Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Gaelic-Garlic Pesto Shamrock Bread—with “Earn Some Green” Figurative Language

PicMonkey Collage st patty

Valentine’s Day is a thing of the past, so I’m turning to the next big holiday theme  for this week’s post…It will give you plenty of time to take a look at my newest TpT packet, whip up this snack and browse the itunes store for the free St. Patty’s Day app.

This snack is quick and delicious—and GREEN for St. Patty’s Day!  It’s fun and easy so little hands can help prepare it and then put the pieces together like a puzzle to form a shamrock!  I love making homemade pesto and fresh basil is available all year long in your local grocery store.   Try substituting other greens like kale or spinach in place of the basil,  (to sneak more veggies into your kiddos diets).  And instead of pine nuts (which can get very pricey), go for walnuts, which have a high nutritional value and are way cheaper! Arrange your pesto bread slices into a shamrock formation and add a celery stick for a stem and you too will be Irish for a day!!  For today’s speechsnack, I’ve created a figurative language packet, available in my TpT store.     And lastly, scroll down to the end of this post to checkout a FREE app available in the Apple itunes store that can be used to address speech and language goals.   Enjoy the recipe, language packet and free app, and may the luck of the Irish be with you on St. Patty’s Day and all year long!



Help your students identify and define figurative language concepts with this fun St. Patty’s themed packet.  Find it in my TpT store here!!


Packet includes “leprechaun loot” which students earn when they have responded to one of the figurative language cards (idioms, similes or metaphors.)

Some cards have a small horseshoe in the right hand corner which indicates good luck—they should draw another money card.  If they draw one with a leprechaun in the corner, they must give up their highest dollar amount and return it to the bottom of the pile!  Everyone should count up their money at the end of the game. The person with the most Leprechaun loot is the winner!



To play Idiom matching game: put idiom coins in a pile. Spread out pots of gold (either sentence fill-in’s or definitions.)  Have student draw a coin and match it to the correct pot of gold.


To play “Emerald Isle” similes: Place cards in a pile.  Student draws a card and must determine what the simile means as well as tell you which two words in the simile are being compared to each other.  As a follow-up activity, use the Simile Starters worksheet to have students create their own original similes based on the words provided.


As a follow-up activity, use the Simile Starters or Make Your Own Metaphors worksheet to have students create their own original similes/metaphors based on the words provided.



To play “Lucky horseshoe” metaphors: Place cards in a pile.  Student draws a card and must identify the metaphor and determine what it means.   As a follow up activity, use the Make your own Metaphors worksheet to have the students create their own original metaphors based on the words provided.

Gaelic-Garlic Pesto Shamrock Bread

You will need: 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed , 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil,1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts,3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced,Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, one half of a freshly squeezed lemon

 The kiddos can peel the garlic, tear up the basil, squeeze the lemon and throw the ingredients into the food processor, but let an adult operate the machinery!!  (Not a job for little hands!)


Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.   Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.  Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended.  Squeeze in the juice of one half of a lemon.. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Pulse to finish mixing ingredients.
















Discuss the consistency of the ingredients after they have been blended together—ask the kids to describe the appearance of the final product.

Serve with pasta, spread on chicken before baking in the oven, add to a baked potato, or spread on crusty Italian bread and toast in oven.










To make Gaelic-Garlic Pesto bread, cut thick slices of whole wheat garlic bread on an angle. Spread pesto over the top of each slice. Toast in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 8 minutes. Remove from oven and place three slices in a shamrock formation. Add a long stick of celery for a stem.














Let the kids have fun spreading the pesto on bread slices. Dig out the silicone baking brush and let them dip it in the mixture and “paint” on the pesto!









Once the bread comes out of the oven, (be careful to remove the slices from the hot tray first parents)  the kids can assemble this by arranging  toasted  bread slices and celery to form a shamrock.   


Ask your kids to recall all the ingredients used.  Have them sequence the steps in the process.  Can they come up with 10 words that start with the /sh/ sound??   How about a list of all things green?? 


