Cindy L. Meester's Blog- Speech Therapy with a Twist

A clutter free year…. maybe?

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on December 26, 2011

It’s hard to believe it is the end of December. Here in Minnesota the temperature hit a record high of 51 degrees which is very unseasonal. Needless to say the ice candles I planned to light are now puddles!  While I am home on winter break from school it gives me time to work on my home to do list  which includes decluttering. We are considering downsizing which has me looking into closets and rooms with lots of “stuff” and wondering where to start.  It also has me thinking about all the therapy materials I have at home, school and the clinic. I have been using my  iPad  more than my “stuff” in therapy. This has helped me try out apps and find those that work best for different student needs but it also makes me think I need to “downsize” my materials. I’m not going to stop using “stuff” as I do believe it is important to have a mix in therapy sessions but I do believe I can get rid of a few things. One thing I like about my iPad is the need for less clutter and paper but I can’t  discount the positives of other therapy materials too.  So here are are some ideas with a mix of iPad apps to create materials to start the new year without a lot of added clutter!


All of these activities were made using the app  Custom Boards from Smarty Ears.

1. This is a feeling game and Brooke was happy to be my model.  I used the Christmas Tree template and imported pictures from my Photos that displayed different emotions. I printed one master copy. You could laminate this or put it in a protective plastic sleeve. I printed one extra and cut out the ornaments. The object is to pick an ornament, label the emotion and make guesses on what the gift might have been. For example: Excited (red): she received an iPad or Upset/Mad (orange): she received a pair of used boots. It can be a fun brainstorming activity and lead to a social skills lesson on what to say and what to keep in your thinking bubble. Feelings Tree 

2. Although we don’t have any snow right now I thought a blizzard game was appropriate this time of year.  I used the Board Game (Simple) template  from Custom Boards to create a quick open-ended game that could be use for different objectives. This one is called Blizzard. You can use a coin (heads=2, tails=1) or a die to move. If you land on the purple blizzard you lose one turn. If you land on snow day you take another turn. Now landing on the red dice is the open ended part of this game. Blizzard Game Board

  1. For articulation students use articulation cards or the Articulate it! App* and if they land on a die with 5 they say a word five times or five words or even use the words in a sentence. Play continues as long as time allows.
  2. For language students use the Label Set #3 template found in Signs & Labels and add vocabulary words or pictures to the circles or “snowballs” and they draw from the pile when landing on a red die. You might have them provide a definition, describe and have others guess; use the concept in a sentence, etc.  You may want them to just draw one “snowball” on their turn.

3. I used the Matching Cards template found in Activities & Games to created two syllable word cards. I cut them apart and laminated them. I made them color-coded to help with matching the two pieces.

  • The students can draw these in a matching game format.
  • I have also placed or taped one half of the word in the room and they try to find their match.
  • We placed these on the floor in a hopscotch form and they say each syllable while hopping on them. They like to collect as many pairs as they can.
  • 2 Syllable words A;  Syllables BSyllables CSyllables DSyllables ESyllables F

* there are other articulation apps to use too: ArtikPixPocketSLPArticulation StationTalking Tails

A big hug and thank you!!!

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on December 15, 2011

If you noticed the badge on the right side of my blog it has changed from nominee to finalist. I am very honored how many people voted for my blog.  I have to thank Sean Sweeney at  SpeechTechie who nominated my blog initially. He too was one of the top 5 finalists in the Best EdTech/Sharing category.  To make it to the short list was a surprise and the to come in with the top five finalists was a “you gotta be kidding me” moment. So thank you and now the posting pressure is on! Be sure to check out all the blogs at here.

