Archive for September, 2012



Updated List 10/21/12 10 Days till Halloween

Halloween is going to be here before we know it, so spend some time now and stock up on some great quality Halloween themed apps!  I have always enjoyed working on Halloween themed activities throughout the month of October and I now really enjoy having my clients  interact with Halloween themed apps. I know some you school SLPs out there aren’t allowed to call these activities “Halloween themed” and usually have to go with “Fall Festival” or use some other workaround title.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of 21 Apps to use for Halloween. Some of them have a direct Halloween theme and others are themed around  spooky or scary things. Keep an eye out for the apps that are labeled HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as these will be of immediate use to you in your therapy sessions.

Screen shot of my Halloween folder

1) Halloween Shelf   – Free  (5 years and up)

This is a fun little app that is essentially a soundboard. You can use it for cause and effect, predicting, etc… My favorite us of it and do this with other sound board apps is to use it for sound effects.   I have some of my higher functioning clients write a scary story and then read it and use the soundboard like an “old timey” radio show. They really enjoy hitting the sound effects and then listening to a recording of their story.

2) iBlower Series: Magic Halloween – Free (Toddler and up)  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

This is pretty cool cause and effect app because you are able to activate the animations using your hands, voice, or by blowing into the mic. The blowing into the mic feature is neat because you can have some lower functioning kiddos interacting with the app as well or even higher functioning if you want to work on some production of lip rounding or just work on basic imitation skills.

3) Monster Mash Lite Free (Toddler and Up)

Working on describing skills? This app allows you to create monsters with a different head, torso, and legs. This can be a fun app to use in a barrier type game, where the child creates their monster and the therapist has to then draw the monster based on the child’s description of it.

4) Monster Booth Free ( Middle School and Up)

This app is definitely for the older kids as it is slightly gross and contains aspects of blood and gore. You take a picture of the person you want to turn into a monster and then apply the overlays. Perhaps you can turn it into a what do you want to before Halloween game? So if you have some older middle school students and above this might be a great app to use if they can handle it without laughing and not being mature.

5) Treat Street $.99 ( Toddler and UpHIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

This is a fabulous app if you want to work on role-playing skills or just practice saying “trick or treat”. To play, you dress your character up in their costume and then head out down your street ringing the door bell or knocking on the door. The door opens and you get a treat for your bag. You are also able to monitor the treats in your bag as you go along in the game and can practice sorting skills at the end of the game by sorting all the treats in the bag.

6)  Carve-A-Pumpkin from Parents MagazineFree (Toddler and up)  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The app store as a bunch of carver your own pumpkin apps but I like this one the best. You are able to carve both free hand or use templates .

7) Monster Me Free ( Toddler and Up)

Monster Me is a pretty cool Augmented Reality App that has a mad scientist feel to it.  You line up your head on-screen with the guidelines and click play and virtual mask is overlay-ed over your face.  You can change your eyes, nose, and mouth while wearing the mask or have fun and click randomized for a totally mad creation!!!

8) Ask Ya Mummy Free  ( Elementary and up)

Working on answering “yes” and “no” questions? Is it boring  and tedious? Well invite a Mummy into your therapy session.  Ask Ya Mummy randomly answers questions you ask with a “yes” or a “no”. You can have fun by have the child gauge if the mummy was ”right” or “wrong” when answering the question.  The app can also be used as a soundboard as well.

9) Peek a boo Trick or Treat $1.99 (Toddler) iPad, iPhone, Nook, Kindle, Android  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

Night and Day studios have a fun series of Peek A Boo apps and this is their latest edition.  Knocking on the door causes it to open revealing 1 of 14 Halloween themed characters. The only thing I don’t really like is the fact that you are knocking on the door and finding a character and it should really be the other way around. You should be answering the door to greet one of the characters. It’s cute and fun nonetheless!

10) My Monster Voice Free  (Toddler and Up)  iPad

Want to sound like a monster?  This app comes with 3 preset high pitch monsters, 2 low pitch monsters, and a custom setting.  Select your monster, record your message, and hit play and start laughing at how silly the voice sounds.

