Sunday, August 24, 2014

FAQs (Part 2): I'm Starting Grad School

Question: What is the best way to study for the Praxis? When do you think is the best time to take the Praxis so that a student isn't overwhelmed with exams and comps at the same time? Was it difficult to manage studying that on top of other coursework and exams?
Answer: For the Praxis, I used the yellow and purple book ("Advanced Review of Speech Language Pathology"). ETS also sells practice tests that are very helpful to take before the actual test! Overall, my program prepared me well for the Praxis. I did not have to do a significant amount of additional studying. However, everyone is different in terms of their program preparation level, multiple-choice test-taking skills, etc. Many students in my program chose to take the Praxis during winter break between on-campus clinic and off-campus clinic. Our university was closed from about December 18th-January 22nd. I took it during my first off-campus practicum. At that point, I was done with all of my courses and did not have any other exams to study for. 
Question: When did you start your job hunt for a CF? Did you reach out to specific institutions or did you simply respond to online job postings? Do you feel there is a lot of competition out there for medical CF positions?
Answer: I started looking right before my second off-campus placement began. I reached out to both specific schools and looked online. I feel that there is a lot of competition for medical CF positions. I have heard that it is easier to find a CF at a skilled nursing facility than a hospital.
Question: What do you think is the best way to network during grad school?

Answer: Have good relationships with your clinical supervisors! This is so important because they are the people that will be your references. Also, if you love your off-campus placement(s), definitely consider a CF there if one becomes available. Always be professional (e-mails, in person meetings, etc.) with everyone you meet...that was emphasized a lot to us. 
Question: What is the best advice you received in grad school about clinicals, CF year, getting through classes, and being successful?
Answer: I received a lot of great advice:
-Be compassionate toward your clients
-Be organized and don't procrastinate
-Always treat others with respect and act professionally
-Don't stress the small stuff
-Be passionate about what you do
-Individualize sessions for your clients; tailor materials to their needs
-Look for resources...there is so much out there!

Question: Do you think it's necessary to study a lot and review past notes prior to starting grad school?
Answer: From my experience, no. I guess this depends on whether you have some basic knowledge of speech pathology, completed pre-reqs, etc. My undergraduate majors were linguistics and psychology. I completed four prerequisite courses before starting grad school. However, I don't want to discourage people from looking over past notes if they feel they need to.
Question: What was the biggest adjustment going from undergrad to grad?
-Paperwork! Clinical writing is very different from English essays.
-More pressure to perform and do well
-"Hands on" work vs. theory learning
-Overall higher expectations
Question: At your school, were supervisors helpful in aiding you in figuring out lesson plan ideas for clients?
Answer: Yes. They provided both general directions for how to conduct treatment sessions as well as specific ideas for games/activities.
Question: This might be silly but..Did you ever have any free time in grad school or were you basically always studying or preparing?
Answer: Depended on the semester! If I only had classes (no practicum), I had free time. During the practicums, free time was generally more limited.
Question: What was the most stressful part of beginning grad school?
-Not knowing what to expect
-Being nervous that it would be overwhelming

Question: What materials do you recommend purchasing or having with you for your first week of grad school classes?
Answer: Similar materials as undergrad classes:
-Laptop (not absolutely necessary, but a big help...does not need to be new and fancy)
-Medium-large size bag or backpack

Question: What helped you study to retain information the best? Did you ever feel like you didn't remember it all? And was it all worth it?

Answer: I studied by rewriting a lot of my notes/information from PowerPoint slides provided in class. That is what helped me retain information best. I would also take notes on material from textbooks. Try to keep your notes/handouts from class really organized (make binders for each subject) so that you can quickly refer back to them. You do not need to remember every single detail, just make it easy for yourself to find information you need quickly. I definitely feel grad school was worth it!

Question: Do CFYs normally begin right after graduation?

Answer: I am beginning my CFY a few weeks after I graduate. I don't know if that is the case for all new graduates though.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

App Review: Fun with Verbs

I have an iPad and I like a lot of apps. But I absolutely LOVE the Hamaguchi apps I have used. These high quality apps are created by a speech-language pathologist who understands how to design apps that effectively target therapy goals. I own several apps by this company and they are all excellent.

