Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Reading

graphic by Teach4Real

Remember being a kid and getting the dreaded Summer Reading list?  I think the thought that passed through my mind went something like this:  "I can't believe they expect us to read books over summer vacation!!!  Really?!? We're supposed to be on VACATION from school!" 

I think it's funny that now, as an adult, having summer vacation means that I get lots of time to READ!  I don't remember when the change happened, but I know I'm not the only one who went through this and now loves to read!  So, this is my summer reading list for this year:
If you're anything like me, you're always looking for something good to read next.  So, my question to you:  What books have you read and enjoyed this summer? What books are next on your "To Read" list?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sharing the Love

I am so honored that Laura over at Oh, How Pintearesting! nominated me for two blog awards. They are:


Here are the rules:

For receiving One Lovely Blog award, I have to:
1. Follow the person who gave me the award, which I am already doing.
2. Link back to the blog -  Oh, How Pintearesting! (If you haven't checked it out, Laura's blog is a mix of Speech Therapy, Pinterest ideas, and Disney!)
3. Pass the award to 15 bloggers and let them know that they have received the award.

For receiving the Versatile Blogger award, I have to:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated me - done
2. Include a link to their blog - Oh, How Pintearesting! (in case you missed it the first 2 times)
3. Include the award image in my post - above
4. Give 7 random facts about myself - below
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award
6. When nominating, include a link to the blog
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated

Seven random facts.
1) I collect Potato Heads.
2) I am completely addicted to iced coffee (made w/ my Keurig) with Archer Farms Sugar Free Caramel Syrup.  Bonus:  I never really drank coffee before I got the Keurig, now I try REALLY hard to limit myself to 1/day.
3) My favorite color is pink.  When I left one of my former places of employment, they gave me a "pink party." Ironically, I was the only one NOT wearing pink!
4) I watch the Super Bowl more for the commercials more than for the game.
5) I still love swings! 
6) I'm impatient...when I start something, I want to finish it immediately (and have it be perfect at the same time)
7) I hate silence…If I’m home, either the TV is on or I’m listening to music. I even fall asleep with the TV on.

Here are the 15 blogs I'm nominating for these awards:

1.  Playing With Words 365  
2.  Let's Talk Speech-Language Pathology
3.  Simply Speech
4.  Crazy Speech World
5.  Chapel Hill Snippets
6.  Consonantly Speaking
7.  Little Speech Corner
8.  Public School SLPs
9.  Speech Time Fun
10.  Sublime Speech
11.  Talk it Up
12.  Live, Speak, Love
13.  Cindy L. Meester's Blog
14.  Murphy the Dog Blog

15.  Skinnytaste

Back to School Sorting Activities

We're smack in the middle of summer, but just walk into any store and you'll see that the start of school is right around the corner!  Now's the time for all of you teachers and SLPs to find some great bargains!  Here are some apple and bus cut outs that I found at the Christmas Tree Shops for $.69 each:

Cute, right?  So what to do with them?  I decided on some sorting activities.  For the apples, I used Custom Boards Premium by Smarty Ears to create pictures for eight different categories:  vehicles, clothing, animals, toys, letters, numbers, colors, and shapes.  I used the 3x3 template for 9 total squares:

I laminated and cut out the pictures, attached velcro to the apples and pictures (so I could change categories if I wanted to).  Then, I found a picture of a bushel from Google Images and added category headings, printed and laminated.  The final activity looks something like this (I couldn't fit all of the categories into the shot, but you get the idea):

For the buses, I decided to do a sound discrimination activity for my articulation students, but it's the same basic idea.  I used Custom Boards to create word cards for t/k and w/l.  I removed the words so there would not be a visual cue:

L words
Again, I laminated, cut, and attached to the buses using velcro.  I found a school house picture in a graphics collection on TPT (here).  I added one letter (T, K, L, W) to each of 4 school houses.  Students working on auditory discrimination of target sounds can then sort words between the target sound (e.g., K) and the common error sound (e.g., T).  The final product looks like this:

How would you use the apples and buses?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

One month down...

image by Melonheadz Illustrating

Just noticed the date. Carrie's Speech Corner is officially one month old! One month down, 14 posts, 1000+ page views! I'd say that's a good start! I've gotten some nice comments from some of you, but I know that there are more people reading than are commenting. So, like all of the students we service, I need some feedback!

          What have you liked so far? 
          What haven't you liked? 
          What would you like to see more/less of? 
          Any suggestions for materials you would like to see posted?

As always, thank you for reading!!!

Writing Social Stories Using Scribble Press App

Chances are, if you're an SLP, you have a child or two on your caseload who could benefit from the use of social stories.  Taking the time to write the story with the child can further increase the benefit.  Many students may not be motivated to write a social story, but fortunately, using the iPad can increase motivation.

If you haven't found it yet, Scribble Press is an app that allows you to create stories (fill-in-the-blank style or completely from scratch), illustrate your work, export the stories to iBooks, and even have your books printed.  With a new school year fast approaching, Scribble Press has a template that can easily be adapted into a social story about starting the new school year in a new school.  Scribble Press is an easy-to-use app and allows you to create a book quickly.  Here's a sample social story I came up with in less than 30 minutes...

