Basic Concepts Skill Screener: App Review and Giveaway

Smarty Ears Apps has a new app out that helps to screen basic concepts.  It is called...Basic Concepts Skill Screener.

This is a great new app that was developed for the purpose of evaluating and describing the basic concepts skills of children at the receptive level.  It is individually administered so that you can establish a baseline of basic concepts that are in error.

There are two options for this screener: Full Screening (79 items) and Quick Screening (30 items).
The administration time for the full screener is 10-15 minutes, while the quick screening takes about 5 minutes.  My five year old son took the quick screening and finished in about five minutes.  He was starting to get a little distracted toward the end though, so I would guess that he would need a little break while doing the full screener.

To begin, you enter the student's name and date of birth.  Then, you select the student and decide if you will administer the full screening or the quick screening.  Then, the screener begins.

The app presents a request for the student to touch a picture depicting a particular concept from a choice of four pictures.

There are four basic areas of concepts that are assessed in this screener.

These items all look at the location of an item.  Terms include above, on, off, bottom, between, through, under, corner, etc.

These items focus on quantity.  Terms include words like whole, all, empty, most, never, etc.

These terms focus on the relationship between items such as size, color, texture, and weight.  Terms include words like tall, dark, cold, think, sad, etc.

These terms indicate how events are related in time.  Terms include words like first, next, starting, second, etc.

When your student is finished, you press the done button, and the app returns you to the student page.  From there, you can select "see report" to get a pretty detailed report of the student's results.

The results from the session are reported three different ways. 
1)You get to see the correct/incorrect items by concept.
2) The data is broken down by concept type (i.e., comparative, quantitative, spatial, and temporal).
3) Data is also reported by age of acquisition.  This area provides a performance graph that is color coded.

What do I like about this app?
I think that this can give you some great baseline data when working on basic concepts.  I know that I will be administering this to many of my younger students this fall.  I like that it is simple to use and understand for the student.  I also love the variety of ways that data is presented to you when the session is completed.

What could improve this app?
My son did not really understand the tally of questions remaining in the session.  It is reported as #of completed items/30 (or 79 for the full screener).  I think he would understand a more visual representation of how many items are left.

You can purchase this app at the iTunes store $9.99 HERE.
You can enter to win a copy in the rafflecopter giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This app was provided to me for purposes of this review.  No other compensation was provided.


Birthday Gifts for Kids

I have a birthday this week, and I also have friends who have kids with birthdays this week.  The kids are going to be one and five years old.  I'm not saying how old I am going to be!  Anyway, it got me thinking about gifts for kids.  I really love to give books, but I also like to give a little toy to go with it.  There are so many reasons why books are great for kids, but I also feel like there are so many reasons why toys are great for kids too!  Both choices allow kids to explore and use their imagination.

I have compiled a list of five different books that are great for gift giving, and five toys that go along with each.  Sorry, I think my list might skew a bit towards boys (I swear that is all I ever buy for), but I also have one more girly options too.  All of these books and toys are geared towards birth to about five or six years old.

Here are my choices: (if you click on each picture, it will take you to a place that you can purchase these items)

1.  Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld

To go with this book, my choice would be a construction truck of some kind.  My youngest son is obsessed with construction trucks, so I know there are a million different ones out there.  Here is a great example of one that has great working buttons and parts:
2.  Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin

To go along with this book, I was thinking you could get a little guitar.  For the preschool set, there is a LeapFrog Touch Magic Rockin Guitar that is really cute.

For a little older kids, you could look at a guitar like this one by Paper Jamz:

3. Curious George and the Pizza Party by HA Rey, Margret Ray, and Alan J. Shalleck.

This book was one of my son's favorite books.  He would crack up at the huge mess that George makes in this book.  He also still loves to make his own pizzas with playdoh, toy food, or even real pizza.  I thought that this pizza kit by Melissa and Doug would be a perfect match.  You can usually find these kinds of sets at Tuesday Morning or TJ Maxx at a discount.

4.  Sometimes I Like To Curl Up In a Ball by Vicki Churchill and Charles Fuge. 

This book was a favorite of my son who is a little cuddle bug.  This is a sweet story about things that the little wombat does all day, and then cuddles up with his mama at night.  This book comes in hardcover or in a board book, which makes it great for many ages.  You could give it to a one year old, or a little older.  It could also make a great baby gift when paired with a baby blanket.  I thought a great item to go with this book would be a pair of pajamas or a cuddly blanket.  My boys still love to get blankets, especially if they have some sort of character on them.

