Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thomas the Train, Ticket to Ride Game

Today my husband and I took our son to A Day Out with Thomas for an early birthday celebration.  Matthew is a HUGE Thomas enthusiast!  Matthew is not alone in his love of Thomas.  I know I have quite a few kids on my caseload who are fans of the #1 blue engine as well!  In honor of Matthew's special day and upcoming birthday, I've created a Thomas game for you!

Here we are as Thomas was backing away from the station:
Matthew couldn't take his eyes off Thomas!

This game is a variation of the Cookin' Cookies game I found at Target a few years ago.  Here's the link to the original game on Amazon.  Cookin' Cookies is one of the all times favorites of the kids I service.  Basically, each child gets a recipe with 5 ingredients.  The ingredients are also pictured on the back of the cookies.  The kids use the spoons (with suction cups on them) to pick up a cookie.  The first one to get all of their ingredients wins.  There are also rotten eggs mixed in.  If you get one of these, you lose a turn!  I often use the spoons to have the kids pick up their articulation cards (they'll hold onto pretty much anything that's laminated!).

 Here's the Thomas variation:

Each child gets a Train Schedule with six trains on it:

There are smaller cards with the corresponding trains:

If you'd like, you can print blank tickets on the back of these train cards (sheet of tickets included in download):

You play in the same manner as you would Cookin' Cookies (but without spoons!).  Don't get stuck at a railroad crossing, or you'll lose a turn!

The fist player to collect all six trains is the winner!

Grab the game here.

Do you have kids (your own or on your caseload) who love Thomas?  If so, I hope they love the game!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Carnival Capers

I just finished my first two days of work...teacher orientation and professional development days.  We now have six days off before the kids start school on Tuesday.  I can honestly say that I'm excited about this upcoming school year.  I know it will bring new adventures and new challenges and I can't wait to see how the year unfolds!

Today I have a Carnival themed board game for you.  Why carnival?  Well, first of all, I found some really cute graphics at MyGrafico.  Second, late summer and early fall are perfect times for carnivals.  Third, my principal was telling us at our staff orientation meeting that she would like to host a "Back to School Carnival" for all of the students in the school.  So here we go...

This game is open ended and can be used with any goal (wh- questions, following directions, articulation, etc.).

Use the number cards and add the game play cards (e.g., "Go Back" and "Move Ahead") to the number cards.  The students draw a card to determine the number of spaces they can move, or whether they need to lose a turn, move back, etc..

You can download this item HERE.  Hope you enjoy this game!  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back to School Week: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books

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

I don't know of very many SLPs and educators who do not like the "There Was an Old Lady" series by Lucille Colandro.  These are predictable stories are great for targeting rhyming, sequencing, cause/effect, vocabulary, etc.  The latest in the series does not disappoint.  If you don't have it yet, you can find it for $6.99 on Amazon.

"There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books" features the familiar old lady who eats some bizarre things.  In this version, you can expect her to eat some school themed vocabulary including:  some books, a pen, a pencil (case), a ruler, a folder, some chalk, and a bag. 

Because of the vocabulary in this book (and skimming the pictures), you could easily use it to work on bilabial sounds (/p/, /b/, and /m/):  books, pen, pencil, and bag.  Words containing bilabials sounds are also easily found in the pictures:  bus, puppy, bird, bone, bench, butterfly, bugs, bunny, park, boy, backpack, and mouse (yes, that was the only /m/ word I found!).  I created some picture cards using Custom Boards that contain these bilabial sounds.


When I'm working with preschoolers, I like to use visuals and/or manipulatives with stories.  When I use the "Old Lady" books, I typically draw a large picture of the Old Lady (she tends to look different in each story) and the objects that she eats.  I attach the old lady to a container...shoe box, tissue box, milk carton.  Whatever works for the size of the lady.  Then I have the students "feed" the lady as I read the story.  Here's my Old Lady for this story:

I wish my scanner was large enough to scan her for you, but it's not.  I was able to scan the objects though. 
Here are some of them in black & white and color.  (Excuse my drawing/coloring...I'm not much of an artist!)