Here’s a fun Irish app that is great for addressing  several speech and language goals—Learning Gems—St. Patricks Day    The picture has beautiful colors and details, it’s interactive, and best of all it’s FREE!!  After your target sound or language skill is addressed, tap on different objects in the picture and the leprechaun says funny things.  The picture comes to life with flying butterflies, gold and horseshoes as well as a magically appearing rainbow.   

1–If you are working on the /l/ sound, the multisyllabic word “LEPRECHAUN”  is quite the challenge!  Practice at the syllable level by targeting /lep/ or as a multisyllabic word, clap out each syllable separately and then blend the word together.

2- For carryover kiddos, use the word leprechaun in sentences describing something about himThe leprechaun has a red beard.  The leprechaun is sitting on a mushroom

3-To address language skills for increasing sentence length and using descriptive words, have your students create sentences describing the leprechaun, the background scene, and giving explanations about what happens when various parts of the picture are tapped. 

Do you have any other suggestions for using this app????  Feel free to comment below!

“Target”-ing Good Language While Giving Back to Others

PicMonkey Collage shopping









This past week, the wonderful, private school where I work, went on a field trip.  It was truly a cross-curricular lesson as well as a life lesson— in community service and reaching out to those in need, in math skills for creating a budget and estimating, in social skills for speaking to sales associates when requesting assistance, in  executive functioning for planning out where and how to look for items on the list and then pack them up and send them off, and  as a written language exercise for constructing a thank you letter to the store after our visit was complete.  And when it was finished, I found that it was a great opportunity to reinforce so many skills (categorizing/classifying, sequencing, problem solving/social skills) when we returned to the classroom. (Read on to see how this outing was turned into a language activity available in my TeachersPayTeachers store)








The entire school filed on to the school buses and went shopping!  (I’ve been on many field trips as the mom of an elementary school aged child and a room parent, but I have never been on a field trip quite like this one.)  Our school is small, so all the students were fortunate enough to participate.  Our mission was to purchase much needed items for a school that had received extensive damage after Hurricane Sandy.  They requested  items for their music and physical education departments and we were there to help!


Our students are broken up into small groups called “social houses” on the days we address social/community projects, so each social house was assigned a store to search out items on the school’s wish list.   Each group contained 7-10 students and 3-4 teachers.  Buses dropped us off at music stores, sporting goods stores, toy stores and “big box” stores—a.k.a. Target (this is where my group was assigned).

banj trip 5

Each social house was given a budget of $200.00. Prior to the trip, the students prepared and  researched the items on line in their math classes to get a better idea of how much they could purchase prior to the trip.  We had a game plan in place for which departments to tackle first.  Our list included requests for extension cords, headphones, soccer balls, footballs, basketballs, wiffle balls and bats.  We compared prices, brand names and guesstimated how much and how many we could purchase.

banj trip 2








Our students range in ages from 10-18.  All age levels are represented in the social house groups.  Their ability to work together and make decisions was impressive!

banj trip


With clipboards and calculators in hand we managed to spend—almost to the penny—the amount allotted.








After returning to school we boxed up our newly purchased goods and prepared them to be shipped off to the school in need.

banj trip 4









banj 3


Finally, we collaborated as a group and wrote a well-constructed thank you letter to the business we had just visited, thanking them for their assistance during our visit.


So today, I have an activity to share that was inspired by our shopping trip to Target and a great way to address CATEGORIZATION/CLASSIFYING/SOCIAL SKILLS AND PROBLEM SOLVING.  After all, the store we shopped in is a speech therapists playground when it comes to working on the above mentioned goals!! I cant think of a better way to address strategies for sorting, generating categories and lists, and organization than by walking the aisles of any department store, grocery store or big box “everything” store!!


First, I came up with a list of shopping words based on general terms we see, hear and use in this setting.  You can use these cards to discuss word meanings or put in sentences.


Find the complete download in my TpT store here!!!


Then I created a set of problem solving scenarios based on some of the actual situations we faced in the store that day.  Others were based on real-life possibilities that one might encounter while shopping.

I also created a set of cards that ask the student to name the correct department, section and items within that department based on the information provided.

Finally I created several ways to address categorization and sorting to help us generate a list of items that are found in various sections of  department stores.

