Sunday, July 31, 2016

What's In Your Cart Link-Up

The big Back to School TpT Sale is just about here, and I am SO excited! I love getting to stock up on great materials from my other blogger friends to kick-start the new year! I'm linking up with Jenna at Speech Room News to share some materials from both my store, and materials from others' TpT stores that I have either purchased in the past and love, or ones that I plan to purchase this upcoming sale!

From my store...

1- All About Me/Back to School Dot & Dough:
Get your first week of baseline data using these fun playdough and dot marker pages that your students will LOVE! If you use 3-ring page protectors rather than laminating, this pack is essentially no-prep (other than sliding pages into the page protectors!)- even better!

You can target vocabulary, object functions, WH questions, categories, pronouns, -ing verbs, and basic concepts with these pages, as well as open-ended pages for targeting other goals. 

2.  Woof! A dog-themed unit

Pictured: Category sorting, open-ended playdough page, and Cariboo spatial concepts

This unit has helped me through a jam with super shy kiddos more than once-- I was able to get those kiddos to warm up and feel comfortable talking to me during evaluations much more quickly with puppies, because who doesn't love puppies, #amiright?! Ha.

With this unit, you'll have activities to target SO MANY goals- receptive/expressive category sorting, pronouns/'be' verbs/-ing verbs with dogs doing different actions, spatial/qualitative/quantitative basic concepts with graphing pages and adorable Cariboo cards, interactive WH question books, and dot marker pages to target WH questions about dogs!  There are even several open-ended activities to use with any goal.

My own two dogs, Molly and Bruce, approve of this unit, and the interactive books based on them (and how do you disagree with two sweet faces like those?! ;-))

From my other blogger friends' TpT stores!

These look SO cute, and I am all about making my organizational materials look pretty! It helps keep me motivated to be organized if I can be organized with #alltheprettythings

I haven't purchased any of these yet, but plan on it this go around.  I love the unique-ness of her interactive books, and that you can target a variety of goals with the books.

I own the "what" and "where" books, and plan to pick up the "who" book, as well! These are great for teaching the concept of those tricky WH questions, and I love that I can target pronouns, 'be' verbs, and action words with the "what doing" book to meet the needs of other kids on my caseload, as well.

Never have I ever used an interactive book so frequently as I have this summer with my new caseload :) Music is the way to many of their hearts, so we've done quite a few renditions of Wheels on the Bus.  I've been able to target some core vocabulary with AAC devices by having something tangible paired with the song, too!

This. Is. Amazing.  I can't even tell you how much use I've gotten out of this.  There are enough icons in here to be able to put together a PECS book, and I love the core/fringe vocabulary file folder sets.  You'll also get visuals for some different "snacktivities" along with visual schedules, a couple social stories, and "I am working for" templates.  If you have kiddos with Autism on your caseload, you NEED this!

What are you looking forward to purchasing this sale? Click the image below to find others who have linked up to Speech Room News to share what they are purchasing this sale!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cariboo: The game that keeps on giving!

I'm sure if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, or have ventured to my TpT store, you know that I love Cariboo (I even made a new, additional vocabulary set this summer!).  I previously wrote a post on how I use Cariboo cards and also how I store my different card sets.  Cariboo was always my go-to game with my preschool population at my school job, but I left my school job and started a new job this summer where my caseload has been all Autism, at a Center that provides services for ages birth-6 years, in a classroom/outpatient therapy combo model.  The kiddos I'm seeing and the service delivery model are pretty different from what I was used to at my school job so I've had to change up my therapy a bit!

However, Cariboo is still one of my go-to activities. It's the game that just keeps on giving to me :) So, in this post, I wanted to share how I've been using it with my new caseload!

1.  Speech Generating Devices
I've been trialing the iPad as a communication device for 2 of my kids, and one of them LOVES Cariboo.  With his device, we've been able to use core words such as "I" "you" "go" "want" "in" "out" "turn" "more" and "finished"/"all done."  I've also been modeling two word utterances on the device; for example, the Cariboo balls "go+in,"  we "take+out," "put+in," "I+go" "you+go" "want+turn" etc...

