Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Blog - Check it Out! 

 I have a new blog and a new name!   

If you follow Beautiful Speech via email, thank you so much!  Now that I have a new blog, you will need to head over to Talkin' with Twang and sign up to follow by email so you don't miss out on any future posts. 

I do have a new blog giveaway planned, so be sure to follow me over there so you will be the first to find out about it.  

If you follow me on other social media sites, you don't need to do anything.  I was able to keep all of my original followers.

Thank you so much and I'll see you over at Talkin' with Twang!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back to School (Internet) Scavenger Hunt

It's back to school time!!! This is always such an exciting time of the year.  I love school shopping, decorating my speech room and the overall joy and excitement that comes with a fresh start to a new school year.  I also LOVE scavenger hunts.  What better way to celebrate back to school than with a scavenger hunt?

This scavenger hunt is not your typical hunt.  Instead of gathering items or pictures, you will be looking for "secret" words.  The google doc (listed below) has all of the instructions and hyperlinks to a variety of different SLP sites.  Some will be blogs, some will be Facebook pages, and some might be Instagram pages.  Your job is to visit each link and find all of the secret words (one for each link).  Once you have gathered all of the words, you will use them to enter the rafflecopter below for the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY!!!  This is a great prize y'all.  Our grand prize winner will receive: $25 Amazon gift card, $25 Teacher Pay Teachers gift card, $25 iTunes gift card, a free app from Smarty Ears, a free app from Language Learning Apps, LLC, and several free products from some of our awesome SLP bloggers.  What a great prize!

As you are collecting your secret words, we hope you will enjoy learning more about your favorite SLP bloggers, meet some new bloggers, and you may grab some goodies along the way.  There are so many SLP bloggers who have great information to share.  We hope you enjoy getting to know us.  If you read something interesting, be sure to leave a comment for that blogger.  We love getting comments from our readers!  :-)

Ready to start?  Click HERE for the instructions and links. (All links should be live by 10:00pm central time on Saturday, August 8.)

Once you have found all of your words, enter the rafflecopter below.  Enter by midnight on August 14 (Central Time). Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Funny Directions {App Review & Giveaway}

I hope everyone is  enjoying their last few weeks of summer.  My summer break is officially over.  I went back to work on August 3.  I won't actually see students until the end of the month when school starts, but we are all back at the office.  I have been busy prepping for back to school and shopping the big Teachers Pay Teachers sale.  Now I am going to take a few minutes to share an app review with you and give you a chance to win a FREE copy (see below to enter).  The app is Funny Directions and it's brought to you by Speecharoo Apps.

You will love this app if you have any kiddos who are working on goals for following 1, 2, or 3 step directions.  It offers a simple way to practice listening and following directions, while playing and having fun on the iPad.  And we all know kids love to be on iPads.

When you first open the app, you are greeted by the cute little Speecharoo kangaroo.  You can then proceed to the home screen where you will select your practice level.

There are 4 practice rooms to choose from.  Each room has options to practice following 1, 2, or 3 step directions.  Simply click on the corresponding balloon to enter the desired room.

Once you are in the room, you will see a variety of items spread about.  Each set of directions will be presented one at a time, up to 10 trials.  The directions are presented in both verbal and written forms, but you can turn each on/off to meet the needs of your students.

After the child  has successfully followed the direction presented, the item will activate and do something (make a noise, or move).  If the wrong item is selected, the directions will repeat until the correct item is touched.  After 10 trials in one room, our cute kangaroo friend will appear with a screen that says "Great job!"  He will hop around releasing balloons from his pouch, which the child can pop as they float up the screen.  This screen appears after 10 trials, no matter what the score was.

After a few balloons are released, an arrow will appear at the bottom of the screen.  Touching this arrow will move you into the next room with the same level of directions as you were on previously.  After all 4 rooms have been completed for each level of difficulty, the app will automatically move you up to the next level of directions.

I was very pleased with this app.  It is simple to use, easy to understand, and has fun animations to reward the children for correct answers.  I like that the directions are simple and clear and that there are opportunities to practice at 3 different difficulty levels.

I can see that some of my students may need to be taught certain vocabulary words prior to using this app (such as "globe"), but most of the items are very common and easy to identify.

