Friday, April 25, 2014

Behavior Management Linky Party

Jenna at Speech Room News is hosting a linky party about behavior management.  With so much to cover in sessions, crowd control is really important, and can be exhausting.  I always start out the year going over speech room rules and expectations, and I try to keep the kids busy and engage to minimize behavior issues, but every one has off days at times.  That is why I love the program Class Dojo.  I already posted about this on-line tool Class Dojo here.

I like this tool because I can have it open on my SmartBoard, iPhone, or iPad.  It allows me to give points for good behavior, bad behavior, and it is easily tailored for each individual in each group.  I can also give and take points as we walk back and forth from our sessions because I carry my iPhone and use the free app to keep giving them points.  Love, love, love it!

Check it out and let me know what you think of the program! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

U.T. F. Linky Party

Melanie Place at the The Speech Place has a great linky party for SLPs to share some of the unusual items that they use in therapy each month.   This month's topic is apps.  We all love the apps dedicated to a specific therapy purpose, but there are tons of apps out there ready to be modified for other uses by the most creative people on the planet-  SLPs!

So, mine are not always the most original uses for apps out there, but here is what I do with apps that are not necessarily straight artic or language or fluency apps.

1)  Reinforcer apps

So many of my students just love any type of activity or game app.  The one my 5th grade boys love lately (and this is a tough  crowd let me say) is the free version of Tenzi I got awhile back.
This is an electronic version of the dice game Tenzi.  I love it because it is SUPER fast, doesn't involve real dice that make lots of noise and go flying across my therapy table, and has lots of game options.  We usually practice our goal, and then the student has a turn to play Tenzi where ten dice are rolled and they chose the number they think they can collect the fastest and the timer shows who got ten of the same number first.  Since they are racing to do it the fastest, a turn often lasts less than thirty seconds so most of our time is spent doing goal practice and only a little on reinforcement. 

For younger students, especially the preschool crowd, I love free apps that go with a theme.  For example, this past month we did a farm unit.  There are tons of free apps that open to a screen that gets them talking (describing what they see, using good sounds identifying what goes in what category, etc.).  After they practice their goals, they get to add a piece to the farm scene or color part of a scene.  Here are two free ones called Crazy Farm and Little Farm.

2)  Books
I LOVE books in therapy, but nonfiction ones are sometimes hard to find, and my students really like books with colorful pictures and less obvious amounts of text.  I use this National Geographic Weird But True app quite a bit to work on language goals and auditory processing goals.
3)  Doodle Buddy
I love this app for playing pictionary with kids.  Sometimes I get so into creating themed units and linking things to Common Core that I work much harder at creating elaborate therapy units when a simple game with the Doodle Buddy app gets even more accomplished.  I was doing r-blends last week with a student:  See if you can figure out what she wanted me to guess on my turn.
Now, if can only get her to blend the f with the rest of the word instead of saying fffff, pause, reckles!  :-)  Plus, DoodleBuddy is great for having the students write on worksheets you upload and save in your iPad library or in Dropbox.
And last, but not least, I have to say that my camera feature gets used the most on my iPad.  Not officially an app, but I can take pictures of therapy cards and then scroll through them for practice.  I have photographed objects throughout the room and scrolled through them like game cards (see this previous post).  I love to take the kids pictures and add it to other apps like The Fifth Wiggle or inside drawing apps so they can make funny pictures of themselves.  Oh, the possibilities!
How do you get creative with apps?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sharing "Gamis"- a free app for today!

One of my fabulous technology teachers shared this cool new app that is free at the moment (go quick, you know that changes!).  It is called Tellagami and you can get it here.
This app allows you to create a virtual version of yourself with a recorded message.  I created a version of myself (much skinnier of course), and made a welcome back message for my students for after Spring Break.
This took less than two minutes to do-  didn't even read any directions or tutorial first-  it is just that simple.  There are add-ons you can buy for different backgrounds, but the free version is just fine for me.

You students can use this app to create a version of themselves saying their speech words, or retelling a story you read, or any other type of goal practice.  Anything that gets them engaged and practicing speech is a good thing!  I am also attaching my "gami" to my website for parents to give them info about sound productions and language homework ideas for home, as well as for speech centers (so instead of me having to tell the directions for the center myself, they can listen to the gami repeat the expectations for that center).  The possibilities are endless.


