More Visuals!!

My mind just wasn’t focusing on a report during my planning today so I decided to take a “brain break” and made an activity that I can use with the majority of my caseload next week and for future end of school years. I thought I’d share in case anyone can use an idea for next week or the rest of this week.

During the end of the year when many classes have movies on, push-in therapy can be challenging. This is inspired by a similar “Happy New Year letter” activity that Kelly Williams (Miklosh) shared with me in January that I believe she found on I did a quick search on TPT to see if I could find something similar for the end of the year with no luck. This is a letter for either the last week of school (pages 2-3) or the end of the year (pages 4-5), depending on what wording you like best. I plan to print pages 1 and 2 front and back and use page 3 for visual supports for language. All I need are several copies, scissors, and glue sticks, and my students and I will be good to go (after they express what they want to say in their letter we will glue their choices on). For the “Dear __,” part, I’m going to have them tell me who they want to write the letter to or give choices verbally or with devices as needed (mom, Mrs. (teacher name), etc.). I’ll use some OT/teacher tricks to help them address and sign the letter as needed (highlighted visual to be traced and/or name stamp). With what time we have left we will practice their letter orally as best as we can depending on ability and share it with their teacher, even if they decided to write to their mom because any talking is good talking.

Thanks, Kelly, for the inspiration! 

Also, I’m attaching the rest of my CBI visual maps if anyone wants them.

Stony Brook Meijer

Stony Brook Kroger Map

Middletown WalMart Map

THANKS, Candra!!!

Tech Tuesday

Carrie Kaelin shares:

Hi everyone! I’d like to share the app that I use most often…. Voice Recorder… from the App Store. I’ve tried a few recording apps, and this is my favorite thus far.

This app is very easy to use. Handy features: 1. Keeps the recordings in chronological order. 2. Very easy to label the recording.   3. You can create folders.   4. My favorite feature…you can ‘rewind’ by 15 second intervals and ‘fast forward’ by 15 second intervals. Nice! Trying to listen to a speech sample and the dog starts barking? Or your co-worker starts talking to you about how awesome their spouse is? Is your hearing acuity not quite what it used to be? No worries….. just ‘rewind’ a bit to listen again.

  1. Another nice feature….. when listening to the recording you can slow it to ½ time (push the 1X at the bottom of the screen). I have used it to listen closely to certain segments of speech and language samples. But honestly, it is more entertaining than anything else. All parties sound like they have been celebrating with a glass of something refreshing….i.e. the speech is slurred. I have never been more aware of my Kentucky accent!

Here’s a picture of what the screen looks like when you are playing the recording…….

Notice the little advertisement bar at the top. That does pop up, but it is not overly annoying.

I not only use this app for recording speech & language samples, but I also frequently record my students during therapy, to target auditory discrimination and self-evaluation. They enjoy hearing themselves and think it’s so funny when they hear Ms. Carrie chime in!

Happy Recording!

Data Days!

Melissa Gates shares:

On the last few days of school I have what I call, “Data Days”. I let the students get out the “Communication Temptation Box” (box of interesting trinkets, mini puzzles, mini games and gadgets) that they can explore. They choose an item to explore or use with a peer while I model, prompt, cue and collect data on individual students/benchmarks. When I announce “switch”, they have to exchange communication temptation items and I collect data with another student. After I’ve rotated through each student, the group shares about an item they explored.

With some groups during Data Days, I let them each pick a book from my shelf (or from a pile of books that I put out on the table). They look for words with their speech sound in the book while I probe / collect data from each student. When I announce “switch”, they swap books with each other and continue looking for speech words. After I rotate through all of the children, they “share out” the words they found with their speech sound while I model and cue for correct productions as appropriate.

If they have language goals, we use the books to address their individual goals, for example: “Find two or objects in the book and be ready to describe them to me”, “look at the pictures and be ready to tell me what happened at the beginning, middle and the ending of the story”, “look at 2 pictures and tell me what you thing the characters might be saying to each other with your good pronouns and verbs”, etc. We “share out” with a friend or group while I model, cue and praise as appropriate.

I include a description of some of these activities in a handout for suggested summer practice ideas. This is an easy task for parents to duplicate at home and the students are familiar with the practice drill.

Data Days gives the students a little free choice and opportunity to practice with peers. It also allows me to get some ending data and see if there are any issues that I need to address before the students leave for the summer.

The activity doesn’t require any additional copying, cutting, pasting, clean up, etc. which is a bonus for me during the last few days of school. It also allows me to “tune in” to what they are interested and get inspired for materials shopping over the summer!

Thanks, Melissa!

