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My Speech Universe: December 2013

14 December 2013

Getting "Speechie" with a Good Book!

This week, I had a lot of fun working with the book Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson.  I love the Bear series of books, they are just so sweet!

To work with this book, I used an awesome book companion by Shannon over at Speechy Musings.  You can check out this companion HERE!

This story really is very sweet.  It is about a bear who is hibernating while his animal friends have a party in his cave without him.  He eventually wakes up and realizes he has missed a lot of the fun.  Spoiler alert!  Don't worry, his friends console him, and he gets to join in too.

Let me tell you about my the activities from the book companion that I used this week.  First of all, Shannon put some great cover cards in this packet to use to organize all of the cards.  Look here next week to see how I organize all of my book companions now.  These cover cards are a great way to keep your materials organized.  There are six different activities in this packet:
  • Comprehension
  • Conversation Starters
  • Write You Version!
  • Vocabulary
  • Sentence Scramble
  • Sequencing


These are open ended questions about the story.  There are a wide variety of questions in this activity.

Conversation Starters

These questions were great for working on some inference skills as well as more pragmatic skills.

Write Your Version!

I thought this was really cute, but did not get a chance to use it.  The group I wanted to use it with was cancelled one of the days this week because of a big IEP, so I only had one day with them.  If I had an extra day, I would have totally done this activity!  I made one of my own books, just as an example for the next time I use this packet.  Basically, you write and illustrate your own version of the story.


This is a matching game that matches a term to the definition.  Shannon also provided some categorization titles to use for sorting the cards.  Categories included: Sounds or Noises, Animals, Places, Verbs, Adjectives, and Nouns.

Sentence Scramble

These were great for some of my older students.  I placed the cards on the table, and they had to unscramble the sentence from the story.


For this last activity, there is a visual mat for placement, however I did not use it this week.  I just placed the pictures on the table and had the students manipulate them that way.  The sequencing cards are all provided in the Sentence Scramble activity.

My students really enjoyed the book and the activities this week!  Thanks so much to Shannon at Speechy Musings for providing my with a copy of this awesome packet to test out!

You can get this activity here:  Bear Snores On Book Companion Pack Speech & Language

I am taking a few weeks off from discussing specific book companions, but look next week to see how I organize all of my book companions.  I know I will be printing and organizing over my two week break.  The book companions will return in early January, and I have them booked through March!  There are lots of great companions out there to share!


07 December 2013

Getting Speechie with a Good Book!

As some of you know, I am basically obsessed with using book companions in therapy.  I love the versatility of using the book to target a variety of goals and objectives in one session.  Teachers and administrators love that I am using real literature in my therapy.  The skills that we target with books always translate into skills in the classroom.

So, because of my slight huge obsession with book companions, I got together with some of my other SLP blogger friends and have started a new weekly feature on my blog called: Getting Speechie with a Good Book!  This weekly feature will highlight one book companion from a fellow blogger each week.  I will show how I used the book companion with my students, and let you know what their favorite parts were.

This week is my first installment of this feature.  This week we read the book If You Take A Mouse To The Movies, by Laura Numeroff, and used the book companion from Mindy Stenger of the Speech Bucket.

This book is one of my favorites in the If You Give A... series!  I just love this little mouse, and the kids really crack up at him! 

Here are my favorite parts of this book companion:

Mindy put together some great sequencing activities to go along with this book.  First, there are ten large picture cards that students can sequence.  Next, she has two different sequencing mats.  There is one mat that just has numbers on it, and one that has four of the pictures already placed on the mat, and the student needs to place the rest in the correct order.  This differentiation worked really great in groups for me this week!

Story Comprehension Questions
Once again, Mindy was great with differentiating this task.  There are questions that have a choice of three different picture answers, and also the same questions presented without a choice of answers.  Again, this was really great in some of my groups where certain students need that visual cue for answers, and others are able to answer without a choice of answers.

