It's Sale Time!

I usually try to bring you information and ideas that you can immediately put to use. (I hope I’m succeeding!)  However, 4 times a year TpT offers a site wide sale. My whole store is on sale, so you can get 28% off every item, including already reduced bundles, when you use the code- SMILE.  The great deals certainly make me smile!

I want to thank Jenna Rayburn from Speech Room News for hosting this linky party and inviting me! Go to her blog to access more product reviews and make your sale shopping easier!

So, for this special post I wanted to share with you some of the new bundles I have in my store, and a few items that are in my shopping cart. Feel free to comment with anything that you’ve found- maybe there is something I missed that I really need!

With the holidays coming, I thought that a Christmas Bundle might come in handy.
The skills are varied, so you can build a lot of language with this bundle. Your students will be having so much fun, they won’t even realize that they are working while they  make noun-verb-object sentences, work on categorizing skills, and to tell how holiday items are the same or different.

If it is holiday time, you know that winter is not far behind! Make your life easier by using my Winter Bundle to build your students’ language skills for noun-verb-object sentences, matching colors and left-right concepts, answering WH questions while naming winter clothing, or try an early reader with Fry 100 words and winter actions.

Now, for what’s in my cart! I am so excited to purchase these!

The TLC Talk Shop has all of your winter articulation needs covered with this winter bundle: data sheets, games, spinners, cut and glue worksheets, homework and interactive fun! Her products have cute graphics and are beautifully laid out as well.

I love that Activity Tailor  made an activity for figurative language using jokes! My students struggle with all types of nonliteral language, and jokes are so much fun! Students need to have fun in speech!

Quite a few of my students don’t have appropriate intonation patterns when they speak. I can’t wait to try this great set from SLPrunner. I love the graphics, the variety, and that it includes a game board!

I hope that I’ve given you some good ideas to help you with your caseload! Thanks again to Jenna for the invitation to link up!  Don’t forget to check out Speech Room News to get more information on the great products for SLPs at TpT! What’s in your cart?

How to Use Ellison Cutter Shapes in Therapy- A Quick and Easy Tip!

Ellison cutters for speech therapy- Looks-Like-Language
Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite times of year! I love that the weather isn’t freezing cold yet and that it is still light outside for a while after school. I love the smells of good food cooking and loved ones to share it with. Pumpkin pie tastes so good, yet I never make it any other time of year!

It’s fun to incorporate Thanksgiving themes into therapy this month. I love to do this without making the Thanksgiving vocabulary the main focus of my activities, but still have some Thanksgiving fun! 

One great way of doing this is to make use of Ellison cutters, if your school has them. If not, you can use simple outline shapes from an online search. Choose the seasonal vocabulary you want to reinforce for your shapes. In the picture, you can see that I used Pilgrim boys and girls to co-ordinate with the book I was using then.

Cut out the shapes in varied colors and laminate them without anything on them. Yes, just plain shapes! This lets me individualize based on what my students’ speech/language goals are each year. 

Photocopy and tape the pictures you need onto the laminated shapes, whether they are speech sounds, food vocabulary or action pictures! Now you are ready to play simple games, with or without a board. One of my favorites is to turn all of the shapes over in a pile. Students get told what they are working on (collecting) that session and request a shape using descriptive vocabulary. My lower students might ask for the orange Pilgrim girl, while my higher students might have to request the red Pilgrim boy in the bottom row. The first student to collect the stated number of shapes (with their goal pictures) and use them all correctly becomes the winner.

The tape and pictures will hold for the month. Next year, if you need different pictures, just pull off the tape for an easy change! Although if you store your materials in very hot conditions over the summer, you may want to take off this year's pictures before storing!

Presto! Change-o!  A quick and easy therapy tip that saves you time in the years to come!

Older Kids and Presents- What to Do?

Kids who are in upper elementary school have definite ideas of what they want for the holidays, and  it can be tough to convince them they’d like anything that they haven’t thought of first. It is also hard to get them away from their devices!