This great app can be found in the App Store for only $2.99.  However, I have a FREE copy to give away!  Enter below for your chance to win.  Enter by Friday, August 7 at midnight (really Aug. 8, right?).  I will post the winner on Saturday morning.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 31, 2015

Back to School Sale What's in Your Cart? {Linky}

It's that time again...back to school!  I start back on August 3, but won't actually have students until the end of August.  That should give me plenty of time to prep my speech room, organize, and plan for the start of the year.  To help get us all started on our back to school planning, Teachers Pay Teachers is having a site wide sale.  These sales are great because many TPT sellers put their stores on sale at the same time, allowing buyers to save up to 28% on almost everything (discounts vary from store to store).  For this sale, I have linked up with Jenna over at Speech Room News for a What's in Your Cart linky party.

For this sale, my entire store will be 20% off and you can save an additional 10% off by using the code BTS15 at checkout.  That will give you a total of 28% off!  This is a great time to pick up some of the helpful resources I have in my store.  Here are a few that you will want to check out:

This articulation screener has everything you need to quick screen students at the beginning of the year.  There are picture prompts for all phonemes in word initial, medial, and final position (blends, and clusters, too), data sheets, a phoneme development chart to use as reference, and instructions for use as a teacher screener.  See more about this product in my blog post. Grab it during the sale by clicking here.

This interactive book features pages with manipulative pieces for students to tell about themselves.  This is a great getting to know you activity in which students can practice giving information about themselves.  Visuals are provided for every sentence on every page, making this a great tool to use with young students, students with autism, limited verbal ability, or just about anyone.  Grab it on sale by clicking here

This pronoun-verb flipbook provides great practice for students who have goals for pronouns (he, she, they), verbs (is, are), and/or -ing verbs.  Students can flip the pages to create sentences to match each picture.  See more of this product in the blog post I wrote about it and grab it on sale by clicking here

I will also be doing some shopping during the big BTS sale.  Here are a few of the products I have had my eye on and will be buying during the sale:

Multiple Meaning Words for Middle School Bundle by Natalie Snyders.  You can purchase each set separately, but I've had my eye on the bundle.

Little Fish Cut & Paste Articulation by Mia McDaniels

Fall Interactive Books by My Speech Universe

I have my wishlist all ready to go for the big sale.  Comment below and share the great resources you plan on picking up during the sale.

Don't forget to head back over to Speech Room News to see what others have in their carts.  It's a great way to browse through different stores.  Happy shopping!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Best Thing I Learned This Summer {Linky}

I can hardly believe summer break is almost over.  I have been so busy, and it has gone by too quick. For this post,I am linking up with The Frenzied SLPs to share the best thing I have learned this summer. Click the image below to see what others are sharing.

This summer was my last semester of grad school (woo hoo!), and I had three classes to complete before officially graduating.  One of the classes I took was Pediatric Dysphagia, and let me tell you, I learned a lot!

We had completed adult dysphagia during a previous sesmester, so I figured pediatric dysphagia would be the same thing.  I was so wrong!  Evaluating and treating pediatric dysphagia is very different from evaluating and treating adult dysphagia.

Our class covered feeding and swallowing disorders in children.  We discussed different types of feeding disorders, different types of syndromes and birth complications that can result in difficulty with feeding/swallowing, and different treatment options.  One interesting thing I learned was that very few school based SLPs feel competent to treat dysphagia. As a school based SLP Assistant now SLP Intern) I can say that in the rural areas of Texas where I live, it is rare that we ever have a kiddo on caseload who needs treatment for feeding/swallowing disorders.  That's not to say it never happens.  But it is rare.

Because it's so rare, many school based SLPs don't stay up-to-date with research/treatment techniques in the area of dysphagia.  But we never know when we might get a new student with dysphagia/feeding goals.  It's usually a school district decision on whether or not to treat dysphagia at the school, but my take away from the class (other than evaluation/treatment skills) was this:  We, as school based SLPs, need to do what we can do to stay caught up with our ability to treat pediatric dysphagia.  Easier said than done, I know, but we just never know when we might get a student who will benefit from our skills. This can really be true of any area we address through speech services (voice, fluency, etc.).  The discussion of dysphagia in the schools reminded me of the importance of being ready for any child we might need to serve through speech therapy in the school setting.

