I took a book idea that my friend Sean Sweeney (Speech Techie) shared at the ASHA convention in November. He had many great ideas on pairing apps with literacy (books). Of course I added my own twists.
1. I chose the book Not a Box by Antoinette Portis.
2. I read it to some of my K-2nd grade students. We worked on making predictions, using our imaginations and thinking outside as well a inside of the box- I couldn’t resist.
3. Then I added a twist by giving each student a sheet of paper that I had drawn a “box” on it.
4. They were asked to turn their box into something from their own imagination.
5. Per Sean’s suggested pairing we used the Toca Boca Robot Lab and Moonbeeps-Gizmo apps once their creations were completed. This was a fun way to work on turn taking, compromising and requesting. The other app suggestion (from Sean) is Doddle Buddy.
6. I displayed their creations along with the book and of course a cardboard “not a box” on the cabinets outside my room.
Here are the final results:
A rocketship, a spaceship, a house, a pool, another house, a treehouse boat
A house, a monstersaurus, a car, a zombie, a treehouse, a TV
Bonus: To add another twist I plan on gathering a plethora of different kinds and sizes of boxes to make creations that are not a box! Think of all the language skills we can build on in this activity- vocabulary, sequencing, requesting, comparing, contrasting, etc. Three apps I plan to use with this activity are :Adobe Voice, Go Sequencing and Making Sequences . I can take pictures of each step and create a sequencing activity within these apps.
What twists have you added to a book or app?
This is not only the month for basketball but also for a March Madness contest for Yapp Guru.
What is Yapp Guru? It is a group of “experts” who review apps to help others get a better idea if an app is a good fit for your needs. So this month as we will be adding more app reviews to help you all out and bonus some of us “experts” might even win a prize.
What is Yapp Guru? It’s an online site that we’d like you to join for free. Once you have signed up you have access to many app reviews and the ability to vote for your favorite apps.
I choose apps to review that I use in therapy sessions and meet the needs of my students. I love finding some non-traditional apps that lets me add a twist. You may not see a lot of negative reviews from me as I tend to contact the developer first about any concerns. I found this to be much more beneficial than posting an issue about on app on iTunes. I will be honest about the apps I do review on Yapp Guru. But I often tell others to read reviews on Yapp Guru, look at description of the app and view a video about the app in use. This is the best way to gather information to help you decide if the app is a fit for you and your wallet. You can find my reviews here: Cindy Meester’s App Reviews.
So come join the March Madness fun at Yapp Guru. Be sure to check out all the app experts reviews. There are 25 SLPs and 1 OT as of today trying to be the best resource we can for you!
So line up your
shot mouse and dribble click on Yapp Guru and join for free. It’s a win win and you won’t even break a sweat.
I’d love to hear about the twists you add to apps we have reviewed.
We have many cultures represented in my school population. Many of my students do not celebrate Halloween so I tend to be low key around this holiday. But it is still fun to get some crafting in. This is one I am doing this week. You can find the “real” directions at this site: Popsicle Stick Craft
I gathered all the materials from the school supply room except for the googly eyes. Here is what I used:
1. Green, purple, orange and black markers
2. White tempera paint and a brush
3. popsicle or craft sticks – we had the small/skinny ones but the tongue depressor size would work too
5. table covering – I used craft paper from the supply room that someone had already torn off and left.
Mistake #1 – I first grabbed permanent markers. Just say we had a lot of interesting colored fingers. So I switched them out for the regular washable markers which worked just fine.
Mistake #2 – don’t try to glue the supports on the back while the paint is drying- I’m a little impatient but I’m working on it. At least white tempera paint washes off ok.
Mistake #3- (all good things come in threes right?) don’t try to write the student name on the back right after it has been painted. I found if I wrote their name on one stick it worked better.
The first group helped to cover my table. Here come the therapy twists:
- Me: What is this ? Where are we putting it? Why do you think we are covering the table? As you know the answers were very very interesting! (The paper also worked for students to practice drawing their face before they drew it on their creations.)
- Me: (for the first group) You will get to be my guinea pigs! We had to look up what a guinea pig was (they did not know). I tried to explain what the saying meant. Sometimes my humor is lost on first graders.
- I showed them this picture that I copied from the original site: craft stick art We talked about what we saw, what they were made from, etc. then they chose which one they wanted to make.
- We counted how many sticks were used in the pictures and decided if we wanted the same, more or less.
- We talked about the materials they needed and how to use them.
- We talked about what was easier to color: sticks separated/apart or together
- When they had finished coloring we talked about what came next (gluing sticks on the back).
- We talked about turning all our sticks over.
- I glued the sticks with “guidance and instructions” from the students. We talked about using a whole stick and broken/half sticks.
- We talked about the reason we needed to glue sticks on the back (why) and what would happen if we didn’t.
