Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book of the Week: "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site"

This post contains affiliate links to for your convenience.

(Image Source:

This week's book of the week is "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site" and was written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld.  This is one of my favorite books that I read, not just in my therapy room, but in my home!

I wrote this post for Playing With Words 365 while Katie prepares for Baby #3.  Katie was a big inspiration to me in starting my own blog and she has proven to be a wealth of information, not only regarding speech and language, but on blogging as well!

To continue reading (and to download the freebie), head on over to Playing with Words 365!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New School Year, New Planner!

Disclaimer:  This post contains an affiliate link to for your convenience.

A little while ago on the blog's Facebook page, I mentioned that I was in the market for a new plan book and asked your suggestions.  I was a little amazed at how different we all are in our wants/needs with respect to a planner!  A few of you told me that you make your own planners.  Hmmm....Since I've never found a planner that I love, and since I'm fairly comfortable with creating things...I decided to go ahead and make one!

I started by figuring out which aspects of a standard planner I use and thinking about how I modified my planner.  When all was said and done, I ended up with a 55 page file!  I shared with a couple of friends and they suggested that I put it out there on TPT for those of you who may be interested.  Here's a rundown of my final version.

I wanted to make a few different options for covers...

Inside, I started with monthly calendar pages.  There are calendar pages for August 2013 through July 2014 plus one blank month in case your school year runs differently than mine!

Next, I wanted a way to visualize my groups for the day and add notes (If you're looking for a simple way to view your weekly schedule, check out one of my posts from last year).  I ended up with 2 pages/ for morning, one for afternoon.  I figured I could add my groups and laminate (or use those Dry Erase Pockets) then add in my planned activity with a dry erase marker.

I also wanted to include information on my students, especially their goal and objectives!  I added these student goal and data collection sheets:

You can find out more about the data collection sheets, and download them for free, HERE. What else do I need to keep track of?  How about contact information for parents, a contact log, a to do list, and notes section!  

This part might not make a ton of sense to anyone but me.  You see, I always insisted on buying a planner that had both a month view and a week view.  In the week view section, I would ignore the dates and draw boxes for each type of group (e.g., Preschool Inclusion, Kindergarten Artic, Preschool Language Pull-Out, etc.).  Then, I would add my planned activities to those boxes.  So rather than buy a planner with month/week views, I created these boxes for my planning:

And here's an example of the completed planner pages:

This planner ended up including everything I need in one spot!  However, I started thinking I might end up with a 6-inch binder!  So, I added extra covers if you'd like to keep the data sheets separate from your planning pages.  They coordinate with the plan book covers, but say "Data Book."  

Update:  (7/30/13, 8PM EST)

You asked, I listened!  I just went and updated the planner to include 15 more pages!  It's now at a whopping 70 pages!  Here's what I added per your suggestions:

A list for screenings and evaluations:

 Monthly Sheets for IEPs and Meetings.  (I left the last two columns blank so you can add your own headings...PW completed, Parent contacted, etc.):

Student attendance sheets.  Personally, I would circle the dates the child received therapy, put an X through
holidays and vacations and days absent.  You can use the notes section on the side to more clearly document (e.g. field trip, assembly, etc.)

If you're interested in finding out more about my planner, you can find it in my TPT store!  I will be giving away three copies of the planner.  You can enter to win using the Rafflecopter below!

PS, Let me know if I missed anything!  Also, if you purchase this item now, you'll be able to download all future updates. That means that next year, when I update the calendars, you won't need to pay for the item again.  Just update, print, and go!

Monday, July 29, 2013

App Review: Reading Aphasia

The content and variety of apps out there never ceases to amaze me!  Here's another fabulous app from the Virtual Speech Center that's geared toward adults with Aphasia, but really can be used with any client who struggles with reading comprehension.  Reading Aphasia was created by a certified speech and language pathologist.  It contains over 2,000 stimuli that are organized into 12 semantic categories to target reading comprehension at the word, phrase, and sentence levels.

From the main screen, you can tap Info to see how to use the app and to view a description of the app.  

You can also modify the Settings from the main screen.  Settings include user alternate count, automatic paging, random paging, and correct/incorrect sound clips.

When you're ready to begin tap Start and you will be prompted to Add and/or select students...

...and then select activities for each student.

