Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Make Dice for Anything!

Make Dice Lite is a really FANTASTIC app and it's FREE!  You can buy the upgrade, but I find the Lite version to fit my needs perfectly (the upgrade is also ad-free).  You can adapt this app to meet any possible therapy or educational need.  I personally use it for: sentence formulation, grammar, articulation, conversation, emotions, social skills, etc...really the possibilities are endless.  Essentially, you are making dice.  The dice are slightly 'hyper'...they are very sensitive to bumps and they really bounce around, but the students think it is hilarious.Why not try it for Math (adding, subtracting, multiplying), Reading words, vocabulary words, picking students for a special task/chore, etc.?

I made dice for my articulation students.  For some students, we made our word lists together, which was practicing in itself.  We named them too.  I also have my own 'kit' of dice for all target sounds.  I have multiple dice for each sound, ex: 3 /r/ initial (6 words each), 3 /r/ medial, etc.   The kids 'throw' their dice and wait for them to settle down. Then the practice begins....some students say a word 3x (also add a number dice...the number determines how many times they say the word), some say 3 words (3 dice with different words), and others use the word in a sentence. 

The students and I made dice to meet their goals, ex: irregular past tense verbs.  I put the present tense verb on the dice and the student then rolls and changes the word to past tense/uses it in a sentence.  I have dice for: all verb tenses, plurals, etc.

Language formulation:
I made dice for conjunctions, relative clauses, academic vocabulary, etc.  Again the students need to use the target word in a sentence.  I also made dice for comparing...compare the 2 items that, tell how they are similar and different.  One of my favorite uses for this app is question formulation.  I made wh- question die and paired that die with a conversation topic die.  The students took turns formulation wh-questions.

Social Skills:
I made dice for emotions...one student tosses the dice and then acts out that emotion for their peer. I also had each group of students list topics (each group had their own dice).  I also made name dice.  The students played a round-robbing style game working on conversation. They needed to ask each other questions based on the topic and group member's name.
Another fun variation for conversation is our game, 'Quick Talk'...We decide on a group topic, such as Summer, and use 1 wh- question die.  We set a timer for 3 min...and we do rapid turn passing and formulating questions...I am the scorekeeper and I try to write down all of the questions.  Afterward, we review the list and see if we stayed on topic, asked appropriate questions, and thought of the most important questions.
My OT co-workers had great ideas for incorporating the SuperFlex curriculum that we all use.  I will be making dice with the different unthinkable characters.  We would likely then act them out or identify what that character does/how to defeat them.

The list really goes on and on... =)

Tips for Use:
  • To delete or change out dice, hold down on a die...it highlights and an "x" appears along with a list of other dice...you can delete dice by hitting the "x" or switch the dice. 
  • To add dice, hit the 'plus sign in a box' icon...another die will pop out.  If you don't want that particular die, follow the tip above to change it.  
  • To add a new dice (shortcut) just hit the plain plus sign. You can also go into settings (gear shaped icon) and add new dice.  It's pretty self-explanatory...just click add new dice, add your title, pick your color, add your targets to the sides. Make sure to SAVE it!!!!
  • You can have up to 5 or 6 dice out on the table at one time. 
  • You can also change the colors...the students like picking the color. You can also change the table background, which they like as well.  
Screen Shots: Here are some of the dice I have made...
A list of some dice that I made...
/r/ final words

Topic: School, ask a why question

SuperFlex Dice

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Dice Match HD for Higher Level Verbal Reasoning, Fine Motor, and Attending!

    Dice Match HD for higher level verbal reasoning, fine motor, and attending...phew, that is quite the list of goals! I am an avid fan of the game Farkle...both computer-based and board game versions.  This is not Farkle, but somewhat similar.  There are 40 die (dice) and you need to match the die based on the same numbers.  As long as the die touch, you can drag your finger and connect them to earn points...the more die you connect, the more points you earn!   Part of the strategy is not lifting your finger as you move from dice to dice. You are given 30 total turns. There are also special die with multipliers...which increase your score. How would this relate to therapy?
    • Conceptual Terms and Following Directions: Instead of just one person playing on their own, try the game in partners with turn taking. You could do this two ways:  1) Student gives therapist directions, ex: "Look in the corner, find the 4's, drag your finger up, then to the left, then up, etc."  Then the therapist would give the student directions 2) The student picks their own route/group of matching dice, but must describe their route as they move, "First I will start with this 4, I go up, to the left, down, etc."
    • Logic and Reasoning: Have the student explain why they are choosing a particular set of die.  "I chose the group of 4's because there were 8...the 6's only were a group of 3."  
    • Fine Motor, Attending, Scanning, and Discrimination:  I thought this app related well to my fellow OT's.  One of my older student's commented that he knew the game would be hard because he would have to discriminate between the die, in addition to keeping his finger pressed down as he dragged it across the die. Even though he knew it was challenging, he was very interested in playing and increasing his scores.
    I really enjoy this game for therapy, but it also is a personal favorite for situations like waiting rooms or having a good game night with my husband.  I would likely rate this app as most appropriate for students above 4th grade.  The coolest factor is that it is FREE!!!  You can upgrade to different screens and die styles for additional money, but I find the free version to be more than sufficient.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Fortune Cookie Conversation

