Thursday, February 28, 2013

Having your cake and Eating it too

Last week was my birthday (in case you missed it.)  We celebrated by making Cakes in a Cup. 

This activity had more ingredients then I typically like to use.  But I liked the theme and was really curious how Microwave cake tastes.  (very, very, very dense.) 

I got the recipe from

Here's what we worked on:

Following Eye Gaze:  I have a lot of clients who need to work on eye gaze and following eye gaze during the session.  For them, I hid all of the ingredients around the room.  They had to try to figure out where I was looking in order to find the ingredients.  You could expand this to work on recognizing nonverbal gestures by having them try to figure out the entire recipe without talking aloud. 

Recognizing Facial Expressions/Facial Referencing:   Once we'd found all of the ingredients, we worked on facial referencing and requesting information.  My clients had to ask if a certain ingredient was supposed to go in yet or not.  I stopped speaking, so they needed to check my face and body language to determine if I was telling them yes or no.
Categorization:  For some students we worked on subcategories within the grocery store.  As we pulled out ingredients we tried to decide what aisle we would need to go to find it in a supermarket. 

Reasoning/Problem Solving:  During the activity we practiced some "why" questions.  (e.g. Why do we have to keep milk in the refrigerator.  Why do I want you to spray the mug with cooking spray.  What would happen if we put the cup in the microwave for 2 hours. etc. etc.)

Vocabulary Verbs and objects Needed:  We started by reading through the recipe and highlighting all of the actions: stir, measure, pour etc.  We talked about what kinds of objects would help us pour OR what we need to stir the batter.

We had a lot of fun making our Cakes in a Cup.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Sneaky therapist: Create your own dice Homework

Hmmmmm.....what if you could get your clients to make their OWN speech materials during therapy?
Last week I had some of my older students make up their own dice using targeted stimulus from their own goals.

Start by finding a blank dice template.  I made one which is available in my Roll-a-Direction game on Teachers pay teachers.  You can probably find one online by doing a google search.

I used this with upper Elementary to Middle School aged clients.  Here's how we used it:

I started by giving each student their own blank dice template and showed them the completed project.  I wanted to see if they could initiate the activity and determine the first steps without instruction.  Most of my students had difficulty with this.  (Addressed executive functioning and planning.)   If they were not able to start, we reviewed the pictures and discussed the steps that we would take.

Then we wrote in our directions or goal targets on each cube.  This was a good check for me to see if the students remember what we are working on.  Can they generate six examples for a goal?  We used this for creating directions, writing down articulation targets, and adding vocabulary concepts.

Depending on the client, you may have your directions out OR you may choose to  see if they are able to complete the directions after reviewing it.  (Addressing memory, executive functioning and sequencing.)

If they can't do without the visuals, we add them back in. I notice if they are now independent or if they are still requiring cues at each step from me.  (Addressing executive functioning, the ability to follow a schedule/complete independent work, self monitoring and sequencing.)

After the dice were completed with their therapy homework for the day, I had them sequence the pictures again (addressing sequencing and recall).

For students who are working on narrative skills, we practiced writing out each step and then going back and editing each step (adding more specific vocabulary or clarifying if the direction was unclear.  (addressing sentence formation, recall, procedure retell and vocabulary.)

What kinds of games do you like to play with dice?

Come on Snake Eyes: Using Dice Games in Therapy

I've gone dice crazy.  Dice are fun because it inserts that element of chance into a session.  It's not me that's making you do six repetition of your target-it's the dice.  Plus the dice games are really motivating for kids. has a fantastic blog post on using game like elements to teach social skills to children with Autism Spectrum disorders.

I have a stash of dice: light up dice, tiny, tiny dice, foam dice and giant sized dice.  I've also used some of the dice games on the iPad.  I have the Make Dice app on my iPad.  It's versatile and even allows you to take pictures of people or other objects and add them to the dice!

The virtual dice spoiled me since you are able to customize dice in almost any way conceivable.  I enjoy the iPad but I also like to make activities more physical whenever possible.  So I decided to design my own dice template.  (There are lots of samples out on the web if you do a search too!)  It led to 4 new TPT downloads.  

