Our Speech Room Staples Linky Party

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Sometimes searching on Teachers Pay Teachers can be absolutely overwhelming. It’s nice to search by top rated products or best sellers, but I know there has to be less popular products that others love and use all of the time. Those products can be so hard to find!!

Below are my favorite four products from other TpT sellers:

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1) Structured Sentence Building from Queen’s Speech: I LOVE using this product to expand sentence length and work on answering WH questions. They are also great to target basic vocabulary! My students love them, they are easy to prep, and black & white. Doesn’t get much better than that!

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2) Alphabet File Folder Songs for Basic Language by Super Power Speech: I use this product every day. There are so many songs in this product and they all target a variety of language skills. Not only that but they are engaging and my students love (and thrive on) interactive materials. I love that CC has thought of everything including file folder tab labels. I keep these all in a file folder bin and grab and go! Love, love, love these!! (and definitely check out her other file folder song products!)

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3) Tackling Apraxia: CV and CVC Early Sounds Edition by Mia McDaniel: Ugh flashcards ugh flashcards and ugh flashcards. My kiddos do not like flashcards and are not fooled by flashcards disguised with cute graphics. While flashcards can be great for their ease of use, they are not that functional and certainly not fun. This product is the best because it is motivating while maintaining a heavy emphasis on drill. AND it gets a ton of trials in each session, because my kiddos are having so much fun! Stop buying flashcards and check out this product instead!!! Pretty much every apraxic kiddo I’ve worked with has loved this product.

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4) Match It Quick by Speech Therapy with Courtney Gragg: You know a product is great when a kid comes in saying “That looks super boring and I won’t like it” and leaves saying “That game was the best!”. This product will do that. It is played the same as Spot It!, the popular game in circular metal tins but with a variety of articulation sounds targeted. It’s great for those kiddos that are doing great in highly structured environments but aren’t quite generalizing completely yet. She has them for a variety of sounds so definitely check out her store!

AND below are 2 of my products that I think you’ll use every day:

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1) WH Questions Binder: I love this product because it is interactive (with small, Velcro-ed icons) and targets WH questions in a much more functional way than flashcards (can you tell I hate flashcards?). Additionally, there is a huge teaching component to this product which makes it great for kiddos who are struggling to grasp the concept.

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2) Interactive Book Attachments Bundle: I realized that with many of my younger students, one of the biggest struggles when reading books was getting them to attend and synthesize the information. Using a book companion packet is fairly useless when the student was paying little attention to the actual book. So, I created the interactive book attachments that attach to the backs of common children’s picture books and provide a sentence strip to describe what is happening in the book. My kiddos have loved being able to find the icon that matches the page and use the sentence strip to tell me what is happening! It provides good visual support to keep your students successful and motivated!

So there you have SIX of my speech room staples. Check out the amazing blogger’s below to see even more products that you just gotta have in your speech room!


What is this EET I keep hearing about?

Do you feel like everywhere you turn you are hearing about the EET? I feel that same way, and I’m here to tell you what I’ve learned about the EET, or Expanding Expression Tool, in the past couple months. I love it, and I think you will too!

According to the Expanding Expression Tool (EET) website, “The Expanding Expression Tool provides students with a hands-on approach to describing and defining. As a mnemonic device, it provides visual and tactile information which facilitates improved language organization. The kit itself is designed to allow you to follow a hierarchical approach taking student’s expression from words to paragraphs to reports. Therefore, it can be used by a variety of ages.

The kit consists of the Expanding Expression Tool, a manual, stickers for written expression, object cards for describing activities and a poster.

The Expanding Expression Tool is color symbol coded. Students learn the code and from this code are able to provide detailed descriptions including the following elements: the category the item belongs to, the function of the object, the appearance, what the item is made of, the parts of the item, and it’s location.

This tool has been classroom tested in both regular and special education classes.”

I love it because it gives my kiddos a framework to describe and define items or words. If you’re tired of saying things like “Let’s think of other ways we can describe that.” or “Hmm… I’m not sure what you’re telling me about. Where did you see it?” then YOU NEED THIS TOOL.

Curious about the research behind it? Click here to see pretest/posttest results and learn about the research supporting the use of the EET.

Personally, I can attest that not only do my kiddos enjoy using the EET (we like to call it “the caterpillar”), but it has really helped organize their language when describing things. It’s multisensory, which I think is what makes it so successful.

Now that you know the basics of what it is… how about I show you around what comes with a kit when you buy it?

First, the kit comes in a handy little box that just happens to fit perfectly in my therapy bag that I carry around with me at all times. It even has space to throw it worksheet/activities that I use consistently with the EET (more on this later).

