Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Smarty Ears' Minimal Pairs Academy {An App Review}

Happy Wednesday, Friends!

If you're like me, you're counting down the weeks/days/hours til Spring Break! We can't wait to have a few extra days off, but we're still hard at work until then!

I currently have LOTS of little ones working on phonological processes. We've been using Smarty Ears' Minimal Pairs Academy app to target phonological process and speech errors for several weeks, and my patients are loving it! You can read my review of the Minimal Pairs Academic app below. Disclaimer: Smarty Ears provided me with a copy of the app to review, but no other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed below are all mine. :)


When you open the app, you can choose to enter the Report Cards door to see data or the Minimal Pairs Academy door to start working. You can also tweak the settings, add a new student, or contact Smarty Ears for support from this page.

Under the Settings tab, you can choose to display the word, display the written target, and select/deselect specific minimal pairs for each activity. I love this feature!

To add a new student, simply click "Add New Student" from the from page, and enter in their name, date of birth, grade, and any applicable notes. You can also add an avatar photo or a real photo of them if you choose!

After adding a student, you can choose the goals you want to target. There are 22 phonological processes to choose from. If you tap the phonological process once, it selects it as a goal. If you tap it twice, it labels it as 'mastered.' (This is a great way to keep track of how far the students have come!) You also choose how to target the goal here (through auditory bombardment, auditory discrimination, production, phrase completion, or you can choose all of them!) Once you've added your students, you can select up to four students to work at the same time.

Here's an example of Auditory Bombardment. The student touches the card that is named.

Here's an example of Auditory Discrimination. The student chooses which picture matches the picture that was named. 

This is an example of Production. The student says the word with the target sound. The therapist or the student can keep data for each production.

Here's an example of Phrase Completion. The student chooses which word fits into the sentence. Then, they can practice saying the entire phrase/sentence.

If the student chooses the incorrect card, they see "Try Again" across the screen!

 When you enter into the Report Card door, you can see the data for each student.This gives you information on the date, process targeted, session duration, accuracy, how many participants were in the group (I love this feature), the task type, and their number correct with and without cues.

You also have the option to see each process in a graph form. This. Is. Awesome!

Finally, you can see the statistics, which include the total number of sessions, the total number of minutes, processes worked on, and processes mastered!

You can email, print, or open the data in TRC (Therapy Report Center). This is a great way to communicate data with parents!

What I Love:

  • I love the different options for data presentation.
  • I love that the data includes how many students were in the group. This has been valuable in determining whether or not a student does better in a small group or alone. 
  • I love that there are so many phonological processes available to target
  • I love that the app uses the Cycles Approach (Evidence Based)
  • I love that there are auditory discrimination and bombardment options, especially for my really young patients
  • I love that I can take this with me to homes, day cares, clinics, or classrooms, and don't have to take countless piles of cards for every phonological process I need to target that day
What I'd like to see in a future update: 
  • I'd like to see an added reinforcement game or sticker page to keep the students motivated. This isn't a huge deal, but definitely something the kiddos look forward to. 
Minimal Pairs Academy sells in the iTunes store for $19.99. Click HERE to see it now!

Do you use the Minimal Pairs Academy app in your therapy room? How do your kiddos like it? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Super Simple Songs: Animals DVD {A Product Review}

Hi peeps!

A few months ago, my now 18 month old discovered Youtube. It started with her watching animal clips with her daddy (dolphins swimming, penguins waddling, dogs riding on horses, etc). If she saw a phone, she immediately asked "Youtube?" One day, my mom found a song called "Do You Like Broccoli Ice Cream?" and Halle Jane fell in love! They apparently listened to it over and over, because when I picked her up that afternoon, my then 15 month old asked me "Mom, do you like Broccoli? Yes I do!" My mom showed me the song, and I was so excited. I knew it would be perfect for using in therapy.

Super Simple Learning was created by teachers. They use new and classic songs as excellent learning tools for teaching basic concepts and expanding vocabulary. Their website includes free flashcards, coloring pages, worksheets, games, and crafts that go along with their songs. They also have great tips for including music and dance into your classrooms. They describe their songs like this: "We focused on creating songs that were appropriately paced, lyrically simple, easily taught through gesture, and most importantly, FUN!"

For the past 6 months, I've been working with a 5 year old boy with Autism. He has excellent imitation skills, but not much spontaneous language. We have been working for months on him being able to  provide an answer to a question without just repeating the question back. Despite verbal, visual, and tactile cues, he continued to have a very difficult time grasping the concept. He LOVES music, though, so after I discovered Super Simple Songs, I played "Do You Like Broccoli Ice Cream" for him. This particular song shows different types of foods and asks "Do you like ____" and followed with "Yes I do" or "No I don't." After two therapy sessions of singing this song, he was answering yes/no questions with "Yes I do," or "No I don't." I so wish I could show you the video of him doing's priceless!