Roll-A-Sounds: Multisyllabic words and Roll-A-Sound: Prevocalic R and Vocalic R

I like these activities because they only focus on a few target words but would be great to do massed practice types of activities.  It should be fairly easy to get at least 100 repetitions of each sound in these activities.  


This download has just included one dice.  I thought the graphics were really cute and wanted to create some activities which focused on: 
  • following directions
  • associations
  • fill in the blank for object functions AND reversals
  • basic listening comprehension.  
  • Absurdities 

I have a lot of clients on my caseload who are working on following directions containing temporal or spatial concepts.   I liked the idea of using the dice to show how a direction changes if the spatial concept changes: How is the direction different when I say in vs. on.  By breaking up the direction into three parts AND using the dice as a physical manipulative, I think I've made it a little easier for some of them.  I can do a similar activity with the temporal directions.  If the student rolls this direction: 

"Before you clap your hands, sit down."  I can physically show them "This direction means...." and put the cubes in order to help them learn the concepts.  

 Up Next: Learn how I used a dice making an activity to address executive functioning, sequencing, sentence formation and more....

Monday, February 18, 2013

What to do with your old packaging and a GIVEAWAY

This was adapted from an idea I'd seen on Pinterest.  The idea was to put sight words onto bubble wrap and then let the students pop the bubble wrap.  I've been waiting for big bubble wrap to come in a package to try it out, but have only received the little itty bitty bubble wrap.

(off topic story warning)  
Four years ago, my husband bought me some boots for Christmas.  This was the year that he bought all of our gifts the night before Christmas eve while my son (1 years old) and I waited for over an hour to see Santa.  He finished up his shopping, threw all of his packages in the car and met us just in time to see the Grumpy Claus meet our little one.  

While we were waiting in line, someone smashed the window in our car and stole all of his gifts.  It was pretty horrible-we came out to the car in a blizzard and there was broken glass all over my son's car seat.  We were supposed to leave for my parents house the next day, but with a broken window I wasn't sure we would be able to make it for Christmas.  In the end everything turned out well.  We got a glass company to come to our house on Christmas eve, my husband's employer gave him a "bonus" which made up for the lost gifts.  Our faith in humanity was restored and strengthened.  My husband even braved the Christmas Eve crowds to buy some gifts for us.  

One of his gifts was a pair of boots.  That were the wrong size.  But I couldn't tell him.  This was a long story to get to the point that I finally got a pair of boots in the correct size this year.  And it came with these big inflatable shipping pouches (which are clearly labeled "not pillows.")  

 I ignored the other warning (not toys) and printed off some pages from the Webber Jumbo Artic book. This was a great activity for getting multiple repetitions in.  We started by saying the words on the page.  Then we said them again as the client cut them out.  

Then we practiced our words in a carrier phrase:  "Tape _______."  I found that you could add lots of pictures to one pouch.  

Then we said them one more time as we "smashed" the bags by jumping on them.  I held onto their arms because the bags were a little bit slippery.  

This is my Birthday week.  I'm planning some birthday festivities including an Itunes gift card giveaway,  on my Facebook page and a 20% off TPT sale Thursday through Saturday.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Not for the weak of Heart: Bologna Valentines

People generally have strong feelings about bologna.  I remember my first bologna sandwich.  I'm pretty sure it was on the now defunct "Wonder bread" with one slice of bolonga and my name written in mustard on it.  The best part of these sandwiches was that when you placed your finger down it would leave little finger imprints on the sandwich.

I haven't eaten bologna in years due to the questionable health benefits.  But I'm not disgusted by it.  The smell reminds me of my childhood.  (I'm pretty sure I used to lick bologna before I would put it on my sandwich...I was kind of an odd kid growing up.)  I will pull it out in therapy because it's an easy food to cut into shapes.  For feeding clients it's an easy food to manage because it requires minimal chewing and forms into a bolus quite easily.

I found this recipe for a Bologna Valentine on the website:

Make Learning Fun is one of my GO-TO websites for quick and motivating activities to work on sequencing and a variety of other goals.   My favorite section is the visual recipes.