 First things first, select a New Book
home screen
You can then select a Category, including:  Blank Book, About Me, Aliens, Family, Fantasy, Holiday, Humor, Most Popular, and School (I chose School).  From this screen, you will see the book templates that you can choose from (I selected "My First Day at a New School").

Once you select a template, you will be given a fill-in-the-blank style story (above).  You can have your student fill in the blanks if they are able to do so, come up with answers with parents/teachers, or fill them in yourself.  Don't stress the wording too much, you are able to edit it later.  From there, you tap "Create My Book" and will be able to illustrate the book...  

For this, you can select many, many different colors and types of markers:

 You can change the color of the page background as well...

 Now, for illustrating your story, you have three main options.  First, you can physically draw a picture:

 Second, you can use preset stamps:

Third, you can insert photos from your camera roll, or take a photo directly from your camera (below).  This is a great option for the first sentence of this story ("I am going to be starting a new school and I feel very ___.  Here is a picture of how I feel") and for taking a picture of the child's teacher and classroom.

While you're working on creating your book, you can edit the text easily as well.  When you're finished, simply click "I'm Finished" and you will see a preview of your finished book!  Scribble Press will select a cover image for you.  From what I've experienced, it's typically the first image of your story.

From this screen, you are able to edit the book, send it to iBooks, share it with parents/teachers via email, and order a print copy though Scribble Press!

Scribble Press has a ton of preset templates.  The one I used above is great for a social story about beginning the year at a new school.  There are many others that can target language development, vocabulary, sentence structure, etc.  You could even use the Blank Story function to create an articulation story.  I'm thinking a "Pass-the-iPad" build a story type of game would be tons of fun too!

Do you have Scribble Press?  If so, how are you using it in therapy?

Update (12/8/12):  When I wrote this post, Scribble Press was free.  It is now listed as $2.99 in iTunes.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Using Google Images to Create Quck Goal Checks

Image Source: Amazon.com
(affiliate link)
 This may come as a shock to everyone, but I love my iPad!!!  Crazy, I know.  I'm probably the only one who feels this way.  Joking aside, I think one of my favorite features is actually the Camera Roll.  I use the camera to take photos of all of the kiddos on my caseload, and put them into albums by teacher for quick reference.  But, you can also use Google Images to add photos to your camera roll.

 Quick tutorial if you don't know how to do this:

  1. Open Safari
  2. In the search box, type in the name of the image you are searching for (e.g., cat)
  3. Tap "Images" (under the text box)
  4. Tap on any image to open a slide-show view
  5. Tap and hold an image that you would like to save ("Save Image" and "Copy" will appear)
  6. Tap "Save Image" and, voila!, the image saves to your camera roll. 

Why is this convenient?  Well, for starters, you can find images for just about anything you would possibly want without taking/drawing pictures yourself.  You can find different image types (photos, clip art, line drawings, etc.).  Best of all, once you have the images in  your camera roll, you can create albums to organize your photos.  Here's another quick, very basic tutorial:

     1.  Open your camera roll.
     2.  Tap "Edit"
     3.  Tap "New Album"
     4.  Give your Album a title and "Save"
     5.  Tap on the photos you wish to add to your album
     6.  Tap "Done."

If you are anything like me, you may find that many of your students have similar goals.  For example, many of my children are working on early developing morphological markers (e.g., plurals, possessives, verb+ing), increasing length of utterance, using appropriate subjective pronouns, building receptive/expressive vocabulary, and (of course) articulation.

Again, if you're anything like me, you're always looking for fast, easy ways to collect data.  Well this is where your iPad can really help you out.  But, never fear, if you don't have an iPad, you can still make use of Google Images and import them into a Power Point presentation or MS Word document. 

To do quick data checks on some of these goals, I have created different Albums within my Camera Roll:

Initial K
Regular Plurals

For most of my albums, I use 10 photos (just for the convenience of calculating a percentage).  I then simply keep tally marks on a scrap paper and transfer the percentage to a Post-It note.

Thematic Vocabulary

You can use as many (or as few) photos in an album as you'd like...

Pronoun is Verbing
You can also target multiple goals within one album.  Using this album I can check for pronouns (he, she, and they), auxiliary verbs (is, are), present progressive -ing, and subject-verb-object (SVO) sentence forms.  I created a data collection sheet for this album as well:

How do you use the Camera and Camera Roll function on your iPad?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Moving Beyond Single Words

Whether on time or delayed, hearing baby’s first word is always a tremendous source of pride and enjoyment for parents.  Babies and toddlers learn quickly that their words can be powerful tools to influence others.  When that happens, the words tend to come quickly ~ more, ball, bottle, NO!, up, eat, etc.  It’s easy for some children to become content at this level.  They are able to communicate basic wants and needs with their parents and are happy with that. 

Most experts will tell you that children typically begin to combine words into two word phrases around 18-months of age.  Many will take until closer to 24-months to achieve this milestone, and some beyond that.  As parents and SLPs, there are some VERY SIMPLE tricks you can use to encourage the journey toward 2-word phrases:

Source: WikiMedia Commons

Mind Your Manners!