While they often act like they they want nothing to do with you, tweens and early teens actually still need to have your support and the boundaries you provide during these up and down, on and off years.

I believe that the best thing you can do, as a parent, during these years is to stay engaged in some stress free activities that will keep the lines of communication open between you and your tween/teen. I am an SLP, so you will notice that the games I have chosen are mostly language based, but any game that your family can enjoy will be good! Conversations, and sometimes problems that are being encountered, can happen during games that all the questioning in the world won’t get your child to talk about! At that age, my son actually told me that I was asking too many private questions one day, when all I said was, “Hi! How was your day today?” We all survive!

I would suggest any of these games if you think your child might play them, with a warning- unless your child really likes playing games, don’t expect excitement when opening them! One alternative is to wrap it as a family present and see who wants to open it for everyone.
Card games, like Uno, and building games, like Jenga, are good for keeping everyone together, talking and just having fun! Another option is putting a jigsaw puzzle together.  If you get one with a picture of your child’s favorite thing, you can glue it and use it as a room decoration afterwards!
These games are fun group games that keep your child using their language skills, like describing and making associations between words. If your child is working on articulation skills, you can have them concentrate on saying their sound correctly during their turn in any word they say.
Scrabble and boggle are old classics that have your child expanding their vocabulary and spelling skills while playing. Quiddler is a newer fun game that works on these skills, too!
So, now, a question for you! As I was looking for pictures of games for this post, I came across these 2 games. I have never played them, but I thought they looked interesting. Do you know anything about them? Would you recommend them? I’m always on the look out for good language games for older kids! Thanks for your help!

Thanks to Ashley at Sweet Southern Speech for the invitation to link up on this timely topic! Stop by her blog to get the links for more great toy recommendations that will make your holiday preparations easier!

Thanksgiving Then and Now- Felt Board Activities

The smell of delicious food cooking, warm and cozy inside with people I love around me- these are some of the things that make Thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays. No matter what your religion or politics, it is a celebration that is shared by everyone all across the United States, and there is comfort in that thought.

Family gatherings encourage sharing recipes and stories, welcoming new family members to the family’s way of celebrating, remembering those who are no longer with us on that day, and sharing their stories, too! Life is full of change and traditions help us have some stability amidst the constant changes.

However, traditions also change with time. While the way we celebrate Thanksgiving today is based on our history, it is certainly not the same!  This opens up worlds of possibility for eliciting language at this time of year! 

Using felt boards is one of my favorite kinds of activities for little ones, since they learn best when able to move around. (Actually, I understand since I am happy that my job has me up and walking around the school every half hour!)

 You don’t need to buy an expensive felt board to use felt activities. Just go to your local fabric store and buy a large piece of felt in your favorite color! If you have a cork board on your wall, tack it there.

Making your own felt board is easy! Tips from Looks-Like-Language
If you don’t, you can get a dowel at any craft or hardware store, roll the edge of the felt piece over it and glue the ends together. Make sure that the ends of the dowel stick out far enough past the edges of the felt that you can tie the ends of a cord on each side. Yarn and string will also work.

Attach it to your wall with a nail, to a magnetic board using a strong magnetic clip that can grip the cord, to the hooks that are above the old fashioned blackboards… You get the idea- you can make it work! But, since I am a firm believer in providing visuals, here is a photo of a really funny wall hanging that my future daughter-in-law gave to me. I just threaded the dowel through the seam, tied a cord and presto- instant wall hanging!

While those felt sets they sell are adorable, don’t despair if you can’t afford them! You can take any unlaminated pictures you want to use and just glue them to pieces of felt with regular school glue. Spread it thin, let it dry and you have an instant felt set!

There are so many ways to use these!

*Have the students label the pictures they want to place. Use additional pictures, like my old and new houses in the photo, and you have a sorting or categorizing task.

*Ask a question about the vocabulary and let a student go find the answer. Give some clues about a one of the pictures and see if the student can find what you are talking about- an instant activity for building inference skills! Leave extra room around vocabulary pictures, make doubles, and you have a movement memory game.

