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November 30, 2012

Clothespin Christmas Surprises

Wow, I am totally blown away by how many of you like my Christmas games!  Thanks to all who left comments.  I find them very encouraging.  With so many new followers on Facebook and new visitors to my blog, I feel like Christmas has come early!

I didn't think I'd have anything new to post for awhile, but then the stomach flu hit our house and I found time to be crafty!  A blessing in disguise, huh?  So here's what I've been making:


I've been seeing these cute little clothespin thingies on Pinterest in a variety of forms and thought they'd be fun to try.  They were pretty easy so I'll tell you how I made them.

First, I made a set of gifts using graphics from KPM Doodles.  I printed them out on card stock, and cut them out leaving very little margin on the sides of the gifts.

Next, I chose pictures to match the sound I want to target.  I made mine on LessonPix, which is amazingly easy, and then I copied them onto card stock at a reduced size of 75%.  I cut them out to be as small as possible, so they would hide behind the gifts.

Next, I glued a  picture card to the back side of the clothespin, with the picture facing up.  I used a glue stick instead of hot glue because I needed to be able to reposition it if necessary once I attached the gift pieces and I wanted it to dry faster than white glue.  I put the glue on the bottom piece of the clothespin only, which allows the upper piece to move.

Then I cut each gift piece in half.  I put glue on both the top and bottom pieces of the clothespin and positioned the two gift pieces so they hid the picture beneath them.  I squeezed the clothespin to open the gift and checked that the picture behind it was clearly visible.  In most cases, I needed to slide either the gift pieces or the picture card a little to make it just right.

Here's what they look like when they're finished:

Cute, huh?  I've got some more time yet today...maybe I'll make another set for /k/!

If you want to make some too, you can download the gifts here.  If you get an error message, it's because the server is still having difficulties so either try logging in to your Google account before downloading, or try again later.

Have a great weekend everyone!


November 29, 2012

Rudolph's Crazy Cookie Exchange

I loved those Christmas Cookie graphics so much that I made another game!  This one is called Rudolph's Crazy Cookie Exchange Game.

It's a card game that will work for 2-3 players if you print it as-is, or 4-5 players if you print out an extra sheet of cookies.

The object of the game is to be the first player to share all of your cookies by following the directions on the game cards.  You can read all the rules below for complete instructions, and continue to scroll down for a quick look.

This is what the game looks like when it is set up:

Players start with 5 cookies in their own Cookie Stash.  They choose them from the center pile before the game begins.  Players take turns drawing a card and following the direction on the card.

In the example above, the player drew a card that stated that Granny wants a red cookie.  The player chooses a cookie from his Cookie Stash that matches the description and places it on Granny's plate.  If he does not have one that matches, he finds one from the center pile to give to her instead.

Sometimes the card will tell you that the character DOESN'T want specific colors or shapes of cookies.  The player must remove the cookie or cookies from the character's plate that match the description and place them back in his Cookie Stash.

Sometimes a player will draw a card that gives them special instructions.  Some of the cards direct players to put cookies back in the pile or to trade cookies between the characters.  And some tell you to give two of your cookies away.  The SWAP! cards mean that the player must move all of one character's cookies to the other character's plate, and vise versa.

Play continues until a player shares all of his or her cookies.  It's fun, and not as easy to get rid of your cookies as you'd think!

I've played this game several times already.  It worked GREAT for working on medial alveolars with a third grade girl, and for several others working on /s/ or /r/.  I plan to use it with a child to work on negatives such as "don't" and "doesn't" as well.  How about using it with kids who are working on following directions that include adjectives?  You could make the game more challenging for your language processing kiddos by reading the cards to them without letting them see the pictures, too. There are lots of possibilities!

Do you like this game? You can find it at my TpT store. *Update: This product was offered as a freebie for a short time. Due to multiple difficulties with downloads, I transferred it from Google Drive to my TpT store, where it is now a paid product.

Whew!  I think I'm done making games for a few days!  Graphics credit again goes to Scrappin' Doodles for their wonderful Christmas Cookie collection and Granny Swallowed Christmas.  Credit for the plates goes to my son, Jake!  What will I do when he moves out???

Fa La La La La!


November 28, 2012

Santa's Sled Rhyme Difficulties???

I've gotten two emails today from people who haven't been able to print the Santa's Sled Rhyme activities.  I'm not sure what's going on, because when I test it, it totally works for me.  Is anyone else having difficulties with downloading it and/or printing it?  Please let me know if it works for you!