I made a simple graphic for listing items into categories (departments), subcategories (sections), and items (details):



An another option, they could fill in this top-down graphic organizer with shapes that represent the break down of department, section and items.

And finally we did a sorting task for the  kids who needed a guided, receptive exercise for organizing items found in each department.  Take note of the buckets and craft sticks used.  I purchased these at that store that we initially visited to make our donation purchases—-these items were found in the dollar bin—-gotta love “Targeting” language goals with bargain-priced materials.

banj shopping game 2

The names of the different departments are taped to the cans (these labels are included in the download).  On the red sticks are names of sections within the departments and yellow sticks contained items found within the departments (i.e. Department: Electronics, sections: phones, computers, cameras, items: pre-paid phones, iPhones, monitors, mouse pads, camera cases) Students sorted the sticks into the proper cans.


I also made some blank sorting mats to fill in your own store departments, sections and items to keep it open-ended and easy to customize to your own needs. You can use these in place of the containers and sticks.

With some students, I skipped this step and went straight to the organizational charts where they needed to generate their own responses without the sorting task.

banj shopping 1


Although not all schools get the opportunity to go on a trip such as this one, you can certainly use the activity  I created to pretend you are shopping right in your therapy room.   It’s an effective way to practice life skills, organization skills and vocabulary building—now that’s what I call one-stop shopping!


“Don’t Steal My Heart!”—and other ways to use Valentine candy hearts in therapy

PicMonkey Collage valentine

Valentine’s Day is almost here and our therapy sessions are filled with many great ideas shared on therapist’s blogs and Teachers Pay Teachers stores.  Today I combined fun and functional by using conversation heart candies to reinforce our target sounds in therapy.  Here are just a few simple ways you can incorporate this sweet treat into your lessons.  (although they candies are peanut-free, I didn’t let the kids eat the ones we used to play our games since the germ bugs are in abundance!  Instead I gave them a Valentine pencil, activity book and stickers to take home and enjoy.)


We played a game I call “Don’t steal my heart!”  All candies are placed into a container in the center of the table.   We worked on our articulation goals, but any other language goals could also be addressed with is activity. The kids (and therapist too) took turns reaching in and taking a candy heart—-be sure to keep your eyes closed and not look at which heart you are picking!

As play continues, if you have two of the same color, you have a match—the most matches wins…..the fun part comes into play when someone else picks the color you need.  When it’s your turn, instead of picking from the container, you can steal the other persons heart.  Say, “I’m stealing your heart!”  This is a great carrier phrase to use especially if working on /s/ blends  or /r/.   This game kept my kiddos entertained and motivated for quite some time!



I also used the candy hearts to cover up spaces on an open-ended Valentine game board I created—find this activity in my TpT store.   Students took turns describing one of the pictures (they needed to say three things about their picture)  If the other student guessed the Valentine character, they covered it with the candy heart.


We stacked the candies to see how high we could build a tower of hearts before it fell.  We counted how many we could stack then practiced our target sound, word, phrase or sentence that many times.



Slide3We also practiced saying the cute and silly expressions on the hearts.  With your older kids, have them identify the expressions that contain their sounds in the initial, medial and final positions and sort them into separate piles and then practice the phrases.


Finally, we talked about what the expression “to steal someone’s heart” means….I told my kiddos that they have all stolen my heart!!

I’m sure there are a few other ways to use these sweet treats in your therapy room—let me know if you have any other ideas!  And if you are looking for MORE ways to address speech and language goals with a Valentine theme, check out my line up of Valentine products in my store.      Happy Valentine’s Week!


“Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” Valentine Idioms for Old


I Heart Homophones--Leveled Vocabulary for Older Students

February Language Building:The Healthy Heart & Language Ma






Heart Healthy Hummus and a Fruit and Veggie Language and Listening Game


February is American Heart Month!   It is never too early to teach children about how their hearts benefit from a  good diet and lots of exercise.  By reinforcing an active lifestyle and proper eating habits, you can teach  children, by example, how to keep their hearts in good shape.

