Product Review: United States Listening Comprehension/ Reading Comprehension Activity

Tangled Tuesday!  I was excited to get hooked up with Amy from Major Speech Pathology Fun by a Minor Girl for her Tangled Tuesday feature on her blog.  I always love her materials, so I was excited when she offered up her United States Listening Comprehension/ Reading Comprehension Activity for the swap.

 Here are some samples of what you will find in this awesome packet!

Activities for Listening or Reading Comprehension:
This is a great packet full of information on all 50 states.  There are four cards for each state:
state information

famous people
comprehension questions with choice of four answers

comprehension questions without answer choices

All of the cards can be used for either listening or reading comprehension.

There is a black and white map that students can color in.  You can use this with the question cards.  Students are each asked a question from the card.  If they get the answer correct, they can color in that state on the map.  The student at the end that has the most states colored in is the winner!

Memory Game:
Also included in this packet are state cards with no information, just the state shape and name.  These are great for a memory game.

Written Expression:
There is a worksheet that asks students to extract information from the text.

I used these activities with some of my 5th graders who are working on listening comprehension.  We used the cards and kept track of the states on the map.  The students LOVED finding the states and coloring them in.  We also worked on the writing worksheet.  I was impressed with what they remembered!

I had fun reviewing this activity.  Thank you to Amy for swapping with me this week!

This activity can be found at her TpT store HERE.

Please go over to her blog to check out her review of my inference activity HERE.
You can also follow her on Facebook HERE

Colourful Semantics: App Review and Giveaway

I am always looking for ways to work with my students with ASD on creating sentences about pictures.  I stumbled upon this app, Colourful Semantics by London Speech Therapy, that looked really promising. I was lucky enough to be able to review this app, and the creators of this app were also generous enough to offer three apps for a GIVEAWAY!

Colourful Semantics is based on research carried out in the UK (1997 and 2011) to work on developing a student's:
  • spoken sentences
  • answering WH-questions
  • use of nouns, verbs, prepositions and adjectives
  • story telling skills
  • written sentences
  • written language comprehension
To start using this app, you first click the Setup button. 

Next, you choose your user.  You can either create a new user or an existing user.

Then, you choose the level that you want to work on.  There are 5 levels: who, what doing, what, where, and describe.  On the preset pictures, I have not noticed that you can really use the 'what' or 'describe' levels yet.  I am hoping they will be more included on the next version (1.2) that is supposed to come out in the next two months.

Next, you select your scene that you would like to work on.  The version I downloaded on my school iPad had eight different scenes, but you are able to add more.  I am actually a little confused though, because when I downloaded the app to my home iPad, I was only able to access three of the scenes.  Not sure why this happened.

It is not too hard to add a scene.  I added two to my school iPad.  I can see so many uses for this option.  My students love seeing pictures of themselves.  In our social language group, I will take pictures of them engaging in activities, and then ask other students what their peers are doing in the pictures.  Many of the have goals that target commenting on others' activities.

 When you add a scene, the app guides you to enter the question, and choose four options for answers.  You record all of the answers.  The symbols offered as answers were a bit limited for the pictures I chose so I took pictures of some Boardmaker pictures and uploaded those to the app really easily. 


When you are done selecting your options, you can press Start to begin working.

The narrator asks the question, and students are able to pick an answer from a choice of four icons.  After the student selects the answer, there is a pause in the app for the student to say the answer.

At the end of the questions, the student is prompted to state an entire sentence about the picture.

When you are done with the session, there is a data sheet presented.

  What do I like about this app?
  • I love the ability to add your own scenes!  This will be so useful in my groups.
  • I love the visual choices for answers.
  • The app is very easy to use.
What would make it even better?
  • Ability to record student responses so that they could listen to their sentences and answers.
  • Ability to save data to track student progress.
  • More preset scenes.
  • A little more wait time, or an option to pause the app, for students who need more time to state their sentence.  My students definitely needed more time.
**The app reviewed is version 1.0.  The app developers told me that a new version (1.2) is coming soon, and will include more scenes, options to turn off music, ability to save scores, and a faster way to add new scenes.

