Saturday, June 30, 2012

Color Mixing Lights and Darks

I wanted a quick and simple art project that introduced something new and practiced something old. We reviewed our tape resist technique using tape to make a skewed 3x3 grid. Then I showed the kids how to start with a primary color and mix in white to make a lighter version and black to make a darker version. We made light and dark red, blue, and yellow and filled in our grid with all nine colors. Then we talked about which ones we liked the best and what feelings might be associated with different sorts of colors. Fun was had by all and the entire project only took about 20-30 minutes.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Weekly Review: Week 67

SLP Idea of the Week

There's a really great graphic for voice levels here. It's designed for teachers, but easily could be modified for voice therapy.

Blog Post of the Week

Just some a light fun post over at Swistle.

Ava this Week

Oh, Ava is letting me do her hair and I'm having a blast. She's been letting me pull it back in an elastic for a while, but now I can use a comb to part the hair and she'll tolerate some tugging and so I get to try things like this:


Weekly Michael

Oh my. New stages of development are always... fun extremely annoying interesting. Michael has always been really respectful of random things left around. I didn't need to go crazy putting things like scissors, paint, or personal belongings out of reach because he automatically respected the rule that "grown-up things" were not for kids. Now he's getting into everything. I don't think he's doing it maliciously. I think he's off working on some project making a creation out of a variety of recycled materials and thinks to himself I need "x". Fill in the blank with any number of items he isn't supposed to be using. Then he goes off and takes "x" and proceeds to break it or make a mess with it. I am trying to be patient and understanding and not crush his amazing creativity but it is driving me crazy. It's like I need to baby proof my house for my 4 year old.

Art Projects of the Week


Ava - with beans - tree, night sky

Michael - colored sand and glue - beach with shells, water, boat, sun

Three Days Left to Enter Learning Fundamentals Speech Therapy App Giveaway

You can enter a giveaway for a free speech therapy iPhone / iPad app through midnight Sunday.

  1. Read the review of the Phonology and Minimal Pairs apps.
  2. Go to the list of Learning Fundamentals Speech Therapy Apps and choose your favorite (up to a $59.99 value).
  3. Come back and leave a comment on the review post with the name of your favorite app and the reason that app is your favorite.



That's it. Then you're entered for a chance to receive a free copy of the app you chose. I'll be picking a winner with a random number generator and announcing the winner on Tuesday. So far there are only 9 people entered. That's pretty good odds.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Final T / K Minimal Pair Picture Speech Cards


One-Syllable Final T/K Minimal Pair Picture Cards


(If you're looking for initial T/K Minimal Pairs click here.)

To download click on the image to open it full size. Then right click on the image, choose "save as" and save the page to your computer.

I recommend you print on cardstock and laminate for durability.





Description

This articulation picture card set focuses on the contrast between final /t/ and final /k/. It would be a great set to use with a child who is using fronting or backing phonological processes or a child who is simply substituting /t/ for /k/ or vice versa. The words are all VC or CVC in syllable shapes and do not include vocalic /r/ sounds or consonant blends. The pictures are as simple as possible and should be accessible to young children with minimal teaching.

Key Features

  • This set includes 36 picture cards (18 t/k minimal pairs) with the target word and picture on the front.
  • The words are all VC or CVC in syllable shape.
  • The words are easily understood by or easily taught to young children.
  • Combines the target sounds with all possible vowel sounds at least once.

Permissions

I give permission to copy, print, or distribute this card set provided that:
  1. Each copy makes clear that I am the document's author.
  2. No copies are altered without my express consent.
  3. No one makes a profit from these copies.
  4. Electronic copies contain a live link back to my original and print copies not for merely personal use contain the URL of my original.

Looking for Feedback

I would love to hear back from anyone who uses this card set. Let me know if you find errors or there is anything you would change. Comment on this page, or send me an email at testyyettrying(at)gmail(dot)com.

Where can I find more?

More sets are on my Free Speech Therapy Articulation Cards page. Other card sets include /p, b, t, d, m, n, h, f, v, k, g, w, s, l, ch, sh, s-blends, and l-blends/ and more sets are being added regularly.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Speech Articulation (or Phonics) Game: Speech Tiles

If you have a piece of chalk and a laminate floor you can play this quick and easy speech game.

I have laminate floor tiles in my kitchen/dining room area. I know many schools also have tiles in their classrooms or hallways. Take a piece of chalk and draw letters scattered about on the floor tiles (test in an out of the way spot just to make sure it will wipe clean). If you're doing the game for phonics practice, use all 26 letters of the alphabet. If you're doing the game for speech practice, put your target sounds and a couple of easy extras in.



I was playing with two children, so I put two each of /k, s, f, and v/ (my target sounds) and I threw in /p and b/ just to fill out the floor and put in something fun and easy. I lined both kids up against the wall and then called out, "Stand by a /k/!" Both kids ran over to a /k/. I then asked each child to say, "/key, K, koi, coo/. Then I called out a new letter. They scramble to stand next to the new letter. This time I had them each say four VC syllables. Then another letter and another letter. In about 5 minutes, you can easily get 50 productions per child. Then I handed them each a washcloth. This time, after they said their syllables they got to wash away the letter. They loved it! We continued until all the letters had been erased and that was the end of the game. (This game can just as easily be used with sounds in isolation.)



(Inspiration for this activity here.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DIY Tabletop Easels from a Cardboard Box

OTs are always raving about the benefits of writing on a slantboard or working on an easel. I'm not sure why but I think it has to do with hand (or finger or wrist) strength and fine motor skills. (Any OT's out there who would care to enlighten us in the comments?) I have a full size easel, but it takes up a ton of space and I never feel like dragging it out of its corner and setting it up. I've been wanting some tabletop easels for the kids, but I've never been willing to spend the money on them. They're crazy expensive.

Every week my husband breaks down cardboard boxes in preparation for recycling day and one day I was staring down at them and had a idea. I sat down yesterday and made these from one medium sized cardboard box in about 20 minutes.



