Friday, July 18, 2014

JDRF Fundraiser {BUNDLES}

I don't normally share much personal information about myself or my family, but today I want to share with you a little bit about my oldest son.  At the age of five, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).  I cannot even tell you what a scary and uncertain time this was for our whole family.  There was a huge learning curve of insulin shots and blood sugar checks.  Our son was such a trooper through all of this!  He truly amazed me every day.  Two an a half years later, he is doing well with managing his diabetes.  He currently gets five shots of different types of insulin each day, and also checks his blood sugar throughout the day.  We have to watch him very carefully so that we can help him notice if his blood sugar is dropping too low (hypoglycemia), or is becoming too high (hyperglycemia). 

Unfortunately, this is a lifelong disease that will not go away.  Ever.  There was a heartbreaking day for me when he asked me quietly, "How long am I going to have to do all of these pokes?"  It absolutely broke my heart to tell him that he would have to do it forever.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is an absolutely fabulous organization whose mission it is to "Create a world without T1D."  As the largest charitable supporter of T1D research,the JDRF is currently sponsoring $568 million in scientific research in 17 countries. In 2012 alone, JDRF provided more than $110 million to T1D research.  To continue on with this research, there are many fundraising opportunities for people to help out.

I am participating in my first half-marathon (Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon) in order to help raise funds and awareness for the JDRF.  I am running in honor of my little guy and to help create a world where no mother will ever have to tell their five year old child that they have a lifetime of pokes to look forward to.

I have done some typical fund raising type activities such as emailing friends and family, and having a donation sheet for people to donate, but I felt like I really wanted to do more.  I wanted to raise awareness for this cause, and also try to break my fundraising goal of $750.  I decided to ask for some help with my fundraising from my wonderful SLP speech blogging family.  Wow!  They were absolutely incredible and generous!  There are 32 SLP bloggers/ TpT sellers who have generously donated 36 awesome products for me to include in two bundles that are available to purchase.  I will be donating 100% of the profits from these bundles to the JDRF.  There are over $75 worth of products available in each bundle, and I am offering them for only $20 each!  That is over 70% off in savings!  You will be getting  AWESOME sets of SLP supplies while helping out a great cause!  There are a variety of articulation, language, and fluency products in these bundles.
You can find these bundles here:
Bundle #1
Bundle #2

The bundles will be on sale at TpT from Friday, July 18 to Thursday, July 31, 2014 only!

I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who generously donated products for this bundle.  Thank you to:
Autumn Bryant (Speech-Language Investigator)
Nicole Allison (Speech Peeps)
Carissa Ten Hoeve (Home Sweet Speech Room)
Lindsey Swanson-Karol (Word Nerd Speech Teach)
Amy Locy (Speechasaurus)
Lisette Edgar (Speech Sprouts)
Jen Moses (SLP Runner)
Manda and Shanda (Twin Sisters Speech and Language Therapy)
Linda (Looks Like Language)
Megan Moyer (The Speech Summit)
Dean Trout (Dean Trout's Little Shop of SLP)
Kristin Minden (KristinM12)
Erin Taraboletti (Mrs. T SLP)
Teresa Besson (Tech n' Talk SLP's)
Teach Speech 365
Carly Fowler (Happily SLP)
Rae's Speech Spot
Tatyana Elleseff (Smart Speech Therapy)
Desiree Winterbottom (SLP Talk)
Jenn Alcorn (Crazy Speech World)
Carrie Manchester (Carrie's Speech Corner)
Kathy Grover (Speech All the Time)
Maria Del Duca (Communication Station)
Lynda Whittington (Lynda SLP123)
Rose Kesting (Speech Snacks)
Mia McDaniel (Putting Words in Your Mouth)
Rachel Nortz (Queen's Speech)
Kelly Huganski (Speech2U)
Jenn Bell (Straight Up Speech)
Jessica Schulman (Figuratively Speeching)
Tracy Morlan (Gold Country SLP)

Thank you so much to everyone who has helped out with this fundraiser, and to everyone who purchases a bundle.  I will update this post on August 1 to give you the final total of what will be donated to the JDRF. 

Thank you everyone again!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Special Education Planner {BRIGHT COLORS & Black & White!}

I am so excited to link up with Lauren over at Busy Bee Speech to tell you about my new planners that I have already put up on TpT!  A lot of you have already checked these out, and THANK YOU for that!

Special Education Planner {Bright Colors and Black & White}
There are two designs included in this product: Bright Colors and Black & White:


I have been crazy busy with my boys, camping, and just general summer fun, so this is the first chance I have had to sit down and really share with you all of the great additions that I have made to my planners.  Last year I made two planners that I used and shared with other SLPs and special education staff.  From using that planner at school, and listening to input from all of you, I have made some nice additions to this year's new designs!  All of my new pages are now also included in last years designs, so if you have purchased those previously, go and update because there are new pages included!  Special Education Planner

I have included a general cover, and also, my first do-it-yourself editable covers for each design!

The first thing that of course is included inside the planner is a monthly calendar!  Each season (fall, winter, spring, summer) has it's own design.

