Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Keeping Cool With A Speechie Ice Cream Theme!

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Baby it’s hot outside!  Not just in my neck of the woods (The Great Garden State) , but many parts of the country seem to be feeling the heat as well this week!  Apparently, this will be the longest heat wave in 20 years around here!  How are you keeping cool?  We are spending our time at the pool, the beach, or somewhere air-conditioned as much as possible.  July also happens to be National Ice Cream Month!  Great timing! I can’t think of a better treat to beat the heat!!

If you are an SLP working in a summer program, I have a few “cool” ice cream themed ideas” to share with you.  Hope you all like the cold stuff,  because I have plenty of it to serve up, so here’s the scoop….

First up–I posted this video last year for National Ice Cream Month.   Me and my “SpeechSnacks crew” show you some ways to turn your ice cream sundae into a language sundae!   If your school allows you to bring in the real deal, here’s a fun and delicious way to demonstrate a few language concepts.  It would also be great to share these ideas with your speech families so they can reinforce and carryover some of these skills at home!!!

Target the following goals with this activity:

  • Practical  knowledge of PREPOSITIONS (spatial concepts) by asking them key questions about the locations of  different parts of their sundae.  i.e.: Where is the cherry?  ON TOP OF (or ON) THE WHIPPED CREAM.  Where is the ice cream??  UNDER  THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE.  Where are the bananas?  BETWEEN THE WHIPPED CREAM. 
  • COMPREHENSION OF “WH” QUESTIONS i.e.:   What is ice cream made of?  Who drives and ice cream truck?  Where can you buy ice cream?
  • SEQUENCE the steps they took to make the ice cream sundae (using key words to organize their thoughts–FIRST,NEXT,LAST)
  • DESCRIBE what their sundae looks like (to help develop sentence length and complexity)
  • Use ADJECTIVES to describe their sundae: i.e.: CREAMY, DELICIOUS, FLAVORFUL 
  • BUILD VOCABULARY by addressing ANTONYMS AND SYNONYMS: i.e. Name some synonyms for cold—freezing , frigid, Name some antonyms for cold–sweltering , burning 

 

The next ice creamy idea I want to share comes from a guest post I wrote over at  The Next Chapter in My Speech World. She celebrated her one year blogiversay a couple months ago and asked me to create a summer-themed therapy idea that was fun and functional, so here’s  what I came up with. You can view the entire post here.  Basically, I took my ice cream sundae idea mentioned above and turned it into a language building activity that involved a few simple materials (no real ice cream for this one).  This activity targets categorization and good auditory skills for listening and memory.   The students are the “servers” and the SLP is the “customer” placing the order.

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All you need are a few packs of Styrofoam balls, a Sharpie marker, a plastic bowl, cups and an ice cream scoop—I picked up everything from the dollar store.

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Check out all the details in my guest post to see how I color coded and labeled all the Styrofoam “scoops” and used them to address various language goals!  Your kiddos will love using the scoop to build their own ice cream creations!!!!

 

Finally, I took my inspiration from the above two activities to create a new product for my TpT storeThe One-Stop Ice Cream Shop!!  It truly is a one stop shop since you can work on so many language goals with the materials contained in this one packet!  You can find this item in my TpT store here!  If you purchase, please remember to leave me some feedback–it’s always so appreciated!!

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In this 45 page packet you will find the following target areas addressed:

 

SPATIAL CONCEPTS—Spatial Sundae Sentences LEVEL 1 and 2–

Cut out the pictures and words and have student arrange them on the sentence frame after you  ask them to describe the location of various items on the “Where is It?”menu  together.   The sentences for level 2 are lengthier/more complex as the student is required to determine two locations for various objects and construct an appropriate sentence to reflect that location.