You can visit the app developers website at: London Speech Therapy
The Colourful Semantics App is available for $39.99 on iTunes.

You can also win a copy of this app by entering here!  There are three copies available.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided a copy of the app by London Speech Therapy for this review.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.


Syntax Workout: App Review

Last month, Virtual Speech Center released a new app called Syntax Workout.  This is an app that focuses on syntax skills and has a fun bowling theme that engages students.  My students LOVED the reward of the bowling games at the end of their trials of skills.

When you first open this app, you select a student.  You may select more than one student if you are working in a group.  I'm not sure how many students can work at once, but I was able to put in six student names for one session.  I don't think I would ever work with that many at once on an app, but Syntax Workout would keep data for all of my students if I did!

After you select a student (or more), you select the syntax skill you would like to address.  The following are possible targets:
3rd person singuar vs. plural, is/are, was/were, do/does, has/have, subjective pronouns he/she, subjective pronouns he/she vs. it, subjective pronouns he/she vs. we/they, subjective pronouns- mixed, objective pronouns me/you, objective pronouns him/her, objective pronouns him/her vs. them.

Students will then be shown a picture with two choices.  The narrator reads a sentence and leaves a pause for the student to fill in a word. The narrator then reads the choices as each button is highlighted.  The student has a choice of two answers to press.  After the student selects their answer, there is an opportunity to record the sentence.

After a specified number of trials (I chose 5), students get a reward of a bowling game.  My students loved this part of the app!  You can change the number of trials needed to get the reward game in Settings.

When your student is done with their session, you can get a report card.  The report card stores data from all sessions.  You can access the data by activity or by date.  These report cards can be emailed.

What did I like about Syntax Workout?
I loved the fact that there are 1500 different stimulus pictures/ targets in this app.  I know that my students will not get bored right away by using the same pictures all of the time. Also, the use of real photographs is always a bonus.  My students really loved the reward game of bowling! 

What would make Syntax Workout even better?
I like that you can record sentences, but I wish that you could save a few in the data section for each student.  Another thing I noticed is, if you are working on two different targets, it does not mix up targets.  Rather, the student needs to go through all trials before moving on to a different skill.

Overall Impression:
I think this app is great.  I will be able to target a lot of different syntax goals with these activities.  You can find Syntax Workout HERE.  It is currently available on iTunes for $16.99.

*I was provided a copy of the app by Virtual Speech Center for this review.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.

A Summer of Speech and Language: Calendars

****Updated for 2014!!!****

Summer is coming!!!  I cannot be more excited!!!!

Every year, I stress out about how I am going to get all of my packets together for students to practice over the summer.  My first few years, I would copy pages specifically for each student.  This was really time consuming, and I found that students were really not completing the work.  My packets started getting smaller and smaller, and I didn't really feel like I was sending home things that were interesting or engaging.  I decided that if I could get my students to at least think about their speech or language for a few minutes every day, it would be better than the practice I was getting from them in previous years.  A few minutes a day over the course of the whole summer, could add up to a bunch of time focusing on speech or language! 

So, I started to create some summer calendars for both speech and language and passing them out at the end of the year.  In the fall, parents started to approach me, saying how much they enjoyed the activities.   None of them took very long, and they were engaging.  I have used these calendars for two years now, and throughout the year, I still have parents comment on how much they liked them during the summer months!

Here is what I am going to pass out to my students this year.  A Summer of Speech and Language: Calendars.  I have both an articulation and a language version specific to 2014.  I created all of the calendar pages in both color and black and white because sometimes color ink is at a premium.  Students can either cross off days as they complete tasks, or color in an icon that is in the corner of each day.  I also created a parent letter that goes home with the packet.


This year, for my older articulation students, I may also send home pages from my No Frills Articulation packets.  These are also a quick way for students to practice.  This is more of my older way of doing summer practice, but for some students it still works.  I will probably only do this for the parents that actually request extra work.

You can get my calendars here: A Summer of Speech and Language: Calendars

****Please note**** If you have purchased my Year of Speech and Language Calendars, you already own these summer calendars!!!!  Also, when you purchase these calendars, you are also purchasing future years calendars too.  I will update these every year so that you can have a current years calendar instead of a generic weekly calendar.

