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


Appy New Year – Yapp Guru Expert Linky!


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(Click on this icon to view other bloggers 10 favorite apps)

This is only 10 of my go to apps in 2014. Believe me it was hard to choose only 10. I’m sharing the apps that I turned to the most to fit the needs of my present caseloads at school and the speech clinic.Plus these are ones  that are not necessarily “speechie” apps and I can add a twist to make it fit many of my therapy goals.

So drum roll … and in no particular order… Here goes.

1. News-O-Matic This is a subscription based app that I happened to get on sale. The news changes daily and is made for kids. It has short articles, videos, slide show, maps and fact links for each article. The articles can be read to you. Targeted vocabulary words have links to definitions. Cost: free app with in-app purchases

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2. Custom Boards This is an app that I use to create materials. Often I use it during therapy sessions and we can create a new vocabulary game or list together. It has many different templates. You can use your own pictures, ones in the app or from google. Cost: 49.99

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3. Sago Mini Doodlecast   This app is like a white board with at twist. There are 30 drawing prompts but you get to finish them. As you draw you also record your story. When you are finished it will play back each stroke you drew and what you said as you were drawing. Lots of therapy twists here. Be sure to check out the other apps from Sago Sago too. Cost:2.99

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4. Describe it to me There are over 160 pictures to use to work on improving describing skills. There are six different questions that target category, function, parts, location, visuals, and extras. You can work on this app in the receptive mode and chose a correct answer or in the expressive mode and create your own responses. Cost: 9.99

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5. Spot it HD This is just like the popular Spot card games. In the app you can play solo games or up to 4 players. You can also set the game to easy (6 symbols), normal (8) or hard (10).  There are options for timed or untimed play. Cost: 2.99

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6, 7 and 8. Between the lines level 1Between the lines level 2 and Between the lines advanced These apps are ones that I used to work on inferences, body language, facial expressions, perspective taking and slang. The videos and real photographs helped my caseload a lot. These apps also can be found in lite versions. Cost: 15.99 or .99 for lite versions

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9. Articulate it! This app has recently been updated and now includes fun backgrounds you can switch up. You can also add you own pictures, words and sentences. My twist with this app is to use it with my fluency students and my language students. I can create my own sets of words/pictures for specific needs. Watch for more updates that will contain stories for even more practice…coming soon! Cost: 39.99

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10. FingerPaint Duel  This app is made to encourage “playing together creatively.”  In the app two players try to finger paint a shape and get the most points. My twist we talk about strategies- which size pencil would work the best and why, should you use the eraser or not, etc.  Cost:  Free and Full app 2.99

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Now it’s your turn to share your favorite apps and the twists you use with them.

Cindy

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Playing at working

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!

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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!

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2. How Katie Got a Voice (and a cool nickname). This is a fantastic book by Pat Mervine, founder of  Speaking of Speech. You can find ordering information Here.

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!

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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!

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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!

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Ok back to work (tee hee)!

And the winners are….

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on October 7, 2012
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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.

Juggling Plates… /r/ Intensive and can be a TenseBuilder (p.s. there is a giveaway here)

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on October 2, 2012
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I’ve always thought that I was more productive when I had more on my plate and deadlines closing in…. Or so I thought.   But these last few weeks have been too much and I have found myself literally juggling plates when our house sold. I didn’t break any but I did pack them, toss some and set some aside to eat on.  With the number of craziness hitting me all at once I decided the only one putting demands and deadlines on my plate was ME.  So I gave myself permission to do nothing but try to survive the stress of moving, house hunting, temporary housing, living out of boxes, car repairs, family stuff, school starting etc. etc. So that is the main reason I have not posted for quite some time.  Plus having my computer packed away….somewhere makes it difficult!

So giving myself permission has relieved some of the stress.  But I do want to share a few things I have been enjoying.

Games:

This summer I won a game from Thinkfun called Mini Mouth. The object is to draw 2-5 letters and be the first one to shout out a word that contains those letters. Yes I did play it this way with my family but realized it might need modifying with my speech/language caseload. It is easy to keep in my purse or therapy bag and take with me. I played it following the game rules but have also changed it for some students. We pick a category (food, animal etc) and we flip a tile and try to name as many items that start with that letter. The kids also like to each have their own tile and think of an item that starts with that letter and give clues and see if we can guess it. Great toy to work on vocabulary, problem solving, spelling, turn taking and more!!!