I forgot to take pictures while I was making them, but essentially I cut all the tape and broke the rectangular box completely down flat and cut it in half. The long side of the box becomes the front of the easel and the short side of the box becomes the bottom of the easel. You have to cut triangles off the four remaining pieces to make the puzzle fit together. The right side of the easel is formed by a short half and long half of the top of the box and the left side of the easel is formed by a short half and long half of the bottom of the box. I know that's clear as mud when written out, but I promise it works. Then just tape the thing in place with some packing tape to hold the shape. I also made a tray for the front to catch drips from a piece I cut from a second box.

If someone is really interested in making these and can't figure it out, I'll try to make a picture tutorial another time.

Here's a back view (Sophie likes the easel too.):



Here's Michael working on his first creation with his easel: (something about a monster, a map, footprints, and a hiding hole)



I was absolutely amazed at Ava's picture. I asked her what it was and she told me it was her "kitty fairy". Because I'm that kind of mom I took a picture of it, slapped a caption on it, emailed it to all of our relatives, and put it on my blog. I really do think it is beautiful. I'm thinking of slapping the original in a frame and putting it in her room. What do you think?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Learning Fundamentals Phonology Apps

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to review two great articulation apps by Learning Fundamentals and host a giveaway of one of their apps. This week I am going to review two of their Phonology apps and Learning Fundamentals has generously offered to sponsor another giveaway of one of their speech and language apps (up to a $59.99 value) to one of my readers. More on how to enter the giveaway at the end of this review.

Phonology: An iPhone/iPad app from Learning Fundamentals

Phonology: App Tour

The Phonology app is a simple to use, yet full-featured app that puts a large set of words with word, phrase, and sentence level audio prompts at your fingertips. Let's take a look at what the screen looks like when you're actually doing therapy.



Each target word is presented as a simple color picture. You may choose to have the word displayed in text below the picture or you may turn that off. Below the picture are several types of prompts. From left to right: "W" plays a high quality audio prompt of the word, "P" plays a short phrase, "S" plays a simple sentence prompt, "Lp" plays the word with a long pause between the target phoneme and the rest of the word, "Sp" plays the word with a short pause between the target phoneme and the rest of the word, and "Ex" plays the word with the target phoneme exaggerated. These six audio prompts are available for every word included in the program.

Above the picture you see a microphone symbol and a speaker symbol. Click on the microphone and wait a moment for it to turn red. Then have the child say the word (or phrase or sentence). Click on the microphone again to turn off the recording. The speaker icon will turn green and you can play back their production for them. You can redo the recording as many times as you like. This feature is simple, useful, and very motivating for the children.

Once the child has made the production you click on the icons at the very bottom to tally scoring data. You can do this multiple times so if you're having a child do sets of three, for example, you can tally their accuracy all three times before moving on to the next word.

In the options you can choose from two different data collection schemes. The first is spontaneous correct/incorrect and imitated correct/incorrect. The second is correct/distortion/incorrect. You simply touch the symbol to record the type of response the student produced.

The settings menu is simple. There is a great set of instructions. The phonological process tab allows you to go in and choose the specific processes you want to work on in the session. You can even choose specific phonemes. If you're working on initial consonant deletion, yet your child cannot make an initial /k/, you can choose to include all initial phonemes except initial /k/. That is a level of customization most apps do not allow and yet is extremely useful.

You can view the target word lists. The options screen allows you to enter the child's name so that a name will be attached to your results data. You can also choose whether to have the word appear in text below the picture. The options screen allows you to reset the scoring data so that you can switch to another student or to a new set of phonemes. This is also where you choose which scoring scheme you want to use.

The results page is pretty simple. It is a simple record of the number of response types you tallied and the phonemes/phonological processes you were working on. It does not calculate percentages for you. If you were working on multiple phonemes or processes, it does not separate out the data for your different targets. I would love to see a more full featured results screen in a future update. (I believe that Learning Fundamentals is working on adding this functionality to their apps and will be adding this feature to future updates quite soon.)

Phonology: Phonological Processes and Phonemes Included

The app addresses four of the most common phonological processes:
  • initial consonant deletion (/k, l, r/)
  • final consonant deletion (/p, t, k, ps, ts, ks, m, n, er/)
  • cluster reduction (/s, l, and r/ clusters)
  • syllable reduction (2-syllable words, 3-syllable words)

The app does a wonderful job of addressing final consonant deletion and cluster reduction. The word lists for those processes are deep and the level of customization is impressive. Initial consonant deletion is only addressed through three initial phonemes and those phonemes (k, l, and r) are ones that would be difficult for children exhibiting initial consonant deletion as a phonological process. It would be challenging to address initial consonant deletion with those three specific phonemes as the only initial phoneme categories included in the set. The word sets for the two and three syllable words are relatively short (7 words each), so syllable reduction is addressed in this app with a relatively limited set of targets. By going into the options and choosing initial /l/ and initial /r/ you could work on gliding too although that is not explicitly listed as one of the phonological processes addressed in the app.

Phonology: General Impressions

I liked this app a lot. I like the simplicity of design. I think their pictures are well chosen and their audio prompts are extremely well done. I love the ability to make an audio recording of the child's production and play it back for them. Keeping scoring data is simple and I like being able to make multiple tallies per word before moving to the next word. I particularly like being able to customize the specific phonemes used to work on the phonological processes so that I am not forced to include phonemes that are too difficult for a particular student.

If the phonological processes you're looking to work on are final consonant deletion, cluster reduction, or gliding (all extremely common) this is an great app for you. If you want to work on initial consonant deletion using /k, r, and l/ or syllable reduction using a small set of words those phonological processes are included in a more limited fashion. If you need any of the other phonological processes they aren't going to be found in this particular app.

Most of the words included in this app are one-syllable words which is great. Many are simple CVC words which means that this app can be very useful for people working with children with more severe speech delays.

One drawback, is that the app is not set up to handle groups. You will pretty much need to work with a student individually or taking turns. Whenever you switch students you'll need to save and then reset your scoring data before starting with then next student. Perhaps in a future update, they'll figure out a way for you to enter multiple students and have the app take turns keeping separate scoring data sets.

