Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I am chomping at the bit for the time off.  We have one more week of school and for the first time in five years, we will have the entire week off for Thanksgiving.  Do you?  Is this usual for your school district?  Or do you work up until the day before Thanksgiving and then have Thanksgiving and the day after off?

Either way, we still have a few days of crunch time therapy before enjoying a little relaxation time off.  Are you still in need of some little "reinforcements" with a Thanksgiving theme? Here are five great apps that I found that can be used to target speech and language goals and act as a Thanksgiving week reinforcement.

THANKSGIVING EBOOK (Mr. Turkey, where are you?) by Visual Works: This is a very basic ebook introducing Thanksgiving characters (Pilgrim, turkey, Native American, leaf, etc..) and is a simple way to work on answering basic who, what, and where questions.  The great part is that you can also personalize the story for your student. The designer of this app also has similar ebooks for other holidays too. If you go to their website, you can also download a pdf version of this story.

HAND TURKEY App by Jay Ayres: This is a multi-touch app.  It is great when working on cause-effect, making requests, and following directions. My little one loved playing with it and I heard a lot of giggling happening so I am excited to see how my kiddos at work like it.  Student places their hand on the tablet screen and the app will make a turkey using their hand.  Students can name their turkey and decorate it. 

WORDSEARCH THANKSGIVING by Astraware:  I love this one! I'm pretty sure my older students will love it too.  When you start the game it creates a lit of words associated with Autumn and Thanksgiving.  Tap it again, and a huge wordsearch with the same words comes up for the students to locate the words.  This app is great for targeting articulation (especially if students are at a mixed position level with their sound), definitiions, and grammar (using a word in a grammatically correct sentence or identifying the part of speech).

THANKSGIVING GAMES for KIDS by Maria Dolores Garcia Ferre: This app features multiple games such as simon says (with Thanksgiving foods), identifying pictures that are not the same, word search, memory, building words by moving letters in place, etc.. This is just a great app to reinforce completion of speech tasks.

THANKSGIVING PUZZLES by Scott Adelman Apps Inc: These puzzles are very simple and cute (9 pieces).  I have the free version and it provides you with four puzzles.  You have the option to buy more and if you do purchase you are able to change the number of puzzle pieces too.  Personally, I found the free version more than meets my needs for reinforcement.  Once the student puts all the pieces together a cute little animation takes place.

The opinions expressed here are my own and I have not received any compensation for sharing this information.  All websites and tablet applications that are mentioned in this blog are done so as potential tools to encourage and assist in the development of speech and language skills.

Do you have any suggestions for free Thanksgiving apps that can be used in therapy?
Have your student's mentioned to you over and over that the new Trolls movie is coming out?  Between work and home, I have heard my students and my child mention it a time or two.  It made me wish my childhood home was closer to where I live so I could ransack my old toy box and find my troll dolls! I know they have to be in there somewhere.  I use to love the sensory of the troll hair! get my student's into the groove of therapy, I have been using my Trolls No Prep Speech and Language set and they have been loving it! I loved that it made therapy easy.  Just print the pages I need and grab daubers, dice, and/or a paperclip.  I'm about keeping it super simple so in many cases, I just grabbed the pages, crayons for the kiddos to color instead of daub, and used the Make Dice App so I wouldn't lose any small parts! The app added to the magic for the kids too since they all seem to love using the tablet even when it is something so simple. I even created a Trolls No Prep Speech and Language FREEBIE which is a small sample of the big 160 page set.
I will also be pulling out my Open-Ended Trolls game boards and points game that I shared as an exclusive freebie with my email list friends! I figure the Trolls are back in full force so I made game boards for several seasons (Fall, Winter, and Spring) that school is in session.  The points game reminded me of collecting Trolls since that is exactly what you do with the game.  You collect Troll cards and points.  At the end, the person with the most points wins!  I'm super excited to see my kiddos faces when they see the new games featuring Trolls.