Adding “please” to a simple request is one of the easiest ways 
to build length of utterance.  “Cookie” becomes “Cookie please.” 

Color His World

Teach your child basic colors.  By doing this alone, you will build his vocabulary by up to 10 words.  Once your child knows colors, encourage him to use them to request and describe:

When getting dressed:   
           Do you want your blue shirt or your red shirt?   

While coloring:   
            I have a yellow crayon.  What do you have?

Little Helpers

Encourage your child to help with household tasks like sorting or “folding” laundry.  Yes, it may end up being a tiny bit more work for you in the long run, but it’s a great language building experience with lots of opportunities for expanding words into phrases:

            Shorts --> Daddy’s
            Shirt --> Pink shirt
            Socks --> Two socks

(And you’ve just targeted possessive and plural markers as a bonus!)

More You Say?

Snack time can be a great time for language expansion (between bites, of course).  If your child likes to snack on small items (goldfish crackers, fruit chews, dry cereal, grapes, blueberries), start by giving her only one or two items.  This is a great way to encourage requesting.  Once she is good at asking for “fish” or “cereal,” encourage her to add the word “more” (“more fish” or “more cereal”). 


These are just a few of the simplest tricks to help children become more effective communicators and build length of utterance.  I’ve created a parent handout for SLPs to provide parents that contains the information from this post.  Feel free to download and distribute.  If you download, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

What are your tried-and-true ways to increase utterance length?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cricut Machine ~ Crafty Therapy Tool!

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com for your convenience.

After almost a full year of sitting on my Amazon wishlist, I broke down and bought a Cricut Expression machine!  I used to do a lot of scrapbooking.  Ironically, I stopped after my son was born.  Go figure!  I actually had more interesting pictures to add to my scrapbooks, but no time to actually work on them...so I converted to digital.  Because of this, I didn't really think I needed a Cricut.  However, one of my friends and coworkers shared some really cool therapy materials she made with hers and on to my wishlist it went.

Over the past two days (during Matthew's nap time), I've been working on my first Cricut project.  I bought the Garden Soup Cartridge and used the beehive and bee images for this activity that targets prepositions (directional/positional concepts).  First, I made a large beehive and two small ones (this way I could also target size concepts with my little ones).  I glued them to 12x12 scrapbook paper.  I then made 12 bees.

The concept is simple - give students a bee and a direction (e.g., "Put the bee inside the big hive," "Put the bee on top of the big hive").

You can use the smaller hives to work on "between," 

or 2-step directions (e.g., Put one bee under a hive and one bee over a hive).

I had purchased some cute bee/beehive graphics from Scrappin' Doodles, so I made a printable version for those who'd like it:

Download the printable version here:

If you download, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Choice Board Creator ~ App Review

With all the great app suggestions I keep seeing on Facebook and other blog sites, I'm running out of room on my iPad!  I'm surprised, though, that I have yet to come across a review of what just might be my favorite FREE app...  ChoiceBoard Creator by Techno Chipmunk.  I love this app because of its versatility.  It's designed to be a simple way for students with alternative communication needs to make basic choices.  I have used the app in this way, allowing students to make lunch selections, pick a song during circle time, or choose an activity during therapy sessions. 

Some screenshots from iTunes:

I tend to find myself, however, using the app for more than just making choices.  I don't know about your students, but mine are more motivated to do just about ANYTHING if the iPad is involved!  Because of this, I find myself using this app to target:

  • Answering comprehension questions about stories.
  • Receptive vocabulary identification (this really only works if your students CANNOT read)
  • Pragmatics (identification of peers by name)
  • Audio screenings ~ I have some students who just don't understand what's expected of them, regardless of how often I explain.  As a last-ditch effort this year, I grabbed the iPad and made a quick board.  I was amazed that I could actually get a more or less reliable result!
Here are some example boards I've created:
School Vocabulary - Receptive

Question Board for "Grow Little Turnip, Grow Big"

Lunch choice board

Characters from "Scarecrow's Friends"

Identifying peers from a group

Audio screening

What I like about the app:
  • It's very easy to use.
  • It's customizable and you can create a TON of different boards.
  • You can change the size and number of boxes per page.
  • You can use as many (or as few) pages as you want.
  • You can use pictures or text in the boxes.
  • You can insert pictures directly from the camera, making it easy to make boards very quickly.
  • You can use the default audio (applause) or customize the audio for "correct" response
  Things I would change:
  • You have to select a "correct" response.  If you were using this for AAC purposes for a child to make a choice between multiple activities, you would have to have all the boxes marked correct (since any choice would be appropriate).
  • There is no "back" button for an accidental hit.  You can return to the main menu and start over though.
  • All the pages loop, rather than bringing you back to the start-up page.  Although I don't actually mind this (it's convenient if you're working with a group and giving each child a turn), it tends to freeze up after a few loops.
  • You can't add text AND a picture to the same box (at least not that I've figured out).
  • If you delete a board, the title of it is not removed from the board list.
  • Adding audio to the question.  You have to read it to the students. 
 Overall, this app is very versatile and a MUST for any SLP or educator!  I hope you can find it useful!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...