Today, I am reviewing the app, Fun with Verbs and Sentences. If you are working on syntax in your sessions, this app is AMAZING. It helps with: 

-Increasing MLU

-Usage of correct grammatical structures

-Expanding vocabulary (nouns/verbs)

Here's how it works:

1. The student (or client) chooses a subject for the sentence (a boy, a girl, or a bear).

        Example: The boy  


2. Three verb choices are presented (the student chooses what he or she wants the subject of the sentence to do).

        Example: drive  

3. Three object choices are presented that logically go along with the verb (the student also chooses the object of the sentence).

       Example: car 

4. A video (of the unique scenario that the student just created) is then presented!

       Example: The boy is driving a car. 

5. The student must repeat the full sentence after watching the video (a question prompt is given, "What is the boy doing?"). You have the option of recording the student saying the sentence. Pictures cues are provided at the bottom to help with sentence construction.

  Displaying IMG_0005.jpg 

Data on each part of the sentence (subject, verb, object) can be taken (see left side of the image above). 

The verb and sentence types can be adjusted in the settings. Verbs can be presented in the present (-ing) form, the regular past tense, and/or the irregular past tense. Sentences can be constructed with the Subject+Verb, the Subject+Object+Verb, and/or the Subject+Verb+Prepositional Phrase. The subject of the sentence can be changed as well (pronouns or nouns). Other settings that can be adjusted: cuing (visual support, sentence modeled by narrator), activities, and the Bubble game (used as a reinforcer).  

Why I Love It: Effectively targets syntax goals, great graphics, ability to create unique video clips, clear format and design, cues are provided, variety of settings to manipulate (level of difficulty can be increased).

Improvements: I'm not crazy about the Bubble reward game, but that can be removed in the settings.

Final thoughts: EXCELLENT app, highly recommended  

***The regular price for this app is $15.99. It is on sale until September 15th for $9.99! Grab it while you can for this great price at the App store .

Thursday, August 14, 2014

FAQs (Part 1): I'm Starting Grad School!

I recently asked newly accepted SLP grad students what they want to know most about graduate school. All answers are based on my personal experiences. Below are some of the questions I received and my (hopefully helpful) answers.

Question: What, if anything, would you have done differently in grad school? How would you have prepared yourself better?

What I would have done differently:
1. I would have established excellent study habits from the very beginning. There are some classes that will take up a lot of your time and, for those courses, it's almost impossible to start assignments a day before the due date. Time management and organization are SUPER important in grad school.   
2. During my practicums, I began saving resources in specific folders on my computer. I wish I had started doing this as soon as I began grad school.
3. Not stressed the small stuff. :)
How would I have prepared myself better?
In terms of academics, I think I was prepared because I was a psychology/linguistics double major. I had also taken several pre-reqs. In my experience (this is only me) I don't think it was necessary to review textbooks or study guides before beginning a program if you have some speech-path background. I think I would have mentally prepared myself for the fact that that things would not go perfectly from the beginning and that grad school is a learning experience in which you will make mistakes. In the end, it will be worth it and you will feel so much more confident as a clinician!

Question: Would you recommend purchasing all your textbooks?

Answer: This is a tough question because I knew the population I wanted to work with when I began grad school. As a result, I bought textbooks that I thought I would refer to in the future. I rented textbooks for other courses. Overall, I would recommend buying textbooks and reselling them if you feel that they won't be useful to you later on in your career. My biggest piece of advice related to textbooks is to NOT buy books at the campus bookstore. I have had a lot of success buying/renting from Amazon. There is also a good website called Big Words ( that compares textbook prices on different websites.

Question: How much did you read in graduate school?

Answer: There is a fair amount of reading. It was not overwhelming though. There was a lot of writing!

Question: What was the social atmosphere like outside of the classroom, both for yourself and others?

