Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pragmatic Skills Series: Books that Promote Social Skills!

One strategy to teach social skills is to use storybooks.  I love to use stories to introduce skills, elicit conversation about social topics, or to model social skills.


Here are my top favorite books divided by topics:

Emotions/Feelings:



 Self-Image/Self-Esteem/Bullying/Kindness:



Friendship: 



Personal Space:




Point of View:



Social Thinking:



Social interaction with peers in a variety of age-appropriate situations:



This last book comes in various version for different age levels.  If you have not heard of Jed Baker, I definitely recommend checking him out.  A couple years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop where he was speaking.  It was an unbelievable experience.  It was a workshop for all professionals and parents that work with students with Autism.  He researches and promotes functional activities to teach student social skills.  His books uses real-life pictures and situations to expose students to all situations they may come across.  He uses a strategy/format, "right way" and "wrong way" to demonstrate the appropriate and inappropriate social behaviors.  I have used these books and this strategy with my social skills groups.  I like to read a chapter to introduce a social topic.  Then we can discuss, role play, and practice.  I have created a fun follow-up activity that continues to practice the "right way vs. wrong way" technique. 

Students can look at each picture and verbally express if it is right or wrong way to behave.  Can they explain their answers?  I have also created another fun follow-up activity for students to come up with what they think the people in the pictures would say in those situations.  I found these cute speech bubble cut outs at a teacher supply store.
I took several of them and laminated them.  That way students can write on them with dry erase markers.  By laminating them, they can be used over and over.  This allows students to create a dialogue for the pictures they see.  My students have fun writing sayings for the bad pictures too!  They think it is hysterical!  You can grab your freebie "right way vs. wrong way" pictures here!  The pictures were found using Google Images.  If you cannot find these cut outs, you can easily use a speech bubble image from google images, print and laminate as well.  But you are in luck, I have found some websites where you can purchase them!  Here they are: 


You can also create your own social stories to promote skills for individualized needs:
  • Dealing with divorce
  • How to introduce yourself
  • Switching schools
  • Playing with friends on the playground.
  • And for any other need necessary!!
There are many available social stories if you are having trouble coming up with your own.  You can find many at Speaking of Speech. 

I have created a cute short story that works well with my Pirate Pragmatic Pack! 
All you have to do is print, laminate and bind together!  You can read this story before using the "good pirate vs bad pirate" activity in the Pirate Pragmatic Pack.  I love using stories to introduce concepts!  You can access this download at my TpT store!


There are also TONS of apps that provide social stories for various needs.  One developer that has created TONS of social story apps is Touch Autism. 

They have provided me MANY codes to give away for their various social story apps!   They have been extremely generous and I hope you enjoy the chance to win one or more of these great social stories apps!  Visit their website to learn about their other apps!  They are all great for students working on social skills and could benefit from social stories, modeling, and practicing of appropriate social behavior.  Enter to win them below.  Click the links above each rafflecopter to learn more about the apps!!
Joke Telling Social Story and Speech Tool on How to Tell Jokes
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Turn Taker Sharing Tool and Social Story
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wait Timer Social Story and Visual Timer Tool
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Knock Knock Numbers - Joke Telling and Conversations Tool
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Conversation Social Stories and Simple PECS Communication Tool
a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Day With WH Words Social Story and Speech Tool
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Emotions and Feelings Autism Social Story
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Using My Words to Ask For What I Want Social Story
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Manners Social Story and Speech Tool
a Rafflecopter giveaway

As you can tell, I love to use stories and reading activities to introduce, practice, and discuss social situations and skills.  There are many other books and activities out there but I had to narrow it down!  Feel free to comment below with your favorite storybooks!  Do you know of one that I do not?!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

DIY with Paint Chips!

Do you like free like me??  I recently drove past a paint store and decided to go in and grab some free paint chip samples.  I knew I would find some uses for them!  I have some time before my school year starts so I figured I would create as I came up with the ideas!  I have some ideas to share and you can see how I brought one of them to life!