- Then we washed our hands…. another lesson with lots of language.
- The next session they were able to complete their project by drawing the face and glueing googly eyes (I only used these for the monster/Frankenstein/zombie)
- During the project we had some fun discussions and not always related to what we were creating. And that’s real life!
I have many more t creations to add to our “Patch” but here is the start….
Now go add your own twists!
A quick idea coming your way…
I received a Mother’s day card from my oldest son. It was huge and he felt the bigger the card the better the son… ha ha. It was also a musical card. I saved it and knew I would use it at school one day. The day has arrived. The card plays some of the lyrics from the song You’re Unbelievable by EMF. Luckily it only plays the words You’re Unbelievable and not the rest of the lyrics.
The card started out looking like this…
This is where I initally had the card in my room.
This is what happens when you get an idea…..
But then it changes to this….
I bought two of these ottomans at Target on clearance for 5.98 each.
I taped the front of the card and the music guts under the seat. Now when I am sitting on it I can reach under the seat, push and the music plays. So when one of my students does something wonderfully fantastic I can just push and play…You’re Unbelievalbe. Voila!
Now go add your own twist and leave a comment on what you did!
So September is here and almost gone. I have started my scheduled, tweaked it and swallowed a few aspirin but generally it is working out. I just wish I had more time to work with my 41 boys and 9 girls. As some of you may remember I work with K-3rd grades with a very diverse population (98%). So many of the students are coming to school with limited English, limited vocabulary base etc. but they all come with big smiles, energy and an eagerness to learn. The wonderment has not vanished from their eyes and I hope to keep the spark there. And that’s why I come back each day.
This month we learned about each other and fought off pirates. Who knows what next month will bring?!!
You can find the All About Me sheet here.
Check out an earlier post on pirates here.
Now to the Goal Mind!
At my school the teachers work on Hopes and Dreams with their students. Our principal also had staff think about our own Hopes and Dreams for the year. I decided I wanted to work on helping students understand the reasons they come to speech. All staff had to create an apple with their own Hopes and Dreams- these will be placed on a tree in the school hallway.
So now that I have my Hopes and Dreams I needed to do something about it. I knew most of my students needed pictures or visuals rather than words. I used Custom Boards. I created these with the students so they could help decide on the symbols. I printed these and put them in clear sheet protectors and use as “place mats” for each student to use in their sessions.
Here are some examples:
I only have 3 articulation only students- this is what we decided to use for goals. I kept it simple. I want them to know their target sounds. We will talk about levels in therapy sessions ( words, sentences, etc.).
These are examples of what we used for some of our language and social goals.
My hope and dream for you is a schedule that works and allows time to dream up some fun ideas to share.
Now go put your own twist on these ideas!
A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a carrying sharing person inside. ~ Denis Waitley
I have a new room this year and it has a WINDOW! In the 36 years as an SLP I have worked in many different spaces, hallways, cubby holes, etc. But of all these spaces only 3 times have I ever had a window and the last time was about 20 years ago. This year I have a glorious window that looks out onto the courtyard in the middle of our school. Yes that is a big reason to smile.
The left wall and my table. My room is in our Media Center.
The back wall – with a WINDOW!
The right wall-
Back to the entrance and my desk-
The back of my door-
AND I have more storage right outside of my door. The cabinets even create a cozy hallway right that I could use as another therapy space.
AND I have even more storage a few steps away! I store my theme units, art supplies and other items that I use less often. This is how they looked before I rearranged everything.
So the next adventure is scheduling but I will be doing it with a smile as I sit by my window.
Stay tuned for some twists on how I plan to items on my walls and a fun way I’m going to cover the windows by my desk.
As I grab my keys and head to my car I often tell my husband I’m heading to “play” vs. going to “work.” So check out some of the “playing ” that has been happening in my therapy room!
I have been receiving some fun products and apps to try. Here are a few of them in no particular order. Disclosure: all of the items posted were gifted to me but my comments are my own.
1. Think Fun has wonderful games. The most recent one I played is called UnHinged. You can check it out here: Unhinged
I played this with one of my 2nd grade groups in a cooperative game format. They were excited but found it to be a little too challenging. I used it with a 3rd grade group and they also found it challenging but were able to complete three of the patterns. It is recommended for ages 8 and up. The object is to manipulate the hexagon into different patterns. The game comes with a booklet of patterns to copy. It IS challenging but fun!
The book is about a fourth grade girl who cannot talk. It is a way to introduce uniqueness in all of us while reaching about disability awareness. Pat has a special until the end of December so order it now!
3. Apps for working on Social communication-
Conversation Builder Teen is one of the new apps from Kyle Tomas at Mobile Education Store. This app follows the same familiar format of other apps from Mobile Education Store but with a teen twist. The scenes are made for teens and the conversations even look like text messages. How cool is that!
