Black Friday 2020: Amazon

Shop ‘til you… need a cocoa refill! 😉

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet!? 🙋🏼‍♀️ This girl is guilty! But you guys- there are SO MANY amazing deals going on.

The Amazon Black Friday Sale has so many of the games and books I LOVE on SALE! I’ve rounded up some of my top SLP games, books, and toys to make your shopping a bit easier this year. Grab these faves for your speech room or for a kiddo on your list. HAPPY SHOPPING, everyone!

  1. Can You Guess in 10? is 32% off right now, draping in price from $13.99 to $9.51! This is a great game for targeting vocabulary, categorization, using context clues, making predictions, and pragmatic language skills such as asking/answering questions and maintaining a topic. Perfect for elementary and up. 
  2. Educational Insights Frankie’s Food Truck Fiasco Game is 40% off right now, dropping in price from $21.99 to ONLY $13.09!! Use this game with pre-schoolers and elementary age children to target a variety of skills: categorization, vocabulary, multisyllabic words, requesting, and describing.
  3. Educational Insights Pancake Pile-Up! This is the LOWEST PRICE I have ever seen this game. It is currently on sale for $11.29 making it 44% off (originally $19.99). Use this game with your pre-K and up crew to target vocabulary, following directions, production of multisyllabic words an SO MUCH MORE. RUN! This deal is SO GOOD!
  4. Melissa & Doug Vehicles Sound Puzzle is 31% off right now, making this SLP fave only $8.99 (originally $12.99). Place a puzzle piece correctly in the puzzle board to hear realistic sounds-lift to expose light sensor, then replace (cover sensor) to hear sound. This is an open-ended activity that is perfect for pre-school and lower elementary.
  5. Melissa & Doug Magnetic Number Maze is $11.99 making it 29% off (originally $16.99). Are your ready for a #cotreat with your favorite #pediatricot? There are endless possibilities with this one: articulation, following directions, vocabulary, social language skills (e.g., turn taking). This is great for pre-school and lower elementary.
  6. Melissa & Doug Safari Sidekicks are currently 57% OFF, making this collection of 10 safari animal ONLY $12.97 (originally $29.99). Animals include elephant, Buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, Wildebeest, Rhinoceros, crocodile, hippopotamus, zebra, lion. Perfect to use during play or in those #sensorybins!
  7. Melissa & Doug Suspend Game is 46% off right now, dropping from $16.99 to ONLY $9.19. This is FAVORITE in my speech-language room. It is an open ended game that I use on repeat with my middle school students. Great to use when working on articulation (assign each color a number), problem solving, and pragmatic language skills.
  8. Melissa & Doug Counting Caterpillar is 27% off, dropping from $14.99 to $10.99. This may look like a simple counting too, and it is, but I use it ALL THE TIME. This is an awesome tool for children to monitor their #voicevolume rate of speech, and fluency. It is such a helpful visual for our students and I AM SO glad I found it!
  9. Melissa & Doug Poke-a-Dot Dinosaurs A to Z is currently 31% off making it $8.99 (originally 12.99). This is such a motivating book to use in sessions with pre-school age children! They love to “poke” the dinosaurs. Poke-a-Dot books encourage language development, counting, and fine motor skills. The dots make different clicking and popping sounds depending on how they’re poked. How FUN!?
  10. Flashlight Wordless Picture Book is 66% off RIGHT NOW making it ONLY$5.79 (originally $16.99)!! I LOVE using this book with #storygrammarmarker. Wordless picture books are a wonderful way to support children in narrative production.

**Please note that all sales are subject to change. Sale prices listed during the Amazon Black Friday Sale 2020.

Authentic Topics and Materials

Building Motivation, Resilience, and Rapport Using Authentic Topics and Materials with Middle and High School Students. 

I will be sharing therapy ideas that focus on learning by doing and provide student-choice in order to establish an empowering therapeutic environment. 

I am SO EXCITED to share these therapy ideas with you, but I should warn you… These ideas are NOT print-and-go, they are NOT worksheets, and NONE of these ideas include games. These are project-based activities that need more than one, thirty-minute session to complete. They are authentic activities aiming to build motivation, resilience, and rapport with your older students

Idea # 1 Blackout Poetry

Therapy Idea #1: Blackout Poetry. Okay, don’t freak out or roll your eyes. You guys, poetry units can be SCARY. When a high school student asked for my help with a poetry assignment, I’m pretty sure I started to sweat. But, I fessed up and I was honest. I told this student, “Poetry is not a strength of mine, but I bet we can figure it out together.” 

