Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Helping Students Get Organized during the Holidays {and a FREEBIE for executive functioning with Grinch-kabobs!}

Good organization and time management—some of us just have the gift!  You know who I’m talking about—Those amazing multi-taskers who have to-do lists a mile long and yet seamlessly execute each and every task to perfection with time to spare.  We ask ourselves, “How do they do it?!” We often envy them (and maybe even curse them under our breath!)  But we could all be just a little more like those masters of good time management if we followed a few simple guidelines.  When I started writing this post and creating the product to accompany it, my intention was to make a product that would be meaningful and holiday related for my middle and high school students.  But I have come to realize that all of us could utilize and benefit from the exercises included in my latest TpT product.  I hope you get a chance to check out my holiday time management and organization product:  Get Organized for the Holidays!{Tasks for Practicing Executive Functioning Skills} and find it a helpful tool for your older students (and even yourself) during the hectic holiday season!

In addition, this week’s “speechsnack”– Grinch-Kabobs– are a perfect hands-on activity for practicing good executive functioning and organization.  If permitted, try this food activity in the classroom.  I have included a FREE activity that you can download when you click on the PREVIEW of my latest product!!  This download will give you a sneak peek at what’s available when you purchase the complete product!!  It’s my gift to you this holiday season!

Included in this FREEBIE:

•“How to Make Grinch-Kabobs” sequencing photo

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•“What will it look like” activity sheet which borrows from the strategy of “starting with the end in mind” created by the amazing Sarah Ward.  (Have students complete this activity prior to the task sheet)

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•Planning form to be used along with each of the task activity sheets. This form is an organizational diagram which will ask students to list materials needed for the task, how much time is needed for each task, and troubleshoot what could possibly go wrong while completing the task.


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  • Task Sheet Check off the necessary steps for each activity—there are 10 correct steps and a few incorrect steps that the student must identify.
  • Then, fill in the missing steps at the bottom half of the sheet.
  • A corresponding sheet for each activity challenges students to fill in all 10 steps accurately.

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So why did I choose a snack themed after Dr. Seuss’ infamous character “The Grinch???”   Well, think about it, although his heart may be two sizes too small, he’s the perfect role model for good executive functioning!  You’ve got to hand it to him, he planned out his whole grand scheme with great organization and details.  There’s no way Whoville could have been stripped of every Christmas tree and decoration without great executive functioning, you must admit!


Love It & List It Linky: {Articulation Apps to Motivate Older Students}

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This month’s linky party topic over at Speech Room News is Artic Apps.  

By the time many students reach middle school, coming to the speech therapy room to  practice articulation goals is usually not that high on their ”fun things to do” list! Let’s face it, these kiddos have been practicing their speech sounds forever it seems!  Yet,  often times they still require our assistance and that final push to get them closers to attaining their goals before we feel comfortable releasing them from our services.    This is when I often find it necessary to pull out all the stops–find something interesting, motivating and exciting enough to reach the challenging “tween”  psyche.    Right off the bat, I am usually able to grab their interest simply by stating that we are going to use the iPad and check out some cool apps.  But to really keep them coming back for more, it helps if the apps are somewhat entertaining, allow for creative verbal expression, not too babyish and offer a bit of  humor.    So here are a few that I have had success utilizing in articulation therapy.  They are not all necessarily your traditional artic apps, but they still get the job done, especially when addressing the conversational level as well as for self-monitoring.



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1-  Multiple Choice Articulation by Erik X. Raj ($4.99)-–need I say more???  If it’s created by Erik you know you are in for a fun experience!  This app addresses multiple sounds in all positions by asking fun and creative questions with a “What would you rather…” prompt.   A couple of crazy options are presented using the target sound  (i.e.”Would you rather wash your hair with pancake syrup or soggy breakfast cereal?” ) Yes, they are somewhat goofy and far-fetched, but that’s what keeps it interesting.  And for as silly as the questions are, it does get your students thinking creatively for an answer they can justify. Perfect for the middle-school mind!