Activities included in Reading Aphasia are:


  • Picture-Word Matching:  Students are shown a picture and they must select the matching word.
  • Word-Picture Matching:  Students are shown a word and they must select the matching picture.
  • Word-Word Matching:  Students are shown a word and they must select the word that is the same.
  • Picture-Phrase Matching:  Students are shown a picture and they must select the matching phrase.
  • Phrase-Picture Matching:  Students are shown a phrase and they must select the matching picture.
  • Phrase-Phrase Matching:  Students are shown a phrase and they must select the phrase that is the same.
  • Picture-Sentence Matching:  Students are shown a picture and they must select the matching sentence.
  • Sentence-Sentence Matching:  Students are shown a sentence and they must select the sentence that is the same.
  • Sentence Completion:  Students are given a sentence with a missing component.  They must select the word(s) that best complete the sentence.

Now, here is an example from each activity:


Picture-Word Matching

Word-Picture Matching

Word-Word Matching


Picture-Phrase Matching

Phrase-Picture Matching

Phrase-Phrase Matching


Picture-Sentence Matching

Sentence-Sentence Matching

Sentence Completion

After you use the app, you can view your reports/data from each session by Activity or by Date:

Simply tap and you'll be able to see data by percentage:

And there you have Reading Aphasia!  Here are some of my thoughts:


  • As with Comprehension Aphasia, Reading Aphasia can be used for more than just adults with aphasia.  This app can be used with pretty much any client who has reading difficulties.  You could also modify the app by reading the words for clients and having them select the appropriate responses.
  • The multiple levels.  Because of the levels, this app can be used with a wide age group as well.
  • The use of photographs is especially important when you are using this app with a client who has aphasia.  Photographic representation is less cognitively complex than a line drawing.  Because of this, the cognitive demand on the client is decreased, allowing them to focus on the reading target.
  • Data collection.  In-app data collection allows you to monitor progress over time.

Changes I would like to see in an update:

  • There was only one thing I could think of here.  I came across the item below.  I would refer to that picture as "glove" rather than "mitten" and most of my students would do the same.

The bottom line:
Reading Aphasia is a versatile app that can be used with a wide variety of age groups and disabilities.  You can use this app to target reading abilities, receptive language, vocabulary, and grammar/sentence construction.  This app is reasonably priced at $9.99 in the App Store.

Do you have this app?  What objectives are you using it to target?

Friday, July 26, 2013

On the Right Track! Sound Sorting and Articulation Game

Phew!  I've been working on this one for a while now!  It's a good sized packet and has a lot of images, so it took me a looonng time to finish!  (Not to mention the fact that I had to put this project on hold so I could finish progress reports, write evaluations, and deal with life in general!).

I bought this cute train themed clip art from Scrappin' Doodles and thought the carts would make for a good sorting activity.  Then I thought..."Gee, I haven't done an articulation activity in a while."  And that's how "On the Right Track! Sound Sorting and Articulation Game" was born!

Basically, there are train cars and cargo boxes.  The cargo boxes have pictures of commonly targeted articulation targets. There are 11 cargo boxes (target words) for each of the following phonemes in initial, medial, and final word positions: /k/, /g/, /f/, /v/, /s/, /z/, /l/, /r/, /sh/, /ch/, and /th/.  There are two ways you can use this activity.

Sound Sorting Activity:
First, it can be played as a Sound Position Sorting Game.  To do this, you need to assemble the train by attaching the train cars. Students sort the cargo by sound position (Beginning, Middle, End):

You can also use the blank train and use a dry erase marker to label each cart with phonemes (e.g., /k/ vs. /g/) to sort by phonemes rather than by word positions.  I have one little guy who is constantly substituting /f/ for /s/.  We're currently working on getting him to identify the difference:

Articulation Game:
For this activity, you will need to prepare enough trains for each player. Use cards with each student’s target sound/word positions and mix in some game play cards. If a students says their word correctly however many times you wish, they can add it to their train. The player with the most cargo on their train at the end of the game is the winner.

I purposely did not include words on these cards for those who want to use it as a sorting activity.  If enough people let me know that they want words, I'll update the file to include cargo cars with and without words.

This product has been around for a while, but I haven't had a chance to blog about it yet!  You can find it in my TPT store HERE.  I know you guys are always so creative, so I want to know...what would you do with the blank trains?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book of the Week: Dear Zoo

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

This week's Book of the Week is Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.  It's a wonderful book for preschool students, but can be modified for use with upper elementary as well.  Here's the kicker.  The Book of the Week post this week is being featured over at Schoolhouse Talk in honor of Abby's 1st Blogiversary!

