Monday, December 17, 2012

Smarty Ears' Custom Board App {An App Review}

Happy Friday!

I'm back today with an app review for Custom Boards from Smarty Ears! Jonathan at Smarty Ears provided me with the app for free, but the opinions expressed here are all mine. No other compensation was provided.

When you first open the Custom Boards App, you see this page: You can choose whether you want to create a new project, open a saved project, or seek help from the support page.

Under the "New" tab, you can choose between 6 different kinds of activities, including: Activities & Games, Devices & Switches, Signs & Labels, Grids & Boards, Schedules & Calendars, and Worksheets. When you click the "New" tab, it looks like this:

Within these options, there are TONS (literally over 100) different templates to choose from. I screenshot some of the templates under each tab, but there are more than don't show in the pictures!

I thought I'd highlight my favorite part of the app for you: When you choose an activity template, you can click to add an image. You can choose an image from the Custom Board app, upload an image from Google, or upload your own pictures from your Ipad photo library. Here is the homescreen when you click to add a picture:

Once you have added a picture, you can change the background color or the font! You can choose whether you want the picture name at the bottom or the top of the picture, or you can hide it altogether!

Here is a picture of a first/then board I made for one of my students in about 2 minutes! Once you create a document, you can save or share it as a pdf.

Back on the templates page in the upper right corner, you can push "suggest templates," and send suggestions to Smarty Ears on what you need!
Last but not least, there is a support page! Here, you can contact Smarty Ears, watch a video tutorial, join Smarty Ears on Facebook, or see other Smarty Ears apps!

Overall, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this app! There are so many things to do, and so many ways to use it! I'm sure that without trying too hard, I could find some way to use this app for each and every kiddo on my caseload. Custom Boards sells in iTunes for 39.99, and in my opinion, it is very much worth the cost!

Have any of you used Custom Boards yet? If so, what do you think?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Smith's! (FREEBIE)

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to take a moment to once again THANK YOU for all of your support! You guys make it so much more fun! To show my thanks, I wanted to offer you another FREEBIE! This activity was made to target understanding negation...Christmas-style! We are already using it in our speech room, and my kiddos are loving it!

Thought you all might like to see our 2012 Christmas Card! Merry Christmas from the Smiths!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Baby Hear & Read {An App Review & Giveaway}

Hi All!

I'm back as promised with an app review and giveaway! Today's app is the Baby Hear & Read - Verbs App from Baby Kids Zone. I've been using this app for a while now in therapy to teach my kiddos about using different verbs....and they LOVE it! Baby Kids Zone provided me with the app to review, but the opinions are all mine. They were also nice enough to give me several codes to giveaway. I'll give away a few below, and the rest will be given over the next few weeks as part of my Christmas giveaways!

When you open the app, you get this screen. There are nine pages of animals that all demonstrate different verbs.

When you click on a picture, the animal makes a sound and demonstrates the verb.

As each verb is spelled, the letters turns red.

You can change the settings by pressing the "unlock" button. With the settings, you can turn the text, voice, spelling voice, music, and animal sounds on or off.

You can also change the number of animals on each page (3x3=9 animals, 2x2=4 animals).

This app is fairly simple, and that's exactly why I like it! Sometimes when apps have a lot going on, my students get distracted pressing buttons, and we lose sight on what we are working on. This app has adorable animals that teach all kinds of practical, everyday verbs. Some of them are even funny (stink!) You can also turn the reading off and use the app to teach animals and animal sounds!

This app sells for $.99 in the iTunes store. Try to win one below, and let me know what you think!
 Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Claim Your Right!

Hi Everyone. I don't have to tell you all that today is a very important day in America. The results of the 2012 Presidential Election are going to bring great changes for our country, our children, our healthcare, and education. No matter your party affiliation or political views, please take this opportunity to claim your right to vote. Thousands of men and women have sacrificed everything to give us that right. My household voted during early voting. If you haven't done so already, please make your voice heard....because your voice matters!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving Turkey Preposition FREEBIE!!!

Hi All!

As promised, I'm giving away a Thanksgiving Preposition FREEBIE today! I don't know about you, but I have LOTS of little lovies working on spatial concepts! I hope you can use this one as much as I can. If you grab it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! Below are sample pages from the download.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween!