One final area that I think could use improvement is their results and scoring. I would like to see the results screen calculate percentages. I would also love to have it sort out the scores for the different phonemes/phonological processes. I also do not find "incorrect" to be a useful scoring category. I'd rather have correct, distortion, substitution, and omission as scoring options. The results screen would give me a percentage correct/incorrect with incorrect being the distortion, substitution, and omission categories all combined. Then, I'd like the percent breakdown of the types of errors within the incorrect category. Perhaps that could also be an improvement in a future update. (I believe Learning Fundamentals is working on pushing out this improvement to at least some of their apps very soon.)

Phonology: Bottom Line

This is a great app for final consonant deletion, cluster reduction, and gliding (in initial position) if you don't need it to be a great tool in groups. It can also be of some use for practicing syllable reduction with a limited number of targets (14 total) and initial consonant deletion (only with initial /l, r, and k/). I continue to feel that the Learning Fundamentals speech apps are some of the best I've seen in terms of their ease of use, breadth of targets, and quality of pictures and audio prompts. The portability of the iPhone/iPad format is an added bonus.

Minimal Pairs: An iPhone/iPad app from Learning Fundamentals

Minimal Pairs: App Tour

The Minimal Pairs app presents two minimal pair pictures at a time and asks the child to touch one of the two pictures. You could use this app as receptive auditory discrimination practice, or ask the children to produce one of the two words and work on production. Minimal pair categories addressed include initial consonant deletion (/k, l, r/), final consonant deletion (/k, n, p, t/) and /s/-cluster reduction (/sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, sw/).



The app presents two pictures at a time (ex: bow, bone). When the pictures appear, an audio prompt will instruct, "Show me ______." The child can tap on the picture and hear the word associated with that picture. The therapist can score responses by tapping on icons at the bottom of the screen. You will need to decide ahead of time if you are scoring correct/incorrect auditory discrimination vs. correct/distorted/incorrect productions. You can choose to have small boxes appear below the pictures. If you tap on those boxes, you can get visual feedback about performance on the auditory discrimination task separately from the scoring at the bottom of the page. Unfortunately, the app does not keep track of those checkboxes for reporting purposes, so it is not useful for data collection. In the future, I would love to see this app incorporate a correct/substitution/distortion/omission format for data collection on productions at the bottom of the screen and also track the correct/incorrect checkboxes and report that data in the reporting form for tracking auditory discrimination accuracy.

My children really enjoyed playing with this app. They enjoyed the interactive elements. They liked swiping to see the next set of pictures. They liked tapping on the picture to choose the presented word. They liked recording themselves saying a word and listening to their own productions. The app is simple, yet intrinsically rewarding for a child to play with in the context of speech practice.

Minimal Pairs: Bottom Line

If you like working with minimal pairs and want to use minimal pairs to address initial consonant deletion, final consonant deletion, or /s/ cluster reduction, this is a useful, reasonably priced app that children should enjoy using. Just remember that it currently has very basic scoring and reporting options, no way to track auditory discrimination data separately from production data, and the limitation of working with one student at a time.

Learning Fundamentals app Giveaway!!!

One week from today I will use a random number generator to choose a valid entry from the comments on this post. Learning Fundamentals will provide me with a promo code to redeem the app of that reader's choice at the Apple store. To enter, check out the apps available at the Learning Fundamentals website and choose your favorite. Come back to this post and leave the name of the Learning Fundamentals app you'd like to have and what you like most about that particular app in a comment on this post. That's it. I extend my thanks to Learning Fundamentals for sponsoring this giveaway here at Testy Yet Trying. I'll accept entries through midnight on Sunday, July 1, 2012 and announce the winner on Monday, July 2nd.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pinterest Strikes Again (and look where it got me this time)

I've been seeing... hmm... let's call them "giant squishy water bags" all over the kids and DIY boards on pinterest lately and honestly I thought it looked like a lot of fun. The following conversation with my husband went like this:

Me: "Let's buy some clear plastic sheeting, fold it in half, duct-tape the open edges together, fill it with water, and let the kids jump on it!"

Husband: "You're crazy. That'll never work."

Me: "But I saw it on Pinterest! It must work."

So, the next time we were at a home improvement store we bought some clear plastic sheeting and duct tape.



Then I folded it in half and taped the three open sides together leaving a 2-3 inch gap on one side and stuck a hose in it. Then I proceeded to re-tape the sides with about three more layers of duct tape to fix most of the leaking. If you decide to try it, I'd suggest slightly overlapping the plastic sheeting and just going with two layers of tape to begin with. I also had the kids stuff in some shapes made out of craft foam I had in my craft supplies stash. I propped the corner with the hole and hose up on a chair until the bag was about as full as I wanted it and then removed the hose and taped up the hole.

We ended up with this:



The children loved it. It was so much fun. They ran around on it exhausting themselves for an hour. They jumped on and chased air bubbles. They tried to push the foam shapes around inside the bag. Ava enjoyed running and sliding. How she managed to avoid slamming herself into a deck rail I do not know.

Now, if I were completely sane, I would have stopped once the children had run off their initial excitement. It had been great exercise, and a good sensory experience for the children. Ava pre-OT would never have walked on that squishy bag. Ava pre-OT couldn't have handled the wet and slightly sandy surface of the bag. The activity had already been a huge success.

I didn't stop there though. I was thinking about how to stretch the sensory experience even further. So I decided to strip the kids down to their undies and toss some washable tempera paint on top of the bag and see what happened. (You should have seen the look on the neighbor's face when he briefly came out onto his deck and glanced over to see me in the middle of squirting a puddle of red paint onto the "giant squishy water bag" right in between my two mostly naked children. He went right back inside.)

It started like this:



Then looked like this:



I didn't get a picture of the end, but Michael and Ava were covered in paint from head to toe. I hosed them and the bag down and we headed straight for the tub. They had so much fun.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Date Nights

My husband and I have recently begun trying for regular date nights. We're aiming for about once a week. That pretty much means that instead of engaging in independent pursuits for an hour or so after putting the children to bed and before falling asleep exhausted we are trying to spend a couple of hours together. We've been picking out a movie to watch. We watched Salt and Knight and Day. Knight and Day was surprisingly enjoyable. Salt was fine although not spectacular. Last night we rewatched the first Bourne movie which we hadn't seen in years.

