March 17, 2015

Spoiler Alert! {making predictions}

leveled activities for predicting what will happen next

Do you use Netflix or Hulu Plus to catch up on all your favorite television shows? If you haven't watched the most recent episode of a show and you hear people talking about it, do you plug your ears and hum a tune so you don't hear what happened? That's because we all hate spoilers, or when we hear what happens next. If you're reading a book or movie review and you see the words "Spoiler Alert", you know to look away because someone is going to reveal what happens in the plot.

My newest activity packet is full of spoiler alerts, because it's all about predicting what is going to happen next.

The download includes an anchor chart to help you teach your students what it takes to make logical predictions. I also use this as a learning target when we are practicing making predictions.

Three levels of prediction cards are also included. Level one includes scenarios which have only one plausible outcome.

Level two cards include scenarios which might have more than one outcome, but multiple choice answers are provided to assist students in picking which outcome makes the most sense.

Level three cards also have situations which could have more than one possible outcome, but no prompts are provided.

There is also an open-ended board game to use alongside any of the prediction card sets. Students take turns moving around the game board. If they land on a space labeled "Spoiler Alert!" they get to select a bonus card and follow the instructions on the card they draw.

At the end of the packet there are three writing sheets which are great for homework. Each page presents three movie plots. Students need to write their predictions about what will happen next in the movie.

Click here to view the packet for yourself in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop. Enjoy!

Abby watched all 13 episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix this weekend. Spoiler alert: it's awesome :)

March 13, 2015

Speech Room Records {Bulletin Board}

a functional and motivating bulletin board idea

Since January, I have been making an effort to review speech/language goals with my students to help them be more aware of why they come to speech, which skills they are working so hard to improve, and that coming to Speech is more than "playing games".

There's also a push in my district this year to have students be a part of tracking their own progress through the use of rubrics and scales. So since we were regularly reviewing their performances anyway, I decided my students deserved to be rewarded for their efforts. Voila - the Speech Records Bulletin Board!

When students achieve a personal best on a certain skill, they get to fill out a speech record ribbon and hang it on the bulletin board.

Now students come into my room asking what their records are, and are so motivated to try and beat their personal best. I love it!

We even recognize "fun" achievements, like the all-time speech room Jenga tower record!

A few records have been shattered this week: one student went from producing vocalic /r/ correctly 60% of the time when reading aloud to 78%! #speechroomwin

Give it a try with your own speech students - and get ready for lots of celebrating :)

Schoolhouse Talk achieved a personal record yesterday: Ready, Set, Communicate {task cards for Grammar} was featured on the TPT home page!

March 11, 2015

Using Google Read and Write in Speech Therapy

Google Read&Write is a super handy resource to have in your SLP toolbox

Raise your hand if any of your students struggle to read. (Both of my hands are raised.) Now raise your hand if any of your students are motivated by technology. (Both of my hands are raised again!) Do any of your students take great lengths of time to complete writing tasks? (Now my feet are raised too!) Did you know there is a tool available to help all of your students, no matter what their speech/language goals are?

Google Read&Write is an extension for the Chrome browser, which increases students' accessibility to text! There are many useful features within the extension, and I'll be highlighting a few of my favorite features in this post. Mostly, I utilize the extension with students who are working on increasing their vocabulary and reading comprehension skills.



There are two dictionaries included: a picture dictionary and a talking dictionary. To use the dictionaries, simply highlight a word and click on the icon you'd like to use, and the dictionary will appear in a pop-up window.

How I Use It: For students who are working on building their vocabulary skills, we use the picture dictionary frequently while reading online passages. I just love the pictures that help solidify that word meaning for students. This is also a great feature for English Language Learners.


Text-to-Speech is an excellent tool for many of my students who are struggling readers. Highlight the text you'd like read, then click the Play icon. Hover Speech will also read text aloud, simply hover over the text you'd like to hear instead of highlighting. You can even change the reading speed and choose from 5 different voices in the settings.

How I Use It: I use the text-to-speech tool a lot with students who are working on reading comprehension. They enjoy listening to the reading passage on the computer rather than having me read it to them or taking turns reading. Many of my students also practice using the text-to-speech tool since that is an accommodation they will be using on the upcoming Smarter Balanced assessment. We can practice using text-to-speech ahead of time so that they are comfortable using it when it comes time for the high-stakes testing. We want to make sure they are being assessed on their knowledge, not their ability to maneuver through the online test, right?


Highlights Icon

This is one of the BEST features. There are four different highlighting colors available. You can also collect the highlights, which will create a new document of all words that have been highlighted throughout the document.

How I Use It: As we are working on vocabulary skills and reading passages, I have students highlight any target vocabulary words or words they are unfamiliar with. When we are finished, we can click the Collect Highlights icon, which generates a new document containing all the words that have been highlighted as well as their definitions and a picture icon. Now my students have their own little dictionary to take home!

Document created when you click "Collect Highlights"

I've also used this feature with articulation students who are working on generalizing their skills into reading aloud and conversation. We will open a reading passage in Google Docs, then use Google Read&Write to highlight all the words in the passage containing their target sound. Saves on printing and paper.


The speech-to-text feature is pretty self-explanatory. Students simply speak into the microphone on the computer and their words appear in the document.

How I Use It: Speech-to-Text is perfect for students who can't type or write very quickly. Some of my kiddos might take a couple minutes to write a complete sentence, and writing an entire paragraph would use up most of our session. With the speech-to-text feature students can get their thoughts down on paper, then review what they said to see if it makes sense. This is also a great tool to use with articulation students to help them monitor their sound errors while reading aloud or having a conversation. Visually seeing how their errors have an effect on their speech can help them become more aware of the changes they need to make and start self-correcting their errors.


- Word Prediction: If you've clicked this icon, a small pop-up box will predict which word you're trying to type - just like predictions that pop up on cell phones when text messaging.

- Simplify Text: This only works with certain documents, but if you click the icon, it will paraphrase an article to a simpler reading level.

- Fact Finder: If you highlight a word or phrase in your document and click the Fact Finder icon, a new browser tab will open with a Google search of the highlighted term.


If you haven't yet started using Google Read and Write in your therapy sessions, you need to start yesterday. It's mind-bogglingly useful and has so many great tools. There's always something for me to use with any of my students. It's a useful tool for students with who face language and academic challenges, and it gives students access to technology that might otherwise be too expensive. It only costs $1.50 per student for my district to give access to students. What a deal!

Click here to view the getting started document and see how to install a free 30-day trial onto your computer. (If you talk with your district, they may be interested in purchasing licenses for students and staff, which are pretty inexpensive.)

Abby is gearing up for next week: we're rolling out the new state testing system and we have three days of parent-teacher conferences. Double whammy!