I am so excited for summer on so many different levels!  I am looking forward to a summer of fun with my two boys.  I will also be confident in knowing that for a least a few minutes a day, my students will be thinking about their speech or language.

I hope you have a great summer too!  (Some of you lucky ducks start your summer in a couple of weeks!)


Mr. Potato Head

I love finding fun ways to get my students with ASD to communicate, comment, and request.  Mr. Potato Head is a great activity that lends itself to lots of requesting for multiple items.  Plus, it works on body parts too.

There are so many different sets of Mr. Potato Head out there right now.  One of the ASD teachers that I work with had an industrial size bin from Costco that had two potatoes, lots of hats, eyes, ears, lips, teeth,etc., and even some hair!  I asked to borrow this jumbo bin today and had fun with students who were able to use sentence strips to request the parts that they wanted to put on the potato.  Here is the little guy we created:

I used a huge board that I purchased from Pyramid Educational Consultants as a place for all of my icons and a sentence strip.  Students placed their icons on the sentence strip and requested each piece.  I made it simple and only had one choice for each piece (i.e., one nose, one mouth, etc.).  If you want to add attributes to request, you can use color icons also.  Students then ask for the "red nose" or the "yellow feet" instead of just "feet."

Here are the cards I used for this activity:

You can find these cards as a FREEBIE here: Requesting Parts for a Potato Friend

Have fun creating silly potato friends!

***Updated 4/23/2013: I just found a fun Mr. Potato Head app that is Free!  There are in app purchases available, but you can use the free version and have a lot of fun with it!  You can find it HERE.


Articulate-It: Review and Giveaway!

I am always looking for different articulation apps to use with my students.  It is nice to have a variety of pictures and target words to use.  So, when Smarty Ears approached me about reviewing their newest version of Articulate-It, I jumped at the chance!

Articulate-It is an app that has been around for a bit, but has gotten a makeover.  Version 3.2 has some great new updates, including being able to import students from Therapy Report Center, having three levels of practice: Words, Phrases, and Sentences, and my favorite- selecting target words by syllable numbers.  I have a few students who are really struggling with multi-syllable words.  This is the first app that I have seen on which you can specifically target multi-syllable words.

To begin this app, you can either "Select a Player" to track data, or use the "Quick Play" button to start right away.  If you use the Quick Play option, you will be able to track data for that session only, it will not save your data.

After you select your player (or players), you will customize your session by selecting the sounds you want to target.  The first screen that pops up asks if you want your focus to be based on one of four options: Phonemes, Phonological Processes, Manner of Articulation, or Number of Syllables.

There are 26 phoneme options, 8 options for phonological processes, 7 options for manner of articulation, and 4 options for number of syllables.

I love all of the options available!

After you select your options of play, press the Done button, and the app will go to your targets.
Once on this page, you will be able to select to work at one of three different levels, but what is great is that you can switch while you are working.  The app will track data for any level that you target during a session.


There are several adjustments you can make in the Settings.  You can choose to take off the written word, manage sounds, and choose if you want to display results on screen.  You can take Notes during sessions, and these notes will be saved with your data on the student's report card for the session.  I like the Rotate button, because you can rotate the picture toward the student, but keep the data area facing you.  You can also choose to Record and playback.  The recordings are also saved in the student's report card.

When you are finished, you press the Home button, and then press Terminate Session.  On the report card page, you then choose a student and can view their data.

What I love about this report card, is that if you recorded anything during the session, it is all saved for you.  When you press recordings, each separate recording pops up for the words that you recorded.
You can then share this data by emailing, printing, or sending it to Therapy Report Center.

What Do I Think?
I honestly think this app is great!  My students were engaged with it, and I loved the customization I was able to do for each student.  I especially love the data report that you get for each student.  The only thing I could see that would make it even better, was if you could check a response as "almost there." 

I know that this app is going to take over as my go-to app for articulation!

You can purchase Articulate-It at the iTunes store HERE for $38.99, or you can have a chance to win a copy with my giveaway!

Smarty Ears was nice enough to give me an extra code to give away to one lucky person!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** 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!

A Day With a Cookie Sheet!