Answer: This really varies from program to program, I think. I commuted to my program so I am not sure about the social opportunities outside of the classroom. However, in the classroom, everyone tried really hard to collaborate and work together.

Question: How do undergraduate and graduate courses differ?

Answer: Depends on the course. In general, undergraduate classes focus more on theories and basic knowledge (and there's a lot of things we have to know!). Graduate classes are generally more practical, although there is a lot of "textbook" information taught as well. 

Question: Can you give examples of activities/games/etc. you used with particular clients and how they helped with your treatment goals?

There are too many to list! I have found the iPad to be a great tool. Please read my blog post about it ( The website, Teachers Pay Teachers, is also awesome. Some examples of free products: http://discoveringsl...s#.U8bYGUB0EtA.
A few ideas:
For young children:
-Great toy ideas from Playing with Words 365: (scroll to "Tips on Using Specific Toys to Help Expand Your Child’s Speech & Language Skills")
-Super Duper Animal Buddies
For articulation clients, I made bingo boards with words that contained the sound they were working on. A frequently used resource for artic is Webber's Jumbo Articulation Drill Book. A variety of games can be utilized as reinforcers (Don't Spill the Beans, Pop up Pirate) during artic sessions. 
For my school-age clients, I created a lot of my own materials. Using children's literature in therapy is great because it's fun for the kids and you can target a variety of goals (wh-questions, inferencing, etc.). 
Older clients: This really depends on the population you work with. Materials for older clients should be tailored to their interests. There are some adult language apps available. Some possible games for adults: Jeopardy, Trivial Pursuit,  Family Feud.
These are just some general ideas. You should tailor activities to each individual client. Please don't purchase anything I have mentioned until you know you need it!

Question: Did you work at all during your program?

Answer: Many of my classmates worked during the program. However, all their jobs were part-time and had flexible hours. I think it's smart to wait a few weeks into the semester before starting a job. 

Question: As far as the computer you brought to classes, what did you use and what did you see others using? What would you recommend?  
Do a lot of grads get iPads to use for therapy? Did you?
Answer: We were allowed to sign out iPads for therapy sessions at the on-campus clinic. We were not provided with iPads to take home. I LOVE my iPad and think it's amazing. There are so many awesome apps out there to use during therapy sessions. I personally do not like taking notes on the iPad, but if that has worked for you in undergrad, it should be fine in grad school as well. Most people in my program used MacBooks in class. I used an old Windows laptop to take notes and did paperwork on the laptop/a desktop at home.

Question: I've been reading a lot online about what to actually bring to grad school. A lot of folks recommended a laminator, label maker, and tape recorder. Are there any other heavy duty, 'machine-type' things you'd recommend?

Answer: I think a laptop and a printer are important to bring. I only bought a laminator in my last semester of graduate school and use it occasionally. I don't think it's necessary to have, especially before you begin seeing clients. A tape recorder is useful. I never needed to use a label maker in grad school. An iPad is a great tool, but again, not necessary until you see clients.

Thank you to everyone for your questions! PART 2 COMING SOON!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Linky Party! What's in Your Cart?

It's time for a SALE! Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a sale from August 4-5! I have added 20% off my store as well. In total, you can get 28% off my Pronouns Practice Packet. Many other sellers have also marked their products off, so if you're waiting to buy some great products, this is the time to do it! 

*Use the code: BTS14 during checkout*

Jenna from Speech Room News is hosting a fabulous new Linky Party to celebrate the sale!

Below are the products that are in my cart for the TPT sale!

This Life Skills packet from Speech Room News looks great! I have been looking for products that feature functional vocabulary and this one fits the bill.

Addresses critical thinking skills.

Here are my recommendations. I bought these products and love them!
AMAZING product. If your students are working on differentiating who, where, and what questions, this is the material to get!

Great for preschoolers working on categorizing.

Pragmatics fun!

Here is my product targeting pronouns!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Teachers Pay Teachers Rafflecopter Giveaway!

I am hosting my first Rafflecoper giveaway starting this SUNDAY! Soon, it will be time to hit the books and go back to school! The website, Teachers Pay Teachers, offers many amazing products for educators. 