Check out Pinterest for some other cute ideas for this series.

  1. I loved this idea from The First Grade Parade using the writing prompt "If I were the old lady, I would eat..."
  2. Here's another great one from Eberhart's Explorers.  It's designed for "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover," but could easily be adapted to this story.
  3. Head on over to Teaching Heart Blog for more printables (story telling pieces and dice game).

These are just a few ideas for the "Old Lady" books.  There are too many great ideas out there for me to post all of them!

Are you a fan of the "Old Lady" books?  Which one is your favorite?  How do you use the books in therapy?

That concludes Back to School Week on Carrie's Speech Corner.  Hope you found something you could use!!!

PS, Check out these other "Old Lady" Books on Amazon:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back to School Week: App Review

As part of Back to School Week, today I will be reviewing "What Would You Do at SCHOOL If...," a Fun Deck app by Super Duper Publications.  This is essentially the app version of the Fun Deck card series.  You can input the students on your caseload, then select which ones will be playing during your session.

I haven't added kids yet, so my list is lacking!
 You can also select the questions that will be asked during your session.  You can choose to use all of the questions, or just a few.  I opted to use five questions for my trial.

When you're ready, you will be shown a colorful picture with a common school problem.  If you tap on the picture, the question will be read aloud.  The app allows for data collection as well.  Tap the red dot at the bottom for an incorrect response, the green button for a correct response.

It took me a little while to figure out how to change players, but if you swipe the top bar (where the player name is listed), the player name will change.  The app will keep data for multiple players.

Once your session is finished, you can "View Results" and instantly see data for each of the players.

There is also the option of creating a data report in email form.

What I like about this app:
  • The questions are great for problem solving, pragmatic language, and expressive language.
  • The questions and situations presented are perfect for students on the autism spectrum.  They will allow students to come up with strategies to deal with the situations depicted.
  • The pictures are colorful and clear.
  • The questions are based on common issues that may occur in a school setting.
  • Data collection!  I love apps that allow for data collection!
  • Multiple player option.  Many apps are single player, and I typically work with groups of students      rather than one on one.
Areas for improvement:
  • I love the data collection idea, but, let's face it, many of our kids will respond with answers that are not quite right, but not quite wrong.  I'd love to see a middle ground (maybe an "Oh so close!" button).  
  • The data from your previous session will disappear as soon as you start a new session.  I'd love to be able to "View Students" rather than just "Edit Students" and see a graph or table of their performance.

I had a hard time coming up with many negatives for this app.  Overall, it's a great app that brings more motivation and functionality (with the data collection piece) to the traditional Fun Decks.  Super Duper definitely has a hit with the Fun Deck app line.  You can purchase "What Would You Do at SCHOOL If..." in the App Store for $1.99 (price accurate as of this posting).

Tomorrow is the last day of Back to School Week.  Stop by for activities and printables for "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to School Week: Open Ended Wormy Apples Game

If you're like me, you probably spend a good chunk of the start of the year collecting baseline data.  If you missed my post on some of my favorite activities for collecting baseline data, you can see it here.  Chances are, you have lots of kids with lots of different objectives - often within the same group!  Well, this may be just the thing for you!

Today's freebie is an open ended game that can be used for just about anything!  Essentially, there are cards with either good apples:

Or wormy apples:

 (Graphics By ©TheClassroomClips,

Directions:  Download the PDF, print on cardstock, cut out and laminate.  Place cards face-down on table.  Have students complete a speech/language task (e.g., saying a target word, answering a question, formulating a sentence, etc.).  Once students complete a task, they can pick a card.  If they get an apple, they can keep it.  If they get a wormy apple, they need to return all of their cards to the center.  The student with the most apples at the end of the game is the winner!  Simple, yet more motivating than straight-up data collection! 