Santa's Christmas Cookie Slam! Card Game

I fell completely in love with these cute Christmas Cookie graphics from Scrappin' Doodle and just knew I could find several ways to use them!  Here's a fun game I created for following directions and language processing.  It's called:

The download includes these cookies...

 ...and these playing cards...

...for some fast-paced fun!  This is a great little game for a whole variety of skills.  You could use it for articulation practice, practicing giving directions, following directions and language processing, just to mention a few.  I'm thinking my kids will LOVE it!  In fact, I'll probably send a few copies home with kids as homework.  (P.S.  Update:  I've played this several times today and it was a major hit!)

Do you want to play, too?  You can download this game here.  I've been using this game as is, but you might want to make two copies of both cards and cookies to extend the length of the game (not to mention the laughter!)

'Tis the Season!


November 27, 2012

Christmas Brainstorm

Earlier in the month I posted a worksheet for thinking about Thanksgiving.  It worked so well for me that I made a Christmas version.  It was created for use with the Expanding Expression program, but you could easily use it without utilizing those methods.  I find it is a great way to get kids talking about what they know and expand their vocabulary.

Download your copy here.  Graphic credit goes to Scrappin' Doodles.  I hope you'll find this useful, too!


November 21, 2012

Santa's Sled Rhyme

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to share a couple of fun Christmas activities with you.  Both are based on a little rhyme I made up about Santa's sled.  The first version is a beginning letter sound activity.  It goes like this:

 You select a letter card and place it in the candy cane frame.  Then together with the child, you say the rhyme together.

I typically display three or four picture cards for the child to choose from.  Together we say the names of the items on the cards, emphasizing the beginning letter sound of each.  The child selects the one that matches and puts it on the sled picture.

This is what the sled will look like with picture cards placed on it as the rhyme progresses.

We repeat the sequence using other letters until Santa's sled is full.

The other version is a matching version, which is great for younger preschoolers.  The rhyme is slightly different:

Instead of letters, you place a toy picture on the elf's list.  Display three or four picture cards and let the child find the one that matches and put it in the sled.

These are great activities for promoting early literacy skills.  I hope you enjoy using them as much as I do!  The picture card set I created for the matching game were chosen specifically for a few of my kids working on bilabial sounds and CVC words.  They look like this:

You can download a copy of both activities here.  I printed mine on photo paper again, which I really prefer.  The colors are much more vibrant than they are on card stock, and I don't have to laminate them, which saves a bunch of time.  In the past,  I've stuck Velcro dots on the sleigh to hold the toy pieces in place.  It's not necessary, but it also gives the child visual cues to assist with placement of the toys.

I hope you like it!  Leave a comment if you do.  Credit goes to Scrappin' Doodles (again!) for the darling graphics.  Where would I be without them???

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


A Tribute to My Friend John

I lost a dear friend Monday.

I met John in junior high, when the kids from the Catholic schools joined us public school kids in ninth grade.  He was always ready with a smile, and was one of the kindest kids I knew.  We stayed friends throughout our high school years.

We parted ways when we went off to college, and didn't keep in touch after I moved 2,000 miles away with my new husband.  He moved back to our small town in central Wisconsin to be with his family and the the town he loved.  I went on to become a wife and mother of three boys, and began my career as a speech-language pathologist here in Oregon.  At some point, I heard he began to work for the city he lived in on the recycling crew.  My mom also worked for the city as a secretary and she would tell me that she would run into John at City Hall, and that he would always ask about me.  And thus went our paths for twenty years; very different life choices, our paths not intersecting.

But several years ago, our paths did intersect when we "found" each other on Facebook.  As it was with many of my other friends from the Merrill Class of '82, we happily became reconnected as we shared our lives and our stories.  It always brightened my day when suddenly the chat screen would pop up and there would be a "Hello Kiddo!" from John.  He was famous for checking in with all his friends, to make sure things were going well, or just to say hello.

I went back to Merrill for my 30th class reunion last August.  For several weeks (and months!) before, there was quite a buzz being generated on Facebook on who was all planning to attend.  It was sure to be a good time.  And it was!!!  Almost all of my close friends from high school were there.  We spent good quality time together and reminisced, and oh, how we laughed!

I found out then how beloved John had become to my friends over the years.  His kindness only increased from when I knew him.  He always had a smile and a wave or a hug for everyone he met.  He loved his city and the people in it, especially his family and friends.  He would do anything for anyone, even if it meant being inconvenienced or sacrificing time for himself or his family.  He was rich with friends.  I loved that I got the chance to be with him again and get to know him as an adult.  I left my hometown with new relationships forged with old friends and new memories to add to my childhood ones.

