Tuesday, October 30, 2012

iPad Tricks and Treats

Here are a few tricks and treats for your iPad. Some are new and some are not. These were all tried with my iPad2 which was updated with the iOS6 operating program.

1. New with iOS6, you can now attach a photo to an email while composing a message. To do this, tap in the body of the email message and a menu will appear. Tap on Insert Photo or Video and you will be taken to the Photo App to choose a photo or photos. 

2. You can take pictures using the Volume-Up button on the side of your iPad rather than the on-screen camera button which can sometimes be a little awkward. 

3. Multitasking Gestures allows the use of  four and five finger gestures to close an app or switch between apps. Many users find this method extremely convenient; however, children who may use more fingers, will be easily frustrated when they leave apps unintentionally. I suggest turning this off if using the iPad with your students. To turn this feature on or off, go to SettingsGeneral and turn off (or onMultitasking Gestures

4. Replace "Sent from my iPad" with a personalized signature. Go to Settings, Mail, Contacts, Calendars and tap SignatureClear the Signature "Sent from my iPad" and replace it with the desired signature. 

5. If you work in a classroom or share an office, you should turn off your e-mail alert chimes to minimize distractions. To turn off the alert chimes, go to Settings, SoundsNew Mail and change the Alert Tone to None.   

6. While in Sounds in the Settings app, you may also want to turn off those Keyboard Clicks

7. If you would like a larger font size (20 or more) in your Mail, Notes app, and Contacts then go to Settings, General, and Accessibility. Tap Large Text and choose the font size from the options. Tap on the Home button to save the change. 

To change the font size in other apps, you will need to change the size within each app’s settings. 

8. To type a smiley or emoji character, tap the "International" key on the keyboard to add any number of emoji characters. However, before you can do this, it must be enabled. Go to SettingsGeneralKeyboardInternational Keyboards, and Add New Keyboard. Select Emoji

9. If your iPad apps freeze or the iPad won’t respond (the screen remains black), you can try a hard reset to reboot the system. Press and hold down the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time until the system turns off. Turn the system back on by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button until the Apple logo appears.

This is especially important to know if you are using Guided Access as it has reportedly had some issues freezing the iPad. A hard reset, will be necessary if  the iPad freezes.

10.  If you haven’t used Guided Access, check out How toUse and Set up Guided Access on iOS 6.0  at ASHAsphere. With Guided Access you can lock students into the app of your choice, draw a shape over an area that you want to disable, and turn off motion and touch as needed.  


© 2012

Some Clipart from Clipartheaven.com

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Black Cat, White Moon

The board book, Black Cat, White Moon by Nina Alexander 
is a wonderful book to use during language groups in early childhood special education classrooms. It has very simple language and pictures for children with limited expressive language skills; however, the actions in the pictures allow for more complex questions and making simple inferences for children with higher language abilities. 

Black Cat, White Moon
 appears to be out of print, but a used book can easily be found, on-line, for only a few dollars - less than $5.00 combined with shipping. 

Download these visuals/pull-offs, to use while reading the book, at BoardmakerShare.com.  


© 2012

The Picture Communication Symbols ©1981–2011 by Mayer-Johnson LLC. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Used with permission.
Boardmaker® is a trademark of Mayer-Johnson LLC.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Speech Homework: 25 Alternatives to Speech Folders

When I first started my career as an SLP in the late 1970s, speech homework was a routine, but unsuccessful part of my therapy. Most of my caseload of 75 students were working on articulation goals.  I had an accordion file with worksheets labeled by phoneme and at the end of each session, a worksheet was added to each student's folder. Only a handful of students regularly returned the folders and even less actually practiced the activities. 

Fast-forward to 1990 (and the next 20 years) and my caseload consisted of students in special education programs needing much intervention in the area of language. Worksheets would not suffice.  Below, I have described 25 speech homework activities to use with students in early childhood and elementary grades. I have used many of these activities, but have also posted some new ideas that might easily work - none involve speech folders.  Scroll down to see my thoughts on packaging and returning homework. 

From Heard in Speech
1. For my Early Childhood Special Education classes, I sent home newsletters telling about current speech and language activities and providing suggestions for home practice. A similar idea, language at home, developed by Kristen at Heard in Speech, is a fabulous way to provide at home language enrichment activities for young students. 

2. Presentation counts!! I found some cute Articulation Boxes at Speech Gadget - these would be easy to use as speech homework. 

3. Legos - When my son out-grew his Legos, as all other toys, they were mine for therapy. Package some Legos in a small Ziploc  Instruct the child to build something with the Legos and bring it back to tell you about it. Great for the /l/ sound (Lego, blue, and yellow), articulation carry-over, and good for a number of language goals. 

4. Send home some old sequence cards or print some new ones.  The child can put them in order and tell someone about the sequence.  There are numerous sets of sequence cards at Make Learning Fun (search "sequence cards"). I saw cards for literature selections such as Go Away Big Green Monster, The Very Quiet Cricket, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Cookie's Week and many, many more. Find science related sequence cards such as Phases of the Moon and Sunflower Life Cycle. Others included hand washing, shoe tying, and nursery rhymes. 