My first rule for picking out a movie is that I absolutely do not want it to make me cry. When I only get a couple of hours a week to escape into a fantasy world the last thing I want is to spend the experience getting put through an emotional wringer. That rules out dramas, war, romances, and most romantic comedies. I'm also not a huge fan of horror. That pretty much leaves action, action/comedies, and some sci-fi/fantasies. Given that I've seen about five non-children's movies in the last five years, that leaves plenty of movies to choose from.

It isn't exactly high-class entertainment or an elaborate "date", but it is some uninterrupted time spent snuggled up next to my favorite person in the world. That's all I need to make me happy.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Weekly Review: Week 66

This week's weekly review format will be slightly different. I'm going to highlight several memorable events searching for my favorite one.

  1. Taking my daughter to school I discovered that all the other children were dressed in swim clothes while she was not. The school had announced the splash day on Wednesday. We aren't there on Wednesdays. It all worked out though. I just told them to let her play in her clothes and then change her into her spare clothes afterward. -- Not my favorite event of the week.
  2. Michael, now being four years old, is eligible to go on field trips at school this summer. This week was his very first field trip - to the zoo. He was so excited about riding the bus with his friends and wearing the special shirts and going to the zoo with his teachers. It was such a shame that he also got his very first bee sting on the trip. -- Also not my favorite event of the week.
  3. There was the delightful morning that started off with laundering one puke-soaked and one urine-soaked set of sheets. -- Do you really need to ask if that one was my favorite?
  4. Leaving for school one morning our little escape-artist feline managed to sneak into the garage. I went ahead and buckled the children into their car seats hoping she'd choose to wander voluntarily back into the house. Nope. Then, as I oh-so-casually approached her she darted right under the minivan well out of reach. I spent the next 10 minutes waving a broom under first the front of the minivan, and then the back of the minivan, and then the front, and then the back while listening to the children giggle hysterically in the car. Did I mention the garage was really, really hot? -- Not really a great candidate for my favorite event, however I can see how the children thought it was funny in retrospect.
  5. And then there was the lovely dinner with my friend of nearly 18 years and husband of eight years on our wedding anniversary. I am so fortunate. -- Definitely the highlight of the week.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

And the Giveaway Winner is...

Commenter #3, Jen P. who is going to use the Artic Practice app at home with her daughter. Congratulations to Jen and thank you to everyone who participated. Next week I'll be doing another review of two great Learning Fundamentals Speech Apps and hosting another giveaway.

(Jen, please contact me via email so I can arrange getting you a code to redeem your free app. You can find my email address here.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Twist on Baking Soda and Vinegar

We've used baking soda and colored vinegar on the light box using squeeze bottles.



We've used baking soda and vinegar to make our volcano model erupt with a bit of unintended realism.



This time I wanted them to work their fine motor skills more. Using eyedroppers is excellent for strengthening and reinforcing the pincer grasp which is a great pre-writing activity. It also has the side benefit of making your vinegar and baking soda last a lot longer. I sprinkled a shallow layer of baking soda in a glass baking pan and gave them small containers of vinegar and and eyedropper each.

I gave Ava red and blue vinegar so she could mix purple. I gave Michael red and yellow vinegar so he could mix orange. They had a lot of fun with the activity and I had to rinse and refill the baking pans three times for each child.



Then I ran out of baking soda. They poured the rest of the vinegar into the pans to watch the colors blend and use up the last of the fizz. Then we noticed some undissolved baking soda at the bottom of the pans. The children began to draw in the baking soda. Michael wrote his name. Ava helped me spell hers. Then after some shaking and swirling, the names disappeared and they could begin again. Michael drew a snowflake and Ava drew a smiley face with arms and legs. They continued to draw and shake away several more creations before wandering away.





It was an accidental discovery, but drawing in the leftover baking soda and vinegar was a perfect additional activity for my pre-writing goals. Next time, I would have them use the eyedroppers rather than spoons for the drawing activity. This would also be a great way to have children practice writing their letters.

You should also be able to recreate this activity by stirring salt or sugar into colored water. You just have to be sure to keep adding sugar or salt until no more can dissolve and you have a layer left in the bottom of the pan. It would be even more fun on a light box (see how we made some out of storage bins).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Speech Card Game: Speech Stick Match

When I was making the T/K Minimal Pairs Card Set I also made a Minis version and used them to make a game I call Speech Stick Match.





Setup:
Print minis.
Cut them out. Trim very close around the pictures.
Glue or tape onto the ends of Jumbo Craft sticks.
Put stickers or marker in dots on the backs of about 5 of the sticks.

How to play:
  1. (Optional) Begin by showing all the sticks to the children and sorting them into their rhymes/minimal pairs. Let the children take turns choosing their favorites until 10 pairs have been chosen. Put those 10 pairs picture side down into a cup.
  2. Have the children take turns pulling out five sticks at a time. They say the word (or use it in a phrase or sentence). If they have any matches they get to keep the pair. Put any non-matches back in the cup. If they pull at least one stick with a sticker on it they get another turn. Then play moves to the next child.
  3. When all the matches have been found and the cup is empty the child with the most pairs wins.






Other Card Set Activity and Game Suggestions

  1. 10 Card Set Game and Activity Ideas
  2. Simple Speech Card Puzzles
  3. Speech Card Stories
  4. Speech Card Caterpillar
  5. Speech Card Game: What's Hiding?
  6. Speech Card Game: Speech Switcheroo (An Uno-Style Game)
  7. Speech Card Set Activity: Magnetic Speech Cards
  8. Speech Card Game: Speech Fours
  9. Speech Card Game: Old Maid
  10. Speech Card Set Activity: Bang!
  11. Speech Card Set Activity: What's Hiding Behind Door Number...?
  12. Speech Card Set Activity: Customizing a Homework Sheet
  13. Speech Card Set Activity: Making a Simple Sentence Flipbook

Monday, June 18, 2012

Two Days Left to Enter Learning Fundamentals Speech Therapy App Giveaway

You can enter a giveaway for a free speech therapy iPhone / iPad app through midnight tomorrow.