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2–Open-Ended Articulation ($4.99) is another gem from Mr. Raj, similar in fashion to Multiple Choice Articulation.  Each screen asks an open ended, out of the ordinary question which requires a creative response.  i.e. “If I had to eat lunch underwater, I would….. Why?”   Many of the open-ended cues span many age/grade levels so you will definitely get plenty of use out of this app.

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3–Make Dice-$2.99—Not exactly a traditional artic app, but the possibilities are endless when you have blank dice to play with!   I enter words with my students target sound onto each side of the dice and require them to create a good sentence  using  the word they land on.  Add a second die with additional words containing their sound and challenge them to use both words to create a good sentence.  Throw in a third die with the numbered dots to earn points for good responses or require them to name as many words with their sound depending on the number they roll.  The possibilities are really endless.    The dice make realistic dice rolling sound effects when you tap on the arrow button on the screen.   It’s a fun way of playing a dice game that isn’t babyish or boring.  And the best part—save the dice you have created and use them with other students or later therapy sessions.


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4—AFV (Americas’ Funniest Home Videos) (FREE! )Laughter and humor are always great motivators!  This app has tons of short video clips to chose from.  Play a clip for your kiddos and watch how engaged they become!  Ask them to recap the events that occurred in the clip while using good self-monitoring skills.  The kids get so wrapped up in WHAT  they are recalling in the funny video clip,  that they often forget to self-monitor.  Why is this a good thing? Because it’s a great way to catch them a little “off guard”  and make them realize that they need to really think about using good speech productions even when they are having fun!

So there you have it, a few of my favorite articulation apps for use with older students.  Do you use any of these with your big kids?  Do you have any other suggestions?  I’d love to hear your feedback.  Check out Jenna’s linky party over at Speech Room News for some other great apps to use in your speech room!


Turkey Time Round-Up! {Gobbling Up Good Speech with Fun, Functional and FREE Activities }

If you’re looking for some fun, functional and FREE Thanksgiving-themed activities leading up to Turkey Day, look no further!  I have a “hot out of the oven”  treat in my TpT store that will satisfy your turkey-cravings as well as some delicious “leftovers”–(a few things I shared last year that are worth sharing again, ’cause like they say,  “leftovers taste even better the next day!”)

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1–The Juiciest Turkey Ever!! (originally posted November 2012)











Download and print out the step-by-step activity here.   Each step contains ways to build language through DESCRIBING, COMPARING, CATEGORIZING, SEQUENCING, DEFINING, and DIRECTION FOLLOWING.  Incorporate the pictures into your language lesson.  If permitted, make this task truly MULTISENSORY by using the actual ingredients in the classroom.  If this is not possible, send home the printouts so parent can create the project at home with their child.


2–Turkey Leftovers Cornucopia (originally posted November 2012)

















Looking for a fun way to teach new Thanksgiving Vocabulary?  I created a game called “BUTTERBALL BINGO”  .  Download this printable freebie of three bingo sheets.  Each sheet contains nine different vocabulary words for a total of 27 terms to learn.  Then download and print out the bingo answer key.  Cut cards apart, shuffle and place in a pile or put all cards in a basket.  Have students take turns picking a card.  After reading the definition to them, they must determine if they have the correct picture/word on their card that fits the definition.  The first to fill all nine of the spaces on their card is the winner!! (Use colored chips, pennies or other tokens to cover spaces).


3–Teaching Good Table Manners for Better Social Skills during the Holidays (originally posted November 2012)

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I created a  FREEBIE  table manners matching game, using my Custom Boards app, as a way to discuss table manners in an interactive and fun way.   Make copies of this visual and have your kiddos hang it on their refrigerators at home–or cut apart, mix up and then match up the pictures and phrases that go together.