*Turn one set of pictures over so that the photo doesn’t show, let the students take turns throwing a beanbag at the felt wall so that a picture falls down, or maybe more than one. The students only get to keep it if they use their target skill correctly. Bring the game back in the winter with a  soft fabric snowball and you have indoor snowball play!

Don’t have time to look for your own photos at this busy time of year? Check out Thanksgiving Fun- Then and Now or Thanksgiving Actions- A Then and Now Sentence Game.

Possibilities abound! How have you used felt boards in your therapy activities?

The Rocky Road to "R"

Do you groan inside when you get a student with an ‘R’ problem on your caseload? Don’t worry, there’s help to be had!  It is a difficult sound to correct, but the more ‘tricks’ you have under your belt, the better your chances are that you will find something that works.
There are quite a few blog posts by SLP’s about how to achieve placement for the /r/ sound. One that I have found to be extremely helpful is from Katie at Playing with Words 365. I would definitely check it out!

Another link to check out: Judy Kuster has compiled an amazing list of techniques that have been used to elicit the /r/ sound. Something in this variety may be helpful to you!

Although we all give a big cheer (or a sigh of relief!) when our student has finally achieved a tongue placement for the /r/ that produces an acceptable sound, our job has really just begun. Although that is true for any articulation error, I think that, as SLPs, we feel it more strongly with the /r/.
This is my theory. The “R” sound is one of the most difficult sounds to make in terms of motor skills. The students at older ages who are still having great difficulty with this placement often had some mild degree of motor speech problems when they were younger, in my opinion. You may still catch hints of it when you hear them mixing up the syllables of new multisyllabic words, or if their speech clarity diminishes slightly when they speak quickly (possibly due to weak contacts for consonant placement due to the increased speed.)

When I suspect that there may be some motor planning or jaw stability issues at play, I am careful to use jaw support techniques when working on placement for the /r/ sound. My favorite way for older students is to have them prop their jaw on their hands, with elbows placed on the table. I've tried using bite blocks as well, but often this just confuses the issue even more as there is something new in their mouth for their tongues to move around. When the jaw is stabilized, however, this lets the student move their tongue more freely to try to find the correct placement.  I've had the most success by starting with production of the 'L', 'T' or 'D' sounds and having the student draw their tongue backward along the roof of the mouth until an approximation of 'R' is achieved, but try any of the methods suggested in the links above until you find one that works for your student. I don't worry about lip rounding, the most common substitution, until after a consistent tongue placement has been achieved.

If there are mild jaw stability or motor planning issues, it makes sense that we use extra caution in the steps we take to get that “R” sound from isolation to conversational speech.  At times, I’ve been afraid to vary the production that helped the student learn to produce the sound for fear of not being able to establish it again! I have learned that slow and steady wins the race. 

This is how I've done it.

Pair the R + vowel or vowel + R  that the student has achieved (the success sound) with the new production you are trying, but do it in alternation. Returning to the initial success sound on every other production helps to maintain successful tongue placement. After the sound production stays stable, you can check to see how many trials of the new sound can be made before the student loses the placement. Immediately, go back to the success sound. Then set the trial # for the new sound where he was successful.

Pay attention to the vowel placement chart when you are making your selection of what to try next. Remember those charts? For example, the “R” is generally made high in a closed mouth position, so it makes sense to try it out with “ee” or “ah” as those sounds are not far away from the place of success. The ‘ee’ sound has the benefit of a smiling mouth position, which tends to reduce the likelihood that the ‘w’ sound will be substituted. Each child is different, so try until you get success.