11) Go Away Big Green Monster! $2.99 ( Toddler and Up)  iPad HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

I am sure you have used this at some point with a felt board activity or just reading the book, as this book as been around for quite some time. It offers a treasure trove of possible activities from just working on the word “go”, parts of the face,  to describing activities.  Just Google “Go Away Big Green Monster! activities” and you’ll see what I mean.

12) Halloween Card Creator- Free (Elementary and up)  iPad

A fun free app that allows you to make Halloween Cards! Lots of fonts, clip art, and various other customizations  Start creating your Halloween card today and share it via e-mail or Facebook!

13) What was I scared of?  By Dr Seuss $1.99 (Elementary and up) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

A fun story about “fear” and how to handle it.  Typical Dr. Seuss rhyming pattern through the book supports good phonemic awareness.  Great to work on picture and word associations as well.

14) Spooky Playtime $2.99 (Toddler and Up) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

This is one of my favorite Halloween apps. It has lots of fun mini games!! They include: Junk Food Zombie- feed the zombies and help improve their eating habits, Bat Cave- sound recognition, Haunted House- a memory and matching game, Pumpkin Patch- counting skills, Spooky Forest- candy shape and color matching, Billy Bones- fine motor and shape recognition, Sylvia’s Spider Web- letter andnumber recognition.

15) First Words Halloween $1.99 (Pre-k and up) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

This app is based on the successful First Words Apps. I like this app because you can work by letter name or phonics and pre-select the amount of letters you want in each word. It’s useful to target CVC word for articulation or simply target some fall themed vocabulary!

16) Clicky Stick Halloween $.99 (Toddler and Up) iPad  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

This app is based on the award-winning app Clicky Sticky. This app will allow you to create a visual scene using “stickers” and then animate it using the play button. It’s lots of fun and can be used to enhance describing and vocabulary skills.


UPDATED APPS !!

 

17)  Guess Who I am!  Halloween Monsters Edition– Free HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

This is a fun twist on the classic Guess Who but with monsters. What’s nice is that the app offers the options of what questions to ask like ” Does your monster have wings?” etc.. So works great if you are working on asking questions or describing skills!  These prompts are also available for the regular version of Guess Who I am where people are involved.

18) Mystery Machine- Lite -Free  iPad HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

 

This app is lots of fun. You essentially are a Mad Scientist who has created a mystery machine that creates all sorts of gross things and monsters. You have different ingredients you add to the machine three at a time and what you get is a mystery!  I can see this game being used for targeting working memory where you give the child a recipe i.e.  Eye ball, Frog, and Pumpkin and they have to remember it.

19) Mask Doodle– $.99 iPhone and iPad

This app is developed by the same developers that brought you Cookie Doodle which is another fun app. What cool about this app is that once you create your mask you are able to print it out. You can even target some fine motor by having the child cut out the mask.

20) Mask Jumble– $.99 iPhone and iPad

Here is another mask making app but this time the fun is not printing it out like in Mask Doodle but by using augmented reality to wear your mask. I use their other mask game called Mask Jumble Animals that has a free and paid version in case you wanted to check out how the app works.  Lots of fun possibilities for describing or role playing with this one!

21) Henry’ s Spooky Headlamp– $.99  iPad

 

Another fun app for building Halloween vocabulary and based on the Henry’s Headlamp series. You play as Henry wearing his headlamp in the dark and you have to search the darkness with your lamp for items like a skeleton, bat, pumpkin, etc…

 

I hope you enjoyed the updated list and that you find these apps useful for therapy!  Thanks!

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Appdapted:  Zooburst 3D Pop-up Books

Zooburst is the latest in digital storytelling! It allows you to create free 3D pop-up books and share them online with others.  To create or read the books you must first register for a free account at Zooburst.com. It’s web-based so you will need a computer  with a web browser and Adobe Flash. Once you have set up your account you can then start creating or reading 3D pop-up books on your computer or iPad! When creating a book you have to login to your account on the website, click on New Book, and start creating!

