Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Teachers are Heroes TpT SALE!! What’s in Your Cart? {Linky Party}


TpT is holding a site wide sale on Wednesday, February 25th!  I love the theme of this sale: “Teachers Are Heroes.”  What a wonderful message and a lovely way to recognize and celebrate educators!  You can enter promo code : HEROES at check out for an additional 10% off, however my store will also be marked down an additional 20%.   Speech Room News has a linky party going on!  Check out all the products SLP’s are adding to their carts, as well as some suggestions from our own stores.

First, here are my suggestions for some SPRING-themed products.  That’s right, I’m thinking warm thoughts and hoping spring gets here soon!  I have a variety of  spring-themed products in my store and decided to bundle them ALL!  So if you want to get the most bang for your buck , consider purchasing one of these spring bundles during the sale:

Spring Language Bundle for Older Students

My Spring Language Bundle for Older Students covers all your spring-themed language needs! Your older students deserve some fun and challenging new materials and so do you!

Here is what you will find in this bundle:

Earn Some Green: Help your students identify and define figurative language concepts with this fun St. Patty’s themed packet. Packet includes “leprechaun loot” which students earn when they have responded to one of the figurative language cards (idioms, similes or metaphors.)

Language Advisor: This very unique product will have you traveling through the Emerald Isle as you learn about several cities in Ireland. Build vocabulary, listening and comprehension skills with this packet.

Scrambled Eggs:It includes categorization, figurative and humorous language activities. Challenge your students word retrieval and higher level thinking skills with this activity.

Magic Squares Spring Vocabulary:
Looking for a fun way to practice vocabulary that will also work the mathematical side of your brain? Give MAGIC SQUARES a try!!
SIX Magic Squares with NINE vocabulary words per game for: St. Patrick’s Day vocabulary, weather words, basketball terms (March Madness College b-ball!!), color related words, “Spring changes” terms and flower related terms.

Spring Language Bundle {Elementary level}

My Spring Language bundle {elementary age} was created with your younger students in mind.

Here is what you will find in this bundle:

O.M.G. (Oh My Greenness!) : This fun language game contains a collection of “green things” that can be used in several ways: for Receptive, expressive language building, barrier games, categorizing/classifying. A versatile way to use a collection of visuals!

Swing Into Spring Rhyme Time!: Brian the Lion and Pam the Lamb welcome in March with an activity that will help improve rhyming skills, phonological awareness and listening skills. Many of the words are “March” and “Spring” themed.

Rhyme Define Recycle–a book companion for Michael Recycle:This activity was inspired by the book Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel. This is a book companion activity for use with this story!


And here is what I’m adding to my cart from some other fabulous TpT stores:

I’m always looking for ways to keep my middle/high school kids engaged and motivated.  These riddles for teens from Teachers Resource Force will be great to use as warm-ups or end of session fillers.  They will challenge my students to work on those all important inferential, critical thinking and reasoning skills

99 Bell Ringers / Lesson Starters - Riddles for Teens!


If there’s a food-theme involved, you know I’m interested!  Speech2U has a product that addressees several language goals  (sequencing, verb tense, comprehension) with a pizza theme.  Pizza-rific looks terrific and it’s definitely going into my shopping cart!

Pizza-riffic: Functional language, Sequencing, Verb tense,

If you have students that need to improve their perspective taking on big vs. little problems as well as how to solve conflicts, Miss V’s Speech World created something that fits the bill.  This problem solving pack will be a nice addition to my other social thinking materials.  I have several students who will benefit from this product.

Problem-Solving Pack - Unit on little-medium-big problems

I am always looking for more materials to address tier 2 vocabulary with my older students.  I recently stumbled upon a new TpT store: BB’s SLP. She has Tier 2 Vocabulary Activity Kits for several grade levels.  I think the 7th grade vocabulary will serve my middle and high school students vocabulary needs, however I may be purchasing some of her other grade level vocabulary kits as well.