 

AUDITORY MEMORY/LISTENING/DESCRIBING SKILLS—Can I take your Order/Build a Scoop Levels 1,2,3—

Player 1 or therapist acts as the waiter/waitress and asks “Can I take your order?” Player 2 (or therapist) chooses an appropriately leveled card and must describe the “order”.  Player 1 must recall and repeat the order accurately.  They are then able to select a Build a Scoop Card.   The player to build the most sundaes/cones is the winner!

 

COMPARE/CONTRAST—

Using the Venn diagrams, write or discuss the similarities and differences between the items presented on each page.  To make these more user friendly, slide the sheets into clear plastic page protectors and use a dry erase marker to write in your students responses.  You can easily wipe off the clear plastic and it will be ready to use the next time.

SENTENCE BUILDING WITH NOUNS & ADJECTIVES—”Build a Descriptive Sentence Sundae”

Cut out the pink ice cream pictures and blue adjectives.  Form good descriptive sentences by moving the picture cards and word cards into the correct spaces.

 

SYNONYMS/ANTONYMS SORT-

Includes 3 sorting mats for “cold” “sweet” “creamy” synonyms/antonyms and 3 pages of synonyms/antonyms (36 cards total) . Find the appropriate topping (vocabulary word) that belongs.  Use each mat separately with the set of synonyms/antonyms provided or lay out all the mats and mix all the pages of topping together to make the sorting/identification task more challenging.

 

STORY STARTERS—

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3 story starter pages. Use the story starter to write a descriptive story about a time you ate ice cream.  Utilize the adjectives, synonyms/antonyms, and other resources in this packet as reference in this culminating activity.

 

SPEECHSNACKS recipe card

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A collectible recipe card for banana ice cream! You can find this post—including colored pictures for this recipe by visiting here.

 

 

 

SpeechSnacks Summer Reading: A Special Guest Post Book Review

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I’ve had the honor of guest posting for some great speech bloggers over the past few months, (like here and here). But today, I’d like to introduce my own guest blogger.  My special guest likes to play sports in his spare time,  has been playing the piano for the past five years and is an expert when it comes to video games.  Oh, and did I mention that he is 10 years old and is super cute?     I may be a little biased about the last part, but that’s because he’s my son.   I thought it would be a great idea for him to help out his dear old mom this summer by guest posting on my blog.   I selected a book for us both to take turns reading.  My choice was based on reading level, interest level and subject matter.  He’s an advanced reader, however the book is relatively easy reading.  It will capture the interest of a young adult/teen readers as well as adults.  And the subject matter caught my interest since it is about a child with a disability and communication issues.   (I would highly recommend it to all my “speechie friends!!”)  I also thought this would be a great way to keep my boy interested in writing during the summer months.  He might even purse the possibility of starting his own blog as a way to keep writing fun and interesting!  But I’ll stop rambling now and hand the stage over to my guest who can tell you all about this incredible story……

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Hi everyone, my name is Joseph. I am guest posting on my mom’s blog about a very interesting book on my summer reading list called Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper.

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I am really excited to be doing this because this is my first time guest posting for a blog!!  I’ve helped my mom with the recipe videos on her blog, (you can check them out here and here) and now, I’m the one writing my very own post!  So let me tell you about this book. (And I guarantee that you’ll be convinced into reading it when you are done reading this review.)

So what happens first in this book is the author introduces an eleven year old girl named Melody Brooks, who has a disability called Cerebral Palsy.  But don’t let that fool you because she is very smart—and I mean crazy smart!!  She has a photographic memory.

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She remembers everything she sees or hears, but it’s all stuck in her head because she can’t talk!  She can’t walk or move her arms either!  She knows tons and tons of words–and not just the words, but what they mean too.  Doctors say that she’ll never be able to learn, but they don’t know just how smart Melody really is.  Melody’s parents never talked to her like a baby.  They were convinced she was able to learn. Her mother argued with teachers because she knew her daughter was way more advanced than anyone realized.  (My mom would be like that too if Melody was her daughter!)

Melody’s mom gets her into a regular school, but she is in a special education classroom. The kids in her class all have severe disabilities but they aren’t smart like Melody.  She is frustrated in this class where the teacher teaches the same stuff over and over every day.  Melody is going out of her mind!

