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My Speech Universe: December 2014

31 December 2014

Favorite Board Games 2014

Kristin over at Simply Speech is hosting a linky looking to find out what some of our favorite board games of 2014 were.  My students love to play games, but sometimes I feel like we just don't have time when focusing on specific goals.  So, when I pull out a game, my students really get excited!

The first game that I love to use to target a variety of skills is Go For The Dough by Super Duper, Inc.


This game is made to target synonyms, antonyms, definitions, categories, multiple meanings, and rhyming words.  Many times though, I just use the "money" and play it as an open ended game for targeting articulation or other language skill drills.  My students love earning "money" when they land on granny.  My favorite thing to do with this game recently is to use it with my EET.  Students use the items on the definitions money and also use the EET to describe.  We have been having a great time using the game this way!

The next two games that I love are games that we use with our social language groups of students with ASD.  I listed the links to these on Amazon, however I have often seen both of these games at Toys R Us and Target.

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel is a super cute game.  We use this one a variety of ways.  My favorite way to use this game is when we have our kindergarten ASD students with their general ed SNAPs (Students Need a Pal) 5th grade friends.  We have the fifth graders hold the acorns, and the students with ASD use their PECS books or verbal request for the color of acorn that they want.  They just don't seem to have the patience for the spinners yet.

Zingo is also a great game to use with our younger students with ASD.  It is great for turn taking, and we even have them offering items they don't need to other students to get more interaction.

My final favorite game this year is Pirate Talk, also by Super Duper, Inc.  I often use this as an open ended game to target any skill.  My students absolutely LOVE earning the gold coins!  The cards that are included are good too.  There are receptive and expressive skills targeted.

Those are my favorite go-to games right now.  What are your favorites?

You can check out lots of favorites over at Simply Speech.  Just scroll down to find the linky at the end of her post.

06 December 2014

Winter Interactive Books {Visuals/AAC}

I have been using interactive books like these for years.  My ASD team purchased a few of the Pyramid Educational Consultants books back when I started in the ASD realm.  I can't even find the books that I have for sale anywhere now.  After we started using these, I realized that I wanted to make my own.  This was way before I really knew how to create products, and I think I created it in Microsoft Word.  For my friends who make products, you will understand that it took a LONG time to create this original product.  I have a really hard time formatting anything in Word.  It is just hard for me to get things to go where I want them to.   Anyway, back to my original books.  I made several winter themed books about what we do in winter vs. summer and also what do we wear in winter vs. summer.  These books were a big hit, and I used them for years.

Fast forward to now...I have so many students who are struggling with sentence expansion, vocabulary, and answering simple questions.  I wanted to update my books (they were looking a little old, tattered, and dated) for use with a variety of my students.  The first two that I have made are: Winter Activities and Winter Clothes.


Both of these books have already been big hits with my students with ASD (and their teachers) as well as some of my students in Kindergarten and First Grade who are working on some different language skills such as answering questions and expanding utterance length.

These books are really easy to put together and use:
Print and laminate all pages.
Cut the top half of the book pages.  Leave the last page whole (this is where you will store your interactive pieces.
Hole punch all pages within the black box.  I use two holes.  Then, place the book pages on top of The last page.  Bind the book using book rings.  Another option would be to bind the book with a binding machine.
Cut out the interactive pieces.
Place a piece of hook Velcro on each sentence square on each book page, as well as on top of each square picture on the last page.  Place a piece of loop Velcro on the back of each interactive piece.  Store these pieces on the last page.
Students will read the book, and move the interactive pieces to the sentence box for each page.

You can find these books at my TpT store HERE.  There will be more to come!  I already have my summer ones completed, just haven't totally tested them out yet.  I'll keep you updated as more of these come out.

***Updated Winter 2015!!! I have added an additional book to this set.   What Do You See? is the latest book.  My students did really well using the spring, summer, and fall versions of this, so I went back and added the What Do You See? for winter.

Hopefully you and your students enjoy these as much as we have!

02 December 2014

Pizza and Birthday Cake Fun! {FREEBIE}

This weekend at Costco, I was lucky enough to come across a great Melissa and Doug package of birthday cake and pizza.  My own kids have these toys at home, but honestly, many pieces are missing, and a little beat up.  I was excited to find these toys at Costco for only $9.99 for the whole package!!!

What a great find, right?  I knew that I have a couple of students who will totally love using these, but they need some visual cues to create sentences and request.  I made these visuals, and wanted to share them with you in case you come across these great toys too!  You can get these visuals for free HERE.