The Book Builder on ZooBurst has over 10,000 searchable items that you can add to your books, plus the ability to import your own pictures. In premium mode you can add your own voice and sound effects too! To check out the pricing scheme and see the difference between free, premium, and school accounts click here —>Pricing

When you create your book there are a few ways you can read them: right from the website, using your computer’s webcam with a printed book code, or on your iPad.

When using the iPad you have a few options:

Story Codes:

Story codes are QR code esque and you use your Zooburst app in camera mode to scan it. The book attached to the code will magically pop up and you can start reading.

Book Viewer

The  iPad app Zooburst lets you view any 3D pop-up book in 2 modes.  You can use  Screen mode to interact with the book by tapping on any of the characters that have an exclamation point over their head. You can  navigate from page to page using the arrow buttons on either side of the book or by making gestures. In camera mode you use your printed story codes as shown above.

So how did I Appdapt Zooburst? Using the webcreation tool on zooburst.com I created a book called Ape’s Final /p/ Minimal Pair Adventure which focuses on final /p/ and uses minimal pairs. If you are unfamiliar with minimal pairs they are pairs of words where one competent is different, in this case they are words with and without the final /p/ sound.

The story includes these pairs of words:

  • beep-bee
  • soup-sue
  • rope-row
  • hoop-who
  • hop- ha
  • cap- ca
  • soap-so
  • nap-nah
  • pup-puh

Want to read Ape’s Final /p/ Minimal Pair Adventure or use it for therapy?

Download the Zooburst app and use the camera mode to scan the Store code below:

If you prefer to use your computer and check it out right now click on the picture below.

Descripto Dinos Vocabulary Game Boards by Super Duper Publications

Descripto Dinos, available for $54.99 by Super Duper Publications, is a fun and engaging game that will have the children you work adding those pesky attributes to nouns in no time.  Want to play? Well its easy to start! Have the child select their favorite colored  game board and game chips. Each game board has a different dinosaur on it. You roll the foam dice, which Super Duper includes with virtually every product right? I mean they must have a whole warehouse dedicated to these dice. The number you roll determines how many attributes the  child has to say in order to earn the ‘square’ . For example if they roll a two and just say “It’s yellow” and point to the mustard you would prompt them to ” Tell me more.”  You would want them to expand it to “It’s yellow and you put it on hot dogs” etc.. There are multiple items on each board that are similar in category, shape, color, functions etc.. to help the child add more attributes to their description. There are a variety of ways to play but the main goal is whoever puts all their chips on the board first wins!

You said it’s yellow? Do you mean the couch or the mustard?

Example game board, dice, and chips.

The game includes the following :

  • 14 colorful, laminated games (7 boards printed front and back).
  •  A total of 1,036 picture-words across the 7 game boards
  • 90 game chips in red, green, orange, yellow, purple, and blue!
  • Foam die
  • Instruction book

The instruction book is handy because it lists all the words on every game board. The  list can be used to adapt the game to work on things like articulation. You can do this by finding the game board with most of the particular sound you want to work on.

The game can also be adapted for things like expressive language by having the child build sentences using the word or by simply expanding vocabulary. With receptive language you can work on things like following directions using different colored chips, concepts like next to and under, or by finding objects by function or category.

Check out the example video from Super Duper:

Voice Recognition & Activation Apps for Speech Therapy

Voice recognition and activation have been slowly made it into the main stream with advancements like Siri, S Voice, or even Dragon Naturally Speaking. These features are also making their way into apps and I am not talking about apps like Talking Tom, Talking Ben, or Talking Ava as these are simple record and say apps. These record and say apps are useful especially with children that are reluctant to vocalize or just too stubborn. What I am talking about is using your voice, words, or phrases to activate the app or cause something on the screen to happen in response to a “recognized” word or sound. Some of these apps are voice activation apps and some are voice recognition apps.