You can download a copy of the game here.

Come back tomorrow for a school related app review!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School Week: Getting Organized!

As an SLP working in a public school, sometimes I feel like there is SO much information to organize...caseload information, attendance, scheduling, meeting dates, screenings, RTI, IEP due dates...I could go on.  There are endless ways to organize all of the information as well.  In fact, I bet if you ask 10 SLPs how they do it, you may get 10 different answers!  I've read a few posts and Facebook comments on organizing information and figured I'd share my organizational methods here.

1.  Caseload and attendance
This is probably the most important data that we need to keep. Personally, my caseload fluctuates
throughout any given school year. Kids move out of district. New preschool students turn three and transition from early intervention to the public schools. Kids are dismissed from speech. Kids are evaluated and speech is added. Whatever the reason, my caseload is not even close to static. For this reason, I choose to use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my caseload. Since I already have a list of kiddos in one place, I also use this for attendance. Here's an example:

I group the students by teacher/session, then by last name (as you can see, I did not alphabetize my "students" here). On this list, I include IEP information (frequency/duration of service, service delivery type, etc.). Once I have my student list complete, I upload to Google Docs and I can keep my attendance using my iPad quickly and easily!

For attendance, I use the following codes:

                   X = present (easier than searching for a check mark)
                   A = Absent
                   D = Dismissed
                   L = Late
                   T = TEAM meeting
                   TA = Teacher Absent
                   SNA = Student Not Available
                   TNA = Teacher Not Available
                   FT = Field Trip
                   SD = Snow Day

2.  Schedule
Here's another very important piece of the puzzle...and another thing that is frequently changing! Again, I use an Excel file to type up schedule. I usually group kids by needs/classroom on scrap paper first, then add the groups to the schedule. I also usually give teachers a copy of the schedule with their kids highlighted. This way, if anyone is looking for me, they know where to find me. This is what my blank schedule looks like:

3.  Lesson Planning

I wish I could say that I had a perfect system for planning my lessons. But, I don't! I've tried numerous systems throughout the years and still haven't found a system that I love . With that said, here are some of the things that I've tried (maybe you will find something that you love!).  For a while I used Excel files for planning (are you sensing a theme here?). I would plug in my groups, then write, copy, and paste activities into the group slots. I tried it this way at first. I would just keep the file open on my computer and refer to it throughout the day as needed. There are 2 tabs along the bottom (AM & PM):

Lesson Plan Excel Doc - Morning

Then I tried printing the pages and putting them into a binder. Since I needed 2 pages (1 for the morning, 1 for the afternoon), I ended up doing cutting and stapling so that I ended up unfolding the planning pages. It seemed cumbersome, so I tried changing it to this:
(hole punch here to add to binder)

This way, I could add both pages to a binder, open it up, and see my whole schedule.  I still wasn't 100% thrilled.  So, this is my most recent method...I always use a bound calendar with weekly and monthly views (see below for pictures).  I used the Name Tag template in Word (6 squares).  I added my groups for each day (M-F) to 5 of the squares, then "TO DO" on the 6th.  I could plan in advance and add upcoming IEPs to the To Do list.  The Friday before a given week, I would print the labels and stick them into my planner: 

*Last school year, I worked at multiple schools.  I assigned each of them a different color highlighter for visual purposes.

This is the calendar I got at Target for the upcoming school year:

4.  Meetings, Screenings, RTI.

Believe it or not, I do not love the calendar function on my iPad for organizing school info.  I tried it at the beginning of the year and it just wasn't for me.  I may try Google calendar this year, but we shall see! Typically, I just add meeting info to the monthly calendar of my bound calendar (see above).

I don't have helpful info for Screenings and RTI.  Sorry!  I just keep a file folder for each and add my hand written notes to the folders.  We're not supposed to write up reports on anything unless we have written consent, so I make do with informal notes.