I was then contacted by Thinkfun and asked if I would be interested in trying another product. Oh yes!!! This one is called PathWords Jr.  This game builds vocabulary, spelling, and spatial reasoning skills. The object is to fit the correct Tetris-style puzzle pieces over letters to spell words. I used this with a two boys who were working on cooperative play. I gave them the basic game instructions and then they were on their own. It was great to see them dividing the puzzle pieces, taking  turns and giving advice. I noticed that some of the “advice” was moving the puzzle piece for the other student. I reminded them that if they did not want “finger help” they needed to tell their partner. This was a really fun activity and helped to work on social skills too.

APPS:

/r/ intensive from Smarty Ears-

I don’t know about you but /r/ sound errors are not my favorite. If I am successful and have a child imitate my /r/ in one of our first trials I am thrilled!  Sometimes that doesn’t work so we work on tongue placement and that might work..hurray!  If that doesn’t work then I might teach a “g” and move it into an /r/ often with the word tiger . Oh boy if that doesn’t work I might try using “l” and have them slide their tongue across the roof of their mouth and cross my fingers. Ok maybe move from “ah”  to /r/.  (Big sigh) Now if nothing works then we come back the next session and start all over again and again.  I have not found “the one” trick that always works. Each case is different and some move quickly into words and sentences. The ones that try and try but still can’t reach consistency can be frustrating for everyone.  But as an SLP we are known to never give up. We try different techniques and tools. We research for other ideas. We collaborate with co-workers and other SLPs through social media.  And some days we even get to dismiss a student from /r/ therapy!!

Smarty Ears had a recent update for /r/ intensive and  has added new flashcards, a matching game and a guessing game. Not only is this a great way to target those pesky /r/ errors but it is very engaging for my students.  I always use apps in multiple ways so my twist for this app is using it with all students on my caseload. I can play guessing games to expand describing skills. I can use it with my fluency students to practice techniques at the word, sentence and storytelling levels.

TenseBuilder from Mobile Education Store-   is designed to help students learn how to identify and use correct tense forms by playing movie quality animated videos to demonstrate past, present and future tense. I have been using this with my students in group activities. It makes a great cooperation activity. My youngest students need to focus on using present regular tense in complete sentences (He is calling). So we have concentrated on using the videos to learn about this and record our “big sentences” within the app. The kids love to hear themselves and are even starting to self correct their errors after listening! My older students are working on irregular tenses and love to see if they can get their answer correct  before the movie ends. It has become a contest among the group of boys on who can shout it out first.

Giveaways!!!

I have 2 codes for /r/ intensive and 1 code for TenseBuilder so here is what you need to do….

1. Leave a separate blog comment for each app you would like to win.

2. Like the Facebook pages for Smarty Ears and Mobile Education Store and leave a another blog comment that you did this or already are a fan.

3. I will do a random drawing for the app codes on Sunday 10/7/12 after 7:00 pm Central time.

The codes are for US iTunes.

(WordPress blogs are no longer able to use Rafflecopter for giveaways so sorry!!!)

Can you SEA me now?

We have been swimming in the ocean in my speech room. Well at least figuratively. All the kindergarten classrooms have an ocean unit so I knew it was a perfect time to dive into my ocean theme boxes. It has been fun opening the boxes and rediscovering games, books and more. Honestly I am finding by “themeing” my materials I am using them more effectively.

My kids had been so excited about our Pirate Unit that when I took it down they were very sad. Then they asked if I was going to put them on my board again just like in our pirate ship. So this is what I came up with… I used the app I’m in! Traveling. This is a free app but to get the all the scenes it costs 1.99 which I needed for the beach scenes. I took their pictures and added them into the app. Check it out below!