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When you open it, it looks like this:

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Included is a large EET strand (the basis of the program), stickers, foam dice, a visual stand-up board, cards, and a book containing worksheets and information about the program. I’ll go through each below:

First, is the book which explains how to use the Expanding Expression Tool AND provides tons of worksheets. The one thing I wish about the EET is that this book came with a CD to print the worksheets.

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Next, is the EET strand. You will probably use this the most of anything else in the box. My younger kiddos call it “the caterpillar”. Each bead slides up and down the string:

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Another way to make the EET fun and interactive is to use the included dice. For some reason, dice really get my kiddos excited:

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There is an entire deck of cards included, with simple pictures you can describe AND cards that outline how to use the EET for higher level skills like summarizing:

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Last, there is a handy stand up poster:

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This is what my box looks like:

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I like keeping extra worksheets and visuals inside so everything EET related is in one place since I don’t see kids in one room or office:

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The worksheet shown on the right above is part of a packet I made that works super well with the EET (or without it). Click here if you’re interested!

And below is a picture of EVERYTHING:

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Below is an example of the EET in use. I like to use my worksheets, the visual poster, a card, and the EET all at the same time. So much multimodality support going on here!

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When you go to order the EET, you will be given the option to add on several items that increase engagement with the idea and open the door to tons of fun and interactive treatment ideas. One of the fun add-on options is the EET Steppers. My puppy likes them too :)

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You can do SO many fun things with these like play baseball or musical chairs:photo 3

They are also great as puppy pillows apparently:

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So how do you use it?

Basically, for the younger kiddos, you find a simple object to describe. Each bead on the strand helps your kiddos remember various ways to describe objects. To teach the EET, I like to start one bead at a time. After your kiddos know each bead, they can simply slide each bead over as they describe the item in that way. For example, the top green bead reminds your kiddos to describe the group (green=group) and the next blue bead reminds them to describe what the object does (blue=do). It’s fairly easy to teach and I love that the large strand can eventually be faded to a visual using the included stickers that can be easily kept on a student’s desk.

Does it work?

YES. After teaching each bead, my students need substantially less support to describe items and are now able to describe them much more completely. If you don’t believe me, ask ANYBODY who has an EET and I’m sure you will hear the same thing, this thing works!

How do I get one?

I hope by now you are convinced to buy an EET. Because it is copyrighted, please purchase the kit and do not attempt to make your own. CLICK HERE to check out the website. There are very compelling videos and an online ordering form. From the site, you will be able to add on extras such as the

 Note: I was provided with an Expanding Expression Tool to write this review. The thoughts expressed are mine. No other compensation was provided.

ChatAble App Review

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Personally, I feel like AAC is often underutilized in our field. Oftentimes, this can be due to lack of access to the appropriate technology, cost limitations, or time limitations. We learned in grad school that AAC is appropriate for anybody who cannot meet 100% of their communication needs in a day. I love many things about ChatAble including its $159.99 price tag.

According to the Apple Store, you can, “Create and use symbol based grids…or use photos to make visual scene displays. Or, take both and create a hybrid page. The possibilities are endless with ChatAble. ChatAble is an easy to use communication aid app for people with communication difficulties who benefit from symbol and photo support. Parents, teachers and therapists can create page sets in minutes with an intuitive set up. The customisation options are extensive to enable people with a range of physical, cognitive and language abilities the opportunity to use the app to communicate at home, school or with their family and friends…. After entering your message you can also share it using email, twitter or facebook. As pages can be backed up and saved, you can share them with other students or friends too!”

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been customizing and using ChatAble with a wide variety of clients. I made pages for myself to play around, and made pages that I use every day at work. I will admit, that like any AAC system, it takes quite a bit of time to get started. I wasn’t super impressed with the pages that come on ChatAble, but they do represent a wide variety of the features of ChatAble which I appreciated. I learned a lot about the amazing things this app is capable of by playing around with the boards that come on it!

Without more boring rambling, here are some amazing things about ChatAble:

 You can easily make picture scene displays. Check out the one that would allow me to share information about my dogs below:

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First, I chose this folder so I can share about my dogs in my about me folder. In ChatAble, you have the option of adding a grid, a picture scene display, or a hybrid of both. I chose Scene so then I can take a picture using the camera or use my photo gallery. Then, I can add hotspots that speak when touched. I can also schedule start times for when they should speak as well!

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Check out the finished page below. You can see the hot spots (that I customized the color of). When touched, they introduce my dogs (e.g., This is my dog Harper).