Top, Middle, Bottom activities and apps

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on December 14, 2011


I work with a wonderful Occupational Therapist (OT) and over the years we have done many groups together. We combine fine motor, sensory, social skills and language into our sessions.  This year we noticed most of the kids had a lot of difficult working on letter formations. Not unusual for early elementary kids but it appeared that they didn’t know what top, middle or bottom meant. So we stepped back and set up an obstacle course in which they could crawl through a tunnel, wait at the bottom of the slide, climb to the top of a slide,  go through the middle of a squeeze roller, etc.  The kids hid objects in the room and told there friends where to look… Look under the swing. Look behind the door.  (We see our groups in the Motor Room which has this equipment)

Now with support from our principal and other special education staff we are having the educational paraprofessionals (ESPs) work with the students 5-10 minutes a day on handwriting with a concept twist.  My wonderful OT, Liz,  put packets together with worksheets along with manipulatives (play dough, wikki stixs, animal chop sticks, etc.). I added a handout listing the 50 Boehm concepts. We met with the ESPs and went over the materials. One ESP even had basic concept activities ready to use and share. WOW!  This is the sheet I put in the packets: Basic concepts

We always introduce a letter with a fun  music video. The kids are now asking for it. Check it out:  Alphabet Videos

Working on letter formation always includes starting at the top and involves middle and bottom concepts too. So I have been focusing on these concepts within therapy sessions. Here are some ideas to help with TOP, MIDDLE and BOTTOM.


Art Project:  During my indirect/collaboration week I enjoy doing class lessons in the three special education site base rooms. This one was a brainstorm after checking out the die cuts available in my school.  I made mine based on the winter/Christmas season.  Print out for top middle bottom words

This is the request board I used during the activity.  Request board.   This board was made using Custom Boards by Smarty Ears. This app has a wide variety templates and works like Boardmaker on my iPad. I use it for many activities and love that I can use the provided symbols or import my own.

During the activity the students were able to use the Request board to create the project. As they chose each die cut they were asked if they wanted it on the top, middle or bottom. What doesn’t show on my sample is what we added. I had some googly eyes that were added to the snowman or gingerbread boy. We used lemon head candy and red hot candy as buttons  lights and a star on the top of the tree. They all loved watching it “snow” on their creations. Some kids even requested a blizzard! Being in MN blizzards and snow are common but the day we did this project (middle of December) it was raining which is not that common here!


This app is also from Smarty Ears. You have the option to choose how many concepts you want to present. Cost: 9.99 (Universal)

This app is from Mobile Education Store. This app is designed to help elementary aged children learn the correct use of prepositions and learn how prepositions can change the meaning of a sentence. Cost: 9.99 iPad only

This app is from Doonan Speech Therapy.  Milo the Mouse helps to teach a variety of prepositional concepts. Cost: 2.99 (Universal)

The next two apps are not made specifically for prepositions.  I have used both of these as an i Spy activity with a twist. These apps are based on books by Roxie Munro. Roxie’s A-Mazing Adventure has you hop in a car and drive along roads in search of letters, penguins and more. It has small pictures so you really have to search to find the items. When I am working with elementary kids (k-3) I often find the item and give clues it is under the ___ or next to a ___ etc.  Roxie’s Doors  take you to a fire station, train, barn, etc.  You search for various items on each screen; flashlights, apples and even a kangaroo.

Cost: 2.99 iPad(either)  and .99  iPhone (A-mazing Adventure)

I am honored to be a nominee…

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on December 5, 2011

My blog has been nominated for an Edublog award. I was nominated by Sean Sweeney whose own blog Speech Techie is a great resource to check out. Now that my blog has made it to the short list you can vote. So if you feel it is deserving you can vote once a day.

  • Just click on image above
  • Choose the category Best ed Tech/resource sharing blog
  • Find my name on the second drop down menu

You can vote once a day. Voting is open until 11:59 PM US Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, December the 13th – and the winners will be announced at the Edublog Awards ceremony on the 14th at 7pm EST

Now the pressure is on! Just being nominated is unbelievable. I posted in a previous post how this all began and has morphed into what you see today. I am still learning and need to still figure out all the bells and whistles but my main purpose is to share.  I’ve always have felt this way and love to get ideas from others too. I don’t think we need to reinvent the wheel every day. There are times it just may need a little more air pumped in. So thanks for helping to keep me pumped up!