5. Let a student take a doll, stuffed animal, or plastic figure home for night. When it is returned, ask questions such as "Where did he sleep?" "What did he eat?" "Did he like his dinner?" "What toys did he play with?" 

6. One of my students loved wearing a big sticker with "Ask me to say ______." written on the sticker.  By the time he walked from the speech room to his first grade classroom, he had the opportunity to say that word or phrase at least five or six times.  If the sticker made it home, even more opportunities. 

7. Books
  • Highlight target sounds in an old book.
  • Send home a mini-book with pictures of target vocabulary (make this with PowerPoint). 
  • For families with Internet, suggest reading a book on-line. We Give Books, Kizclub, and Lil' Fingers are three of many sites with books and stories. 
  • Send home a "book in a bag" complete with question cards or story props.  

8. Find great articulation board games at Adventures in Speech Pathology. Send home the game, buttons for game pieces, and a die. 

9. Monthiers posted by Speech Lady Liz.

10.  Speech Practice in a Box, Motivating Homework for Speech Practice. Posted by Deborah Adamczyk at Speaking of Speech.com (scroll down the page to find this). 

11. Send home articulation pictures or other activities along with a puppet. The puppet should practice the homework.  

12. For very busy parents, try the speech and language car activities found at North Shore Pediatric Therapy. 

13. Find File Folder Games at File Folder Farm.com and Ms. Arnold's First Grade Class

14. Memory, Snap, and Hide and Seek are a few of the many ways to make multisyllabic word practice fun at Play Talk Learn. These games could be adapted for so many goals.   

15. Keep a journal. Write a note (or add a pre-printed note) as to what the student should do for home practice. Examples of tasks could be counting to 25 using good sounds, repeating a target word five times, finding six soft things, five big things, or finding four things that begin with a particular phoneme. You can ask students to tell about a picture, put attached pictures in order, or draw a picture and tell about it. This is also a great way to communicate with parents - a simple note such as, Emma put three words together to say "cat in box" today., is very much appreciated by parents.

16. Use the wonderful activity calendars at Preschool Express for toddlers and preschool students.  

17.  For parents with Internet access, suggest web links for stories, language games, and articulation practice. Check out my web page with links sorted by category.  Or, if a parent has a tablet, suggest free apps. 

18. Again, for families with Internet access, Teacher Tube and YouTube have some great videos. I searched for "speech therapy" and came up with many good ideas.  My favorite was Doug the Dog Teaches About the Preposition "In" 

19 .  There are a variety of "flip" games on Pinterest. Find Pancake Flip at Speech Room News or download my version using eggs. Cut-out the eggs, glue vocabulary or articulation pictures on the blank sides, and laminate. Put the eggs face down on a table and as the child says the target words, he or she flips the eggs with a spatula.  Package a small dollar store spatula, the eggs, and instructions in a large envelope or Ziploc. 

21. Print and send home a craft activity from Kizclub. Don't forget to send home items needed such as a glue stick or brads. Include instructions for verbal interactions. 

20. Turn old games or toys into activities to send home. How cool would it be to bring a fun toy home for the weekend? 

22 Take a picture of the child doing something in therapy. Print the picture and send it home with instructions such as, "Ask your child to tell you _________ ."  

23. Try craft stick activities. Find Silly Speech Sound Sticks and Artic Sticks at Sublime Speech or use the French Fry Articulation from Speech Room News.  

24 Articulation /Vocabulary  tubs - Put 5 or 10 small objects and/or laminated pictures into a tub representing the child's target sound or vocabulary words.

25. Laminate a Parking Lot Game and send it home with one or more vehicles to practice a variety of speech and language activities. 

Packaging Makes a Difference

The package can make your speech homework a little more appealing.  Use old gift bags, tins, and interesting boxes. Old articulation cards on a ring or ribbon might get more results than a worksheet. Always add instructions such as "Please read this to your child and practice the highlighted words." "Ask your child to say these words using a good "s" sound." or "Ask your child to answer questions such as .......... as you read this book." AND, "Please return." or "You may keep this book."

Returning Homework

Early in my career,  I asked parents to sign homework, but as my experience grew and I changed my homework methods, I didn't see the need. If the students were motivated by the activity, I knew that it would be used in some form. The students also knew that when one "cool" activity was returned, they would receive another.  I can only recall losing one item (a book) during my 20+  years without folders.  

What do YOU use for speech homework?


© 2012

Some graphics from Discovery Education Clip Art Gallery

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Keeping Track of Blogs!

I am a big fan of the Internet for resources. A few years ago, I found a few SLP blogs and liked what I saw. Then a few more and a few more and then I found Pinterest and a lot more blogs. Soon, my inbox was full every morning and I couldn't seem to catch up.  I tried keeping track of a few blogs through Facebook, but my friends and family were lost in the maze. 