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Below is the board I’ve used most often since getting ChatAble:

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You can see I’ve put a message in the message window. Once great feature about ChatAble is that you can export these messages into iMessage, emails, Twitter, or even Facebook. Pretty cool, and so functional.

Below is currently how I have my homepage organized. Again, I’ve only had the app a few weeks so I know this will probably change daily for the next month or so, but it gives you a good feel for the app:

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Below is my Arts & Crafts folder, which is growing every day. When you click on colors, the second picture opens. You can easily go back using the back arrow in the bottom left corner.

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One thing that is totally necessary in an AAC app and ChatAble does well is customization options. You can make the grids a variety of sizes:

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You can use pictures or symbols. Here is an example of some of the symbol choices for “play”:

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You can make everything from simple, small grids to a hybrid picture scene display with icon choices:

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Two examples are below. The one on the left is a hybrid and the one on the right is a very simple grid (2×2).

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 You can change almost everything. The text size, font, border color, background color, etc… I love the features and options!

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Overall, I felt like everything was easy to learn and intuitive, all while maintaining many options without feeling cluttered.

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You can edit pages by using the menu in the bottom right as shown above. Below are two pictures of the MANY options available to you in the settings:

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PROS:
-Customization options
-Usability
-Picture scene display/hybrid option

CONS:
-Less symbol choices than I would like
-Voice output isn’t great
-Twice I’ve had small changes not save

OVERALL:
This app is a fantastic AAC app that has become a must have for me. I love the customization options and the overall ease of use. I haven’t even used half of the options available (e.g., using an icon to open a webpage, adding musicThe picture scene display option is amazing and so useful. I can see taking pictures of my game closet and putting hot spots on each game for beginner communicators to make choices. The ideas are endless. I would absolutely recommend this app for AAC users, parents, and SLPs.

Check out ChatAble in the App Store here!

{thanks for reading!}

Let’s Use Language App Review

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been extremely MIA lately! In the past month, I’ve graduated, started a new job, got ANOTHER puppy, bought a house, went on a vacation to the Dominican Republic, and was in a wedding. I’m.exhausted. So please excuse the lack of posts and new, fun materials! I promise they are coming!

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Today, I’m excited to share an app review of Let’s Use Language. It’s an app very similar to another one I’ve reviewed in the past, Let’s Be Social. I enjoyed that app (and use it often) so I knew right away I’d like this app as well.

This app targets: vocabulary, sequencing, categories, and opposites. You can also make your own books to target anything you’d like!

Vocabulary:

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 Below is an example story from the app. You can scroll down slightly but this is about the length of most! I really like how they are short and to the point.

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Below are some example question from the vocabulary section:

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Sequencing:

Below is a question in the sequencing section from the same story:

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Categories:

Below are some example questions from the categories section:

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I was slightly confused about this section. Overall, I wish there were more typical category type questions. Another book asked questions such as, “Do penguins fly?” Instead, I wish they had questions like, “A penguin is an animal. Name three other animals.”

Opposites:

Below is an example of  an opposite question:

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Each time the app provides you with instant feedback:

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And then after each “module” or book, your students can see how many they got correct:

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Pros:
-Good length of stories
-The stories are relatable and easy to understand
-I love how the app is set up. Easy to use and not too many graphics/extra things.
-Targets topics I need more materials for!
-So far, the app seems to be getting great reviews from SLPs!

Cons:
-Some of the questions are directly related to the section they are in. BUT they are all useful.
-Many of the questions asked are not directly answered in the reading passages.
-No data tracking, only the report at the end (if that matters to you).

At the time of this review (01/16/14) the app was $14.99 in the App Store! Definitely worth it! Check it out here.

Disclaimer: This app was given to me in exchange for my review. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed are mine.

App Review: Minimal Pairs Academy

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If you read my app reviews, you will know that Smarty Ears is one of my all time favorite app makers. I love all of their apps, and love that many are based on evidence-based practice which is so important!

This app is called Minimal Pairs Academy and is based on the cycles approach for phonology!

When you open the app, you are greeted with the picture above. I like that is bright and colorful, but not super overwhelming. From here, you can start the app or view previous reports.

To start, you can choose up to four students to play at once.

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You can also double tap the pictures of the students to edit their goals. Check out all of the options for targets below:

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This doesn’t even show all of the options (you can scroll to see more) so the variety of targets is fantastic. If you look on the bottom of the first picture above, you can see that you can target auditory bombardment, auditory discrimination, production, and phrase completion.

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Auditory bombardment is shown above. On this level, the app says a word and your student finds the corresponding picture until they are all gone.

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This is an example of the phrase completion level. As you can see, there is a phrase on the top and two minimal pair options below.