I LOVE Halloween, and I LOVE celebrating holidays in Speech! Check out how we celebrated Halloween in my speech room this year:

 Pretzel and Oreo Spiders

 Speech room decor-I like hanging books up for each season/theme on the bulletin board! 

 The Daily Schedule Board got a Halloween makeover! 

 More Speech room decor!

 The kids' Jack-O-Lanterns turned out great! 

 Even Jerry the class turtle got into the Halloween spirit! 

 Popcorn hands were a yummy party snack! 

 Pumpkin characters and Q-tip skeletons were our crafts for the month! 

Every year my school has a costume parade. The teachers dress up like book characters. 
This year, we chose the Lady Bug Girl! 

Are you allowed to celebrate Halloween in your school? What kinds of things do you do to celebrate? If not, do you celebrate Fall? I'd love to hear your ideas too!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Little Old Lady who Was Not Afraid of Anything FREEBIE

Happy Monday, Everyone!

I'm back from a quick but fabulous trip to South Georgia where I got to spend time with my family, eat at my favorite home-town restaurants, enjoy good home-cooking by my mom and mother-in-love, shop, visit my old church, have a pumpkin-carving contest (my husband won!), and play soccer in the front yard with the kids! It was extremely fast-paced and I'm exhausted, but spending that time with my family was sooo worth it! Even though I'm yawning every 15 minutes, I'm at least mentally and emotionally rejuvenated after a fun-filled get-a-way!

Anyway, I LOVE teaching The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything during Halloween! It is a wonderful book for predicting, WH questions, vocabulary, Story Grammar Marker, feelings, sequencing, and just plain FUN! A few months ago, I joined LessonPix, an online resource for clipart images and templates, and I'm completely addicted! The price is great ($36 a year), the pictures are awesome, and my favorite part: if they don't have an image you need, just email them, and they'll make it for you! Bill over at LessonPix has given me permission to share this download with you! I created these vocabulary cards for the story, and my kiddos are LOVING them! It makes story retell and identifying the story elements much easier for struggling kiddos. You can print them, laminate them, and either use Velcro (my choice), or hot glue sticks to the back of them! If you haven't tried LessonPix yet, it's a MUST! Hope you enjoy the activity!


Here's an Amazon affiliate link for the book:

Have a fabulous day, and as always, thanks so much for your support!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halloween Language Packet Giveaway!

Hi Everyone!

I have a new download up on TPT! I recently grouped all of my Halloween products together into one money-saving Bundle! The target skills include: Halloween WH (&How) Questions, Halloween Story Starters, Halloween Antonyms, Halloween Synonyms, Halloween Costume Inferences, Halloween Pumpkin Pronouns, Halloween Sort & Stick Categories, Halloween-Themed Idioms, and Halloween Safety True or False!

I'm going to give away a chance to win this packet for free (a $17.50 value)! All you have to do is: 1) Follow my blog on Bloglovin if you aren't already, 2) Comment on the post about your favorite thing about Halloween! You can find this bundle on TPT by clicking on the picture above or the link below.  Hope you enjoy!

Good luck, and as always, thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ghost Toast for the Letter "T!"

Happy Friday!

This week in Pre-K, the letter of the week is "T." In additon, we're working on learning The Five Senses, and of course, we're incorporating "Halloween" into everything possible! Today, we made Ghost Toast with Toasters! We let the students cut ghosts out of bread using cookie cutters, and then we put them in the toaster. They spread cream cheese on top and used mini chocolate chips for the eyes. For each thing we used, we talked about what senses they were using:

They could see the chocolate chips, toast, toaster, cookie cutters, cream cheese, and spreader

They could hear the chocolate chips when we shook the bag, the toaster as it popped up, and the knife scratching the toast as they spread the cream cheese

They could smell the chocolate chips, toast, and cream cheese

They could touch the chocolate chips, soft bread, squishy cream cheese, hard cookie cutter, and rough toast

And best of all, they could taste the sweet chocolate chips, cream cheese, and toast!

Have a WONDERFUL Weekend!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Donors Choose = Awesome!

