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

3 April Fool’s Day Pranks You Can Play on Your Students in Speech Therapy

posted on March 25th, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
3 April Fool’s Day Pranks You Can Play on Your Students in Speech Therapy

Pop quiz: What's the name of the silly and mischievous holiday that's celebrated each year on April 1st? If you guessed April Fool's Day, give yourself a round of applause because you nailed it. Great job!

I can still remember how fun April Fool's Day was back when I was a child.

That day was the best. My elementary school teachers would always pull hilarious pranks on us students. These pranks were not malicious at all, far from it. They were tasteful and had the ability to make each and every youngster in the class laugh out loud. Ah, thinking about those wonderful April Fool's Day memories seriously causes me to smile ear to ear.

Fast forward a few years . . .

Now I have the ability to keep that wonderful April Fool's Day tradition going as a school-based speech-language pathologist. That's exactly why I've collected 3 of my most favorite favorite April Fool's Day pranks that any SLP can play on his or her speech therapy students in order to generate a barrel of laughs and a boat load of conversation.

1. "Did you bring in your signed permission slip?"

Once your students sit down in their seats, ask them if they have their signed permission slips. After they look at you with confused eyes, go on to say, "I can't believe that you all forgot about today's field trip to the zoo! Well, since no one remembered to bring back their signed permission slips, the trip is now canceled." Keep this going for a few moments, and don't forget to add in some WH questions such as:

  • How could we get to the zoo?
  • What animal could we see at the zoo?
  • What else, besides animals, could we see at the zoo?

Then, announce nice and loud, "April Fools!" Chances are, it won't be their first exposure to an April Fool's prank, so take the opportunity to discuss some other fun places that could've been said instead of the zoo. Tell the students that you will use their suggestions for when you prank the next group of students that you see later in the day for speech (children love helping out like that!).

2. "Trick or treat?"

Once your students sit down in their seats, ask them to close their eyes. While their eyes are closed, put on a quick Halloween costume (I usually just throw on a pirate eye patch). Then, tell them to open their eyes. Once they do, shout, "trick or treat!" Go on to ask them where their costumes are and why they didn't wear a costume to school today. All of those questions should force them to communicate that Halloween is October 31 and since it's April 1, there's no need for a costume, etc. But make sure you go on and on about, "Oh, you didn't hear about the new law? Yea, Halloween got moved to April 1st from now on." After a few minutes of conversation about the "new law" - give them a loud and proud, "April Fools!"

3. "Hi! I am your substitute today!"

Once your students sit down in their seats, proceed to tell them that you're not who they think you are. Tell them that you’re actually the twin brother (or twin sister) of their regular SLP. Make up a brand new name, maybe change around your voice, or maybe even put on a fake mustache. Ask them WH questions about their "absent SLP" such as:

  • What is your favorite thing about about your regular SLP?
  • Why do you think your SLP is absent today?
  • When do you think your SLP will be back in school?

After all the questions have been answered, give a hearty, "April Fools!"

In closing . . .

So what do ya think? Will these pranks could cause your students to smile on April 1st? Do you think they will crown you the ultimate prankster? Give these April Fool’s Day tricks a try in your speech therapy room on April 1st and let me know how it goes.

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Game Show Articulation is the Speech Therapy Trivia App You Have Been Waiting For

posted on March 3rd, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Game Show Articulation is the Speech Therapy Trivia App You Have Been Waiting For

How would you like to win a brand new car? Or maybe win a pet elephant? What about winning a bag of popcorn that is bigger than a house? If you said yes, you're in luck because you can absolutely win all of these things and more by playing Game Show Articulation! (Well, you can SORT OF win these things. Keep on reading and I'll explain.)

Game Show Articulation?! What's that?!

Game Show Articulation is my latest speech therapy app and I ain't lying, you're gonna love it. It's a unique speech therapy game that turns your students into game show contestants and challenges them to answer super fun trivia questions for a chance to win cool prizes. The prizes are imaginary though, but that's probably for the better because having a pet elephant sounds like it would be quite dangerous. Am I right?

Tell me more about Game Show Articulation!

Don't mind if I do! Game Show Articulation features a comprehensive collection of over 600 sound-specific articulation words and questions designed for us speech-language pathologists to use with our students who exhibit difficulty producing the following speech sounds: S, Z, R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, and TH. This thrilling trivia game is intended to aid in the remediation of articulation impairments, as well as language and auditory memory difficulties because clients often need practice in more than one area of communication.

Can you share an example trivia question with me?

Sure I can. If your student was working on his initial /S/ sound, he might get a random question that reads "A green vegetable that is grown for its long light stems and leafstalks." Your student has to choose between these words - SEPTEMBER, SUBMARINE, and CELERY. After being presented with minimal prompts and cues, he would probably be able to verbalize how September is a month and how a submarine is a type of underwater vehicle. So that would leave him with celery. If he goes with celery as his answer, ding ding ding, he got it right! Then, he would be presented with a wrapped box with a bow on top. Go ahead and tap on that wrapped box because it will happily announce to you, in a wonderful game show host voice, what has been won!

Kid tested, kid approved!

I have a pair of private clients right now and they both request this app over and over and over again. Because of Game Show Articulation, we are able to turn the kitchen table into a game show stage and they love to pretend like there are television cameras pointed at them as they answer these trivia questions. I always tell 'em, "ya gotta make sure you have some solid articulation skills if you're gonna to be on a television game show!" They get a real kick out of that.

In closing . . .

Game Show Articulation is quickly becoming my most favorite app and my articulation kiddos are all about it, too. It's simple and intuitive. All in all, I believe it to be a wonderful experience from start to finish, so it would mean the world to me if you gave it a try. Would ya? Pretty please? All ya gotta do is go HERE to download it from the Apple App Store. Thanks!

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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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