The paint chips came in tons of sizes and color schemes.  I took a variety to save myself a trip back there so quickly!  I realized right away, these will be great for sorting activities!  I used my Boardmaker and quickly assembled a sorting activity with school vocabulary and prepositions.  I was able to cover up all of the paint color names too!  My favorite is the sentence strip attached to the top.  This makes it easy to use, encourage expanded and complete utterances and can use this over and over with different themed vocabulary!
How else do I plan to use these strips?

  • Teaching sentence structure.  I will write (or type and glue onto) a part of a sentence in each slot.  Students must sort or develop on own words to create a complete sentence using the model and visual.
  • Describing: holding the strips vertically, write the different describing cues onto each slot.  Give students words to describe and they can hold their own describing visuals/manipulatives.
  • Color sorting fun
  • Following directions: take different images or objects.  Give students verbal directives such as "put the car on the blue."  You can write numbers or put shapes on each section to make the directions even more complicated!
  • Phoneme segmentation and blending activities.
  • And so much more!!
Have you used these paint chip strips in your therapy rooms?!  How so?!  Leave a comment and share!!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Basic Concepts Skills Screener ((App Review & GIVEAWAY!))

I was so excited when I was contacted by the developers, Smarty Ears about their new screener app.  I love apps like this because it provides great baseline data for RTI or IEP students with goals that correlate to the skills in the apps.  As you can tell by my TpT products, I love apps that provide me with information to where to start treatment and if students are responding.  I am so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to preview this app for you and to host a giveaway as well!!  Keep reading to learn more!  Remember, the opinions are all mine!

This app was developed for the purpose of evaluating and describing the basic concept skills of children at the receptive level.  Receptively, students must point/touch a picture based on a particular concept on each screen/probe.  Students are provided with audio prompts.  Each prompt provides 4  pictures for students to pick from.


When you first open up the app, you are provided with setting options for language preference:

Then, you can enter students into the app.  Are you on summer break?  You can input your students and their date of births in so all you have to do once you return is just use the app!  The app automatically calculates the chronological ages.  Since it is a screener app, you would use this app with one student at a time.

Once you decide which student you are going to use this app with, you can decide if you are going to do the "quick screening" or "full screening."

Receptively, students must point/touch a picture based on a particular concept on each screen/probe.  Students are provided with audio prompts.  Each prompt provides 4  pictures for students to pick from.


Some amazing features this app provides:


  • You can input notes while administering right on the app so all of your information is stored in one place

  • The app provides of a tally of questions remaining so you can see how much longer you have (and those impatient students can see for themselves)
  • The concepts used correlate to school readiness/common core
  • Can export to the Therapy Report Center
  • Automatic feedback is provided to keep students motivated and engaged.  Students are provided with this "sound" and "visual" feedback regardless if they get the answers right or wrong.  This way students don't get discouraged.
  • Can e-mail/print scores to keep in student files or save on a desktop
  • Can click "done" at any point if you run out of time or if too difficult/easy for students
  • You can also click "next" once you are ready.  The app doesn't move onto the next page after students respond.  This provides time for you to assess expressive language although the app does not assess for it.  I recommend using the "notes" feature in the top left corner for documenting expressive responses.
  • The app uses the Smarty Stick symbols.  These symbols can be found in the other Smarty Ear's apps so can be familiar to your students.  Also, if you have the Custom Boards app, you can easily create visuals and activities using concepts students responded incorrectly to.
Concepts targeted:
  • Prepositions/location
  • Size
  • Part/whole
  • Same/different
  • Emotions
  • Texture
  • Sequential
  • Temperature
  • Amount
  • Always/sometimes/never
  • Age

Once the assessment is completed, students are provided with reinforcement:
Here is a view of the results pages:



Visit iTunes!  Do you want to win a copy for yourself of this great $9.99 app?!  Enter to win below!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fall Graphic Organizers for SLPs!

