Motivation, humor, and ideas that every school-based
speech-language pathologist will love!

4 Funny Things to Say to Your Speech Therapy Students on a Friday

posted on January 26th, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
4 Funny Things to Say to Your Speech Therapy Students on a Friday

I'm a self-proclaimed jokester. I love to joke around with my students in speech therapy because I have found that humor always helps to set the stage for a fun AND functional speech therapy session. Jokes are the best! And once Friday rolls around, watch out because Mr. Jokester Raj is always in FULL jokester mode.

Lookin' for a few funny lines to throw at your students this Friday?

Look no further, my friends, because I got ya'll covered. The following four sentences are four of my all-time favorites Friday jokes to say to my students and they always generate a bunch of smiles and chuckles. Feel free to give these gems a try this Friday:

  • If you try your hardest today in speech, I promise to convince the principal to close school tomorrow.
  • Actually, if you try super duper hard today, I'll do all that I can to convince the principal to close school tomorrow AND the next day.

Or you could call the shots with givin' your students some time off:

  • Wow! You're doing so great with your goals and objectives. Ya know what? Take the day off from school tomorrow. You deserve it!
  • Actually, on second thought, I think you deserve the next two days off from school because you are doing THIS well in speech!

Introduce some language goals and objectives, too!

Encourage your students to describe WHY and HOW what you just said was a joke. Are they able to comprehend the fact that there was no school to begin with on Saturday and Sunday? And HOW and WHY you took that fact into consideration when you said that joke to them in the first place? Subtle language aspects like these can be a bit tricky for some of our students to understand and put into words, so you can easily do a bit of practicing with these types of Friday jokes.

In closing . . .

It's always important to remember that humor is subjective. So before you try out the silly Friday examples above, please do make sure that the given students understand that you are just pullin' their legs in a playful way. And if you think up any other funny Friday jokes, please do let me know so I can use 'em, too. Thanks, in advance, for sharing the sillies with me. You are an awesome jokester!

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Shrinking Speech Therapy Homework Sheets Results in More Homework Complete

posted on January 19th, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Shrinking Speech Therapy Homework Sheets Results in More Homework Complete

Not too long ago, I wrote a blog post about mini homework sheets. To recap, in the past I've noticed that almost every single time I gave my students some speech therapy homework, a few days later they would almost always confess to me that they were not able to complete the homework because they had lost it. So in an effort to shrink the percentage of homework sheets lost, I came up with the idea to LITERALLY shrink the actual homework sheets.

Yup, I made 'em smaller.

I created articulation-centered homework sheets for my students that were pocket-sized, instead of the standard paper size of 8.5" wide by 11" tall. My rationale for these tiny homework sheets was that if the take home practice papers were a bit smaller, roughly the size of a typical cell phone, they might not get lost as much because students could just put the homework sheets directly into their pockets, thus, the homework sheets would have a better chance of ACTUALLY making it home.

Did my mini homework sheets idea work?

Absolutely! This idea has been a massive hit. My articulation students love getting mini homework sheets and they almost always will bring them back completed. And get this, they will now even request a mini homework sheet once the speech therapy session comes to a close. Imagine that?! Students asking, "Hey Mr. Raj. Do you have another homework page for my pocket today?" Now THAT'S music to my ears. Sweet, sweet music!

Mini homework sheets can be put in many different places, too.

I have a lot of fun with my students by encouraging them to put their mini homework sheets in many different places. Places such as:

  • Put your homework in the front pocket of your pants.
  • Put your homework in the back pocket of your pants.
  • Put your homework in your front shirt pocket (if the student has one, of course).
  • Put your homework in your sock.
  • Put your homework in your shoe.

They really get a kick out of putting their mini homework sheets in their shoes!

Would you like to give some of my mini homework sheets a try?

I would be so happy if you did! Right now, I have a downloadable product on my Teachers Pay Teachers page called 525 Multiple Choice Mini Homework Sheets for Articulation Speech Therapy. As I'm sure you could have guessed from the name, the downloadable product features 525 articulation-specific multiple choice questions that I know your students will enjoy. It's 128 pages worth of amazing questions that will absolutely bring you and your kiddos 100+ hours of serious laughter AND learning. Check it out HERE to see a sample and to download.

So, what do ya think?

Do you think my mini homework sheets could be useful for you and the students on your speech therapy caseload? Do you think this spin on homework size might help your kiddos to bring their homework home? I sure hope so! Please, give these mini homework sheets a try and let me know what you think. And if you think I should make even MORE mini homework packets, let me know.

