=”robots” content=”noindex”> =”robots” content=”nofollow”> the peachie speechie: August 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Magazines in therapy! The "Highlight" of my day!

I really enjoy using newspapers and magazines to target inferencing, main idea, vocabulary, and listening comprehension goals for my older students. I know that you can download newspaper and magazine apps these days, but I really love actual magazines and newspapers.  I prefer to read the "old fashioned way". My lovely Aunt Nancy ordered my 5 year old son a subscription to Highlights magazine for Children. He receives the "High Five" version, geared toward 3-6 year olds. I love sitting down with him and reading the magazine together. We enjoy doing every puzzle, finding every hidden picture, and reading all of the cute stories. After my son has read it cover to cover, I save it to use in the speech room! This magazine really is a fantastic therapy tool!

Here are just a few of the ways I use Highlights in my sessions:

- Read the short stories and ask comprehension questions
- Select pictures for students to describe
- Using the Hidden Pictures section to work on vocabulary. I provide a starter sentence "I see a _________" and the student has to say the sentence as they find the picture. We can then discuss what the item is used for, etc.
- Comparing and contrasting - there is usually a section that has two pictures side by side and the students have to pick out what is different
- Find pictures in the magazine that contain a certain sound
- The "That's Silly" section of the magazine is great for reasoning skills. It gives the students an opportunity to explain why something is silly or why it does/doesn't belong in the scene.

Here are a couple more pictures of my son enjoying Highlights:

Another great subscription my son has is Ranger Rick Jr. The pictures are just fantastic and it is filled with fun animal facts. I have already swiped my son's September issue since I plan on doing a lot of squirrel-themed activities this fall! I love squirrels. And fall. And magazines.

I am thinking about using some of my school money to buy a subscription to another children's magazine. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Eliciting /k/ and /g/

When it comes to eliciting sounds that a child is not stimulable for, /k/ and /g/ can be tricky because they are hard to see. That said, I have had pretty good luck so far using the following techniques:

- Have the child cough 
- Have the child gargle water
- Using a mirror to increase awareness of tongue placement
- Have the child lay on their back 

By the way, if you are an SLP and you don't have Wayne Secord's Eliciting Sounds book then you might want to ask your school system to buy it for you. It is the one book from grad school that I still refer to and keep with me in my speech room. 

If the above mentioned techniques don't work, I usually pull out a tongue depressor or a lollipop. 

I know that Dum Dums are popular with a lot of SLPs because they are small and can easily fit in little mouths. They come in so many flavors that they are sure to appeal to most children and they are relatively inexpensive. They work well for eliciting /k, g/  and I love using them but the ingredient list is just awful! So, I thought I would give the Trader Joes Organic Pops a try. They are a bit bigger than Dum Dums and honestly I don't love the shape because they are sort of wide so I might end up going back to the Dum Dums. For now, I have these:

The tongue depressor is skinny enough to get behind the teeth and works better than the organic lollipops. You can see in this picture how I am able to get better tongue elevation in the back with the depressor vs. the organic pop. 

 I usually set up the therapy mirror on the table and after a few trials of me holding the tongue depressor/lollipop, I have the student try to hold it themselves while saying /k/ in isolation or syllables. I made some blank lollipop cards (part of my Sweet Speech for /k/ and /g/ FREEBIE) and I give them a card for every correct production as a reinforcer. Sometimes I put a stack of them in the middle and for every correct production they get a card and for every incorrect production I get one. At the end, we count them up together (easy way to take data!). I also made some initial /k/ and /g/ word cards that I use and send home for homework. 

Another method I have been using for eliciting /k/ and /g/ is the cereal trick. I got the idea from Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson. This book of hers has a little drawing and explanation in it that I show the kids as I introduce the trick. 

Have the student put a Cheerio (or organic version of Cheerios at Whole Foods/Trader Joes!) inside the bottom of the lower front teeth with the tip of their tongue resting in the hole of the Cheerio. Instruct them to open their mouth slightly (while keeping their tongue and Cheerio in place!) and say the /k/ sound. If they say /t/ instead of /k/, then they will drop the Cheerio! It was hard to capture a picture of this but it seems to be pretty effective for teaching tongue placement.

I am interested to hear what works best for other SLPs when it comes to eliciting /k/ and /g/! Also, if anyone finds organic lollipops that have the awesome Dum Dum shape - let me know!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Another great thrift shop find! This Whac-A-Mole game is a new addition to my collection and I just love it. Look at how cute these little moles are:

The only thing I don't adore about this game is the noise. It beeps and talks and lights up so it isn't the best when I am trying to hear the kids. But they were desperate to play it. Desperate to whack something. So, I printed out some free minimal pair cards from Activity Tailor& Whack-A-Word was created.

We played two different ways:

1- Auditory Discrimination Whack-A-Word: I placed two cards face-up on the table and said one of the words. The students used their mallets to whack the corresponding card.

2- Artic Practice Whack-A-Word: I placed all of the cards face up on the table in rows. The student went down the rows whacking the /r/ words as he said them.

Of course, the last few minutes of the session were devoted to playing the real game with all the lights and sounds and mole-whacking fun. I'd be interested to hear if other SLPs have this game in their collection and how they incorporate it into sessions. I can tell that it is going to be one of those that the kids are always begging to play!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The New Candy Land: More Sickening Than Sweet

I love Candy Land. I loved playing it as a child. I love playing it with my children. And I love using it in therapy with my students. It is colorful and engaging and motivating. I can use it with pretty much any learning target. The sweet characters and friendly game board always bring back fond memories.

