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April 26, 2012

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Feel Better Frog from Manhattan Toy
We're learning all about doctors and nurses here at Small Talk this week, so what better time to bring out another one of my favorites:  Feel Better Frog!  If you're not familiar with this toy, let me fill you in.  This poor little frog is not feeling well, but has all the accessories to help him get better in no time!  He sneezes or blows his nose when you hold the tissue to his face, slurps soup off the spoon, and tells you if he has a fever or not when the thermometer is in his mouth.  He even tells you when he's hungry!  Kids and parents alike find this toy hilarious and engaging. I usually add my Fisher Price Doctor Kit to the mix, and then we can check poor Froggie's ears, give his a shot or two and listen to his heart.  Playing doctor is a great way to introduce new vocabulary and practice lots of language goals!

To go along with this theme, I made a Patient Chart using Boardmaker.  We talk about who the patient is, what happened to him, what we did to make him feel better, and what instructions we gave him to do at home.  I help the child complete the chart by showing him a page of choices for each question on the chart.  We review/name each of the choices and select one to put on the chart.  When the chart is complete, I have the child tell about the patient he treated, using the chart as prompts.

For example, the child might say, "Teddy Bear came to the doctor today.  He fell off his bike and hurt his knee.  I put a bandaid on it.  I told him to go home and rest."

If you'd like to download my charts and choices, you can find them at these links:  Chart ChoicesChart Choices 2 and Patient Chart.  Sorry for the multiple downloading, but I posted these before knowing how to link PDF's together in one file.  Oh well, they're free, right?

Another great way to work on sequencing, vocabulary and language skills is to make an interactive story of the child pretending to be a doctor using your iPad or iPhone.  There are several great apps that allow you to take photographs within the app itself and then use them to create a story, but the one I used today was Stories 2 Learn by MDR.  It's easy to use and a story can be completed quickly.  Check it out in the App Store.

Just take a picture of the child using your iPad or iPhone, or import a photo from another camera.  Add the text by typing in the text box, and audio if you desire.  Save your page, and add another.  Your story can be as long or as short as you want it!  The pages of the story look like this:

Kids just love to be the stars of their own stories, and this is a great way for them to work on their speech/language skills, too!

Nice chatting with you!


April 17, 2012

Vroom! Vroom!

It's time to roll out the cars and trucks and things that go here at Small Talk!  This month our theme is Community Helpers/Cars and Trucks.  What better way to get started than pulling out the City rug and a bin full of vehicles?  

I bought this rug at Home Depot many years ago and it still is a favorite with my preschool kiddos.  It features roads that take you to many places in the city, including the hospital, police station, fire station and post office.

I made a "map" to help us get to all the places we need to go.  I took pictures of all the destinations on the rug and then used Boardmaker to make cards for my map.  I punched two holes in the top of each card and used metal rings to hold them together.  We select a vehicle and a place to start on the rug, and then flip to the first page of our map book.  We drive our vehicle to the place that matches the picture.  This is where you get to be creative.  Depending on the goals I'm working on, sometimes the child needs to answer a couple of questions about the place we're visiting, or sometimes I have him or her list three things they might see there.  We always talk about who might work there, or what you might do if you were there.  You can also work on negatives (ex. "This is not the post office"), and a whole host of other language concepts.  I also use it to work on articulation skills by placing stacks of picture cards on each location and having the child say the target words before moving onto a new location. 

I took individual pictures of the locations on the rug and imported them into Boardmaker cells to make the pages of the map book.

An example of a city location and it's matching map card.

If you have this rug and would like copies of my photographs, download them here:

Car Rug Destinations 1
Car Rug Destinations 2
Car Rug Destinations 3

Nice chatting with you!


April 10, 2012

Move and Talk: Story Templates for Tapikeo HD

Last month, I shared with you how I used the Tapikeo HD app to create an interactive activity in one of my treatment sessions.  Many of you showed interest in that particular activity, so together with Takikeo's developer, Jean-Eudes Lepelletier, I created a couple of free templates for treatment activities to share with you.  These templates have been made available on Jean-Eudes' website and Facebook page and right here on my blog!

The first is called Move and Talk: Colors.  It is a little story that incorporates following directions, colors and movement, and can be customized to target specific speech and/or language goals.  This is how I use it:

Move and Talk: Colors Template as it appears when you download it onto Tapikeo HD

After downloading the grid from the server and opening it in my Tapikeo app, I am ready to make it my own.  First, I find it in the "Your Exports" section of the Grid Manager.  I select "Import", which moves a copy of the template to the "Your Grids" section of the Grid Manager.  I select the template then go to Grid Settings to rename this story.  Then I press "done" and am ready to create my story.  Next, press "Select and Play, and then press "edit", which you will find at the bottom of the screen.

Cell 2 - Customization
Cell 1 - Direction for the Child

I show the child the first cell, and read the text.  While the child finds a red object, I touch the second cell.  (By the way, I usually collect objects of various colors beforehand and keep them in a large basket that is accessible to the child.  This saves a bunch of time!)  I touch the "new" button to take a picture of the child performing the action.  This photo will become page 2 of our story and will replace the text or photo that appears in this cell as a template.  I then ask the child to say a target word, phrase, or sentence, and record him or her saying it.  For this example, the child said "Red on my head", because we were working on using the final /d/ sound.  We play it back to review, and if we are satisfied, I touch "done", which takes us back to the main grid.  I repeat this sequence for each of the colors in the story until it is completed.

Example of a  template cell in Play Mode
Example of a customized cell in Play Mode

When all the cells are completed, you are ready to play back your story.  Touch "play" at the bottom of the screen, and touch the blinking cell in the upper left corner of the grid.  That's it!  Easy!  And completed in less than 15 minutes.

The second story is one I use with my /r/ kids, to increase the level of difficulty while they practice saying target words in phrases and sentences.  It is called Move and Talk: Final AR.  This is what it looks like:

Move and Talk: Final AR Template

 Use this template in the same way as described for the Move and Talk: Color story, except record the child saying the target phrase or sentence as directed in the story.

Move and Talk:  Final AR grid with photos added

Template text disappears when you add a photo to the grid;  Add your own text by typing it in during the customization process.

So what do you think?  Do you like these?  If so, you can download one or both of them here (once you purchase the Tapikeo HD app):

Move and Talk: Colors
.tpk file:  http://bit.ly/MoveWithColorsTpk
web version:  http://bit.ly/MoveWithColorsInternet

Move and Talk: Final AR
.tpk file:  http://bit.ly/MoveTalkFinalAR_Tpk
web version:  http://bit.ly/MoveAndTakFinalAR_Web

If you don't already have the Tapikeo HD app, now is a great time to get it, because the 3.0 version is just being released.  You can purchase it through the App Store today!

I'd love your feedback on these templates.  I've been enjoying using them with my kids, and their parents absolutely love them!  I've got some other ideas in the works too; let me know if you want me to share them.

By the way, can you tell I just love Tapikeo HD?  It can be used SO MANY different ways with every child and family on my caseload.  The possibilities are endless!  A HUGE thanks to Jean-Eudes for creating this fabulous treatment tool!

Nice chatting with you!