So, What is blackout poetry and how do I use it in my speech room? Well, I started by selected poems written by teenagers and young adults. Then I got a little bit more specific and found poems and books of poetry written by teen boys. I thought, If I’m going to tackle poetry, it needs to be relatable and authentic or I’m going to get ZERO buy in from my students. After I found some examples and grabbed some books from the library, I played around with the idea of using “blackout” poetry in my speech room. I took one of the poems, randomly, and I started to “blackout” the parts that did not resonate with me. I used the poem Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle. I printed out a copy of the poem, grabbed a sharpie and got to work. I literally crossed out words, phrases, and entire sections that didn’t “fit” with me as a person. What was I left with? A new poem, my poem, and that felt exciting. I gave it a whirl with some of my middle schoolers, and  I found that this is such a powerful exercise. Specifically, for our students with language disorders because they don’t need to generate the language in order to create a poem. 

Websites to checkout: 

Books to Consider:

Paint Me Like I Am from WritersCorp

Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems by John Grandits by John Grandits 

Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25 by Naomi Shihab Nye

Poems From Homeroom by Kathi Appelt

You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys by Betsy Franco

Possible Goals to Target: analyze text, figurative language, poetic vocabulary, creative writing, listening comprehension. 

Idea #2: Video Game Dictionary

Activity #2: Fortnite Dictionary for Teachers. If you work with teenage boys, then you know video games often DOMINATE the conversation. If you’re anything like me… you’re clueless. When my caseload switched from Paw Patrol to Fortnite,  I had two options: 1) avoid the topic completely; or 2) let the students be the experts. One thing I’ve learned about this age-group is you CANNOT fake it. They know when you’re faking it, so don’t even try. 

Real talk… our students are almost never the “experts”, they are left behind in conversations, and often don’t understand the vocabulary thrown around in the classroom. This activity allows them  to LEAD and puts them in the “seat of the expert.” 

You guys- I don’t love Fortnite, but I love this project. It has become part of our routine. It is predictable and expected, and it is student-led. It has become part of our routine. When we come across a word we, meaning I, don’t know we add it to our virtual dictionary. We write a definition, determine the word’s part of speech, include an image/drawing, and use it in a sentence or short story. The hope is when the students feel their dictionary is complete, we will share this virtual dictionary with teachers. 

You may think you know what the words stream, skin, and dip mean… but you don’t. 

Possible Goals to Target: homonyms, perspective taking, apply background knowledge, comprehension

Therapy Idea #3: Storefront

Therapy idea # 3: Set up a Storefront. I’ll admit this activity is a bit tricky due to #covid, but my post-grad clients are making it happen. ⁣The post-graduate students I support can no longer go out into the community and explore different jobs. However, this resilient group of young adults DID NOT give up. They saw a need (😴 teachers ) and created a job (☕️ cart). How awesome is that!? AND they are making a profit! This coffee cart offers more than just coffee, seltzer, handmade masks, and snacks… It provides opportunities to practice important life skills, including: money management, social skills, sequencing and SO MUCH more.

⁣This activity is not just for older students- it can be modified for later elementary students too! Last year a group of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders started a Seltzer cart.⁣

Possible Goals to Target: turn taking, multitasking, social interaction, calculation, verbal interactions, follow a verbal script, multistep directions, AAC, problem solving

Therapy Idea #4: Use a Podcast

Why? Student Engagement & Student CHOICE– this is HUGE in middle and high school! When students love what they’re doing, they are engaged. Plus students get to choose the topics they get to listen to. 

Where? One website to checkout is; however, I’ve found it more helpful to search by topic. 

Possible Goals to Target: analyze online sources, listening comprehension, planning, sequencing, social interaction, following multistep directions, understanding multiple perspectives, defend opinions, evidence from text

Therapy Idea #5: Interview Skills Unit

YOU GUYS- this could be one of the most important “units” you work through with your high school students.  I am describing this as a unit, because as I said at the beginning of this series: the ideas I am presenting are project-based and take multiple sessions to work through. 

Here is the thing, our students want careers and they want to know how to make that happen. 