I put everything in a box, laminated and put Velcro on the visuals, and now have a great little activity to work on requesting.  I plan on using it for requesting with single pictures, I want sentences, and using the attribute of color.

Hope you enjoy the freebie!

20 October 2014

A Very BIG Day!

WARNING: This is a non-speech related post!  I totally understand if you stop reading now. :)

Yesterday, I ran my first half-marathon in honor of my son, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was five years old.  The half-marathon was the culmination of many, many hours of training which definitely took me away from blogging and creating TpT products for a while.  Between working full-time, transporting two kids to all of their activities, and running several days a week, I was tired!!!  So, if you haven't seen me around much, now you know why.

In July, I had a fundraiser in which many other SLP bloggers and TpT sellers donated items to form two different bundles to be sold on TpT.  This fundraiser was amazing, and allowed me to make a donation in the amount of $1,394 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)!  Thank you again to everyone who purchased one or both of these bundles!  Between this fundraiser, a small one I did with Jamberry Nails, and many generous donations from family and friends, I was able to raise over $2400 for the JDRF.  My goal is to help as much as I can in the future with the JDRF, and help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

All of my fundraising and training led up to yesterday.  We arrived at the marathon location at 5:30 am.  It was still dark, and it was COLD!  It was only about 37 degrees F when we were getting ready to run.  I had two of my closest friends with me to support me through this race.  I truly don't know how I would have done it without them!

The race was beautiful!  We crossed over the Ambassador bridge from Michigan into Canada.  It was a pretty steep incline up, but with so much to look at, we barely noticed!

We had an awesome run in Windsor, Canada!  We took the tunnel back to Michigan.  It is the only underwater mile run around.  No pictures of that though, we were in a zone!

The last few miles were tough, but I was always running with thoughts of my son who fights hard every day against T1D.  If he can do that, I figured that I could finish a 13 mile race. Also, race day was his 8th birthday, so it was extra special for me.

After 2 hours, 54 minutes, I was finished (I never said I was fast- just that I run)!  Waiting for me at the finish line were my three favorite guys.  My husband brought flowers for me and my two friends.  Pretty sweet, right?

Overall, this has been an incredible experience.  I appreciate every kind word that was passed along the way, as well as all of your support with my fundraiser this summer!

17 September 2014

Pirate Bulletin Board Game {FREEBIE}

I have been using the same types of homework incentive charts for years now.  I decided it was time for something different this year!!!  How about a bulletin board game?!?!

The mascot at my school is the owl, so I use a lot of owls in my room.  This year, our PTA adopted a pirate theme, so we are now seeing lots of pirate owls all around school!  The theme also goes along with a theme our principal has adopted called "teach like a pirate."  This is based on some professional development by Dave Burgess.  Check him out, there is some great stuff there!

So, back to my homework incentive chart.  I have wanted to make a large bulletin board game for a while now.  I found some really cute owl pirate clip art, and decided to go for it.  Students will all start at the owl pirate and follow the map to get to the treasure box.  They each have a ship with their name on it that will sail the "speechie seas."  I laminated each ship and put a tiny piece of adhesive putty on the back. 

As students start to return their homework, they will get to roll the dice and move their ship that many spaces.  When they reach the treasure box they will get a prize!

I am hoping this will motivate some of my students a little more than just the regular incentive chart.  Not sure it will work, but I am going to try it!  I'll keep you updated to let you know if it works.

If you want to join me in using this type of game, here is a FREEBIE for you!


01 September 2014

File Cabinet Makeover

So this year, I was not able to get into my speech room until the last minute.   We had some major renovations done to my school, and I had to pack absolutely everything up.  I also have a student intern with me this fall and wanted to make sure to familiarize her with the school and procedures, etc. during my first two days back.  Because of these reasons, I really have not done anything too creative with my room yet.  I want to put together a cute bulletin board outside of my room, but it just has not happened yet.  I do, however, have something to share with you that is new to my room this year!

At the end of this last school year, I came across this filing cabinet in a hallway at my school.  Someone was getting rid of this trash treasure.

I am forever looking for new storage options for my room, and scooped it right up!  The custodian thought I was crazy for being excited about this, but I knew that I had big plans for this baby!

First, I took off all of the handles and took the drawers out of the cabinet area.  Then, I primed the whole thing using Rust-Oleum Professional Primer.  I only had to do one coat with this.  I covered really easily.  I used three cans.


I finished it off with a coat of Rustoleum Gray Spray Paint.  I only used two cans of this paint because I had already primed it, and it seemed to be going on really well.