Fresh fruits and vegetables play a big role in keeping your heart healthy.  Today’s simple hummus recipe is packed full of heart-healthy nutrients that will keep your heart pumping strong—try hummus as a dip with your favorite veggies—or get your kids eating more veggies by accompanying it with this dip !!  American Heart Month also inspired me to create an activity that will get your kiddos moving (through direction following tasks)  and building knowledge about fruits and vegetables at the same time!  Introducing…..

Fruits and Veggies Teach Good Language and Listening—available in my TpT store!

This activity combines 24 naming/vocabulary building tasks related to fruits and vegetables along with good listening skills for direction following.    Playing cards contain  two or three steps.  Students must perform a naming task and then carry out a physical direction (action).

Read the card slowly, remind your student to 1-use whole body listening, 2-reauditorize and visualize the directions, and 3-repeat the directions aloud before carrying out the task.

I couldn’t resist using these very cute and sporty fruit and veggie characters from Scrappin’ Doodles to create these cards!

In addition, cards can be used to play “I’m going grocery shopping for…”  Place all cards face down on the shopping cart.  Players take turns picking cards and using the phrase “I’m going grocery shopping..”  Add on names of fruits/veggies in the correct sequence and continue game until someone forgets which item comes next.


Also included are grocery bags to sort fruits and  vegetables. Blank bags are included to create other categories for sorting by color, size, shape, etc.


Heart Healthy Hummus—-


2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) chickpeas

1/3 cup freshly squeezed

lemon juice

1/4 cup tahini, well stirred

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Coarse salt

Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)

Paprika, for serving (optional)




  1. Reserving the liquid from one can of the beans, drain the second can of chickpeas in a colander. Rinse chickpeas well under cold water; shake off excess water
  2. Process chickpeas and reserved liquid, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cayenne, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a food processor.
  3. Transfer mixture to a serving dish. If desired, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with paprika.

This can be refrigerated, covered, up to one week. Use it in sandwiches or as a dip for vegetables and toasted pita bread.


Talk to your kiddos about different types of beans—can you come up with a list? (black, white, kidney, navy, lima, cannellini, pinto, lentils.)  Compare the beans before being processed to the appearance and texture after.  Ask them to sequence the steps in this simple recipe or recall all the ingredients used.  Remember to get your kids involved in the cooking process if you want to  see them excited about trying new foods!  Hummus is very mild in flavor and many kids are willing to give it a try—and often LOVE it!!


 Heart Facts for Kids:

  • Your heart is about the same size as a pear. It sits behind your sternum (which is the bone between the two sides of your ribs) and your ribs on the left side of your body just next to your sternum.
  • It has four parts, the left ventricle (say ven-trik-ul) and the right ventricle which are both at the bottom of the heart, and the left atrium (say ay-tree-um) and the right atrium at the top. A wall of muscle called the septum separates them.
  • The heart is two pumps joined together.
  •  The walls of the heart are made of really strong muscles that squeeze and relax to pump blood around the body.
  • It does this about 90 times a minute if you’re a child and 70 times a minute if you are an adult.
  • The main job of the heart is to pump blood to every part of the body. The blood carries oxygen and all the food, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to move, think, grow and repair itself. At the same time the blood picks up stuff that your body doesn’t need and takes it to those parts of your body that get rid of waste (your lungs, kidneys and liver).
  • Your blood is pumped all around your body and gets back to your heart in about a minute.
  • If your heart is healthy it will be able to work for a very long time.
  • It is up to you to keep your heart healthy— exercise every day for 30 minutes!!
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Too much fatty food will block up the arteries with fat and your heart will have to work harder and harder just to do its regular job of pumping blood round your body.
  • Drink lots of water every day rather than fizzy drinks.



“Stay Healthy” Chicken Soup {with SpeechSnacks for Wintertime Wellness Language & Problem Solving}

winter wellness collage

Cold and flu season are hitting many of us hard this year!   And whether  you have already been a victim of a virus or an innocent bystander of a bacteria, chances are, you can use a bowl of chicken soup to help what is ailing you!  Nothing is more comforting when you are feeling under the weather than a bowl of homemade chicken soup.  I can remember this remedy being a magical elixir for me many times throughout my life.  While chicken soup isn’t the cure for a cold, it does help  alleviate some of the annoying symptoms that come with it.  And, if nothing else, it definitely is a delicious, comforting  meal that helps keep your body hydrated.   The next time the cold bug has you down, stay warm, get a lot of rest, and get your mom (or some other kind soul) to make you a big pot of homemade chicken soup!!