     This is a fun way that I have been practicing conversation skills.  I found a google image of fortune cookies, printed them, and glued 2 together (front to back) leaving a space in the middle and top with no glue.  I generated questions for my groups in several ways:  I picked topics, I generated questions, and I had the groups brainstorm questions. Each student or group has different goals, so I color code the questions (for my sanity).  I simply print, fold, and slip the questions into my fortune cookies.  So if you can picture it, the fortune cookies make a little pocket that I can place strips of paper in and reuse from session to session and year to year.  I have paper plates that the students can use too...just something to add something 'funny' that the kids like.  The students take turns picking fortune cookies and either asking their peer the question or reading the topic to the group.  Again, each group is different, so while some students need specific questions printed on the paper strips....other students might just have key words or topics and it is their job to formulate questions with correct word order, provide additional questions, etc. Note: Of course I used my iPad camera to take a snapshot of these fortune cookies!

    How do I use the iPad for this activity?
    • Video: we often record our conversation and review it to ensure that everyone has stayed on topic and used appropriate eye contact/whole body listening.
    • More Buffet! (itunes link): After a successful round of conversation, we use More Buffet! The students need to pick as a group what country they would like to choose from (great opportunity for vocabulary development with country and food names).  Then we take turns picking or making items.  Of course they can NOT just pick an item by tapping it!  I have them either describe the item they want and the peer taps it...or one peer uses nonverbal communication to indicate what they want (Peer 1 points to items, Peer 2 shakes their head yes/no).  We put all of our items on one plate (yeah, I know that could be icky), but we compare/contrast the items.  We also recall who ordered what and why they like that food.  Here are some screen shots of plates that my groups built. This is another way to practice...after you create the plate, take a screen shot to save them...nice for comparing/contrasting or writing a describing paragraph later!  Have the student construct sentences with their target, for example: conjunctions.  They must tell sentences using but/because/so/etc.  "I ordered a beef taco, but the shell broke!"  "I ordered a triple cheeseburger because I am very hungry!"

    This activity is a great example of how the iPad is just part of the equation and even when we use the iPad, there are always several other 'hidden' goals that the students often do not realize I am targeting!!!!

    Math? Is there an app for that? Of course!

    A co-worker inquired about math apps recently, so I thought I would search around.  Since I do not extensively cover math in my Speech/Language sessions, I just thought I would list some of the free apps that I downloaded and list some of the pay apps.  Like any app search, sometimes you have to think outside of the box.  Simply searching for 'math' might give you 600+ results, which takes quite awhile to sort through!  There is everything from counting to higher level statistics/calculus/geometry/etc. Also, you might miss out on some really great apps that aren't specifically labeled as 'math'.  As another reminder, I only use my iPad as an additional tool, it's never the main focus of a session...and it takes extensive work on my end to find apps that fit my goals.  The iPad is not a replacement for traditional therapy.

    Free (and installed on my iPad):
    Kids Math Fun - Kindergarten level: basic addition and subtraction facts
    Little Math: basic addition/subtraction facts, the app is so-so.
    My Math App: basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
    Pizza Fractions: identify the fraction based on the pizza picture.
    Math Matrix Lite: click jewels with numbers to total a number given.
    Rocket Math: Do math (money, facts, etc) to earn money to build a rocket. Looks fun, I just have the lite version.
    McGraw Hill Everyday Math: I have 9 apps that I got for free...all sorts of fun ones. Our district uses Everday Math, so downloading these made sense. The link given goes to 'Top It", but you can see what other apps McGraw Hill has through that link.   I got all 9 apps for free for a promotion one week, but now they are $1.99 each I believe.  The baseball math app is really cute/fun...great for baseball season!

    Other apps that I came across:
    Word Problems
    Word Problems Level 3
    Park Math: greater than/less than, addition/subtraction, sequencing, patterns, sorting, counting, etc. by Duck, Duck, Moose, I might buy this one, it looks good.

    I really could keep listing apps (and I'll add to this list as time progresses), but like with any goal, it's really dependent on what your student or child needs.  If you have a goal and can't find an app, you are always more than welcome to list your question here and perhaps someone else knows of an app!

