Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Super Duper Core Curriculum Vocabulary App

Just released by Super Duper is a set of Curriculum Vocabulary Apps.  Free versions are available that offer 1 deck of 25 cards to try for yourself.  I downloaded the 1st/2nd/3rd grade versions to play with and below are my opinions of this new product - Honest ones, no sponsorship from Super Duper here...

Currently, 4 versions of this app are available.  I do not work with Pre-K right now so I've not downloaded that yet.  Pictured here are the icons for 1st-3rd grade apps.  They are free to download.  The PRO versions are available for $8.99 each and include all decks of cards available.

 When you open the app, you are greeted by these adorable monsters.  Some are shooting hoops, others are skateboarding.  They even make monster noises if you tap on them!  Monsters are a personal favorite of mine so SD gets a thumbs up here.  The app is super-colorful as usual! (You'll notice that there is a clock on the school front in 3rd grade that actually shows the current time!)

 After tapping "Start" on the welcome screen you'll be brought here.  Shown here is the  1st grade screen...
2nd Grade Screen...
 And 3rd Grade Screen.  In the free version, the available deck is colorful while the ones available for purchase are darkened and have a "Buy" ribbon on the bottom.  I believe that when you have more than one deck available, you can choose multiple/all decks to be used in the games but I'm not positive here.

Below the decks is where the players appear.  You click to add a player on the right side + button.  You can add a name and choose a provided monster photo or upload/take a photo with your device.  Multiple players can participate in the games by selecting multiple players at this time.  Simply click each person.  I always love that multiple kiddos can be used in SD apps... and they keep separate data for each!  More on that later though!

There are 4 available games:
Multiple Choice – This game has two ways to play. The “Word” game gives student a definition, then student chooses the matching vocabulary word. The “Definition” game gives the student a vocabulary word, then student must choose the matching definition.  A photo is provided as well.  If the correct answer is chosen, it turns green.  If incorrect, it will be red.  This is a nice Pre/Post-Test option!  Otherwise, there isn't much to this option which is fine by me.

Secret Decoder – If you've used SD products with a secret decoder before you know that kids go CRAZY for that thing.  I'm not sure why but they are always asking for it!  In this game, students read or listen to the prompts and answer choices, select an answer, then slide the Secret Decoder over to check his/her response.  The decoder shows a "beam" that highlights their choice and it is then correct/not.  I found this to be a difficult concept for my younger students but they soon got the hang of it.  Older students preferred this over the Multiple Choice activity as well.  Again simple but an added element is helpful.

Matching – Student chooses a red question card and a blue answer card. If the vocabulary word and definition card match, the student taps “Match.” If the cards do not match, the student taps “No Match.”  This is by far my favorite activity on this and other Super Duper apps.  It lends itself well to groups and tracks each individual student.  Probably one of my favorite things about SD apps are the great illustrations.  Students find them humorous and they are helpful!  However, I'd love to have the option to turn them off at times.  I believe that for some kiddos, they are relied on too much and I'm unable to assess if they are able to do the task without the provided photo.

Drag 'n' Match – Student drags a vocabulary word card over its definition card, or vice versa, to make a match.  Here's a perfect reason why having no pictures would be helpful.  As you can see by the photo, all a student has to do is match photo to photo.  This is more of a photo matching game than a vocabulary game.  (If I'm incorrect about the photo/no photo option PLEASE let me know!)

Data – Again, I LOVE tracking on SD apps.  It is incredibly easy, reliable, and useful.  This allows me to be more interactive with my students instead of hovered over a data sheet.  Also, it keeps them from focusing on their +/- on my sheet!  
With this SD app you can score student responses manually or automatically, track data for an unlimited number of students. receive feedback for correct and incorrect responses, view a student’s results for all sessions at any time, examine and evaluate student progress over time using graphs, and Email, print, and share session results.  My favorite thing here is the graphs (kids understand it better than numbers) and the e-mail/print options.  I like to keep teachers and parents in the loop and this is one way to do it.

