Tech Tuesday

I decided to accept the iPad donation from the Crusade for Children to use during therapy. I had my personal iPad that I had been using and it has been very successful with my students. Several apps I use often are from Smarty Ears (Speech Trainer 3D, Language Empires, ArticuLate it) and Webber Hear Builder (Phonological Awareness, Following Directions, Auditory Memory, Sequencing) . My students love to use these apps and ask to see their progress at the end of the session. When I switch up and use another activity instead of the iPad, I always get “Where’s the iPad?” For me, the iPad is efficient to where I can take it from room to room or school to school and have my data collected and saved after each session.

Thank you Crusade for Children for your donation.

–Jean Whitt

November Activities

Marie Fisher shares some activities she has done with her students over the past month:

Students in my MSD classrooms at JCTMS presented “about me” desk card to their class. This was a good activity to video/ upload to their digital backpack under “effective communicator”.

Students in my MSD classroom have “morning meeting” every day. This is a good time to collab with the teacher and help them answer everyday questions. I made these adaptable calendars for the students that can be used all year. The back of the calendar has spaces for the students to talk about the weather, season and lunch menu as well (these are the questions asked consistently in the rooms at my school).

Thanks, Marie!

Chapter 25: Sleeping Your Way to Productivity

In this chapter, the author, Chris Bailey, explains that the more quality sleep we get, the more quality energy (and potential productivity) we will have. He explains that lack of sleep affects such things as our mood, ability to focus, memory and reasoning skills. He states that he believes through his study that “for every hour of sleep I missed out on, I lost two hours of productivity”.

The author discusses that when he tried to wake up earlier every day in order to increase his productivity (for him it was 5:30), he realized it wasn’t how early he got up that helped him be more productive. He realized what mattered was what time he went to bed. He explains that his sleeping late wasn’t the key to getting enough sleep, it was his getting to bed earlier and getting more quality sleep that made a difference. He offers the following suggestions:

Create a nighttime ritual. This should help you be more intentional about getting to bed.

Expose yourself to less blue light. He explains that electronics have a blue wavelength that inhibit our ability to sleep. Turn off your electronics a few hours before going to bed, use an app that color-shifts your screen display or even try some blue-blocking glasses. Expose yourself to more natural light during the day.

Don’t be afraid to nap. He discusses that napping can help productivity. He mentions taking a nap at work if you have the freedom to do so. (Come on now….seriously? It’s even hard for me to type that in this blog. Why would he even say that out loud?)

Stop drinking caffeine eight to fourteen hours before you sleep. Caffeine can interfere with your sleep and productivity the next day if you consume it too late in the day.

Think of your bedroom as a cave. It should be calm and comfortable.

In the end, he expresses it doesn’t matter what time you wake, it matters how much sleep you get. So go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Or, I guess, maybe keep going to bed late if you can sleep late. Whatever works for you as long as you get enough hours of quality sleep each night.

So, after reading this chapter, what changes do I think are reasonable for me to make to get more sleep? I don’t use the computer or cell screen at night or drink evening coffee so maybe I can start a bedtime ritual. Not going to nap at work. Maybe I can start a bedtime ritual by getting into my lounge pants at a certain time every night to signal bed time is coming.

Maybe I can set “office hours” at my house where my family cannot expect me to help them after a certain time. No requests to wash the dirty uniform that you forgot to put in the hamper after 8:00. No help with building that wigwam house out of wooden sticks for your last minute social studies project if I am already in my lounge pants.

Good night.

–Melissa Gates

Chapter 26 – The Final Step

“Investing in your productivity is a worthwhile goal, but life is too short to not be kind to yourself in the process.”