Tiga Talk Camp Fire Adventure- $4.99

This app, based around characters of a Canadian TV show, appears to be a much improved version of the first Tiga Talk app which I have to say I was not a fan of. I wasn’t a fan of the first app because it put too much emphasis on the phoneme and then adding a ‘uh’ to the end. If you are a phonology person you know this is a ‘no no’. The premise of this app is that all the animal’s voices were stolen and you have to help them get their voices back by telling them. The developers have done a much better job this time around and have made it very fun and interactive working on 18 phonemes each with a different animal “voice”. The recognition software appears to be pretty accurate but they are up front with the disclaimer: “Gameplay rewards are based entirely on participation, not accuracy, so the child is constantly getting positive feedback as long as they are trying to make sounds!”. I am glad that they make this disclaimer because in the hands of a parent this would be a very useful app. There are other nice features to turn on and off such as on screen items to tap like acorns for the squirrel etc.. I did find it weird that some of the characters appear to be standing in mid- air during some of the scenes, which hopefully is an easy fix for the developers. So keeping in mind proper sound production and elicitation techniques a great therapist will find this app handy, especially if you are working on some early approximations.

Monkey Thinks-Free

This app has a really super simple premise. There is a monkey on screen with a thought bubble and the user has to say what it is. The voice recognition analyzes it and tells you if you’re correct or incorrect. MonkeyThinks uses the CMU Pocketsphinx library, and Politepix’s OpenEars (cmusphinx.sourceforge.net, www.politepix.com/openears/). Upon your first incorrect response and written cue will pop up on the screen. The voice recognition software is actually fairly sensitive and isn’t based on “accept any vocalization.” It’s not perfect though as it will accept “bee” for “key” and some other differences like that. This app would work best for a child working on word retrieval and expressive vocabulary and not for a child working on articulation. I have e-mailed the developer to find out how many words are in the word set as it is not listed, they also indicate that there will be more word sets coming soon.

Magic Voice-$1.99

Magic Voice, by Pocket SLP, is a voice activation app where the child use’s there voice to make something happen on the screen. There are 5 animations available in the app: a car, a balloon, a magic hat, a rocket, and a stack of blocks. Once the animation is selected the child then uses their voice to trigger the animation. There are 3 levels of difficulty I first thought this app was super sensitive to sound as it kept activating from the noise of my ceiling fan, so I went and tried it in a room without any noise in it. Once the difficulty level was selected the animations seem to start with or without sound, so I am hoping that Pocket SLP can comment on this. I was also concerned that when the app was released it was in the education category but I have now found it in the entertainment category.

PAH!-$.99

This is a fun little iphone game based on voice activation. You are the pilot of a rocket ship flying through space and you use your voice to control your ship, saying “Ahhh” to go up and “Pah” to shoot. The game is a little tricky at first to get a hang of so could be a little frustrating for younger children. This game might work best perhaps with a child that has voice goals.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally An Interactive Show- Free

This is a wonderful free app put out by Disney that is an “Interactive Show”. It is based on one episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse called “Road Rally”. It also has a voice activation component to it where Mickey asks you a question and you have to answer. It would be really neat if it was voice recognition as well but sadly it’s not as most of the time the background music activates the voice activation areas. None the less it’s a great app that has big production value that will be great motivator for any client that’s a fan of Mickey Mouse!

EggZoo- Free

EggZoo is an app developed on the representative method for teaching language to children- Total Physical Response (TPR). I had to look this up as I thought I was crazy for having never heard of it but it is apparently a methodology for teaching second languages that involves interacting and acting out the words as you learn them. The app revolves around four egg shaped animals You learn the words: catch, hit, chase, laugh, jump, spin, smell, shake, sleep, play, eat, and fly. You interact with the characters touching items on the screen for a few turns and then it switches to saying the words. There really isn’t voice recognition as it will accept any sound to activate the character’s response. That being said it will work well for a child working on approximations to some of these words like “eat” or “play”. It’s unfortunate that most of the words have clusters in them, but they are still good words to work on expressive vocabulary.

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Are you using any other voice recognition or activation apps that I have not listed?  How do you use these types of app in therapy? Comment and let me know! Thanks!