  1. Read the review of the Artic Practice and Articulation IV apps.
  2. Go to the list of Learning Fundamentals Speech Therapy Apps and choose your favorite (up to a $59.99 value).
  3. Come back and leave a comment on the review post with the name of your favorite app and the setting in which you'll be using the app.


That's it. Then you're entered for a chance to receive a free copy of the app you chose. I'll be picking a winner with a random number generator and announcing the winner on Thursday. So far there are only 14 people entered. That's pretty good odds.

Initial T / K Minimal Pairs


One-Syllable Initial T/K Minimal Pair Picture Cards


To download click on the image to open it full size. Then right click on the image, choose "save as" and save the page to your computer.

I recommend you print on cardstock and laminate for durability.








Description

This articulation picture card set focuses on the contrast between initial /t/ and initial /k/. It would be a great set to use with a child who is using fronting or backing phonological processes or a child who is simply substituting /t/ for /k/ or vice versa. The words are all CV or CVC in syllable shapes and do not include vocalic /r/ sounds or consonant blends. The pictures are as simple as possible and should be accessible to young children with some teaching.

Key Features

  • This set includes 32 picture cards (16 t/k minimal pairs) with the target word and picture on the front.
  • The words are all CV or CVC in syllable shape.
  • The words are easily understood by or easily taught to young children.
  • Combines the target sounds with all possible vowel sounds at least once.

Permissions

I give permission to copy, print, or distribute this card set provided that:
  1. Each copy makes clear that I am the document's author.
  2. No copies are altered without my express consent.
  3. No one makes a profit from these copies.
  4. Electronic copies contain a live link back to my original and print copies not for merely personal use contain the URL of my original.

Looking for Feedback

I would love to hear back from anyone who uses this card set. Let me know if you find errors or there is anything you would change. Comment on this page, or send me an email at testyyettrying(at)gmail(dot)com.

Where can I find more?

More sets are on my Free Speech Therapy Articulation Cards page. Other card sets include /p, b, t, d, m, n, h, f, v, k, g, w, s, l, ch, sh, s-blends, and l-blends/ and more sets are being added regularly.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Who's Right? - Driving / Parking Scenarios

Who has the right of way in this driving scenario?


My husband and I have different opinions about who has the right of way in a certain driving scenario. I would like to get your opinion (Not that I would ever go to my husband saying, "See, I was right. My readers say so...)

See my delightful, artist quality sketch of the following driving scenario:



Car A wants to turn right heading north. Car B also wants to head north. It will be a left turn for Car B. Car A has a yield sign at the intersection. Car B is in a left turn lane.

Now, we both agree on this much. If the light is red and no cars are coming from the N/S, Car A has the right of way. Car B definitely shouldn't be turning left on red.

If the light is green, and there is a left turn arrow that is also green Car B has the right of way (Car A should be looking at a red light with a yield sign). - True or False?

If the light is green, but Car B does not have a green arrow (therefore Car A should also have a green light and their yield sign) Car A has the right of way. - True or False?

We drive through an intersection just like this regularly. I really do want to know the answer to the true/false questions because just as much as I feel I'm right about my interpretation, my husband feels he's right about the opposite.

Parking Lot Irritation - Am I right to be irritated in this situation?


Our school's driveway/parking lot situation is a horseshoe (again, see amazing diagram). I'll admit, there are no signs indicating that the driveway is one-way. However, I get irritated whenever someone drives in the opposite direction from the arrows I've drawn in. Somehow, I feel like it is just understood that this is a one-way horseshoe. Is that just me? Am I grumbling at people in my mind without justification or do you see this as an obviously one-way situation as well?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I fell in love with a tree... (A Story of a Quest)

It all started with a children's book.

The children and I were heading to check out at the library and Ava spotted one last book attractively displayed on an endcap. It showed a little girl in a green dress with a crown of pink flowers in her hair swinging from a tree full of pink flowers. She snatched it up and added it to our pile.


Later that week, when we finally got around to reading A Tree for Emmy by Mary Ann Rodman. It turned out to be a pretty sweet picture book about a girl who loves the mimosa tree in her grandmother's field and so asks for one of her own for her birthday. She and her parents found it difficult to find one and finally end up with a baby sapling from the ground below her grandmother's tree.

As I was driving around town, I began to notice beautiful fern-like trees with gorgeous pink blossoms. There's one on the drive to my parents' house. There's another on the way to the school where Ava has speech. After reading A Tree for Emmy I realized they were probably mimosa trees. I also quite liked them. Once I became aware of them I saw them everywhere. Driving around town with the family, my conversation with my husband would be peppered with interjections of "Mimosa!" accompanied by a pointing finger. On the train at Six Flags, I spotted and pointed out several. Taking the children to their private speech therapist, I noticed a gorgeous specimen across the street. Michael and I walked over to look at it close up while Ava was having her turn. I'm sure it had been there the entire year and a half we've been driving there, but only now did I notice it.

As we were driving home from Six Flags I decided to see if I could just buy one. Enough with the love from afar, I wanted to just get one. I had already decided earlier this spring that I wanted to get a flowering tree and hadn't quite decided which one yet. Now I was sure. I began searching online vendors. Of course, the abrupt decision to buy one ruined the anniversary (next week - 8 years) surprise my husband had been planning. That was sad, but now we would get to choose one together.

There are pink varieties (the most common), white varieties, and a dark pink (flame) variety. (Go here for oh so pretty pictures of flame mimosas.) Looking at pictures online I decided that the flame variety was the most striking one. Only one online vendor carries it right now. It doesn't ship until fall. And it is rather pricey. So, I decided to look for it locally. We visited and called several nurseries and none had what we wanted. I went back to the online vendor and searching for a coupon code stumbled across hundreds of very passionate negative reviews about this particular nursery so we decided against ordering from them. As it turns out, A Tree for Emmy was right about it being difficult to get your hands on a mimosa tree.

Then I remembered how Emmy got hers. One night, after dinner, our family went on a baby mimosa hunt. We drove and parked by the mimosa tree near my parents' house. It was on a common ground so I thought we could look for some babies growing under the tree. We brought buckets and little gardening spades just in case we might find a baby tree to dig up. The children were quite excited about going on a quest for baby mimosas.