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Melody’s parents work during the day so after school her amazing and really cool neighbor, Mrs. V takes care of her. Mrs. V helps Melody communicate by putting more words, bigger words onto her simple communication board.  She makes flash cards with parts of speech and plays lots of different types of music for her—Melody loves music by the way.  She says words are like music to her!    Mrs. V makes Melody work hard but they have fun too!   She never gives up on her.  She knows Melody is gifted.

One day, all the special education kids start getting included in the regular music class.

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Melody makes a friend named Rose. I thought that was cool, because my mom’s name is Rose, and because both my mom and the Rose in the book are very smart!   She gets an aide named Catherine, who helps her eat, and she helps Melody on tests. Well, she doesn’t help her cheat or anything, she just has Melody tap to the right answer since she can’t write.  By the way, Melody has full use of her thumbs—she uses them to tap on her board and choose words and pictures.

Oh, and did I mention that Melody’s mom is going to be having a baby named Penny?? Melody worries that Penny will be like her with Cerebral Palsy, but luckily Penny is born a fine, healthy baby.   Melody loves her baby sister but she wishes she could be “normal” like her—I can’t blame her. I would feel the same way too!

Melody wants to find a better way to communicate so Catherine starts researching different communication devices. She finds something called the Medi-Talker.  With one touch of a button, you can program it to say a full sentence!  It’s pretty high-tech.  Melody really wanted a Medi-Talker!  Her parents decide to buy it and her life changes forever!!! Melody finally finds her voice!  Melody and Mrs. V spend hours programming information into the Medi-talker.  Melody practices nonstop and then she is ready to try it out at school.  Everyone is amazed by the things she is able to now say!!

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The school is having tryouts for a quiz team.  This team will get a chance to go to Washington D.C. and be on “Good Morning America!”  Melody wants to try out for the team, so she does. She studies like crazy with Mrs. V and learns facts about every subject you could imagine.  And of course she makes the team—I knew she would, even though lots of the kids in her class and her teacher were totally shocked!

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So then, Melody and all the other kids who got the highest percentage right in the class, (one of them was Rose!!) went on to face other schools. Their school won!  Now they will get to move on to Washington D.C.

 

**Okay, here is the spoiler alert….if you read on, you will find out some pretty serious stuff that happened to Melody!  If you want it to be a surprise, don’t read this part until after you read the book!**   

The day that the quiz team goes to Washington D.C starts off pretty good for Melody.  Her family is so excited for her!  Her mom packs her stuff, and they go to the airport. But when they get there the woman at the counter says that because of snow there won’t be any more flights leaving.  She also said the whole quiz team came early and left on an earlier flight.  But they never called Melody to let her know about the change in their plans!

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So Melody wasn’t there to help the team. Melody is devastated! The team didn’t do that well—all they got was a dinky little 9th place plastic trophy.  I say it serves them right!  I couldn’t believe they would leave her—-great friends, right?!

But the next day is even worse. It’s down pouring outside.

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Dad is watching Penny but she slips out of the house when he isn’t looking. Mom is taking Melody to school—she is backing the car out of the driveway.  Melody screams to warn her mom that Penny is right behind her car, but mom ignores her. I started reading so fast when I got to this next part—-I felt like I was right there screaming with Melody and watching the whole thing happen in front of me!  I was really sad when I found out what did happen though… So, accidentally, Melody’s mom ran over Penny. Luckily Penny doesn’t die.  She does have a few serious injuries though.  But for a while there, they weren’t sure if she was going to be okay—-it was a pretty intense few pages!

The story has a happy ending.  Penny comes home from the hospital.  Melody learns to write stories on her Medi talker—very well!   She uses her thumbs and types her life’s story into the Medi-Talker. The way the story begins, is how it ends.