You asked, I answered!  Many have contacted me to ask if I was making a graphic organizer pack for fall!  Here it is!!!  An entire file filled with graphic organizers with a fall theme!  Activities included to teach students how to use them, ready to go activities, and blank forms to use with your own activities!  Great for incorporating common core state standards in a speech session!

How to use it in your speech rooms?  You can just print pages based on your need when you need them.  Or you can print and entire pack and laminate (or use a binder with page protectors to make the pages dry erase!  This way you only need 1-5 copies based on group sizes and use them over and over!  No need to waste printer ink!

In this file:
-Basic Sequencing Chart

-Listening for Wh- Questions 

-Cause & Effect:  Either use the sample provided or the blank form to use with stories or own concepts

-Main Idea & Supporting Details:  Use the two samples provided to teach determining a main idea and details based on information provided.  A blank form is provided to use with own stories

-Key Story Elements

-Venn Diagram:  Sample compare/contrast for fall items/stories are provided and a blank for own use

-Compare/Contrast Matrix


-Vocabulary Frayer Square:  Sample pages provided and a blank for varied use as well

-Inference Chart:  Use to help identify and use schema and clues

-Fall Word Hunt:  Students can try to determine a fall word that starts with every letter of the alphabet.  Can be used as a game, vocabulary practice, or even articulation.

-Words That Describe Web:  Some sample pages are provided with fall nouns.  A blank form is provided as well for varied use.

-Author’s/Speaker’s Purpose

-Asking Questions During Reading Process: This will help encourage students to express questions  based on what they have read/heard and develop their own answers.

-Character Traits: Graphic organizer with a fall theme to use with any fall related story

-A Vocabulary LINCS table

-Multiple Meaning Words: for any word, students can write the 2 definitions, use in sentences, and draw pictures using word meanings!

You can access this HUGE fun-filled activity pack in my TpT store by clicking HERE!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

School of Multi-Step Directions! ((APP REVIEW))

Are you looking for more apps?!  Are you looking for apps that work on multi-step directions?? Are you bored of your "clap your hands" and "put the pencil on the cup" sort of activities?!  Keep reading about a BRAND NEW app from Virtual Speech Center!  I was honored when they contacted me with the opportunity to review this app!  I am so excited to share it with you!  Note, all thoughts and opinions are mine! :)

This app was created for students ages 5-12 but you can obviously adapt it to meet your needs for other age levels as well!  It was created for the purpose of improving auditory comprehension of multi-step directions in the academic context.  Yes! Academic context! Perfect for SLPs working in the school setting with students with speech and language weaknesses impacting academic performance! Justification?  Common core connections? Yes!  To make the connection even stronger, the app uses a school theme! So you can even work on school theme vocabulary at the same time!

The app includes over 1,000 recorded directions.  These directions are 2, 3, and 4 step of unrelated directions with different levels of difficulty.  

Stimuli include: pictures, letters, and written words with color, size, and temporal concepts.  This is great and easily correlates with CELF-4 results.

Here is a view of the settings you can adjust for this app.  I like that you can select whether or not to add background noise.  This great when working with students with difficulties filtering out background noise (always a factor in classrooms that can impact a student's ability to attend to messages, information, and directives.)

You can input your students into this app just like other Virtual Speech Center apps.  Just click "add student."  You are able to work with 5 students at a time!

After you select the students, you can select the "class" or theme.  There are three different "classes" or activities: english, math, and chemistry.

For each student, you can select the level and complexity of the directions that will be presented to them.

The app uses a cute cartoon that introduces the activity!  I like that students can request, or press independently to hear the directives again!

In the "english" activities:  students will be presented with probes based on the ones you selected for them.  As you can see on the bottom, there are pencils, X's, highlighters, and erasers.  Students will use these "objects" to follow directions with the words, letters, or pictures provided.  Students must hit the button "go" at the bottom to ring in their responses (again like the CELF-4 subtest).