Isn't the tree amazing? We nicknamed it "Mama Mimosa". But no baby mimosas were growing under it.



Then I looked down the hill and spotted three more mimosa trees growing on the banks of the dry creekbed.



I was determined to try everything to find some baby mimosas. But did you see that hill? And the rocks? The children thought all those rocks looked like a lot of fun. I thought dragging two small children down that hill carrying buckets and gardening tools sounded like a recipe for disaster. One one hand, I really wanted to search for some baby mimosas. On the other hand, I like my children healthy with no broken bones and no head injuries. Fortunately, just then a friendly neighbor passed by walking her dog. Hearing of our quest, she offered to let us go through her backyard down some steps to the creekbed.

To make this long story slightly shorter...



We found 11 seedlings. They had sprouted in a shallow patch of eroded soil in the creek bed. They had managed to grow in less than an inch of dirt over gravel and rocks. They would have been washed away with the next hard rain. We brought them home and potted them. To the best of my minimal gardening ability I am pampering them. (Please don't die, please don't die!) And now I have my very own mimosa. Well, to be more specific, I have eleven mimosas.

According to internet research the mimosa tree has as average lifespan of 10-20 years and grows to a height of 20-40 feet. So 1-4 feet of growth per year. How many years is that until blooms? Of course, I'll have eleven trees by then and what on earth will I do with eleven of them?


The end.


PS: If anyone has a flame mimosa tree near them and would be willing to collect some seed pods and mail them to me in the fall I would be forever grateful.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Weekly Review: Week 65

SLP Idea of the Week

Take bubble wrap, the big kind, and plosive sounds or affricates on each bubble. For Ava, /k/ is the perfect target. Better yet, do 2/3 of them with your target letter and write a foil on the rest of them. So, 2/3 could be /k/ and the rest /p/ or something like that. Then, let your child find all the targets producing the sound as they pop each one they find. Simple, fun, and inherently rewarding. Find my inspiration (and a picture) for this idea here.

Blog Posts of the Week

Jessica at Balancing Everything has written an outstanding series of posts about her son's struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Read part 1, part 2, and part 3 and then stay tuned for the next promised installment.

Ava this Week

She's three. I know she's been three for 3 1/2 months now, but as she continues to grow in independence it hits me more every day. Ava completely, 100%, knows her own mind and will not be persuaded by peer pressure, bribery, or reason to consider changing her mind. She's dressing herself, getting into and out of the car on her own, handling all of her (umm...) hygiene on her own, and pretty much trying to assert control over her world. She is a joy and wonder to me.

Weekly Michael

My son is avidly listening to chapter books. He still enjoys a good picture book, but he begs for the next installment of whatever chapter book we're reading at the moment. First we read the Catwings series which was amazing. Then we read the Moongobble books by Bruce Coville. We've just started Little House in the Big Woods. He'll ask, "Mama, can we read Laura? Please mama."

Not to go off on an aside but...

I hadn't read Little House in the Big Woods since I was young. I suppose it always had all that butchering in it. I did manage to read most of that first chapter with minimal censoring and the children handled it well. But goodness, did it always have so much spanking in it? I have been liberally switching in time outs, yelling, fussing, etc. for the many spankings. It's a bit exhausting.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A rose by any other name... Minimal Pairs / Word Families / Rhyming Words

I was thinking about minimal pairs recently. For those of you who don't already know, speech pathologists use the term "minimal pairs" to refer to words that are exactly the same except for one phoneme. We use minimal pairs to help a child who habitually substitutes one sound for another understand why it is important to produce the target sound. If a child habitually substitutes the /t/ sound for the /k/ sound we might show them two cards: a picture of tape and a picture of a cape. Those words are exactly the same except for the beginning sound and the child would pronounce them both the same way because they substitute /t/ for /k/. Working with minimal pairs can help remediate substitution problems.

I was thinking that minimal pairs (at least the ones that contrast initial sounds) will always inherently rhyme. Rhyming is a basic phonemic awareness skill often targeted at the preschool level. Minimal pairs are also easily found in the lists of word families taught to early readers.

Whether you're working on speech, phonemic awareness skills (as part of speech or as part of pre-reading skills), or word families (as a reading or spelling exercise), picture sets organized in this fashion are useful.

And so here are some sets. I made one for -an, -ake, and -ace. I hope someone finds them to be useful. I intend to use them for final /k/ and final /s/ practice as part of our speech program and as practice in reading word families for Michael.

-an, -ake, and -ace Word Family Picture Cards






Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Learning Fundamentals Articulation Apps

Learning Fundamentals LocuTour has been making speech and language software since 1994. They recently began to convert some of their software into iPhone / iPad apps and provided me with copies of some of their new apps to evaluate. They generously offered to sponsor a giveaway of one of their apps (up to a $59.99 value) to a reader. More on how to enter the giveaway at the end of this review.

(Yes, this is a really long review, but if you're actually interested in the app I hope you'll find the comprehensiveness of the review useful and besides, there's a giveaway at the end to reward you for your persistence.)

Artic Practice: An iPhone/iPad app from Learning Fundamentals

Artic Practice: App Tour

The Artic Practice app is a simple to use, yet full-featured app that puts a large set of words with word, phrase, and sentence level audio prompts at your fingertips. Let's take a look at what the screen looks like when you're actually doing therapy.



Each target word is presented as part of a scene. You can choose to have the word displayed in text below the picture or you may turn that off. Below the picture are several types of prompts. From left to right, you can click on "W" to hear a high quality audio sample prompt of the word. Click on "Snd" to hear the word broken into its individual phonemes. Click on "P" to hear the word in a phrase. Click on "S" to hear the word in a sentence. Click on "SQ" to hear the word in a question. Click on "SA" to hear the word in an answer to the question. These six audio prompts are available for every word included in the program.

Above the picture you see a microphone symbol and a speaker symbol. Click on the microphone and wait a moment for it to turn red. Then have the child say the word (or phrase, sentence, or question). Click on the microphone again to turn off the recording. The speaker icon will turn green and you can play back their production for them. You can redo the recording as many times as you like. This feature is simple, useful, and very motivating for the children.