Today, I brought out the really high tech stuff!  A cookie sheet and a marker!!!!  I found the cookie sheet at the dollar store, and use it for some magnetic activities.  I found these great markers with the erasers on the ends at Office Max.  The kids LOVE using these.  I was able to use these two very simple items in some very different ways. 

The first student who used these items comes to speech in a one-on-one session.  We are working on both articulation and language skills.  The first objective we targeted was using /th/ in CV combinations.  I wrote "th" on one side of the cookie sheet and 5 vowels on the other side of the sheet.  Then, I drew a line from the th to each of the vowels.  The student was then told to say /th/ while erasing the line and then ending with the vowel sound that it connected to.  She loved doing this, and it really helped her to draw out the /th/ and combine it with the vowel sound.

The next objective we targeted was naming items in categories.  I pulled out my trusty "Let's Name Things" cards by Super Duper.  I also pulled out a visual "spinner" from a board game that I have.  The student pressed the spinner to see how many items she needed to name from the categories on the cards.  We wanted to get to 20 items.  Every time she named an item correctly from a card, we drew a tally mark.  She really loved counting all of the tally marks and keeping track of how many she had completed.  She also loved erasing everything when we were done!



The next group I had was an articulation group working on their sounds at the sentence level. We again used the spinner to see how many sentences they had to make on their turn.  The goal was to get everyone to 20 sentences.  They got a tally mark for every sentece they created.  The students loved keeping track on the cookie sheet!  They thought it was so cool to write on it!

The last activity that I did with these materials was to target the prepositions above and below.  I did this activity with a kindergarten student.  I drew a "squiggly diggly" line down the middle of the cookie sheet.  Then I wrote the words 'over' and 'under' for reference.  I was then able to draw a variety of shapes and different pictures over and under the line.  I used this both expressively and receptively.  He was asked to point to pictures that were above or below the line, and also asked to make sentences about the pictures.  E.G. "The square is over the squiggly diggly line."  My student was comletely cracking up about the "squiggly diggly" line!  He thought is sounded so funny, and really motivated him.  He was also really motivated by erasing the pictures when I was going to draw new ones.

Overall, I had a fun day with students using a few really simple items!


Activity Swap with The Speech Bubble

A couple of weeks ago, my gmail account went a little batty, and I accidentally sent a copy of my Secret Code Idioms that I was sending to my work email to Maureen over at The Speech Bubble.  She graciously said that she would love to swap materials and review each others packets.  Wow, was I ever lucky!  I got to reveiw her great packet called Camp Go-Together: Associations and Analogies.  This was exactly what I needed to work with several of my students.

There are three different activities in this packet.  The activities increase in complexity, starting with Association Cookout.  This activity has students identifying how two items are related. E.G., How do Sugar and Candy go together? There are 32 cards in this deck. 16 of the items have multiple choice answers, and 16 have no choices available. This is great to differntiate in groups. I was able to split up the cards and present the ones with choices to a student who was having more difficulty with the concept, and the ones without choices to a student who was a little more advanced.


The next activity, called Hike the Association Trail, is a multiple choice activity that looks at what is associated with target items. There are 24 cards, all with multiple choice answers with picture cues. I loved these cards! They have been great with so many of my students. I actually used the backpack mats from the third activity as a place to hold the students cards, and they loved putting their cards "in their backpacks."

The third activity, called Pack Your Bag, introduces analogies.  There are 48 cards, 24 with multiple choice, and 24 without.  Students are asked to state how the first pair of items are related, and then determine which item completes the analogy.  There are cute backpack mats included with this activity.  Students are looking to pack their bag with all of the items listed on the mat.  On each card, there is a picture of an item from the backpack.  The first student to find all of their items, wins!

I think my favorite part of this whole packet is the visual reference for students titled "What is an Association?"  This is a great overview of ways that items can go together, and my students were definitely using it as a reference to figure out answers to their cards.  This would be a great poster to put on a wall too.

Overall, this is an awesome pack of activities to target associations and analogies.  You can find this packet HERE.  The best part, is it is a great deal at only $2.00!  Thanks so much, Maureen, for letting me review this great resource!