In the months since then, I would get unexpected texts from John.  Most of the time he was just checking in.  He'd say, "I hope you're having a great day!" and then make sure I'd know that he was thinking of me.  He'd send me smiles across the miles.

Last week I got the news that he was in the hospital and that it was not looking good for recovery for my friend John.  I took the news hard.  I'd anxiously check Facebook for any tidbits of information on his condition several times a day.  I prayed and prayed.

On Saturday, my husband and I traveled out into Wine Country to attend a wine tasting event.  The tasting was at an old warehouse as the winemakers were a small operation and did not have their own facility yet.  As I walked through the rain to the warehouse, I noticed brilliantly red leaves scattered across the gravel and pavement. I took notice of the color and contrast and wished it wasn't raining so I could snap a picture, but warmth won out and I quickly went inside.  Not long into our tastings, I received a call from close friends, telling me the news I was dreading.  I stepped out into the rain as my friend cried and told me that life support would be removed on Monday.  I heard the anguish in my friend's voice as he was trying to comprehend this loss and my heart shattered.  I turned to my husband with tears spilling from my eyes and shared the news with him.  "Joy, " I said, "I need to find joy. I need to know God is with me in this place of pain!"  For several months I have been keeping a photo journal of things that bring me joy, tiny reminders of God's grace, on a quest to live a life of gratitude.  My eyes focused in on the leaves I had stared at while I received the bad news from my friend.  Joy? No.  Pain?  Yes.  Regardless, I reached for my phone, and snapped the picture which will forever be burned into my memory.

It occurred to me then, that John was just like those red leaves.  Bright and vibrant amidst the ordinary and mundane.  A bold splash of color on a gray, rainy day, whose contrast against the darkness does not go unnoticed.  There's my joy.  In knowing John.  In knowing what kind of person he was and the impact he had on the lives of many.  Even as my heart is breaking, I am grateful for his life and the blessing of knowing him.

November 9, 2012

Part/Whole Activity with Tapikeo HD

People who know me or read my blog know that I LOVE the Tapikeo HD app and use it frequently in my treatment sessions.  If you've never heard of it, it's an app that you can use it to create your own digital photo flashcards and storybooks very quickly and easily.

The good news is that today it is FREE instead of it's usual price of $3.99 at the app store!  Go get it if you don't have it!

I want to share my latest activity that I made using this app.  It's a Part/Whole activity that features photographs of things we see in the fall.
Here's a glimpse of some of the pages:

This is how I made it.  I took pictures of fall things that I saw around me and loaded them into my computer.  When I edited them, I duplicated the originals, and then cropped each one to show just a part of the complete object.

I used PowerPoint to created the slides.  It's a very easy process.  First I chose a background color for the slides.  Then I added a text box and a photograph to each one.  My slides looked like this:

Next, I imported the slides into a new Tapikeo HD grid.  You need to select them one by one from your iPhoto library, but it only takes a few minutes to complete an entire grid.

I chose to only include photos in this grid.  I did not add text or record a sound, which made this project even easier.

The finished grid looks like this:

When you want to view your grid as a sequence of single pictures, you press Play on the bottom left of the screen.  That's it!

Jean Eudes (the creator of Tapikeo HD) was kind enough to provide me with a link to share my grid with you.  If you have the app and want to use my grid, you can find it here:   http://bit.ly/RMhoDE

Are you new to my blog and are wondering what else I've done with Tapikeo HD?  Check out these older posts:




You might even find some more free grids :-)


November 8, 2012

Stomp, Skip, Spin!

I just loved KPM Doodles Basic Monster set so much, that I had to find something else to make with them.  The result:  Stomp, Skip, Spin! It's an action game for working on articulation skills.  Just print out the game, cut out the cards and you're ready to go.

These are the Action Cards; Cut them apart and lay them face down on the Game Board.
These are the SP set of the Word Cards.  There is also an ST and a SK set included in the download, as well as a page of blank ones for you to customize.  Print, cut them apart and lay them face down on the Game Board.