I grew up playing this 1984 version:

By the time my first child was old enough to play it, a few changes had been made. This is the 2004 version I bought for my sons:

Plumpy (my favorite!) had been replaced with gingerbread, Gloppy had been turned from molasses into chocolate, and all of the characters had been given an updated look. My kids enjoy this version, but they often play the older one as well. I have the 1984 Candy Land in my speech room. I found it at a thrift shop.

When my students walk in and see Candy Land on the table, it is usually a Friday and they usually respond with  "YAAAAYY!".

While I was browsing the game aisle at Target at the beginning of this school year I was horrified to see that Candy Land has been given a terrible makeover. It doesn't even look like Candy Land. It is more of a sexed up Halloween costume version of Candy Land and certainly does not look appropriate for ages 3+ as the box boldly states.

In fact, the game pieces are not even kids in this version. Children unfortunate enough to play this new 2013 Candy Land can choose between a melting ice cream cone, a screaming gumdrop, a gingerbread girl, or a marshmallow with bloodshot eyes.

Since so many SLPs use Candy Land in their speech rooms, I thought I would write a post to point out the differences between this new game and the old one that we know and love.

The delightfully goofy Mr. Mint has been changed into an ice skating high schooler in an uncomfortably tight costume:

The game's villain, Lord Licorice got the least offensive makeover. He has kept his cape and creepy mustache, but apparently he is also a magician and a pirate now.

The pleasant, hug-able, Gramma Nutt has been turned into a scary bubble-blowing circus act.

The most disturbing changes have been made to the royal Candy Land family. Princess Lolly has been transformed from a sweet little girl into a very sexual, highly inappropriate, character complete with high heels, ultra-short skirt, a corset, and lollipop breasts. Yes. She has lollipop breasts. She does not have a nose, but she does have a facial tattoo. And wings. And did I mention she has lollipop breasts?!

Queen Frostine has been demoted to Princess and is just as trampy looking as new Lolly. Her teeny tiny waist, sky high heels, and gobs of sparkly blue makeup are hardly appropriate for ages 3+. 

Were you able to make it to the end of the game without getting sick? If so, you will be greeted not by the open arms and jolly smile of the pink bearded King Kandy, but by smirking king with a clenched fist and disapproving green jelly bean friends. 

Other notable changes to the 2013 Candy Land:

- No Cards. There is a spinner instead. While this could be good for mess (no cards to fall on the floor!), I prefer using the cards for speech activities. I have even seen some great custom cards on TpT! created by other SLPs!

- Cheaply made board. The board folds into four pieces instead of two and is made of very thin cardboard. It certainly can't stand up to regular use from children.

While my local Target did not carry any other version of Candy Land, you can pick up the  2004 version on Amazon for $13.65. The 1984 version I have in my speech room is getting pretty pricey online (Amazon had it for almost $50) so I recommend searching for that one at a thrift shop. 

I love my job and I love love LOVE working with kids. It just makes me sad to see that so many toys and games look so much more adult these days. Let's just let kids be kids!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chat Pack Cards - Product Review!

I am a huge fan of conversation activities, especially during the first week of school when I am still trying to collect baseline data and language samples from my students! I make a lot of my own conversation games but I couldn't resist buying Chat Pack for Kids when I saw it. 

Chat Pack for Kids is a set of cards designed to spark conversations. The back of the box reads “Contains 156 cards, each one featuring a question guaranteed to get creative juices flowing and fun conversation going. It’s positive entertainment for kids of all ages – and for the adults in their lives, too!” I have to say, that description is pretty accurate. I love these little cards! And I do mean little. They are 1 in by 3 inch strips – much smaller than the playing card size decks I am used to.

Some of the questions are a bit complicated for my students (for example: “If you could decorate a tree in your house for another holiday besides Christmas, which holiday would you choose and how would you decorate the tree?”).  I have had the best experiences using these cards with 4th-8th graders. I have gone through and picked out the simpler questions and used them with younger grades as well, but I usually pull them out for the older kids.

Some of my favorite questions from the Chat Pack are:
--If you could visit any assembly plant or factory of your choice to see exactly how something is made from start to finish, what would you want to see being produced?
--Which of the following would you like to be most of all: really strong, really fast, or really tall?
--If you got a parrot for a pet, what phrase above all others would you be sure to teach the beaked blabbermouth to say?

The cards come in a little plastic carrying case and can be found on Amazon for  $4.99 + shipping here: http://www.amazon.com/Chat-Pack-For-Kids-Questions/dp/0975580159/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376422412&sr=8-1&keywords=chat+pack+for+kids

I actually found mine at Whole Foods for $10, which is about the same as the amazon price when you add shipping. 

If you have any other fun conversation activities, I would love to hear them!

Friday, August 2, 2013

WHOOO's In Speech??

I’m back! I took the summer to focus on my sons and didn’t do anything work related at all! Now that August has rolled around, I am excited to be back in speechie-mode and looking forward to the new school year.
We have a new principal this year and I have quite a few new students coming in from surrounding schools.  We also have a few new teachers.  This inspired me to make a get-to-know-you activity for the first week of speech.  I came across some owl tape at Staples and “WHOOO’s In Speech” was created! (grab it for FREE in my TPT store!)
I love conversation activities for informal data collecting during the first week. The kids don’t feel like they are “working” and I get to collect some valuable information about their ability to ask/answer questions, conversational turn taking, topic maintenance, reasoning, and articulation.
Hope everyone has a great start to the 2013-2014 school year!