Here's how we used it in Speech Therapy this week:

First we started by reviewing the recipe and deciding what materials we needed.

We worked on attributes + nouns:

  • wet bologna, dry pretzels
  • sticky cheese
  • tiny pieces
  • Salty pretzel 
  • Sharp cookie cutters

We worked on giving directions.  For some clients we worked on how to give directions politely (Could you cut the cheese please vs. cut the cheese.  HA!  You could work on double meanings and humor here too!)

  • Slice
  • Cut
  • Put on
  • Place
  • Push down
  • Stack 

We worked Spatial Concepts: 
  • on 
  • under
  • behind
AND we worked on /s/ blends: 
  • Pretzel STick
  • STicky cheese
  • SLice
  • SMall
  • SNack
  • STill (e.g. I still need a cookie cutter to cut the bologna)  
Finally we worked on question reversals and requesting information and objects.  As it turns out, I am the MOST forgetful speech language pathologist in the world.  I needed to be reminded about A LOT of the ingredients in this recipe:
  • Can I have 
  • Do you have
  • Could I
  • May I have
  • Would you mind (if I ate your whole snack?)  
  • Can we just (make the snack and stop cuing me for speech targets?)-no.  
What are you doing in your speech rooms for Valentine's Day?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Creative Fail

I've been walking around with 2 bags of tiny plastic Walmart babies in my purse for the last three weeks.  The only time they come out of my purse is when I'm scrounging around trying to find my credit card at the grocery store.  (I have 2 wallets in my purse-yet my credit card is always in the last compartment in which I look)   Of course it's definitely weird to plop a bag of tiny naked babies on the checkbook writing ledge at Target.  But I DON'T want to take them out of my purse because I am going to use these tiny babies in the coolest activity to hit my speech room so far this year.  Too bad I don't know what that activity is.

I LOVE going to blog and seeing someone adapt cheap materials to make an awesome game or activity.  I'm the FIRST to go out and buy those materials (and put them in my closet where they sit for six months....)  Last year my kiddos went crazy for these awesome activities:

ANGRY BIRDS CUPS from Speech Room News.  So simple, so fun for my kids.  A great way to get lots of Articulation or other repetitions in.

ARTIC STICKS and ARTIC TOWERS from Sublime Speech.  I added a wind up train to knock down the towers.  Fun, fun, fun.

TIC TAC TOSS: Articulation from Activity Tailor.  This post had me scouring Goodwill for months before I finally scored a used game to adapt.

GEOBOARD: from Dollarstore Crafts.  This is a fun activity to work on directions.  (Make a small square and put a yellow triangle next to it.)  I also will use this for a reward.  Do 10 repetitions or questions and then you can add to  your design.

BLOCK STACKER: This was a newer post from Carrie's Corner.  Being super lazy, I just printed a page from Webber's Jumbo Articulation book and placed it at the bottom of a container I had.  Lots of repetition and lots of fun with my clients.

Anyhow, I think I have a bad case of speechlanguagepathologistcreativetherapyblockageitis.  I've got nothing.  Well, not nothing.  I have a really cool companion syntax packet on my TPT store: Race for Bedtime: Pronouns, Auxiliaries and Sentences. 

I wanted to add in the baby game for extra motivation for some of my older clients.  Then I can introduce it with kind of a funny, "Let's do these silly (or stinky) baby cards."  I thought maybe a game of baby jacks?  Roll the dice and try to pick up that number of babies.  Here's what I have:

 2 bath tubs, Tiny Babies, and some of those slippery grow balls.  I'm thinking a weekend contest is in order.  Leave a comment of how you would use these materials below.  On Sunday I'll pick three winners for FREE Race to Bedtime products!

Monday, February 4, 2013

February: Joint Attention Games

January was my month to get organized.  February is a month of love, relationships and (most importantly MY BIRTHDAY!  Sadly I am way too old to still get excited about my birthday but I do.  In keeping with the theme of the month, I thought I could write about some of my favorite games to encourage joint attention, eye contact/eye gaze and general interaction games.  February 18-23 I will be having  a giveaway each day of my best selling TPT products to celebrate my birthday week with you.
(I have yet to decide if I'm going to reveal my age BUT I can say that I'm at the age where I realized my birthday was on a Saturday!!!  and then thought yeah, I'm still staying home.)

