Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Day I Let My iPad Die

If you’re anything at all like me, your iPad has completely changed your life in terms of speech therapy. And checking email. And browsing Pinterest and Facebook. And shopping online. And playing mindless games before you fall asleep. And reading good books. But mostly, it has changed your speech therapy.

Seriously, friends. What did we do before we had apps? Adorable, fun, cute, engaging, never-boring, never-ending therapy materials all wrapped up into one small, LIGHT WEIGHT little package. I’ll tell you what I did: I stock-piled one of my 14 jumbo-sized Super-Duper bags with what seemed like hundreds of games, artic cards, drill books, worksheets, and arts and craft supplies and hauled it in classrooms, around schools, in and out of therapy centers, day-cares, my car, and patients’ homes.  And all the extra items that didn't fit in my bag filled my trunk to the rim.

So the first day I took only my iPad to therapy, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Artic kids? I had an app (or four) for that! Fluency kids? I had an app for that! Language kids? I had lots of apps for that! Social/Pragmatic kids? Same story. Reinforcement games? I had tons of apps for that minus the 65 teeny tiny pieces that come with most board games! And the day I realized I could download the hundreds of Teachers Pay Teachers products into iBooks and use them without having to print them? Pure. Sweet. Bliss.

So for two years, I plodded along with my iPad as my trusty therapy sidekick. We did everything together. Went everywhere together. Sure, I used hard materials still, but not like before. I was pretty convinced that I’d never do another therapy session without my new aptly-named i-PAL. And why would I ever want to?

Then one day, a few weeks before Christmas break, right about the time everything was starting to get good and chaotic, the unthinkable happened. I accidentally forgot to charge the iPad the night before, and the battery died. Died! I stared at the ugly little red battery indicator for a few seconds before it all went black. What was I going to do? I had come to rely on all the perfect little apps to basically handle my therapy planning for me. The kids all knew what to do, and they loved it too. They were always engaged with the iPad.  And my jumbo-sized Super Duper bag had long since retired to the bottomless pit of my therapy closet. I had a patient to see in 5 minutes, so I had to think fast.

“Where’s your iPad?” the kid asked. “I’m sorry. The battery died. I don’t have it today,” I replied, fully expecting a meltdown to quickly ensue. “Ok, so what are we doing then?” he asked calmly. “We’re going to look at each other and talk a lot,” I told him.

And for the next 30 minutes, we talked a ton. We played an actual board game. We used concrete artic cards. We read an actual book where we had to actually turn the pages instead of swipe the pages. We sorted tangible objects. We pretended to cook food and feed dolls. We shared some major eye contact. We had a blast.

By the end of the first day without my i-Pal, I was exhausted! I literally sounded hoarse from all the extra talking I had done that day! (Mostly explaining where the iPad was).  This is not to say I didn't talk to my kiddos when I used my iPad. But talking over a game or app is not always as effective. The kids don’t have to look at you when they’re on the iPad, so they miss out on your facial expressions, body language, and even your tone of voice. Even more so, holding a physical object in hand can appeal to many different senses, as opposed to the iPad only appealing to sight and sound. (I.e. my student could feel the textures of the play food as he categorized it into fruits and vegetables, instead of just seeing a picture of the fruit and hearing an applause when he sorted correctly.) As I reflected back on that day of therapy, I felt sure that some of my kids had actually noticed me that day. That they had thought of me more as a therapist or even as a friend, instead of just a lady who sat in the room next to them while they did their work, throwing out words and phrases while they were playing and making sure they didn't exit out of the educational game to play Plants vs. Zombies.

So the result? I decided to allow my trusted-but-no-longer-needed i-Pal to stay dead for the rest of the week. It forced me to be imaginative in my therapy planning once again and to get out of the technological rut that had besieged my creativity. To my astonishment, the kids were fine with it. (Although I did actually have to show a few of them that the iPad was really dead for them to believe me!)

And now that the New Year is upon us, my i-Pal has a place in my therapy once again: In the last 5 minutes before the kids leave. Provided they spent the first 25 minutes actively engaged with me.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

What's In Your Cart Linky

Hey Friends!!!

I can't believe another Thanksgiving has come and gone and we're on to Christmas! This Christmas is especially exciting because my little girl is 15 months now and notices everything!

If you haven't already heard, TPT is hosting another site-wide sale December 1st & 2nd (Monday & Tuesday)! The site-wide sales are awesome opportunities to empty out your wishlist and save, save, save! Just be sure to enter the code TPTCYBER to save up to 28% in most stores (mine included!)

My friend Jenna at Speech Room News is hosting another awesome "What's In Your Cart" linky party, and I'm participating! Head over to her her blog to see many of your favorite SLP bloggers' posts on what they are planning to buy during this sale!