In the "math" section, the app uses math concepts while working on multi-step directives.  I recommend only using this activity if your students have mastered these math concepts.  You want to make sure you are working on following directions and not math concepts.  It will help ensure what is  holding them back!  Again, this app has the pencil, X for crossing out, highlighter, and eraser.  Students again has to hit the "go" at the bottom.  See below the different activities at the different levels and complexities.




In the "chemistry" section, the app uses science vocabulary such as flask, ice cub, bowl, temperature, shake, soap, mix, salt, and coloring dye.  It is important that you review this vocabulary first and make sure they understand what is expected of them.



Some examples of directions provided since you clearly cannot listen to the directives from my images!

  • “Set the temperature to cold, shake the flask, and add water to the cup.”
  • “Underline the red letter A and erase the blue letter C.”
  • “If 10 is bigger than 9, highlight 4 and underline 6, if not, cross out 2 and touch 1.”


Students are rewarded with a fun game (reminded me of the game blocks.  They could not let the ball past the erasers).

Once you are done with the exercises or run out of time, you can always hit done.  You can even select to play the game right then and there if you wanted to reward your students at that time if they did not reach the rewards spot in the activity.

You can always hit the "reports" button from the main screen to view reports on your students progress.  You can view "by activity" or "by date" to see when you did what and how they did.  This will help plan follow-up activities with and without the iPad app.

Want to learn more about this $18.99 app and how you can purchase it to use with your students?
Visit Virtual Speech Center's Website by clicking HERE!

Visit iTunes by clicking HERE!

Show Me The Data! Linky Fun!

Jenn over at Crazy Speech World is hosting a new linky paty and I of course  had to join in on the fun!  This linky's theme is data!  

I find data collection is a love-hate relationship.  I HATE collecting it (rather be focusing on my lessons) but I love using it to help justify decisions and monitor progress in my students.  In the school setting, it can be hard to see obvious changes in progress with our students.  But with data, it is right there in front of ya!  

I have posted several blog posts with freebies in the past on ways I collect data.  View the links below to learn more about those methods that have worked for me:

Do you use iPad apps in your sessions?!  Are you familiar with Smarty Ear's Therapy Report Center?  It is an easy way to link up all of your Smarty Ears apps and collect data for all of your speech students! Click HERE to learn more!

For this data linky I wanted to do something different!  How about forms ready to go for collecting baseline testing?!  Since it is summer it is the perfect time to gather your baseline materials so you can use it once your schedules are set (or even while creating them!  Collecting baseline can help you make appropriate speech groups).

I created a packet of probes to collect data for receptive and expressive language.  

Using this packet:
-Prepositions: You will need a cup, table, chair, and two pencils.  Receptive: they must follow the directive.  Expressive: you complete the task and ask them the question to elicit the preposition underlined.

-Following directions: read the directions to the students to determine how many steps and how complex they can achieve.

-Answering Questions: Probe to see if students can respond to the various question forms.

-Which One Does Not Belong: read the 4 words to your students and they must express which one does not belong (not in category).

-Category naming: provide category and have student name 3 items in category to get credit.

-Synonym or Antonym?: Read the two words and students must determine if they mean the same/different or synonym/antonym to get credit.

-Syntax:  Use the probes to elicit the various syntactical structures.

-Auditory Memory: read the various pieces of information (lists, sentences, words) and students must repeat it verbatim to get credit.

-Multiple Meaning Words: students must express the 2 meanings of the word provided to get credit.

Listening for Main Idea: read the short passages and students must express the main idea in order to get credit.


-Expressing Sequences:  for each scenario provided, students must express the stories or steps in a correct sequence in order to get credit.
You can access this packet for collecting baseline data in my TpT store by clicking HERE!!

Don't forget to click the link at the top of this post to visit back to Crazy Speech World's linky party and see what other SLP bloggers are using for data collection!
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