7th Grade Tier 2 Vocabulary Activity Kit

There are so many great products waiting to be purchased.  Don’t forget to visit the linky party and see some of the other great suggestions.   Remember teachers (and SLP’s!!),  we are heroes to so many children.  Keep inspiring, motivating and making a difference!

Chicken Soup for the SLP Soul Blog Hop


  chicken soup graphics

I am honored  to be sharing this special story with you on the “Chicken Soup for the SLP Soul” blog hop.  Be sure to keep track of each “secret number” at the end of the blog posts.  Add them all up and submit your response when you reach the last blog for your chance to win some amazing TpT gift certificates!

My Wednesday Morning Wake-Up Call

Over the years,  I have had the opportunity to work in several settings—public schools, private schools, preschool clinics, private practices and nursing homes. However, one of my most memorable experiences has been my time working with a Community Resource Team several years ago.  As part of the team, therapists and teachers provide home-based services to children who are unable to receive instruction in a classroom setting. Primarily, this is due to physical limitations which would make it too difficult to transport them to and from school. These children often require medical equipment and medical personnel to attend to their needs regularly.

My supervisor handed me the paperwork for a new student (I will call him “M” for privacy purposes).   I opened the file to review his IEP, medical history and other pertinent information regarding his disability. After having a good cry (the diagnosis and prognosis were overwhelming and I had never heard of this disorder before),  I realized that this would be an opportunity to grow and learn as an SLP and meet the challenge of working with a child with Type I SMA (Spinal Muscle Atrophy).

The rest of this story is a lesson in humility. For three years, every Wednesday morning was my “wake up call.”  No matter what my circumstances were that day, M was facing far greater challenges than me. And he did so with a positive attitude, great sense of humor and brave outlook. By the way, M was only 5 years old when I met him.

M’s parents were warm, genuine and highly intelligent people–and amazingly supportive and involved parents. Their baby appeared perfectly “normal” at birth. His parents had no idea that their son had this devastating genetic disorder—and that they were BOTH carriers. He was diagnosed after his parents began to observe signs of weakness in his ability to support himself and achieve developmental milestones. His parents and the doctors assumed he was just slow to develop, but then at seven months they were asked to check with a neurologist just to be safe. He was diagnosed when he was only eight months old. Blood work confirmed the diagnosis—– Type I SMA—the most severe type. Doctors told his parents not to expect him to see his second birthday.



My initial meeting with M was not what I had expected. Although I had thoroughly read all the background history, the visual in my head did not match the one I met in person.  M had beautiful, inquisitive brown eyes and an amazing smile (despite the fact that weak facial muscles prevented full oral-motor strength.) Although his speech was often difficult to understand due to muscle weakness and poor breath support, the longer I worked with him, the easier it became to communicate. I grew to understand what his verbal approximations meant, I learned to read his facial expressions and I became generally more intuitive about understanding his responses as time went on.

M was usually positioned on the floor on a thick mat during my morning visits.  He had no mobility in his legs and minimal range of motion with his arms and hands.  He had a special adaptive chair that he sat in occasionally, however he always found it uncomfortable.  On the floor, it was easier for him to breath with ease and created less pressure on his intercostal muscles.  He always had a pile of his special toys next to him that he would hold in his hand or place on his chest. These were usually small figurines of characters from “Finding Nemo”, his favorite movie ever! His mom told me that Nemo represented M’s life to some extent. Nemo was a fish with a disproportionately small right fin who wanted to go out and explore the world regardless of his disability.  M explored the world through his lap top which he used quite proficiently.  He had a mouse with a rotating ball that made it easy for him to navigate through websites, play computer games, and search for information. And like Nemo, M seemed to “just keep swimming”—-medical setbacks were only temporary obstacles for this very brave boy!