✅ Creating a resume

✅ Conducting a job search

✅ Filling out a job application (paper & online)

✅ Going on an interview (in-person and virtual)

✅ Post-interview follow up 

⭐️ This list could easily flip to college/university applications and interviews depending on the student(s) you are supporting. ⭐️

💡 Use Video Modeling 

💡 Roleplay with familiar and unfamiliar communication partners

💡 Attend a Job Fair

Possible Goals to Target: functional life skills, verbal interactions, syntax, perspective taking, executive functioning, comprehension, planning, social interaction, career transition, expository discourse

Bitmoji Virtual Locker

A Bitmoji virtual locker! How fun is this!?

This is a perfect icebreaker or “get to know you” activity for any middle school or high school SLP (or teacher). I am planning to use this in collaboration with my special education team the first week of school.

Overall I would say creating a Bitmoji locker is pretty simple. With help from this locker template, you and your students can easily make a locker that represents you and your interests.

Be sure to check out this video for a tutorial.

Virtual Meet the SLP

Welcome to Speech! 

👉🏼 Get a FREE Virtual Meet the SLP here

👉🏼 Get a FREE Welcome Letter here

Sending a welcome note has become a part of my routine as a school-based SLP. I started sending one as a way to introduce myself to the families of new students and say hello to those returning. It has always been well received, so I have not stopped! 

What I include in my note- I add details like my phone number and extension, as well as my email. I try to keep it short, especially with all the papers sent home at the start of the school year. This means I also like for it to stand out, so if color printing is not an option try colored paper. 

So, why do I keep sending a welcome letter home? Because most of the families I work with do not understand their child’s speech-language diagnosis. My hope with this letter is that it is not just another letter that gets a glance and then it’s thrown away. I hope that it becomes an open invitation for parents to ask questions beyond the walls of an IEP meeting.  

A lecture I attended at the ASHA convention in 2016 mentioned the lack of understanding parents have regarding speech and language terms. The lecture was titled: Caregiver Perceptions of Diagnostic Labels Applied to Their Children with Language/Reading Impairments. What struck me was the number of terms we have for different disorders and how that can be difficult for parents to search for ways to help their children at home. Below are some of the highlights from this lecture. Evidence Based Practice (EBP) resources referenced below. 


•Caregivers of children diagnosed with a language impairment are concerned with their child’s language difficulty

•Caregivers may not trust or understand the information provided by their child’s SLP

•In general, parents appear satisfied with the services provided


•Caregivers would like a clear, defined diagnostic label

◦Caregivers frequency associate having a diagnosis for their child with having a solution to help their child

•Provide complete, clear information

•Give support and provide follow-up and outside resources/materials

◦Ask questions to determine caregiver understanding of the diagnosis as well as expectations from the intervention being provided

◦Continue to share information and repeat information as often as needed


Bishop, D.V.M. (2014). Ten questions about terminology for children with unexplained languageproblems. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 49(4), 381-415.doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12101 

Porter, K.L. (2015). Caregiver perceptions of speech-language pathologist (SLPs) communication: Examining how SLPs talk with caregivers about child language disorders. (Doctoral Dissertation, Louisiana State University). Retrieved from 

Porter K., Ash A., Redmond S., & Oetting J. (2016). Caregiver Perceptions of Diagnostic Labels Applied to Their Children with Language/Reading Impairments. Paper presented at the annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Philadelphia, PA.

Distance Learning & No Print /r/

With the uncertainty of next year, I have decided to covert my high frequency word lists to digital form. Check out the Your Words Matter blog post to learn more about why word selection is so important when we select exemplars for our clients. Here you will find the evidence behind the words I choose for all of the materials I use and share with you.

Creating a digital form allows you to easily incorporate high frequency words into your virtual and tele-therapy sessions. It can also be opened on an iPad, making it a no-print resource you can use for years when in-person sessions become the norm again.

👉🏼 Get your resource at my TPT store by clicking here


  • High frequency, low density words (/r/, /r/ blends and vocalic /r/ in the initial, medial and final position of 1, 2 and 3+ syllable words)
  • High frequency, low density sentences (/r/, /r/ blends and vocalic /r/ in the initial, medial and final position of 1, 2 and 3+ syllable words
  • How to make the /r/ sound
  • /r/ warm-up

It’s All About Perspective

Using books is a must in my therapy room! I’m sure it is in your room too. It provides context for the concepts we are targeting in our sessions, and when we have context the skills we are working on generalize. 