Super Simple Learning recently released a new DVD called "Animals." It consists of 12 animal-related songs. Since I'm loving using these songs in therapy every day, I was thrilled with the opportunity to review their new DVD! Disclaimer: Super Simple Learning provided me with a copy of the DVD to review; however, the following opinions are all mine.

Just a few quick notes on each of the songs:

Good Morning, Mr. Rooster: A cute song that is great for getting the day started!
Let's Go To The Zoo: A great song for teaching zoo animals and their corresponding movements!
Walking in the Jungle: Another cute song for teaching about animals, listening to animal sounds, making inferences, counting 1-3, and different ways to move (stomp, jump, skip). This is my little girl's favorite song on the DVD. You can see her jumping to this song in the picture below:

Hickory Dickory...Crash: Such a cute continuation of Hickory Dickory Dock! It continues with other animals and ends with an elephant crash! My little one loves this one as well (see the pictures below). 

Mommy Note: This is the ONLY time I've ever known her to be still for 30 minutes at a time!

My Teddy Bear: A sweet song about a teddy bear and his eyes, nose, ears, arms, legs, etc.
I Have A Pet: A fun song about different pets and their animal sounds!
Yes, I Can: This is one of my favorites! It shows all different kinds of animals and talks about what they can and cannot do. I love that it teaches children to answer questions in complete sentences (Yes I can, No I can't), as well as movements that certain animals make!
Mary Had a Kangaroo: A cute continuation of Mary Had a Little Lamb! In addition to a lamb, Mary has a giraffe, a kangaroo, and more!
The Animals On The Farm: Sung to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus," this song goes through farm animals and the sounds they make. It gets faster and faster, which is so fun for the kiddos!
What Do You Hear?: Another one of Halle Jane's favorites! I love that it teaches children to stop and listen to the animal sounds! It also shows real animals, and repeats the animal names over and over, which is great for retention for the children! You can see Halle Jane "touching" the dog below!

Wag Your Tail: This is another one of my favorites! It's an adorable song that has the children mimic the movements that the animals are doing. Plus, it teaches the concepts of "fast" and "slow", and the children practice while doing the animal movements!
After A While, Crocodile: This is a short, simple, super-cute "goodbye" song perfect for ending therapy or an activity. I LOVE this song, especially for my patients that have difficulty transitioning. They know that when the song is over, so is the activity, and tantrums have become less and less! Below, you can see Halle Jane waving bye-bye to the crocodile!

The DVD is 31 minutes long, but each song is just a few minutes each. I love how simple and cute they are, which is perfect for my language-impaired students. Even if your child has average language development, the songs are excellent for teaching new concepts and vocabulary.

Click below on the Amazon Affiliate link to snag a copy of the Super Simple Songs Animals DVD for yourself!

Super Simple Learning was nice enough to offer an additional DVD for one lucky reader. Be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter giveaway below for your chance to win!

Do YOU use Super Simple Songs in your therapy lessons or classrooms? I'd love to hear which ones are your favorites!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A 'Hands Down' Fun Craft!

Hey Y'all!

I absolutely love celebrating holidays! I get so much joy out of decorating, and the food, happiness, and family togetherness is priceless. Holidays are also fun in therapy, because they provide an array of new vocabulary words and activities that the children don't hear and see on a regular basis. So much fun-filled learning can happen around holidays.

I'm sure many of you enjoy doing crafts around the holidays too. I love to craft, but I have a confession to make. I haven't always enjoyed crafting with my therapy children. I'm a perfectionist (surprised?), and the imperfections and messiness of children crafting added to the time it takes to prep the crafts used to make my skin crawl. But through a lot of trials, some simplification, minimal preparation, and some OCD therapy (just kidding), I learned to re-embrace kid crafts, and eventually quickly found their way back into my therapy room. My key to crafting in therapy centers around the simplification. Many of my kiddos are really young (under 3 years). So the fewer steps the better, and cutting and gluing is basically out. (I do use cutting and gluing with my older kids). Also, since I pay for the materials, cheap is also really, really good.

So which craft is cute, simple, cheap, with minimal to no prep work required, and holiday-rrific? Painted Hand/Foot Prints!