I am hoping to keep up with my newly gained knowledge of pediatric dysphagia through research articles, trainings, and hopefully by working with some kiddos after school hours through home health or a pediatric clinic.  Do any of my school based SLP friends work with dysphagia in the schools or on the side for a clinic?  Do your schools offer training related to dysphagia? 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

First Day Jitters (with a FREEBIE)

As the school year quickly approaches, I find myself growing a little more nervous each day.  I have to admit, I have some first day jitters!  This year, I will be starting at a new campus, and I will be on my own (mostly).  For the past two school years, I have been an SLP assistant and graduate student with quite a bit of supervision.  Even when I wasn't being directly supervised, my SLP mentors were always nearby.  Things are changing this year.  I will be working as a CF, which requires much less supervision.  I am so excited, and I feel very prepared, but those jitters are still there.

Even as a teacher I experienced first day jitters each year.  It's really a combination of excitement and the unknown mixed together.  Starting at a new campus is a  little scary.  Will they welcome me?  What will my caseload be like?  All the unknowns make me a little nervous.  So I try to channel my nervousness into productivity.  :-)

I've been thinking a lot about this school year and what I can do to be the best SLP this campus has ever had (it's good to have aspirations, right?)  Thinking back to my years as a teacher, and conversations I have had with my SLP supervisors over the past 2 years, I know that communication with the teachers is a key part to having a successful year.  To help with this, I have created a FREE teacher communication packet which will hopefully make the communication a bit easier.

My packet includes the following:
*A blank "Notes From the Speech Room" page
*A "Today in Speech" page for sharing what students are currently working on in speech
*A blank "Important" page
*A blank "Reminder" page
* 1/2 sheet "Speech Meeting Reminder" pages (for IEP meetings, conferences with teachers, etc.)
*A speech schedule page to help teachers keep track of when their students will be going to speech

All of the pages are in black and white for quick printing.  There is an editable file to use when you would like to type directly on the pages.  There is also a pdf file if you prefer to hand write on the forms.

This product is a freebie that I hope will be useful to other SLPs, assistants, and graduate students as they start the new school year.

You can download the file in my TPT store by clicking HERE.  Please leave feedback and let me know if this product helps you as you get ready for the new school year.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer Speech Fun {Linky}

I. LOVE. SUMMER. I absolutely love it.  Even here, in the heat of Texas, I just love summer.  The other seasons don't even come close for me.  In honor of my love for summer, I am linking up with Simply Speech to share some of my favorite summer themed games and activities that can be used in speech therapy.  Read on to see what I have to share, then click back to see what favorite activities Simply Speech has for summer and check out the others that have linked up, too.

(I've included Amazon affiliate links on each picture, but there are many different places you can find these games/activities. )

Playing in the sand is the perfect summer activity.  I especially like it because here in Central Texas, not every child has the opportunity to visit a beach and experience the fun of making a sand castle.  I love kinetic sand because it's not as messy as real sand and you can use it in so many different ways.  I like to bury target cards or items in the sand and have my kiddos search for them.  I also like to work on following directions while playing in the sand.  It's also great for describing and exploring new textures.  There are so many different types of sand you can find at different prices.  There are also recipes online that show you how to make your own.  It's the best!

Sidewalk chalk is fun for days when you just need to get out of the speech room and enjoy some fresh air.  I use it to write target words on the ground for my kiddos to practice their sounds.  You can also draw a series of shapes on the ground and have the kids follow directions using the shapes (stand in the circle and clap your hands, sit in the square and close your eyes, etc.).  You can also work on basic concepts such as big/little, in/out, and so much more.  The options are endless!

I love cooperative games.  Some kids just aren't ready for competitive games and I can't always lose valuable therapy time dealing with a child who is upset over not winning.  Cooperative games allow the kids to work together to complete the game and then they all "win."  This Birds of Summer game allows the kids to work together to save the baby birds from predators.  It involves so many skills including memory and problem solving.  Your kiddos will love it!

Summer is about being with family, barbecues, and eating pie!  I love this game because it reminds me of delicious apple pie served at a family picnic.  You can use it to work on carryover of articulation skills, turn taking, conversational skills, and so much more.

Those are just a few of my summer fun games and activities.  What are your favorite summer fun favorites?  You can write a blog about it and link up over at Simply Speech, or tell me in the comments.

Happy summer!!!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Make Your Masterpiece ~ TPT Seller Challenge Week 3

I have been participating in the TPT Seller Challenge and challenge #3 was a biggie!  Make Your Masterpiece was the challenge for the week and it motivated me to complete a product I had started, but not finished.  I present to you, my Teacher Friendly Easy Articulation Screener.  Read on below to learn more about this new product in my store.