I'm not even sure if it's feasible but I would love a way to integrate my SD apps data into their data tracking app so all of the info is in one spot.  This may be wishful thinking... I'm not THAT techie to know the feasibility of that!

Other On/Off options for this app within the "settings" are: Auto-Advance Players & Cards, Auto Read, Require Full Read-Through (Automatically read each card. Lock the card's answers until it has been read one time), Feedback for incorrect/correct answers, Sound effects, Open-ended responses for the Multiple-Choice game (Hides answers and you score responses manually), Easy mode in Matching Game (Leaves all cards flipped over during the game.

So, overall here are my impressions of this new app:
  • Graphics/Illustrations are great as always - keep up the great work here SD!
  • Tracking - automatic and manual tracking abilities within the app
  • Matching - the matching game is fun and easy for groups... although my shuffling skills are pretty impressive, I enjoy having the app do it for me!
  • Multiple Choice - Great for pre/post testing of terms/definitions.
  • Words sorted by subject area - I think you can choose multiple decks for games
  • Drag 'n Match game seems pointless... you can easily match the illustration.  This would be a nice game if illustrations could be turned off in this game.
  • I would also love the ability to add your own cards.  I'm thinking you could add the word/definition and take/upload a photo.  This would be helpful for reviewing current school/district-specific curriculum.
  • Cost... This is a necessary evil and I understand that.  Each deck purchased separately is $2.99 and PRO versions that include all decks are $8.99.  This alone isn't outrageous.  However, assuming that SD comes out with all grades for this app, and you are an elementary SLP interested in the "Pro" editions you may have to pay around  $54 to have access to all decks for all of the grades you serve.  This would deter me from purchasing a complete set of apps.  Particularly without the other changes/customizing ability stated above.
  • Only Pre-K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd grades available at this time... but it's Super Duper so I'm assuming it's only a matter of time before other grades are available.
  • I'd love to see curriculum vocabulary for music, art, physical education, etc. as well!

Overall this is a really nice app from SD.  Their language apps far exceed others on the market.  I would definitely recommend taking the time to download the freebie versions, play around a bit, and see if PRO versions or other decks would be useful.  This could also be a parent-friendly app for kiddos needing extra vocab practice at home!

Click here for more information about these apps and to download the freebie/PRO versions!  

If I have the opportunity to look at the PRO version I'll keep you all updated!

Who/What/Where/When/Why/How in the world...

Happy Halloween SLPeeps!  "I love when Halloween is on a Wednesday"... said NO person who works with or has children EVER!  I hope you're surviving this crazy week!

We've been having a blast with the "I Mustache You a Question" material I posted last week.  However, it really helps me to see what students are still struggling with when it comes to answering and formulating questions.  Some of my younger grades that are working on answering just have zero idea what the question is asking.  My upper grades and children with pragmatic language difficulties are having a hard time knowing how to start a question and what form it should have.  They aren't sure what to put into the question.  We spent some time brainstorming and talking about what each type of question is and what it is asking and some examples of each type.  As an addition, I created some quick little reminder posters that I've placed on the board next to my therapy table as a reference in times of utter DISTRESS!

You can grab this document of posters free here.  It's nothing fancy but it can be a helpful resource for kiddos. (This link has been fixed)

Also... Our friends Smart Apps for Kids is giving away an iPad mini on their site... click here to enter!

Enjoy Halloween!  I'm so ready for November!!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

SLP Infographic

This is too good NOT to share with y'all (Don't judge... I'm the product of Kentuckians) so check it out:


Thursday, October 25, 2012

I "Mustache" You a Question: An Answering and Formulating Questions Game

The minute I saw this adorable clipart, I was ready to make this material!  I have so many students working on answering and formulating questions and very few appropriate and motivating materials to use with them!  So I'm bringing out my secret weapon: MUSTACHES!  