Perspective taking is not an easy concept to work on. This is because perspective taking requires sophisticated uses of semantics, syntax and pragmatic language. 

So how are we going to tackle perspective taking? A fellow speech therapist recommended the book Seven Blind Mice, so I decided to give it a try and now I’m hooked! I found that working on perspective taking using a book containing reduced linguistic demands is helpful. The repetition and highlight of color (i.e., red mouse/red pillar) also makes this book a good choice.

You can get your free copy of the organizer I use in my sessions here.

If you download this freebie, please consider leaving feedback and liking my TPT store!  

What we know from the literature and how perspective taking relates to persuasive writing:

  • Success with perspective taking requires sophisticated uses of semantics, syntax and pragmatic language. 
  • It is a demanding task that requires higher level language to analyze, discuss and resolve topics in a cohesive and clear manner that also takes into consideration the listeners point of view. 
  • In writing a persuasive essay, the author embraces a particular point of view and tries to convince the reader to adopt that same perspective.
  • In order to produce a strong argument, the writer must engage in social perspective taking to develop an awareness of what others know, value and believe. 


Nippold, M. A. (2016). Later language development: School-age children, adolescents, and young adults. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.

Nippold, M. A., Ward-Lonergan, J. M., & Fanning, J. L. (2005). Persuasive Writing in Children, Adolescents, and Adults. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 36(2), 125-138. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2005/012)

I Can’t Find My Whatchamacallit!

📚Title & Author: I Can’t Find My Whatchamacallit! by Julia Cook

👧🏿👦🏼Age group: Elementary (Grades K-6th)

📖Theme: This book highlights the importance of being organized, as well as shining a spotlight on individual differences.

💻Summary: Cletus and Bocephus are cousins, but nothing alike. Cletus is extremely creative, but can’t find anything in his room. Since he is so disorganized, Cletus is constantly losing things and is very messy. His cousin Bocephus is the complete opposite. Bocephus is very organized, but if he ever misplaces anything he completely freaks out. After Cletus’ mother refuses to let him play with Bocephus until he cleans up his room, Bocephus takes charge and helps his cousin sort through his stuff and put it where it goes. 

🧠💬Receptive/Expressive Language Targets: Organization, executive functioning skills, categorization

⭐️My Impressions & Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I love the practice application of the strategies outlined in this book. The visuals and lists provide a model for students. Therapists and educators can easily take these strategies to support students organize their desks, lockers, folders and stack of papers!

👉🏼Get your copy of “I Can’t Find My Whatchamacallit!” here 

Choose Your Words

Raise your hand if you’ve ever grabbed an articulation deck just because it had the phoneme you were targeting on the front of the box. Me- I’m guilty, and I know better. I think many of us are, but why? Is it because articulation decks are easily accessible and it’s what our districts have purchased for us? Is it because they look kind of cute and fun?

In the decks we grab off the shelf, why is shell selected over short? Both target /sh/ in the initial position of one syllable words, so what’s the difference? Evidence based practice is the difference. Target selection matters and the literature continues to support the use of high-frequency, low-density words when we choose words to target in therapy. 

This is what we know from the literature…

  • Treatment of high frequency, low density words resulted in generalization effects that were greater than by chance (Morrisette & Gierut, 2002). 
    • Word frequency refers to the number of times a particular word occurs in a language. 
    • Neighborhood density is defined as the number of words that minimally differ in phonetic structure from a given word as based on a one-phoneme substitution, addition, or deletion (e.g., rock, ache, cake, and break are neighbors of rake). 
  • High frequency words as targets in treatment resulted in system wide improvements in children’s phonologies, spanning treated and untreated sounds within and across classes (Morrisette & Gierut, 2002). 
  • The results from Morrisette & Gierut, 2002 may be used explicitly to plan for generalization in treatment. 

You guys, shell is not on the high frequency, low density list! It didn’t even make the high frequency list. The thing is, we don’t say shell very much in our day-to-day exchanges.

Below are resources I have created that contain high frequency, low density words. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Download High Frequency Word Lists and Picture Cards Here

Get your /sh/ Freebie Here


Morrisette, M.L., Gierut, J.A. (2002). Lexical organization and phonological change in treatment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 45 (1), 143-159. 

Storkel, H.L., & Morrisette, M.L. (2002). The lexicon and phonology. Interactions in language acquisition. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 33, 24-37.