My students with ASD, and my kindergarten students loved this activity.  There are three different categorization boards included in this packet.  They all ask the question, "What would the mouse see if  you took him to the...?"  The pages include the zoo, the ocean, and the farm.

 Also included in this book companion are:
  • Two really cute game boards.
  • Picture Bingo- The pictures for this bingo game can be used for receptive identification (show me the...) or as expressive vocabulary (what is this?).
  • An ornament coloring page.
  • Two writing prompt pages.
This was a really cute and versatile book companion.  You can get this great companion HERE.
Mindy also has a really cute add on to her packet.  Guess what?  It's FREE!  You can grab that HERE.
You can go send Mindy some love and let her know if you like her companion too over at The Speech Bucket on Facebook, or on her blog thespeechbucket.blogspot.com


06 December 2013

Winter Freebies!

I have two winter themed freebies for you!

Winter Yes/No Questions

The first one is a new pack that I just created for a little guy I am working with.  It focuses on yes/no questions.  There are three types: "Do they match?" "Is this a ____?" and "Can you ____?"

The second freebie is an oldie but a goodie:

Winter People Sentences: A 3rd person pronoun use game

In this activity, there are three mats with visual sentence starters:
There are also three mats that do not have the sentence starter:

There are 24 item cards that you can cut out and place on the mats:

Thanks for letting me share my winter freebies!  I hope you and your students enjoy using them.  Please link back to Busy Bee Speech for links to  a whole lot of great winter and holiday themed freebies!

02 December 2013

Articulation Learning Targets

So, I have articulation students coming out of my ears!  I can't even believe how many students I have found this year.  I dread going into the teachers lounge, because every time I do I hear, "Hey Jen, there's this student I want you to listen to.."  Well, I have taken an RTI approach with the majority of the these new finds, and am seeing them in small groups.  I want to get most of them out as quickly as I can, and in order for me to do that, I need them to really understand why they are with me.

At a recent staff meeting, my principal started talking about learning targets.  She said that they are a bit different from Common Core "I can" statements, in that they are very specific about their target goal.  They basically break down a Common Core goal into smaller pieces so that students can understand exactly what is expected of them.  I found this quote in an article titled "Knowing Your Learning Target" by Connie M. Moss, Susan M. Brookhart and Beverly A. Long:

"The first thing students need to learn is what they're supposed to be learning."

This really struck me.  There have been moments when I have been walking in the hall with a student after their session and someone stops us to talk.  The students have been asked "What were you working on ?"  Many times they know the general sound that they have worked on, but not specifically the target sound and position of the word that we worked on.  How can we expect to make change in a student if they do not know what exactly we are looking for them to do?

I decided to create some learning targets for my students.  I started with articulation because, as I said before, these students are coming out of my ears!  Here is what I came up with:

Learning Targets: Articulation


I have made simple sentence strips that contain a learning target for each English phoneme in all positions of words.  Here is my example for /s/:
I cut these apart and present them to students at the beginning of their session.  I then have them repeat the learning target to me.  During the session, I may refer to it, and I also have them repeat the learning target at the end of the session.  I have tried two different ways of presenting these learning targets.  First, I printed off a mat with the word "Articulation" at the top.  I am able to place this on a magnetic white board and fit three different targets on the page.  I cut up some old business card magnets that were given to me, and placed them on the back of each strip.  This worked great!

The second way that I presented them was by cutting off the top of my "Articulation" mat and placing it in a sentence strip chart that I bought at Target at back to school time.  I then placed each target in the sentence strip chart.

So far, this has worked great with my students.  They like putting up their targets themselves.  I have had some good success with them now knowing exactly what we are working on in each articulation session. 

If you would like to check out these articulation learning targets click HERE.

30 November 2013

A Year of Articulation Calendars

Wow!  I can't believe another year has almost passed!  This has been an amazing year for me.  Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate my one-year blogiversary last week!