Happy Tuesday! I'm currently at a CPI training, but took the hour long lunch break to do a little work! I wanted to take a quick break from the Halloween/Fall posts and let you know about a great opportunity for teachers/SLPs! If you haven't already heard, is an online grant opportunity for teachers. You can create projects for your class and request specific materials (books, headphones, rugs, etc.) that you need, and generous donors all over the country will give money to help you complete your projects. I started a project requesting over $600.00 worth of books over the summer, and a few weeks ago, I was notified that my project was fully funded! How excited was I to have a HUGE box full of books I specifically chose for different groups of children delivered to my school! DonorsChoose has also been featured on several big shows, such as Oprah. It is a wonderful way for teachers to get the materials they need, and for people to see exactly where their tax-deductible gifts are going...back to the children!

Have you requested any projects on DonorsChoose? Have you ever given to any DonorsChoose projects? If you haven't, I highly recommend doing both!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Halloween Booooks!

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a wonderfully relaxing weekend! Halloween is in full swing around here! I *adore* Halloween, so we're busy learning everything we can while incorporating Halloween fun into it all.  As you all know, I use books in most of my speech & language lessons. I thought I'd make you a list of Halloween Books I'm using this year, and see if any of you have other suggestions as well! I linked my book companions for some of them too!

1. H is for Haunted House-A Halloween Alphabet Book, by Tanya Lee Stone
2. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams
3. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat, by Lucille Colandro
4. The Night Before Halloween, by Natasha Wing
5. Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
6. Ten Timid Ghosts, by: Jennifer O'Connell
7. From Seed to Pumpkin, by Wendy Pfeffer
8. Tucker's Spooky Halloween, by Leslie McGuirk
9. The Bones of Fred McFee, by Eve Bunting
10. Turkey Trick or Treat, by Wendi Silvano
11. Spiders, by Gail Gibbons
12. Big Pumpkin,  by Erica Silverman
13. Happy Halloween, Little Critter, by Mercer Mayer
14. What's In The Witch's Kitchen, by Nick Sharratt
15. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever, by Steven Kroll

What are your favorite Halloween Books? I'd love to add new favorites to my collection!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Charts {A FREEBIE!!!}

Hi Everyone!

September is a month full of birthdays for my family. Among the (7) family members who have Sapphire birthstones are my mom (the 7th), and my husband (the 14th). As I'm gearing up for the many birthday bashes, I was thinking about how as a specialist in the schools, it's near impossible for us to make a birthday sign or chart for each of our kids, since we have so many on our caseloads. I really love birthdays, though, so I created a birthday chart FREEBIE!

This download has a page for each month, and an open spot for you to write the names of all the kids who have birthdays during that month. If you laminate them, you can wipe off and reuse each year. And if you don't use them for birthdays, you could use them for notes, meetings, or many other things.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

50 Great Books for Speech & Language

Hi All!

You guys know how much I *love* books, right? I use books almost every single therapy session. Literacy is so, so important. I make it my goal to incorporate literacy into all of my therapy sessions (including artic and fluency!)

I get a lot of emails about which books I use the most, book suggestions for Story Grammar Marker, etc. If you're familiar with my Teachers Pay Teachers store (Whitneyslp), you know I make a lot of book companions for my favorite books. But you can use books to target any therapy goals with or without a book companion, and whether or not you're using Story Grammar Marker.

Below, you'll find a list of 50 books that I use regularly to target speech and language goals, as well as at home with my own little one. This is by no means a complete list....I use MANY other books throughout the year, but these are ones I believe everyone should have in their personal libraries. :) Click on the book titles below to see if I have a book companion for that book!

