Something in my Pocket

There's just something about rhythm and a catchy tune that leads to retention for little ones. My predecessor introduced us to this song and I recreated it for my classrooms. 

We're currently using it to practice vocabulary (related to our unit theme and book; "Winter" and "The Mitten," respectively) pre-literacy skills, and syllable segmentation as a large group. However, I can put anything in the pocket to target a variety of skills: articulation, Letter of the Week words and pictures, name recognition (show just the first letter, "L" for....), sight words, etc. 

Sang (chanted?) to the tune of "Tiny Tim the Turtle," patting knees in rhythm:

I pull the words out slowly, emphasizing each syllable separately and pausing between. Progressively, I shorten the pause between syllables until preschoolers guess the word. Then, I flip it over to show the picture ("Was s/he right? RAB-BIT, Rabbit! It's a ...!") and we clap out the syllables together.

My song chart is half of a piece of poster board, laminated, with the words printed and glued on the bottom. I printed the pocket on cardstock and laminated it separately. The pocket is attached with clear packing tape, top end left open. I made the words size 2"x8" and printed them double-sided.

Find the template here (you will need Boardmaker to open this file).

But - ter - fly

We're working on syllables and segmentation as part of the preschool general education curriculum and I've been correcting some related phonological patterns.

I've been pulling pictures and objects from a variety of activities to target multisyllabic words and I typically pair the words with a motor movement cue (usually hand-claps). However, I am ready to start fading cues for some of my little friends and I needed a picture card set specifically targeting two, three, and four syllable words.

I included dots below each butterfly to indicate syllable number. I arrange my prompting hierarchy to fade from full motor (clapping or finger-tapping) to tactile (touching each dot) to visual and then I can cover the dots completely when appropriate.

We've also discovered a few words for which my team has been vehemently debating the syllable count. Epenthesis, anyone?

If you use my butterflies, please take a second to say so and let me (or rather, my wonderful teammate) know below: how many syllables are in the name "Kyle"?

My Fav *affordable* Apps for Preschool

Last year, my department provided each preschool team with an iPad - yay! It arrived, however, preloaded with apps, most of which were geared toward a more advanced population, and with ties to an iTunes account that we could not access - bummer, right? Perhaps due mainly to my lack of techno-savvy, it spent most of last year acting as a glorified camera. How's that for a confession?

I have since overcome the iTunes issue, and this (albiet expensive) little tool has quickly become my new best friend. I am sharing a list of some of my personal favorite iPad apps for preschool speech and language for those of you, like me, who have no idea where to begin...

Okay, I know I said, "affordable," and yes, I'm contradicting immediately with a splurge, but I promise it's the only one and worth the price. This is my most-used app and by far my favorite for articulation. Contains virtual flashcards that depict high-quality, real-life photos (great for an added vocabulary bonus) and allows you to work in all positions at word, sentence, and story levels. Data collection/progress tracking also embedded.

iSequences ($2.99)
I use this app to work on "first, next, then, last," sequencing language and it throws in some extras such as emotions ("How will __ feel?") and prediction ("What happens next?"). It's customizable so that I can preselect the sequences that will be presented.

Furry Friend (Free)
Meet Lenord. My preschoolers love that he can hear them talk and will repeat back everything they say (great for working on intelligibility and MLU). This furry friend comes with a collection of silly little activities: he blows bubbles (pop them), eats a sandwich, and has a pinwheel (make it spin). Plus, he's highly ticklish. I use it mainly for reinforcement and communication temptation.

One of many apps from Super Duper - behold, Fun Decks in electronic form. This app is great for working on receptive and expressive categories; I turn the sound off and also use it for object-function and wh- questions. Data collection embedded.

Students choose pairs of pictures (field of four) that go together. I also like it to target functional vocabulary, object-function, categories, etc. Higher level "why?" component is also available.

Action Words (Free)
Presents sets of four photographs depicting present progressive verbs for receptive identification. I turn the sound off and use this app to work on expressive he/she pronouns and -ing endings. Settings allow me to select or deselect specific verbs depending on the client.

Time Timer ($2.99)
This is my most-recommended app for parents. Time is such an abstract concept for preschoolers and the visual of, "When the red is all gone..." literally allows children to watch time pass, making it so much more concrete. I use this app (and my actual visual timer) in the classroom constantly.

Great for work on adjectives, comparative and superlative morphemes (-er, -est), this app is a simple comparison of real-life pictures and provides immediate feedback.

Receptive identification of photographs based on feature ("Show me the one that has a tail"), function ("Touch the one that you sit on"), or class ("Where is the farm animal?"). Also provides verbal labels for each item and tracks responses/accuracy.

Play123 (Free)
This app is very cause-and-effect, and I use it with my youngest clients. I like it for following directions, practicing shapes and colors, and prewriting strokes. It also includes some opportunities to target prepositions and introduce some basic concepts.

This is by no means a comprehensive list - I'd love to hear how you are learning to incorporate iPad technology into therapy. What are your must-have apps for early childhood?