Next, I included a reminders page that matches each season's design:

NEW!  Based on feedback from people who used last year's planner, I have included a theme page to help you organize for each week!

There is a monthly paperwork page for each season:

NEW this year!  A daily schedule page! 

There is also a communication log, IEP's attended page, and two different note pages included!  There is everything you need to get organized for the year!

You can get these planners HERE!
You can also get my previous design, but updated for this upcoming school year HERE.

You can find out more about other SLPs great binder and planner ideas over at Busy Bee Speech by following her Linky Party!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Let's Use Language: Basic Language Development App Review and {GIVEAWAY}

Let's Use Language: Basic Language Development by Everyday Speech is an app that was just released on June 2, 2014.  This app was developed as a literacy based approach to teach Common Core Language concepts, particularly Knowledge of Language and Vocabulary Acquisition and Use.  It uses stories to teach the language concepts of:
  • Vocabulary
  • Sequencing
  • Categories
  • Opposites
This app comes with 10 stories, each with an accompanying lesson for the four target concepts.  The stories are engaging, an cover a variety of topics.

There is also a feature in this app that allows you to create your own stories and lessons, complete with questions and answers.  You can even use your own pictures.

To begin this app, you can simply press the Start a Lesson button.  If you press the settings button, you can change the Text-to-Speech option, and find out more about Everyday Speech.

Next, you will chose the lesson type you want to work on (Vocabulary, Sequencing, Categories, Opposites) and your story choice.

How does this app work?
The first lesson I chose was vocabulary.  To listen to the story, you press the speaker button.  When you are done reading or listening to the story, you can press start to begin the quiz.

The questions are multiple choice with three choices.  You can hear the question and answers by clicking the speaker button.  When your student chooses the correct answer, you will get a box that says, "That's Right!"  You can then proceed to the next question.  If your student chooses incorrectly, a box will pop up with "Incorrect" written.  You can then choose to review the question or proceed to the next question. 

When you get to the last question, you will get a data collection page which marks the correct number of answers by coloring in stars.  You can then click Complete Lesson which will take you back to the main menu.

I tried all of the lessons with students.  Here are some screenshots from the remaining lessons:




If you want to create your own story, you are able to by clicking the Add Lesson button.  The lesson will be created in one of the four categories (vocabulary, sequencing, categories, opposites).  I created one in the Opposites area just to try it out.  It was easy to add the story text and the image.  I think if I were going to create multiple lessons in all of the areas, I would select all of the text and copy it before I finished because I cannot see a way to edit the story once you enter it.  Here are some pictures from the lesson that I created:

You can also click "Add Skill Set" to add additional lesson areas.  I think I would create a "Wh" question section for my stories.

Things I like about this app:
I like the vocabulary, categories, and opposites lessons of this app.   It think the questions are great, and will work really well with my students.  I also like the option of being able to add my own stories and pictures.  I think that will be really great with some students I am working with that are focusing on relaying information from past experiences.  I could see using real pictures for these stories, and have the students answer questions about their experiences.

Things that would make this app great:
The voice is very robotic because it uses text to speech technology.  I think that if it were possible to have real speech and be able to record your own voice for the story, it would be a great addition to the app.  In the sequencing lesson, students are able to tell from the picture what the answer is.  It would be great to be able to turn off the picture on this part of the lesson. 
*** Update*** The developer of this app has let me know that they have submitted an update to iTunes that includes the ability to turn the pictures off. ****
One last thing that would make this app great would be to have some data tracking for students.

You can get Let's Use Language: Basic Language Development on the iTunes store for $14.99, or you can enter to win a copy here!  Just enter in the rafflecopter below for a chance to win one copy of this app.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**I was provided a copy of this app for review, however was not compensated in any way for my review.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Unspectacular Exit...

I have a confession to make.  I finished my year without a bang.  I didn't make any elaborate crafts with my students to work on language or speech skills.  I didn't have any fun pizza, popcorn, or candy parties like my students always dream up.  We didn't go on scavenger hunts, or even do any therapy outside.  Nope!  I was BORING!!!!

I was able to see all of my students for one last time last week.  We played a game during each session, and I handed out my summer calendars to them.  It was very anti-climactic.  I almost felt bad because I could see myself 10 years ago doing all (or at least some) of the things listed above.

I started thinking, why was I able to do all of those fun things 10 years ago, and couldn't seem to get it together now?  I actually have a couple of answers to that question.

First, I have two boys of my own now, ages 6 and 7.  They are both heavily involved in multiple sports and activities, so my nights are pretty shot after I have them do homework, make dinner, and then schlep them around.

Second, the paperwork.  Oh, the paperwork!  I truly do not remember having to do this much paperwork even a few years ago.  Maybe I have selective memory.

Third, MEETINGS, MEETINGS, MEETINGS!!!!  I have had so many meetings lately, that it is amazing that I have seen my kids at all!  I have had some pretty intense families this year, and lots and lots of meetings with advocates, every team member imaginable, and parents.  I have a pretty intense caseload to begin with (18 self-contained ASD students in addition to the rest of my elementary) so I should expect meetings, but WOW!  I had a lot this year!!!!

