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May 23, 2012

Goin' Buggy!

We're goin' buggy here at Small Talk this month!

This is one of my favorite themes.  There is so much to do! My office is transformed into a garden, and there are bugs hiding all around.  I bought The Fairy Garden Hideaway from Hearthsong a few years ago and hung it from a hook on my ceiling.  I spread the sheer green netting from corner to corner, making my office feel like we are hiding in and under a garden...like bugs!  The kids all love it and think it's a magical place to be.  One of their favorite things to do is decorate foam butterflies to hang from the canopy.  You can find foam butterflies, flowers and bugs at your local craft store.  I like to use the smaller pieces to cover up target word pictures to work on articulation.  The child removes a flower sticker from the page and practices the word hiding under it.  You can do this activity to work on language goals, too.  When the butterfly is complete, I let the child show me where he or she would like their butterfly displayed.  We talk about the colors of the butterflies on the canopy, and use location words, such as above, below and next to.  The children return each week delighted to find new butterflies hanging on the canopy.

Another fun and easy project to do is to make a bug with Crayola Model Magic modeling material.  Gather up some googly eyes, pipe cleaners and foam leaf stickers and you're ready to go.  Model Magic is a great material if you've never tried it.  It is soft and easy to work with, and yet it is not sticky or messy at all.

I made a set of 6 sequence cards for the kids to follow to create their own bugs.  Several of my kids are working on comparatives, so several of the steps include concepts such as short vs. long, flat vs. round, and large vs. small.   Here is what they look like.

Here's an example of a bug made by a student, using foam leaf stickers for the wings.  This activity lends itself well to creating many language opportunities.  I've learned a lot about bugs this week, too.  I was taught by a second grader that real insects have THREE body parts, not just TWO, like my activity suggests.  Sigh.  They always keep us humble, don't they?

If you'd like a copy of my sequence cards to build your own bugs, you can grab them here.  Don't panic if you find them out of sequence in the document...They are all there!

One last easy little activity I'd like to share is this one.  I purchased this cute bug boarder for bulletin boards at Lakeshore.  I cut a piece in half, and folded the circles like an accordion.  I cut out some circles, pasted a bug jar on each, and stapled the circle to the first bug circle "page".  It looks like this:

 I have used this little book to work on a whole host of different goals.  We've worked on vocabulary (ex. names of insects, body parts), 2- word phrases (black bug, pink bug, yellow bug) and descriptors.  I've used it with my early elementary kids who are using the Expending Expression Tool (EET) with great success, focusing so far on the group name (ex. bugs or insects) and then on "Do" (ex. "What does a ladybug do?).  Next week we'll be moving on to size, shape and color to add to our bug descriptions.  If you're not familiar with the EET, you should learn about it.  It is a fantastic method for improving language skills developed by an SLP.  Check it out here.

There.  That should keep you busy for awhile!

Nice chatting with you!


May 18, 2012

Tapikeo HD App 80% off Today Only!

Check it out!  Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE the Tapikeo HD app!  It is on sale today for 80% off it's usual price of $2.99 at the app store.  You've gotta get this one if you don't have it already. Check out some of my earlier blog posts to see how I've used it and to download some free templates:

Template for In, On and Under

Movement Story Idea

Move and Talk Story Templates

 Have fun!


May 17, 2012

App Review: Trucks HD by Duck Duck Moose

 I just downloaded this app today and I can already tell it's going to be a winner!  The name of this app is Trucks by Duck Duck Moose, creators of several of my favorite apps for little ones, and was just released on May 1, 2012.  I am so glad I found it...and so was my three-year-old friend that I used it with this morning! Any truck-loving child is sure to be delighted with the colorful, appealing graphics and the actions the cars and trucks perform.  It is easy to use and is very engaging.

The first thing you do is choose a scene.  You can choose the car wash, the tow truck, the garbage truck, traffic or the construction site.

We chose the car wash, and this is what we saw:

First, you roll your car through the mud until it's nice and dirty.

Next, you take it through the car wash.  Touch the brushes to make them wash the car.

 Then touch the devices above the car to rinse it...

...and blow it dry.  Your car is now clean and ready to roll!  This activity was perfect for working on new words with my little friend with CAS.  Words we practiced include mud, dirt, dirty, wash, water, on, off, brush, blow, clean and go.  It was also great for following directions.