SLPs often complete informal screenings on students before a formal referral is completed.  Every district has different guidelines on when an SLP can complete a screening.  Some do whole class screenings for younger students at the beginning of the year and some do not.  Sometimes a district does not want the SLP to screen a student until a formal referral has been completed and consent from the parents has been obtained.  In this case, the teacher may need to conduct the screening or gather specific information on the child's articulation development to help determine whether a referral will be appropriate.

My screener was designed for SLP use, but also simplified enough that a classroom teacher could use it as a way of gathering more info for the SLP prior to the formal referral.

This product includes:

*Stimulus pictures for 47 target phonemes, including blends and clusters.  Most phonemes have stimulus items for the target sound in word initial, medial, and final position (when applicable).

*A recording sheet with an area for the SLP to make notes/analyze the results to help plan future action. 
 *A phoneme development chart to use as reference.

*Detailed instructions for teacher use (SLPs may want to use the screener more specifically).

I am excited to have this product ready to use before the new school year starts. Thank you to Mandi at Panda Speech and Kristi at Learning with Leaders for reviewing my product and helping me improve it. I really appreciate your help!  I know I will use it frequently and I hope others find it useful, too!

Thanks for checking out my new masterpiece!  Don't forget to check out other new products by visiting the linky at Sparkling in Second.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Dare to Dream ~ TPT Seller Challenge #2

I am loving the TPT Seller Challenge going on right now.  So many educators have joined in the fun, and I just love seeing all the posts.  This week's topic is Dare to Dream.  We are each posting about what our hopes and dreams are for our TPT stores.  Here are mine:

Freedom from student loans!!!  Ugh, the dreaded student loan payment.  Between my husband and myself we have a good chunk of student loan debt.  I was motivated to start my TPT store when I saw another SLP post about being able to make extra payments on her student loans with her store profits.  That was enough inspiration for me.  I am dreaming of the day that my store brings in enough money that I, too, can start paying extra on those awful student loans.

Flexibility in the budget - My husband and I both work, and we do pretty well with our budgeting, but my dream is to have a little more flexibility built in for those "extra" things.  Sometimes last minute expenses pop up that don't really qualify as "emergencies" and I would love to have some more "misc." money built into the budget.  I would also like to be able to know we have funded our retirements sufficiently, as well as our daughter's college education.  And it's always great to have extra to give generously. 

Vacations and travel - My family all lives in California, and I'm in Texas.  My visits back home are limited by the expense of traveling back and forth.  Airfare is expensive and driving takes too long.  I also have a long list of places in the world I would love to visit: New York, Alaska, Australia, Hawaii, among others.  Vacations and travel can take months to years of saving for.  I am hoping my TPT store will help us be able to fund some future family trips.

Networking and friendships - I just love that blogs and TPT stores can bring people from all over the country (world even) together.  I am hoping that my blog and TPT store will allow me to meet other SLPs/educators and that I can have a circle of friends all over.  It's one of the things I love the most about reading other blogs.  Sharing ideas and networking makes us all better at what we do.

So those are my hopes and dreams for the future of my TPT Store and blog.  I am looking forward to reading what everyone else is dreaming of.  You can head over to Sparkling in Second to see all the other blogs that have linked up to share their BIG dreams. 
Sparkling in Second

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Makeover Madness ~ TPT Seller Challenge #1

I have joined in the fun of the Teachers Pay Teachers Seller Challenge hosted by Sparkling in Second, Teach Create Motivate, Third in Hollywood, and Peppy Zeppy Teacherista.

Challenge #1 was to makeover an old product.  I chose one of my first products that desperately needed some updates.  The product is my prefix and suffix packet and you can check out the updates I made below:

This product had a sort of movie theme to it, but it wasn't very consistent.  I updated the cover page to show off the theme a bit more.

I also changed the root word cards so they look like admission tickets (to stick with the theme).

Another change was to make the root word cards bigger than the prefix/suffix cards.  This will help them to stand out more as students manipulate the cards.  I also cleaned up the prefix/suffix cards by making the lines thicker (this will help students to cut them out better if being used as a cut & paste activity).

Other pages include recording sheets, teaching cards, and game boards for extra practice.

You can find this prefix and suffix packet in my TPT Store by clicking here.  It will 35% off for the next few days, so grab it while it's on sale!

Don't forget to follow me on social media and click back to Sparkling in Second to see what other TPT sellers have updated in their stores.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

What Do You Do?