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I have said this a million times and I will say it again.  I LOVE HALLOWEEN!  Okay, I love Autumn.  I think it is my favorite season of all (well, that and Spring. Hmm... Summer is great too for obvious reasons)!  I love seeing little dressed up in costume. I remember trick or treating fondly. Plus, I just love the change in colors. Halloween therapy week is always so much fun. The kids are excited and even the most resistant child to conversation typically becomes more of a social butterfly.  I mean, who wouldn't when you can talk costumes, favorite candy (chocolate!), and Halloween parties or community events.  This week, I will be pulling out or continue to use the following materials to engage the kids in building their skills in articulation, language, and conversation.
I recently revised all of my Map, Mash, & Mark Conversation Mats.  In some cases, the product itself is completely new with better graphics, font, and design.  One such set is my MAP, MASH, & MARK: HALLOWEEN CONVERSATION MATS.  The kids loved the Frankenstein Mash Mat the best. The pumpkin carving was second favorite because it elicited A LOT of conversation about how they like to cut their pumpkins, what they do with the seeds, and what they put inside the pumpkin for light (candle, LED light, or glow stick.

The Map, Mash, & Mark sets provides students with conversation flow maps to determine who their audience is, what they may have in common to discuss, map out a possible conversation, and determine if their responses and continue topic maintenance. All charts, conversation suggestions, and mats are provided in color and in low ink black and white (which is perfect to take home and practice conversations with parents, siblings, and friends). I typically use the Mash mats in therapy because it keeps hands busy with dough and doesn't result in ink all over my table or space (I tend to always get the daubers that like to leak or else everyone who steps into my speech space simply does not know their own strength). used my new NO PREP SPOOKTACULAR pack last week over and over again.  The kids loved using crayons to color in the potion bottles, cauldrons, and coffins.  In fact, using the crayons and color pencils were just as much a win as using the dauber bottles typically are.  Plus, once they finished working on their targeted articulation or language goal, they were able to color in the cute graphics.  All that was needed was the necessary pages, dice, or a paperclip.  It included a dice game, double dice game, and spinners game. I do not like hauling dice around with me. I tend to forget where I place them. So, I used my tablet and an app called Make Dice Lite.  The kids liked seeing who could complete all 12 articulation or language tasks first. The pack consists of 106 pages and targets the following sounds in all word positions: k, g, f, v, s, s-blends, z, l, l-blends, ch, sh, th, r, r-blends, and rl words.  The language section targets: verbs, pronouns, category, function, antonyms, synonyms, and homonyms.

To wrap up my week, I will also be using these SPOOKTACULAR NEW STORIES that I blogged about earlier this week with the classes that I have not yet used them with.  I also will continue to use these 5 FREE HALLOWEEN APPS that I blogged about earlier this week over at Speech Spotlight.

After Halloween, I will begin using my NO PREP Trolls again.  Which is set up like my No Prep Spooktacular but even larger at 160 pages! The kids enjoyed the Trolls set and have asked for it repeatedly because of the upcoming movie. I love when the kids enjoy what we are doing and ask to repeat activities!

What will you be doing in speech this week?  Do you know of any great new books?  Do you have any favorite Halloween therapy apps? If so, please share.  I love hearing about other great therapy finds (especially when it is holiday based).
You might have expected me to bring up some old faithful Halloween books. You know the ones (one had a little old lady that has an issue with eating things she shouldn't, another is an old lady that isn't afraid of anything, and the third has a kind witch that likes to make room on her broom)  We all use them because they are that great!  I really do love them.  However, one of the great benefits of having a little one in first grade is Scholastic Book Club orders! I took the chance on broadening my Halloween library.  I'm so glad I did! 

Have you heard of Fright Club by Ethan Long?  This is an adorable story. Of course, my first thought when I read the title brought visions of Brad Pitt and sadly he is not in the story.  The story is about the cute creatures in the world wanting to join in the holiday fun of scaring the trick-or-treaters.  This story is great for targeting WH-questions, sequencing, and inferencing.

Another great find is the story The Monstore by Tara Lazar.  If any of your student's have siblings (especially younger siblings), they may relate to this story. The story is about a little boy who does not want his little sister to bother him any longer so buys monsters from the Monstore in hopes that the monsters will keep her away.  My kiddos had a great time sharing their own experiences with us about having a younger sibling after the story was over. The story is great for targeting WH- questions, descriptions, and sequencing.

At The Old Haunted House by Helen Ketteman is a cute rhyming story.  I have to be honest, when I was reading it with my kids I had a nice rhythm going.  In the story various Halloween monsters are preparing for a surprise.  When using this book, you can easily target counting, rhyming words, actions, labeling, and WH-questions.

If you do not know these books, I strongly suggest you give them a try. It was definitely enjoyable having a new story to share and discuss in therapy.  They definitely provided my students with new material to discuss,  share personal experiences, and to build communication skills.

What stories do you use during therapy for Halloween?