    There are so many apps that I already have which are not identified as 'math apps', but could be tailored to meet a goal.  Shopping Cart is a great example of an app that would not be found under a 'math' search, yet it can be used for price comparison, more/less concepts, addition, sequencing, total/sum concepts, find the difference (money), etc.

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Model Me Going Places

    Model Me Going Places 2 is a FREE app focusing on providing photo slideshows of community places/trips, such as the hairdresser, mall, doctor, playground, grocery store, and restaurant.  Each slideshow is read aloud by a child's voice and shows real photos.  Most of the main steps are covered, for example at the restaurant includes: greeting the hostess, waiting for a table, sitting down, looking at the menu...etc.
    This would be a useful tool for a parent, or for school situations such as recess, as they are similar to social stories and can help prepare the child/student for events, reduce stress/anxiety, and build vocabulary.
    In terms of Speech/Language therapy, the app could be used for telling/retelling events. The therapist and student could have a pre-discussion of what steps might be included, listen to the story, and then the student could retell the event using proper sequence and specific vocabulary.
    I have not used this app yet; however, it seems very useful. There is also an iPhone and iPod version.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    More Toca Boca! Toca Doctor!

    Toca Doctor, made by the same developer as Toca Tea Party and Helicopter Taxi, was recently released and also has a 'lite' version.   I downloaded the lite version and then bought the full version for $1.99.  There are 5-6 games in the lite version and 18 in the full version. You begin the app by having the Toca character do a body scan.  You can then see different areas where something is wrong.  When you click on each area, there is a puzzle or game to play.  For therapy, I would be able to use this app in some of the following ways:
    • Fun reinforcement following other structured skills (ex: After saying 20 /r/ words, a student could choose one puzzle)
    • Verbal reasoning: After targeting verbal reasoning skills in more structured activities, I could use this app as a concluding activity for the session.  We could talk about what might cause problems in the afflicted areas:  How do you think this person broke their leg?  How do you think we will fix it? How could that be fixed in real life? If your friend had a broken leg, how do you think they would feel?  What could you do to help them or make them feel better?
    • As I use the app, I am sure I can find other uses for it!  The games are fun, but they might not be advanced enough for my older students.

    ***Just some notes...once you complete all 18 puzzles and games, simply reset the game by double tapping the home button on the iPad.  This will bring up a row of apps along the bottom of your screen.  This is how you reset and close out apps that are in use (which helps with speed). Hold down an app until it is in jiggly mode, then tap the minus sign.  This will reset this app and all puzzles will be ready to go. 

    ***Review:  While I like this app, and my near-4 year old son loves it, I would have liked it if it had more to do.  My son was able to finish all 18 puzzles in approximately 30 minutes.  He likes doing them over and over, but nonetheless I would have liked to see additional levels/games possibly. I might be cheap, but I think $.99 would have been a better price!

    Red Light! Green Light!

    A very simple game, but a new twist!  I use this with my son at home, but also in therapy...mostly as a fun group game for social skills groups or recess buddy groups. It always draws a crowd, even when I didn't have the iPad. Almost ALL kids know the game and have basic understanding of the rules; although, they may need a refresher.  I have several apps for this type of game.  I'll talk about each and identify my favorite.  I also think these apps could be used for other skills...like behavior or other social skills.

    Red Light Green HD  This is a FREE game, it is for the iphone/ipod, but enlarges just fine.  This is my favorite app for this type of activity because it is perfectly simple. It has voices that yell, "Red light" or "Green light".  You can adjust the modes: red/green, red/green/yellow, w/ sound, and stoplight mode.  You control when the light changes by tapping it. The great factor about using the iPad instead of turning your body is that I can monitor what the students are doing. I would still play the game the traditional way without the iPad...but the iPad certainly draws a crowd, which is often what I want when trying to find recess buddies for a student.   Just a note:  I likely would only allow my student to hold the iPad (a special privilege) vs. allowing students I did not know. All of my students know the rules for iPad use and have shown great respect for the device.
    **Update:  I used this as a timer today...just a fun twist for therapy...the students were allowed to add some designs to sentences.  I hit 'green light' when they could start drawing and 'red light' when they needed to finish drawing and begin writing again.  It was a hit!  