According to the author, Chris Bailey, the final and most crucial step in becoming more productive, is to be kind to yourself during the process of developing new habits for productivity. He lists 9 ways to be kind to yourself, culminating in my husband’s favorite….looking at pictures of cute baby animals.  Below I’ve paraphrased the 9 steps to being kind to yourself while developing productivity skills:

  1. Take more breaks: studies show  an ideal amount is 17 minutes per 52 minutes of work.
  2. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
  3. Specifically reflect on a positive experience from your day.
  4. MAKE LISTS – I truly revel in making lists.  I use colored paper, flair pens and have a favorite list making format.  And Chris says it helps me ‘flow.’
  5. Give yourself advice. I like this re-framing strategy.  I feel like I generally give others pretty good advice, so if I re-frame my problem by looking at it as if it’s someone else’s problem, I may surprise myself with a new point of view!
  6. Reward yourself…..not a new concept for me. I love rewarding myself for completing a Communication Assessment Summary with a piece of chocolate or a walk around the building.
  7. Growth mindset- educators have been using this buzz-word for years. It’s powerful.
  8. Toot your own horn, to yourself. Make another LIST!  List what you’ve accomplished.
  9. Baby animal pictures. Puppies are my favorite.


After listing the ways to be kind to yourself, the author recounts an event that occured when he decided to take a break from his book.  He broke his leg after a night of drinking, which led to an extended recovery that left him without much energy.  His re-telling was not humorous, and it also didn’t appear to fit into the theme of the chapter – being kind to yourself.  He ended the story by reflecting that meeting his deadline would have been difficult without the injury, but now it was even harder.  He then abruptly and awkwardly transitions to discussing internal monologues of negative self-talk.  Chris shared a statistic about how common negative self-talk is (one study said 77% of self-talk is negative). Knowing how common it is helped him to flip the switch and observe his comments and challenge them.


His last experiment was isolating himself for 10 days so he could reflect on the impact of his relationships on productivity. His conclusion? “People are the reason for productivity.” This makes sense to me….I want to be more productive so I can spend more quality time with my people.


In a nutshell, the author’s advice for productivity center on being good stewards of your: TIME, ATTENTION and ENERGY.

–Chelsea Graham

Tech Tuesday

Newscaster Articulation

Hi everyone! I just wanted to take a moment to share information about an app that I recently purchased. ‘Newscaster Articulation’ by Erik X. Raj is available in the App Store for $4.99.

This is such a fun and useful app! Sounds offered:

S, Z, R, L, SH, CH, TH…..

They give the student a variety of stimulus words from which to choose. You record the student or the student records himself/herself giving a brief ‘news story/segment’ about the stimulus word……………..

The app then puts the ‘news segment’ together with a brief, very real-life news intro (music, ‘breaking news’ visuals).

My students have had so much fun. We broadcast from “WBRN” (Brown School) and are always sure to say, “Stay tuned!” at the end. I think I missed my career calling. Ha ha.

I have used the app in therapy sessions to increase awareness of errors and to work on carryover. I can think of many more uses, though. You could expand this into a language activity… perhaps have the students prepare the segments in advance, focusing on syntax, vocabulary, beginning/middle/end, morphology, etc.   This would be a fun way to work on fluency as well. The only negative I have found with this app is that you cannot go ‘back’ when trying to decide on a stimulus word; you can only go forward through the choices. It would be helpful to create a list of the choices and have the students decide ahead of time. (This will make sense when you use the app.) Lastly, I have found ‘Newscaster Articulation’ to be a great resource to recommend to parents for home practice, when appropriate.

Happy newscasting!


–Carrie Kaelin

Submit your posts!

Happy Friday!!! If you have a little time today or in the near future, don’t forget to submit your posts to share!! Posts don’t have to be long or take a ton of time to compile!! You just have to be willing to share  the therapy activities that have worked for you! If you have thoughts on professional issues, feel free to share that too!! In the mean time, here are some links to past Thanksgiving and fall themed activities…..

Happy Fall Y’all!!

Ten Red Apples Literacy Unit


Bring on the ideas!!!

Chapter 24: The Exercise Pill

This chapter focuses on habits and how powerful they are when it comes to productivity, more specifically, exercise. Habits are made up of neurological pathways that aren’t always easy to form, but the right habits are worth it in the end. The author points out that every strategy that he discussed in the book can become a habit if it is practiced enough. He compares forming a new habit to performing brain surgery on yourself (on a microscopic level). Most people are not getting enough physical activity, which is most likely because of our ever-changing world that has evolved at a very fast pace. Our bodies are designed to move and we are sitting at our jobs for countless hours. Exercise is so important, not only for physical health, but mental health as well. Exercise allows us to release stress by releasing chemicals that have so many neurological benefits. He also talks about his productivity experiment to increase his muscle mass and decrease his body fat. Although he failed initially, he eventually developed a workout routine that worked for him and it became a habit. In the end, he realized he was less stressed, more productive and he gained fifteen pounds of muscle, which was twice the amount of his original goal. His challenge to readers was to elevate their heart hate for fifteen minutes. This chapter has a lot of great information and I hope it motivates people to move their bodies more. Exercise is a big part of my life and it is definitely something that I can’t live without.