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Sharing Your Travel Videos in Speech Therapy

posted on January 12th, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP

I'm a huge fan of teaching materials that have an audio/visual component to them. Now don't get me wrong, from a speech therapy point of view, our students relate quite well to pictures that go along with our given lessons, but if we're able to show them some sort of video footage that coincides with their targeted goals and objectives, well that's another story. Those moving images packed with sounds are just THAT much more engaging and THAT much more easy to comprehend. So in my opinion, videos will almost always beat out pictures and that's why I try to utilize videos as much as possible within my speech therapy room.

You know I've written about videos before, right?

In the past, I've confessed how much I adore using YouTube videos in speech therapy and I've even went one step further with giving big props to THE BEST website out there that features an impressive library of child-friendly videos that are absolutely ideal for us speech-language pathologists to show our students who have various expressive and receptive language difficulties.

Let's take a moment to chat about travel videos, shall we?

I'm going to let you in on a little secret about me; I love to travel. If you were to ask me what was the one thing that I simply couldn't live without, my answer would be travel. Traveling really resonates with my soul because it feeds me new and wonderful experiences. So when I travel, I'm always armed with my trusty digital camera because it enables me to snap a few pictures in an attempt to freeze that moment in time as a remembrance. And I've always had a blast sharing my travel pictures with my students because pictures like that are ideal for generating robust conversation amongst students.

But what about sharing travel videos?

Here is what I'm proposing. We should take more videos with our digital cameras because, like I said, videos are just THAT much more engaging and THAT much more easy to comprehend. For example, during my recent trip to New Zealand, I got the opportunity to climb a glacier. Seriously, a real glacier! It was enormous and the pictures that I took were pure art. Yes, I will be sharing those pictures with my students, but I will also be sharing the little video clip that I took which is featured on this very blog post. Because I'm able to move my digital camera to pan around the location, I believe whoever watches the video clip is much better able to understand the sheer beauty of where I was and I know it also helps to generate so many more questions such as, "Glacier? What's a glacier?"

You can personalize your videos, too!

Notice how in my glacier video, I actually announced, "Hello Woodrow Wilson Middle School!" Not only am I able to share with my students this cool video clip, but I'm also showing them that I was thinking about 'em while I was on my glacier adventure. Kiddos really dig that personalized touch and it always triggers a handful of responses like, "Whoa! Did you hear that? He just said hi to us! So cool!"

The travel videos don't have to be extreme.

I realize that New Zealand might be a bit of a crazy example because it's a location that's very VERY far from New Jersey. However, you can easily share exciting travel videos that aren't a world away from where you live. For example, if you're driving to the beach on a warm day and your family makes a really cool sandcastle next to the water, grab some quick video footage of it and explain how the sandcastle was made. Or if you're visiting a local park during a snowy afternoon and your family goes sledding down a hill, grab some quick video footage of that and all the fun that comes along with swooshing by on a sled!

In closing . . .

I sincerely hope that this blog post has given you a few video ideas to pursue with your digital camera. Snag your digital camera and grab some travel videos so you can share them with your kiddos today! And just so you know, you can take videos with your iPhone or really any type of smart phone these days. So come on, there really isn't any excuse to not give this little travel video idea a shot. Thanks to phones, we now all have a video camera in the back of our pockets, so let's start shootin' and sharin'.

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Top 7 Multiplayer Apps that are Perfect for Speech Therapy

posted on December 15th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Top 7 Multiplayer Apps that are Perfect for Speech Therapy

If you're an iPad fan like me, I'm sure you'll agree that iPad apps have a lot to offer us as school-based speech-language pathologists. Not only does this digital device give us access to some of the coolest and most unique speech therapy apps out there (like Multiple Choice Articulation, Charades Articulation, etc.) but there are tons of apps on the App Store that, while not made specifically designed for SLPs to use, can still be extremely beneficial for the kiddos on our caseload, especially when used as a reinforcer. One genre of iPad apps that's often overlooked or just plain unheard of is the one that I call the multiplayer, single device genre. In short, apps that fall in this category are games that have a 2-player component to them (or sometimes even a 4-player component!), thus, making them ideal for small group therapy sessions that contain more than one student.

Two-players using ONE device?!