5.  Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann.

This is a cute book about a girl who loves anything pink, especially cupcakes.  Her parents warn her not to eat to many, but she does and!  This book is great for girls, but I also know a few boys who secretly think this book is great!  I thought a great item to go with this book would be either the Melissa and Doug Bake and Decorate Cupcake set or the Lego Duplo Creative Cakes set.

There are so many ways to match books and toys.  The next time you are at the store, wondering what to get to go to that birthday party, start at the book area and pick out something great.  Then, you can head over to the toy area to find something to match.  I hope these ideas can spark some great gift-giving ideas for you! 


There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books: Phonological Awareness Book Companion

Phew!  That is a mouthful of a title!  TpT wouldn't even allow the whole title because it had too many characters!  But, I love this book, and am so exited to share my newest phonemic awareness book companion with you!

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books: Phonemic Awareness Book Companion

This is based on the book by Lucille Colandro.  This book companion contains activities that work on rhyme awareness, rhyme generation, syllable awareness, syllable blending, and monosyllable word blending (onset/rime).  The activities are as follows:

How Many Syllables?- Students count the number of syllables, and use Do-A-Dot markers to complete the activity. (4 worksheets)

Blending Syllables– Students listen to two syllables, and state the word that they hear. (18 cards and game board)
Recognizing Rhyme-Students listen to two words, and then state if the two words rhyme. (24 cards and 2 mats)
Generating Rhyme-  Students are given a word, and asked to state a rhyming word. (27 cards and roll it, rhyme it, keep it game board)

Blending Monosyllable Words Onset-Rime– Students listen to an onset and a rime, and asked to state the word they hear when the sounds are blended together.    (18 cards and game board from Blending Syllables activity)
This activity is available HERE at my TpT store.
You can also have a chance to win a copy of this activity by entering this rafflecopter giveaway.
I hope you enjoy this activity as much as I do!

1000 Follower Celebration!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I am overwhelmed with the amount of support I have received from all of you!  In celebration of this milestone, I am throwing a sale over at my TpT store.  I am going to have my 10 most wish listed items on sale for 50% off until 10 pm (EST) today, July 21, 2013. 
These items include:
I also have a new forever freebie available at my TpT store:

Last winter, I created a freebie called Winter People Sentences: 3rd person pronoun use.  I loved using it with my students.  I have since made spring and summer editions too.  Now, I am excited to give you Fall People Sentences: Subjective Pronouns!

This free activity is the same as the previous free activities, except with a different theme.  Students can work on using 'he, she, they' and also work on 'have/has'.    There are three mats with sentence starters available.
There are also three mats without words so that students may create their own sentences.

There are 24 item cards to use to create sentences.
You can get this fun, new freebie HERE.

I hope you can take advantage of my sale today, and I also hope you enjoy this new forever freebie!  Thank you again, for all of your support!


Love It and List It!

Speech Room News has a great new feature she is doing on her blog once a month.  It is a linky where bloggers can "link up" and leave lists of things they love pertaining to a certain topic each month.  This month is Games I Love! 

I have a few go to games that my students always request.

1.  The first one is Go For The Dough from Super Duper, Inc.

My students constantly ask for this game.  Basically, you just use game pieces to go around the game board and try to deliver pizza to granny.  For each turn, you have to answer a question to earn a dollar.  The dollar goes in a pot in the middle.  If you land on granny, then you get to keep all of the money in the pot. 
I use the game the way it is intended with the money, but I also use it just as a reinforcing game.  To use it with the money, you follow the directions on the money.  There are six different areas to target: Categories, Opposites, Definitions, Rhyming Words, Multiple Meanings, and Synonyms.  For the categories area, I usually make my students name as many items in the category as they rolled on the dice.  I also use it as a reinforce with the dice and just put random money in the pot.  With articulation, for example, I have the students roll the dice, say as many words or sentences as the dice indicate, and then put a dollar in the pot for them.
My students LOVE trying to win all of the money!
2.  Another of my most requested games is Apples to Apples Junior.  I will usually let students pull this out for "special occasions". 
Each person gets 5 cards that have something kind of silly on them.  Some examples are: monkeys, sand castles, my teacher, Cinderella, pickles, etc.  Then, a "judge" is chosen.  The judge picks a card from another pile that mainly consists of adjectives such as: crunchy, smelly, cool, freezing, etc.  The judge reads the card, and then the remaining players need to decide which of their 5 cards most closely matches the description.  The students crack up at some of the choices.  The judge then decides which card matches the adjective card the best, and then that person gets to be the judge.