We have begun working with this Mustache You a Question set.  It includes:
~Question Go-Fish: Students work to match Y/N, Who, What, Where, When, and How questions with their answers. The cards are color and mustache-coordinated to easily spot a match!

~Answering: Students work to answer 72 Y/N, Who, What, Where, When, and How questions. The student with the most mustaches at the end of the game wins - But watch out for accidental shavings and get excited for quickly-growing mustaches!

 ~Formulating: Students work to formulate 42 Y/N, Who, What, Where, When, and How questions when given a topic. The student with the most mustaches at the end of the game wins - But watch out for accidental shavings and get excited for quickly-growing mustaches!

 ~Fauxstaches: A set of 8 printable mustaches is included. Just cut them out, laminate, and attach to a stick (Popsicle or otherwise) and use during the game for added hilarity! (Trust me, it's much cuter on the kids but dang FERPA won't let me show you their adorable mustache-clad photos)
You can grab this new material over at TeachersPayTeachers...

But, I'll be giving away a copy to my blog followers (see Rafflecopter below) as well as on my Facebook page.  Enter both and the best of luck to you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Facebook, Thank You, and FREEBIE: Speechopoly

It's been a busy month for me, and I'm sure you're all feeling the crunch of being over halfway through the first semester!  I wanted to take a minute to break away from the pile of eval paperwork on my desk to send a little bloggin' love your way:

Facebook: A HUGE shout-out to my new (and long-time) Facebook followers.  Social media has really changed our field in recent years and I believe it has been in a positive way.  Never before have SLPs been in such constant contact with others, sharing INCREDIBLE materials, and rejuvenating our field in amazing ways.  Facebook is one of those social media outlets.  We had a goal to have over 500 "Likes" on Facebook by the end of October and I'm so excited to say that we have FAR surpassed that goal.  As of this morning, we were at 693 likes and growing!  This is going to be such a quick and easy way for you to keep track of new blog posts, freebies, giveaways, and so much more!  If you aren't already a fan, head over (click here) and "Like" us on Facebook!  We will have exclusive giveaways there frequently so you don't want to miss out!

Thank You: A huge thank you to my fellow SLPeeps, particularly Jenna at Speech Room News for helping meet the above goal!  Keep up the great blogging and amazing resources!

Freebie: Now, on to what you've been waiting for... The thank you to our increased number of followers is a freebie... Speechopoly.  This is an incentive bulletin board I developed and have been using this quarter.  It is a huge hit with my kids of EVERY grade!  It is made to fit a 45" by 45" bulletin board.  I took pictures of my students doing various poses, printed them as 2" high pawns, cut them out and laminated them and stuck a thumbtack through.  Now they each have their own tiny version of themselves to move around the board.  

This is how we do it:
At the end of our session I decide if they gave me their "best" effort or a "good" effort.  If "best", they get to roll both dice and move.  If only "good", they can roll one die.  Then I help them move their pawn person around the board.  I tell them what they've landed on and oftentimes what that means (e.g. Contrast Court - contrast is when you say what is different about objects, people, places, etc.).  There are chance and community chest cards as well with various rewards and consequences on them.  As the students pass "GO" they get $10 Speechopoly money to spend or save.  If they choose to spend it, they can purchase varying items from our "Speech Store" (basically a treasure chest).  If they save their money, I keep it in an index card box with their name attached.  They can save up for larger rewards like lunch with me and bigger prizes.  I also afford an extra roll to students who bring their homework back to me.

The bonus is that if you print the PDF out as 4 pages per sheet (File->Print, Page Scaling: Multiple Pages per sheet, Pages per sheet: 2x2) it will print out to be approximately the same size as the tabletop board game and you can use it as a board game reinforcer within therapy sessions!  I'll post a photo of this when I'm finished with it.

Click Here to get the freebie from my TeachersPayTeachers store, and check out the other materials while you're there!

