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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine's Day Speech Therapy

Alright, it's February, so you can BET we're all about Valentine's Day in my speech and language room.
I see nothing wrong with celebrating this chocolate-filled holiday a little early, so let me offer you a glimpse of what we've been up to in my speech room this past week.

I stopped at my local library and found this gem of a book, "Valentine's Day Is..." by Gail Gibbons. I'm a huge fan of utilizing the library and books in therapy.
Buy this book, borrow it, do whatever you need to do.
"Valentine's Day Is..." is seriously cool. It's perfect for my students who have goals to answer comprehension questions about informational text. It doesn't just talk about passing out candy and all that. It goes into the history behind the customs and beliefs. I'm a bit of a history nerd, so I was excited to learn about the connection between ancient Roman traditions and how we celebrate Valentine's Day today. I had a list of comprehension questions ready, and I checked in to make sure my students were understanding the text as I read aloud. We also discussed any tricky vocabulary. At the end, we made heart decorations. My students had to tell me one cool fact they learned from the book. I've had a few teachers stop by my room and tell me how much they enjoyed the responses my students came up with after I displayed the hearts in the hall.

Next, I have some students working on describing skills. Specifically, we were focusing on naming items in categories.

I'm a huge fan of the Expanding Expression Toolkit by Sara L. Smith. Multi-sensory learning? Yes, please. I have a few girls on my caseload who ask me over and over again, "Can we sing that song?" They love the EET song, and if dropping a beat in speech therapy is going to help them remember language elements, I am all for it. I combined the EET with my open-ended Super Duper game boards. Let me just tell you that the promise of even 3 m&ms can be very motivating. As a matter of fact, I found myself hoping that we'd land on the "eat a chocolate" piece. One for you, two for me...(I'm not affiliated with either of these companies, FYI, and am not being compensated for blogging about the use of their products.)

I mentioned before that I like to incorporate the use of multi-sensory tools in my speech and language therapy sessions.

Enter my Valentine's Day sensory bin.



My kids really enjoyed scooping out the spatial concepts cards. My Oh, la, la! Locations cards were perfect for celebrating this lovey-dovey holiday.

For my students working on higher level language, I pulled out my newest Valentine's Day Language packet. Many of these students are also working on spatial concepts. This one is perfect for your upper elementary/ middle school speech therapy students.


Dry erase markers + no prep for the win.

We also enjoyed reading about Cupid and Psyche, and then answering comprehension questions following the story.



What are you up to this month in therapy? I'd love to hear in the comments!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Interactive Illustrated Idioms Review


I have so many students on my caseload who struggle with understanding figurative language.
It's not always easy to find engaging materials to target this skill, and so many of my students are at different levels.

Some have goals to match an idiom to the correct meaning, others have goals to state the correct meaning of an idiom.
Some benefit from picture supports, while other students on my caseload need more of a challenge. Let's face it- as SLPs, we're used to being flexible!

I was so excited when I received my Interactive Illustrated Idioms from SpeechPage in the mail. First of all, they are colorful and fun, but not too "babyish". I used these cards with my 4th and 5th grade students, and trust me, they would have let me know if they thought the illustrations were "too young" for them. Next, these cards are pre-cut and pre-laminated. I don't have to go into great detail about why I find that AWESOME! Third, these cards are super easy to store. Mine are in a binder.


I have one student in particular who I knew would really need things broken down. I wanted to give him a field of only 2 answer choices. I simply traced two cards side by side on construction paper and then cut out the rectangle to achieve this. I then laminated it. We drew arrows to the correct answer choice in order to match the idiom to the correct meaning. Dry erase markers are always a hit in my room!



He was super engaged with these pictures from the start. After we went over all of the idioms on one page, I then wanted him to tell me the meanings.



We flipped the construction paper over so that the clear, laminated part was at the bottom, and we stuck his notebook underneath. I then chose a targeted idiom and placed it on the page.

My next group benefited with a little less structure, so instead of providing them with the literal meaning pictures AND the figurative language picture, I only provided them with the answer choices.



I really love this product. It's versatile, fun, and engaging for my students. I highly recommend this product from SpeechPage if you're in the market for some figurative language therapy materials!

Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for a blog review. All opinions expressed within this article are true, honest, and my own.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Winter Speech Therapy Ideas

We are getting super close to winter break, and my students are so excited! In my speech room, we've been celebrating the upcoming holiday season in a variety of ways.


In honor of one of my favorite Christmas movies, Elf, I decorated my door and asked each of my students to tell me how they would spread holiday cheer. I really enjoyed their creative responses!

We played a very festive, giant tic-tac-toe game. This worked well in a mixed group- one of my students was targeting articulation goals, and my other student was working on forming sentences using conjunctions.
The "ornament" game piece was perfect for targeting the vocalic "or" sound. (Pictured: Entire World of R Vocalic R playing cards)



I also run a "speech group" lesson. I go into one of our special education classrooms. I typically do either some sort of "snacktivity" or "craftivity" with the students. We work on following basic directions and core vocabulary (perfect for my students using AAC to communicate!) while we assemble the snack or craft, and then follow up the lesson by describing what we've created using the Expanding Expression Toolkit. (Have you checked that out yet?! It's an amazing multi-sensory toolkit that my students love using).



For my students who are non-verbal or have severe language disorders, I create a picture-supported answer sheet to go along with the EET beads. (I'm sorry- I can't share that with you, since many of the images are from Google and I don't own the copyrights).

Here's an example of how I target core vocabulary during these activities: (pictured is a screenshot of the LAMP app):

I discuss with my students how we are going to "make" a craft today. I model this vocabulary target word and then assist my students in saying this word using their devices.


We discussed core vocabulary, such as the word "on", when we placed different craft pieces on the tree.



This particular activity was perfect for having my students request "more" paint as they added "ornaments" to the tree using cotton balls.



We discussed size concepts (the tree was "big").



We asked others to "look" at the trees we created.



At the end of the craft, we discussed how much we "liked" our trees.



I am always happy when one simple, inexpensive activity elicits a TON of language. My kiddos had a lot of fun with this tree craft, and I was able to target following directions, basic concepts, describing,and core vocabulary in one 30 minute lesson.

Hopefully this post will provide you with some fun and simple activities to use with your students.

Here's to hoping that you are sipping some hot chocolate and staying warm, wherever you live!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Ghost Talk Blog Hop



I love all things Fall and Halloween.
I'm sitting here, typing out this blog post, just wishing I was sipping on some pumpkin-flavored coffee. I've got my costume all ready to go this year- I'm being Dana Scully from the XFiles. I have a wig and her "FBI badge". Since my husband got to "couples costume" with the baby this year (the baby is going to be a little Pokemon character, and he's going to be a Pokemon trainer), I ordered the dog a matching costume. His name is Moo, so he's going to be Special Agent Fox Moo-der (Mulder). In addition, I'm planning on buying a pumpkin tomorrow, and my baby is all pumped right now to be wearing his orange "My First Halloween" sleeper. (Actually, he could care less. We were attempting tummy time and he fell asleep, so I thought, might as well write the blog post...)



Okay, so back to the point of this post.
Because of my love for this candy-filled holiday, I teamed up with a bunch of other bloggers who also happen to love Halloween.
We created a super fun blog hop filled with freebies for you! So you're at the right place, because you need to start at my blog. You'll download the story (yours won't be wrinkled when it prints- my dog stepped on it seconds before I snapped a picture) at my TPT store right here, but WAIT.
The Ghost That Wasn't Spooky


Make sure you come back, because you need to head over to my friend The Speech Attic's blog. Erin has an AMAZING sequencing packet for you, and then she'll tell you where to stop next to get the rest of your downloadable goodies!

Oh, and one more thing... please leave some love (aka feedback) when you download these packets on TPT if you enjoyed this blog hop. It'll be almost as awesome for me to read those messages as it would be to sip on pumpkin-flavored coffee.

 The Speech Attic

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Using Movement Activities & Relaxation Techniques in Speech Therapy


If you're like me, you love to switch things up every now and then in your speech therapy session!
So many of my students tell me how much they love gym or enjoy going to soccer. Others simply can't sit still for an entire session! That's why I love to use movement activities!
A ton of students on my caseload are working on following directions. Now, I'm not one to bash worksheets at all. In fact, I find that I can target very, very specific objectives with worksheets and can do so in a way that many of my students find fun. However, sometimes you just don't want to sit at the table for an entire session.
I took a look at the following directions goals many of my students had. A ton of them are working on multi-step directions, and many find it challenging to work on instructions containing concepts such as "before" and "after". I thought- why not let the directions contain the same stretches or movements they get to do in soccer?