This is the Game Board; Put the Action Cards in a pile, face down of the Action Card Draw Pile space, and the Word Cards in a pile on the other draw pile space.
To play, the child draws one card from the Action Card pile and lays it on the Action Card Discard pile, and one card from the Word Card pile and lays it on the Word Card Discard pile.  The child performs the action on the Action Card while saying the word on the Word Card.  Here's the great part:  You get to choose how you want him/her to say it (ex. word, phrase or sentence) and how many times he/she has to repeat it.  So it might look like this:  "Say the word "space" 5 times while you skip around the room."  Easy!  And fun!  I've only played it once so far, but we had a blast and the child asked if we could do it again next week.  That qualifies as a success in my book!  I'm already thinking of other  ways to use this game.  Wouldn't it be fun to make an obstacle course and have the kids draw a new set of cards before each obstacle, skipping or spinning or tip-toeing to the next one?  Hmmm.  I'll let you know if it works.  But in the mean time, if you want to play this game, too, you can find it in my TpT Store. It includes target cards for F, S, SH and CH in the initial and final positions.

Have fun!


November 5, 2012

Shape Monster Book

Years ago, before there were blogs and file sharing, I found a darling little activity on some Boardmaker activity sharing site that I happened to stumble upon.  It  was a Shape Monster book with interactive pieces.  Although it didn't give a step-by-step of how to recreate it, it gave me enough detail for me to make my own.  For years I've been using my Shape Monster set that I made with Boardmaker PCS, but it has become tattered and torn, so it was time to make a new one.  Kids over the years have loved this activity so much that I'd like to share my new version with you.  I've combed the Web looking for that site I found so long ago so I could credit them, but never found it.  I did find a printable version for early readers from Hubbard's Cupboard that was similar though, so maybe this story originated there.

Anyway, here's my version.  I laminated a copy of my shape monster onto a large mailing envelope and cut out the mouth.  I made shapes out of colored foam for the kids to feed the monster his lunch.

The text goes like this:  "Shape Monster, Shape Monster Munch, Munch, Munch!  I want to eat a ___________ for lunch!"  The kids catch on quickly, and love stuffing shapes in his mouth.  It's always a hit!

Isn't that monster cute?  I have KPM Doodles to thank for that.  If you'd like a copy of my Shape Monster Book, you can download it here.


P.S.  Monsters are NOT just for Halloween!

November 2, 2012

Pumpkin Stew

Halloween may be over, but I am still all about pumpkins!  I love them!  I'm so glad I can use them in my Thanksgiving activities, too.  Guess what I'm whipping up now???  A big batch of Pumpkin Stew!

I made up this little rhyme to use with my S-Blend kiddos, but I think it can be adapted to work for almost any of my kids.  Yesterday, I grabbed a big bowl, a wooden spoon, two plastic pumpkins and a variety of play food items.

Yes, I know they're jack-o-lanterns and it's after Halloween...it's all I had!

We put the pumpkins in the green bowl as we said "Pumpkin Stew.  Pumpkin Stew."  Then we rubbed our stomachs as we said "Mmmm, I like it.  Yes I do!"  Next, we shook the salt shaker and pretended to add salt to the stew as we said "Salt and Pepper".  Then the child chose an item from the blue bowl and added it to the stew as we said (for example) "Pizza, too!"  Finally, we took the spoon and stirred up the stew while we said, "Stir, stir, stir my pumpkin stew!"  The kids loved it!  They caught on to the rhyme very quickly and were eager to put in all the food items I had chosen.

I plan to use this with my little ones working on CVC combos and two-syllable words next week.  I want to make it easy for them to repeat this activity at home, so I that's why I made the printed version.  I recruited my son to draw some the graphics for me (isn't he amazing???? He did the pot, spoon and salt shaker).  It sure is nice to have an in-house graphics designer, let me tell you!  That is, when I can pin him down.  The pumpkin came from KPM Doodles, and the boarders from Scrappin' Doodles.

I will send home a set of picture cards and a copy of the the rhyme and the pot.  The child can choose a picture to put in the little frame on the rhyme page prior to starting the rhyme.  As they recite the rhyme with their parent, they can add it to the soup pot and pretend to stir it in.

Here's an example of the picture cards I will use with my S-Blend kids:

I made these at LessonPix.com.  Do you know about LessonPix?  I came late to the parade and just found out about them last week.  How did I not know about them???  Anyway, it is an amazing site where you can create materials using their graphics in just a few minutes.  It has a sound finder feature that lets you enter in the sound and place in the word and then displays all the graphics that match.  You can quickly choose the ones you want, and then turn them into cards with just a click of the mouse.  Amazing.  However, it is not a free site; you do need to purchase a membership.

Do you want to make Pumpkin Stew, too?  If so, you can download the rhyme and stew pot here.  Just be sure to let me know what you think about our original creations :-)  (Can you tell I'm a proud mama?)