Don’t you just love the parachutist’s face! I did not ask him to make that face but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to do something special with it. I found a parachute picture and glued his face onto it. The can you sea me now  board was created using brown paper for the beach, blue for water, yellow for sky and an orange circle for the sun. I used the I’m in! Traveling app and cut out out the pictures to glue on the “sea board.”  This time I did not add all my students but so far no one is complaining!

I used the beach cut outs on the bottom of my door to work on describing. One student chooses an item with “their eyes” and then gave two clues before the others could guess. You can download the pictures here: Ocean Pictures

Games we played:  I am including links to Amazon (if available) but most of these I purchased elsewhere.

1. Splash! This game is fun play the rules but I never stop there. The toy dolphins included in the game we’re a fun tool to use with my students. After learning Dolphin facts we could have our toy dolphins act them out.

2. I created another He/She board like I did for the pirate unit but this time using the beach theme. You can download it here: ocean he -she

3. I created an Ocean Bingo game using Custom Boards. You need to print out each bingo card. Print one extra card to cut apart and use as the calling cards.You can download it here: Bingo A   Bingo B   Bingo C   Bingo D   Bingo E   Bingo F   Bingo G

4. There are some fun and inexpensive ocean/beach materials at Perkilou Products  that we used- Ocean Adventure, Beach Barrier Game

5. Piranha Panic is a game that I picked up at a thrift store and had proven to be a favorite.

6. Splash Attack is a fast paced game and relies on quick visual discrimination.

7. Spongebob Squarepants Splash n Roll Game– who doesn’t like Spongebob!

8. Curious George Beach Game

9.  This was a great tool to work on as a team. I had the students ask their partner for the pieces they needed. ” I need a small yellow rectangle.”

10. Finding Nemo Storytelling Game

Create an Ocean in a Bag:

This is an activity I did last year and repeated again this year with my site based autism classrooms.  I found all the materials at the dollar store. The sand was different this year and  made more of a mess. I liked the gravel like sand I used in the past but it was not there this year. I’m sure you can look around and find lots of options for your bag! I first used  my iPad to look at an Ocean Video.  We talked about what we find in an ocean and then created our own ocean in a baggie! Here is the visual I used: Ocean in a Bag

If you would like to see another great idea for an ocean in a bag check out Jenna’s post at her Speech Room News blog!

My Room-

This time I bought a large ocean mural from a dollar store and cut it in half. I put the whale on my wall and the undersea half on my white board.

The green sand pail has liquid marbles inside. I bought ocean erasers and put one set inside the pail. The kids take turns trying to find matches by touch or sometimes we just pull one out and talk about the sea creature. The erasers and liquid marbles are both from the dollar store. We used the large conch shells to listen to the ocean (a great way to get it really quiet for a minute!).

Apps – here are some of the ocean apps we splashed in!

My Ocean Friend ( iPhone)   My Ocean Friend ( iPad)

To the Sea (iPhone)    To the Sea (iPad)

Ocean Animals for kids (universal)

Oliva the Octopus (universal)

Hit the Beach (iPad)

Tiny Ocean (universal)

Lettermen go the seaside (universal)

Splish Splash Inn   Splish Splash Inn HD

Learn Sharks Now (universal)

Fisherman and the Goldfish   Fisherman and the Goldfish lite

Sunny Bunnies   Sunny Bunnies HD

Scott’s Submarine (universal)

Josh and Emma go to the beach (iPad)

Candy Fish (iPad)

Sandcastle Maker (universal)

Jellyfish Jam- free (iPad)

Fraise Puzzle (universal)

Little sub abc learn to spell (iPad)

Deep Sea Submarine HD  Deep Sea Submarine (universal)

Lalla Funny Stickers Sea World (universal)

iDraw Ocean

Little Mermaid’s Surprise (universal)

Mermaid dress up – lite

Mermaid Sticker HD

Ocean Sticker book

Shape Collage – this is what I used to create the images at the top and bottom of this post

Now it’s your turn to add your own twist!

Cindy

Do you need a four slice toaster?

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on April 15, 2012
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As I’ve mentioned in past posts we are in the process of  getting our house ready to sell. This has meant lots of purging, packing and painting. We really don’t need a three-story 5 bedroom home with 4 bathrooms anymore. What we want is a cottage on some warm island but…..