Following are pictures I've done with my daughter at home. (I use thin canvasses for hers that I'm going to keep and hot-glue a ribbon on top to hang). I use cardstock or construction paper for my kiddos in therapy.

Hand print Turkeys for Thanksgiving. (I forgot to take a picture of her hand print Rudloph and footprint Christmas tree for Christmas)

Even though this isn't a hand print, we let Halle Jane get a little practice in with the paintbrush by painting in this heart. She loved it!

Although the paint is washable, we decided not to take a chance and went shirtless! Here's my other tips: instead of dipping her hand or foot into the paint, I paint the paint on her hand and foot with a paintbrush. This ensures that it goes on evenly and there's less mess. I also keep baby wipes on hand and wipe the paint off when we're finished, instead of taking her back and forth to the sink. Baby wipes are also helpful when you're in a classroom or daycare and don't have access to a sink right away!

Here's the finished heart. I used a magic eraser to remove a lot of the excess paint outside the heart, but you could choose to leave it on as well!

We sent these out to grandparents and great-grandparents for Valentine's Day! 

And this is the Valentine's Day canvass we made for our house!

 We made a shamrock for St. Patrick's Day!

And this is one of my favorites for Easter! (Would also work great for a Sunday School class!) I hot-glued burlap ribbon on for a cross, but you could paint one on as well!

A bunny and carrot for Easter...

And these are what we're sending the grandparents and great-grandparents for Easter! I used strips of scrapbook paper for the greenery.

There are also TONS of other ideas on Pinterest for not only holidays, but also other hand/footprint crafts for all kinds of themes.

For instance, we did this crab last year during summer school for our beach unit. Googly eyes completed the project!

Have you done any hand or footprint crafts in therapy? I'd love to hear what you have done!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Springy Freebie!

Hi Peeps!

I spent the weekend in FL visiting family and friends. After 3 days of 85 degree weather, walking the beach, and endless sunshine, I finally feel like Spring is here. And I am thrilled!

I currently have lots and lots of little kiddos working on plurals. Many of them don't understand the concept of adding an "s" to the end of words to indicate that there is more than one. Much less irregular plurals. Add in those kiddos with glorious final consonant deletion (of /s/), and I work on plurals a large portion of my day! Because they get bored with the same plurals cards and activities (so do I), I decided to make a quick FREEBIE to target plurals for Spring vocabulary. I've been using them with my students the past several days and they are loving them!

You can grab a copy of the Springy Plurals in my TPT store by clicking the link below. Enjoy, and Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

StepByStep {An App Review}

Happy Thursday, Everyone!

I'm back today with another app review. This app is by SOAR Therapy and is called "Step by Step." It's a sequencing app that can be used with both kids and adults. SOAR Therapy provided me with a copy of the Pro version for review, but the opinions below are all mine.

When you open the app, this screen appears. You can sign up, sign in, or continue as a guest. If you want to keep track of data; however, you need to be signed in. 

Once you've created an account and signed in, you can add and remove users. I like how this allows me to add students and remove old ones, and it keeps up with all of their individual data. If I don't add new users, the information all goes under my sign-in name. 

Each time you open the app, you can select which user is playing. 

Once you've chosen a sign-in name, you choose whether you would like the kid sequences or the adult sequences. 

If you download the free version of the app, you get 2 free sequences for kids and 2 free sequences for adults. You can buy additional sequences if you'd like. 

This is an example of a kids sequence for brushing your teeth. This particular sequence has 4 pictures. To complete the sequence correctly, the patient simply slides the pictures into the correct order with their finger. 

Once they complete the sequence and click 'submit', a box lets you know how many steps they completed correctly. They can try again if they did not complete it in the correct order. 

Here's a picture of a sequence completed incorrectly. My kiddos loved using the jack-o-lantern carving sequence around Halloween! 

The "getting dressed" sequence has been great for many of my patients. You can see here that this one is a little harder and includes up to eight pictures. 

You can see the history of the sequences for each user name. This tells you which sequence they worked on, how long it took them to complete it, the date, and their accuracy. 

Here, you can see that you can purchase additional individual sequences for 0.99, or you can purchase the entire kids and/or adult bundles for $9.99 each with in-app purchases. However, a recent addition allows you to purchase both the adult and kid bundles with the Pro Version of the app for only $14.99.  

One of my students enjoying the "brushing your teeth" sequence! 