And even though this book is considered fiction, the disease is real and so are the people who have it!!  The lesson I learned from this book is you can’t judge a book by its cover! What I mean by that is even though Melody has a serious disability,  it doesn’t mean that she can’t learn to communicate just as well as “normal” kids can.  In fact she can do it even better!

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Thank you everyone for reading this review.  I had so much fun writing this!  And now maybe my mom will stop bugging me to finish it.  (Sometimes she can be so annoying!)  I’m going to get back to my video games now that I have finally finished typing all this. Whew! That broke quite a sweat!    And I have a baseball championship game this week too so I’ve got to get my game face on!

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**The following is a video we found on you tube.  It is a book “trailer” for Out of My Mind.    It gives a quick glimpse at what the book is going to be about—and the song is awesome!

 

 

 

Savory Savings Celebration from SpeechSnacks !

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Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

First, here’s the SAVINGS….In celebration of the day, SpeechSnacks, (along with many other SLP’s) are throwing sales in their TpT stores!  If you have an Extended School Year caseload, private summer caseload or just looking to stock up on new therapy materials for the fall, this is your chance!   ALL purchases made in my store between July 3rd and 5th will receive a 15% discount. 

(special thanks to Natalie Snyders for creating the sales image!)

 

And now for the SAVORY…….

I’ve compiled a few of my favorite Fourth of July food finds from blogs and Pinterest .  Not only will you save money in my TpT store, but now you can save some time figuring out what to bring to your July 4th cookout—just take a look at these tasty treats.  You’re sure to find something delicious to bring to the party!  (Just remember to save a bite for me!)

 

 

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(photo courtesy of Party City)

Let the kiddos help you create this delicious and healthy dessert—great for working on sequencing and direction following as you talk about words like “patriotic, heroism, independence and bravery!”

 

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Ok…so maybe this one is a bit over the top, but it was too awesome not to share!  If you are creative and good with a knife, you might be able to pull this one off and dazzle your guests!  Check out “She Knows”  blog on how to make a Watermelon Grill!!

 

Red, White and Blue Ice Pops from “Eating Well”——

Very kid friendly–name different types of berries, sequence the steps, and discuss why/how something turns from liquid to solid.  So many delicious language opportunities!

 

 

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I love these patriotic stars!  A healthy, summery, take-to-the-beach treat.  A great way to address direction following, executive functioning and introducing new textures!  Can’t wait to try these Yummy Summer Gummys from “All Day I Dream About Food” 

 

 

Firecracker Cookies Cookin' Cowgirl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Cookin’ Cowgirl” has a great cookie recipe to shareFirecracker Cookies! These cookies are easy to whip up in a jiffy!  So fun and festive and definitely easy enough for the kids to help with measuring, mixing and scooping onto cookie sheets.

 

4th of July: Cocktails and Drinks for You and the Kids

And finally, what’s the the 4th o July without a good cocktail?!  Check out “Skinny Mom’s” Fourth of July Cocktail.  It’s a  cool and refreshing drink with TWO versions: one for the grown ups and one for the kiddos–I think you can figure out which one is kid friendly and which is definitely grown up friendly!!

 

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Baby You’re a Firework! (figuratively speaking)

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I love incorporating music into my therapy plans.  I even dedicated an entire page on my blog to the topic.   I take advantage of opportunities to utilize multisensory  and multimedia materials, especially with my older students!!  I often use you tube videos to teach social language concept, sequencing skills and story building.   I like finding ways to connect with my students based on their interests, likes and current “pop culture.”    Music is one such medium that we can all relate to.  Many songs contain lyrics with positive and inspirational messages.  Today I’m sharing Katy Perry’s “Firework.”  It contains so many examples of figurative language and has a wonderful message to share.  Although I don’t see any middle or high school students during the summer, this will be one activity I am sure to use when we head back to school after summer vacation.  Can you think of other songs that contain lyrics filled with figurative language?  I bet you will start listening a lot more closely for some great ways to incorporate music into your lessons!