Enter to win a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card below! This giveaway ends on Thursday, 7/24/2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 18, 2014

Linky Party: Dog Breath!

Today I am joining a Linky Party hosted by the amazing Deanna Jump! The topic is one of my favorites: BOOKS! Literature can be used to target a variety of language goals for school-age children. Here are just a few of the many goals that can be addressed:

-Identifying parts of speech 
-Identifying story elements: main idea, characters, problem, resolution
-Inferencing, Predicting
-Multiple meaning words
-Various syntax-related goals
-Increasing MLU

That's a lot of goals! There are many amazing children's books out there, but today I will be discussing "Dog Breath" by Dave Pilkey. 

Why I love it: My students responded to this story and I was able to incorporate many language goals! There is a clear problem and resolution. There were many opportunities for wh-questions. 

Short Synopsis: Dog Breath is the story of Hally Tosis (yes, halitosis), a sweet dog with horrible breath! After a particularly unfortunate mishap (due to Hally's bad breath), Hally's owners decide to give her away. The children of Hally's owners are devastated and try to get rid of Hally's bad breath before their parents find Hally a new home. They go on a mini-journey to rid their beloved dog of her terrible breath. Nothing works! The children are very upset. But, that night, two burglars break into the Tosis home! Hally is a friendly dog and begins licking the burglars. Her breath is so bad that they pass out! Hally saves the day! Mom and Dad Tosis are amazed and decide to keep their hero dog.

Sample therapy tasks:
-List of various wh-questions: I ask some questions during the reading of the story and others at the end
-Story sequencing: Students use a story sequencing board with images/text to place story events in order 
-Identifying story elements: Setting, main idea, characters, problem, resolution
-List of nouns, verbs, and adjectives from the story (students place word cards into N, V, or A pile)
-Predicting: During the story, I ask the students what they think will happen next, why they think this will occur, etc.
-Increase MLU: All questions need to be answered with full sentences!
These are just some of the activities that can be utilized to target goals with literature! I highly recommend trying language therapy with books if you haven't done so. Addressing goals and instilling a love for reading in children...what could be better? :) 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pronouns Practice Packet!

This post is an introduction to my BRAND NEW, 48-PAGE product, the Pronouns Practice Packet! The material targets the pronouns: He, She, It, They, I, We, and You.  It includes two instructional tasks (introduction/review of when to use particular pronouns + examples) and four pronoun activities for He, She, It, and They. There is one instructional task and one activity for the pronouns I, We, and You. 

This packet is a GREAT tool to introduce, reinforce, and review the concept of pronouns. The clip art is varied, so students are provided with pictures of He, She, It, and They in different styles of illustration. I have also included examples of "He"s and "She"s across the lifespan (ex. baby boy, boy, man, grandfather).   

The first part of the packet contains Learning Strips that describe when particular pronouns are utilized. Each Learning Strip (He, She, They, and It) includes three example images. 

To reinforce the concept of each pronoun, Labeling Strips are included as well. Instruct students to attach each Learning Strip to the appropriate Labeling Strip. 

There are also 13 instructional pictures with text. Each of the pages includes a sentence with a pronoun and a corresponding image. 

Now for the activities part! There are 24 different images (6 per pronoun) to match onto four Pronoun Pages (He, She, It, They). Students will need to place each image on the appropriate pronoun page ("Boy" goes on the "He" page, etc.).

The Pronoun Pile Cards feature 16 images to place onto one of four pronoun piles (He, She, It, They). The level of difficulty can be increased for this task, by describing the image ("It's a boy") without providing visual support to students.    

Two types of worksheets are included for review: Circle-the-Pronoun and Fill-in-the-Blank

The pronouns I, We, and You also have Learning Strips and Labeling Strips for instruction/reinforcement. These pronouns are targeted with one activity, Pronoun Portrait Frames. The portrait frame sheets include drawing prompts ("Draw a picture of yourself doing something fun!") that demonstrate examples of I, We, and You relevant to students.    