So, to see more about this book and to download a freebie, head on over to Schoolhouse Talk!

Show Me the Data! Linky

Summer seems to be the time for linkies!  I think our creative juices flow a little more (when we can get the motivation).  I'm loving all the different fun and creative ideas, all in one place!  Today I'm joining up with Jenn from Crazy Speech World for her "Show Me the Data!" Linky.  

Data collection...a necessary evil in our jobs.  I try new methods each year and still haven't found that perfect one.  I started working on some forms the other day and came up with one for student goal information and data collection.  Here's what it looks like:

There are spaces to add the student's name, DOB, teacher, frequency of service, IEP due date, LTG, objectives, and data.  There's another page you can print on the back with more boxes for data collection.  There's a space to keep notes or write anecdotal information on the top.  I think I might print page 2 back to back and continue my data collection on these, then add a new page 1 when IEPs are reviewed.

How do I plan on using them?  Check out this example:

In an ideal world, you'd get data for each objective during each session, but in the school's that's rarely going to happen!  I haven't decided if I want to keep a column for each session or just fill in the blank boxes as I go.  I may end up filling in the blank boxes so I can easily see which objectives need data.

So that's what I'm going to try this year for data collection.  What do you think?  If you'd like to download a copy of these sheets, you can do so HERE.

Thank you Jenn for hosting this linky!  Don't forget to head over to Crazy Speech World to find out more data collection tips and tricks!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Can I Play?" An AHA! Moment

My son is at the age where his play is inventive. He's a "set-up" kind of player. I'm sure you've seen one or two of these throughout your career. These are the kids that take their time setting up scenarios (building an elaborate structure with blocks that become a zoo for their animals, setting up train tracks that include missing pieces so the trains face imminent danger, etc.). Check out this set up from the other day.  He's got a train station and crane (being handled by Captain Hook and his twin brother) on top and a gold mine on the bottom, but going up instead of it's usual down.

I wish I had gotten a picture of yesterday's train tracks/post office being attacked by a light up frog when Spiderman comes to save the day!  He tends to be so focused on the set-up that when he is playing, I usually take that time to read emails, Check out Facebook, and even write blog posts.  Yesterday I started feeling guilty that I had been spending so much time on the computer that I turned it off and said "Can I play?"

"Can I play?" Three simple words can have a huge impact on your child!  I can remember telling parents about the importance of play during my days of early intervention.  So why, as a parent myself, have I forgotten how important being involved in your child's play really is?  Anyway, you should have seen the look on his face when I asked if I could play with him...Bright eyes, huge smile and "Of course you can!"  I got down on the floor and grabbed a train (trains are involved in pretty much every type of play at my house).  We played for a while - adding characters, changing the set up, creating problems and solutions.  We had lots of fun and, I like to think, worked on some cognitive and linguistic skills as well (problem solving, pragmatics, etc.).  

The moment I saw the look on Matthew's face when I asked him those three simple words, "Can I play?," was an AHA! moment for me.  I wanted to share this post with you as a gentle reminder to ask your kids if you can join their play every once in a while.  Get down on the floor and get involved in the play! I promise your child won't be the only one who enjoys it!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Greetings from Summer Camp

I've had so many high hopes for this summer, but have found myself in a motivational slump!  We've been spending lots of time in the yard and keeping busy with errands, seeing friends, etc.  However, I've NOT been very good about writing blog posts!  Case in point. I created about three new TPT products, but haven't blogged about them so you'd know they were there!  I'm going to share one of those with you today.

This item is called "Greetings from Summer Camp" and it focuses on listening for details.  In this packet, you get 12 "Letters from Summer Camp" (3 pages, 4 cards/page).  These are written by campers to their relatives and friends at home.  

For each Letter, there is a corresponding set of questions.  I arranged these pages so that you could print the questions on the back of the letters if you choose to do so.

I also included these cute Polaroid-style "Photos from Summer Camp."  These correspond with the letters as well and you can have students match the photos to the appropriate letters.  

I like to use real envelopes for students to match the letter/photo.

If you have students who are working on writing skills, I have also included a writing prompt.  The students are instructed to pretend they are at summer camp and to write a letter to someone describing their favorite things about camping.

You can find out more about this product in my TPT store.  It sells for $2.00.  Whenever I post a new product to TPT, I like to include a giveaway.  Three readers will win a copy of "Greetings from Summer Camp." You can enter using the Rafflecopter below!

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