After everything was dry, I applied some really pretty coordinating paper to the drawers using Mod Podge.
I cut the paper so that it overlapped on the drawers just a bit.  Then, I put a coat of Mod Podge on the back of the paper and applied it to the drawer front.  Then, I put an additional coat of the Mod Podge over the paper.  After it dried, I put all of the hardware back on the cabinets, and was ready to take this baby back to my office!

Here is my finished product...

I couldn't resist covering my pencil cans with my paper too!

Happy start of the year everyone!!!

01 August 2014

Paper Bag Articulations Books!

***I am linking this post up with Speech Time Fun for her linky about how people use paper bags in speech!  I can't wait to see all the great ideas!***

A while ago, I was introduced to making paper bag scrapbooks.  They turn out so cute, and are so easy!  Last spring, I decided to try to make some articulation books using the paper bags.  I loved how they came out.  I was able to create pockets in the book for articulation cards- so fun!  I used the books with a few students, and they went over really well with them.  They loved coloring the pictures and placing them in the pockets.  I originally just made /s/ for a few of my students, and planned on making a variety of sounds to share.  Well, my slacker self got behind, and I never finished all of these books, until now!

Introducing...Paper Bag Articulation Books!


To create these books, all you need is three paper lunch bags (I got 40 for $1 at Dollar Tree), a stapler, scissors, glue, and decorative tape (optional).

I have detailed directions on how to create the books in my preview of these books on TpT, HERE.  Just click the Preview button.

Here are a few pictures that show how I put the book together:

First, I gather my bags and fold them in half.  Then, I stack them together...

and staple the binding edge.

Then, I am ready to glue on the pages!  You can also have your kids do this part.  (I would have the paper bags prepared before you have your students as a time saver.)

By using the paper bags, you will create little pockets for all of the articulation cards that are included in the packet!  How cool is that?

**As of July 30, 2015, I have created books for:
S and Z
F and V
K and G
R and L
S, R, and L Blends
Sh and Ch
P, B, and M

Each book contains pictures for the sound in words in all positions: Initial, Medial, and Final.  There are at least 5-12 pictures for each position.  Your students will have a whole bunch of words to practice!

I think what I love most about these books is that they are a great place to store your student's articulation words!  No more sorting through card decks before you play a game.  I think that in itself is a great reason for any busy SLP to use paper bag books!

There is an idea page included in each book.  These ideas are great for at-home practice, if you choose to send the books home.

Each book also comes in a color version, and a black and white line drawing version.  Your students will be able to color their own cards, and you won't have to waste any valuable ink!  I used the color version to make books for myself.  I laminated all of the pictures to make it last for use with many different students.

You can find these books at my TpT store in sets of two, as seen above, or you can purchase a bundle of these books for 20% off!  Paper Bag Articulation Books {BUNDLE}
Please know that I have several more of these books in the works, so by purchasing this bundle now, you are on the ground floor for savings!  The price will go up as more books are added.

Hope you have fun creating paper bag articulation books with your students!

11 June 2014

My Unspectacular Exit...

I have a confession to make.  I finished my year without a bang.  I didn't make any elaborate crafts with my students to work on language or speech skills.  I didn't have any fun pizza, popcorn, or candy parties like my students always dream up.  We didn't go on scavenger hunts, or even do any therapy outside.  Nope!  I was BORING!!!!

I was able to see all of my students for one last time last week.  We played a game during each session, and I handed out my summer calendars to them.  It was very anti-climactic.  I almost felt bad because I could see myself 10 years ago doing all (or at least some) of the things listed above.

I started thinking, why was I able to do all of those fun things 10 years ago, and couldn't seem to get it together now?  I actually have a couple of answers to that question.

First, I have two boys of my own now, ages 6 and 7.  They are both heavily involved in multiple sports and activities, so my nights are pretty shot after I have them do homework, make dinner, and then schlep them around.

Second, the paperwork.  Oh, the paperwork!  I truly do not remember having to do this much paperwork even a few years ago.  Maybe I have selective memory.

Third, MEETINGS, MEETINGS, MEETINGS!!!!  I have had so many meetings lately, that it is amazing that I have seen my kids at all!  I have had some pretty intense families this year, and lots and lots of meetings with advocates, every team member imaginable, and parents.  I have a pretty intense caseload to begin with (18 self-contained ASD students in addition to the rest of my elementary) so I should expect meetings, but WOW!  I had a lot this year!!!!

So, there you have it, my confession.  I am boring.  There might be reasons behind it, but I do feel some guilt at not having a supercharged last week.  But, at the same time, it was kind of nice to just leave quietly...