First, here are a few of my own products I recommend:

If your kiddos loved Turkey Trouble, they'll adore this book companion to the sequel: Turkey Claus!!

Since non-fiction is so important these days, I created a fun way for students to learn the history behind Christmas symbols such as the Christmas tree, Candy Cane, Gingerbread Man, Stockings, and More! 

This Little Critter book companion is so much fun and has activities for a wide range of ages!!! 

Pierre the Penguin is one of my favorite non-fiction books to teach!!! This book companion not only incorporates the story, but you can also learn about the different types of penguins too!!

Finally, my January Book Club Bundle is a great way to get 4 book companions at a fantastic price! As with all of my Monthly Book Club Bundles, you already get 4 companions for the price of 3, but with an additional 28% off, you'll never find this packet at a lower rate! 

And now, here are several items that are already in my cart:

First up is Jenn at Crazy Speech World's Old Lady Craftivity Bundle...I have no words for how adorable this is!! 

Next is Jenna from Speech Room News' Christmas & Holiday Interactive Books. My students are totally addicted to these things (as am I!) 

Then comes Kristin from Simply Speech's Trim the Pronoun Tree. Anything with Pronouns is desperately needed...and holiday-themed pronouns are a bonus! 

I've been dying to get my hands on Nicole from Allison Speech Peeps' Leveled Vocabulary Intervention Pack!! 

And finally, I'm so excited to snag Felice at The Dabbling Speechie's Winter Wonderland Social Pragmatics Pack. I have several of her holiday-themed packets and they're amazing, so I know this one will be too! 

What's in your cart? I'm always up for more suggestions!!! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Happy Turkey Hunting!

Hey Y'all!

If you're like me, you've just finished up with Halloween activities, and you're rushing around looking for Thanksgiving materials to fill your therapy sessions for a bit of festive learning! I have TONS of students on my caseload right now working on prepositions. They need to see examples of prepositions and also have a chance to practice them. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving (and turkey season in the South), I called in the turkey to help teach prepositions in this FREEBIE!

There are several pages of cards which describe and show where the turkey is. For your non-readers, you can asked them to tell you where the turkey is.

At the end, there are turkeys to laminate and cut out for the students to practice placing them where instructed.

You can download this FREEBIE by clicking the link below. 

Hope you enjoy! I'd love to hear how your students like this activity! Happy Turkey Hunting!! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Batty for Speech & Language!

Hey Yall!

I can't believe Halloween is FRIDAY! The past few months have been a blur, and before we know it, this year will be over! If your therapy is anything like mine this week, you're ankle deep in Halloween speech and language activities! Take a look at what we're using this week in therapy!

We worked on matching inferences with my Halloween Costume Inferences! I asked the kiddos to describe their own costume to me as well and let me guess what they are going to be. They especially loved this!

For my older kiddos who work on behavior/social skills, we used Miss Speechie's Good Witch, Bad Witch activity to sort nice actions from not-so-nice actions!

My younger lovies worked on colors with Dina Peters story, Orange Pumpkin, Orange Pumpkin!

Jenn Alcorn's Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat story companion was a HUGE hit, especially since there are activities for an array of ability levels!

My Pumpkin 'WH' Questions activity was great for practicing answering questions and learning about fall and Halloween!

My older students LOVED learning about the history behind Halloween with my Halloween History Comprehension Packet! Do YOU know how Halloween began?

I couldn't let my kiddos go Trick-or-Treating Friday night without a quick lesson on Halloween safety! My True/False Safety activity will help your students learn how to make safe choices while getting their trick-or-treat on!

I have a ton of students with category goals right now. They loved using my Spooky Spider Halloween Categories game to sort and describe! This game can be easily modified by taking away categories or items from each category to make it easier. The sorting cards also come with both word and picture options!

Who doesn't love Room on the Broom?!?! My kids ADORE this book, and I do too. Not only are there great vocabulary words in the book, but the words rhyme too! We used a best seller of mine, my Room on the Broom Comprehension Pack, to answer questions (with and without answer choices), sequence the story, do writing responses, and more!!!

Finally, we used pumpkin emotion cards and a sticker book of faces to make our own pumpkin faces and learn about feelings!

What are you doing for Halloween? I'd love to hear!!!

A Little Speech, A Little Life, and A Lot of Love!

Hey Y'all!

Have you noticed the new design?!?! I'm SOOOOO excited about it! Updating my blog design has been something I've wanted to do for a really long time, and now it has finally happened! To be honest, it's something I've been avoiding because I thought it would be a long, drawn out process that took a ton of time and a lot of effort. Boy was I wrong! I absolutely cannot say enough wonderful things about Kassie Garlock, who did my design! She was super friendly, super helpful, super creative, and most of all, super fast!