M was rarely unhappy when I came to visit.  His social skills were impressive for a young child.  I always received a greeting upon entering the room.  He always asked me how I was doing.  And whether or not he thought I was truly funny, he (almost) always laughed at my silly jokes.    I sat on a yoga mat on the floor next to him during our lessons. Our therapy sessions addressed story comprehension, vocabulary development, direction following, and sentence building. I usually focused my lessons around themes, primarily the seasons and holidays as well as his interests (anything that involved his favorite TV shows and movie characters were always a big hit!)  He enjoyed listening to stories and holding the character stick puppets that we made.  Despite his physical limitations, he made steady growth and progress in his language goals.

M loved to learn. He loved to ask questions. He loved to ask how my son was doing and looked forward to visits from him—they were only one year apart and had become friends over the three years I worked with him. His entire “team” was always invited to birthday parties, holiday parties, graduation parties. We were all (the OT,PT, nurse, teacher and myself) treated like part of the family.

M’s parents found out they were expecting a second child around the time M was turning six years old. They hadn’t planned the pregnancy, but were willing to accept whatever the future held. M’s baby brother turned out to be perfect in every way. He was a special gift. M was excited about being a big brother!

Over the years, M took several trips to Children’s Hospital to treat complications that arose;  and although he had already outlived the statistical odds, his parents knew that their son was regressing. There are currently five clinical drug trials being conducted on all populations affected by SMA. Clinical testing of novel therapeutics (non-FDA approved drugs) will commence for SMA in the next 2 years.

M passed away at the age of seven.  He went into cardiac arrest caused by respiratory complications, as predicted in the diagnosis of children with Type I SMA.  I visited M and his family in the hospital during his final hours. I told his parents that he had taught me far more than I could have ever taught him. He was an inspiration and I was honored to have known him. I continue to stay in touch with his family and I enjoy watching their second son grow and thrive—as his big brother lives on in him.

M taught me some important lessons….to be grateful and thankful for what I do have, to keep life in perspective by enjoying the good moments and to bravely face challenges and conflicts. He is still my Wednesday morning wake-up call!!

sma awaremess august

UPDATE:  AUGUST 1, 2016—- 

Important Milestone Reached with First New Drug Program for SMA Advancing Towards Approval with the FDA


Thanks for taking a moment to let me share my heartfelt story with you!  You can read more Chicken Soup stories by visiting all the fantastic SLP’s blogs in the hop.  Special thanks to The Dabbling Speechie for organizing this wonderful blog hop!  Don’t forget to enter your answer in the Rafflecopter giveaway when you reach the last blog on the stop!  My secret number is below:

Cooking up good speech


Click here to go to SLPrunner, the next blog on the hop.

next blog

Click here if you would like to go back to ”Speech Time Fun,” the first blog on the hop.

first blog

The Frenzied SLPs February Theme: {Things We Love!}

dice pict    This month The Frenzied SLPs are talking about things we love.  What a great way to tie in the Valentine theme!  This topic has such a wide range of possibilities, my list could go on and on….I love so many things… family, my dog, being an SLP, food, music, weekends, food, vacations, food, sleep, did I mention food?  Maybe I should stick to something SLP-related?  I love keeping things fun in my speech room so today I’m sharing a therapy idea I love to use on a regular basis.  DICE!  Yup, that’s my magical motivator with the older kids.  But not just any dice, a bonanza of dice! (I bought mine at Target.) It’s my simple go-to item and it can be used with any speech/language goal you are targeting and any age/grade/ability level.   I work primarily with middle and high school students (and mostly boys).  It seems as though any time a score, tally, game format is presented, they suddenly become ultra competitive and motivated!  There are 60 dice in this plastic tube with a variety of different cube styles including letters, colors, numbers, polyhedral (how do you like that vocab word!) designs with up to 20 sides!  And the uses are endless.  Here are just a few ways I have been using them……

dice( Note: No compensation was given for mentioning this product.)

1—Use the color-coded dot dice to play vocabulary building games with new tier-2 words you are introducing.  Have each color represent a different task :


red=provide your own definition, orange=give a synonym, blue=give an antonym, yellow=use it in a sentence, green=create a questions using the word, purple=tell me a time you heard this word used.