The construction site was next.  The dump truck dumps dirt, rock or sand for the backhoe to scoop and take away.  Watch out for a few sneaky squirrels who visit the site!

The last scene we tried today was the tow truck scene.  We placed sharp objects in the road to pop the tires of unsuspecting cars and then sent a tow truck to help.

The tow truck brings the car to the tire shop, where we get to change the tires.  We raise and lower the car by touching the arrows, and choose new tires by touching the tool.

I haven't tried the other two scenes yet, but I'm sure I'll be just as enchanted!  This app was definitely worth the cost of $1.99.  The activities generated lots of spontaneous language from my little friend who is just building his vocabulary and beginning to combine words.  He was eager to imitate new words and excited to see what would happen next.  We'll definitely be trying this activity again soon!

May 9, 2012

A Great Game for Practicing Final R Words

I just had to share another one of my favorite games.  It is called One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish Memory Game, and I use it for working on the Final R sound.  The game box has five hidden windows on it with removable panels that are labeled "near", "far", "here", "there" and "somewhere".  Objects are hidden below the panels in a sea of tiny blue beads.  To play the game, the player spins the spinner which tells him or which panel he can remove.  The player turns over a card which tells him which object to look for.  If one of the objects hiding behind the panel matches the card, the player keeps the card and draws another.  Play continues until a player collects six cards.

The spinner tells you where you can look; If you land on "Wave", you need to shake the game to mix up the hidden objects.

Example of hidden objects once a panel is removed.
This game is great for working on the following words:

     here     there     near     far   somewhere     there   anywhere   for    or     more

If we are at the sentence level, I have the student say a sentence including two location names and the object before he removes a panel.  It might go like this:  "Look near or far for a red fish."  If he finds what he's looking for, he gets to look for more items in the same location, so I have him say, "Look for more."  Sometimes I write out the target phrases/sentences on a card with the "r's" highlighted as a prompt to remember to say all those "r's" correctly.

This game can take up to 15 minutes to complete, but it provides numerous opportunities to practice those "r's".  The kids request it repeatedly, so I know they like it, too!

Have fun!


May 8, 2012

Ideas for Home Projects Using Tapikeo HD App

I'll admit it...I just can't get enough of my Tapikeo HD app!  I've been using it with my families for "homework" projects.  Let me tell you how.

The first activity is one that I've been doing with my itty-bitties.  It's called "Where's Mommy?" and I use it for working on family member names, vocabulary building, and early concepts.  I also use it for my CAS kids at the VC level in the Kaufman program.  I send them home with the instructions to take pictures of various family members demonstrating the concepts I want to teach, as well as close-up pictures of each family member.  After I receive the photos from the family, I import them into a Tapikeo grid.  I made a grid as a template, which you can download at the end of this post, to help me organize my story.  This is what the grid looks like:

The words and the background color in each cell of the template disappear when a new photograph is added, so you can put a picture of Daddy in a cell that has a different family member's name and no one will ever know!  As I said, the template is just to help me organize my story.  You can add your own words to each cell by typing in the "text" box.  My kids love this story, and it generates a TON of language.

If you would like to use this template, you can download it here:

The next idea I'd like to share is to make stories about individual concepts.  Here is one Charlie and I made together.  I made the orange slide using Microsoft Word and saved it as a PDF.  I imported it to my iPad, and then used it as the first cell of a new story.

Then Charlie and I used objects around my office to demonstrate the concept of "between".  I took photos of him directly from the app (as I've explained in earlier posts) and then recorded Charlie using the word "between" in a sentence.

Press "new" to take a picture, then record voice.
Charlie said, "The bear is between my arms."

We completed seven different examples of demonstrating "between" for this story, and then played it back.  Charlie was so proud and really learned the concept well.   I  exported this story to his iPad at home, and asked him and his mom add to it using items from around his house.  I can't wait to see what they add!

I made a generic "cover page" for this story that you can download here if you want to make one, too: My Story of "Between".

Another great idea:  Charlie's mom purchased this app and promptly put it to use to work on his articulation skills.  She knew we were working on the /l/ sound in the final position of words, so she and Charlie found objects around their house and made a story of Charlie saying words that end in /l/.

I hope you're using this app.  It has so many amazing possibilities!

Nice chatting with you,