Overall, I like the simplicity of the app. It allows me to target a common goal (sequencing), as well as opens discussion for these activities in therapy (for wh questions, opinions, etc.) My favorite part of the app is that it differentiates between the sequences for kids and adults. Working in a hospital, we often have adult patients come through. I like that we can target the sequencing goal with pictures that don't look too child-like. I also like the array of sequences included. Many of them are different from sequences we've worked on in therapy before, which keeps it interesting and challenging for the patient. The only thing of note is that in a few of the sequences, the order of some of the steps can be a little subjective or unclear. In the example above, I frequently have patients put the cash register sign in front of the candy bar placed on the table. Also, in a hospital setting, I rarely need the ability to work with more than one user at a time. However, in a school setting, for me to use this app in group therapy, it would be convenient to be able to switch users to go from student to student in the group. All in all; however, this is a simple, easy maneuverable app for both kids and adults to target sequencing!

You can find the free version of Step by Step in itunes HERE

You can find the Pro Version of Step by Step in itunes HERE

You can see Soar Therapy on Facebook HERE

Have you used Step by Step yet? How do you work on sequencing in therapy? 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Smarty Ears' iPractice Verbs {An App Review}

Hey friends!

Can you believe it is MARCH? I cannot believe how fast time is flying by! After an out-of-state move over the summer, a new job, building a new house, moving into our new house, and chasing an 18 month around constantly, I let myself get waaaaayyy behind on app reviews. The good news is that I've had TONS of opportunities to use the new apps over the past several months, and I'm ever thankful I have these resources in my therapy bag! The app review today is from my friends at Smarty Ears. They never disappoint with their apps, and this one is no exception. Smarty Ears provided me with a copy of the app to review, but the opinions below are all mine.

So who has tons of kids on her caseload working on verbs? This girl. Of all the apps I use, this one gets used the most. Seriously, people. Every. Single. Day. I LOVE how you can target regular and irregular verbs and all verb tenses in one easy-to-use app. Check it out below:


After you add and select your players (which can be imported from TRC like all Smarty Ears apps), you can choose whether you want to practice using flashcards or find the verb receptively. 

Once you choose whether you want to practice with flashcards or find the picture receptively, you can select which verbs you want to include, or deselect the verbs you want to leave out. (This is great for modifying for different ages and abilities)

When you're playing with the flash cards, a picture appears showing an action. By clicking on the buttons on the left, you can choose whether you want the verb presented in a word, phrase, or sentence, and choose which tense you want the verb presented in (present tense, present progressive, or past tense). Once you choose, you can click on the picture and hear it spoken. The buttons on the bottom right of the screen allow you (or your student if they are keeping their own data), to keep data with correct/incorrect/and almost correct (or assistance required). 

 Here's an example of a past tense irregular verb at the word level. In the "settings" section on the app, you can choose to turn the written word/phrase/sentence under the picture on or off. 

As the student gets correct responses, stars appear on the top of the screen. This is both a great visual and auditory reinforcement!

For every 10 stars, a sticker card is given to the student. These can all be seen in the Report center of the app. 

If "Find It" is chosen instead of flash cards, this screen appears. Here, you can choose which tense you would like to work with and whether you want words, phrases, or sentences. You can choose all three if you like (which is an option I love for my older students!) 

Depending on what you chose, a word, phrase, or sentence will be presented.
The student has four pictures to choose from. 

If the incorrect picture is chosen, the incorrect response disappears
until only the correct choice is left. 

The students earn stars for reinforcement in this activity as well.
After 10 stars, they earn another sticker card. 

After you're finished playing, you can check out the student's progress in the Report Center. Here, you can choose to see the Sticker Page, see Progress Cards, or Generate Certificates. 

The Sticker Page shows students which sticker cards they have earned, and which ones they can still achieve if they continue to work hard. 

The Progress Card gives you a breakdown of the data from each session. It tells you what was played, how long it was played, the number of trials (cards reviewed), and the accuracy. 

To print a certificate, you can choose the mastery criteria for each student. You can differentiate between regular and irregular verbs, different tenses, and whether or not the student demonstrates understanding or demonstrates production. 

Here's an example of a certificate. My students LOVE "awards" day! 

Finally, if you're looking for additional practice in the form of a worksheet, the Homework section is where you'll find it! You can print all kinds of worksheets for the students to do in therapy or at home for homework!

 Here's an example of a worksheet for past-tense verbs! 

All in all, I LOVE this app and use it daily. I love that it can be modified for different ages and ability levels, can be used receptively OR expressively, has great real-life pictures, has awesome reinforcement, has built-in data collection, and has homework options as well! 

iPractice Verbs sells for $9.99 in the itunes store, and it is well worth the investment. You can find it here: 

Do you use iPractice Verbs with your kids? How else do you practice verbs in therapy?