Tense Builder

Tense Builder

TenseBuilder, by Mobile Education Store, is the newest app in their lineup. It focuses on verb tenses: the past, present, and the future. You select the tense you want to work on and watch a video of the verb in action. Still shots of the video are then presented and you have to select what happened, what is happening, or what will happen based on the verb. There are 36 verbs in the app (that will soon expand to 60 by December 2012) and you have the ability to choose which tense you would like to work on as well as regular and irregular verbs. This app uses high quality animations and you have the opportunity to record the sentences and add it to the user profile to track progress as well as to work on expressive language skills.

Update:  The app has been updated as of  September 17, 2012 and you now have the ability to select which verbs you want to target for your session!

There are two main levels to this app:

Level 1: You watch the videos and then select the picture of the specific tense it is asking for.

Level 2: You watch the video and then have to select the correct word or phrase and drag into a sentence to complete it. The words you select ‘speak’ as you touch them, so you can hear them as you drag them into the sentence.

Update:  The app has been updated as of  September 17, 2012 and you now have the ability to select which verbs you want to target for your session!

Make a comment about how you would use this app in your therapy sessions for a chance to win a copy of the app!

You wouldn’t really call me a captain of Pindustry, or one of the Pindustrialists of the Pindustrial Revolution, and I wouldn’t be considered  a source of Pinspiration. I would like to think of my self as a unique Pindivudal.  Okay I’ll stop I’ll stop I promise, hmm   maybe just one more?  I am not a source of Pindigestion.  If you’re not on Pinterest yet you really should be considering it has opened it’s doors to everyone. So it’s pretty much Pinevitable that you’ll be pinning soon.

I am not a hardcore Pinner by any means as Pinterest is really geared more toward women. Case in point, here is a  picture of what I see when I log into Pinterest. I know very manly.  It’s because I only follow women!

What I have found Pinterest useful for is somewhat different from how I see other SLPs utilizing it. For the most part Pinterest is used for collecting all your ideas,pictures, inspirations, etc… on your favorite topic and creating a virtual bulletin board of sorts. So it works well for all those crafty SLPs always wanting to create the next cool activity or just keep your cool ideas in one place. Which is totally fine if you have the time allotted to make these activities or have insomnia and have some extra time in your day ;). Here is an example of what I have found a  typical SLP board looks like. You can see the pins are  made up of: links to blogs, links to activities, links to checklists, examples of games etc…

I  have started to use Pinterest a bit differently. I am using it as a giant bulletin board for ‘flash cards’. I have been experimenting with creating phoneme boards as well as a figurative language board. Here is a link and an example of my Idioms and Figurative Language Board:

Once the board is created I then use a free app called Bazaart. Using this app you are able to make some pretty cool mash-ups (Bazaart calls them “restylings” ). What is really neat about Bazaart is that you can select anyone’s profile and do a ‘restyling’ of their pins. Simply type in their Pinterest user name and it brings up all of their boards. Here are a couple of examples of boards I made using Bazaart.

/str/ words mash-up

Final /p/ words mash-up

What’s even cooler than your basic sound board mash-ups are boards where you can create your own visual scene! What I recommend for you to do if you do want to make your own visual scenes, is to go to images.google.com and search for pictures with white backgrounds. The white backgrounds will make it much easier to crop the background out and place into your scene.  You can use these scenes for articulation, fluency, expressive language, written expression, and the list goes on.  Here is a basic example of a visual scene I created using Bazaart. I have titled it ” A Bad Day in the Neighborhood”.

For this scene I searched ‘city street’ as well as ‘superman’, ‘red car’, ‘stapler’, and ‘big bird’ with white backgrounds. The white backgrounds makes the cropping a cleaner process.

If you are ambitious you can  then take your visual scene and use it with another free app called WriteYourCap, which allows you to write a caption and overlay it over your scene. You can also use this with some of the pins on my Idioms and Figurative Language Board.

I hope you have found this a Pinteresting post and if you have any questions always feel free to e-mail me or make a comment.

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