I hope you enjoy Speechopoly.  Please share how you use it in YOUR speech room!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Spooky Speech

It's October and that means that our little Bats and Ghouls are 1/4 of the way through their year with us!  It's also progress notes/conference time here in Kansas City.  On top of all of that, I have a suspicion that the sugar rush has already begun 2 weeks prior to Halloween.  So... I created some spooky speech activities to give me a break from planning RtI/speech sessions during conference week!  I hope this material is helpful to you as well... 

Spooky Speech is a Halloween Articulation Word List and Activities document.  Included in the document:
  • Word lists for R, S, Z, L, Sh, Ch, J, F, V, T, D, K, and G - other sounds just didn't have enough words for a whole list but you can use other word lists with the other activities included.  
  • Spooky Speech Spell - have students use words from their lists to write a "spell" and practice saying it for carry-over practice.  We like to make our spells silly or for "never-ending candy" which has been a popular choice.
  • Potent Potion - A MadLib style page where students use words from their lists to fill in blanks to a potion in their cauldron.  We like to stand up and pretend to follow our own recipes in an invisible cauldron.  Laughing wickidly always adds to the fun.
  • Halloween Scream Scene - Students draw a scene which includes words from their list.  I then have them tell me about their scene using good speech sounds.
  • "Boo"go - Bingo board template that can be filled out using any sound(s).  The Free Space is now a "Fright Space" but all other rules stand!

We've had a good time playing around with these activities this week.  Here is your halloween "treat" from me to all of you lovely blog followers:
Click Here for the free Spooky Speech download (Expired 10/21/2012) - EXTENDED FOR MY NEW FACEBOOK FANS UNTIL 10/24/12 HERE

Also, you can always fly your broom over to my TpT Store and purchase the resource!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Invasion of the Laicos: Social Aliens

I don't know about you, but finding social skills materials that are affordable, age-appropriate, and fun is SOOOOO difficult!  This is a material that I developed with some of my students in mind who all have various social goals.  Some students have difficulty in identifying the problem when given a situation.  Others work to provide appropriate solutions.  My older students have the routine answers down but struggle when it comes to conversing with others to solve a problem and come to a common decision that maintains their friendship long-term.  So I've enlisted the help of the Laicos (social spelled backwards... I'm clever like that!) Aliens.  

The premise is that these Laicos have come to Earth and are trying to fit in.  Students work at Level 1 or 2 to identify problems, provide solutions, rationalize solutions, provide wrong solutions, and act out the situation and solutions (for older students).  Students work to collect the Laicos by answering the target social questions... with a few planet, mothership, and enemy cards in the mix.

(For my blog readers, it was free this week to download and use, but has now expired.) 

After that time, or if you can chip in a few dollars, it can be purchased at my TpT store (click here). I ask that you only use it for your speech room and refer others to the store to download it.

Thanks and let me know how it works for you!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Great Free Apps for SLPs

I've had a few co-workers and followers ask for free/cheap apps that I use regularly.  As of today, the following are free:

This app allows you to choose any phoneme, location, and blends/etc. to do.  You can record the child's voice and play it back now or LATER!  It keeps the percentage for you over multiple sessions, keeps track of which words were correct/incorrect.  The only way to work on multiple sounds would be to "star" them when going through the flashcards or in "shuffle" mode.  The great thing about "star"ing words would be that you can "star" words that the student had difficulty with and go back to do them again.  I did notice a few minor spelling errors and words that have the particular letter but not the artic sound you are looking for (e.g. an /s/ in the /sh/ blend instead of alone).  Overall a great app...

The biggest controversy in speech sessions often occurs BEFORE we begin our activity.  The decision of "who goes first".  This little app is simple and useful.  Simply have each student place and hold a finger on the screen.  The Selector then spins around and lands on one finger.  That person is "chosen".  They LOVE this too and often ask to do it multiple times even after a person has been chosen to begin.

WDNB is a fun way to build vocabulary and classification skills. For each question, your student will see five pictures appear on the screen, one of which does not fit with the others. The child advances to the next question by dragging the picture that does not belong into the trash can in the lower left corner.  Before dragging it to the trash can, expand by asking them to identify WHY the picture does not belong and WHAT the other pictures have in common.