So, if “er” was the success sound, the drill might look like this:

 er  ree  er  ree” ”er  ree  
Repeat using drills of 10 trials multiple times throughout the session, with breaks in between, until the student can say it correctly and fluently.
Then, try to see how many times the student can say the new sound before it breaks down. You are keeping productions successful- always drop back if needed.
ree   ree  ree”   “wee”
This error tells you that you can have your student practice up to 3 productions of “ree” before adding in the success sound “er” to maintain stable, correct productions.
So, the practice would look like this.
ree” “ree” “ree” “er” “ree” “ree” “ree” “er” “ree

Continue building the number of repetitions the student can produce correctly in a row without losing the placement, and soon you will have a stable /r/ sound. Got it?
I hope I was able to make this clear! Once you are able to get past the syllable production stage, I’ve used this same co-articulation strategy at the word to sentence level in my “R” Rainy Day Game.  I loved finding words that moved from the “er” sound to the initial “R” sound that could be used in sequence together to make phrases and sentences. I even included “R” vocabulary words at the upper elementary level to help work on language skills at the same time. I just love being able to address multiple goals with one set of materials! Do you like that, too?
Don't forget to check my Rainy Day 'R' post with a craftivity and a FREEBIE!

5 Facts About Me!

One of the wonderful aspects of being on TpT is the lovely people you get to meet. We are all over the world, working hard to help make children's lives a little better, one skill at a time. I want to thank Nikki, from Teaching Autism in the UK, for inviting me to share in this fun linky. I really enjoyed finding out more about her and thought that maybe you would like to get to know me a little more, too! 

I'm so much better at writing about therapy ideas than I am about myself! These facts seem pretty self-explanatory as well. But, feel free to ask me questions if any of this interests you! I'd love to chat!

Thanks to Krista Wallden at Creative Clips for the font and graphics.

Would you ever want to see photos of my quilts? What's your hobby?

Hide and Seek: GYMNASIUM

Prizes and a lot of fun! Hi, friends! I want to thank Kim from Activity Tailor for this fantastic idea for a blog hop! See if you can figure out where we are hiding, doing speech/language therapy and sharing some useful tips! 
 Thirteen bloggers are hiding--hiding on different blogs and hiding in the school. They're here to show you that you can (and probably do) do therapy everywhere and that each locale has it's own benefits. For all their tips, hop from blog to blog. While you're there, jot down the author's blog/school location listed at the bottom of each post to enter into Rafflecopter.  
Please welcome my guest blogger, Ashley, from Sweet Southern Speech!

Do any of you work with your speech kids in areas of the school NOT your speech room? Ever wonder how to integrate articulation and language goals in the gymnasium? Well, I’m going to focus this post on how to do just that!

Social language is key in gym class, right? It’s all about turn taking and sportsmanship here. Often gym classes work in units. It might be helpful to talk to the gym teachers and ask for their schedule. I do this then plan my therapy in advance to best prepare them for upcoming class. Role-playing a situation they may face in gym class is another great way to help kids. Give them some phrases like, “good shot,” “nice basket,” if they are playing basketball. Let’s say your student is not really athletically coordinated. Help them here by practicing a response if they perform poorly at a game in gym and someone makes fun of them.
Working on vocabulary? Make some flash cards with words to help them. Here are some I use: (gallop, pulse, energy, sets, endurance, frequency, repetitions, intensity, nutrition, respect, teamwork, responsibility, cooperation, overhand, underhand, balance, flexibility). I find kids need a visual representation of these words, so we will do an Internet search for images and I will have the students draw their own picture and make a vocabulary notebook.

Articulation goals are a good way to carry-over into “real world” practice utilizing the gym. Maybe go down to the gym if there isn’t a class going on and shoot hoops as rewards for using good speech sounds a certain number of times. Here are a few gym-related articulation goals I have used before: R (run, race, relay, rope, rebound, heart, curl, sport, cheer, practice) S (stand, sit-ups, stretch, base, basketball, race, skate, strength, strong, spirit.)

I hope this offers some ideas you can implement into your therapy sessions and sparks some ideas of integrating all areas of the school to challenge your students.

Ashley’s home base is Sweet Southern Speech, but today she’s in the:  GYMNASIUM! 

To enter the Hide and Seek Blog Hop raffle, collect the names of them here.

I want to thank Kim from Activity Tailor again for organizing this wonderful fun!  Have you found out where I am hiding yet?

Your next mystery stop is here:

Curious about the prizes?
Good Luck!
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