Then, I read about Google Reader on Sean Sweeney's blog, Speech Techie and saw that he bundles 60+ blogs written by SLPs. Using Google Reader, I could subscribe to all 60+ blogs at one time and then add other blogs that I follow.  I love using Google Reader! Not only are my blogs all in one place, but each type has a separate folder (SLP blogs, home blogs, and family history blogs). I subscribe to over 100 blogs, but read less than 10 posts each day. Remember most bloggers don't post daily and some don't even post weekly. I look at my blogs from the most recent postings and choose the ones that interest me. If I'm having lunch at my desk, my Google Reader is a nice break from e-mail and projects. 

Google Reader is an RSS Feed, but is not the only RSS Feed. To read about Google Reader and other RRS feed readers and the benefits of using RRS feed readers, visit What Is RSS? RSS Explained

Visit Speech Techie to watch a video to show you how to subscribe and use Google Reader.  He tells you how to subscribe, manage settings, use keyboard shortcuts, and much more.  

FYI - Once you have subscribed to an RSS feed reader, you can also read your blogs on readers designed for tablets.  On my iPad, I read my blogs on Feedler.  Try the free version, before going to the paid version. I tried several free feed reader apps before choosing Feedler. 

Please comment below if you have found a really good way to keep track of your blogs. 


© 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns, A Free Download

Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns, A PowerPoint Book. Download here!

Here is another activity made with Microsoft PowerPoint. It was made quickly and easily with clip-art from Microsoft Office. Use while expanding sentences, practicing plurals, and for a variety of articulation objectives. 

Print and bind to use as a full sized book, print as a handout to make mini-books, use it on your whiteboard, or save it as an e-book. 


© 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Describing Gourds

Describing gourds was always a fun fall activity with my younger students. In addition to color words, textures such as smooth, bumpy or rough can be introduced. Talk about those with stripes and those gourds that don't have stripes. It was very exciting when my students showed that they could use multiple characteristics to describe the gourds. 

I usually used a voice output device such as a TechTalk or a CheapTalk for visual support and auditory cues with this activity. I made the overlay below and it is posted on BoardmakerOnline.com.  If you don't have a voice output device, cut the buttons to make a choice board and your less verbal students can pull-off the characteristics that they want to use to describe the gourds. 

Describing Gourds at BoardmakerOnline.com


© 2012

The Picture Communication Symbols ©1981–2011 by Mayer-Johnson LLC. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Used with permission.
Boardmaker® is a trademark of Mayer-Johnson LLC.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What do you want to be?

With practice, you can make simple books for your whiteboard, computer, or iPad with Microsoft PowerPoint in less than 30 minutes. I made this one in 15 minutes with great photos and other clip art, all from Microsoft. Use this PowerPoint, What do you want to be?, when teaching he and she. 



© 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Spatial Concepts

The children choose a card, tell where they will put the pumpkin, and put it in the pictured place. OR, "hide" the pumpkins in the pictured areas. Let the child find the pumpkin and using the picture for support, tell where the pumpkin was found. 

I reused this activity several times a year. The pumpkin could be an apple, a baseball mitt, or a shamrock. 

You must have Boardmaker to download this activity from BoardmakerOnline.com

If you don't have Boardmaker, take pictures of a small pumpkin in various places in the room for the same results.


© 2012

The Picture Communication Symbols ©1981–2011 by Mayer-Johnson LLC. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Used with permission.
Boardmaker® is a trademark of Mayer-Johnson LLC.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Tutorial: Crop to Shape

In Microsoft PowerPoint, Crop to Shape allows you to crop an image to just about any shape.  In my last post, I cropped faces in photos to circles using the Crop to Shape tool and added them to my PowerPoint book, Who Scared the Crows?

Copy a photograph or other graphic and paste it to a PowerPoint slide. Now follow the directions below. 

1. Select the picture and click on Picture Tools. 

2. Click on Crop to Shape and choose your shape (I chose the circle).

3. My demonstration picture is now oval shaped so I need to click on Crop to see the crop handles. 

4. Move the crop handles until you have the desired shape and picture. Click on Crop in the drop-down menu. 

5. Add your picture to the PowerPoint and re-size as needed. 

To quickly add many pictures to a PowerPoint before you begin cropping, see my post about PowerPoint's Photo Album Feature


© 2012

Who Scared the Crows? - Customize Your Story

My students loved to see their pictures in my PowerPoint books.  You can add your pictures to Who Scared the Crows? by simply cropping photos as circles and adding them to this ready-made for you PowerPoint. 

Use this PowerPoint book to teach he and she, answer who questions, name classmates, practice articulation (s-blends, r-blends, s, r), regular past tense verbs, and plural -s. 


© 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Fall Book - A Free Download

This was the first of many PowerPoint books that I made for my students several years ago. I sent this home on a CD. Most computers have PowerPoint Viewer so you don't need MSOffice to run it. For those without a computer, I sent the book home in printed form.  

Click to download My Fall Book

Don't forget that those with iPads can convert a PowerPoint to a pdf and view it in book form in iBooks. 


© 2012