Voting is open until 11:59 PM US Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, December the 13th – and the winners will be announced at the Edublog Awards ceremony on the 14th at 7pm EST

Speech Treats

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on December 1, 2011

Using reward charts, treats and prizes as part of speech sessions can be controversial topic and discussions often pop up on Facebook and other sites. Personally I have stopped using sticker charts and prizes a couple of years ago. It happened unintentionally and when I realized not one student had asked about charts, prizes or treats I was ok with it too. I still look at student needs and use different incentives when necessary. This has included eating lunch together or playing a game of their choice. The biggest motivator has been my iPads. I know this is not an option for everyone due to cost but it has breathed new life and fun into my therapy sessions.

There is one app that might help motivate your students not costing you any more than 4.99. This app is called Speech Treats. I received this app free from the developer to review and share with my blog readers.  There are 12 kid characters and six animal characters. The 21 treats are photographs of a variety of food items ranging from cookies, pizza, dog bones, etc. When the adult touches the green button the character will “eat” a treat placed in its mouth. If the red button is touched the treat is rejected and the character states “Try again, you’ll get it.”  If you would rather not have the character talk you will need to use the iPad volume control. I look at multiple ways I can use any therapy material including apps. So not only can I use this app as a motivator or reinforcement here are other options I think will work too.

  1. Vocabulary- label the food items
  2. Attributes/Describing- find a fruit, find something cold, find something hard/soft, crunchy, juicy, etc.
  3. Directions/Concepts- find the treat under the grapes, next to, over, etc.
In talks with Sara Dublin the developer we have talked about adding more food items and  having the ones “eaten” replaced by new items. I suggested adding items like worms or bugs to add the “gross” effect which many kids enjoy. I also asked about moving the green/red buttons to the top of the app instead of the bottom and away from little fingers. Developers welcome ideas and contacting them is one way to improve their apps or help them fix glitches. Posting an honest review on iTunes is also recommended for any app.
  • So if you want some speech treats in therapy sessions this cavity free app may be just what you need. If you would like to use charts then check out freebies posted on my blog under Awards and Sticker Charts.
The Speech Treats Therapy Box Set and iPad Application are fun and innovative reinforcement games guaranteed to make kids learn, laugh and play.  They are intended to aid in the remediation of articulation impairments, as well as receptive and expressive language difficulties.  They are valuable speech-language therapy tools that will have a positive impact on children’s speech and language development.  These games will prompt children to monitor and self-correct their speech and language errors and are a great way to introduce any intervention goal to the child’s therapy session.  The Speech Treats products were designed by Ms. Sara Dublin, M.Sc., S-LP (C) an accredited Speech-Language Pathologist.  She developed the product during her graduate studies and has used it with countless children with speech and language difficulties.  The benefits of the game were seen immediately.  Sara noticed that it enhanced the quality of the therapy session and the children became engaged and motivated to accomplish their speech and language goals.  After graduate studies, Sara continued using the SpeechTreats Therapy Box with her clients all the while encountering parents asking where they could purchase the game and other Speech-Language Pathologists requesting to borrow it. Realizing that no such speech/language tool was on the market, Sara decided to mass produce and market the Speech Treats Therapy Box Set and its companion App version with the help of her sister. Since its launch in 2011, the feedback has been extremely positive.  Speech Treats products have been tried and tested with continuous success!
The Speech Treats Therapy Box and App specialize in facilitating the learning of children with special needs such as:
• Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)
• Apraxia, Specific Language Impairment (SLI),
• Articulation/ Phonological Disorders, Receptive/ Expressive Language Delay, and children with feeding issues
These games are recommended for:
• Speech-Language Pathologists, SLP assistants, Auditory-Verbal Therapists
• Psychologists, Psycho-Educators, Occupational Therapists
• Teachers, Educators
• Parents, and anyone working with children with special needs
telephone #:  1-877-650-6667

Website :

If you do not have an iPad then check out Sara’s Speech Treats Therapy Box session which can be viewed on You Tube from the following link:  

Now if you are looking to REALLY cook up some speech snacks check out this blog Cooking Up Good Speech which is inspiring families to help their children speak well and eat well!

This gets me hungry for a new theme! Since I have many different cultures at my school I am not doing a lot of Christmas activities. So maybe I’ve talked myself into a “Food Frenzy” theme instead! I may find this theme to be too fattening so stay tuned…….