4–A Feast of Turkey Topics {Thanksgiving Main Ideas and Supporting Details}












And finally, you’re definitely gonna want to get your hands on this savory  FREEBIE from my TpT store!   Make learning main ideas and supporting details fun with the turkey analogy visual aid I’ve included and 12 topics, main ideas and supporting details cards!  Your upper elementary, middle and even high school students will get plenty of use out of this activity themed around Thanksgiving writing topics!


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I hope you enjoy these Thanksgiving freebies!   I’d love to know if you tried any of them out and more importantly what your students thought of the activities!   Your comments and feedback are always appreciated!

Carryover SOS: Strategies for Speech Therapy! {Linky Party} Using Technology for Effective Carryover with the Big Kids!


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It’s time for another great linky party and  Crazy Speech World is talking all about carryover strategies!   Generalization of speech sounds is such a challenge for so many students.    Sure, our students can model and monitor when they are with us in the confines of the speech room, but using speech skills appropriately and consistently in the real world is  a whole different ball game!   Although many children have mastered their speech sounds before reaching middle school or high school age, others continue to  require guidance in achieving complete success.  By this age, motivation and interest to improve often decline.  In some of those cases, their articulation is as good as it’s going to get, in other cases, a little extra push in the right direction will help them reach that finish line so that they can be released from services.  So here’s my take on ways to improve generalization of speech/carryover with older students……

Fact #1: I work with the “big kids”

Fact #2:  Kids LOVE technology!

Fact #3: Many of the kids I work with have their own cell phones, iPods, tablets and other such devices.

Fact #4: Many of the kids I work with have technology devices that are wayyyy better than mine!

Fact #5: I need to join the party and make a visit to my nearest cell phone store!

Like so many adults, so many kids are attached to their technology.  While I’m not advocating that you encourage your students to text obsessively and spend hours on their portable devices, I do believe that it can be an effective way of getting them  to make a conscious effort to monitor their speech in situations OUTSIDE the therapy setting.  You would be amazed at the level of interest students take in getting a school-based assignment completed when it involves using their own personal devices!!

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This activity should be done OUTSIDE of the therapy setting.  Have your students use the “notes” section of their device (phone, tablet, iPod), to enter their thoughts about how they sounded at a specific time, place and situation outside of school.   They should make note of their thoughts 3-4 times per week.  They can even schedule an alert/reminder onto their calendar as a way to remember that they need to complete this task.

When they come to their therapy session, use this FREE rating scale to discuss or write about what they recorded on their device.  If you work in a school (such as mine) that gives students permission to openly use their devices as a homework planner/organizer, then you can have them share the actual notes with you.  With older kiddos, it’s very effective to communicate with them on this level.  It allows them to connect their articulation with the real world.





Using the camera feature of their device, students can take pictures of people, places, things, events that they find interesting and worth chatting about.   Have them keep a “picture-a-day”  album on their phone, ipod or tablet.  They need to find someone to share their pictures with for one minute as they monitor their speech sound for consistency and accuracy. They can ask a parent, sibling, friend to listen to them as they talk about the pictures they have taken.  When they come in to their next speech session, have them use this FREEBIE to sketch out one of the pictures and tell you all about it.  (Again, if electronic devices are permitted in the school setting, ask them to show you the actual pictures.)


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Kids love to record themselves saying and doing silly things.  Channel some of that energy and humor by having them use the video feature on their device to record themselves.  The video should last no longer than one minute.   They can talk on any topic that they wish.  Afterward they can review it and rate it.  Have them give it a number from 1-5, depending on the clarity and number of errors they observed.  They should share their short video with a parent , sibling or friend and ask them to honestly and constructively rate their observations as well.  You can give them this FREEBIE rubric to use at home.   Keep copies available in your therapy session and ask them to explain the short video they recorded and rate what they thought of their speech.  Once again, if permitted to use their phones in school, ask them to share their video so you can rate it together.

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So there you have it, ways to incorporate personal technology into carryover.   Remember to tell your students that they need to be mature and appropriate when carrying out this assignment.  It will hopefully teach responsibility as well as help them realize that their device can be used as an important learning tool!