Once the child has made the production you click on the icons at the very bottom to tally scoring data. You can do this multiple times so if you're having a child do sets of three, for example, you can tally their accuracy all three times before moving on to the next word.

In the options you can choose from two different data collection schemes. The first is spontaneous correct/incorrect and imitated correct/incorrect. The second is correct/distortion/incorrect. You simply touch the symbol to record the type of response the student produced.



The settings menu is simple. There is a great set of instructions. The phoneme tab allows you to go in and choose the specific phonemes you want to work on in the session. You can view the word lists. The options screen allows you to enter the child's name so that a name will be attaches to your results data. You can also choose whether to have the word appear in text below the picture. The options screens allows you to reset the scoring data so that you can switch to another student or to a new set of phonemes. This is also where you choose which scoring scheme you want to use.

The results page is pretty simple. It is a simple record of the number of response types you tallied and the phonemes you were working on. It does not calculate percentages for you. If you were working on multiple phonemes, it does not separate out the data for your different targets. I would love to see a more full featured results screen in a future update.

Artic Practice: Phonemes Included

The app includes the following target sounds in initial, medial, and final position unless otherwise indicated: /p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, th-, th+ (I,M), s, z, sh, zh(M), ch, J, l, r, m, n, ng(M, F), hw (I, M), H (I), y (I, M), l clusters, r clusters, z clusters, s clusters, and vocalic r/. You can choose to target any of the phonemes individually or in combination. This is an extremely comprehensive set of phonemes and a huge word list. Each word in each category is provided with audio samples for word level, phoneme level, phrase level, two sentences, and a question.

Artic Practice: General Impressions

I liked this app a lot. The pictures are well done and I like the fact that the picture is presented in a scene. It allows flexibility to use the word in a phrase or sentence. It also allows you to use this app creatively for language practice as well. I love the functionality of being able to make a recording of the child's production for playback and how quickly and seamlessly that works. Ava and Michael also enjoyed working with the app. As I first opened it and began exploring it, Ava wandered over and crawled into my lap to "play". She was more than happy to do the speech practice as long as she got to make a recording each time and listen to herself and I let her be the one to swipe her finger across the screen to move to the next picture.

I do have the same concerns about this set of stimuli that I do with other card sets and artic apps though. If you have a severely delayed child, this app will not work for you. Although it does target initial /p/, for example, the target words are often multisyllabic or include blends. If you work with children who need practice at the CV, VC, CVC level, this will not be the app for you. If you are working with more typical articulation clients though, this app is a wonderful resource. Perhaps in a future update they will allow you to filter by syllable length and filter out consonant blends and clusters. That would open this app up a lot for use with more severe speech delays.

Another drawback, is that the app is not set up to handle groups. You will pretty much need to work with a student individually or taking turns. Whenever you switch students you'll need to save and then reset your scoring data before starting with then next student. Perhaps in a future update, they'll figure out a way for you to enter multiple students and have the app take turns keeping separate scoring data sets.

One final area that I think could use improvement is their results and scoring. I would like to see the results screen calculate percentages. I would also love to have it sort out the scores for the different phonemes. For example, I might mix initial /p/ words(easy) with initial /s/ words(hard), and initial /f/ words(also hard) for Ava in order to improve generalization. I would be expecting her to get 100% of the initial /p/ words, and would really only be interested in the percentages for the other two phonemes - separately. This app only gives the tallies for all three phonemes grouped together which is not actually a useful number for me at all. I'd need to keep data using pen and paper. I also do not find "incorrect" to be a useful scoring category. I'd rather have correct, distortion, substitution, and omission as scoring options. The results screen would give me a percentage correct/incorrect with incorrect being the distortion, substitution, and omission categories all combined. Then, I'd like the percent breakdown of the types of errors within the incorrect category. Perhaps that could also be an improvement in a future update.

Artic Practice: Bottom Line

I think this app would be an amazing value if you are not working with severely speech delayed students, you're not too picky about scoring, and you don't need it to be a great tool in groups. The breadth of the target phonemes included, the audio prompts, the beautiful pictures, and the recording and playback make this a great value for anyone doing a lot articulation therapy with students with mild-moderate articulation errors. The portability of the iPhone/iPad format is an added bonus.

Articulation IV: An iPhone/iPad app from Learning Fundamentals

Articulation IV: Abbreviated App Tour

The Articulation IV app is very similar in format to the Artic Practice app so I'll just focus on the differences. Let's take a look at what the screen looks like when you're actually doing therapy.



The Articulation IV app is more advanced than the Artic Practice app and consequently has slightly different prompting levels. It has the word in isolation, broken into individual phonemes and in a phrase. It also has the word in a simple sentence, longer sentence, and complex sentence. See the above set of screenshots for one example.

Articulation IV: Phonemes Included

The app includes the following target sounds in initial, medial, and final position unless otherwise indicated: /l, l-clusters, pre-vocalic l, post-vocalic l, r (I, M), r-clusters (I, M), s, s-clusters, vocalic r (sorted by vowel), th+ (I, M), th-, th- clusters (I, F), z, and z-clusters (F)/. You can choose to target any of the phonemes individually or in combination. This is an extremely comprehensive set of more advanced phonemes and a huge word list. Each word in each category is provided with audio samples for word level, phoneme level, phrase level, and multiple sentences.

Articulation IV: Bottom Line

If you work with students who make errors with the phonemes targeted in this app, this is a great resource and perfectly set up to work very well on carryover and generalization skills. Just remember that it has the same basic scoring and results features as the Artic Practice app and the limitation of working with one student at a time.

Learning Fundamentals app Giveaway!!!

One week from today I will use a random number generator to choose a valid entry from the comments on this post. Learning Fundamentals will provide me with a promo code to redeem the app of that reader's choice at the Apple store. To enter, check out the apps available at the Learning Fundamentals website and choose your favorite. Come back to this post and leave the name of the Learning Fundamentals app you'd like to have and the setting in which you will be using it (at home with your own child, in private practice, in the schools, etc.) in a comment. That's it. I extend my thanks to Learning Fundamentals for sponsoring my very first giveaway here at Testy Yet Trying. I'll accept entries through midnight on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 and announce the winner on Thursday, June 21st.