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The production level is the classic minimal pairs activity. The flipped over card is a minimal pair of the image shown.

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Last is auditory discrimination. Two images are shown with a word and your student must find the corresponding image!

One thing that you might have noticed throughout is that this app takes great data! You can either take it yourself (see the green, yellow, and red circles at the bottom of some screens) or the app takes it itself like in the auditory discrimination page. I love this feature. Check out some of the data it takes below:

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One great thing about most Smarty Ears apps is the ability to customize. In the settings, you can adjust word lists and more!

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Overall:

I love this app, and that it does most of the work for you. It does take a bit of time to get all of the students in the system and their goals set, but once you do it’s smooth sailing after that! This app truly does it all. I trust Smarty Ears apps to have minimal crashing and issues AND to be based off current research, which is very important to me. The voice in the app is surprisingly clear, as are the pictures used.

As I hope you can tell from this review, I’d definitely recommend this fantastic app for your phonology kiddos! It’s available in the iTunes store for $19.99 here.

Enter the giveaway below to win a copy for yourself:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

App Review: Preposition Remix

We’re continuing with the theme of the week: apps! I have another FANTASTIC one to share with you! It’s definitely the most used app on my iPad from the past couple weeks, and I use my iPad a lot!

It’s Preposition Remix from Smarty Ears!

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This is an extremely simple (and effective and amazing) app so it won’t take long to describe, but don’t let the short description fool you. My students love it, and so do I!

One thing I love (and think it necessary) is that you can customize which prepositions to target.

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Then you start! Some scene examples are shown below:

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When your student touches the correct object, a ‘Well Done’ image pops up and a new scene comes up.

Overall:

Even my students that really struggle with prepositions experienced success with this app. I’ve began using it as a warm-up before more difficult preposition activities (e.g. barrier games) to get my students feeling ready and confident. In my experience, the pictures were always clear, non-distracting, and relevant. I would absolutely recommend this app to ANY SLP!! It’s available in the iTunes store here for $9.99 and it’s absolutely worth that!

Enter the giveaway below to win a copy for yourself:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

App Review: iPractice Verbs

Smarty Ears consistently makes some of my favorite speech & language iPad apps! So excited to share THREE with you this week (with givewaways) so stay tuned!!

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Today, iPractice Verbs is up! As always, click on any pictures throughout the review to check out more about the app in the App Store!

When you open the app, you have the choice of either doing Flashcards or Find It. I’ll discuss both below:

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 For both, you can customize the word lists used. I love this feature!

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Flashcards is exactly what it sounds like! The page that comes up will look like the image below:

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As you can see, you can chance the test (present, present progressive, past) and the utterance length (word, phrase, sentence). You can also see whose turn it is on the right side! Data can be taken quickly in the bottom right corner as well.

Check out some of the images below to see what changes as I play around with the features a bit.

First, I change the verb to past tense.

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Then, I changed the length from word to phrase.

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Here is another flashcard. You can see my stars building on the top. Your student gets a star up there for each correct response!

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After you collect 10 stars, your student will earn a card which gets kept on their sticker page!

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After you’re finished and exit out, you will see three options:

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You can view the sticker page (see the image above). You can also see progress cards (see image below).

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Last, you can make certificates for your students that are customizable!

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As I mentioned wayyyy back at the beginning of this review, you can also utilize a “Find It” option instead of Flashcards. This option is customizable:

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When the activity begins, it will look something like this:

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When you find the correct answer, it becomes larger:

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If you press an incorrect answer, it goes away and an empty white box is shown instead:

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And here is an example of a sentence cue instead of a single word:

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Great right?

OVERALL:

This app is a good one for practicing and using verbs of varying tense! I like that it has both an expressive and receptive component. Smarty Ears apps are some of my favorites, and I appreciate that they can upload data to the free Therapy Report Center. The pictures in this app were clear and everything is very intuitive! I like the simple use of graphics because sometimes I think apps overdo it in the graphics department :) The app is available for $9.99 in the App Store and I think it is definitely worth that price! An easy and effective way to target verbs!

Enter the giveaway below to win a copy:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Real Vocabulary Pro App Review

Lately, I feel like my motto has been, “When life gets crazy,  use apps!” Things have been insane around here lately and having go-to apps to use has been amazing. That’s why I’ve dedicated this week to app reviews! Come back each day this week for another app review to help you finish the school year strong!! Some might even have some giveaways ;)

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Up today is… Real Vocabulary Pro by Virtual Speech Center Inc. Click on any of the pictures throughout this review to check out more about this app, or click here!

When you open the app, you are able to customize what your students see. You can choose a grade level and activity: synonyms, antonyms, idioms, definitions, or multiple meaning words. Just check what you want (you can choose multiple things to target at the same time) and go!