One day, I didn't have Cariboo out, but the day before, we had been practicing "I go" "you go" and "want."  My little guy looked around and spotted Cariboo on the back counter, then used his device to say "want" "go" "want" "go" "want" "go" and then looked at me.  I said, "Oh, we practiced those words yesterday when we played Cariboo-- is that what you want to play?" and he nodded his head yes! #proudSLPmoment

2.  Picture exchange 
A couple of my kiddos are using a picture exchange system to communicate, and using an icon of the Cariboo key is a way we can practice requesting an object while playing this game.

3.  Verbs
One of my more verbal kiddos is working on using 2-3 word verb phrases, so we've been working on verbs that are more core-word based, like "put" "take" "go" "see" "want" "turn" and "open" (ie "put in" "put ball in" "take out" "take ball out" "I go" "you go" "see ball" "I see ball" "my turn" "open box" "I want").

In a few weeks, we're going to start working on labeling verbs, as well, and my new add-on set for Cariboo includes 90 different verb cards that we'll be able to mix and match as needed! This one below is from the camping-themed verbs set.

4.  Social Communication

One of my kiddos is verbal, but isn't yet using language spontaneously (and consistently) for purposes other than protesting, requesting, or labeling.  We're working on making comments to others and acknowledging others' comments, and a turn-taking game like Cariboo is perfect! We've been working on making comments like, "Look!" "I got one!" "I found it!" "It's a (color) ball" "It's my turn" "It's your turn" "Good job"  "You got one!"  etc...  (For the freebie communication board seen in this picture, check out this post from Speech Room News)

Do you love Cariboo as much as I do? What's your favorite way to use the game?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Teddy Talker: A Review

I had the pleasure of meeting Linda Siciliano, the author of Creative Speech Products and creator of the Teddy Talker toolkit, at the ASHA convention last November.  Linda is one of the nicest people I've spoken to, and she was gracious enough to send me a Teddy Talker starter kit to review! I was super excited about it, not only because it seemed perfect for preschool with the teddy and all of the visuals that my little guys often needed, but because she was so passionate about her product, as well!

The Teddy Talker foundational kit comes with an instructional booklet that gives you a quick introduction of the kit, and also gives a step-by-step example of how to introduce and use Teddy Talker.  

It starts with...
1.  Introducing the letter/sound relationship
2.  Articulating the sound
3.  Describing the movement of the sound (The example they gave for /s/ was "Let's teach Teddy to smile as air tickles down his tongue")
4.  The adult modeling the "construction" of the articulators using the felt pieces (first using the pieces and making the sound in the air, and then secondly placing them on Teddy's mouth on the board while making the sound again)
5.  Guiding the child to teach Teddy him/herself
6.  Letting the child teach Teddy him/herself
7.  Review the letter-sound relationship
8.  Give concrete feedback (ie describing what the child did to help Teddy learn his sound)

The kit comes with the following materials: Teddy Talker board, puppet tongue, felt mouth pieces, cues, speech bubbles, letters, carrying tote, and instructional manual.

Mouth Pieces:
Visual cues are helpful for everyone, but especially our kiddos with delays.  Teddy Talker comes with mouth visuals for every phoneme, and the instruction manual that comes with the kit includes a chart of which pieces are used for which sound(s).  You manipulate these to show the positioning of your lips and teeth for each phoneme, and have the child manipulate these on the Teddy board, too, to "teach" Teddy how to make the sounds.

Some of the pieces are whole pieces while some sounds are separate with top/bottom lips, as the tops and bottoms are used for several different sounds. I sometimes had a hard time remembering exactly which pieces were paired with each phoneme, without having the book on hand.  However, I just put scotch tape on the backs of the pieces, went through the chart, and wrote down all the phonemes that corresponded to each piece-- problem solved!

I also love the additional "breath" visual, as it helps distinguish between /p, b/ sounds vs /m/, for example, where the lip positions are the same for all 3 sounds.


Oh how I love bowties!

The green and red bowties are both fun AND functional visuals for the concept of voiced/voiceless sounds!  The green represents voiced consonants, while red represents turning your voice "off" to produce a voiceless consonant.

I've had several kids on my caseload over the years who couldn't produce voiceless consonants like /p, t, k/, but could produce the voiced cognates of these sounds.  When this is the case, I typically would have them first start with the voiced cognate, and then tell them to turn their voice off and whisper it, so that they would produce the voiceless phoneme.  I love having the red/green visuals of the bowtie right at the throat area as a visual of what you're supposed to do with your voice. Great visual for a sometimes tricky concept!