2–The polyhedral dice are so fun to play with since they come in so many cool shapes with a variety of sides.   The number values on the sides are as high as 32 on some of the dice so my students love rolling to see how many points they can earn for the language task when they provide a correct response.  I keep their scores on my white board.  And they love when I play with them so they can try and beat my score.   The multi-sided dice are also great for practicing multiple repetitions of speech sounds. Use them to address sound, syllable, word level lists for the target sound.


white board demo


3-The letter dice can be used in a very challenging game of “name words that begin with the letter.”  I use it for categorization tasks.  For example, if the category is “winter-related words” and they roll the letter “f” they will need to name winter words that start with “f”.  Add in one of the number value cubes and have them name that number of winter words.  Quite the challenge!  Let’s see, there’s, frigid, frozen, frosty, freezing, flannel, forecast… get the idea.


4–The playing card dice have queens, kings, jacks and a variety of heart, club and spade values imprinted on the sides.  I like to use them just as I would playing cards to play “War” or “21″.  Each player gets a die and uses it to play by the rules of the card game of your choosing.  Rolls are earned after correct responses for any targeted goal you are addressing.


I bet there are a million other ways to use this gems in your therapy lessons.  If you think of any other ideas, I’d love for you to share and leave me a comment!


And now let’s talk about one of my other “loves”—–food!   Do you love beets?  I do now as an adult, but I refused to eat them as a child!  Now they are one of my favorite veggies!  So here’s is a fun way to introduce them to your students while making a Valentine food-tivity.  I have a simple way to use them at home too if you will be making a special Valentine’s Day dinner.

First you will need a few large raw beets.   (I bet you will get a few puzzled looks when you ask your students to name this root vegetable). You will also need heart shaped cookie cutters.  I prefer the metal cookie cutters to the plastic ones since it’s easier to cut out the beets with them.  Have a cooked (parboiled) beets peeled and cubed in a ziploc baggie so you can offer a taste to your students if they are willing! I like to compare the taste to that of a carrot.   This will make your activity truly multi-sensory.  You may even win a few beet fans in the process!




Be sure to lay out some wax paper on a solid surface, or use a cutting board.




Slice your beets about one half inch to one inch in thickness.




Press a metal cookie cutter firmly into the beet slice.



You will have a bevy of “heart beets” when you are finished!




As another option, you can parboil some heart shaped beets ahead of time at home.  The softened cooked beets will produce a deeper red color when pressed onto the paper. Raw beets will produce a brighter coloration.




Press the heart shaped beets onto heavy art paper.  Press firmly and evenly in order to get the full shape imprinted onto the paper. Let your students decide how they want to arrange the design of the beets on their page.


While pressing out the hearts, students can use this activity as a reinforcer while practicing targeted articulation, fluency and language goals!  Once the hearts have dried, you  can write words with their targeted speech sounds or new vocabulary onto the hearts.



When finished, you can write the phrase “My heart beets for you!”  on their paper . Explain to your student that this word is called a homophone because while it is pronounced one way, it has more than one meaning and spelling (BEET/BEAT)!  Student can take their special projects home and share them with their favorite Valentine!



Here’s a way to turn beets into a delicious and healthy Valentine salad….


First, cut out some beets with a cookie cutter.  Then, throw them into a pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 5 minutes—I like to just parboil them to preserve the vitamin value and vibrant color.  Next, drain the water from your pot and let the beets cool.  Finally,  lay them on top of a bed of mixed greens with a light balsamic dressing.  You’ve got a wonderfully healthy way to share the love this Valentine’s Day—or any day of the year. (You can almost always find beets in season in the grocery store).

I have one more thing you may love before I go……a  Valentine FREEBIE!   It’s in my Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s store so go grab your copy (and remember to leave me a kind word or two when you do!)  Use this activity to share a positive message with your students about the qualities that make them special and unique. This activity also serves as a great way to address social skills and perspective taking.