Depending on your student, you might also find it beneficial to introduce deep muscle relaxation strategies. Some of my students enjoyed this as opposed to arm circles and jumping! I found these pictures or explanations of deep muscle strategies on websites such as gettyimages.com, popsugar.com, stress.lovetoknow.com, southmountainrehab.com, and handsonscotland.co.uk. I cannot share these images with you because I don't own the copyrights, but be sure to check out their websites for awesome resources if you choose to recreate these activities!
I also used these activities with my articulation students. It's easy to modify depending on their level. For some students, I had them say their target words a certain number of repetitions before completing an activity. For others, I had them say their target words in sentences.

This is a fun way to get your kids moving- and an easy way to target objectives in mixed language/ articulation groups as well! As you can see, I store this fun activity right on the wall under a "Take a Break" sign! My kids are so intrigued by this, and I bet yours will be too!
Have fun SLPs, and keep on moving! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Introducing Baby Nathan

I'm way behind on this- life has been so crazy and wonderful lately! I need to take a minute to introduce our baby boy. Nathan James arrived on August 5th. All of the sleepless nights and blow out diapers are so, so worth it! We are so in love with him! So excited to start this new chapter as an SLP Mama!

Photography Credits: Janet Miller Photo (my big sis!)


Sunday, July 31, 2016

What's In Your Cart? {Hosted by Speech Room News}



It's almost back to school time- oh my gosh, can you believe how fast the summer has flown by?! Okay, actually, for me it's gone somewhat slow. But that's only because I'm 39 weeks pregnant as I type this. I've been counting down the days until August! Getting excited to meet baby boy, hopefully soon!

But all that aside, I'm SO excited to link up with Jenna from Speech Room News for her What's In Your Cart? Party. Be sure to stop back after checking out my post so you can see what fabulous TPT products other bloggers have loaded their carts with!

So to begin, I'd first like to show you a few packets from my store that I know you'll love.

If you run a "speech group", you'll want to check out my "Speech Group: Receptive & Expressive Language Lessons for September" packet. It includes 2 stories with worksheets, 2 craft ideas with visual direction pages and worksheets, data collection pages, and an "at a glance" lesson plan. I use these when I go into one of our smaller-sized classrooms (approximately 7 students).


Next, be sure to check out my Preschool Print & Go: Themed Speech and Language packets. These are a great deal! Each packet includes (1) Parent Letter, (1) Vocabulary Match Worksheet, (1) Open-Ended Articulation Worksheet, & (1) Let’s Talk About… flip book, which covers the following skills:
  • WH Questions
  • Basic Concepts (i.e. different, big)
  • Following Directions (i.e. all but one, next to, second, before)
  • Grammar & Forming Sentences (plurals, past tense, noun-verb agreement & sentence shuffle)
  • Describing
  • Phonological Awareness (i.e. identifying rhyming words, generating rhyming words, identifying first/ middle/ last sound, identifying number of syllables in a word, identifying number of words in a sentence)




Okay, now let's move on to what's in MY cart!

Here are some materials from other bloggers that I'm super excited about:

This organizational packet from Sparklle SLP:

This packet looks great- it has everything you need to get organized during that back to school chaos!
Speechasaurus has this incredible Social Skills packet that provides students a framework for solving social problems they encounter in the school setting! It looks like it'll be very helpful for many of my kiddos.


My students NEED to work on vocabulary. This Tier 2 Vocabulary packet from The Speech Owl looks like it will be perfect for my caseload!


This editable SLP Planner from The Speech Attic is not only super adorable, but looks perfect to help me stay on top of all the meetings, CEUs,and lesson planning that this school year will bring.


Finally, this Listening for Details Bundle from Speech Wonderland looks like a MUST-HAVE! I am always about bundling and saving money!

Happy Shopping, SLPs! Remember- stop back at Speech Room News to see more carts!