Category Sorting

Category sorting is a great activity for multiple populations.  I work on categories with students in preschool, kindergarten, and basic classrooms.  I was getting bored with my Boardmaker pictures that I was using to categorize, so I decided to make a new activity that targets category sorting with new pictures.  Because of the blah weather around here (Michigan) I wanted some bright colors.  So, what came out of those thoughts was...

Category Sorting!

There are 10 different mats and 40 different item cards to sort.  There are two sets of the item cards- black outlined cards and color coded cards.

The categories are:
  • farm animals
  • letters
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • numbers
  • shapes
  • zoo animals
  • vehicles
  • toys
  • playground equipment

Here is an example of two mats and the color coded cards that go with them:

I made two sets of item cards.  There is a color coded set like you see above.  The outline of each card matches the mat.  I also made a set that has black outlines, so that the students do not match the color and have to really focus on the category.  I thought that the color coded set would help my students with ASD to work on this activity, and then I plan on fading out to the black outline cards as they learn the activity.

You can get this category sorting activity HERE.

Matt and Molly Stories

In my work with students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), I have had to become pretty creative with how I work on skills.  My students crave repetition, and do learn from repetition and visual strategies.  Matt and Molly stories from Linguisystems are a great way for me to work on story sequencing, yes/no questions regarding stories, and 'wh' questions.

Matt and Molly stories are very simple four picture stories.  The vocabulary is simple.  There are typically only two characters (Matt and Molly) and possibly another animal.  In some of the socially themed stories there are one or two other characters, but they are not named (listed as "friend"). 

When I work on a Matt and Molly story, I start by presenting each picture and reading the sentences that go with that picture. 

Then, I have the student place the sentence cards under the pictures.  Depending on their reading ability, I may read the card, or have the student read the card. 

I then ask my yes/no questions.  Sometimes I bring out a visual yes/no board.  Sometimes, these seem to be the toughest questions.  I have so many students who just say "yes" to every question. 

Next, I ask the "wh" questions.  Some of my students are able to answer questions without choices, however many of them need some choices.  I always work on fading back on offering the choices, but have them ready just in case.  For this story, I have my choice of two answers for each question written out on an index card for future use.

After the questions, I may take away the sentence strips and see if the student can retell the story.  This is also when I may take away the picture cards, mix them up, and then see if the student can put them back in the correct order and retell the story.

I really like using really simple stories like these with my students with ASD.  I have been known to draw my own line people and make up stories about them.  It is a quick, visual way to work on some simple story retelling, and auditory comprehension skills. 

The Jacket I Wear In The Snow- Phonemic Awareness Book Companion

My students are loving using these book companion packets for their phonemic awareness work!  I have to confess, I am having fun making them too!

My latest book that we will be working on is: The Jacket I Wear In The Snow by Shirley Neitzel.

In my The Jacket I Wear In The Snow: A Phonemic Awareness Companion, I have included activities for syllable awareness, rhyme awareness, rhyme generation, onset-rime blending, sound blending, and some bonus cards for segmenting.

How Many Syllables?:

Recognizing Rhyme:


Generating Rhyme:

Blending Monosyllable Words Onset-Rime:

Blending Sounds to Make a Word:

You can find this packet at my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking HERE.

Thank you to and Boardmaker by for the cute graphics!  The Picture Communication Symbols Copyright 1981-2010 by Mayer-Johnson LLC.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Used with permission.  Boardmaker is a trademark of Mayer-Johnson LLC.

Thank you to everyone who has taken an interest in my phonemic awareness packs!  I know it is a little niche product for some SLP's, but pass it on to your Kindergarten teachers if they could use something like it. 


Speech Dollar Days

A few months ago, I stumbled on a post by Speech Room News about a dollar challenge.  From this, I decided to try "Dollar Days".  I have challenged my students to say 100 words in a session to earn one "speech dollar".  After 10 dollars, they get a trip to my prize box.

Before they can participate in a dollar day, their sound needs to be established enough to be able to do at least one syllable words.  Most of the students that participate are able to do their sound in all positions of words if given some visual and verbal cues.  I don't want to be reinforcing wrong productions 100 times!

We made cute little speech wallets where the students are keeping their "dollars". 


Some of the students have decorated theirs, but they put their lasts names on them, so I did not want to show them.  They look really cute though, and the kids love having a wallet.  They keep them in their speech folders that are kept in my room.

When the students say their 100 words and earn a dollar, I make sure to write their name on it for them so that I know that I gave it to them, and so they don't get mixed up.

The kids are so eager to earn their 10 dollars, but most of my articulation students are only seen once a week.  I decided that they need more opportunities to practice these words and to earn dollars.  I made homework pages for them to take home and have signed by a parent.  Each page has 100 words on it.  The pages have the sound they are working on in the beginning, middle, and end of words.  If I have a student who is only working on initial position, or only final position, I can easily highlight the words I want them to practice.