Words from My Heart: An Exercise in Kindness & Using Good


The Frenzied SLPs—Make Each Day Count in Your New Year!

january frenzy pix

Happy New Year!   I’m so excited to kick the year off with The Frenzied SLP’s!  Each month we will be posting tips, tricks and ideas to help make your busy lives a little easier.

Let me start off by explaining my intro…

1.  foodie forever–   If you have been following my blog for a while then you might have guessed that I love food!  Making it, writing about it, using it in therapy (when appropriate), and of course eating it!  In my next life I think I would come back as a pastry chef and own a small patisserie or boulangerie in Paris!  For now I will settle for sharing my passion with my family, friends and students!   You can browse my site for lots of food-inspired activities and TpT products with a food theme!

2. guitar girl–  I first picked up this instrument at a very young age.  I was taught to play the guitar by a nun (no, not Maria Von Trapp! lol!)  I played at all the folk masses in my church and as a teenager studied classical/acoustic guitar with a British guitar teacher.   When I became a parent,  I loved writing fun and silly songs for my baby boy.   Maybe one day I will get up the nerve to play for my older students—but I better learn something really cool so I can impress them!  I am a big advocate of using music in your speech/language lessons with all ages.  It’s such a great motivator!!

3. family of educators–Practically my whole family is in the education business!   My husband is a school principal.  He used to teach middle school Spanish and started his career as an elementary school teacher.  My three sisters are middle and high school English and science teachers.  My brothers-in-law are music and physical education teachers.   We always joke about opening our own school someday.  I think we have all our bases covered!

4.  mom of a middle-schooler–  I thought the day would never come, but here we are.  I have a tween!  My son started middle school this year.  I am bracing myself for these years.  I have worked with middle and high school students for many years so I am well aware of the trials and tribulations!  Here’s hoping we have fairly smooth sailing.

This month, I have an inspiring tip (it’s actually a freebie in my TpT store) and a tasty dish to help you start off the new year on the right foot!  Let me know if you try either, I’d love to hear from you!

mini book

Instead of thinking about all the things that I didn’t finish at the end of the day, this year I vow to focus on what I did accomplish (no matter how small or simple it was!)  And to remind myself that all the little things add up to big things over time, I’m going to keep track in a mini calendar.   It will serve as a simple and effective way of noting daily accomplishments.   By the end of the week/ month/year, I will have many reminders of all the positive, productive, meaningful tasks that I completed!

I think this will be the perfect way to start off the new year, without making definitive and specific resolutions that often stress us out and then later fizzle out!

You can grab your own copy of my “Make Each Day Count” mini-calendar HERE.   Remember, your tasks might be as small/simple as filing away papers to clear your workspace,    finally finding your favorite speech reward stickers that had been missing, changing the light bulb that has been out for the past month at home!   The tasks might be more involved such as completing an evaluation on a challenging student, getting a student to finally produce a difficult sound, or cleaning out your messy closets at home and donating the unwanted items.  The important message is that you remind yourself that you are moving forward, making a difference in some small (or large) way, and always trying to “make each day count.”

calendar 1

Keep your mini book in your school planner, at your workspace at home, in your purse, next to your bedside or somewhere you will remember to take a moment to record a few words before the end of each day.

calendar 2

And I couldn’t end my post without sharing a recipe!  (I’m hoping to have a new one for you each month.)   Some people believe that consumption of black-eyed peas will bring luck and prosperity in the new year so I whipped up some Cowboy Caviar for you!  Not only does it have symbolic value but it is also a very healthful way to start off the New Year!


cowboy 1

Combine the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl: 1 can black-eyed peas (rinsed and drained), 2 cups corn ( I prefer thawed, frozen corn to canned corn) 2 cubed avocados, 3-4 diced Roma tomatoes, 3-4 chopped green onions (scallions), 1 can chopped black pitted olives, 1 diced red pepper, 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro

cowboy 2

Mix the following dressing ingredients: 1 freshly squeezed lime, 2-3 cloves garlic finely minced, 2-3 tsp Tabasco sauce, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, salt/pepper to taste

Mix dressing ingredients well and add to chopped ingredients.  Let sit overnight in refrigerator to allow dressing to infuse into all ingredients and enhance flavors.  Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

cowboy 4


Share and enjoy at home with your family or bring some in to work for your coworkers!  It will make lunchtime more enjoyable and you will be sharing the gift of luck and prosperity with those around you!  All the best in 2015!