So, there you have it, my confession.  I am boring.  There might be reasons behind it, but I do feel some guilt at not having a supercharged last week.  But, at the same time, it was kind of nice to just leave quietly...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Requesting Using Attributes

As you might know, I have a huge passion for using PECS with my students right now.  So many of them have made it so far and are communicating with a variety of people and about a variety of items.  We are now moving on to requesting using attributes.  Two of the easiest ones that I like to start with are color and size.


Color is a great place to start when requesting using attributes.  Almost every great reinforcer has a color, and if it doesn't, you can put it into something that is colored!

I had some chocolate for one of my little people the other day.  Most chocolate is brown, so I didn't really want her to request using "brown".  I wanted her to differentiate colors.  I had some left over plastic Easter eggs, and figured that I could put the chocolate in the different colored eggs and have her request for the eggs by color.  I thought that she wouldn't really want the purple egg if the chocolate was in the green egg.  Wow, was I right!  My little friend was VERY accurate with requesting the right color during this activity.

Color and Size

I found a great game to use when I want my students to request using color and size.  Bingo Bears!  There are three different sizes of bears, and six different colors.  You can also really customize your student's boards so that they have to request exactly what you want them to.  I limited the size to big and small, and also limited the number of colors.

Here is one of my little guys playing with me using his own PECS book to make his requests!

I also wanted to make a paper activity that I could use with my students and possibly send home for practice in describing too.  I made Requesting Big and Little Fish by Color.
I found this really cute clipart from Kari Bolt, and could not resist these little fish!  I thought they would be perfect for this activity!  This is also the first activity that I am using Smarty Symbols!  I recently received a license to use Smarty Symbols in my TpT products, and can't wait to start using more of these.  There are so many pictures available! 

Anyway, back to the activity.  These are simple pages that have sentence strips at the top.  Students can place their color and size icons onto the sentence strip and then request using verbalizations.  If you have non-verbal students who are exclusively using their PECS books, you can simply cut out the icons and place them in/on their book.

Here are some examples of what you can do with this activity:

I have really enjoyed using this activity with my students who have ASD.  I love that they can take something home with them to use at home too!

To purchase this activity, you can go HERE.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

An Exciting Week!!!!

I am gearing up for an exciting week over here at Speech Universe!  First of all, I would like to announce that I am participating in an SLP Frenzy that starts tomorrow, May 4 at 9 a.m. and runs through Monday, May 5 at 10 p.m. (EST)

Look for this tab on my Facebook page to get your freebie!

There are 20 fabulous SLP's participating in this freebie frenzy!  Here is a map that will help guide you through the frenzy: (this link will take you to a google docs map)
When you get to the google docs map, click anywhere to start browsing the freebies!
Just remember, this does not start until 9 am on Sunday, May 4.
The second exciting news is that I am participating in the BIG Teacher Appreciation Sale over at TpT!  The sale runs from Tuesday, May 6 through Wednesday, May 7.

Remember to put in the promo code TPTXO when you check out so that you can get the full 28% savings!

If I could recommend something from my store, I would suggest my Summer Camp Bundle of Language and Grammar skills:

If you follow the SLP Facebook Frenzy, you might be surprised with a sneak preview of this bundle! (Hint, hint)

I hope you have fun this week by grabbing lots of great freebies, and then getting some great deals at the TpT sale!!!

Have a great week!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Preposition Remix: App Review and {GIVEAWAY!}

I have been using a fun app called Preposition Remix with some of my students for a while now.  So, when Smarty Ears contacted me with a few free copies to share, I jumped at the chance to share this great app with you!

Preposition Remix is a simple app that targets 20 of the most common prepositions.  This app is set up for one player at a time, however, if you keep your own data, students can pass it back and forth between each other if you are targeting the same preposition.

To begin, you will set up the game in Settings.  You select the prepositions that will be targeted during the session.  You can also select the reinforcement audio, what to do when an answer is wrong, as well if you want written cues available, randomization of prepositions presented, and the option to repeat questions.

Next, you will select your player.  You can only select one player at a time to collect data, but as I said before, if I collect my own data by paper, I do use this app with multiple players at a time.

Then, you will be ready to start playing!  A direction is given that contains your targeted prepositions.  Your students will just touch the items referenced in the direction.

When you students choose a correct answer, a celebration graphic will appear.

When you are done with the session, simply press the Done button.  Then, if you have worked with only one student, you can see the data that was collected.  You can also sync this data with Therapy Report Center.

I have used this app with my students with autism, as well as some of my younger students who are working on some prepositions.  They love the real pictures, and I love having another way to target prepositions with my students.  This is a great app!

You can get Prepositions Remix at the app store for $9.99.
Or, you could have a chance to win one of two copies by entering this Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was not compensated in any way for this review.  The thoughts and opinions are my own.  I previously purchased this app, and Smarty Ears has provided the additional copies of the app as a giveaway.