    Kids Traffic Light  This FREE app is an actual traffic light.  It is fairly cue and the lights are moderately bright. You can change the lights by tapping them.  It also has a turn signal light, which you could either use or ignore.  When tapped, the green light makes a 'car starting' sound.  The red light makes a 'braking' sound.  The yellow light says, 'caution'.  For recess or game play I still prefer the first app mentioned.  I might use this app for some other form of reinforcement....maybe even speech rate (red light for way too fast, yellow for slightly too fast, and green for just right), eye contact, or other behavior/social types of tasks.
    ***Another great way to use this app: Accordion paragraphs, webs, and written language.   Many of my students frequently work on written language.  One of the regular education strategies includes using red/yellow/green colors that are associated with the different sentences types (introduction, details, 'tell me more', conclusion).  For some recent sessions, I had the students create webs (they drew the 'bubbles'/lines with the associated colors).  When they went to a new 'bubble' on the web, they would tap the traffic light to signal they were switching modes.  Next, we used the webs to construct their paragraphs.  Again, they tapped the traffic light to signal they were switching sentence types.   Why did I have them do this?  To increase their ability to identify different sentence types, help them 'switch gears' within the task, and to add a fun factor (since most of my students are not immediate fans of the writing process).

     Red Light Green Light  Another FREE app, this is an actual traffic light that changes. If you select the small i in the corner, you can change the duration of each light.  It makes a dinging sound when it changes.  My complaint is that it is not as vibrant of a light and you can not change it on your own (it operates on a timer). This app would be more difficult to use for a game, especially a recess/outdoor game.  This app (of the 3) is not my favorite.

    **There are quite a few other traffic or red light/green light style apps; however, these were free and suited my purpose!

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Sock Puppets

    Sock Puppets...yes, there is even an app for that!  And it's pretty good. You can get the FREE version, or you can add some upgrades (longer recording time, more puppets, more scenery, etc). I find the 6 or so puppets enough for me. So what therapeutic value could I possibly find in sock puppets?  Conversation, turn taking, asking and answering questions, maintaining topics, and other social language skills. The cool factor in this app lies in the ability to record conversation that is paired with each sock character.  You simply hit record, tap the sock puppet, and talk.  When someone else wants to talk, they tap their puppet. The app then 'scrubs' (with bubbles, ha ha) the recording and changes the voices.  You can then listen and see your conversation.  Kind of a fun and novel way for students to monitor conversation skills:
    • Did I stay on topic? 
    • How many questions did I ask? How many questions did my partner ask?
    • Did I answer my friend's question appropriately?
    • What other questions could I have asked?  
    • What was the other person thinking when I....?
    Some other possible goals:
    • Describing: the student could record sentences describing their puppet or partner's puppet
    • Absurdities: students could formulate crazy/absurd sentences and explain why the sentence is not possible
    • Plus many more, be creative!
    Note:  A fun tip/trick is in the settings mode, you can alter each puppet's voice so that it is high or low.  I am not entirely sure that this app would work well for articulation practice as the voices/pitches are distorted.  

      Monday, May 2, 2011

      I Love Ice Cream

      I Love Ice Cream is another FREE app!  This app is similar to YummyBurgers, only I think it is slightly more challenging.  It takes more concentration and discrimination.  The goal is to make orders for sundaes correctly along an assembly line.  Your 'order' is displayed on the bottom.  As the dish passes, you must pick the correct item and have it drop into your dish with correct timing. Of course, because it is moving along an assembly line, timing is key! The items are also particular to touch...you can't tap, you have to use a downward dragging motion to use the lever on each topping. I have not yet tried this with students as most are still finding YummyBurgers challenging. There is a cute monkey who tells you if you made the order correct or not.  I like YummyBurgers slightly more because it includes the facial expression of the customers as well.  This app would be a nice supplement for students who find YummyBurgers too easy perhaps.  The goals that could be targeted include:
      • Timing
      • Fine motor
      • Coordination
      • Discrimination
      • Sequencing
      • Pre-planning
      • Fast paced turn taking with partner (passing ipad between peers for each order)
      • Tallying (how many correct orders? how many incorrect?)

      The Cloudy Shake

      The Cloudy Shake is a free app designed for the iphone/ipod based on "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs".  While it is designed for the iphone, it can be enlarged for the iPad.  This decreases the quality of the graphics slightly; however, the app is still very usable. The Cloudy Shake is similar to other 'making things' apps such as Cookie Doodle.  You scroll through ingredients (by swiping left/right) to add to your shake. The ingredients include things like: pickles, hamburgers, etc. Then you shake the ipad to start the blender...and your shake is made!  Tilt the iPad to drink it and the concoction disappears!  There is also a scale that gives a 'how yucky is it' rating. How did I use this in therapy?  Mostly for social skills and social language.  I targeted:
      • Nonverbal communication: eye contact, facial expression, body language
      • Indicating yes/no with head nods
      • Interviewing friends/peers: asking people what they would like in their shake and reading their non-verbal (or verbal) response.
      • Asking why questions: "Why did you pick ____?"  "Why didn't you pick______?"
      • Talking about opinions and justifying opinions: "I picked ______ because..."
      • Turn taking and conversation: Peer must watch steps and after the partner drinks the shake, they repeat what was in the shake and if they would have liked it.  Then switch roles. Asking questions back and forth.