The preschool teachers at the school I worked at always did a great job of giving the kids a lot of exposure to letters and letter sounds.  With the links between speech sound disorders and potential early literacy delays, having a visual of the corresponding grapheme is great for additional exposure while you're teaching speech sounds! The kit comes with a speech bubble on which to place the phoneme you're teaching, and the speech bubble then goes on the Teddy Talker board.


Tongue Puppet:

While the felt pieces allow you to manipulate the lips/teeth combinations, the tongue puppet allows you to have a visual/kinesthetic cue of what the tongue does inside of the mouth for each phoneme. This component was really helpful at the preschool level for showing the difference between /k, g/ and /t,d/.

Mouth Position Rhyme Cards:

I just love these rhyme cards! The depictions of articulator placements are clear and easy to understand for both parent and child, while they're also visually appealing!


The front of the cards depict oral placement for the sound, paired with the grapheme, while the back has a short rhyme about the sound! These would be great for parents to use in a home practice program.  The digital version of the mouth pieces, rhyme cards, and grapheme cards are available on the Creative Speech Products website, too, which makes using these in a home program a piece of cake!

Applications to Therapy:
Whole Group: Although I didn't run any whole group times at my school, I definitely see Teddy Talker as a great tool to use if you are doing an in-class whole group literacy lesson! Most preschool classrooms have a "letter of the week" that they are teaching.  I envision starting the lesson by talking about that letter, the sound it makes, and using Teddy Talker as a visual while introducing those concepts and how to make the sound.  You could then read a sound-loaded storybook that focuses on that particular sound (Speech Sprouts and Speechy Musings both have lists to help you find some!).  I'd follow that up with a hands-on activity related to the book and letter/sound, and end with a quick review of the letter name and sound it makes using the Teddy Talker visuals!

Small Group:  If you are a school-based SLP fortunate enough to have a group of kiddos all working on the same sound(s), Teddy Talker is a great tool to use in your therapy sessions! I didn't use it as frequently with my groups of 3-4 preschoolers, because I only had 15 minutes with them and many times, my groups were mixed with kids working on different targets- I'd have one kiddo who was only working on /k, g/, another working on 2 syllable words from the Kaufman Kit, and another working on s-blends.

However, given additional time (like my 30 minute sessions with only 2 itinerant students at a time), Teddy Talker worked out great.  I just felt like when I only had 15 minutes (10 realistically, by the time I hit each classroom and got them out to the pod area and sitting down, and introduced what we were working on), with those very mixed groups, switching out pieces 3 times didn't feel like an efficient use of our brief time.  So, it's not something I could use all day with every group, but definitely a tool to utilize in parts throughout the day!

Centers/Stations/One-on-One:  If you have your groups set up as centers/stations around the room, where they rotate every x amount of minutes and one of those stations is one on one work with you, you could definitely use this kit even with different sounds, as you would only be potentially switching out the mouth pieces once each rotation, rather than every turn like in a traditional artic group.  

Final Thoughts:
With a caseload of 65+ and having mostly 15 minute sessions, realistically, I just couldn't follow every component--namely, guiding the child to teach Teddy and then letting the child teach Teddy him/herself.  When working with kids one on one like in private practice or clinic/outpatient setting, this component is a great teaching tool, though.  I've been using Teddy Talker with one of the kiddos I'm seeing for private therapy this summer and have had him "teaching" Teddy with the felt pieces, too!  He loves the hands-on learning involved in this portion! However, when I was using it at school, in order to maximize our time, I was the one who did most of the articulatory placements with the felt pieces (the exception being my itinerant kiddos who would come for 30 minute sessions). I still feel like my students benefited from the visuals this kit provided, though, even if most of them weren't manipulating the pieces themselves.

As a whole, though, I have LOVED using Teddy Talker! I love all of the visuals and the rhymes that go with them, and that it includes components that are really useful in home programs.  Especially at the preschool level, parents typically want to be really involved, so I really appreciate having cards available that provide parents with the same visuals and verbiage that is being used in therapy.  I think Teddy Talker would get the most use from private practice/clinic/outpatient therapists, but it definitely still has applications to school-based therapists, especially those doing whole group literacy lessons or those who have their therapy room set up as rotating centers!

You can find all of the Teddy Talker materials on the Creative Speech Products website, along with a video demonstrating use of Teddy here!

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