–Allison Forrester

Chapter 23

“Drinking for Energy”

I was excited when I saw the title for my randomly selected chapter because it reminded me of a similar challenge I took on in my first years of undergraduate study in college where I tried to enhance my productivity with frequent hydration along with my fraternity brothers. Wait. Wait…Upon closer inspection, it turns out that the author is talking about water.  That’s probably a good thing because my results, published in the form of my first few college report cards, were not as positive as I (and my parents) had hoped for. So let’s talk about what puts the Pee in Productivity.

I had actually done this chapter challenge before I even read it. Over the years I have eliminated caffeine, sugary drinks and alcohol from my diet entirely at times.  I currently will enjoy an occasional adult beverage or a caffeinated drink but way less than in the past.  Although I was never a coffee drinker, I drank lots of Mountain Dew, eventually switching to Diet Mountain Dew because I worried about being fat while I was unable to sleep due to the ridiculous amount of caffeine I was drinking every day (vicious cycle!) It had gotten to the point where I was so used to caffeine that it really had no effect on me. I can now notice how caffeine actually works when I drink a soda to stay awake driving home from whatever tournament my kids had all weekend.

I now drink lots of water.  I carry a bottle with me all the time and easily meet the recommended daily allowance.  I can’t say that it has made me any more productive. I probably go to the bathroom more often which probably has a negative impact on my productivity.  Maybe one of the upcoming chapters will have a challenge where the author doesn’t go to the bathroom for a week to save himself more time to write about how much time he has saved.

Which brings me to my biggest issue with this book. I have always had a problem with people who do something just to write about what they did. It feels like this book falls squarely in this category. It would be easy to work toward being more productive if your only product was writing about productivity. I find myself wondering, “more productive for what?” I am reading a book about productivity written by a guy who doesn’t have a job other than blogging about how productive he is…how meta.

In order to be more productive myself (and to increase the flow of comments to follow) I am going to post my own musings which I will be calling “Real Productive” about why I think this book is unrealistic.

I will focus on productivity issues that affect a person in the real world. After reading my comment, please ask a question. By responding to you, we will both meet our commentary requirement for this book club and that will make us all “Real Productive” Here is the teaser…

My first chapter is titled  “Home Alone”

In order to come closer to the Nirvana of productivity sought by the author I have decided that I am going to rid myself of one of the main drains on my productivity…my children.  I have enjoyed my time with them but due to their negative impact on my ability to get things done, I am going cut them loose.  With their constant demands for superfluous things like shelter and food, I have less time to talk about how much I can get done. You can imagine how difficult it is to highlight my accomplishments while I try and referee a fight between you and your sister over who gets to use the bathroom next, or who stole

who’s charger cable I will just keep blogging away as I try and find your clean socks for practice while also trying to call you mother to ask if she realizes that you have outgrown your ridiculously overpriced, yet lightly used cleats for one of three sports you are currently signed up for which happen to have practices at different ends of the earth at the exact same time and you haven’t actually eaten real food since your 10 o’clock lunch because you have a huge project due tomorrow which I am just now hearing about because you forgot to mention it while you were complaining about how you never get to have your friends over and you are so bored. I can’t even find time to punctuate the last sentence.

And that is just scratching the surface. I am sure you can add your own kid-related drama that sucks your productivity dry.  Funny, I never heard the author mention that. All I could think of the whole time I was reading was how I would like to show up at Chris Bailey’s house, leave my kids on his porch, ring the bell, speed away in my car and see how productive he sounds in his next chapter.

I will add my next chapter in the comments section.  Please comment below…

–Doug Keefe