 “Story Wheel” is an educational game that improves cognitive abilities. Players record a story by spinning the wheel to get a picture, and then narrate a portion of the story. When done, you can listen to your story with animated pictures.  This is great for sequencing, memory, story-telling, and vocabulary in a sentence.  It is useful for all ages.  Sometimes we decide on a setting, characters, and genre/tone before beginning.  We also sometimes choose their favorite story of the session to e-mail to their teachers!

The Out Fit 7 Ltd. "Talking" Apps

I use these for reinforcement, articulation (they repeat everything you say), fluency, etc.

A simple to use timer in the form of a traffic light. Set whether you want it to run red-amber-green or green-amber-red, set the times in minutes and seconds and then off it goes! A bell chimes as each light changes.  Awesome for use with students with ASD and those who have difficulty focusing during sessions for a long period of time.

Toontastic: Play, Create, Learn! by Launchpad Toys
Toontastic is a storytelling and creative learning tool that enables kids to draw, animate, and share their own cartoons. Making cartoons with Toontastic is as easy as putting on a puppet show - simply press the record button, move your characters onscreen, and tell your story. Toontastic records your animation and voice as a cartoon video.  This is another great app for sentence-level vocabulary, story-telling, expansion, grammar, etc.  The kids LOVE creating different characters, devising stories, and animating.  Play with it a little yourself before using so you are familiar with how to best use it.
 ABA Animal Flash Cards: Contains images of over 100 animals. With early language development in mind, there is textual and audio description so your student can begin to develop and comprehend further language concepts.
 ABA Food Flash Cards: A collection of over 100 every day foods. Basic audio and textual descriptions of each image. included.  Use it to “describe” foods, categories, etc. 
ABA Receptive Identification by Noun: Helps children comprehend simple instructions and practice effective listening skills.  With over 300 images your student will be asked with mixed and varied phrases to identify common everyday objects and people. When your student responds appropriately they are highly reinforced with verbal praise and random visual praise.
  ABA Receptive Identification by Class: Includes over 350 concrete photos presented against a non-distracting white background.  A new expressive language Q&A component to this app has been added.  The student is asked to receptively identify an item by class then asked to (intraverbally) name additional items within that same class.
ABA Which Go Together?:  An  introduction to associations that helps students develop visual discrimination skills as well as basic understanding of different objects and events.  They added a simple Q&A to the app for children to practice expressing “why” things go together.
 ABA What Rhymes?:  Rhyming is a basic component of phonics and very important pre-reading skill that prepares young children for spelling and decoding words.  Teaching rhyming words sets a solid base for reading comprehension later on.

Bluster! by McGraw-Hill
This is a great word matching game that develops vocabulary and word understanding for school-aged children.  In single-player mode you will learn and practice important word skills. Match rhyming words, prefixes and suffixes, synonyms, homophones, adjectives, and more. You can also choose to collaborate with a friend in team mode. The multi-touch iPad screen allows both players to play simultaneously, so you can work together to weather the vocabulary storm.

Our favorite is versus mode where they can play head-to-head. Disrupt your opponent with weather attacks like tornadoes and blizzards!  Bluster includes over 800 vocabulary words. Choose a skill to practice and then students try to make matches of three. Ten matches wins a round.
 Other freebies that I have but did not (yet) elaborate on are: MadLibs, ArtikPix, Quick Artic, BrainPOP/BrainPOP Jr., TxTools, SocialSkillsBuilder, ABA Emotions, SparkleFish, StoryLines for School, WH Questions, Hungry Hippos, Snakes and Ladders, 4 in a Row, Draw Animals/Monsters/Santa (When it goes free), Pinterest (to access boards with photos set up by other SLPs).

Please leave a comment about any others that are free that you use regularly and what for!  I'd love to get a more comprehensive list for our SLPeeps!