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.

Language Trainer App Review

As you may know from my prior app reviews, I love Smarty Ears apps – every single one of them! So when offered the opportunity to review their newest app, I was thrilled!

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Language Trainer looks very different than other Smarty Ears apps that I have. It is very simple, with little to no distractions/extra graphics. Because of this, it could easily be used with ANY age group, from pre-k to adult.

 As with all Smarty Ears apps (at least all that I own), you can upload student profiles from their free app, Therapy Report Center. Makes keeping track of student data across multiple apps/days/goals SO easy!

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After choosing the user/student, you proceed to the following page where you can choose what part of the app you want to use:

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As you can see, there are 4 sections: picture identification, picture naming, divergent naming, and sentence completion. I’ll provide an example of each section below:

PICTURE IDENTIFICATION
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In this section, the iPad tells the student which picture to touch. For example, “cherry”. In the settings, you can change the items shown on screen, ranging from 2, as shown, up to five. You can also set the iPad to automatically increase the difficulty level if the student is successful.

PICTURE NAMING
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This section is pretty straight forwards. A picture is shown and the student is asked to name it. You can mark the response as correct, incorrect or cued. You can also record the student’s response.

DIVERGENT NAMING
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This section asks the student to name things in categories, for example, “Name two languages”. Like the Picture Identification section, you can increase the number of desired responses up to five. You can see in the picture above that I marked the first answer as correct by the green box. I like this setting because it provides instant visual feedback to our students about correct or incorrect answers! It’s easier to see how they are doing in this format vs. a sound or a percentage (this app also uses both of those).

SENTENCE COMPLETION
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Last, we have sentence completion. Again, you can mark answers as correct, incorrect, or cued. You can record answers. While some, like the one shown above, have fairly limited answers, some were more open ended such as, “Joe packed his ________” or “Victor listened to the __________”.

When you’re all done, you can see the data from each section of the app in the data section as shown below:

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Overall, I think this app is fantastic! I sooo wish I would have had it back in September when I started my adult externship because then I could have used it with both adults and children. I really think it’s appropriate for both, which is rare! I like it’s simplistic layout and it’s obvious lack of graphics/distractions.

A couple weeks ago, somebody asked me on my Facebook page if I knew of an app that could be used for assessing a child’s vocabulary. I threw this one out there even though I hadn’t really checked it out, and now I think it would really be perfect for that!

If you’re interested in buying this app (you should be), check it out in the iTunes store here! And make sure to “like” Smarty Ears on Facebook. They post interesting things and often haves sales on their apps!

That’s all for now! I’ll keep you posted as I use it and how my students enjoy it! Back to snuggle with this cutie…. :)

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

Make Your Own Winter Sport Freebie

I am thrilled to have been invited to join the collaborative blog – Speechie Freebies! This is my first freebie that will be shown on the blog. I love it, and I hope you do too!

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This freebie makes a mini book, where your students design their own winter sport. They have to name their sport, decide on the rules, design a uniform & medal, and more! This type of activity provides so many language opportunities, and is fun and motivating! Check out some of the preview images below to see if you could use this mini book in your speech room!

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Think you could use this in your speech room? Download this product FOR FREE in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here!

And if you’re curious, here’s a peek into my life since the last update:

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I moved from VA to WI and finally set up a speech closet!

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And I took Harper on a mini field trip downtown so she could get used to the hustle and bustle instead of our quiet neighborhood. She loved watching people go in and out of the capitol!

There you have it! Enjoy the freebie and stay warm!

Using Popular Music in Speech Therapy + Worksheets

**Read to the bottom for a giveaway**

One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog and make materials is that I’m constantly trying to push myself to find, use, and create creative, engaging products that my students will love! That is why I made this packet. It will allow you to incorporate something most (if not all) of your students enjoy, AND hear every day! MUSIC!

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By incorporating popular music into your sessions, you can encourage your students to think about their speech and language every time they hear a certain song on the radio. It is also really motivating, because who doesn’t like jamming to an awesome song?!

In general, I’d recommend this product for your middle and high school students (or advanced elementary students) because of the reading/listening demands. Check it out in my store HERE.

The ENTIRE PACKET is BLACK AND WHITE for super easy prep and printing! No cutting or laminated needed. Just print and go. I think this would be a super fun way to either..

1) Introduce a topic/concept or…

2) End a unit on a particular topic/concept

Check out some examples of the worksheets included below:

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 Doesn’t that look like fun? All you’ll need are music lyrics, which can be found and printed online for free!

Don’t know what songs to use? I’ve included a list of 10 kid-friendly (and popular) songs with some ideas of concepts you could target!

The packet is 30 pages long, and includes worksheets for:

  Articulation

  Adjectives

  Prepositions

  Verbs

  Parts of Speech

  Inference

  Figurative Language

  Compare/Contrast

  Vocabulary

  Synonyms/Antonyms

  Superlatives

  Words That End in -er

There is also a worksheet for finding words containing their speech sounds AND 2 worksheets to figure out what kinds of music your kiddos like.