If you see anything you like, I've made some of the forms available on Google Docs.

Excel Files:

PDF Files:

Hope that helps!  Let us know:  how do you organize all of your info?

Come back tomorrow for an apple themed open ended activity!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to School Week: School Themed Bingo

Before I get started, I wanted to remind you that I wrote a guest post on Playing With Words 365.  It's about my thoughts and experiences on pacifier use as an SLP and as a Mom.  Head on over to check it out!

Welcome to Back to School Week!

My district doesn't return to school until 8/27 for orientation and professional development (kids start on 9/4).  However, since many of you are starting this week (or already back in school), I figured I would have my Back to School Week now!  Each day this week (M-F), I will be posting school themed activities, organizational ideas, and other tidbits to get you ready for a great school year!

Today I have a Back to School themed Bingo game.  This game is designed for younger students as it is very simple.  There are nine vocabulary pictures:  scissors, paint, book, backpack, glue, globe, pencil, chalkboard, and crayons.  There are six bingo cards:

and question cards for drawing:

You will need bingo chips, milk bottle tops, or another type of marker to play.  I like to use the chips from my Chipper Chat games so that the students can use the magic wand at the end of the game.

Download a copy here (please leave a comment if you do).  Hope you enjoy!

Come back tomorrow for ideas on organizing caseload, scheduling, and taking attendance!

Friday, August 17, 2012

So Much Going On...

So many things happening!  I have about 2 weeks left of summer vacation before heading back to school and still so much to do!  I do want to share some things that are happening now and some upcoming events.

Back to School!

     Check back right here next week!  Carrie's Speech Corner will be featuring back to school posts each
     day (Monday through Friday) next week!  Whether you're back at school already or heading back soon,
     you won't want to miss these posts:
                           Monday:  School Themed Bingo Game - FREE download!
                           Tuesday:  Getting Organized - I will share my ways of organizing caseload info,
                                scheduling, planning, etc.
                           Wednesday:  Open Ended Wormy Apples Game - Motivational activity that can be used                                 with any speech/language objective
                           Thursday:  App Review - "What Would You Do at SCHOOL If...," a Fun Deck app
                                by Super Duper Publications.
                            Friday:  "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books!" by Lucille Colandro.
                                Activities to accompany the latest edition in the series.

Guest Post

Photo by Jamie Harrington for DB Photos
     A few weeks ago, Katie from Playing With Words 365 asked me to write a guest post for her blog.  I
     wrote a piece on pacifier use...When I worked in Early Intervention, I was very anti-pacifier.  Then I had
     a baby with reflux who blew all of my past thinking out of the water.  This is scheduled to post on Katie's
     site on Monday.  Be sure to check it out!

Oh 'Appy Day!

     First and foremost, if you haven't entered to win a copy of Pixel and Parker, you can do so here.
     Spinlight Studios was generous enough to provide me with 3 codes for 3 lucky readers.  Only three days
     left to enter!

     Also, if you've missed it, many app developers are having Back to School Sales:

Great app!

Custom Boards is only $19.99!  Love this app!

     Here are some great FREE apps I got today.  I don't know how long they will be free, so snag them
     while you can:

         Sort it Out 1 by MyFirstApp

         Sort it Out! by University Games
         Shake-a-Phrase by Artgig Studio
         You're the Storyteller:  The Surprise by Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language & Auditory           
         Millie Was Here, Book 1:  Meet Millie by Megapops LLC

In the Works:

     You may have heard of Leslie Lindsay and her book, "Speaking of Apraxia:  A Parents' Guide to 
     Childhood Apraxia of Speech."  Leslie's book has been featured and reviewed on several blogs.  We'll
     be featuring an interview with Leslie in the near future!  Leslie was also kind enough to share a book for
     one lucky reader!  Keep your eyes open for the interview and giveaway of this fabulous resource!