You can take a look at Kassie's work by clicking the link below:

If you don't already, I'd love for you to connect with me through social media. You can simply click the social media icons on the right to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Bloglovin, and especially TPT. By following me through social media, you'll always be up to date on what I'm up to in therapy, as well as new products and sales going on! You can also Grab my Button for a quick link back to this blog!

As always, I'm so appreciative of your support. And I LOVE hearing from you! Stay tuned...I have several exciting announcements coming up in the next week!

Happy Fall Y'all!

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Fall is (finally) in full swing here in South GA (although we're still experiencing warmer-than-normal weather for late October!) But nevertheless, fall is here, and all that comes along with it in Moultrie, GA! Pumpkins, hay rides, cotton, and Halloween!

With the changing of seasons, I wanted to give you guys a quick update on what's going on and where I've been! As many of you know, we loaded up the Uhaul in St. Petereburg, FL back in June and relocated back to our hometown in South GA. You can read about our move HERE. Since we've been home, we both started new jobs, and we built a new house! We moved into our new home 4 weeks ago, and after a mega yard sale last weekend and new furniture being delivered, I can now officially say that we're settled! Throughout this process (and boy was it a process!), I took some needed time off from blogging and making therapy materials. I'm so happy to be back to doing what I love, but here's what we've been doing over the past few weeks!

After I unpacked all of the hundreds of boxes, I was able to decorate the house for fall! I LOVE holiday decorations, and can't wait to display them all for the first time in several years!!

We used the Mr. Potato Head parts to make ghost and goblin pumpkins for Halle Jane!

I'm incredibly blessed to have my mom watch HJ for me while I work each day. It is such a blessing to go to work and not have to worry about my little girl! My mom does a wonderful job teaching her all kinds of things and letting her experience so much!

Halle Jane is loving the pumpkins everywhere! She calls them "pukins" She picked out quite a few at the pumpkin patch last week, and daddy couldn't tell her no!

Finally, what is fall without new outfits?!?!

Cheetah print goes well with her "wild child" personality!

She is so proud of her new snow boots!

And she sported this to the neighborhood potluck last week! 

Stay tuned for pictures of her Halloween costume...she's going to be her favorite thing in the whole world...a puppy dog!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Preposition Remix {An App Review}

Hi Everyone!

Recently I blogged about where I've been the past few months. In case you missed it, you can read about all of the changes in my life HERE. Now that we're settled, I'm finally able to play catch up with several things that have been on the "to-do" list for a while!

The wonderfully giving (and super patient) crew at Smarty Ears provided me with several apps to review at the beginning of the summer. I've been using them TONS over the last month at  my new job, and I'm just now getting a chance to blog about them! So you'll see several app reviews in the next few weeks, but I chose to show you Preposition Remix first, because I'm literally using it every day right now!

When you open the app, you see this homescreen first. You can choose the "Support" tab for additional information and a video tutorial on how to use the app.

If you choose the "Settings" tab to the right, you're able to choose which prepositions to work on, how to provide reinforcement, whether or not to provide cues, and what response the students will receive with an incorrect answer. I LOVE that you can pick and choose which prepositions to address, so I can add new ones as the student learns them!

When you choose the "Play" tab on the homescreen, you're prompted to add a player. You can add individual profiles for each of your students, import profiles from TRC (Therapy Report Center), or if you want a quick fix like me, just create a player named "Demo," and you can use it each time! Then the stimulus pictures will begin to appear. The student simply touches their answer after the direction is verbally presented.

When the student answers correctly, this is what they will see! Remember, you can change the settings for what happens when they answer incorrectly under the "Settings" tab on the homescreen.

Once the student has answered 10 questions correctly, they unlock a musical instrument. They will unlock different musical instruments each time, and they can hear what that instrument sounds like!

To see how a student is doing, click on the "Report" tab on the homescreen. Then you can choose if you want to see their Report Card or their Instrument Collection.

The Report Card is excellent for progress monitoring. I love how it shows specifically which prepositions the student is having difficulty with, because that's how I know which ones to specifically target! From the Report Card Menu, you can click the "Share" tab and open the report in TRC, or email a copy to yourself or a parent!

By clicking on the Instrument Collection, the student can see which instruments they have already earned, and how many they have left to get!

Overall, I am loving this app to help in teaching my students (patients) prepositions! There is just something about an app on the iPad that keeps their attention longer than any other thing I can find! Most of my students think they are playing a game, and don't actually know that they are working on their goals! They only addition I would love is a multi-player option for therapy groups!

Preposition Remix sells for $9.99 in the itunes app store! You can click the link below to find it there!

Have you used this app with your kiddos? Do you have other ways you work on prepositions? I'd love to hear from you!