This week’s recipe post inspired me to create “Wintertime Wellness Language and Problem Solving Packet”  You can find it in my TeachersPayTeachers store.  


It includes game cards to address three areas of language development.  You can target one area at a time or spread out all the cards and work on all three areas at once–just be sure to keep each category grouped together for better organization:

As a practical application and a great way to practice written language, I have included a letter writing template with three vocabulary words  and one idiom from this unit to write a letter to a friend who has been home with a cold.

The first player to earn/collect all 6 “kick your cold” cards is the winner.  But beware of the “germs on the loose” cards!
(each card teaches a helpful tip for staying healthy and avoiding germs)

w wellness pc 3







We played “Wintertime Wellness” in our therapy session this past week.  Take note of the tissues, hand sanitizer and wipes!!! ( Perhaps I need to stop being such a germaphobe, but I am determined NOT to get sick this year!)

A collectible “speechsnacks” recipe card is also included in this download.  Use a three hole punch  and  add it to a three ring binder.  Collect all my “speechsnacks!”  I offer a new recipe each time you download one of my activities!

You can  find this activity at my TpT store here!!


 Recipe for Homemade Chicken Soup:

(this recipe is primarily meant to be carried out by an adult (unlike many of my child-centered recipes),  but it is still a great opportunity to incorporate language skills while your kiddos look on and watch you prepare it!


2 large raw chicken breasts (bone included)

1 onion roughly chopped

1/2 stalk celery, chopped

1 bag baby carrots

2-3 cloves garlic

1 small head of escarole

1 cup barley

salt and pepper to taste

Fill a pot 3/4 full with cold water. Add two large, raw chicken breasts—(bone and skin on) to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste, 3-4 cloves garlic–smashed, but not necessary to mince, one onion, chopped, half of one stalk of celery–including the leaves. Bring ingredients to a boil. Lower to a simmer and continue to simmer on low heat for three hours.   Be sure to use free-range or organic chicken if possible.  It is a higher quality product and will yield a higher quality soup! After cooking for three hours, separate the liquid broth from the remaining ingredients by pouring soup into a colander or metal strainer.  You will be left with a clear, yellowish broth.  Discard the remaining cooked down celery, onions,. etc.  Keep the cooked chicken breast to add to the soup later.

Can your kiddos remember everything you added to pot?  Ask them to recall the sequence. have them compare what the soup looked when it started out in the pot and how it changed after simmering for several hours.

Clean and chop the remaining head of celery and one bag of baby carrots or peel and chop 4-5 whole carrots. Add them to the pot of clear broth. Additionally, mince 2-3 cloves of garlic and one onion and add to the pot. Use organic vegetables when possible!!

Ask your kids to help you identify all the verbs used to create this recipe. Reinforce the meanings of the words with them: CHOP, STRAIN, CLEAN, MINCE, ADD, SIMMER, MEASURE, RINSE, COOK, ENJOY


Work on categorization skills by naming as many vegetables as possible with your kids. How about classifying them into  sub-categories like: root vegetables, green vegetables, round vegetables, long vegetables….the possibilities are endless!!!

Measure out one cup of organic barley. Rinse barley thoroughly and add to the pot of soup. Barley does not need to be cook separately. It will cook along with the vegetables in the broth.

As an alternative, use rice instead of barley. Or, cook wide egg-noodles and add them to your broth at the end.


Cook soup on low, covered,  for approximately one hour. Check carrots for doneness. Additionally, you can add one small head of escarole greens (cleaned and torn into  pieces) to add even greater nutritional value (as an Italian American, escarole is a must-have in our homemade chicken soup!!)


Add pieces of chicken breast to your bowl of soup. Enjoy with some warm crusty bread!   Stay healthy this winter……and as always, “Speak Well and Eat Well!”


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