1. Big Al, by Andrew Clements
2. The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch
3. Miss Nelson is Missing, by James Marshall
4. All of the "There Was An Old Lady" books, by Lucille Colandro
5. All of the "If you give a..."books, by Laura Numeroff
6. Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister
7. Pout Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen
8. Turkey Claus, by Wendi Silvano
9. Big Al and Shrimpy, by Andrew Clements
10. Katie Loves the Kittens, by John Himmelman
11. Princess Pigtoria and the Pea, by Pamela Duncan
12. Mr. Duck Means Business, by Tammi Sauer
13. All of the Bear books, by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman
14. The Mitten, by Jan Brett
15. Gingerbread Baby, by Jan Brett
16. Gilbert Goldfish, by Kelly DiPucchio
17. From Tadpole to Frog, by Wendy Pfeffer
18. The Important Book,  by Margaret Wise Brown
19. Pierre the Penguin, by Jean Marzollo
20. Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch, by Eileen Spinelli
21. From Caterpillar to Butterfly, by Deborah Heiligman
22. Pig's Egg, by Katherine Sully
23. Tarra & Bella, by Carol Buckley
24. Knut the Polar Bear, by Craig Hatkoff
25. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams
26. Turkey Trouble, by Wendi Silvano
27. Just A Snowman, by Mercer Mayer
28. Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson
29. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
30. Turkey Trick or Treat, by Wendi Silvano
31. All of the Little Critter books, by Mercer Mayer
32.Where the Wild  Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
33. The Napping House, by Audrey Wood
34. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats
35. Caps For Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina
36. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst
37. Corduroy, by Don Freeman
38. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
39. Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Williams
40. Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola
41. Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
42.The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn and Ruth E. Harper
43. The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown
44. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by Jon Scieszka
45. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Williams
46. Swimmy, by Leo Lionni
47. Goodnight Gorilla, by Peggy Rathmann
48. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
49. A Bad Case of the Stripes, by David Shannon
50. The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash, by Trinka Hakes Noble

Don't see a book companion for a book you need? Check out my Best-selling Book Companion Companion....a HUGE No-Prep packet that works for ANY book you're using! (And keep checking back....MANY more book companions are in the works!)

I'd love to hear what some of your favorite books are! Did I leave any books out that you can't live without?

Friday, August 24, 2012

SGM Day Five: Personal Story Grammar Marker Ideas

Hi Everyone!

I hope today finds you doing great! For the last day of SGM week, I promised some personal ideas for Story Grammar Marker, so that's what the post is about today. Again, the best part about SGM is it's flexibility. While the manuals make recommendations and others have their own ways of teaching/implementing, you should feel free to dive in, try different things, and see what works best for you and your students!

Following are ideas that I use to teach/organize/display Story Grammar Marker:

My SGM team from St. Petersburg, FL! For Halloween, we decided to bring Literacy to Life by dressing up as The Paper Bag Princesses!

This is a science fair board covered in felt. The icons stick to it nicely, which helps to store all of my "extra" Braidy pieces not being used at that time!

The student story braids hang on Command hooks on the wall. The students know that when they come in the classroom, they should grab a story braid before sitting down!

One of the two SGM Bulletin Boards outside of my classroom. We did this one when we first started learning character and feelings. I found body part stickers, and the students chose different facial expressions for their characters!

SGM Station:

A few notes:
  • Once you really get into SGM, you may find that you are having a hard time navigating around the different teaching manuals. There are so many worksheets (not a bad thing), that sometimes it's hard to remember which ones you have and where to find them. Because of this, I spent time making a copy of the worksheets I use and organizing them into my personal teacher binder. I organized them by icon (character, setting, kickoff, etc.) This way I can choose which worksheet to use for different kids, depending on their ability levels.

  • I love to do a Story Grammar Marker "Book of the Month." The book of the month is most always a holiday or seasonal book. We make visuals and crafts that go along with each SGM Book of the Month, and these go on the other SGM Bulletin Board. This is great because many classes use the same book! Here are the ones I used for each month last year.
    • January-Pierre the Penguin by Jean Marzollo
    • February-Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
    • March-Lucky Tucker by Leslie McGuirk
    • April-Pig's Egg by Katherine Sully
    • May-The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing
    • September-The Teacher From the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
    • October-The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams 
    • November-Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
    • December-Just A Snowman by Mercer Mayer
  • Use the Data Sheets! They help you know exactly where to start on each kid, and exactly what areas you need to spend more time on. (And exactly how far the kiddos have come!)
  • Utilize the SGM blog on Mindwing Concepts for additional ideas.
  • Get other teachers involved! Carryover into the general education classes is key!
  • Be creative! You can print pictures from stories and velcro them on Braidy, make sequencing visuals for story retell, use the magnets, stamps, and just about anything else to teach SGM!

Good luck! Do you have any questions about SGM? I'd love to hear from you! Please share with us how you are using SGM!