So far I have made practice sheets for S, R (both vocalic and prevocalic), L, TH, and multisyllable words.  This just happens to be the sounds that my students who can read are currently working on.  I want to share these practice sheets with you.   Click here for these freebies:

Dollar Days Practice Sheets

Thanks Jenna, for a great idea to use with my students!  I hope my additional practice sheets are useful to more of you too!

No Frills Articulation for S and Z

I am really excited about my newest activities that I created.  I really needed some simple sentences and stories for a few of my older students who are working on s and z.  I didn't want many graphics, I just wanted to keep it simple.  Because of this, I created No Frills Articulation for S and Z. 

In this packet, there are memory cards, phrase worksheets, sentence worksheets, and story worksheets.  I have created pages for all positions of sounds (initial, medial, and final) for all activities.

Memory Cards for all positions of s and z

Phrases worksheets for all positions of s and z

Sentences worksheets for all positions of s and z

Stories worksheets for all positions of s and z

You can get all of these articulation activities HERE at my TpT store. 

Comment below for a chance to win this on Monday, January 21st!

There Was A Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow!

Next week, my Kindergarten phonemic awareness group is going to focus on the book: There Was A Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow! By: Lucille Colandro.   I think this book is so cute.  My son who is also in Kindergarten had to do a book report this week, and he picked this book.  I also used this book in a social language group that I run with the school social worker.  Everyone loves this book!

My phonemic awareness book companion pack includes activities for syllable awareness, rhyming, onset-rime blending, and sound blending.

There are five activities in this packet:
How Many Syllables?

Recognizing Rhyme

Generating Rhyme

Blending Monosyllable Words (Onset-Rime)

Sound Blending 

My students have been loving the activities in my phonemic awareness book companion packs.  I can't wait to use this one next week!  If you want to use it too, you can click HERE to purchase at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Syntax City Review

Thank you to Smarty Ears for allowing me to review their app, Syntax City.  Syntax City was designed for elementary age students and targets eight different syntax areas.  It is very similar to their newest app Language Empires which I previously reviewed.

I recommend starting with the video tutorial, where Barbara will guide you through how to use this app.  You can click "Quick Play" to play without setting up players to collect data.

First, click "Visit the City" to add students to the app.  You will type in their names and can pick either a real picture or an avatar.  Make sure if you are using a real picture, that you take the picture ahead of time.  You cannot take pictures from within the app.  When you are done inputting the names of your students, select the student names that will be using the app during your session.  This app allows for 1 to 5 players at a time.  Click the "Settings" button to decide if you want the audio to play, what to do when there is an incorrect answer, and whether or not you want a prompt for voice recording.

Next, you will select the syntax goals that you would like to address.  There are eight different areas in Syntax City, which represent the different goals.  Drag your players to the area on the map where you would like to work.  Players may be placed in different areas during the same session, and can also be placed in multiple areas during the session to target multiple goal areas.

Students will now begin using multiple choice to fill in the blanks of sentences using the targeted syntax goal.  The eight syntax goals are targeted as follows:

Irregular Past Tense Farm (2 levels)

Do-Does Gym (3 levels)

Plurals Zoo (3 levels)

He-She Ski Resort  (2 levles)

Is-Are Park (one level)

Was- Were Bakery  (3 levels)

3rd Person Singular Beach  (1 level)

Has-Have Grocery (1 level)

When you have finished playing the game, press the "Done" button.  This will take you to a report card page.  Select the player of your choice to view their performance or review the items they collected.  You are able to view the "Treasures Found in Town" as well as "Players Performance."  The graph shown in the performance section gives you overall performance on the game.  On the right hand side, each session date is listed.  Data for each target goal is listed with percentages.  You are able to share this data by clicking "Share" and mailing the data or opening in a variety of apps such as iBooks, Kindle, Edmodo, etc.

What do I think?

What I like:  I love that this app targets eight different areas of syntax.  I like the fill in the blanks feature of the app.  This is especially nice for working on syntax.  I like that more than one student is able to play at a time.  I love the real pictures that are used as the visual cues in the activities.

What could make it better:  I wish they would repeat the whole sentence after the students fill in the blanks.  I usually read the sentence for the students.  There is a feature that also allows the student to read and record the sentence, but some of my students are not really able to read the text, so they usually end up repeating me.

Overall: I would highly recommend Syntax City which is currently listed for $24.99.

** I was provided with a copy of this app by Smarty Ears in order to complete this review.  I was not compensated in any other way for the review.  Thank you Smarty Ears for giving me this opportunity!