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Then, you can customize whether you want the app to target expressive or receptive language.

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As you can see from the screenshots above, the app allows you to take data as well! The fork shows you how many trials you have done.

Check out some of the images below to see the some of the various types of questions/levels included in this app:

Antonym (What is the opposite of ________?)

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Definition (What is _______?)

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Multiple Meaning Words (What else can _________ mean?)

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Idioms (What did he/she/they mean?)

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Like I said earlier, the app also takes data!! Check out some examples of what it can do below:

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Another thing to note is that the app also includes mini games you can play (chef/restaurant themed) which is great when you need a quick, related reinforcer! They are quick and easy to learn!

Overall:

Vocabulary is SO important and I target it often. I love having an app to pull up quickly. The graphics are cute I like the fact there are reinforcer activities built in for kiddos who need it! Virtual Speech Center is great and I appreciate having the vocabulary words broken up by grade level for easy differentiation. Additionally, you can customize words lists as well. One thing I wish I could add is that the app gave you a way to teach the vocabulary. I consider this app more of a progress monitoring tool because it is set up like a test. It doesn’t necessarily teach the vocabulary words or give your student an opportunity to interact with the words.

 If you’re curious, this app is $29.99 and available in the App Store here!

Take the TpT Plunge!

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I LOVE TpT and I hope many of you do too! Felice over at The Dabbling Speechie had an amazing idea to share two resources we use all the time, and one that we made that we think others would love! So many people I know rely on Teachers Pay Teachers for the free products. Being a graduate student, I totally get that. To be honest, I search for free items before looking through paid ones when I need something. But VERY often, I end up purchasing products for several reasons:

1) They are super comprehensive. Oftentimes, when I buy a whole packet, it gives me ideas I would never have thought to search for! I love this, and I really think it makes me a better SLP.

2) It saves you time! For example, purchasing a phonology packet for multiple processes saves you time from finding a free material for each process.

3) Your things match. Let’s be real… most of us are Type A and enjoy things that match and go together. I sure do!

So check out my faves and then head on over to The Dabbling Speechie here to read everybody else’s post!

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(1) Alphabet File Folder Songs for Basic Language by Super Power Speech

I’ve been absolutely loving these file folder songs lately! I haven’t even made them all, but I probably use at least one a day!

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(2) Articulation Placemats: Homework Sheets and Drill Activities by Figuratively Speeching SLP

Again, I use these almost every day! They were definitely worth the cost. I actually use them in the speech room (instead of as homework) but my students are about 100x more motivated when they get to use a spinner. I bought cheap snap on ones on Amazon that work great and make drill much more fun!

One newer item I’d definitely recommend from my store is my WH Questions Interactive Book.

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I put the entire thing in a binder and use it several times a day. My kiddos have really responded well to this book, and have began answering WH questions much more accurately! I’m on a kick lately making interactive products so check out my store here for more!

And make sure to head back to The Dabbling Speechie here to read others’ recommendations!

Let’s Be Social! App Review

If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for quality apps for social skills! They can be TOUGH to find!

Enter in the fabulous “Let’s Be Social” app. According to the app, it models and teaches solving problems, forming friendships, recognizing emotions, and predicting outcomes. Everything in the app was created by SLPs which is fantastic! Additionally, the app makes it super easy to create your own custom content to fit the needs of any pragmatic kiddo on your caseload!

The app is organized incredibly well for how much material it contains. It has the following categories:

Personal Interactions
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Navigating the Community
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School Behavior
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Handling Change
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Social Relationships
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In each “story” shown above, there is a short story and then an interactive quiz/lesson afterwards:

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As stated above, you can also create your own categories and your own stories (either in your category or one of theirs). Check out how easy it to to do below:

Add a book, including a short description/story, a title, and a cover picture.
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Then, create questions for your story! The app makes it incredibly easy & intuitive, and even provides easy tutorials (shown below):
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And just like magic, your book shows up! You can add to current categories or make your own!
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Pros:
-Very kid friendly language
-Good selection of stories
-Very easy to customize (can even use your own pictures!)
-Covers material I didn’t have an iPad app for prior
-Good use of graphics (not too much, not too little)
-Intuitive, easy to use layout

Cons:
-The stories themselves might be a little long/hard to remember for some kids. (see the example above to see typical length)
-Currently no data tracking if that matters to you!
-No visuals for the answer choices

At the time of this review (01/16/14) the app was $14.99 in the App Store! Definitely worth it! Check it out here.

Disclaimer: This app was given to me in exchange for my review. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed are mine.