One thing I have done this year, is to re-implement homework with my students.  I had taken a year off of sending home folders, and I really regret doing that.  I have reinstated homework with my students, and I (and their parents) couldn't be happier!  I realize now that the home-school link is so important for carryover and generalization of all speech and language skills.  I guess I always knew that, but after taking the year off of sending homework, I realized how uninformed my students families were about what was going on in the speech room.  Now, I have a direct link home every week with my homework folders. 

I guess one reason I stopped doing homework folders last year was the amount of work I perceived to be involved with them.  I was constantly printing off new pictures and worksheets for students to take home.  Well, for my articulation students, I have a new solution to my perceived problem.  A Year of Articulation Calendars!

These calendars are for the 2014 calendar year, and include all twelve months.  You can print off a month at a time to send home.  I like the students to keep the calendar in their homework folder so that I can see which activities they have completed each week.

Please note, if you have previously purchased my Summer of Speech and Language Calendars, the months of June, July, and August articulation calendars are the same.

The articulation calendars included in this packet are available in either color or black and white.

Here is a little sneak preview of the calendars:

I have also included a sample letter that you could send home, or copy the wording of to make your own letter home.

My summer calendars went over really well with my parents again this year.  I still get compliments on the summer calendars when I meet with parents that I have not seen since the beginning of the year.  I am hoping that you and your parents find these calendars equally useful!

You can find these articulation calendars HERE.

24 November 2013

One-Year Blogiversary Celebration!

I can't believe that it has been one year since I started my little speech blog!  I have learned so much over the past year.  Through blogging, I have become more creative and thoughtful with working with my students.  It really has renewed my enthusiasm for therapy!  I have also learned so much more about technology and creating new activities than I ever thought possible.   I have met so many awesome SLP's this year, and their ideas, energy, and wisdom amaze me!  All in all, this year has been AMAZING!

As a thank you to everyone who has supported me over this last year, I decided to do a little celebration.  I am giving away a $25 TpT gift certificate and the winner's choice of 5 items from my store.  You can enter to win this giveaway in the rafflecopter below. 

You can check out my store on TpT HERE to see what you could win!

Again, thank you to everyone who has followed this blog, Speech Universe on Facebook, TpT, and Pinterest -never did quite get around to tackling Twitter! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

18 November 2013

Auditory Zoo: Auditory Memory Activities for Sentences, Riddles, and Stories

Last year, I made some auditory memory activities for the circus and the farm.  My students loved using those cards, and some were asking me for some zoo cards.  Ask and you shall receive!  I have created Auditory Zoo: Auditory Memory Activities for Sentences, Riddles, and Stories.

There are four different activities included in this packet:
Auditory Memory for Sentences

Zoo Riddles

Auditory Memory for Zoo Stories

 Zoo Story Retelling
Here are some pictures of two of the activities in use in my speech room.  The first one is the sentence repetition game.
This second one is my story comprehension cards.  They are 2 or three sentence short stories with comprehension questions.  I printed them front to back so that I could just cut them out.  I set the sheets up so that when you print back to back, the story will print on the back of the picture that matches.

These activities are some of my favorites!  I hope you will like them too!  You can get this packet here: Auditory Zoo: Auditory Memory Activities for Sentences, Riddles, and Stories.
You can also enter to win this product as well as my Circus and Farm auditory memory packets by entering the Rafflecopter below.  The winner will receive all three auditory memory packets- a $12 value!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

21 October 2013

Halloween and Thanksgiving Mats (with a freebie)!

I have been having a lot of fun lately with my students using bingo chip reinforce mats.  I originally made a fall set that I gave away as a freebie on my Facebook page.  I wanted to make a few more because my students were loving them!  I decided to make some Halloween and Thanksgiving mats.

You can get the Halloween mats HERE.

You can get the Thanksgiving mats HERE.

If you look in the preview area of the product listing on TpT of either of the above mat sets, you might find a surprise FREEBIE!

I hope your students enjoy these as much as my students have been!