The first game is KABOOM which I originally heard menioned in this book

The book was vague in that it just referenced a mother and her child played a variation of Kaboom without any instructions for the game.  I was able to find a description of a Kaboom game on a teaching website.

Here is how I played it. I used some animal counters we had at our clinic and put them in a box.

The rules are simple.  One color is KABOOM and the other colors are safe.  For example, if yellow is the KABOOM color, I would pull out the other colors to establish a routine saying in a calm voice, "Green is safe, Blue is safe, green is safe" etc.  After 5-6 safe colors, I pull out a yellow one.  Then I just throw the yellow piece in the air and yell KABOOM!!! as loud as I can muster without having the other therapists rush into the room to see what was the matter.  The game continues until you are out of pieces.  

This is my absolute favorite joint attention game right now.  I can use it with difficult clients and see that they are engaged for 5-10 minutes.  I've also seen immediate improvements in coordinated eye gaze shifts.  Plus, we can build in the anticipation that is key in a joint activity routine.  (I'm usually REALLY scared that I'm going to pull out a KABOOM color.)

Kaboom is fun to play during articulation or traditional language therapy too.  This time you want to stack the pile with more KABOOM pieces.  On their turn the student picks a piece.   If it's a Kaboom piece, everyone yells KABOOM and then the student needs to answer a question or say their articulation targets.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

TPT sale: SCORE!

First off, let me thank everyone who purchased materials from me today.  I feel so blessed.  Thank you SO much!!!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

I was lucky enough to get some great products today.  Here what was in my cart...

Telling Jokes by Liz Haider. I love jokes in therapy.  They're great for expressive reasoning; explaining why a joke is funny.  I like how these are set up with social stories explaining how and why we tell jokes.  
 Riddle Me This: Word finding Riddles and Object Description Activities.  from Sublime Speech.  I love the pictures in this packet.  Plus I've gotten a lot of great ideas from Sublime Speech in the last year.  I wanted to make sure I showed my support.

Fluency Tools Treatment Packet: Lauren LaCour.  I'm always looking for new materials for fluency.  I like the Fluency Tool kit theme.  

Common Core Standards for English Language Arts: Nicole Allison.  I love how this is organized.  I haven't been asked to align my IEP goals with the standards yet.  But now I'll be ready.  

I got 2 products from Teachers Unleashed.  I love these for when I'm treating students online.  There are usually a lot of targets for the skills taught AND there is just enough animation to make it fun but 
not distracting.  I downloaded these to my iPad.  I'm hoping I can figure out an app so that I get the animations on it.  

There's still almost 2 hours left if you haven't gotten anything yet.  My store will remain 20% off tomorrow if you got caught up in the Superbowl and forgot to order things.  

Golf-R-tick and Hole In One Vocab

All of my Teachers pay teachers products are 20% off.  If you add the code SUPER you get an extra 8% off your order.  This summer I forgot to add the code but the materials were still SUCH a great bargain I didn't really care.  

Here are 2 other products I recently added: Golf-R-Tick and Hole in One Vocabulary.  This project took me a little longer to complete.  It really made me remember my dad and how much he LOVED golf.  

24 Prevocalic R sheets and 144 Vocalic R words separated into the following: air, ar, ear, or, ire, and er.  It also includes a strategy sheet and /r/ syllable putting green.  Play 9 holes or 18 holes depending on how much practice you want the child to get!  

I have a few clients who seem to pick really obscure points to use when trying to define words.  I designed this to try to help them understand what would be the MOST important thing to say first.  It includes 12 cards with pictures, 24 simple words, 12 cards of golf vocabulary and 48 cards focusing on curriculum vocabulary.  I included some blank sheets to customize the activity.  One thing that would be fun would be to add character stickers on the picture page.  Can students describe Batman, Spongebob, Elmo etc... 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...