Tech Tuesday

James Dendy shares:

I really enjoy using my iPad for therapy. I use it in a number of different ways, for language, fluency, and articulation. One of the best things about having the iPad is one of the most obvious. It eliminates having to carry around lots of materials. This is especially important when you have more than one building you travel to. Everyone knows that when you are doing articulation therapy, it is important to have as many cue cards, words, etc. as possible. The iPad eliminates having to haul these materials from one placement to another. You have all you words for each phoneme built in right there on you iPad. I had already been using an iPad for therapy prior to receiving my new one from our grant. So I transferred my apps that I had already purchased from my cloud to my iPad. I use several different artic apps such as photo artic, speech sounds, speech cards, and quick artic. I especially like Webber Photo Artic Castle because it allows you to to track progress as you go by giving an positive or negative response and at the end you automatically get a percentage for the student with whom you are working with. But again, having the iPad eliminates having to carry cue cards and other items from building to building. It’s pretty obvious but really helpful.


CBI Activity

Visual Map of Target (Stonybrook)

Candra Grether shares-

I made this because I wanted our kids to have more independence with problem solving where to find items in the store (versus adults leading them straight there) but it is also good for language skills of following directions, categories, and as a visual to use when answering WH questions about the store or even as a visual when asking an associate for help locating an item. I used the “go” symbol for the exit because of already established core vocabulary routines with my AAC users. One of my Teachers of the Visually Impaired has blown up a copy of the map to half-poster size for one of our shared students and is getting good use out of this for her goals as well. I also have one for Middletown Walmart and am working on Stony Brook Kroger and Stony Brook Meijer– e-mail me if interested. Also, this is probably common knowledge but in case anyone could benefit from knowing this, I use the “add to” feature on Boardmaker to add multiple pictures to a symbol to resize and make custom buttons (e.g., “woman” + “clothes” for “women’s clothes”). I left this file as a PowerPoint file in case anyone wants to customize it for the Target that their students go to. I think the original print size is set to legal paper size but that can be modified of course.

Thanks, Candra!

Tech Tuesday

Angela Vanwinkle shares:

I just received my iPad in the Spring, so I haven’t had much time to explore it with my students. I also know I have barely scratched the surface of available apps because I only investigated free apps at this time. I used the iPad at this time as a method of reinforcement and engagement with my pre-school students.  With all of that being said,  I found that even my youngest students with the lowest language skills quickly learned how to use the apps and responded to them immediately. Students that did not regularly interact with peers in a small group setting became more engaged and interactive with the use of the iPad. I was able to use the engagement/interest generated by iPad activities into follow up Speech classes to improve the interactions of those students in other group activities.  I controlled the interactions with the iPad, because I wanted the games to be interactive in the group and I wanted the students to involve each other in the games. They loved them and were respectful of turn-taking opportunities (with training) and involved each other in the games. 

One app my pre-schools students loved was Learning Games for Kids-Toddlers. The app included a variety of concepts for pre-schoolers to work on (including sorting, shapes, etc.) and they particularly enjoyed the “Funny eggs” game in the app. I found it to be a great motivator to encourage attention when it was used at the end of class as a reward for hard work! We also enjoyed Preschool First Words Baby Toddler Games, which focused on matching pictures, completing pictures and choosing named items in groups. It was great for naming vocabulary. Again, all of the apps I found had more extensive information to be purchased, which I might consider for my own iPad in the future. 

I am looking forward to spending more time this summer investigating apps and games that I might want to use with my pre-schoolers in the fall! 

I really appreciate the Crusade for Children’s Grant that allowed me to use this iPad with my youngest students!



Lindsey Ludwig shares:

This is the bug unit I’ve been doing with my mixed groups over the past week. For the little ones, I try to give them groups of bugs that have their articulation sounds in them to practice. For the older ones working on articulation carryover, we just tell 1-2 thing we know about each but. This is also a great activity for multiple language goals. I’ve had kids work on wh-questions (What do bees make? Why does the scorpion have claws?) describing attributes, comparing/contrasting, problem solving (Ex: Which bugs are harmful? How does the bee harm you differently than the mosquito or scorpion?), categorizing (find all the bugs that fly/have long, skinny bodies, etc.). To make my pictures, I just uploaded them into boardmaker. It took some time, but I’ve saved these pictures and used them for probably the past 5 years. The kids are highly engaged, because, come on, kids love bugs! We’ve also made ladybug cookies to go with the activity. I just bought sugar cookies, mixed some red food coloring into icing, and had them put chocolate chips on them to make it look like black ladybug spots. You could also make other bug treats…see attached pics for ideas. I’ve also used YouTube for some supplementary teaching. For example, if they say they don’t know what a cicada is, I find a video on there about the noise a cicada makes. This usually makes the light bulb go off and they realize that they have heard that noise and therefore have a frame of reference for that particular insect. This really has been a fun unit for my kids from preschool through 5th grade.


Thanks, Lindsey!!