Ah...the loaded question...what is it that you do?  If only the answer was as simple as the question.

Before becoming an SLP, I was a teacher.  So when people asked me what I did for a living I had a very simple, straightforward answer.  They sometimes would ask me what I taught and that was that.  Everyone knows what a teacher does.

Now that I'm an SLP (almost), I find this question more complicated.  I have found that I respond differently depending on who I am speaking with.  In some cases, I can actually say that I am an SLP (assistant/grad student) and I know that the other person will know what I am talking about.  This is usually the case if they know another SLP or have had experience with one.  But I don't always use "SLP" as my answer.  In most cases, I stick with "speech therapist."

Using the term "speech therapist" provides enough information that the person I am speaking to can infer what I do.  Most people know what a therapist does. so attaching that to "speech" enables them to figure out that I probably help people with their speech.  What they don't know is that it is so much more than they really think. 

I think it's safe to say that most people think of working on /r/ and /s/ when they think of a speech therapist.  "Oh, you help kids who can't say their sounds right."  Yes, that is part of what we do.  But that is only a part.  There are so many things we do that the average person would never even guess.  Here are just a few of the things SLPs do:
  • Articulation - yes, we work on /r/ and /s/ and all the other sounds that people might need help with.  But it's not just for kids.  We also work with patients who have dysarthria (perhaps after a stroke) or apraxia of speech (this involves much more than just practicing a sound or two). 
  • Voice - someone might need voice therapy if they have had some kind of damage or disease with their vocal folds, cleft palate, stroke, traumatic brain damage, or a disease (like Parkinson's) that may affect their voice.  
  • Fluency (stuttering) - we might work with kids or adults in this area
  • Language - with younger children we might work on vocabulary or sentence production.  With older children we might work on language skills that will help them in the classroom.  We also work with children who have not started talking at all, sometimes on using alternative modes of communication (such as a speech output device of some kind).  We might also work with children with autism on social skills.  This is also an area we might work on with a patient after a stroke or traumatic brain damage.  This area involves a lot and is more than I can describe here.  Anything related to vocabulary, grammar, sentence formation, and/or social use of language would fit here. 
  • Cognition - this area includes things like sequencing, attention, and memory that can affect a person's day-to-day functioning.  
  • Feeding/swallowing - this is one of the areas that very few people know we work with.  Being able to swallow is something that we take for granted until we can't do it.  SLPs can work with patients who are having trouble feeding/swallowing using a variety of techniques that they receive special training in. 
SLPs work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, nursing homes, rehab clinics, private therapy clinics, and home health to name a few.  Every setting is different, and every SLP has their area of expertise. 

One of the great things about this career is that it has a lot of variety.  No two settings are the same and every day is different.  It's not always easy to sum up what we do, and SLPs are really the only people who fully understand what the career is all about.  We teach, inspire, motivate, encourage, support, counsel, and train.  We make a difference. 

The next time someone asks me what I do, I will probably run through responses in my head like I usually do.  Then I will tell them that I am a speech-language pathologist, and I change lives. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Prep Positions {App Review & Giveaway}

How much do you love Smarty Ears apps?  They are just absolutely fantastic (and no, I was not paid to say that).  I am thrilled to bring you a review of another one of their great apps: Prep Positions, and I have a FREE copy of the app to give away...

Friday, June 5, 2015

One Special Moment {Linky}

The school year is officially over, and I have to say, it was a blur.  Between therapy sessions, learning to lead IEP meetings and complete paperwork on my own, grad school coursework, and being a wife and mom, I was incredibly busy. I loved every second of it!  Jen over at Speech Therapy Fun had a great idea that has helped me to reflect back on my busy year.  She is hosting the "One Special Moment" linky and I decided to join in.  :-) ...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

App Review and GIVEAWAY (Part 1)

I just love trying out new apps!  I have several app reviews to share with you, but I want to space them out a bit, so this is Part 1.  I recently heard about Teach Speech Apps and was provided with copies of some of their apps to try out and review.  I also have codes to giveaway 2 FREE copies of the apps (enter below)!  I love giveaways, don't you?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

New Product: Verb-Pronoun Flip& Practice

I'm happy to share my newest product with you today!  I have several students working on pronouns and verbs, and this product is a great way to give them some extra practice. You can use this product in a variety of ways.  I put it together as a flip book...

Monday, May 4, 2015

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale - Linky Party!

