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

That One Time I Talked About Records and Record Players in Speech Therapy

posted on February 23rd, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
That One Time I Talked About Records and Record Players in Speech Therapy

You know what they say, technology advances quickly. At one time, the rotary telephone was all the rage. Now? Not so much. In fact, there are many things that elementary school-aged students growing up today will never get a chance to experience because of technology advancing. For example, VHS tapes (remember rewinding a video?!), phone booths (remember not having enough change to make a call?!), or how about cassette tapes?!

What a blast from the past!

Just as technology can become out-of-date, the same can be said for speech therapy materials, too. And I'm willing to bet that if you look deep in your speech therapy room's closet, way in the back, under all that dust, you probably have some ancient speech therapy materials hiding. I know I did. Well, if you do have some oldies chillin' in that closet, whatever you do . . .

Don't throw them out.

Before you chuck that stuff in the garbage because of the apparent worthlessness, try them out with the students on your caseload, first. Seriously. Because I bet you that whatever you show them will surely get them talking. Why?

Because confusion usually triggers questions.

As you can see from my main picture in this blog post, I came across some classifying and vocabulary building language cards from the 1970s. Most of the pictures were actually still quite relevant. There was a dog/bone, baseball/bat, soup/spoon, but the one that threw me for a loop was the record/record player combo. I saw those and instantly felt the need to show that pair to my students.

Let's guess what these things are!

I showed the record and record player cards to a bunch of 3rd-5th graders. The responses ranged from, "I don't know what those are!" to "I think it's a donut maker and those are donuts in donut boxes." From there, I was able to enlighten them with the fact that, at one time, there was no such thing as Mp3 players or iPods and whatever. Music existed on those "donuts" and that "donut maker" was actually a speaker of sorts that played music out of the "donuts." My students were genuinely interested in what I was saying, so I went on YouTube and I found a video from the 1980s Nickelodeon show called Mr. Wizard's World. In that 2-minute video, there's a nice description of what a record player is and how someone could make a homemade record player.

Lots of opportunity to target goals and objective from that video!

After watching the YouTube video, can the student tell you the main idea? Can the student remember how the record player worked and actually explain it back to you? Can the student recall what items were used to create the homemade record player? All of that and so much more could be asked during a typical speech therapy session.

In closing . . .

I'm all about kickin' it old school. So let's make it a point to show our youngsters how us old folks used to live back in the day (ya know, when dinosaurs walked around and stuff, lol!). Give this speech therapy idea a try and let me know how it goes.

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Missing Letter Articulation is Perfect for Older Articulation Students

posted on February 10th, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Missing Letter Articulation is Perfect for Older Articulation Students

Let's play a quick game together. This is a word game of sorts. What I'll do is show you a few words and each one will be missing a letter. Try your hardest to guess which letter is missing so you can correctly spell out the word. Cool? Cool!

Time to get this word game party started!

  • 1. RABB_T
  • 2. R_BOT
  • 3. RECY_LE

How did you do?

Did you guess rabbit, robot, and recycle? If you did, you're correct. Give yourself a solid pat on your back because you're awesome!

And speaking of awesome, I just came out with a new app and it's pretty awesome!

My latest app is called Missing Letter Articulation and it's a speech therapy game. It's jam-packed with over 1,000 sound-specific articulation word puzzles (words that are missing one letter). Your goal with these word puzzles is to figure out which letter is missing before the timer runs out. Remember RABB_T? And R_BOT? And RECY_LE? Yup! That's what I'm talkin' about. These word puzzles were designed for us speech-language pathologists to use with our kiddos who exhibit difficulty producing the following speech sounds: S, Z, R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, and TH.

It's a simple game that's perfect for older kiddos.

I created Missing Letter Articulation because I have a few older artic students on my caseload. Some 5th graders, 6th graders, and even a few 7th graders. Students in these grade levels need something a bit more "grown up" and age-appropriate. So in my humble opinion, this speech therapy app does the trick. If you're looking for an app to use with your older kiddos, Missing Letter Articulation is where it's at. Get the app HERE and let me know what ya think. Enjoy!

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The Magical and Tiny Details in Speech Therapy Bring the Most Joy

posted on February 2nd, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
The Magical and Tiny Details in Speech Therapy Bring the Most Joy

Us school-based speech-language pathologists have to provide speech therapy in unpredictable environments. Sometimes that can get tricky. For example, at any given moment a fire drill could go off, or one of my students might need to go to the nurse, or maybe I might need to cancel a session or two due to myself needing to attend an unexpected child study team meeting. Sounds all too familiar, right? Ah, the life of a school-based SLP, expect the unexpected.

Sometimes that unexpectedness gets me a bit frazzled.

From this frazzled-ness (is that even a word?!), I often find myself not remembering to "stop and smell the roses." What I mean by that is I tend to not notice the magic in the tiny details within my speech therapy sessions that I absolutely should be seeing.

Magical and tiny details?! Say what?!

There are magical, tiny details happening each and every single day within your speech therapy room. You just need to remember to open up your eyes and ears. For example, remember that one time when that one student of yours laughed so hard at one of your silly jokes and you thought his head was about to pop off? That right there, that was TOTALLY a magical, tiny detail!

Write things like that down so you can remember 'em.

I've started to do it all the time. Each time I'm presented with a magical, tiny detail, I try to grab a small piece of paper and jot it down. Then at the end of the day, I usually put it in a jar. It's loads of fun to collect magical, tiny details. Here are some other magical, tiny details that I've collected and added to my jar over this past academic school year:

  • That one 1st grader who said she was very excited to come to speech therapy today. So cool!
  • Overhearing that one 3rd grade boy tell his classmate that I was one of the "cool teachers." Awesome!
  • That excited look in my 2nd grader's eyes when he realized that he had enough stickers to go to the speech therapy prize box. How cute!
  • That 7th grade student who genuinely asked me how my weekend was. So mature!
  • That 4th grader who told me that she might want to either be a "president of a huge company" or a "speech teacher" when she grows up. Magnificent choices!
  • That one time when I had the hiccups during a speech therapy session and all three of my 5th graders were trying so hard to scare me in hopes that my hiccups would go away. Hilarious!
  • That moment a 1st grader ran up to me in the morning shouting about how excited she was because she finally got the puppy she wanted and how she "couldn't wait to tell me all about it in speech later." Gosh, so fantastic!
  • That 6th grader who asked me if I got a haircut and then proceeded to say, "Yea I thought you did. You look cool." Right on!
  • That one 1st grader who told me, "You don't look old. You look like you're 20." So flattering!

In closing . . .

My wish for you is that you don't let magical and tiny details in your speech therapy sessions go unnoticed. Be in the moment and let those magical and tiny details sink into your heart because those moments are the moments that bring us SLPs the most joy. They fill our souls with warmth and are often delightful, little reminders to us that we are a part of the best darn field in the entire universe. The field of speech-language pathology. It just doesn't get any better than that. So remember, write those magical, tiny details down. Cool? Cool!

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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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