Another post you may want to read about how I use literature in therapy:
Tips and Tricks to Survive Whole Class Lessons - Thanks again to Maureen of the Speech Bubble for the opportunity in September to guest blog.

Well, are you?! I love Talk Like A Pirate day in speech so much that I typically make it a week-long event!  Ashley from Sweet Southern Speech loves it too and is hosting a linky party to prepare for the fun!  Thanks, Ashley!
I wanted to share some wonderful freebies I found from some of our fellow speechies on TpT.  There are a lot of wonderful products out there and who doesn’t love free?! These are just a few favorite pirate themed free therapy materials:
Pirate Treasure Challenge by Peachie Speechie. This freebie is great because it a quick way to get students to complete their articulation repetitions.  It turns something that can be monotonous into something fun for the kiddos.  They enjoy practicing and seeing who will complete their page first.
Pirate Themed Following Directions by Kathy Babineau.  I have used this freebie as it is intended (following directions) but I have also used it as a reinforcer (coloring page) and as a language game (much like “I spy with my little eye”)!  I have described parts of the picture to see if students could figure out what I was describing and then turned the tables so that they had to describe a part of it for me.
Speech Seeks and Language Looks – Pirate edition by Jessica Finch.  I absolutely adore this freebie!  It was so helpful when I was working with mixed therapy groups.  My language kiddos could work on vocabulary, answering wh- questions, categories, and descriptions.  My articulation kiddos looked for pictures that had their sound in it and reported back to me in what position that sound was before practicing producing it accurately at their level (drill, phrase, sentence).  My fluency kiddos used the pictures to practice their fluency shaping techniques.
Pirate Category Cards by Panda Speech.  I have a lot of kids working on categories on my caseload (it happens every year). These adorable category cards were just what I needed!  After the student names the category, I will have them name as many more items as they can for that category by trying to name 5 more while trying to beat the clock!
Pirate themed Bulletin Board Reinforcement Game by Speech Universe.  Do you have a pirate theme in your speech room?  If so, this is a wonderful behavior reinforcement tool and bulletin board! this time, I do not have any Pirate freebies in my store.  However, I’m excited to use my recently revised materials this year in my speech room.  Last year, my Pirate Play Open-Ended Games were a huge hit in my speech room. One of the games in the pack, requires the students to collect all the pieces on their treasure map task card.  The first person to collect all the pieces wins! Now, they can also use manipulative pieces to make a larger version of their treasure map or use them as a barrier game.  This pack also includes two open-ended game boards and a point collecting card game.

The other product in my store that recently underwent major updates and an overall revision is my Prepositions and Plurals on Pirate Island pack!  The pack includes Pirate Preposition Cards, Prepositions Bingo, Preposition Dauber pages, Prepositions Dice Game pages, Pirate Pronoun Cards, Pronoun Bingo, Pronoun Dauber pages, and Pronoun Sorting pages with manipulatives.

Visit my facebook page for a chance to WIN a COPY of Pirate Island- Prepositions & Pronouns.

How do you celebrate talk like a pirate day?
Right before the school year ended, I was provided the opportunity to try iTap with my students and write up this review for YOU.  Test of Articulation and Phonology (iTAP), is a fully standardized assessment tool.  It was normed off of monolingual English speakers from Texas. Although Smarty Ears provided the app for me to review, the opinions in this post are all mine. This app is very user friendly and I love that it a standardized assessment requiring no protocol.
Are you already back in school?  Are you figuring out your caseload and throwing sticky notes around in an effort to create a therapy schedule? If so, I will be joining you soon.  I go back to work next week.  I am very excited about my new caseload and returning to work.  How do you prepare? Here are my simple steps to start the year off as a success!

Are you headed to a new school and a new caseload? Or are you a new CF? I’m not a new CF but I am headed to new school placements with new caseloads!  I’m super excited too! I love the diversity that our job provides! This year, I will be returning to my traveling ways and working at two schools focusing on Pre-K through 5th programs (Autism, Functional Life Skills, and Social-Emotional Disorders).  I feel like I am going home since I am returning to where my passion lies!

If you are also making a change in your school site or caseload placements, whether you are a new CF or a veteran SLP, here are some helpful tips to prepare you! 
I do not know about you but I am EXCITED for all of the wonderful possibilities for this next school year!  Recently, my health has taken a turn for the worse (thus why I have been rather quiet around here).  I have taken the time to regroup and am eager to get this #bestyearever started!  Let’s begin with talking about the great deals happening on TeacherspayTeachers!  On August 1st and August 2nd (I’m celebrating twice as hard since this is my birthday!), WE can save up to 28% on our back to school purchases! Yes, I said …. WE! I know I will be shopping!  Just be sure that when you go to check out use the promo code BESTYEAR!