Linky Party @ Speech Room News

To celebrate educators, TPT is having a site wide sale.  My store (any many others) will be on sale for 20% off.  Plus, if you use the code "Thank You" at checkout, you can save an additional 10%.  That's a total of 28% off the original price!

I have linked up with Jenna at Speech Room News to help promote the sale.  Check out which products I think would be great to grab during the sale and then click back to her page to see what others have to suggest..

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Guest Blog Post - Check it Out!

I recently had the opportunity to write a guest blog post over at Speech Therapy Fun (thanks, Jen).  I wanted to share all the reasons I love working in the public schools.  Check it out by clicking HERE.

Monday, April 6, 2015

#AprilSLPMustHave Sale ~ April 7!!!

Just a reminder that tomorrow, April 7, is the last SLP Must Have sale of the school year.  You can grab some great deals on fabulous products over at Teachers Pay Teachers.  A bunch of SLPs will be selecting one item to list for 50% off for one day only.

My April Must Have is my new spring themed sentence packet. This packet has printable worksheets that can be used for working on complete/incomplete, simple/compound, and compound/complex sentences.  It will be only $1.50 tomorrow!!!  That's a great deal!

Sentence Packet

Sample Page

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has on sale tomorrow.  To find all the great sale items, just search #AprilSLPMustHave.  I will probably also search #SLPMustHave because some people may not add in the month.  You'll be able to find my product either way. 

Happy shopping!!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Smarty Spell {App Review}

I have an app review for you today!  This review is for Smarty Spell, a new app by Smarty Ears.  I haven't had the opportunity to use any of the Smarty Ears apps, but I hear they are fabulous, so I jumped at the opportunity to try out this new one.  Since I'm not working on spelling with any of my speech students, I am using my past experience as a teacher to help me write this review.

Smarty Spell is designed to help young spellers practice their spelling skills in a fun, interactive way.  It is so much more fun than just paper and pencil practice, and not near as messy as writing spelling words in sand or shaving cream.  All you need is the app loaded on your iPad and you are ready to go!

When you first open the app, you will see a screen where you can access the report cards for students, start practicing, or access the settings. 

One thing I like about this app is that you are able to access the settings at any time, without being required to return the homepage.  That is very helpful. In the settings you can adjust things like how many extra letters may be added to the bank of letters, whether or not the app will read the words, font size, and you can also turn off the picture cue that shows up with the word.

Time to select your players.  Adding players is very simple and only requires the student's name.  You can also add a picture of each student, or let them select one of the fun avatars.  I think kids will really like the variety of avatars to choose from.

Once you have selected your student, you will then need to select which spelling list they will work on.  There are premade lists for grades kinder through 6th and also themed lists (animals, fruit, clothing, etc.). 

You can also create your own custom list fairly easily, but it is time consuming to do this.  To create a custom list you will need to have pictures of each word to upload from your device.  I found the premade lists much quicker to use, but I wasn't sure how the words were selected for each list.  They were pretty random, as opposed to being sorted by spelling pattern.  When I taught, most of my spelling lists focused on a particular spelling pattern, and having those types of lists in this app would be so helpful.

After the student and spelling lists are selected, it's time to start practicing.  A picture is shown, with the letters for the word scrambled underneath. 

A very computerized voice says, "Spell the word ______," and the student then moves the letters into the correct order to spell the word.  If they spell it correctly, a positive message is (slowly) sketched onto the screen and they proceed to the next word. 

If they misspell the word, the computerized voice repeats the instructions to spell the word and provides them with the first letter.  This process is repeated until the word is spelled correctly. Each session is 10 words long, with stars at the top of the screen showing how many words have been completed and how many are left to go.  

After completing the session, progress is stored in the report card section of the app.  Progress is tracked for each student on a graph showing how many words they spelled correctly and what their percentage was. 

This information can be shared via email, air printing, or uploaded into the Therapy Report Center App (if you have that app).  The Therapy Report Center App allows data from all Smarty Ears Apps to be organized into one place.  That sounds super handy, but I don't currently have any other Smarty Ears apps.

One thing I noticed in this app is that there are two different voices used.  The voice instructing students to spell the word is much more computerized, while the voice that actually spells the word out is more natural sounding.  I would prefer if the more natural sounding voice could be used throughout the entire app. 

