Often times, I encourage my students to use the power of their imaginations to pretend that we’re not sitting in a boring and typical room during our speech therapy sessions. For example, if we were doing some sort of ocean themed speech therapy activity, it really wouldn’t be uncommon to see my students and I holding our breaths while we were flopping our arms around in a manner that looked as if we were swimming in a large body of water. And it also wouldn’t be too strange to hear my students yelling at me because I just “splashed water” all over them while we were “swimming in the ocean.” It’s such a blast to do stuff like that and I’ve noticed that those little touches always tend to inject a large amount of laughter and fun into the overall speech therapy experience.
So here’s a question for you, have you ever started a fire in your speech therapy room?
Well, I hope your answer is no! Of course you should NEVER start a REAL fire in your speech therapy room, but a fake (digital) fire is acceptable. I’ve been happily using an app called Fireplace that allows me to turn the screen of my iPad into a super realistic wood-burning fireplace. Then, I place my iPad right on top of the speech therapy table in an effort to better set the mood. This wonderful visual allows us to imagine so many exciting things while we’re working on perfecting our goals and objectives. Below you will find some ways that I love using this app in my speech therapy room.
Pretend you’re roasting marshmallows in your speech therapy room.
If you work in a setting that allows you to bring in edible treats from time to time, consider bringing in a bag of marshmallows. You could easily practice essential basic concepts using marshmallows (this marshmallows is NEXT TO this marshmallow, this marshmallow is UNDER this marshmallow, this marshmallow is ON TOP of this marshmallow, etc.). Or you could create tons of multi-step directions for your students to follow that involve marshmallows (first, clap your hands, then, touch the marshmallow, and last, bark like a dog, etc.). Once your students have successfully practiced a few rounds of questions and/or statements, have them pretend to roast their marshmallows on your iPad. Then, allow them to pop ’em in their mouths. YUM! Ask them to describe what the marshmallows taste like. Are they hot? Are they sticky? Are they sweet?
Pretend you’re deep in the woods telling scary ghost stories next to a fire.
My older students can’t get enough of trying to scare each other by telling spooky stories to one another. And guess what? The ability to properly sequence the different scenes of a story and the ability to remember key characters that were mentioned in a story are some of the most popular goals and objectives that appear on their IEPs. So why not use this app in conjunction with actually turning off the lights in your speech therapy room? Have your students practice manipulating their voice during important parts of the story. The scary parts should be said with a monster-ish voice. The successful voice should be said with an exciting voice. So on and so forth. Ask them to recall main characters while attempting to retell the story they just heard.
Pretend you’re lost in the middle of a snowy forest and need to keep warm.
Huddle around the iPad while this app is burning bright. Blow warm air into your hands and pretend like your speech room is completely frozen. This could be a fantastic way to practice questions that relate to categories. Ask your students to list off some things that they would hope to have if they were lost in the middle of a snowy forest. A jacket. A scarf. Gloves. Wood. Matches. Then, you could take it one step further and act like you heard a bear growling in the distance. Ask your students various open-ended question like what they think they would do in a situation like that? (And if you adore open-ended questions as much as I do, you must download my app called Open-Ended Articulation.)
In closing . . .
Not only does this Fireplace app look like a real, burning fire, it also sounds like one, too. My students get a kick out of hearing the wood crackling. Between the stunning visual and the realistic audio, it truly does set the stage for a unique speech therapy experience. I’m confident your students will appreciate this app. So, what are you waiting for? Download Fireplace for your iPad right now so you can finally get that speech therapy room upgrade that you know you deserve — a fireplace in your speech room! Now THAT is teaching in style, am I right? Haha!