Phew!  Let me know if you have ideas, suggestions, or requests for future posts!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

App Review & Giveaway! Pixel and Parker

When I saw Pixel and Parker by Spinlight Studios advertised on their Facebook page, I knew I had to check it out.  This is their description:

Fresh from the makers of TallyTots and Operation Math comes the new children’s adventure that’s literally giving storytelling a whole new spin.
From the playground to the alley, to the forest and beyond, join Parker on his quest to find his missing cat in the playful children’s adventure that uses a game spinner to advance the story. Fun, fresh and filled with lots of surprises, Pixel and Parker features more than 30 different activities critical to the story, putting readers in control and on the edge of their seat. Will Parker find his furry friend and make it home before sunset? There’s only one way to find out in this whimsical children’s adventure that’s never the same tale twice.
Pixel and Parker is the first in a coming line of Spintale adventures designed to engage young readers in a whole new way. To learn more, visit our Facebook page or visit for the inside scoop on all our latest releases.

Based on this description, I had a flashback moment.  Anyone remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books?  I may be dating myself here, but I LOVED these books!  The description sounded similar to the concept behind the CYOA books...the reader had an effect on the events within the story!  You could read these books again and again with a different experience each time.  But I digress!

Back to Pixel and Parker.  This app is part interactive story book, part board game.  The beginning and ending are always the same - Pixel runs off in the beginning...You'll have to check out the app for yourself to see what happens at the end.  The middle is the board game part.  There's a spinner that determines how many paces along the path Parker will travel.  For each space along the path there is a different activity to complete.  In true game board fashion, there's a shortcut that moves Parker forward as well as a log slide that makes Parker go back a few paces.

As you go through the adventure, you may get to play with toys in a toy shop, toss coins in a fountain, hang up a "missing cat" poster, etc.  I can't tell you what all of the activities are because I've gone through the story five or six different times and still haven't landed on all of the spaces! 

One of the other neat things about this app is that there are presents on some of the spaces. The presents contain different shirts for Parker to wear.  You can change his shirt before starting your adventure, or during by returning to the main menu (tapping the little ribbon in the upper left hand corner).

In therapy sessions, you can work on following directions and expressive language during each activity along the path (Give Parker an apple to eat.  Tell me what Parker is doing).  Additionally, you can target making predictions (Where do you think Pixel could be?  Which toy do you think Pixel would like to play with?), problem solving (It's past Parker's lunchtime.  How do you think he feels? What should he do?) and receptive/expressive descriptions (Find a shirt that is grey.  Which shirt do you think Parker should wear?).  

Now you know what I think.  Here's a  
bonus review by my three-year-old:    

   Tell me about Pixel and Parker.  
           Parker is so sad.   
   Why is he sad?  
           He needs help to find Pixel.
           Pixel runned away.   
   Did you like Pixel and Parker?  
   What was your favorite thing?  
           Um, I like Pixel at the house.  Parker can't find him.   
   What was your favorite thing that Parker got to do?   
           Shine the flashlight on the raccoon.
           And I like to catch all the butterflies. 
           And Parker needs an umbrella in the rain.   
   What did you think of the spinner?  
           It turn round and round and round and it land on number one!
   Was that fun?  
   Do you think other kids would like Pixel and Parker too?  

Some more screenshots for you:

This app takes interactive storybooks to the next level.  Adding the spinner/game board turned a simple story into a highly motivating game.  I loved the app, my son loved it, and I know my students will love it as well!

Pixel and Parker by Spinlight Studios sells for $1.99 (price as of this posting).  You can find it in the App Store here.  Now, I loved the concept so much that I went to the App Store and downloaded it immediately!  I knew you would all love it as well, so I contacted Spinlight Studios and they were generous enough to give me codes for THREE lucky readers!  Enter to win below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 DISCLAIMER:  The folks at Spinlight Studios were generous enough to provide me with codes for my readers for Pixel and Parker.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I was not compensated for this review.
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