Yup! If you look hard enough, you can find a slew of fun apps for your iPad that allow students to play side-by-side with one another on the same device. But here's the catch, you have to look kind of hard to find these types of multiplayer, single device apps because they aren't the most popular apps out there. But don't worry though because I've done the heavy lifting for you. I've discovered a handful of apps that I've happily been using for some time now. And not only do I dig these apps, my elementary and middle school students all give them two thumbs up, WAY UP. These apps are the types where you can easily convince students to, "let's just do about do about 20 minutes worth of these questions and then after that, we can play this quick game on the iPad as a brain break." Believe me, you're going to adore these apps.

So without further ado, I present to you my top 7 favorite multiplayer apps that are MUST HAVES for SLPs.

  • 1. Wrestle Jump by Otto-Ville Ojala - This one is first on my list for good reason. It's because Wrestle Jump is my absolute favorite multiplayer, single device game EVER! This was the first app that showed me how two students could successfully play with one iPad at the same time. This 2-player game takes no more than a minute and a half to play. The game is simple, two wrestlers are locked in hand-to-hand jumping combat. Your goal is to bang the other wrestler's head against the ground in order to win the round. The first wrestler to do this on 5 separate occasions wins. It's currently $1.99 and so worth it. Perfect for both elementary and middle school-aged kiddos.
  • 2. Tug the Table by Otto-Ville Ojala - From the makers of Wrestle Jump comes yet another beautifully made multiplayer, single device game. In this tug-of-war inspired game, both players are tapping on a button on the iPad's screen in hopes of pulling the opposing player over the line. Just like Wrestle Jump, Tug the Table is also good for elementary and middle school aged students. It's $1.99. Buy it right now, you won't regret it.
  • 3. OLO game by Sennep - I have to give this game BIG props because it's one of only a few games out there that has a 4-player component to it. Imagine that? One device and four students successfully cooperating and playing the same game? Yes, it's possible with OLO. This game of skill and strategy reminds me of a variation of shuffleboard (or maybe the Olympic sport called curling). Your goal is to slide your team's circle into your target zone to score a point. If your circle doesn't go far enough, no point. If it goes too far, no point. You have to slide your circle JUST RIGHT in order to snag the point. It's currently FREE so you have no excuse to not give it a go.
  • 4. Cat Pong by SinSquid - My middle schoolers adore this silly variation of ping pong. This 2-player app let's each person play as a cat and each cat hits the ball of yarn to the other cat. But don't blink because if you tap your cat at the wrong moment, the ball of yarn will just fly past you! First cat to score 10 points is the winner. I've noticed that the game play of this app is a bit tricky for my younger elementary school students to get the hang of, but my middle schoolers have no problem at all. So download it today for your older kiddos! This app is FREE and each round takes no more than about 45 seconds.
  • 5. Air Hockey Gold by Acceleroto - From younger students to older students, this game never fails to excite! We've all played air hockey before and this app digitizes that fun experience perfectly. In this 2-player game, you use your mallet to hit your hockey puck into your opponent's net. First player to score 7, wins! The mallets are easy to control and the puck rockets so nicely across the table. It's extremely realistic and totally FREE! Does it get any better than that? I think not.
  • 6. Air Hockey Mania - Disky by Crazy Labs - While we're on the subject of air hockey, I'd be crazy not to mention this one crazy variation of the classic air hockey game that we all know and love. It's called Disky and the goal of this game is to use a slingshot to blast your colored disc into your opponent's court. And yes I said slingshot. You use your finger to pull back the slingshot to shoot your disc and let me tell you, it gets VERY intense. The game take about a minute and change to play and it's FREE! Will you give this app a download? (You better!)
  • 7. Tap Tap Power! Multiplayer Party Game by Voyage Travel Apps - This is a fast, frantic, and fun multiplayer game for two to four players that you MUST try. Yup, another 4-player game, just like OLO. All you need to do with this game is tap your area when it's lit to score a point and don't tap your area when it's not lit or you lose a point. It's really that simple, but trust me, it gets very tricky to keep up! There are also a couple of wacky twists that the developers added into this game like power ups that can be dragged to your area for more points or these cool hazard icons that can be dragged over to your opponent's area to cause them to lose points. This game is FREE and totally wants to live inside of your iPad. So, why don't you download it and give it a nice home?

In closing . . .

Use these multiplayer iPad apps as a refreshing pause from the usual speech therapy routine. I guarantee you that you'll absolutely see the efficiency and morale of your students increase once they have these apps to look forward to after a block of speech therapy drills. Oh, and full disclosure, I don't personally know any of the app developers that created any of the apps mentioned in this top 7, nor was I given any promotional codes to download them. I downloaded them under my own free will and I truly believe that their creations seriously ROCK! You will, too.

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