AND if that isn’t enough, there are worksheets for artist & song information. That means your kiddos can Google for information about artists and/or songs or you can print off the information ahead of time and have them read for the answers!

I hope this packet brings a ton of fun to your speech room!

Click here to purchase the packet in my TpT Store!

Teach Speech 365 recently wrote a blog post on using song lyrics in speech therapy, AND included a freebie that you should definitely check out here. Great minds think alike!

And if you care to see the most adorable (and distracting) puppy on the planet, check out these pictures:

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Isn’t she great?! Reminds me the part in Despicable Me when the little girls says, “It’s so fluffy I could die!!”

Anyways, if you’re interested in checking out my latest packet for using music/song lyrics in therapy, check it out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here!! Thanks for your support! :)

Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a copy of this packet!

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SLP Blogger Secret Santa!

When I started blogging, I had no idea what I was getting myself into… and I mean this in the most wonderful way possible. Through blogging, I have gotten very close with many fellow bloggers. I proudly hung many of their Christmas cards in my apartment and think about them often.

A group of us decided to do a Secret Santa gift exchange this year and it was SO.MUCH.FUN.

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Thanks to the amazing Speech Time Fun for the adorable graphic!

The group of us used Elfster to switch names (thanks to Kristin from Simply Speech for setting it all up) and the website couldn’t have been easier! We were able to create general or specific wish lists too!

I was THRILLED to see that I drew Jenn from Crazy Speech World. I am a HUGE fan of her blog and was excited to find something for her.

About a week after I sent out her present, I got a package in the mail and tore into it like a 4 year old!

My present was Nicole from Allison’s Speech Peeps! I’m in love with her blog and products, and the gift she gave me!!

I got…

A Starbucks gift card (which sadly is almost all gone)… We have a Starbucks practically in our backyard so it’s very tempting!

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And a personalized SLP clipboard! The color scheme on it is SO me and it will definitely be used at my externship this semester!

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Thanks for reading, and to each and every one of the amazing SLPs that I’ve gotten to know over the last year!

My Realities of Graduate School

I try to keep this blog as speech focused as possible, and honestly debated about posting this but thought that other graduate students might be able to relate. So here is my graduate school story…

Today is the day. Today is the day where I get to move back home to complete my final semester of graduate school. I will be doing a full time externship in an elementary school and taking all online classes.

I am not going to lie to you and pretend that graduate school was this amazing, fun experience.

Honestly, at times I felt more isolated than I could have ever imagined feeling. I missed my parents, my brother, my boyfriend, and my friends more than I thought I ever would. I felt lonely and trapped being in another state so far away. I didn’t make a big group of friends like I thought I would. I developed bad anxiety. Each time I returned back to Virginia after spending time back home, I wasn’t myself for weeks. I was just sad. I stopped responding to emails and shut myself off.

BUT.

But I learned so much about my future career. I learned that I love speech-language pathology and I’m good at it. I’m passionate and couldn’t imagine a career other than this. I started blogging and “met” the some of the most amazing, passionate SLPs this world has ever seen. I worked my butt of and was able to pay off some of my loans while in school. I made friends that I will never forget. I appreciate my parents, brother, boyfriend, and friends more than ever before. And honestly, I feel as though I’m better able to relate to my students when they talk about feeling isolated, anxious, and lonely. To me, that matters a lot. I ran my first half marathon. I passed the Praxis. I got way better grades than I ever have in my life. I explored a new part of the country. I learned how strong I am by myself.

What I’m trying to say is that if your graduate experience (or any experience for that matter) isn’t what you dreamed of or expected, it will end. Make the most of it while you’re there. Go out and experience the area. Take up new hobbies with your classmates.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t quit! You got this.

Edublog Awards: PLEASE VOTE

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I NEED YOUR HELP!

I hope by now you’ve heard about the amazing Edublog awards! Many speech bloggers have been nominated this year, so click here and head on over to vote in each category for your favorites!

You can vote for as many people as you like, but you can only vote once per person!

I am SO THANKFUL to have made the final cuts in two categories (Best New Blog and Best Resource Sharing Blog). To make it easy for you, you can vote below!

{TO VOTE:}

Click on the up arrow in the bottom left corner of the Speechy Musings box (or whoever you are voting for). You will have to choose an account if you don’t already have one through listly. Simply click on Google+ if you have a Gmail account, Facebook if you have a Facebook account, etc… and log in! You may need to go back and click the up arrow again to make sure your vote has been registered! If it worked, you should see the number go up one and the up arrow will turn blue!

If you have ANY questions, please comment below or email me at speechymusings@gmail.com anytime!!

I appreciate EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU for your vote, as do all of the other amazing SLP bloggers that have been nominated!!

Again, I’ve only shown the 2 categories I was nominated in above, but feel free to click here to vote for all of other categories! Show your speech pride! You can read a post by Sublime Speech here that details what speech bloggers were nominated in each category to make it easy!