Monday, April 7, 2014

TPT Plunge Linky

Felice at the Dabbling Speechie is hosting a Linky Party about favorite products from TPT.  I am a huge fan of TPT, and have even written posts about purchases on the site as well as my favorite daily ritual of checking the free downloads on the site-  read more about it here.

So, if I had to pick my favorite two purchases, I would have to say the following are my faves:

1)  Articulation Notebooks

This is the priciest item I have ever bought, but I did get it when it was first posted and it around 40 something instead of the $68 it is now.  But, wow, what a comprehensive product.  It is well-made, super cute, and meets artic needs for my k-2 kids for the entire year.  There is a sample of the /v/ sound on the site you can try for free.

2)  Curriculum Based Language Assessments for k-5 by Nicole Allison
I use this every week when it is time to update my language student's IEPs.  I don't usually have time to give a formal evaluation again, and this gives great data for me to look at where to go next in their therapy.  It is divided by grade levels and linked to Common Core.  I just love this product (and all products from Nicole).

So those are my most used and favorites, but I also love everything by Mia McDaniel as well (just used her freebie the Magic Slide today!).  Look up her items on TPT.  They are great because they are inexpensive activities that allow you to target lots of goals for all of your students at once.

Thanks for stopping by!

Boardgames on the SmartBoard

One way I am fortunate as an SLP is the fact that I have a SmartBoard in my room.  Interactive Whiteboards are a great tool to read on-line books, make worksheets interactive, and I also like to use mine for many of the boardgames I have purchased at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Here is an example of the Superhero board game from Jenn Alcorn's TPT packet "SuperHero Articulation":

Since our school poster maker does not print in color, and I didn't want just an 81/2 X 11 version that would be too small for everyone in my group to see, I copied the picture from the product by the process I illustrate below into my SmartBoard Notebook.  Now the game board is huge, and thanks to the dice that come in my SmartBoard Notebook program, my students can roll the dice on the board (no more loose dice falling off the table or arguments that someone didn't really "roll" the dice).  They also get to move the big playing pieces along the board and it gets us all up and away from the kidney table for a session. 

Here is how you find the dice in the SmartBoard Notebook program-
Click on the gallery icon on the left toolbar, then enter dice in to the search box.
Up pops choices, and you click on Interactive and Multimedia, and then choose the dice you want.  When students play the game on the board, they just tap the dice and it rolls on screen. 

Tons of free board game templates are at TPT, or a Google search can find you lots of other free templates.  Google search can also find you clipart of game pieces you copy and paste into the Notebook program.  When I play my Superhero game next time, I am going to use clipart of Spiderman, Superman, Batman, etc to be the playing pieces.  Here is a cute spring-themed one from Word to the Wise. 

I opened the file after I downloaded it from TPT, found the page the board game is on, and selected current page.  You should see the page you want.
You can click print and choose to have it sent right to SmartBoard Notebook Document Writer, but make sure you have your Notebook program opened or it won't "print" it to the Notebook.
I'm going to jazz up this game with some free clipart of insects and let the kids chose whether they want to be a ladybug, bee, or dragonfly as their playing piece while we play this game. One other bit of advice, make sure once you have the image in the Notebook that you lock the image in place by right clicking the image and then choosing lock so the board doesn't move when you play the game.
I love the products created by other SLPs, but it does get expensive printing out all of the materials, so anyway I can save something from having to be printed, while also making the product "bigger than life" by putting it on the SmartBoard, is a win-win for me.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Easter Egg Challenges

Best laid plans, huh?  I had every intention of doing my EET with a book and Easter eggs this week, but most of my little ones are very antsy and ready for Spring Break (still a week and a half away for us!)

We needed an activity where my students could move after we did our book and have fun when practicing their goals, so I whipped up a little challenge game for them.  Just print out the sheet below, cut out each challenge and place inside an easter egg.  Put all of the eggs in a basket and after they practice their skill, they pick an egg to open.  Complete the challenge and get the points (plus you get 10 points just for trying).  Student with the most points at the end wins.  All you need in addition to plastic eggs is a small bouncy ball, paddle ball toy, and a penny.

6 more school days and counting......  :-)