Thanks to Jenna from Speech Room News for hosting this linky party so that we can all share what we have in our shopping carts.  Everything in my store will be 20% off.  Using the promo code provided by TpT, you can save up to 28% on items in my store (on top of the extra 15-20% off already offered on my bundles).  Here are some items in my store that you may find helpful to get your school year started and to see you through the entire school year!
I’m super excited!  I love this time of year!  Actually, let me clarify that I LOVE this time of the school year.  What makes it even better besides the promise of summer vacation around the corner is the Teacher Appreciation Site Wide Sale on TeacherspayTeachers!
I have exciting news!  TeacherspayTeachers is about to have a sitewide sale!  That means amazing savings!  So many of the stores will be on sale for 20% off and with the special code you can SAVE EVEN MORE!  Up to 28% off in fact!
I am celebrating my first year as a blogger and as a SLP Author on This past year has flown by! I have met some fantastic SLPs from all over the United States and Canada, made some wonderful friends, attended a conference where I learned so much including that there is just so much more to learn yet, and became better organized with my materials. On a personal level, this past year, provided me the opportunity to stretch my creative wand and craft therapy materials while building a better future for my family and my daughter. I even had the opportunity to take my family on our 1st Family Vacation!

Prep Positions is one of the newer apps created by Smarty Ears and I had the great fortune of trying it out with my kiddos and reviewing it for you!   Smarty Ears provided the app for me to review; however, the opinions in this post are all mine.

Recently, I wrote a post on Speech Spotlight about how I keep my little ones engaged.  In that article, I mentioned the use of visual schedules.  To read that article, go here.  Although the use of visual schedules is commonly connected to working with our students on the spectrum, they are super helpful when working with students who have diverse needs and in a variety of settings.

I do not know about you but in our school district, there is a push to incorporate technology into all areas of the school and curriculum.  I am not the most tech savvy but I make do with my trusty tablet!  I'm one the many of us that makes communication magic happen in a room the size of a closet and have paid my dues traveling from one school site to another. I have found with a tablet, I can make great things happen! I am a guest blogger at Speech Time Fun to share a few tips and tricks on bringing Technology into the Speech Room.  These tips and tricks of technology has made my job a million times easier!

      I have seen some AMAZING Speech-Language Pathologists and Practicum Students lose their lesson due to behavior management concerns.  A wonderfully planned lesson can blow up in your face and time can escape you when students are not motivated or negative behaviors are not managed efficiently.  I learned early on that students are masterminds at working the system and wasting time if it means getting out of work that they are not motivated to do (aren’t we all).  Prior to becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist, I was a Special Education Teacher.  One of the populations I worked with for multiple years was Behaviorally-Emotionally Disabled.  The years I spent working with my students in these self-contained classrooms were eye openers and great learning experiences on behavior management! I felt well prepared when stepping into my Grad School Clinic Practicum and later into my CFY year.  As prepared as I was, this profession provides additional opportunities to continue to grow and expand.  For me, this has been a never ending journey in growth.  We should all continue to grow as we become better able to serve our students and families when we do. Here are a few of the Tips and Tools I utilize or that colleagues use in their therapy room.
I feel very fortunate that the developer of Language Concepts offered me the opportunity to try out, review, and give away her app, Learning Verbs!  I will review for you the various functions of the app and provide my opinion about the app.  Although the developer provided the app and the copy to giveaway, the opinions in this blog are all mine.
I’m a HUGE fan of bargain shopping! That is why I jumped at the chance to join in this dollar store speech ideas linky party hosted by Kristin of Talkin’ with Twang!  I am a stress shopper that hates shopping.  What exactly does that mean?  It means I avoid malls like the plague.  However, when I get stressed I run to dollar stores, goodwill, and Target’s dollar aisles!  I’m always looking for a bargain and if I am having a bad day it always cheers me up.  It drives my Hub crazy, but puts a smile on my face!
I am a list person.  I make a list, cross something off, add to the list, cross something else off, and then crumple the list and write it five more times.  I like lists.  I feel like I accomplished something every time I cross something off.  I make daily lists, weekly lists, and monthly lists. I thought it would be fun to make a few more lists.  First off, what did I accomplish during 2015.
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