This product can be purchased at my Teachers Pay Teachers store:!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Best SLP Apps!

I have found the iPad to be a great TOOL to use in therapy sessions.   

The apps on this list have found a permanent home on my iPad.

1. Hamaguchi Apps

By far, my FAVORITE brand of apps to use during therapy sessions. Hamaguchi apps are pretty close to perfect! The creator is a speech pathologist and it shows. I currently own the full version of "First Phrases" and the Lite Version of several other Hamaguchi apps. All of them are excellent. If I could use only one app company for targeting language goals, it would be this one. Hamaguchi has discounts on their apps several times a year and Lite versions are also occasionally free.

-First Phrases ($15.99): I utilize this app primarily to to increase MLU and target verb production. I also use the app for past-tense production ("what did  the boy just do?"). Works great.  

-Fun with Directions & More Fun with Directions ($15.99): I only have the Lite version (.99) and my preschoolers still LOVE this app. They consider it a game. An excellent tool for targeting receptive language and following directions. 

2. Language Adventures by Smarty Ears Apps ($24.99)

*More features have been added to this app, since I purchased it.*
This is the app I use most frequently with older students who have goals related to antonyms/synonyms, multiple meaning words, and inferencing. It is the best app I have found to target these goals. There is a game board and students take turns answering questions within "situational contexts". The game features three levels of difficulty. Each targeted goal (antonyms, categories, inferences, multiple meanings, synonyms,  and wh-questions) can be addressed either expressively or receptively. I have only used the expressive option and it has worked well.

3. McGraw-Hill Grammar Wonderland (Free; Primary and Elementary versions available)

I recently came across these FREE apps for elementary school students with goals related to parts of speech (nouns, verbs, and adjectives). The games are fast-paced, but feature three levels of difficulty (easy, medium, hard). I wouldn't introduce the concept of parts of speech with these apps, but they are good tools to use for review. Students like that there is a "video  game" element and give it high marks!

4. Articulation Station by Little Bee Speech (Free version)

The school where I am currently completing my practicum has the full version of this app, but a free version is available as well (features the phoneme /p/ only). Out of all of the artic apps I have seen and read about, this one has the best images. Simple to use yet comprehensive. 

5. Chronological Age Calculator by Home Speech Home (Free)

Quick and easy way to calculate chronological age! 

6. Voice-O-Meter by Use Your Noodle, LLC ($.99)

Do you have clients who speak really, really quietly? This app helps kids visualize increases/decreases in volume. For the price, it's the best app to address volume control.

7. Peekaboo Barn by Day and Night Studios, Inc. (Free Lite version)

Great for introducing farm animals/their sounds to little ones! 

8. Speak Colors by Robert Harrison (Free version available)

Good app for targeting expressive language, especially combining
adjectives (colors) + nouns. Also useful for reviewing colors and vocabulary.

9. Shiny Bakery ($2.99)

I use this app to target following directions and vocabulary. This is a high-quality children's cooking app. I have used similar apps (tons of cooking apps out there), but this is the one that I like the best. The graphics are excellent and the recipe must be followed exactly to continue cooking!    

10. Bitsboard (Free)
Multiple uses for this excellent app! In the past, I have searched its Catalog (Shared) when I needed flashcards featuring verbs, common objects, and furniture, but that is just one of the many, MANY ways to utilize this excellent resource. The images are AMAZING! This was the education app of the year and I recommend it to teachers as well as SLPs. For more info, please visit 

11. Clean-Up: Category Sorting ($1.99)
A simple category app with real-life photographs. There are three categories into which various items need to be sorted. By far, the most straightforward and realistic category app I have found.  

12. WH Question Cards-Pro ($11.99)
This app from Super Duper Publications is my go-to Wh-Questions app. It features Who, What, Where, When, and Why questions. Content-wise, the questions are especially appropriate for students in grades K-3.  What I love about it: interactive, comprehensive, cute images!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Linky Party! Post-Its!