Speechy Musings Blogiversary: Gripcase iPad Case Review

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Welcome to day 8 of this exciting blogiversary celebration! Speechy Musings has been around for a whole year! If you want to see the lineup of giveaways for the blogiversary, check out the post here! Today is the last giveaway of the bunch but I’ve had so much fun!! Thanks to you all for participating!

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So this case is AWESOME. I even took off my “adult” case and took my iPad to Mexico in this case!! Check it out:

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I love, love, love the handles on this case! I didn’t realize how much of a difference simple handles would make, but it’s so much easier to stare endlessly at my iPad now ;) Below are some pictures of front and back of the case:

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Additionally, you can purchase a stand (needs to be purchased separately, not included in the giveaway) for the case! Again, LOVE this stand. Check it out below:

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I like that it can hold the iPad in multiple positions. I didn’t get a good picture of this, but there is also a nice slit in the bottom of the stand, which is genius for charging your iPad when it’s in the case!!  The area in the back would be nice for storing a stylus!

I should mention that I had this case on while I was taking pictures for another review and I just straight up dropped my iPad (first time ever!!!) and it landed screen down… nothing happened!! It didn’t even sound like a hard landing. The handles are raised a bit from the screen so I think they take a lot of the pressure on a fall like that.

One critique (and I think it’s mostly how I put the case on) is that my iPad screen protector was kind of pulled up after I kept the case on for a few weeks. I wasn’t happy about this because I had an expensive screen protector, but it wasn’t bad. I took the case off to shake the sand out (true story) and when I put the case back on I was careful to make sure the case didn’t tug funny on the screen protector. I took it off a week later and the problem seemed to go away, so I think you just need to put it on carefully!

Overall, this is my favorite iPad case, and I sadly have four. It definitely makes the iPad bulky, if you’re not into that, but I feel like it provides the iPad with security and it’s so easy to hold!! Even the patients I work with at the nursing home have no trouble holding it, and they felt uncomfortable holding the iPad before that! Success!

Gripcase is a wonderful company and has offered to give one Speechy Musings reader a Gripcase of their own! Note: This giveaway is for the case only, not the stand! Enter the giveaway below:

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Speechy Musings Blogiversary: Badge Blooms Review

**This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience!**

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Welcome to day 9 of this exciting blogiversary celebration! Speechy Musings has been around for a whole year! If you want to see the lineup of giveaways for the blogiversary, check out the post here! There will be 10 days of giveaways so make sure to check back often so you don’t miss anything!

Next up is an SLP badge reel from Badge Blooms. It came in this cute little box:

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The badge I am giving away is shown below:

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Click here to see the Badge Blooms store item mine was based on. Melissa over at Badge Blooms is fantastic and will customize them as you want!

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I think these would be PERFECT as a gift for an SLP you know! They are so so so cute and I cannot wait to use mine.

Are you interested in them? Check out the Badge Blooms store here or the specific item I based mine on here. Again, you can customize these as you want! Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a replica of the one shown above!

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Speechy Musings Blogiversary: KidBox iPad Case Review

**This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience!**

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Welcome to day 8 of this exciting blogiversary celebration! Speechy Musings has been around for a whole year! If you want to see the lineup of giveaways for the blogiversary, check out the post here! There will be 10 days of giveaways so make sure to check back often so you don’t miss anything!

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So so excited to share my review and giveaway of the KidBox iPad Case from KaysCase.

And do I have a story for you guys about this one!! I had time one afternoon and was so excited to put this case on test it out. I took some pictures of it while it was packaged, and then unwrapped the whole thing. When you open it, it comes with a plastic insert, probably to keep the product from bending or flattening during transit.

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Well being stubborn like I am, I just went to town on this case attempting to pull the plastic piece out of the case. It WOULD NOT budge. So I pulled, and pulled, and pulled, and broke the piece of plastic!

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At this point, I am frustrated and wondering how I’ll ever write this review if I can’t even get the plastic out, let alone my iPad in!! As I stand up I see the instructions, notice that there is a slit in the back of the case which is how you take the iPad in and out of the case.

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UGH. So lesson learned. Read the instructions!!

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Once I figured that out, I really loved this case!! I was initially worried about some of the Amazon reviews that said the iPad didn’t stand up well with the stand. I put mine on a table and on carpet with the stand on.

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Every time I poked it, it did wiggle a little, but it never fell or got close to falling. I suppose if a kid poked hard it might tip, but then at least it’s got a case on it :) If you are worried about it falling, you can always put it like this:

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Or just lay it flat! Check out how the case looks flat (front & back) below:

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See that nice slit that I somehow missed?! Haha. I really like how the stand can work as a carrying case as well:

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Overall, this case is great. The only weakness I could see is if your iPad spends most of it’s time upright. Otherwise, it’s incredibly durable, a great material (flexible but your iPad isn’t going anywhere), pretty and colorful, and very functional! OH! I should also mention that it is incredibly reasonably priced when compared to other cases at only $19.99 on Amazon. Check out the link below:

KaysCase is amazing and is giving one of these fabulous iPad cases to a wonderful reader! Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win 1 KidBox iPad Case from KaysCase!

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