3.  The third most requested game in my speech room is Cariboo Island.  Unfortunately, it is out of production now, but you could get lucky and have a great find at a second hand shop. 
In this game, students pick a card that has a number or shape on it and then have to find a corresponding card on the spinning game.  They get to use a key to open the latched door and see if there is a token inside.  If there is, they put it in a little plastic slider on the top of the game.  When they find six tokens, a treasure box opens!  My students love to play this game as a reinforcer to multiple areas, articulation and language targets.  I have also created my own cards that we use with the students in our social language group for conversation and feelings.  You can see how I used it to work on feelings HERE.  I know I have talked about this before, but I really do love this game!

Thanks for checking out my favorite games!  What are your favorites?


Answers for SLP Trivia Night!

Thanks to everyone for participating in our first SLP Trivia Night!  I hope you had fun!  Here are the answers to each round of questions:

Round One
1.      What is the date of my first blog post on November 24, 2012

2.     I live in Michigan.  Which university did I go to for my undergraduate degree?  Western Michigan University

3.     I left Michigan for a couple of years to go to grad school.  Where did I go?  Northern Arizona University

4.     On my TpT store (, all of my book companions focus on which skill?  Phonemic Awareness

5.     What is the name of my most recent paid product?  (Hint: look at the banner at the top of my store.)  No Frills Articulation Bundle

Round Two

1.     What does AAC stand for? Augmentative and Alternative Communication

2.    Name the  well-known AAC user who wrote A Brief History of Time. Stephen Hawking

3.    Name a high tech AAC device. Dynavox, GoTalk, iPad with communication apps, or any other high tech device.

4.    What does PECS stand for?  Picture Exchange Communication System

5.        True or False: Augmentative communication adds to the spoken communication a person already has, while alternative communication replaces spoken communication.  True

Round Three
1.    What is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges.  Autism Spectrum Disorders

2.    What is the most recent data on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders? 1 in 88 children, however I have also seen 1 in 50 posted.

3.    This professor at Colorado State University was the subject of an award winning biographical film that focused on her life with Autism.  What is her name?  Temple Grandin

4.     Name two “red flags” that may indicate that a child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder.  Two of the following:

Impairment in Social Interaction:

  • Lack of appropriate eye gaze
  • Lack of warm, joyful expressions
  • Lack of sharing interest or enjoyment
  • Lack of response to name

Impairment in Communication:

  • Lack of showing gestures
  • Lack of coordination of nonverbal communication
  • Unusual prosody (little variation in pitch, odd intonation, irregular rhythm,
    unusual voice quality)

Repetitive Behaviors & Restricted Interests:

  • Repetitive movements with objects
  • Repetitive movements or posturing of body, arms, hands, or fingers

Wetherby, A., Woods, J., Allen, L., Cleary, J., Dickinson, H., & Lord, C. (2004). Early indicators of autism spectrum disorders in the second year of life. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 473-493. Based on research at the Florida State University FIRST WORDS® Project.
5.     True or False: Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism.  True
***If I did not have enough entries with all five correct, I gave the prize to the entrants who had five correct, and then used for the remaining entries that had at least four correct.
Thanks so much for participating!

"Speachy" Linky Party with Speech Peeps!

Nicole over at Speech Peeps is having a linky party for product feedback.  Giving great feedback on TpT helps me to see how people are using my products, and it also gives you credits to use towards your next purchase.

My favorite kind of feedback tells me how you are using my product, or plan to use it.  I think that it gives people further ideas when they are reading comments to determine if they will purchase a product.  Here is an example of great feedback:
Tammie Grismer- please email me at with your choice of a FREE product from my TpT store!
The feedback was for my product, Secret Code Inferences, which you can find at my TpT store HERE.
Stay tuned, as this will be a monthly feature.  If you leave great feedback on your next TpT purchase, you may be the lucky winner of a free product too!
Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback!


Trivia Tuesday- SLP Trivia Night!