Check out the FREEBIE Fourth of July themed printable activity I created using the song’s lyrics to work on identifying idioms, similes and metaphors.

 

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I’ve added a BONUS FREEBIE too!  Firework Facts & Opinions is included in this download. It requires students to determine if the information presented on each card is a fact or opinion about fireworks. It contains some good reminders about firework safety as well as types of fireworks.

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You can head over to my face book page to access it by clicking on the FREE DOWNLOADS button.

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Preview the song “Firework” on you tube with your students first.   Talk about the meaning of the song and the message it is conveying—such profound and important words for our pre-teen and teenage students to hear, and a great way to connect language concepts on a level they can relate to! !!  We all have the potential and ability to shine and achieve greatness of some kind if we believe in ourselves! Go out and “ignite the light and let it shine— Just own the night like the 4th of July! ”

 

 

Celebrating Flip-Flop Season!

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Yes, there truly is a day for celebrating EVERYTHING! And believe it or not, National Flip-Flop Day is celebrated in June!  I love my flip-flops just as much as I love summer!  I live on the East Coast where we experience the four seasons so I take full advantage of wearing flip flops when the weather is appropriate (and even sometimes when it’s not) .  I usually find myself in denial when it’s time to switch to the closed toe shoe once late September approaches.  I will extend my flip-flop wearing experience as long as I possibly can–and then some!  While perusing Pinterest recently, I came across a very cute summer-themed snack idea. I made  a few modifications of my own, and voila, the “flip-flop cookie” was created!  I thought this would be such fun and so simple to make with your kiddos!! —and a  great way to work on sequencing and direction following!  Most of this treat can be assembled with just a little bit of prep from an adult.  Enjoy them at your next poolside party or summer celebration!

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Additionally, I’ve created a great activity for those of you working with students in summer speech programs! Of course, the theme is flip flops and all the target words are summer themed!  Be sure to wear your flip flops on the days you use Flip Flop Phonology with your kiddos! Check it out in my TpT store!

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Flip Flop Phonology is the perfect activity for those SLP’s/students who are giving/receiving summer speech services or anytime you need a summer or beach themed phonological awareness activity!

Use the game cards with or without the accompanying game board and game pieces.  The first player to reach the beach and not have to turn back home is the winner! Use all the cards or target specific phonological goals.  If a card with one flip flop is drawn, move your playing piece one space.  If a card with two flip flops is picked, move two spaces.  Draw a FLIP FLOP, TURN AND STOP card and go back toward home either one or two spaces.

This game includes tasks with both recognition (receptive) and recall (expressive)  components.  i.e.: recall tasks require the player to name words that rhyme, name multisyllable words,  name words that start and end with specific sounds. These tasks are found on the flip flop pair cards and are considered more challenging. The single flip flops contain rhyming recognition tasks, phoneme blending, phoneme discrimination, syllable segmentation and counting.

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Flip-Flop Cookies:

You will need:

Nutter-Butter Cookies (Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies will work well too!)

multi-colored gummy worms

Pull and Peel string licorice

colored cookie icing (I like the squeeze tubes–they are easy to apply and kids can have fun squeezing it out with little mess)

 

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First, squeeze some cookie icing onto the Nutter Butter.

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Then, spread it out evenly using a dull knife.

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Next, take two gummy worms or licorice strings and cut the ends on an angle. I used kitchen sheers.  You can use a knife and cut them on a cutting board as well. (This part might be easier for an adult to do, depending on the child’s age.)

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When you place both angled ends together, they should stick together.

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Place the angled ends at the top of the cookie, the blunt or rounded ends should be placed parallel so that it resembles the straps of a flip flop.

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Finally, place a few graham crackers into a zip loc baggie and finely crush them.  We used a wooden rolling pin.  The kids are going to love this part!  Your final product should resemble  sand……..

 

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…..Sprinkle your “sand” onto the base of your dish.  Place your flip flop pairs on top.   Enjoy your very tasty footwear!

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