The Year in Review—and something new too!

happy new year pict 2015

The year flew by!   Each year seems to move faster than the one before it.  I know they say “time flies when you’re having fun,” but it also tends to behave in the same way as a result of  growing older!  I’m trying to convince myself that the initial, not the latter, is the reason for the accelerated pace!

I’d like to wrap up my busy year by sharing a few bloggy highlights, count-down style!   So let’s start the count at 10.  Here are my highlights from this past year……….


* added over TEN NEW PRODUCTS in my TpT store

My target population is middle and high school students.  Most of my activities are language-based and many carry a seasonal theme or a theme of high interest to older students.   Creating activities for the older students can be a challenge but it is so rewarding to get a positive response from them–they are my biggest supporters (and critics) and they think it’s pretty cool that I create activities just for them!   You can find all  my products in my TpT store.  I’d love for you to visit when you have a minute!

* whipped up at least NINE “SpeechSnacks” food-tivities on my blog:

…like this hysterical and creative April Fool’s fake-out idea.…and  this “toothy” treat for Halloween

Browse the post archives on my site for many more food-tivities to try at home or with your students at school when permitted!

* created EIGHT NEW FREEBIES in my TpT Store:

You  can check them all out here, but please, please take a moment to leave a little feedback and let me know what you think of my activities.  I put hours of time into my products, even my freebies, and it would mean so much to me!!   I would also LOVE if you followed my store by clicking on the green star next to my logo!!!!

* posted SEVEN crafty ideas to use in your therapy sessions:

Here are a couple you can quickly access—-I was inspired by a very healthy root veggie to create this crafty Valentine idea……and this St. Patty’s idea was inspired by some wine corks that I just happened to have left over after enjoying a glass of red.


I gave away apps (thanks to the generosity of Smarty Ears, my own TpT products and a product box filled with amazing materials thanks to 3D SLP).  Check out the complete 3DSLP blog post here!!!   Keep following my blog and you might be the lucky winner of a product to add to your therapy bag of tricks in 2015!

* participated in FIVE LINKY PARTIES:

Are you familiar with these?   Jenna at Speech Room News does an awesome job organizing linky parties throughout the year.  If you want some great product suggestions to add to your “cart” during the big TpT sales, then you must check out what SLP’s are recommending from various  TpT stores!


I had so much fun joining an amazingly talented group of SLP’s on Facebook this year.  We created freebies and gave them away on our Facebook pages when followers “liked” our pages.  Facebook has changed the rules a bit, so we won’t be throwing any more frenzies, however we have a new surprise in store for you.  Keep reading to find out more!

* reviewed THREE PRODUCT:

an app review for Language Trainer by Smarty Ears,

an app review for iName It by Smarty Ears,

a product review for Tatyana Ellesef– Executive Function Impairments in At-Risk Pediatric Populations.

* shared TWO  EXPERIENCES that connected my real-life to my speechie-life….

You must check out how I compared my kitchen renovation experience this past summer to the language concepts and students I teach!  Read about it HERE and HERE!

And see how I shared my own holiday traditions with my middle and high school students to form meaningful connections with them!

* named to ONE TOP 75 LIST!

I was so honored to find out that my blog made this list!   I’m in great company so check out all the amazing sites that were named to the

BEST WEBSITES FOR Speech Pathology–TOP 75 for 2015!


And now for something new!

Introducing The Frenzied SLP’s…coming to you this January 2015!

We launch in January with an introduction from each SLP contributor along with some tips for making this a great New Year 2015!  Stay tuned for my tip (and a recipe) to start your year off on a positive note!

frenzied slp


Looking forward to all that 2015 has in store!

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