Social Quest is a new app from Smarty Ears. Each player can be transported into 16 locations from the movies, classroom and more. The social situation is based on each location. Players can play the “quest” in a receptive or expressive mode. Another winner from Smarty Ears!
4. Teachers Pay Teachers- There is now a plethora of SLPs posting materials for sale along with some freebies. You really should check it out and save your self some “work” so you can start “playing” sooner! Jenna Rayburn of Speech Room News complied a list of SLPs who are on TpT. Here is the link: SLPs on TPT
So thank you Think Fun, Pat Mervine, Mobile Education Store, Smarty Ears and TpT for making my work so much more fun!
Ok back to work (tee hee)!
On my indirect week I like to go into classrooms and do a project with the whole group. This past week I went into the three self-contained special education rooms. I often create a project that each child can take home but switched it up this time. I used screen shots from some apps and clip art. I used photos of the students taken with my iPhone and iPad to create our posters.
In this room I used pictures of different Halloween costume pictures and we labeled them or pointed (dependent on students’ skill levels). Then we made a collaborative “Fall-o-weeeeen” poster. I used the app Picture Me Trick or Treat and clip art from Scrappin Doodles. I bought the pumpkin bag and cut outs from the dollar store. The fall confetti around the sides was the idea from one of the students.
In the second room we made a “Field of Screams” poster. The corn was made from a green strip of construction paper and clip art for the corn. The bats and spiders were from the dollar store. The clip art was from Scrappin Doodles, Halloween Card Creator and Wood Puzzle Halloween.
In the last class we made a collaborative “Knock Knock. Boo’s there?” poster. The clip are was from Scrappin Doodles and Picture Me Trick or Treat. I used construction paper for the doors. The bats and spiders are from the dollar store.
First we had closed doors:
Then we knocked on the doors and….
For all of these posters we were talking, pointing and requesting. The kids glued the items on tho poster board and we talked about concepts like: over, next to, under, top, middle, bottom, more, all done etc. Of course lots of vocabulary happening too!
Mask Jumble Halloween is a fun app from Piikea Street. I did not have this app before creating our posters. If I had I would have definitely added these fun pictures! You can view more information and a video on the Piikea Street website.
I used this app with students for fun and to work on taking turns (waiting is hard!), giving directions and making choices. The app includes 10 masks with 40 unique pieces. As you complete masks you get treats and need to catch them in your mouth to earn a new mask. What a fun way to work on right/left, and up/down. Photos can be taken of your face in a mask which then can be e-mailed as a postcard or printed. With my students we printed them and then compared and contrasted the faces/masks. We also worked on emotions/expressions. You can make any face you want for your mask- a sad Frankenstein an angry princess and more. I worked on articulation sounds for some students /s/- mask, costume, princess etc. /k/ Frankenstein, mask, cute, costume, etc. We had a great time with this app! Piikea also has another mask app called Mask Jumble Animals.
How can you incorporate this app into your therapy sessions?
This is my door to my speech room. I used clip art from Scrappin Doodles and a postcard (black pumpkins). Student pictures and a spider or other Halloween creepy image are under the pumpkins with a ?.
Here is how I use it.
1. I put sticky notes on the side numbered 1-4 and across the top lettered A-C. Students state A-1 and the other student finds the correct pumpkin and lifts it up. We get to see if it is a person or a Halloween image.
2. Students choose a pumpkin and lift it up if it is a person they can keep going or stop. The object is to see who can lift the most without getting a Halloween creepy image.
3. I put two of each image and the kids play a matching game. I use Halloween images, articutlation words/pictures and vocabulary words.
Do you have any other ideas for this door?
Thanks for reading my blog and entering the app code giveaways.
The winner for TenseBuilder is….. Kristen Hansen
The winners for /r/ Intensive are…… Cathleen and Giovanna Renfrow
My little appy helper. She helps me test out apps and draw winners for contests. And lucky me I get to live with her until we close on our new home.
Maybe this should be titled Yippee Ki YIKES!!! If it’s August then that must mean my summer vacation is galloping away. So I should be fetching me some tissues and fussing. But… I’m not….yet. It’s been a lazy summer with not many projects or routines so I’m looking forward to some structure again. In the meantime my blog has been ignored this summer so I’m getting back on my horse and writing a new post.
I decided to work on my Cowboy/Cowgirl/ Wild West unit. It is only a start but I wanted to share what I have so far. I have more items at school that will be part of this unit so stayed tuned.
Another inexpensive resource: Perkilou cowboy set
Apps: Here are some apps to make any cowgirl Appy!
There was a fun Pecos Bill storybook app from Ruckus Media but I do not see it in the app store anymore.
That’s all for now Pardner! It’s time to russell up some grub. More to come later!