Next week I'll be reviewing two of Learning Fundamentals Phonology apps and hosting a second giveaway.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Initial W: Free Speech Therapy Articulation Picture Cards


Initial /w/ Card Set

To download click on the image to open it full size. Then right click on the image, choose "save as" and save the page to your computer.

I recommend you print on cardstock and laminate for durability.










Description

This articulation picture card set is designed to be more comprehensive than the typical sets you might find elsewhere. The target audience for this set is young children or children with more severe speech delays that need intensive practice with sounds at a one-syllable level. No blends or vocalic /r/ sounds are included in this set.

Key Features

  • This set includes 30 therapy cards with the target word and picture on the front, and the difficulty level and a carrier phrase on the back.
  • The words are all CV or CVC in syllable shape.
  • The words are easily understood by or easily taught to young children.
  • Combines the target sound with all possible vowel sounds at least once.
  • Words are sorted by difficulty level for an easy progression from easy to hard.

Permissions

I give permission to copy, print, or distribute this card set provided that:
  1. Each copy makes clear that I am the document's author.
  2. No copies are altered without my express consent.
  3. No one makes a profit from these copies.
  4. Electronic copies contain a live link back to my original and print copies not for merely personal use contain the URL of my original.

Looking for Feedback

I would love to hear back from anyone who uses this card set. Let me know if you find errors or there is anything you would change. Comment on this page, or send me an email at testyyettrying(at)gmail(dot)com.

Where can I find more?

More sets are on my Free Speech Therapy Articulation Cards page. Other card sets include /p, b, t, d, m, n, h, f, v, k, g, w, s, l, ch, sh, s-blends, and l-blends/ and more sets are being added regularly.


Card Set Activity and Game Suggestions

  1. 10 Card Set Game and Activity Ideas
  2. Simple Speech Card Puzzles
  3. Speech Card Stories
  4. Speech Card Caterpillar
  5. Speech Card Game: What's Hiding?
  6. Speech Card Game: Speech Switcheroo (An Uno-Style Game)
  7. Speech Card Set Activity: Magnetic Speech Cards
  8. Speech Card Game: Speech Fours
  9. Speech Card Game: Old Maid
  10. Speech Card Set Activity: Bang!
  11. Speech Card Set Activity: What's Hiding Behind Door Number...?
  12. Speech Card Set Activity: Customizing a Homework Sheet
  13. Speech Card Set Activity: Making a Simple Sentence Flipbook

Monday, June 11, 2012

F Sentences Homework Booklet: Free Speech Therapy Articulation Picture Book

/f/ Sentences Homework Booklet: Finn Finds Number Friends


To download click on the image to open it full size. Then right click on the image, choose "save as" and save the page to your computer.

I recommend you print on cardstock for durability.




Description

This articulation homework booklet is designed to be an extension of my single-syllable card sets. This book is designed to be used as a tool to facilitate generalization of /f/ production to sentence level. The /f/ words included in this booklet include initial, medial, and final position of 1-2 syllable words. This booklet is designed to be read by a parent (or therapist, older sibling, classmate, teacher...) and child together. The helper reads then sentences and then pauses for the child to repeat the sentences back. Each time the book is read, the helper can put a sticker/stamp/checkmark in one of the boxes on the front of the book. This will encourage multiple practice readings. The child's fluency should increase with each repeated reading. Eventually the child should be able to tell the story spontaneously by just looking at the picture prompts. The target audience for these cards are children with speech delays who are ready to practice /f/ sounds in a more natural context.

Key Features

  • This booklet features 17 /f/ words incorporated into a simple story to be read by a helper and child together.
  • The target words are one-two syllable words featuring /f/ in initial, medial, and final position.
  • The story is illustrated in pictures to encourage memorization for spontaneous retelling of the story.

Permissions

I give permission to copy, print, or distribute this booklet provided that:
  1. Each copy makes clear that I am the document's author.
  2. No copies are altered without my express consent.
  3. No one makes a profit from these copies.
  4. Electronic copies contain a live link back to my original and print copies not for merely personal use contain the URL of my original.

Looking for Feedback

I would love to hear back from anyone who uses this booklet. Let me know if you find errors or there is anything you would change. Comment on this page, or send me an email at testyyettrying(at)gmail(dot)com.

Where can I find more?

More card sets and related printables are on my Free Speech Therapy Articulation Cards page.

Here is a picture of a homework booklet (the /l/ booklet) printed on cardstock and folded into the booklet. It slides nicely in between board books to be pulled out and read during bedtime story time.


Other Speech Practice Booklets Available:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Who Does Stuff Like This Anymore Anyway?



Oh wait... that would be me.

It happened like this. I was ordering art supplies for the children and on a whim I threw in a set of simple wooden looms. I thought the children might be interested and we'd never done fabric/textile art of any kind.

I set it up and started demonstrating it for the children (who were indeed fascinated, but that isn't the point of this story). As I continued to weave I found it a calmly entertaining activity. I was pretty sure there was much more out there than under/over/under/over and I went online looking for some more patterns. Next thing I know I was using a shed stick and creating a shed space and even trying to jury rig a heddle. (Don't ask, just interpret as a ridiculous amount of OCD obsession over a tiny child's loom.)



Then I discovered pages on a continuous weaving technique and I fell in love with the Hazel Rose looms. They're just so exquisitely beautiful. I wanted them. I needed them about as much as a bump on the head, but I wanted them anyway. Then, (thank you in-laws) some birthday money came my way and I was 95% sure I was going to get those looms with them. I decided I'd better make some kind of prototype and make sure I actually enjoyed continuous weaving before spending my birthday money on those looms. So I made this:

And it was fun. And what a pretty square...



Then I got these (aren't they beautiful?):



And made these:



Don't ask how much time I'm spending on weaving instead of doing something useful like creating more word lists for all of you.

Now, the pertinent question remains... What am I actually going to do with all these squares?
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