Tomorrow starts a great new feature by a variety of your favorite SLP bloggers.  We are taking turns hosting SLP Trivia Nights!
Tomorrow I will be hosting this event on my Speech Universe Facebook page at 9:00 p.m. (EST).  I am going to have three different rounds.  The first one at 9:00 will focus on getting to know my blog and TpT store a little bit.  The second round at 9:10 will focus on Autism.  The third round at 9:20 will focus on Augmentative and Alternative Communication. 
There will be five questions in each round.  I will have you email me the answers to all five questions at  After 10 minutes, I will choose three winners via from the pool of people who got all five questions correct.
Winners will receive a choice of product from my TpT store!
Thanks to Kristin over at Simpy Speech for setting this up!  Thanks also to Carrie over at Carries Speech Corner for the super cute graphic at the top of this page!
Hope you all have fun with SLP Trivia Nights!  You can look forward to months of fun that are already scheduled into January 2014!

Describe It To Me: App Review and Giveaway

Smarty Ears has done it again!  They have just come out with a new app called Describe It To Me.

I am constantly looking for ways to work on describing with my students.  I am hoping to purchase the Expanding Expression Tool (EET) system this fall, and this app seems to fall right in line with that way of thinking.

Developed by a speech-language pathologist, Describe It To Me is a game that is designed to help improve both receptive and expressive language skills, specifically in the area of describing items. 

To begin this app, you first add and select the players.  You can add your own players or you can import players from Therapy Report Center if you use it.

While you are selecting players, you can also change the settings of the app.  You can choose to change what happens when students get an incorrect answer, what to do when a student gets a correct answer, choose whether or not to display points, use the spinner, and also customize words used.
Next, you will be able to start the game!

Players are shown on the spinner on the left.  You will have to select which player is answering the questions.  There are two ways to play this game, receptively and expressively.

There are six question types that allow students to answer the questions with multiple choice answers.  You choose the types of questions asked.  You could do 10 in a row of the same question with different pictures, or you can do the whole set of questions with the same picture.  It is your choice.  The questions are as follows:

"What category is it in?"

"What does it do, or what do we do with it?"

"What parts does it have?"

"Where can we find it?"

"What can I see?"

"What else do I know?"

When you get an answer correct, you can get a ribbon on the screen.

When you work on the expressive part of this app, the questions are the same, there just aren't any choices.  Instead, there is a button that allows the SLP to choose if the student answered the question correctly, almost there, or incorrectly.  This is the way the data is collected for this part of the app.

When you are finished playing (you decide how long to go), you can press done and go to the report center to view your data.  A report card looks like this:

You can email this data, print it, send to a variety of apps, or also send to the Therapy Report Center.

There is also an area for students to earn different trophies for answering questions correctly.

There is a button on the report center for homework.  This is an awesome part of this app!  There are 34 different homework pages.  The homework includes the following areas:
Category (matching)
Circle (multiple choice)
Eliminate (cross out from multiple choice)
Find Six (list six words in a category)
Function (matching)
Location (matching)
Part (matching)

What do I like about this app?
This app is exactly what I needed to reinforce my word on describing words.  I have several students who are working on this exact skill.  I love that you are able to customize the questions.  Some days, I may want to just focus on the function of objects.  This app would allow me to do just that.  I also like that you can work with multiple choice or without.  This gives great opportunities to discover if the student knows the information receptively, and if they can express the information without any written cues.  I also love the homework that is available.

What would make this app even better?
I would like it if there was an option to make the multiple choice answers read out loud.  I would not want it on all of the time, but there would be times when students may need the answers read to them to be more independent with the app.  I would normally read the answers to students if needed, but if they are using the app independently, it would be difficult for non-readers.  I also wish there was an option to have the spinner automatically pick a student after each trial of a question.  Right now the only way to change the student is manually.

Overall, I think this is a great app that I am going to be using a lot!  I tested it out on my 5 and 6 year old boys, and they thought it was cool.  Neither of them have language impairments, and were able to complete the activities, and had to think a little bit, especially with the expressive questions.

You can get Describe It To Me at the iTunes store for $9.99.

***July14-21, 2013: This app is on sale for $4.99- a great bargain!

You can try the lite version of this app for free HERE.

You can also have a chance to win a copy here with a Rafflecopter giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This app was provided to me for purposes of this review.  No other compensation was provided.