I think students will really like this app.  It would be great to use during centers, especially if you could create a custom list with that week's spelling words. I also think this would be fun to use as an early finisher activity.  I can see some of the higher level students having fun seeing how many words they can spell correctly at each grade level.  This app could also be used during tutoring or small groups for remediation. 

In summary, here are the features I like about this app:
*Easy to use.  Students will not have any trouble navigating the app by themselves.
*Variety of word lists sorted by grade level and theme.
*Records data on its own as the child progresses through each list.
*Nice graphics.
*Fun avatars for students to select to add a personal touch to their profile.
*Report cards are easy to print/share 
*Good options for increasing/decreasing difficulty level for students

Here are the improvements I would love to see:
*One, natural sounding voice used throughout the app, instead of the computerized voice.
*Premade word lists targeting specific spelling patterns.
*Speed up the positive reinforcement page after each word.  Instead of slowly, drawing it across the screen, maybe it could just flash up or allow the student to select a star or sticker or something.
*No picture requirement for creating a custom word list. It would be nice to to be able to add words without requiring a picture.  

Overall, this is a fantastic app.  I think teachers will find it very helpful to use in the classroom, and students will enjoy being able to practice their spelling on an iPad. Smarty Spell can be used in a variety of ways, from remediation and daily practice to spelling challenges for higher level students.  I appreciate the thought that Smarty Ears has put into the creation of the app, and I look forward to seeing the features that may be added in the future.  I give this app two thumbs up and will definitely recommend it to my teacher friends.

Smarty Spell can be downloaded in the app store for $3.99.

***This review is my personal opinion.  I was not paid to write this review.  I was provided with a free copy of the app so I could write this review. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hopping into Spring - Newbie Blog Hop {with 14 FREEBIES!!!}

Happy spring and welcome to my blog!  I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this blog hop (Thank you, Jen and Chelsea)!  Blog hops are a great way to get to know bloggers, and I'm so excited to share my blog with all you "hoppers."  Plus, I have a great freebie for you at the end. In fact, every blogger in this hop has a freebie to share, so make sure you "hop" through and grab up all the great spring themed goodies!

About me:  My name is Kristin and I am currently a licensed SLP Assistant working in the public schools.  I also am a 2nd year graduate student.  I am in a fabulous grad school program in which I get to work as a full-time assistant while I complete my degree.  It's a lot of work, but I am getting so much experience.  Even though I don't start my CF year until the fall, I have gotten a good taste of what it will be like because of the nature of my program.  I have been able to do therapy, write reports, conduct IEP meetings, and everything else an SLP does (with supervision, of course).  It's been really great and I feel very prepared for my CFY. 

I started blogging because I LOVE reading speech blogs and they inspired me to start my own.  I think it's so great that other SLPs are willing to share their great ideas and experiences.  I learn something new from every blog post I read.  I'm just so thankful for all of the great posts I read that help me to become a better therapist.  I am also a Teachers Pay Teachers addict!  I have a huge wishlist and spend many nights browsing through products, marking my favorites.

Now for the freebie!!! It's my spring themed, Print and Go Simple & Compound Sentences Pack.  This product will be great for students working on compound sentences.  There are 4 different no prep, printable activities targeting conjunctions and compound sentences.  You can print and use them right away, or laminate and use with a dry erase marker. You can grab this awesome freebie in my TPT strore by clicking on the link below.
Compound Sentence Freebie
Freebie! Compound Sentences

The other fabulous speechies participating in this blog hop also have freebies for you!  Use the links below to continue on to the next blog, or hop back to the beginning.  You definitely don't want to miss out on all the great FREE products being shared...and meet some great new bloggers, too!
Continue on to Kim at School SLP
Start at the beginning with Jen at Speech Therapy Fun

Monday, March 9, 2015

Liebster Award!!!

I am so excited to share that I've been nominated for the Liebster Award by Keri at My Speech Party. Thanks, Keri! The Liebster Award is an award given by bloggers, to new bloggers with less than 200 email followers, to help them get their blog started and welcome them to the blogosphere. Anyone who is nominated is then asked to nominate others. To accept the award, the blogger must answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated them.Here are my questions/answers...

Monday, February 23, 2015

SALE!!! SLPs on Teachers Pay Teachers Linky Party!


Teachers Pay Teachers is having a big sale and my store will be marked down 20%, plus the additional % that TPT gives using the promo code HEROES.  The sale starts on February 25!

250 × 120

You can use the code to get some of my products at a discount. Check out the following products I will have on sale...