Today I am joining a Linky Party on Speech Time Fun's wonderful blog! The topic is Post-Its! I use these sticky notes for two main purposes: keeping track of what I have to do and TREASURE HUNTS

This is great for working on a variety of goals. I put different colored post-its around my therapy room and have kids follow the clues to a reinforcer (sticker, iPad, etc.). Clients can either answer questions to earn the next clue, follow directions on the clue card, or solve a riddle to discover where the next clue card is hidden!

                                        Possible Ideas for Clues:

 *Vocabulary: furniture, objects in the room
 *Literacy (reading clue card)  
 *Wh-Questions: What do we sit on? What do we read?
 *Answering any questions based on targeted goals: antonyms/synonyms,   metaphors, main idea of a story, etc.
                                                     Prepositions clue!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Linky Party Thrifty Finds!

Today I am joining a Linky Party hosted by Speech Room News!

The topic is Thrifty Finds! I have found tons of amazing low-priced goodies at Target's Dollar Spot. At my Target, the Dollar Spot is located to the right of the entrance and it's the first place I go to when I walk in the store. I found these great mailboxes there:

I used the Preschool Tissue Box Pronouns by Let's Talk Speech Pathology activity, substituting mailboxes for the tissue boxes. Kids LOVED "sending" silly items to grandma. The Dollar Spot also has a lot of small goodies that can be used as motivators (pencils, small light-up toys, coloring books). I have also found great children's books at various discount stores, like Amazing Savings!    

Surviving Graduate School

Graduate school is difficult. It is time consuming. Sometimes you feel like it will never end. You may feel frustrated and totally unprepared. Your friends may vaguely remember you after you finish. Okay, joking about that last one :) But I, along with many of my fellow classmates, have gone through a lot of these emotions. If this is the “mode” you are in 24/7, you will be super overwhelmed. That is why it is important to take time to just RELAX. Even if you’re a workaholic, this is essential. There are things you can do for the classroom that will result in less stress overall. Here’s some general advice in order to decrease stress: 

-Do not procrastinate
I have heard this mantra in high school and college, but managed to get away with putting things off then. In grad school…not so much. The work will become overwhelming, you will be super stressed, and there will be a lot of sleepless nights. I recall a particular semester in which I had two big reports (one was HUGE) due and two finals in a four day time frame. It was practically impossible to do well on all those assignments and exams if waiting to start on them the weekend before the due dates. So, it’s better to develop good time management skills early in your graduate school career and plan ahead. People vary in how they prefer to split up their time. One method is writing down what you want to complete each day of the week (ex. Monday=read chapter 1 in Child Language Disorders, write outline for Voice disorders paper, etc.) in a planner (or your phone/device/etc.). If you don’t need to budget your time quite so specifically, another method is to make a checklist of everything you want to get done by the end of a particular week.  

-Use a calendar/white board
I use a regular calendar that hangs on my closet door. It’s great for writing in important assignments because you can visually see what is completed/what needs to get done each month. The calendar gives me a more “big picture”, long-term perspective than a planner, which I use for weekly reminders. 

-Get to know your classmates
Study buddies/friends/company for all-nighters are a necessity. 

-Look over the lecture slides after class
Simply flipping through the lecture slides after class and reading over topics that were unclear will be a big time-saver before exams. You won’t think “What was this again?” quite as often :) 

-Be organized
Binders and bins are great organization tools. I tried to have a binder for each course throughout grad school. You will also accumulate tons of great resources/materials, so keeping those in specific bins/binders will be very helpful for future clients.

-Use online resources: Pinterest, SLP blogs, SLP online resources, Teachers Pay Teachers
There are TONS of amazing resources and materials!   

-Take time to relax
Relaxation is ESSENTIAL!

-Spa Day                                             -Get away for the weekend
-Bubble Bath                                        -Read a good book
-Movie                                                 -Go shopping
-Drinks with friends                              -Catch up on your fav TV shows (w/cookies)
-Movie at home
-Non-speech related hobby
-Go out to eat 

REMEMBER: You're not alone, take it one day at a time, and you will get through it!