What are your carryover strategies with older students?  Check out Crazy Speech World’s linky party for tons of great ideas from SLP bloggers!


A Cornucopia of New Vocabulary {A Tier-2 Word Activity and Treat for Thanksgiving}

This neat holiday idea has been floating around on many websites and pinterest boards for the past Thanksgiving season or two, so I couldn’t resist giving it a try and “making it my own.”  And this simple “food craft” (like so many of the treats I make) is the inspiration behind the new Thanksgiving product I created in my TpT store—A Cornucopia of Tier Two Vocabulary.   I created it with the middle to high school set in mind. It includes some key Tier-2 vocabulary, strategy and game dice and a 3-D “Cornucopia Cup,” (as I call it), for collecting all the game pieces earned in this activity.    If you’d like, you could even substitute the Cornucopia Sugar Cone (see below) to make your activity an edible learning experience!

Let’s take a look at the activity first, but read on for a sweet Thanksgiving treat.  Your students will be thankful when they see how much fun learning new vocabulary can be!!


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This packet is designed to help teach students  to look beyond the memorization of dictionary definitions and further develop a deeper understanding of tier-2 vocabulary words . In addition, it addresses comprehension skills through “WH” questions related to the content of the passages that require thoughtful, inferential responses.

Object of the game:  Read the passages aloud to/with your students.   Roll the dice and pick the numbered tier -2 word in one of the passages that corresponds.  Be the first player to fill their cornucopia cup with all six playing pieces by providing good responses to vocabulary and/or comprehension questions.

What’s included:

  •  5 different November-themed reading passages. Each passage has SIX tier-2 words in bold lettering.  These words should be used in conjunction with the accompanying dice on pages 11,12 and 13.
  • Cornucopia template for use with game. Copy one cornucopia for EACH player.  Cut out image and laminate for durability.  Cut along dotted lines after laminated.  Fold down each triangular section and secure flaps with tape or a glue stick to the inside of a large paper cup.   Your cornucopia is now ready to get filled with a harvest of fruits and vegetables.  Plastic playing chips or real food treats such as cereal, raisins, gummy candies or candy corn can be substituted for items on pages 9-10.
  • Two duplicate pages of items to be used to play the cornucopia game.
  • Cubes for use with passages.  Use cubes #1 and #2 only or all three together. Cube #1  is the vocabulary-building strategies cube.  Cube #2 contains a number and symbol.  Pick the word in the passage that corresponds with the number on the cube.  Put the item into  your cornucopia cup after responding to the question.  Cube #3 contains lose/gain an extra item remarks—use of this cube is optional. Cube #4 is used with the passages to focus on comprehension/inferential thinking questions related to the stories.
  • Graphic Organizer for tier-2 vocabulary
  •  “Let’s Talk Turkey” organizational diagram to be used for writing the main idea and supporting details regarding each of the reading passages.
  •  Sugar Cone Cornucopia recipe—One “speechsnacks” recipe card is included to accompany this Thanksgiving-themed product (see complete recipe post and full-color, step-by-step pictures at

And here’s a preview of the Cornucopia Cup you will be making to go along with this activity:

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Use this edible activity in your therapy sessions to building speech and language skills. (for practicality purposes, make cone shapes ahead of time)

please note:  in the image below, I left out the following information:  be sure to place a lid on over the colander while steaming the sugar/waffle cones!

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Before filling cones, 1-discuss the concepts: empty/full, hollow/solid, 2-practice the multisyllabic word “corn-u-cop-i-a” and count the syllables, 3-have students generate a list of things they are grateful for as they add items to their cone.   4- Name other objects that are shaped like a cone. 5–Use this food craft to target any language or articulation skill and fill with “tokens” (either edible or non-edible) for rewards points.

Hoping you and your students enjoy this activity and find your cornucopia’s and conversations overflowing with new vocabulary!!!


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