So in this on going progress of painting, purging, packing and pulled muscles my husband states that he wants a two slice toaster. Huh? We have a toaster. It can toast four slices at once. And the slots are even made for bagels with pictures on how to load them correctly. So why do we need a new toaster?  In our quest to downsize I guess you start looking at everything differently.  Although we probably will not be running out to replace our toaster anytime soon it did get me thinking about wants and needs.

My present therapy room at school is a barely a two slice toaster begging to be a four slicer. It’s packed and crowded. I am constantly trying to reduce materials. There are many things I want to keep but do I NEED them.  It’s complicated. In the world of a Speech Language Pathologist we work with many different disabilities. We need lots of materials to meet the variety of student needs we see every day. Some days “my” plan doesn’t sync with the student’s plan so I need to be able to quickly reach into my bag of tricks and pull out a different rabbit. It’s difficult to do this while trying not to step on feet or fingers or whatever body part may be on the floor. But I make due and my iPad does help a lot. So enough about the room maybe (fingers crossed) next fall I will get to move into a larger space that has elbow room. Maybe it will even have a window…. dream on….

In the meantime I have been having fun using themes to target IEP goals. Fairies, goblins and gnomes just left to return to the forest where they have better views and elbow room. I’ve heard pirates plotting, cowboys/cowgirls galloping around, jungle creatures growling and nature budding all outside my almost two slice toaster speech room. I’m wondering how they will all fit!

So back to wants and needs. Here are a few apps that I are on my need list

I have around 2000 apps and I use them in many ways. Book apps are wonderful for comprehension, vocabulary, joint attention, etc.  There are game apps that I use for turn taking, following directions, vocabulary and problem solving. So to narrow my App NEED list down to just a few is difficult.

But first just my observation about apps and their cost. I know I have gotten very comfortable buying apps for .99 or 1.99. But when it gets more expensive then I may skip it or really weigh if I need or just want the app. Now think about looking through a catalog for therapy materials. I don’t skip earmarking a page just because something is over 1.99. The same eye should be used when looking at apps. Yes, the  iTunes “catalog” has thousands of apps ranging from free to several hundred dollars so we may skip some of the more “expensive”  apps in favor of others. Now compare a 39.99 app and  all it offers to something similar from a catalog that may cost more… then make your decision to buy or not.

1.  Custom Boards Premium  by Smatry Ears- this is my number one go to app. I use it to create lots of therapy materials, visual schedules,  game boards, books, pictures for kids to cut out and paste onto a project and so much more. To get inspired check out the cute book that Deb Tomarakos alias Speech Gadget made- Easter Freebie

2. Articulation apps- I have 3 main ones that I use. I like to rotate them with the kids and sometimes in the same session. They can keep data which saves me time.  They are: Articulate it!,   ArtikPix  and  Articulation Station.

3. Rainbow Sentences– I use this app to work on syntax/grammar. I also have been using it with some of my kids are less verbal and have had some amazing success. They are matching the colored words to the colored lines. I’m finding that they are saying longer strings of words when they record the sentence in the app.  I also use the other apps from Moblie Education Store.

4.  Apps from Kindergarten.com work great for vocabulary and working on grammar/syntax. I recently used this app to work on he/she along with has and is. I used magnetic dishes along with magnetic chips (from super duper). You can see the set up below that I used for one group. They touched the he or she picture and moved up: HE has puzzle beads. They repeated it for she and received a chip to put into their dish for each correct sentence. It made a drill type exercise a little more fun. The dishes were bought at the Northern Tool and they came 4 to a package. They can be found at auto-parts  stores or amazon.

5.  My newest apps I am use for language skills are Language Adventures,  Go Togethers, and Hamaguchi apps.

That’s just a few of the apps that are on my what I need list. It can change to match the needs of the kids I work with at school and in the clinic. I often get asked to show someone my favorite or the “best” but it really is dependent on what you NEED them for and how YOU use an app.  What’s on your need list?

P.S. Our house is now on the market and after all the painting and scrubbing I NEED a massage and a manicure! Ok ok I want them.