, but with hilarious photographs incorporated into the artwork. My students always crack up looking at the pictures.

Kickin' it old school with a blackboard, chalk, and a crooked venn diagram!
Do you use this book with your students? Do you use other versions of The Little Red Hen? Please share your ideas in the comments or ask for more ideas! Obviously, I can talk about this book all day, everyday! haha

*sips some chickweed tea*

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Easter Pronouns!

A speech therapist can never have enough pronoun activities, right?! My students really enjoyed my St. Patrick's Day pronoun card game so I decided to make an Easter themed one too! This card game addresses: he, she, they, and it.

The same directions as my last pronoun card game. The student draws a card and fills in the blank with the correct pronoun. If they are correct they get to keep the card, if they are wrong it goes in a discard pile (maybe even use an Easter basket as a discard pile!). Watch out for the Easter Bunny! If a student draws an Easter Bunny card they either have to give all their cards away or take an extra turn.

Here's a preview:

You can download this freebie here.

Please comment and let me know if your students enjoy this game! I don't know about you, but now I'm in the mood for some Starburst jelly beans! Yum.

Shout out: Thanks for the cute clip art!

Interested in more Freebies? Or have a freebie to share? Head on over to Speechie Freebies to join their Friday FreeBEES linky party.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wild About Books Wednesday!

My therapy thrives on books! Literacy is one of my greatest passions in life and I find a million ways to incorporate it into my other passion - speech-language therapy! Each Wednesday, I'm going to highlight a favorite book and share my ideas for therapy. So, please join me over here at Speech is Sweet every Wednesday. I am wild about books.

First, if you haven't read Contextualized Language Intervention: Scaffolding PreK-12 Literacy Achievement by Teresa A. Ukrainetz put it on your to-read list ASAP! It's an easy read and saturated with great information and ideas. Read it by the pool this summer.

In a literature-based language intervention, Ukrainetz (2010) states, "The primary goal isn't to teach students how to read. Rather our goal is to improve the many aspects of language (vocabulary knowledge, grammar, narration, pragmatics, phonological awareness, etc)."

Every time I look at a book, I think about which aspects of language I can target. Recently, I designed a variety of activities for If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff. I fell in love with these If You Give a... books many moons ago lol.

You can find this Speech and Language Companion here.

I selected this book in particular because I currently have a student who is backing. It's an uncommon phonological process, but I usually have one student a year who does this. For any non-speechies out there, my student is replacing /d/ with /g/. So, "dear" would be produced as "gear."

So I created donut cards that target /d/ to make drilling a little more sweet. In addition, I used the final /d/ cards with students who are having difficulties with final consonants. Of course, these cards can also be used for a wide array of phonological awareness activities, not just for articulation & phonology.

I always get the most out of a book! Although one student inspired this selection, many other ideas came pouring out. Using one book for a variety of activities minimizes planning time and preparation. Work smarter, not harder.. right?!

I have two little kindergarteners who struggle with "I" so I created a pronoun game to use with them. When students draw a card with a pink donut they have to say, "I have a ___" and when they draw a blue donut they have to say, "You have a ___."
If You Give a Kid a Direction.... many of my students are working on following directions so I made a conditional direction game inspired by the book! I can say, students really enjoy following directions games that accompany funny books!
Inspired by the dog's treasure hunt, I made a pirate riddle game to use with my students who are struggling with labeling vocabulary after given a description.
In addition, I made some fun comprehension cards to go along with the book.

As an added bonus, our speech dog, Freddy looks an awful lot like the dog in the book! So we compared and contrasted the two dogs. Apparently, they both love donuts and apple juice! But Freddy has one brown ear and the dog from the book does not!
Have fun using books in therapy! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Shamrockin' in Speech!

We have been preparing for St. Patrick's Day in my speech room!

My articulation groups have been decorating Shamrocks with their targeted words. This is a super easy activity that requires very little preparation. You will just need die-cuts of Shamrocks (if your school doesn't have a die-cut machine then I would recommend giving students a pattern and having them cut out their own shamrock) and a sheet containing articulation words. Students do the rest!

Have fun shamrockin'!

Friday, March 7, 2014


I learned so much this week at the Kentucky Speech and Hearing Association's Conference (KSHA)! Although, I have to admit.. I am very disappointed that Dynavox did not give out free pens, they used to have the best! They wrote so smoothly. haha

A quick re-cap of lectures I attended:

Assessment and Treatment of Non-English Speaking Students - very helpful, as I used the CELF-4 Spanish for the first time this year (with an interpreter, of course).

Severe Chronic Aphasia: Influence of Auditory Comprehension and Self-Awareness - my favorite session that I attended. It was very helpful!

Aging in Place: Supporting Individuals with Dementia - a great refresher course on the various stages of dementia

Comprehensive Overview of Swallowing Evaluation and Treatment - another great refresher course! Surprisingly, Dysphagia was one of my favorite classes in graduate school.

Intervention for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers with Autism - I have very little experience with early intervention so this course was also helpful.

As you can see, most of the lectures I attended were adult oriented. I've recently delved back into the adult world with a PRN job in a SNF. So I've been on a quest to re-activate all the knowledge I gathered in grad school! I've also been going through my notes and textbooks.. It's all coming back to me! :)

Although my blog will be mostly geared towards elementary aged students I hope to also share my adult experiences along the way.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Snowy Day...

Usually, I jump for joy when there is a snow day. But in March.... not so much!

On some brighter notes, my tulips are beginning to peek through the snow and I had some time to make a FREEBIE!

I LOVE vocabulary. I'm pretty sure I was the only one in high school that actually enjoyed those orange vocabulary books. Anyone remember these?!

Although, I didn't know it then.. I guess I was destined to become a speech-language pathologist! In hindsight, they definitely weren't a great way to teach vocabulary.... but they were awfully fun. haha

So, I spent a bit of my afternoon constructing a fun vocabulary game called Homophone Hoot! It's a matching game featuring the cutest little owls. The game is Easter themed, which is exactly what I needed on a snowy day!

Here are some previews:

This cute game is an add-on to my Spring Vocabulary Games packet. It contains games that target multiple meaning words, synonyms, antonyms, and analogies. It can be found here.

If you download Homophone Hoot, comment and let me know what you think! Have a great day!

Interested in more freebies? Or want to share a freebie? Skedaddle on over to Speechie Freebies to join the Freebie Linky Party!